Thursday, 26 August 2021

EnterprisePM — From debt to busted M&As to turbulent markets…Happy Thursday.



Good afternoon, wonderful people. We’ve made it through another week together (the last full week in August, at that). Our reward is a pleasantly brisk newsday — overlaid with a thin layer of worry about global equities as we head into September next week.

HAPPENING NOW- Global markets are down and US futures are wobbling ahead of today’s opening across the pond as investors wait for US jobless claims — and look forward to this year’s virtual edition of the US Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole meeting. Shares in Asia finished down for the day and major European indexes are on track to do the same. Futures show the Dow opening in the green, while both Nasdaq and the S&P were in the red at the opening bell later this afternoon.

RAY OF SUNSHINE- The EGX30 is comfortably bucking the trend, closing the week up 0.6% (+2.6% year to date).

The annual gathering of US central bankers and policy makers at Jackson Hole takes place tomorrow. Feb boss Jay Powell will speak tomorrow evening our time, with analysts expecting him to remain vague on the timing of a potential tapering of the Fed’s bond buying program. This is the second year in a row that the gathering will take place online. The Fed has a delicate balancing act to pull off as it looks to start dialing back stimulus, and the Financial Times’ editorial board hopes it uses the Jackson Hole meeting to provide some clarity.

What are policymakers weighing? Among other things, the likelihood that the delta variant will have a significant impact on the economy, which would add another layer of complexity to the Fed’s fundamental debate: Is the bump in inflation transitory or not?

ALSO HAPPENING NOW- We’re on tenterhooks waiting to see if we get off the UK’s black red list of countries from which passengers landing on British soil are required to quarantine. We have the rundown in this afternoon’s Speed Round, below.

MEANWHILE- We’re declaring ourselves American today. Not for the truth, justice and apple pie (they’re nice, of course), but because it’s National Dog Day in Amreeka. The Wall Street Journal is sure we find pups cute because of the shape of their eyebrows. Resident dawg Luna thinks that’s an oversimplification.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The United Kingdom has rung warning bells about a “highly credible” threat of the Daeshbags sending suicide bombers to target crowds outside Kabul’s airport. The alarm prompted the US and other countries to urge citizens to stay away from the airport for their own safety — and in some cases halt evacuation flights altogether. Nations have been sprinting to evacuate their citizens before US President Joe Biden’s 31 August deadline to withdraw troops. The warning has done nothing to thin crowds outside the facility. The story is everywhere from Bloomberg and Reuters to CNBC and the New York Times.

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

  • Foreign investor launches takeover bid for agrifoods player Galina: An unnamed investor submitted a bid for 100% of the company, CEO Abdelwahed Soliman told us yesterday. Galina has set an EGP 6.50 per share asking price, valuing it at around EGP 780 mn.
  • GERD hasn’t hurt Sudan’s water supply just yet: While the filling had no impact on water supply, preparing for the unknown was expensive and caused indirect socioeconomic damage as Sudan undertook crisis-management measures.
  • Cairo reconsiders plan to hike permits to film on city streets: The government could instead enact a new set of regulations to regulate how it charges producers for filming permits after receiving intense backlash from media industry stakeholders.


FOR FINANCE NERDS (and do-gooders alike)- “The ESG investing industry is dangerous” warns FT columnist Robert Armstrong, channeling a dissident investor from Blackrock in a solid, nine-argument takedown of why ESG investing may not be a one-way ticket to Woke Capitalist Nirvana. Bonus: Armstrong gives space to his opponents in a follow-on column — and then gently deconstructs their deconstruction of his argument.

Deutsche Bank asset management arm DWS Group is being investigated over allegations it overstated its sustainable investing efforts, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The probes by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors are in early stages. DWS has struggled to define and implement an ESG strategy, telling investors in March 2020 that more than half of its USD 900 mn assets were graded under ESG criteria before an internal report questioned the claim.

Asset managers have flocked to ESG as investors applaud the idea that they can grow their wealth while feeling like they are contributing to a better society. Assets in ESG funds surpassed USD 2 tn globally in 2Q2021, tripling in the past three years.

WARNING– US investors have cut back on their use of leverage for the first time since the start of the pandemic, meaning they’re borrowing less and less to trade on margin and turbocharge their expected returns. The salmon-colored paper wonders whether this means folks are getting jitters about the durability of our very long bull run in US equities.

FOR TECH NERDS- Steve Jobs stepped down 10 years ago this week. We love Walt Mossberg’s essay on this occasion. Use a time machine to go back to 2011 and read Jobs’s departure as CEO of Apple is the end of an extraordinary era. Are we the only iSheep getting a bit itchy over the lack of leaks about when the company’s expected September event is due to take place?

PRESENTED WITHOUT COMMENT- The Financial Times also thinks all of us here in this part of the world have taken chill pills thanks to covid and Joe Biden. Leaders out here, from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to MbS, MbZ, the guy in Ankara and whoever is running Iran these days have been exchanging nice notes, holding talks (sometimes in secret) and generally using nice language with longtime foes.

Hybrid and remote working have changed the economic landscape in the US. People are moving away from the gravitational pull of cities, possibly revitalizing the suburbs or countryside, writes Bloomberg. Meanwhile, shorter commute times meant an increase in productivity in the corporate world at the same time as workers got more time for leisure and to simply … be home with their families. The downside: Cafes, shops and businesses in the cities, who are losing clients and potential workers at the same time.

It's looking less and less likely that we'll ever know where covid-19 came from: The team appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to find the cause of the global pandemic said yesterday that the search process has stalled, and that “the window” to conduct crucial studies into how the virus emerged “is closing fast,” the Associated Press reports. In their March analysis the WHO team concluded the virus probably jumped to humans from animals, and described the possibility of a laboratory leak as “extremely unlikely.” The experts said their report was intended only as a first step, and called on political and scientific leaders to expedite studies — which had been stalled due to a lack of data and access from China — “while there is still time.”


Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience offers a fresh look into the second-generation immigrant experience. The show tells the story of a flawed but deeply loving Korean family that runs a convenience store in Toronto, probably the world’s most multicultural city. With perceptive observations of quirky human behavior and relatable everyday experiences, it seamlessly weaves in the funny contrasts that result when cultures collide. The show ended abruptly after producers decided to move on to other projects, prompting critics to nitpick the show, saying that it needed at least a couple of more seasons to wrap up. A storm of controversy was then stirred in early June when some cast members claimed they endured a challenging and racist work environment. The comments came as a surprise to many fans who saw Kim’s Convenience as a beacon of representation and multiculturalism.

Gameweek three of the Premier League is kicking off on Saturday with a whopping seven matches: Man City will kick off the day with a match against Arsenal at 1:30pm ????. At 4pm, Newcastle will go up against Southampton, Brighton against Everton, West Ham against Crystal Palace, Norwich City against Leicester City, and Aston Villa against Brentford. Finally closing out the day are Liverpool and Chelsea who will hit the field at 6:30pm.

Serie A’s gameweek two starts tomorrow: Udinese and Venezia will play tomorrow at 6:30pm while Verona and Inter Milan will compete at 8:45pm. On Saturday, Lazio is up versus Spezia at 6:30pm, Atalanta versus Bologna at 6:30pm, Fiorentina versus Torino at 8:45pm, and Juventus versus Empoli at 8:45pm.

A match you don’t want to miss: Real Madrid and Real Betis are playing on Saturday at 10pm in La Liga’s gameweek three.


If you’re in the mood for Italian: Casa Talia at Arkan’s new extension offers a nice atmosphere with gorgeous interior design that boasts plants hanging from every corner of the ceiling and elegant murals on the wall. It works as a place to meet friends and family during the day or a place to chill at night, paired with the incredibly fresh, distinct, and authentic food. The Italian restaurant offers freshly made Neapolitan style-pizzas, pastas, and an array of enticing Italian dishes. Their honey-roasted pineapple and date gratin are a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. For an Italian restaurant, we were surprised at how good the mac n’ cheese was.


El Sawy Culturewheel is hosting two standup comedy shows, courtesy of Ali Kandil, at 4:00pm and 8:00pm, respectively.

It’s Sufi night at the GrEEK Campus today at 7:30pm, featuring performances by whirling dervishes and musicians.

Pink Floyd cover band Andromida is performing the album Animals at Agouza’s Cairo Jazz Club tonight at 9pm.

Dawar Arts is hosting a ladies’ dance-jam night tomorrow at 7pm.

The HOH acoustic concert at Zamalek Theater tomorrow at 8pm will feature Hany Adel from Wust El Balad, Ousso Lotfy from Nagham Masry, and Hany El Dakkak from Massar Egbari.

Tour guides Walk Like an Egyptian are exploring the Museum of Islamic Art, Khayameya & Fatatry al-Hussein tomorrow at 1:30pm.

Darb 1718 are having a Hip Hop Explosion event on Saturday at 8pm with Begad Osama, Dodzy, Lee Awam, Bebo, Yasser, and Yousef Al Araby taking the stage.


The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make. Written by New York Times columnist and bestselling author Ron Lieber, the mouthful title of the book pretty much says it all. Lieber dissects the confusing mess that some parents and aspiring students find themselves in. The book serves as a thorough and comprehensive guide of the true price of the four years (or more) of college. Although aimed initially at parents, the book should be read by aspiring students too, especially those planning for a postgraduate degree and feel this could be the biggest financial decision they ever take. The research in this book is sure to make it an enjoyable read despite being a stressful topic.


Egypt will participate in a summit in Baghdad on Saturday as Iraq looks to carve-out a role for itself in regional politics. On the invite list are high-level delegates from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, Qatar as well as reps from the European Union and the UN. It’s still anyone’s guess who will attend.

Egypt is looking to spark a conversation about what’s next in development, sustainable finance and the road to recovery for developing economies. The International Cooperation Ministry will hold the first iteration of its new International Cooperation Forum on 8-9 September. The two-day event will focus on fostering partnerships in development finance and sustainable development, according to a statement (pdf) yesterday.

Sustainable development will be front and center at the Greenish Environmental Festival on 3 September. Organized by Egyptian social enterprise Greenish and Fab Lab Egypt’s parent company San3a Tech, the event aims to bring to light the impacts of climate change and how to combat them through talks, seminars, and workshops that teach everything from compost manufacturing to creative recycling, according to Egyptian Streets. You can get tickets for the event here.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re back to 40°C in Cairo this weekend, falling to 24°C at night, according to our favorite weather app. Meanwhile, Sahel is at 32-33°C weather on Friday and Saturday, with nighttime lows of 23-24°C.


Debt market welcomes Raya’s Aman

Raya subsidiary Aman completed the issuance of EGP 585 mn in securitized bonds, according to a statement (pdf) from the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), which acted as co-lead manager on the transaction alongside our friends at CIB. While details of the sale were not noted in the statement, Raya CFO Hossam Hussein had reportedly told Al Borsa earlier this year that the sale would be split into tranches with tenors ranging from six months to over five years. Ahmed NourEldin Hassan, Raya’s head of corporate finance and investment, told us at the time that the issuance would be a traditional offering of securitized bonds that receive a credit rating and are taken to market through an SPV.

Advisors: CIB and the National Bank of Egypt were lead managers and promoters for the transaction.

In good company: Aman now joins upmarket developer SODIC, Palm Hills Development, Premium International and Arabia Investments Holding subsidiary Rawaj in having sold asset-backed securities this year. Prior to this transaction, firms had issued around EGP 2 bn this year.

Who’s still in the market? Sodic, Contact Financial Holding, Edge Holding, Tamweel Holdings and NUCA’s Al Taamir for Securitization have all reportedly planned to securitize parts of their portfolios in the coming months. The FRA said late last year that five companies would issue bonds worth EGP 9.3 bn in the near future.


A family feud brewing?

Speed Medical speedily backs away from Prime Speed acquisition faster than Speedy Gonzales: Speed Medical (SPMD) will not go through with acquiring an additional 70% stake in its “sister” company Prime Speed Medical, saying in a bourse filing (pdf) today that it was “content with its current 30% stake.” SPMD had been looking to acquire the shares of Prime Speed’s three leading shareholders — Prime Egypt Group chairman Tamer Waguih and Prime Speed Medical board members Ayman Sabry and Mahmoud Farrag — in a transaction that would have seen it own 100% of Prime Speed.

On today’s episode of Family Feud: Minutes of SPMD’s board of directors published in the filing listed out a series of grievances to explain why the company will not be going through with the acquisition. As SPMD tells it, Prime Speed’s owners were a bit pushy, trying to get the sale moving “in an exaggerated way that goes beyond normal commercial transactions.” This got alarms ringing over at SPMD, who claim to have become suspicious of Prime Speed’s intentions (the majority shareholders were looking for a share swap agreement) as regarded SPMD’s shares once they got transferred over.

The list goes on: The board of SPMD also cited Prime Medical’s alleged inability to achieve sales targets on its covid-19 air purifier, alleged failure to launch projects other than their drive-through tests, and alleged lack of “ideas and direction” for the post-covid era. The increased competition from firms providing testing as well as SPMD’s positive cashflow made the acquisition unnecessary, the filing claims.


GM eyes further Egypt investments as gov’t incentives auto exports

General Motors could be looking to invest more in Egypt. That’s the key takeaway from GM MEA President and Managing Director Luay Al Shurafa’s sitdown earlier today with Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea. The two discussed how GM’s expansion plans might dovetail with the Madbouly government’s drive to grow car exports and localize EV production, according to a cabinet statement. This includes the EGP 500 mn government program approved in April that will provide incentives for automakers who export vehicles abroad as part of the EGP 6 bn subsidy program. Al Shurafa did not commit to a specific plan to grow local operations, but expressed his appreciation for the government’s support of the industry in general — and the export subsidy program in particular.

The automotive industry has been waiting for years now on a package of incentives from the government: The legislation for the long-awaited automotive directive has been in the works since 2016 and aims to encourage car assemblers and feeder industries through legislative provisions, incentives, infrastructure improvements, and trade agreements to allow the industry to better compete with European Union, Moroccan and Turkish imports. The strategy was approved by the cabinet in March 2020, but still needs the greenlight from the House of Representatives.


Should we get our hopes up?

The UK press is wondering if Egypt could get off the red list today: Egypt could be moved to the UK’s amber list in an expected review of the country’s travel traffic light system later today, Travel expert Tim White tells i News. White called Egypt a “borderline candidate” to be removed from the red list as Egypt’s covid-19 daily case figures remain low.

However, he pointed to the low vaccination rate in the country — currently at less than 3% of the population fully vaccinated — as well as possible suspicion over the accuracy of case numbers. Other countries that could join us on our bump upwards include Oman, Pakistan, Turkey, Maldives, and the Dominican Republic, he added.

What does it mean to be on the amber list versus the red list? Being on the red list meant that arrivals from Egypt were required to undertake a 10-day quarantine in a specified hotel at a cost of GBP 2k per adult as well as several mandatory PCR tests before and after reaching the UK. The amber list’s biggest difference is that arrivals can now self-quarantine instead, also for a period of 10 days. A pre-departure test is still required three days before landing in the UK as well as a PCR test on day two of their arrival and on day eight. Another difference is that an optional day-five PCR test can be taken, with a negative result allowing travellers to “test out” of quarantine.

MEANWHILE- Egypt fell two places in Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking, now standing at #39 from the 53 countries included. Egypt scored high on vaccinated travel routes as it largely kept its borders open during the pandemic.


New closing share price mechanism will come on 5 September

MARKET NEWS- The date for instituting the new mechanism for calculating closing share prices has been moved to Sunday, 5 September, from Thursday, 2 September, the bourse said in a statement (pdf) today. No reason was given for the push. Approved by the EGX earlier this month, a “pre-close auction” system will be introduced in a move designed to improve accuracy, increase trading volumes and boost foreign inflows into Egyptian shares. EGX shares will also be allowed to rise and fall by 20% during a single session, up from a current 10%, while the limit on intraday share price movements on Nilex shares are set at 10% compared to the current 5% limit.

Want to get technical? EGX boss Mohamed Farid explained to us how the “pre-close auction” and “MVWAP” will work last month.

IN OTHER MARKET NEWS- Education provider CIRA will distribute EGP 100 mn in dividends to shareholders for their 2020 fiscal year, CIRA noted in a bourse filing (pdf) today. The company plans to pay out around EGP 0.17 per share.

EARNINGS WATCH- Misr Fertilizers Production Company (Mopco) reported a net income after tax of EGP 2.2 bn in 1H2021, up 84% y-o-y from EGP 1.2 bn in 1H2020. Sales revenues grew 11% y-o-y during the first six months of the year to EGP 4.2 bn, according to a bourse filing (pdf).


The EGX30 rose 0.6% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 2.29 bn (37.2% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 2.6% YTD.

In the green: Mopco (+8.8%), Pioneers Holding (+5.4%) and Heliopolis Housing (+4.3%).

In the red: Egyptian Resorts Company (-4.4%), Fawry (-2.2%) and Ibnsina Pharma (-1.9%).


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

27 August (Friday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

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

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

2 September (Thursday): The new EGX mechanism for calculating closing share prices will come into effect.

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): Paralympics closing ceremony, Tokyo

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.

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 2021 (Tuesday-Wednesday): Africa fintech summit, Cairo

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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