Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Enjoy our holiday reading list and we’ll see you back here on Monday — Happy Eid, everyone!

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Well, friends, we made it through this wonderfully short workweek together. Kol sanna w entom tayebeen to all of you fantastic people, and thank you once more for spending your Ramadan afternoons with us.

Egypt is closed tomorrow through Sunday. Wednesday is the last day of Ramadan, and we’ll be observing Eid El Fitr from Thursday through Sunday. Banks and the Egyptian Exchange will reopen with normal business hours on Monday, 17 May.

NO SINGLE STORY DOMINATES the news domestic news cycle this afternoon, though if ever there was a time for a company to dump out bad news, it’s now in the hope that it will pass unnoticed after a five-day weekend. Fear not, we’ll be keeping an eye on things the next few days to make certain you’re not missing out on anything when we reappear in your inboxes at the usual time on Monday.

In the meantime: Enjoy the kahk. And the coffee. Especially the coffee.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD is the sell-off in global shares led by tech stocks. Stock markets in Asia and Europe this morning followed Wall Street’s lead of yesterday, “with technology shares sustaining a fresh blow from concerns that rising inflation will prompt central banks to tighten monetary policy.” The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell more than 2% yesterday, Europe’s Stoxx 600 was down 2% at dispatch time, as were markets in France and Germany. Futures suggest Wall Street will follow suit again later this afternoon when trading there opens. We have more in Go with the Flow, below.

Toss in rising worries about fuel shortages amid a cyberattack on a big US pipeline, and things are probably looking quite grumpy on Wall Street. The pipeline remains “days” from re-opening, Reuters notes, and the hackers — calling themselves the DarkSide — have said on their website that they’re sorry — kinda. “Our goal is … not creating problems for society,” they wrote.

The cyberattack has fueled debate over the merits of companies making ransom payments to cyber attackers, the Financial Times writes. The Biden administration is “looking at its approach to ransomware actors and ransoms overall” as the FBI raised concerns that such payments will only encourage more attacks.

HAPPENING NOW- The IMF is (virtually) in town: A team from the Washington-based lender is currently holding online meetings with Egyptian authorities and expects to wrap them up on 24 May, according to Al Mal. It’s the second and final review of progress Egypt has made on measures that locked in a one-year, emergency USD 5.2 bn stand-by loan agreed last year. This review should unlock the remaining USD 1.6 bn. The meetings will double as Article IV consultations, which the IMF holds with its member states, usually once a year, as a way to keep track of what’s going on with local economies.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Ever Given’s ins. company still won’t pay up, claiming that the Suez Canal Authority’s compensation claim — down to USD 600 mn from about USD 900 mn initially — is still too high. Egypt could explore the option of auctioning off the ship if the deadlock continues.
  • Nile Scan isn’t partnering with Speed on Alex Medical bid, instead bidding independently to bring the medical services firm under a newly-launched investment platform.
  • Catalyst Partners has secured EGP 280 mn in commitments from local banks for an EGP 500 mn SME investment fund it is setting up with the UNDP. However, the FRA has yet to sign off on the fund.

** So, when do we eat? We sit down for our second-to-last iftar this Ramadan at 6:39pm. And our final sohour will need to wrap by 3:27am.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

SOUND SMART: 4% of all listed stocks account for just about all of the net wealth created in a sample of 26k companies that went public between 1926 and 2016, according to research by Hendrik Bassembinder, a professor at Arizona State University. Anyone who bought into the other 96% of all shares either lost money or failed to outperform one-month treasuries, writes the FT’s Robin Wigglesworth, a former Mideast hand who now leads the salmon-coloured paper’s coverage of global finance.

Wait, it gets worse: “About 61% of non-US stocks underperformed Treasury bills in the 1990-2018 period, and less than 1% accounted for the entire USD 16 tn of net wealth creation over the period,” Wigglesworth writes.

Please, God, let there be a silver lining. There _is_ a silver lining, right? Indeed: A growing number of asset managers are taking Bassembinder’s work as “evidence that aggressively investing in a narrow clutch of potential corporate superstars — almost whatever the price — is actually the way for active asset management to regain its mojo. After all, his data implies that finding just one of these nascent stock market titans can more than compensate for losses elsewhere.” Go read Meet the academic who has fired up moonshot investing.

EID WEEKEND READING LIST-

The central bank will now disintermediate you: Forget about Doge and BTC — Fedcoin and the e-euro are the digital currencies that really matter, the Economist argues in this primer, suggesting that “the least noticed disruption on the frontier between technology and finance may end up as the most revolutionary: the creation of government digital currencies, which typically aim to let people deposit funds directly with a central bank, bypassing conventional lenders.”

It’s all part of a package from the Economist on a future with fewer banks. Other stories worth a moment of your time:

It’s gonna be a wild trip, man: “After decades of demonization and criminalization, psychedelic [substances] are on the cusp of entering mainstream psychiatry, with profound implications for a field that has seen few new advancements for the treatment of mental disorders and addiction” in the New York Times. Want more? Go read Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the new science of psychedelics teaches us about consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence.

The Italians (and the Egyptians) had it right all along: The American worship of “meaningful work” is a load of bunk, argues The New Yorker, writing that “Americans are told to give their all — time, labor, and passion — to their jobs. But do their jobs give enough back?” Go read: What’s wrong with the way we work and then quote from it to anybody who tells you we work too few hours and have too many holidays here in Omm El Donia. After all, “‘meaningful work’ is an expression that had barely appeared in the English language before the early 1970s. Once upon a time, it was assumed, to put it bluntly, that work sucked.”

Why the toughest capitalists should root for a wealth tax, wherein Martin Sandblu argues that the plutocracy can only save itself from the woke masses by embracing a regular, recurrent wealth tax. All the cools kids are doing it, he suggests, pointing to “some of the world’s most successful economies, such as Switzerland and Norway.”

The world’s largest pension fund has cooled on ESG. Should you follow suit? Bloomberg Opinion columnist Shuli Ren writes that “thematic indices make investors feel good. But is simple virtue enough to fatten retirement accounts and support an aging population?”

Are smartphones the new cigarettes? GQ magazine thinks that we’re going to look back on our iPhones like we look at the Marlboro Man, with a top computer scientist saying in a Q&A that “future workplaces [kill] email” as the “tech backlash is about to go mainstream.” (And, uhm, if you kill email, please like … still allow us in, okay?)

Well, there is the small problem that it smells worse than cat food when raw… Fake-meat outfit Beyond Meat reported a wider than-expected loss last week as “as restaurant customers take longer to return and grocery shoppers aren’t stockpiling its meat substitutes anymore,” CNBC reports.

The world’s two biggest truck makers are banking on hydrogen being the next big thing: Volvo and Daimler are anticipating that hydrogen fuel celled-vehicles will see a “much steeper ramp-up” towards the end of the decade, reports the Financial Times. Though diesel will remain the preeminent source of fuel for next few years, hydrogen will become more widely adopted in 2027 before going “steeply up” in the 2030s, Daimler Truck Chairman Martin Daum told the salmon-colored paper. Volvo is aiming to have half of its European truck sales be powered by hydrogen in 2030, and both companies are aiming for zero-emissions by 2040. The two companies have also teamed up to create Cellcentric, a JV that aims to manufacture sustainable fuel cells for industries inside and outside automotives.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

OSN is launching a temporary channel, OSN Howa w Heya, in celebration of Eid, Al Mal reports. The channel will broadcast famous classic Egyptian films and plays including those of iconic actors such as Adel Imam, Fouad El Mohandes, Shweikar, Shadia, and Abdel Halim Hafez. The channel will be live from 13 May 13 at 8am until 5 June at 8pm, available to OSN Home Plus, Platinum and Premier subscribers.

Alternatively: Go to Rolling Stone’s quite excellent list of the 100 best TV sitcoms of all time. Yes, it’s an America-centric list. And yes, it’s debatable. But damn, is it good.

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME-

Man City could be crowned champions of the Premier League tonight without even kicking a ball: Should second-placed Man Utd fail to beat Leicester tonight, the blue half of Manchester will be confirmed league champions. United then has to beat Liverpool on Thursday to delay further City’s title celebrations — at least until Friday when they get the chance to wrap everything up in their match against Newcastle.

The potential title deciders:

  • Man Utd v Leicester City kicks off at Old Trafford at 7pm tonight;
  • Man Utd and Liverpool play at Old Trafford at 9:15pm on Thursday;
  • Man City meet Newcastle at St. James’ Park on Friday at 9pm;

The title race is still wide open in Spain, with just two points separating Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table — and three games to go. All three will get the chance to lay a claim to the league: Barcelona play mid-table Levante tonight at 10pm, while league leaders Atletico Madrid play fifth-placed Real Sociedad tomorrow at 10pm and cross-town rivals Real Madrid play Granada on Thursday at 10pm.

The title has already been won in Serie A, but that doesn’t make things any less exciting. The fight for the all-important fourth-spot (and Champions League qualification) is still on: Fourth-placed Napoli will get the chance to extend their slender lead over fifth-placed Juventus to four points when they meet Udinese at 8:45pm tonight. Juventus, who should beat Sassuolo tomorrow night, face a tougher challenge when they meet Inter Milan, which sits atop the league. Both are must-win games if the former champions are going to make the Champions League next year.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Pyramids FC will face off against Enyimba in a African Confederation Cup quarterfinals match on Sunday at 6pm. Both teams have shown strong potential during group stages, with Pyramids holding 12 points and Enyimba nine.

🥐 EAT THIS EID MORNING

We can all finally set down for breakfast again: Hail to the coffee machine. If you’re like us, you can’t wait to settle down with a croissant and some liquid happiness. Here’s a list of places to call up in the morning to make your first breakfast post-Ramadan count:

  • Miette French Bakery is sure to satisfy your early morning cravings with their egg-filled breakfast plates, sandwiches, and pastries. You can find them in Maadi, Zamalek, and Uptown Cairo.
  • Another formidable breakfast place is Ralph’s German Bakery in New Cairo, Maadi, and Dahab which bakes fresh bread every morning in every size, shape, and flavor. We recommend their full English breakfast plate and their Bavarian cherry noodles.
  • If you want to stray away from the basics, head to Maadi’s The Lebanese Bakery and have a filling and delicious breakfast of a manouche and mouajjanet.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Seth Rogen is out with a book featuring a collection of personal anecdotes that touch on everything from doing standup comedy as a teen to time spent at summer camp and adventures in Los Angeles. Yearbook is Rogen’s first literary offering after years as an actor, comedian, filmmaker starring in productions such as SuperBad, This is the End, and most recently, Freaks and Geeks. In case you need more convincing, Rogen’s mom wrote a review about the newly released book, seemingly liking everything except the proud stoner moments. Rogen will also release an audiobook version on Audible, read in his own voice.

Worth a read on Mr. Rogan: Seth Rogen on fame, smoking weed and why his films have not aged well in which the Times (of London) talks to the actor about his book and how he’s grappling with some of the more misogynistic aspects of his oeuvre.


🌤 EID WEATHER- The outlook for Eid is wonderful: Tomorrow and the first day of Eid will be pleasant with daytime highs of 34°C overnight lows of 18°C. Look for the mercury to rise to 40°C by Monday, when we all trudge back to work, according to our favorite weather app.

SPEED ROUND: AUTOMOTIVE

No more used EV imports as industry gets ready for local assembly

Importers can no longer bring in used electric vehicles (EVs) under a new Trade Ministry decision designed to boost local EV assembly. EVs imported from abroad must also be the latest model, which is a sharp u-turn from a 2018 decision by then-Trade Minister Tarek Kabil, which had allowed the import of second-hand EVs at zero custom charges provided they were less than three years old. The decision aims to “spur the development of a local EV industry in cooperation with major international auto companies,” minister Nevine Gamea said.

As of January, it was estimated that only 1k EVs were imported by showrooms or directly by end users since the Kabil-era decision was implemented, Ahmed Zein, an industry expert, told AlbawabhNews at the time. This was hoped to be a starting point for a wider rollout of EVs on the road, Zein said.

Now we’re pivoting to EV assembly, which is due to start as early as next month: State-owned El Nasr Automotive will be leading the charge (sorry, we couldn’t help it) in an agreement with China’s Dongfeng finalized in January. Mitsubishi Motors also said earlier this month it plans to use a Nissan-owned assembly line to start rolling out electric trucks and passenger cars.

So far, the government is relying on a mix of incentives to put more EVs on the road. This includes production subsidies for local players at up to EGP 50k per vehicle, set electricity prices used at charging docks, and customs breaks for imported components.

SPEED ROUND: REAL ESTATE

Sodic mulls securitized bond sale as Aldar continues DD

Sodic is reportedly planning to go to market with an offering of securitized bonds “in the next few weeks,” Al Mal reports, quoting sources it claims are in the know. The upmarket real estate developer is finalizing final regulatory approvals and has already sent a formal request to the Financial Regulatory Authority. It plans to use proceeds from the sale to finance its near-term investment plan, which involves purchasing new land in the North Coast, the sources claim.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s Aldar Properties is halfway through due diligence to acquire a majority stake in Sodic, Aldar CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said on Bloomberg TV. The bid is “one of a number of [transactions] we are looking at in Egypt … [which is] one of the most lucrative and attractive real estate markets,” Al Dhiyebi said. Aldar submitted in March a non-binding offer to acquire at least 51% of SODIC’s shares at EGP 18-19 apiece. Sodic’s board then said it will allow due diligence to go ahead and would appoint EFG Hermes and an international advisor to provide counsel on the bid.

BACKGROUND- The securitization market has been busy so far in 2021, with developer Palm Hills being the latest to announce a sale when it closed an EGP 800 mn issuance late last month. EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions is also looking to securitize part of its portfolio this year after its total portfolio grew 55% last year, while Edge Holding is eyeing the securitization of a EGP 1 bn receivables portfolio next year. This is coming on the heels of a strong 2020 for the market as new sales picked up steam amid the pandemic.

What is securitization, you ask? You can read our recent in-depth explainer.

SPEED ROUND: INFRASTRUCTURE

The Suez Canal is back in “build” mode

The southern stretch of the Suez Canal (yes, the one where the Ever Given got stuck) will see deepening and expansion works, according to Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Osama Rabie (watch, runtime: 5:30). Rabie has presented President Abdel Fattah El Sisi with a plan to widen the stretch by 40 meters towards the east and deepen it to just under 29 meters from 20 meters today, Reuters reported. El Sisi has said he wants the work wrapped up within 24 months at most.

The expansion will take place right where the Ever Given got stuck in March. Over 400 ships were unable to pass through the Suez Canal two months ago after a 400-meter-long container ship ran aground and blocked the waterway. The traffic jam cost Egypt around USD 15 mn each day in foregone revenues and the Suez Canal Authority is now seeking some USD 600 mn in compensation.

The New Suez Canal will also get an extension: The canal that had been built in 2015 to allow two-directional traffic is also looking at a 10 km-extension, to reach a total length of 82 km, according to Reuters.

SPEED ROUND: INVESTMENT WATCH

We smell a data hub

Egypt is in “promising talks” with foreign companies to invest in establishing data centers in the country, CIT Minister Amr Talaat tells Al Arabiya (watch, runtime: 6:25). The minister declined to name specific companies, saying only that they are “major players” in the data center space. Data centers are the priority area for the ministry to attract fresh foreign investments this year, particularly as Egypt’s geographical location means we are well-placed to handle data travel. Egypt already has several subsea cables through which a “massive” amount of data travels from Europe, Asia, and North America, Talaat said.

Software development and digital services will also be a key development and investment area for the CIT Ministry this year, alongside data analytics and artificial intelligence, according to Talaat. Altogether, the ministry is planning to increase CIT’s contribution to the country’s GDP to 5% this year and 8% within three years.

The plan to establish Egypt as a data center hub has been in motion for several years now — and comes hand-in-hand with the government’s digital push: We first got wind of a national strategy geared towards this goal back in 2018, when then-CIT Minister Yasser El Kady said the government aims to attract more investments and data centers to Egypt. The digital transformation has also seen the government roll out more than 70 services through its online government services portal, with plans to increase that number to 170 by the end of 2021 and making all government services available online in 2023, Talaat said.

Want to know more about Egypt’s data center landscape (and what a data center even means)? We covered the topic in detail in a three-part series of Hardhat, our infrastructure vertical. Read part one to get a lay of the land, then read part two for a better understanding of what’s impeding our data center growth, and finish off with part three, which lays out the drivers of growth.

CATCH UP QUICK

Other stories on our radar as we head into this holiday long weekend:

Israeli airstrike kills nine Palestinian kids: Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza this morning after Gaza fired rockets into Israel. The attack out of Gaza came as Israel pushes ahead with an ethnic cleansing campaign in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The airstrike killed 20 Palestinians, nine of them children.

Saudi Arabia will require unvaccinated travellers to quarantine for at least a week upon arrival to the Kingdom starting 20 May, Saudi’s Interior Ministry said on Twitter. Saudi nationals, their families and domestic staff will be exempt.

India’s covid-19 variant is of global concern -WHO: Research is suggesting that the covid-19 variant found in India has “increased transmissibility”, while antibodies appear to have less impact on the mutant virus, a top World Health Organization official said, reports France24. The India variant joins strains from Brazil, the UK, and South Africa on the list.

Ethiopia is working to drum up international support over GERD: Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke met with US’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman today, saying that the African country is committed to ending the GERD deadlock and the Sudan border dispute peacefully, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. In the past few days, Ethiopian officials also sat down with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigeria’s President Mohamed Bazoum, and Comoros’s Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal to discuss the African-Union led GERD talks, offering less-than-friendly claims that Egypt and Sudan are trying to continue their monopoly over the Nile River.

German regulators are cracking down on Facebook over WhatsApp data, ordering a three-month ban on Facebook’s collection of data on German users through WhatsApp, Bloomberg reports. The privacy watchdog also called on the EU to issue a ruling across the bloc, calling new terms of service for the messaging app “intransparent, inconsistent and overly broad.” The implementation of the new terms was pushed back from February amid international backlash.

GO WITH THE FLOW

Meet our analyst of the week: HC Securities’ Noha Baraka

OUR ANALYST OF THE WEEK- Noha Baraka, vice president of research and head of consumer and pharma at HC Securities (Linkedin).

My name is Noha Baraka and I’ve been at HC Securities for 10 years. I graduated from AUC with a degree in business administration and a minor in economics and I started my career at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), where I worked in the domestic markets unit as a member of both the FX and money market teams. My experience and exposure while at the CBE gave me a great boost of confidence for the world of finance. I consolidated my love for finance and data analysis by getting my CFA in 2014.

I’ve been covering consumer and pharma names in the local market and I love these two sectors because they are concerned with things that I feel and live. I experience the food and beverage industry every day, for example, and having this makes me better understand the trends and see what’s happening on the ground on a day to day basis.

The best part of my job is that it's a continuous learning process and always full challenges. It also gives you a sense of ownership of your work that adds to the satisfaction of when a call you make materializes.

The worst part is that there are days that are slow and become kind of a routine. I’m a very dynamic person and on those days I just try to power through.

While traveling helps you get to know the client in person, being in the same boat as the rest of the world has fostered new kinds of relationships. They’ve become more dynamic, interactive, and often informal. You get to see them in their own homes and sometimes meet their kids [laughs]. That’s been the case with me at least. My four year-old likes to interrupt my meetings and tell me “Mommy, that’s enough for today.” But I do see the roadshow coming back once the pandemic subsides, it’s a critical part of our job.

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My theory of investment is to make sure my recommendations make sense for the investor. I continuously ask myself what would the investor want to know about the stock and I write all the information down. I look at all aspects at the same time, so I can get an outcome that is reasonable and comprehensive. Those include the governance, the market itself, the clients, the cost structure, and the current underlying themes and challenges in the sector.

The most important thing I look at is what would cause this stock to rerate in the short term or long term. From there, you can look at all the other factors I previously mentioned to determine how feasible the rerating is and if there are signals that elude that it could be soon. I create a story and make sure it makes sense to me and the investor at the end.

I think Egypt’s economic conditions will get better towards the end of the year. The world had expected that by now the vaccine rollouts would be going faster and that the impact of the virus would have somewhat subsided. However, we do see signs that overall sentiment, economic activity, and trading on the capital markets will improve in the country once we’re past the pandemic. Also the narrowing gap between wage increases and inflation is signalling an impending pickup for consumption.

The pandemic brought about many trends in the past period. The biggest I’ve seen in the sectors I cover is that there was a huge pickup in the snack food and the basic goods market. Even though cars were hit at the beginning, they managed to bounce back quickly and are now recovering nicely. As for tobacco, it surprised me that despite warnings that smoking could potentially make you more subjectable to the virus, demand and consumption never dissipated. Overall, I would say that the consumption overhang is behind us.

I think the technology sector has huge potential to grow in the coming period. The sector proved its worth tenfold during the pandemic and it has as a result started gaining traction and its stocks are performing well worldwide. I believe this growth will soon translate into the local market as more companies come forward with product offerings.

If I had to switch and cover another industry, I would go for banking. I like that it's challenging, but still close to home and something I can experience on a daily basis.

The last great thing I watched was You on Netflix and I loved it even though it’s quite abnormal [laughs]. I also enjoyed season nine of Suits. This Ramadan, I enjoyed Yousra’s Harb Ahleya, Mona Zaki’s Le3bet Newton, and Amina Khalil’s Khali Balak Min Zizi.

Most of my reading is bedtime stories with my daughter. She loves Aladdin and I’ve probably read the book to her around 100 times already. It’s fascinating to me how she always gets excited as if it’s the first time she hears the story.

When I’m not working, I try to spend as much time as I can with her. We watch TV, read, or go to her practices. Every once in a while I’ll work out, but it gets tough to stick to it with family related duties and work.

I’m a very organized person, to the extent that people sometimes feel pity for me [laughs]. I always have my calendar on me and I write down everything I need to do, everywhere I need to go, and even my shopping lists for the supermarket.


CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.11 bn (10.5% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 0.7% YTD.

In the green: Edita (+8.9%), Fawry (+5.0%) and MM Group (+4.2%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospital (-3.4%), Credit Agricole (-0.9%) and Madinet Nasr Housing (-0.6%).

EARNINGS WATCH-

Landline and mobile operator Telecom Egypt saw its net income grow 62% y-o-y in 1Q2021 to EGP 2.12 bn, from EGP 1.3 bn in the same period last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Consolidated revenues grew 20% y-o-y to EGP 8.4 bn, against EGP 7 bn in the same period last year.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank reported an EGP 332.2 mn bottom line in 1Q2021, up from EGP 230.3 mn in the same quarter last year, according to the bank’s financial statement (pdf). Revenues grew to EGP 1.85 bn in the same period, from EGP 1.79 bn last year.

GLOBAL MARKET WATCH-

Big tech stocks are experiencing a global sell-off as concerns escalate about interest rates, high valuations and regulatory risk. Investors have been exiting high flying companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, and Amazon. The sell-off saw tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures fall 1.3% lower and the Nasdaq Composite fall 2.5%, while S&P 500 futures declined 0.7%, pushing the benchmarks off the previous record highs. Europe and Asia have since followed suit, with the European benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 futures tumbling around 2% — the most since January — while the Asian gauge posted the biggest losses since March. The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Reuters, and Bloomberg have the story.

Chinese trucking startup The Full Truck Alliance could file for a USD 30 bn IPO as soon as this week, a source told CNBC. The ‘Uber for trucks’ firm could raise as much as USD 1.5 bn with its valuation in the range of USD 20-30 bn and is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange, the source added. Bloomberg reported in February that The Full Truck Alliance confidentially for an IPO with US regulators.

THE MACRO PICTURE

Bring on the post-covid sukuk

Sukuk could become the go-to debt instrument for some African countries looking to raise financing to support their post-covid economic recovery, Faizal Bhana, the director for the Middle East, Africa and India at Jersey Finance told Bloomberg. Bhana expects African countries to “struggle” to raise the funding they need as they emerge from the grips of the pandemic, and that the sharia-compliant bonds could offer a viable path to tapping international debt markets.

But Enterprise, what are sukuk? We’ve got you covered with our explainer on the debt instrument.

Why sukuk? “The convenience brought about by technology and similarities in some features of Shariah-compliant products and environmental, social and governance principles is expected to boost uptake of Islamic-finance products,” says Bhana. The expectation that governments across Africa will rely on the bonds this year comes despite Islamic finance as a whole being “relatively underdeveloped” in the continent, the business information service notes.

Countries with sovereign sukuk in the pipeline: We already know to expect sovereign sukuk issuances from South Africa before next February and Nigeria before the end of the calendar year. Abuja — whose sukuk issuance will be used to finance an important infrastructure project — has already issued three sovereign sukuk, while South Africa made its sovereign sukuk debut in 2014. Kenya, meanwhile, has the regulatory framework in place for its Islamic finance industry, but has not announced concrete plans for a sovereign sukuk sale.

Where does Egypt stand on its sovereign sukuk? The Sovereign Sukuk Act, which sets the framework by which Egypt will issue sovereign sukuk, is pending final sign-off from the House of Representatives. It will then be signed into law by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and its executive regulations should be issued within three months of its ratification. The government plans to roll out the sharia-compliant bonds, both in EGP and foreign currency, as soon as the bill is ratified.

Corporate sukuk have already made their debut in Egypt, after Talaat Moustafa Group subsidiary the Arab Company for Projects and Urban Development, Sarwa Capital (now Contact Financial), and CIRA held a EGP 5.1 bn issuance at the tail-end of last year.

CALENDAR

9-14 May (Sunday-Friday): BIT Milano tourism expo (virtual).

12-16 May (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Fitr.

16-19 May (Sunday-Wednesday): The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) takes place in Dubai.

20-28 May (Thursday-Friday): Gouna International Squash Open 2021.

26 May (Wednesday): Final day for Africa-based startups to apply for the French government-sponsored AFD Digital Challenge (pdf).

27-29 May (Thursday-Saturday): Informa Markets’ Nextmove real estate exhibition, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City.

30 May (Sunday): Al Mal GTM is organizing the Portfolio Egypt conference under the theme ‘Growth under the weight of the pandemic.’

31 May (Monday): Egypt is hosting Trescon Global’s World AI Show with the support of ITIDA.

17 June (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

22-27 June (Tuesday-Sunday): The CIB PSA World Tour Finals for 2020-2021 will take place in Cairo.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): The IMF will complete a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

July + August: Thanaweya Amma exams take place.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

15 June (Saturday): EGX-listed will have to complete filing their financial disclosures for the period ended 31 March.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday).

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

5 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

17-20 August (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

28 October (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

16 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

27 June-3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

**Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

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