Monday, 23 August 2021

EnterprisePM — Delta is here, Egyptian Sinovac™ lands tomorrow, and you might need a vaccine pass to go to the football

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Our covid and vaccine week continues this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, with the government sounding a call to arms to get things rolling.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- The government disclosed Egypt’s first cases of the delta variant today, with Health Minister Hala Zayed noting that all cases did not lead to hospitalization. That said, the minister has urged Egyptians to register for the vaccine, announcing new centers, shipments of doses, and an agreement that would see a European vaccine-maker produce a vaccine that would be “100% acceptable globally.” She also raised the specter of vaccine passes in Egypt.

If ever there was a reason to get us out of the “red list”: The Egyptian Football Association has released a statement saying that Mohamed Salah will not be allowed to leave on international duty for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers due to covid concerns. Since Egypt is on the UK’s dreaded red list, Liverpool is refusing to release Salah along with three other players. This means that Salah won’t be playing against Angola next week. Salah, however, can play in any country that is outside the list, which includes Gabon’s match on 5 September.

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

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Afghanistan again: The US is considering pushing back its 31 August deadline to evacuate US troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said during a news conference (watch, runtime: 25:22), citing the Taliban’s takeover as the reason for the delay. US-led forces have increased their access in Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where earlier today a firefight involving Western forces erupted, according to German officials. Meanwhile, the WHO has arranged for three flights carrying over 500 tonnes of medical aid to be transported to Afghanistan, but due to the airport restrictions the aid is stuck in the organization’s logistical hub in Dubai.

FOR TOMORROW-

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will kick off tomorrow and run through 5 September, with Egypt sending a 49-athlete-strong team to the games.

MEED will hold a webinar named Energy Transition in the Middle East, at 12pm CLT tomorrow.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual gathering of central bankers and policy makers at Jackson Hole will take place on Friday, 27 August. This is the second year in a row that the gathering will be online as the local case count climbed in Wyoming.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

FTSE’s female board members are paid 40% less than men: Executive board members in UK’s largest companies were likely to take on average GBP 1 mn less if they were women, according to data obtained last year, the Financial Times reports. Women in non-executive roles took on average GBP 65k less than their male counterparts every month. As for the broader market, women were paid 15.5% less. The gender pay gap is said to be attributed to the limited number of women in executive jobs, despite the fact that that number has significantly risen in recent years to 34.3% women in board positions across the FTSE, up from 21.9% six years ago.

Here in Egypt, we’re still struggling to get female representation in listed companies’ boards. Women in Egypt took only about 13% of board positions in 2020, with a total of 714 holding seats, the Women on Boards Observatory annual report stated. While this was already a 30% y-o-y increase from 2019’s figures, the observatory notes that in order to meet its 2030 strategy target, an average of 95 women need to be hired every year. The FRA has been pushing for changing this, mandating that boards of all EGX-listed firms and non-banking financial services companies be at least 25% women. Almost 85% of EGX companies now have at least one woman on their boards.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

A sitcom that isn’t for the kiddies: Archer is an animated series that follows a manchild named Archer who works at his mother’s (now unfortunately named) spy agency… and isn’t very good at it. The series follows the permanently drunk secret agent as he bumbles his way through increasingly absurd international capers, accidentally solving terrorist plots, stopping narcotics traffickers and exposing geopolitical conspiracies. This definitely isn’t a family-friendly cartoon though, with most of the jokes being firmly in the Rated R category.

In the English Premier League: West Ham and Leicester will play the final tie of gameweek 2, kicking off at the London Stadium at 9pm.

In the local Premier League: Ismaily plays El Gaish and Wadi Degla faces Ceramica Cleopatra in games that both kick off at 7pm. Later, Al Masry hosts Enppi at 9pm.

In Italy: AC Milan kicks off its campaign with a trip to Sampdoria at 8:45pm, while Cagliari plays Spezia in the early kick-off at 6:30pm.

And over in La Liga: Sevilla will be looking to make it two wins from two when they travel to Getafe (kick off: 8pm) while Celta Vigo will want to bounce back from an opening day defeat when it plays Osasuna later (kick off: 10pm).

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Sheraton Hotel is hosting AfroLatin Night at its Rawi Restaurant & Bar today at 8pm. The night will include live music as well as Kizomba, Salsa, and Bachata dancing.

The Fabrica Academy is performing a jukebox musical titled Psych It Up at El Sawy Culturewheel at 8pm. As a pre-show, members of the youth vocal academy will perform songs from the hit movie, The Greatest Showman.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Obsession, murder, and a mindblowing twist at the end are all main characteristics of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. The novel tells the tale of Mariana Andros, a therapist who becomes obsessed with the idea that renowned Cambridge professor Edward Fosca is a murderer. A handsome and charismatic man and an expert in Greek mythology, he is well liked by all and especially by a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. However, when members of the group start to show up dead, troubled Andros goes after Fosca, despite his having an alibi. Her obsession threatens to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships, but she is persistent in her pursuit of the truth and continues on even if it means she might lose her life.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 38°C in Cairo tomorrow and nighttime lows of 25°C, our favorite weather app tells us. As usual, it’s a bit cooler in Sahel, with temperatures of 32°C during the day and 22°C at night.

SPEED ROUND: COVID WATCH

Delta variant has landed + vaccine passes might become a thing in Egypt

Egypt has recorded its first official case of the delta variant, Health Minister Hala Zayed said during a presser this morning (watch, runtime: 28:31). The first case appears to be a 35 year old woman in July that did not require hospitalization, said Zayed. She wasn’t the only one to be infected with the strain, as other cases have since been detected. None required hospitalization.

You may soon need a vaccine to attend large gatherings. Zayed said QR-code vaccine certificates are being expanded and will run on a traffic-light system: red for those who are unvaccinated, yellow for those who have received one dose, and green for the fully-vaccinated. The system could soon be needed for admission to any large gathering. Zayed said that a green passport may become mandatory for entry to football matches, for example.

A call for arms: Zayed called on Egyptians to sign up for covid vaccines , during which she warned that registration rates are falling at a time when cases are on the rise. Some 10 mn people have so far registered with the ministry, 7.5 mn of whom have so far received at least one dose of a vaccine, she said.

Cases have been climbing in recent weeks: The minister said that Egypt is witnessing a rising curve in infection rates and that while the numbers were still negligible in comparison to many countries, the trend should ring alarm bells that higher case numbers can be expected by the end of September.

The first 1 mn Egypt-made Sinovac shots will be supplied to vaccination centers starting tomorrow, Zayed said. All of those who are registered will receive a first jab as soon as the shots become available, she added. State-owned vaccine maker Vacsera has so far made 15 mn doses of the vaccine, and will ramp up capacity to produce 15-18.5 mn each month. In addition to the home-made Sinovacm, some 5.2 mn doses of Pfizer and Moderna are set to arrive in September, along with more shipments of Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also anticipated.

New vaccination targets: The ministry said last week that it is planning to give at least one dose of a vaccine to some 35 mn people over three months. The plan would see more than half of the 60 mn people eligible for vaccination receive a shot.

The number of vaccination centers is being bumped up again ahead of the anticipated fourth wave: 800 centers will be operational by the end of August, the health minister said. The number of operational centers has been climbing at a rapid pace this month and currently stands at 657 facilities nationwide.

Egypt will produce a vaccine that will be “recognized in 100% of countries” through a partnership with an unnamed Europe-based vaccine maker, Zayed said. A final agreement will be announced within days, she said, without disclosing further details.

Egypt could become one of Africa’s vaccine export hubs: Egypt has been asked to produce 1 bn doses of the vaccine annually at its Vacsera factory to meet the needs of the entire African continent, following visits from the African Union and the African Export and Import Bank around two weeks ago, the minister said.

Vaccines will also be doled out to travellers younger than 18 years of age who need to travel abroad for work or study.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS-

Pfizer booster shots have been found to significantly reduce covid infection among people aged 60 or above, according to Reuters. Data released from the Israeli health ministry suggests that, 10 days after the third shot, patients were four times more immune to the virus than those who received two jabs, and were five to six times less likely to develop serious illness and be hospitalized. An increasing number of countries are turning to booster shots as concerns about long-term vaccine immunity and the strength of the delta variant grow.

AstraZeneca’s antibody therapy could be good at preventing covid symptoms: An antibody therapy treatment developed by AstraZeneca lowered the risk of developing covid symptoms by 77%, the company said in a statement Friday. The three-month late-stage trial featured 5.2k participants, and found a “statistically significant reduction” in covid symptoms after people received the treatment. More than 75% of participants had conditions that have been reported to reduce the immune response to covid vaccines.

SPEED ROUND: MICROFINANCE

EKH to establish microfinance firm Bedayti by 4Q2021, eyes consumer finance

Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH) plans to expand its footprint in financial services by establishing a microfinance firm called Bedayti during 4Q2021, source from EKH told Enterprise. The holding company has received initial approval to set up the lender from the Financial Regulatory Authority and expects to receive the final go-ahead before the end of the year, they said.

Bedayti will have an initial capital of EGP 50 mn, with the paid-in capital currently standing at EGP 12.5 mn. The source didn’t disclose the company’s lending targets but suggested it could issue microloans valued between EGP 5-10k.

EKH has tapped Mohamed Mashour to head the new company, banking on his previous experience as chairman and CEO of Reefy — CI Capital’s microfinance arm.

The company is also considering expanding into consumer finance, according to the source, who added that it has not yet decided on a timeline or a plan.

EKH currently has limited involvement in financial services: The move comes as the investment company — which is dual-listed on the Egyptian and Kuwaiti stock exchanges — aims to diversify its portfolio and increase its presence in the financial services sector. The company currently owns stakes in Delta Ins. and Mohandes Ins, but is mainly concentrated in other sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, and fertilizers.

GO WITH THE FLOW

Egyptian Resorts Company losses doubled in 2Q2021, still today’s biggest gainer

EARNINGS WATCH- Egyptian Resorts Company saw its losses almost double to EGP 7.1 mn in 2Q2021, compared to EGP 3.7 mn in the same period last year, according to the company’s financials (pdf). Revenues collapsed almost 85% to EGP 1.6 mn during the quarter, compared to EGP 10.6 mn last year.

IN MARKET NEWS- Mubasher Trade launches new version of its trading platform to cater to foreign investors: Mubasher Trade Egypt, a subsidiary of Mubasher Capital, updated its trading platform with a new feature that would give non-resident foreigners access to 70 global stock markets including the EGX, Mubasher Capital Chairman Ehab Rashad told Enterprise. The move aims to attract more foreign inflows to the EGX, Mubasher Trade MD Mostafa El Debawy said in a statement (pdf) announcing the move.

MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 rose 1.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 2.21 bn (37.2% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 0.4% YTD.

In the green: Egyptian Resorts Company (+7.5%), Sidi Kerir Petrochem (+3.8%) and Ezz Steel (+3.4%).

In the red: Rameda (-2.4%), Orascom Development (-1.2%) and GB Auto (-1.0%).

THE MACRO PICTURE

Global dividends to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels this year

Big paydays are back for the world’s shareholders: Global dividends will bounce back to a near pre-pandemic level of USD 1.39 tn this year, according to the most recent Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index (JHGDI). In its 2Q2021 index, the asset management group is now forecasting growth of 10.7% in global dividend payouts, up 2.2 percentage points from its previous forecast in May, leaving expected dividends for the year just 3% below their pre-pandemic levels.

A good quarter for investors: Global dividend payout grew 26.3% y-o-y in the second quarter of the year to USD 471.1 bn — 6.8% below the 2Q2019 figure, according to the index report. Dividends from companies restarting payments this quarter totalled USD 33.3 bn.

Which regions are paying out? North American companies gave their investors USD 140.7 bn this quarter — the most out of any region in the index. On a y-o-y basis, this only came out to a 5% growth. European companies dolled out USD 130.8 bn to investors this quarter, up a whopping 66.4% y-o-y — by far the largest contributor to global growth. UK firms alone grew their dividend payments 60.9% y-o-y to USD 26.4 bn.

EMs and Japan were at the bottom of the list of regions in terms of overall payouts. Emerging markets firms gave out USD 38.7 bn this quarter, up 12.5% y-o-y. Investors in Russia and Brazil were the big winners in EMs, with Russian companies paying 5x what they did in 2Q2020, while Brazil’s firms paid out 3x. EMs that didn’t do too well included Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabic, which mandated that companies divert dividends to its national investment plan. Japanese companies, which saw the lowest y-o-y hike in the value of dividends this quarter (0.4%), paid out USD 37.8 bn.

Payouts this quarter were also very uneven across sectors: Mining companies have already surpassed their pre-pandemic levels on the back of the commodities boom, recording a 69% y-o-y increase in the second quarter. Strong payouts were also seen in the industrial, consumer discretionary and financial sectors. Meanwhile, defensive sectors like telecoms, food, household products, tobacco and pharmaceuticals showed little growth, having proved their resilience and maintained payouts during the pandemic.

CALENDAR

24 August (Tuesday): MEED will hold a webinar named Energy Transition in the Middle East.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, UK.

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.

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.

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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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