Monday, 30 August 2021

EnterprisePM — CBE approves AIB acquisition + Vacsera production complex coming in Nov.



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and we hope you’re trying to milk as much of the August slowdown as we are, as the news flow looks increasingly like it’s September.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY which we’ll cover in greater detail in EnterpriseAM:

#1 CBE gives final thumbs up to Arab Investment Bank acquisition: EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) have gotten the final go-ahead from the central bank to purchase a 76% stake in the Arab Investment Bank, EFG said in an EGX filing (pdf) today. The two institutions will acquire the shares via a EGP 3.8 bn capital increase, giving EFG a 51% stake and the SFE 25%.

#2 Vaccine City, coming November 2021: Vacsera’s new facility for producing covid vaccines is set to open at the end of November, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said during a visit to the factory today. The plant, based in Sixth of October, will produce 3 mn doses every day, or 1 bn doses annually.

#3 The Russians are in Sokhna: The Suez Canal Economic Zone will begin work on the new and improved Russian Industrial Zone by the beginning of next year, SCZone head Yehia Zaki said (pdf) today during a meeting with a delegation of Russian companies interested in setting up shop in Egypt.

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

  • Hey big spndr: Swvl is planning to follow up its Nasdaq IPO with USD 250-300 mn in fresh investment over the next three years to expand its global footprint.
  • Better Call Youssef: An Egyptian businessman is threatening to file an international arbitration case against the Ethiopian government for alleged damages incurred as a result of the current conflict in Tigray.
  • The earnings recovery is real: Cleopatra Hospitals and Orascom Construction saw a strong rebound in earnings during the second quarter after a tough 2Q2020 due to the covid lockdown.


Hurricane Ida and Afghanistan still have the front pages to themselves this afternoon. Rockets are being fired at US troops in Kabul ahead of tomorrow’s evacuation deadline (AP | Reuters), while over in Louisiana, 1 mn people have been left without power as Hurricane Ida reached the Gulf Coast (NYT | Washington Post).


OPEC+ is meeting on Wednesday, and oil producers are widely expected to proceed with plans to undo oil production cuts as oil prices recover, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Egypt hosts Digi Sign Africa this week: The three-day advertising and digital printing exhibition gets underway at the Cairo International Convention Centre on Wednesday, 1 September.

Cypriot prez visiting this week: President Nicos Anastasiades arrives in Cairo on Saturday, 4 September for a joint Egypt-Cyprus summit.

South Korea’s Defense Minister will be in town this week. The two-day visit by Suh Wook is the first of its kind to Egypt by a Korean defense minister. Suh’s meetings will include a sit-down with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi before the Korean minister moves on to Oman, the Korea Times reports. The expectation is that Suh’s visit will help lay the groundwork for a visit to Egypt by Korea’s president in early 2022.

And the key news triggers as we enter September:

  • PMI: August’s PMI figures for Egypt, KSA and the UAE will land on Sunday, 5 September.
  • Foreign reserves: The central bank will release foreign reserves figures for August sometime next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for August will drop either next week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s another hot day in the capital, with day-time highs of 39°C and lows of 24°C during the night, according to our favorite weather app. Meanwhile, the mercury in Sahel will reach 31°C during the day and 23°C at night.


Planning a remote destination vacation? You might have to shell out four-figures USD for a covid test: Getting the necessary PCR tests for travel to the world’s most remote luxury tourist destinations is a big hassle that comes with an even bigger price tag, Bloomberg reports. For travel agents, tour operators and resorts in far-flung parts of Africa and the Indian Ocean who cater to wealthy tourists, the logistics of making the right covid testing available within tight timeframes can by labyrinthine, especially if clients plan to visit more than one country in a single trip. One Tanzanian lodge has had to ferry doctors and government covid testers on 500-mile-round trips at a cost to guests of USD 500 per PCR test. In some cases, additional PCR testing costs of up to USD 6k have caused would-be adventurers to scrap plans for already lavish, five-figure holidays.

Some in the tourist industry are investing in their own PCR infrastructure: Worried that the costs and logistics of PCR tests are holding back the recovery in luxury travel, some businesses have invested huge sums of money to bring their covid testing in-house. Viking Ocean Cruises has built a full scale lab, staffed by three technicians, on each of its six seagoing ships; its CEO said the company spends as much on PCR testing as it does on fuel. In the Maldives, two resorts joined forces to build a testing lab open to both guests and locals, spending USD 41k on a test-processing machine. But while some companies have been able to find ad-hoc solutions, the entire industry will continue to suffer losses as long as PCR costs and testing rules remain so uneven globally.

Is Saudi’s grand plan for sustainability too green to be true? The FT takes a deep dive into all the promises made — and apparently soon forgotten— by the kingdom on climate. The world’s largest solar park, worth USD 200 bn, announced in 2018? No sign of it. What about The Line, the world’s first carbon-zero, hydrogen-powered city? Still just an architect’s model for now (thankfully). As for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s promise this year that Saudi Arabia’s power generation would be provided exclusively by renewables and gas by 2030 (and that it would plant 10 bn trees in the desert), analysts say there’s little transparency and no details on how to get there.

The breakup with oil may be harder than first thought: Saudi officials and supporters argue that massive progress has been made since the country put climate change on the national agenda in 2015. But as long as the kingdom continues to rely on oil for revenues and foreign currency, and to burn around 1 mn barrels a day for its own power generation, potential investors are leaning cynical. One analyst spells out the bottom line: “The reality is that [the Saudis] have got no economic incentive to switch away from fossil fuel production at the moment.”

Dubai could become one of the crypto capitals of the MENA region as regulators in the emirate look to attract industry players. “Dubai is going to do fantastically well” on cryptocurrencies, the CEO of digital assets exchange Bittrex Global tells Bloomberg. “It’s a great place to set up your token project, or run a cryptocurrency exchange … they’re going to attract a lot of regional projects.”

Why Dubai? Its regulators have taken an interest in blockchain. An agreement in May paved the way for the trading of crypto assets in the Dubai Airport Free Zone, the city last year launched a blockchain-based exchange for sugar trading, and the Middle East’s first bitcoin fund was listed on the Nasdaq Dubai in June. Cryptocurrencies are surging after languishing for months, spurred on by more bullish sentiments (we see you, Elon) and increasing mainstream acceptance.


Black Eyed Peas coming to Egypt + Brandon Sanderson’s newest book


The Black Eyed Peas are coming to Egypt: Egypt will welcome and co. to the Giza Pyramids for a one-off show on 2 October. A fixture in the mid-2000s charts, the Grammy award-winning (and now Fergie-less) hip hop group have made something of a comeback as of late, releasing a couple of albums since 2017 following a seven-year hiatus. Get your tickets here.


Get Japanese, tonight: Kazoku is a contemporary Japanese restaurant that features two menus — one for regular gastronomists and one for sushi lovers. Located at the clubhouse of the Swan Lake compound, Kazoku boasts an elegant and chic interior, in addition to a cozy outdoor seating. With a dining lounge and a sushi bar, the place offers a laid back atmosphere with impeccable ambience despite its crowded nights. The topnotch food quality offers an array of Japanese grill plates and sharing dishes, complemented by innovative cocktails. Their signature dishes are the miso glazed black cod and the broiled Chilean sea bass. You can also pick your carefully selected assortment from the sushi menu.


The boomer and the zoomer: In HBO Max Series Hacks, Jean Smart plays a veteran comedian that came up in a time when the industry wasn’t so kind to women. Now that she’s ageing, the Las Vegas casino she works at is cutting back her shows. To revitalize her diminishing empire, she hires a younger comedian that fell foul of the internet after making a tasteless joke. At first glance, this dramedy show is a straightforward showbiz comedy, but as both comedians’ relationship develops, it becomes clear that the generational divide between boomer and zoomer may not be as wide as first thought. Critics are saying its Smart’s role of a lifetime: Vulture | Variety | Rolling Stone.


For the Brandon Sanderson stans: The sci-fi author’s newest (audio exclusive) book Lux came out last month. Known for his multi-volume epics, Lux is the opening installment of a new series set in the universe of “Reckoners” and a “High Epic Lifeforce.” This is hardcore sci-fi featuring super-powered humans and flying cities. Listen to it here.


Earnings: Heliopolis Housing, Housing and Development Bank + MB Engineering

Minapharm Pharma bottomline more than doubled during 2Q2021, recording EGP 130.5 mn compared to EGP 48.2 mn last year, according to its financial statement (pdf). Revenues during the quarter were up 33% to EGP 681.4 mn from EGP 510 mn last year.

MB Engineering recorded a net income of EGP 1.4 mn in 2Q2021 following a EGP 5.5 mn loss during the same period last year, according to the company’s financial statement (pdf). Revenues more than doubled to EGP 56.6 mn during the quarter, up from EGP 22.4 mn last year.

Heliopolis for Housing and Development’s (HHD) net income fell almost 50% y-o-y to EGP 190.9 mn during FY2020-2021, compared to EGP 365.5 mn the year before, the state-owned company said in an EGX filing (pdf) today. The falling income came amid a drop-of in revenues, which decreased to EGP 574.2 mn, down 47% from EGP 1.1 bn in FY2019-2020. The company attributed the decline to the coronavirus and failing to sell any plots of land during the year.

The Housing and Development Bank recorded a bottomline of EGP 1 bn during the first six months of the year, a slight drop from EGP 1.06 bn in 1H2020, the bank said in a bourse disclosure (pdf). The bank generated EGP 3.3 bn of revenues in the six-month period, up from EGP 2.9 bn last year, citing improved economic conditions.


The EGX30 rose 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 2.1 bn (30.5% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 2.9% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+5.6%), Cleopatra Hospitals (+4.7%) and EFG Hermes (+3.4%).

In the red: Mopco (-3.3%), MM Group (-3.1%) and Fawry (-2.7%).


Honey, I shrunk the fauna

Climate change has induced animal miniaturization: A claim that sounds just plain weird. But, unfortunately it’s true; animals around the globe have been getting smaller, and climate change is the culprit, according to this Vox clip (watch, runtime: 3:40). Birds, turtles, fish and frogs are just a few of the animals that have shrunk in size. Over time, this could have dire consequences on our world’s finely tuned ecosystems, leading some species to go extinct.

Wait, what’s the link between climate change and animals shrinking? Apparently, smaller bodies cool down faster, and larger animals are better able to conserve heat according to Bergmann’s rule. Articulated by Carl Bergmann in 1847, the theory posits that smaller and larger animals have differing “temperature budgets,” with animals more likely to be larger in colder climates.

This isn’t the first time this has happened: So called “mammalian dwarfing” was observed during a major global warming event 56 mn years ago known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and again 53 mn years ago, according to this 2017 study. During the PETM, the size of some animals — the study singled out early ancestors of horses — decreased by as much as 30%. The study concludes that “dwarfing appears to be a common evolutionary response of some mammals during past global warming events, and the extent of dwarfing seems related to the magnitude of the event.”

The phenomenon has also been observed more recently, this time with birds: According to a 2019 study of migratory birds collected over four decades and housed in Chicago’s Field’s Museum, the birds’ body size had decreased over time, while their wingspan has increased to compensate for their smaller bodies being less energy efficient for migration.

So how have animals adapted to survive? Animals adapt to their surroundings, that’s what keeps them alive. So when rising temperatures change their environments, species modify some of their characteristics to survive. They do that thanks to two distinct processes; selection pressure and developmental plasticity.

Selection pressure refers to characteristics being passed down from one generation to the next because they are more advantageous to survival. In this case, smaller animals will survive longer and are more likely to reproduce than their larger counterparts, creating a new generation of smaller animals overall.

Developmental plasticity refers to changes that occur in an animal’s lifetime that are not passed down to future generations. This process especially impacts cold-blooded animals (i.e. animals that don’t conserve body temperature but regulate it through their environment) such as reptiles and amphibians because they are less affected by Bergmann’s rule. For instance, a frog’s metabolism gets faster when it’s hotter, so it goes through all of its developmental stages faster. But because its rate of growth doesn’t change, the frog becomes smaller when it reaches adulthood.

So what’s the big fuss if animals are in fact getting smaller? On the surface, it seems like a trivial issue, but it could wreak havoc on ecosystems and lead to the extinction of dozens of species. For instance, smaller prey means predators would have to hunt a larger number of them, potentially dwindling the populations of certain species over time. Smaller animals also can’t bear as many offspring, which could set back the sizes of animal populations to begin with.

But surely the animals will just adapt as they always have? One hopes so, yes, but we’re actually warming the planet at an unprecedented rate that is estimated to be 10 times faster than average warming following ice ages, meaning species that are not able to put their evolutionary adaptation into turbo mode could end up dying out. 2020 and 2016 are the warmest years on record since we began keeping records in 1880, according to NASA data.

Our take: Smaller animals are probably cute; less so if they’re all dead. The effects of climate change on our fauna and flora are still not fully understood, and shrinking organisms is just one bizarre side effect of our continued pushing of earth’s temperatures through the roof.


24 August-5 September (Tuesday-Sunday): Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

September: Delegation of Russian companies to visit Russian Industrial Zone.

1-3 September (Wednesday-Friday): Digi Sign Africa, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

4 September (Saturday): The first Egypt-Cyprus Intergovernmental Summit is taking place in Cairo.

5 September (Sunday): The updated date for EGX listed companies to institute the new mechanism for calculating closing share prices. The deadline was previously 2 September.

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

8-9 September (Wednesday-Thursday): Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF), Cairo

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

11-12 September (Saturday-Sunday): International Conferences on Economics and Social Sciences, Cairo

12 September (Sunday): International schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

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

13-21 September (Monday-Tuesday): 76th session of the general assembly, New York

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

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

18 September (Saturday): Expiration of United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

October: New legislative session begins — must be held by the first Thursday of October.

October: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt in mid this month to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

9 October (Saturday): Public schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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.

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

16-17 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Africa fintech summit, Cairo.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

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

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

22-24 April 2022: World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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