Wednesday, 20 October 2021

EnterprisePM — e-Finance’s shares soared in their EGX debut



Well, friends, we made it through another workweek together, and our reward is a huge first-day pop for the IPO of e-Finance and an otherwise quiet news day to send us off into a three-day weekend. We hope you have a wonderful time with family and (for the sociable among you) friends.


e-Finance shares pop 50% in EGX debut: State-owned fintech platform and payments infrastructure provider e-Finance saw its shares rise 50.2% in their first day of trading on the EGX, closing at EGP 21 after opening at EGP 13.98. Shares were up c. 80% at their peak. The company sold 26.1% of its shares — which are now trading under the ticker EFIH — in the first activity in the state’s privatization program since tobacco maker Eastern Company’s secondary stake sale in March 2019. At some EGP 5.8 bn (nearly USD 370 mn) it’s the EGX’s biggest IPO since 2015. Reuters and Bloomberg both have the story, and you can check out their investor relations microsite here.

ALSO- Renaissance Capital still sees Egypt’s GDP growing 4.2-5% in 2021 and 2022, but is now penciling in higher inflation in FY2021-2022, the investment bank said in a research note yesterday.

^^ We’ll have more in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

SOME MORE GOOD NEWS as we slide into the long weekend- We now officially have 98 women judges at the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) after they were sworn in earlier this week, according to Al Masry Al Youm. This marks the first time the council has ever had women judges — a move that was put in motion after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued orders back in March to bring women into Maglis El Dawla and the Supreme Judicial Council. The judges were transferred from other judicial bodies, including the State Lawsuits Authority and the Administrative Prosecution.

SOUND SMART- These councils are important because of their purviews. Maglis El Dawla is the country’s administrative court system and is mandated with judicial matters related to the government — and its approval is oftentimes required for legislation before the House of Representatives passes it. The Supreme Judicial Council’s mandate covers administrative issues of the judiciary and is responsible for selecting the country’s Prosecutor General.

LESS GOOD NEWS- There’s going to be lots more of us by 2032 — like a total of 123 mn of us. And that’s a best-case scenario: If we don’t start learning to fill those quiet evenings with something else, state statistics agency Capmas reportedly thinks there could be 130 mn of us by then.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD? It’s still a pretty “meh” day in the global press so far, with no single story leading the conversation. Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s first trip outside China since regulators in Beijing blocked Ant Group’s IPO late last year is getting play in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. The Journal also notes that Wall Street stock futures are “wobbly” ahead of the market open as the street looks forward to results today from Tesla, IBM and telco Verizon.

This isn’t even slightly creepy… Fund managers are using AI to “learn and analyse” your CEO’s “language patterns and tone” to help them get better insight into how “truthy” s/he is being.

ALSO- Paint prices are going way up next year (you may wish to take that into account if you’re procrastinating on renovations or finishing up the new place you just bought) and Bundesbank boss Jens Weidmann has stepped down.

For photo nerds: Nikon’s latest teaser for the Z 9 is out and it seems the camera company is signalling that it’s finally brought its auto-focus capabilities up to par with Sony A1 and Canon’s R 3 / 5 / 6. Judge for yourselves (watch, runtime: 0:29).

HERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD- Is our selling electricity to the EU in partnership with Greece and Cyprus going to get in the way of mending fences with Turkey? Ankara doesn’t seem to love our plans to link electricity grids with Greece and Cyprus, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry saying in a statement that the MoUs signed earlier this week to construct a subsea cable for the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector project are “a new manifestation of the hostile policies of the Greek/Greek Cypriot duo towards Turkey.” Granted, the statement only covers the Turkish government’s disapproval of Greece and Cyprus’ maritime border claims, calling them “maximalist and unlawful.” The statement comes one day after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece will act as the link between Egypt and Europe, opening up a crucial window for us to exchange electricity with the continent.

Mitsotakis in a live-streamed discussion earlier today has already come out with a response saying Greece does “not need to ask anyone to interconnect our grid with Egypt,” because of the borders demarcated by EastMed Economic Zone established last year (watch runtime, 33:37). Mitsotakis also reiterated how critical Egypt-generated power will be to the “the stability of the European grid,” saying that it “needs to find its way into the European grid.”

Fertiglobe has raised some USD 795 mn through its IPO on the ADX this week after the company listed a total 13.8% stake on the exchange at AED 2.55 a piece, according to a statement (pdf). This comes after the company had previously said it would price its shares at AED 2.45-2.65 apiece, potentially paving the way for Fertiglobe to raise up to USD 830 mn from the offering. The nitrogen fertilizer producer’s listing was still 22x oversubscribed and has become the third largest IPO on the ADX, valuing the company at USD 5.8 bn. Nassef Sawiris’ OCI remains the majority shareholder of the company, while ADNOC now indirectly owns some 36.2%. EFG Hermes, HSBC and Goldman Sachs were among the bookrunners on the transaction.

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

  • Next up on the SFE’s sub-fund menu: Education the transactiontion + manufacturing and distribution, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt’s CEO Ayman Soliman said at a conference yesterday.
  • CGT going up for debate at the House? A group of MPs have formally asked House Speaker Hanafy El Gebaly to allow debate of the upcoming 1 January 2022 reintroduction of a capital gains tax on EGX transactions.
  • Linking Egypt to the EU energy market: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has pledged to link Egypt to the EU energy market through the undersea cable projects Egypt signed with each of Greece and Cyprus this week.


FOR TECH NERDS- MacOS Monterey is going to be released on Monday as an upgrade available at no charge — and yes, tabs in Safari will look normal.


The Cairo International Furniture Show, Le Marche, kicks off tomorrow. The four-day event runs until next Sunday, 24 October. It is the first and largest furniture, material and home accessories exhibition in the region.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re in for some beautiful weather this long weekend, with highs of 29°C and lows of 18°C through Saturday. The sun should be shining all weekend long, according to our favorite weather app, so pencil in some outdoor time.


SIGN OF THE TIMES- The most-read story in the Wall Street Journal right now? Word that low-rise jeans are back. We hate high-waisted jeans, tbh, but really, having lived through the low-rise craze nearly two decades ago, we can only offer this advice: Kids, just say no to crack.

Speaking of the wonton display of, uhm, ostensibly private parts of one’s anatomy: Seekoseeko in the City author Candace Bushnell is inexplicably all over our social media after an interview with Hollywood Reporter about the show’s reboot as And just like that (teaser). The series that debuts in December and will revisit three of the main characters in a story about life in your 50s. (Not that any of us here can relate to that…) Bushnell is getting ink for claiming that “The reality is, finding a guy is maybe not your best economic choice in the long term.

From the Dept. of Not The Onion: Some managers are just [redacted]holes. Don’t be a [redacted]hole. From Allison Greene’s eminently readable Ask a Manager column / website, we offer the two following gems:

^^ Unbelievably, neither letter is satire.

Look for laughs aplenty as Facebook gets set to rebrand itself to “reflect its focus on the metaverse,” the Verge reports. Expect the announcement to come at the company’s annual Connect conference next Thursday. It comes after Zuck unveiled a plan to reportedly hire some 10k people in the European Union over the next five years to build the metaverse. The Verge says the Facebook app will become just one of a number of apps (alongside Instagram and WhatsApp) owned by whatever El Face rebrands itself as.

Wait, haven’t I heard this before? Kind of. The last time a tech company did this was Google, which created Alphabet as a holding company for Google and then, separately, the company’s other ventures.

No, dummy. This metaverse thing. You mean it smacks of “Second Life”? As in “the OG Second Life from the early 2000s?” Yes, indeed it does. “Set up by developer Linden Lab in 2003, it was the faithful replication of our modern world where whoring, drinking, and fighting were acceptable. It was the place where big brands moved in as neighbors and hawked you their wares online. For many, it was the future — our lives were going to be lived online, as avatars represented us in nightclubs, bedrooms, and banks made of pixels and code.”

Yeah, that. You’re right. Zuck and his merry band want to use emerging technologies including virtual and augmented reality to create a “sense of ‘virtual presence’” that it thinks can “mimic the experience of interacting in person.” The concept, believe it or not, was conceived 30 years ago in dystopian fiction. (That’s literary-speak for “a [redacted] up world in which we all live through hell.” Life imitates art, and truth is indeed stranger than fiction.)

LEARN MORE- We had an explainer on the subject earlier this month.

Surprise, surprise: Blockhain is going to disproportionately benefit wealthy nations. China and the United States will together reap nearly 50% of the economic growth benefits of the widespread adoption of blockchain tech through 2030, according to a report by PwC. The advisory firm thinks blockchain will add nearly USD 1.8 tn to the global economy by then (it’s admittedly a late-2020 report that we just discovered this morning, but the gist still holds). Tracking and tracing of products and services will account for some USD 960 bn of that benefit. The sectors that PwC thinks will benefit the most? Healthcare, education and government.

Much less likely to be intact in 2030: Africa’s glaciers, which a new UN report says could disappear within two decades given they’re receding faster than a Gen Xer’s hairline. “The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of imminent and irreversible change to the Earth system,” the report’s introduction said. Read the report here or catch coverage in the New York Times.

Today in amazing (and slightly terrifying) scientific advancements: Surgeons at NYU Langone Health successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a human “without triggering immediate rejection by the recipient's immune system,” in a groundbreaking experiment that could partially address a “dire shortage” of human organs, Reuters reports. The transplanted kidney had been genetically altered prior to the procedure to delete a molecule that typically results in pig kidneys being rejected almost instantly after being transplanted.

Byzantine-era amphoras discovered in Luxor: An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered amphoras and lamps from the Byzantine era at the now-demolished site of Andraos Palace (also Tawfik Pasha Andrew’s Palace) alongside the Luxor Temple, the Antiquities Ministry said.


Binge a miniseries + watch lots of football this weekend


(all times CLT)

The long weekend calls for a miniseries — just long enough to binge, but short enough to finish before the holiday ends. We recommend Midnight Mass, a seven-episode horror miniseries that centers on a young priest arriving at a fishing village in a small, isolated island, bringing with him all sorts of “miraculous” and supernatural events. The miniseries is written, directed, and produced by Mike Flanagan. You can catch it on Netflix.

Did you enjoy last night’s Champions League matches? (Considering there were 35 goals in eight matches, that’s an entirely hypothetical question.)

Coming up this evening: Dynamo Kiev v. Barcelona and RB Salzburg v. Wolfsburg at 6:45pm, as well as Bayern Munich v. Benfica; Chelsea v. Malmö; Juventus v. Zenit; Manchester United v. Atlanta; Lille v. Sevilla; and Young Boys v. Villarreal at 9pm.

Closer to home, Zamalek will face Kenya’s Tusker on Friday at 7pm in the CAF Champions League, while Al Ahly goes head-to-head with Nigeria’s USGN at 6pm on Saturday.


(all times CLT)

D-CAF rolls on: The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival’s (D-CAF) “How to Disappear Completely” project / exhibition continues today and will be open to the public until this Friday. The exhibition is an immersive experience with an audio narrative: “As [participants walk through the streets guided by the twists and turns of the plot, players discover the city in a new light.” The starting point for the audio walk is at 13 Gawad Hosny Street in Downtown Cairo.

While you’re Downtown, pass by Mashrabia Gallery to check out their ongoing exhibition, Sociology Colours, featuring artworks by painters Hanafy Mahmoud and Hisham Abdelmoety and sculptor Amer Abdelhakim. The exhibition is open daily from 8am until 11pm.

Get your live music fix at Janobian Band’s performance this evening at Beit El Sennari in El Sayeda Zeinab. The band, which will be performing at 7:30pm, is known for their folklore songs with an Upper Egyptian character.


From Warholian pop art to the comics that helped inspire it: Professional Marvel superfan Douglas Wolk has read all 27k Marvel comic books in existence — and brings what he discovered in those 500k pages of source material to new book All of the Marvels: A journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told. Wolk tries to figure out why we love Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men and other enduring Marvel protagonists so much — and what their winding story says about the last sixty years of Western pop culture. Dominican-American author Junot Díaz calls the book “nimble, learned, funny and sincere” in a review for the NYT.


Market roundup on 20 October

The bourse will allow the EGX100 index to trade up or down 10% within the day’s trading session, rather than 5%, before triggering circuit breakers that temporarily halt trading across the index, according to a statement (pdf). Trading will be suspended until the closing bell if the index rises or falls 20% (up from the previous limit of 10%).

The EGX30 fell 0.56% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 4.78 bn (68.8% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 2.64% YTD.

In the green: Misr Fertilizers Production Company (+5.8%), Speed Medical (+5.0%) and Ezz Steel (+3.2%).

In the red: Gadwa for Industrial Development (-5.0%), MM Group (-4.3%) and Rameda Pharma (-3.5%).


The post-covid recovery in Egypt and MENA continues to be “uneven and incomplete” with countries that had made strong progress in vaccination (including Joran, Morocco and Tunisia) likely to recover quicker than those with more sluggish rollouts, like Egypt, the IMF said in its latest Regional Economic Outlook (pdf). Though the report says we’re making progress on economic growth and employment, we lag the GCC countries in vaccine rollout — and can eventually look forward to lower debt levels than before the pandemic, the IMF said.

The IMF revised its 2021 growth expectations for MENA slightly upward to 4.1% from 4% in its most recent update in April. The fund also sees GDP expanding at the same clip in 2022, which is also a slight upward revision from a previous forecast of 3.7% for next year. Both forecasts are a sharp rebound from last year’s 3.4% contraction across the region. Inflation in MENA, meanwhile, is seen rising to 12.9% this year on the back of sharp increases in food and energy prices before stabilizing at 8% in 2022.

Egypt will grow faster than the MENA average: The IMF recently said it expects Egypt to grow at a 5.2% clip in FY2021-22. That’s down 0.5 percentage points from the 5.7% forecast in April. The fund sees Egypt’s inflation rate averaging 6.6% in 2021-2022, before ticking up to 6.9% the next year.

The good news: Egypt is among “a few countries” that saw a strong rebound in the second half of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 with strong economic growth, the fund wrote. Government figures for those two periods (1H2020-2021 and 3Q2020-2021) put economic growth at 1.3% and 2.9%, respectively.

Egypt is making progress on employment: “Although a few countries appear to have seen a strong rebound in the second half of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 (such as Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan) … employment in most countries remains below its pre-pandemic levels,” says the IMF.

But headwinds remain: Egypt is among the countries with a slower-than-average pace of vaccinations, according to a figure in the report plotting the doses administered on a log scale (pictured above). The Health Ministry recently said that some 13 mn people in the 100 mn-strong country have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Most GCC countries on the other hand have reportedly reached 40% vaccination rates and expect to get to 70% by the end of 2021, the IMF says.

And MENA financing needs remain high: Gross government debt for oil importers in MENA, which include Egypt, has risen significantly throughout the pandemic, the report said. This has led to a nearly 50% upward tick in “gross financing needs during 2021-2022” to USD 390 mn compared to 2018-2019.

Aggregate debt in MENA is also expected to tick up to 91.7% of GDP by the end of the year, up from 86.8% in 2020. The figure is then projected to gradually drop between 2022 and 2026, to eventually reach pre-crisis levels by 2023, the IMF said. Debt levels are projected to end up lower than they were pre-pandemic in countries including Egypt and Jordan, and higher in countries including Tunisia due to “divergent dynamics across countries over the medium term,” the fund noted.

The IMF’s regional outlook update comes a few days after the lender released its updated World Economic Outlook, which said that inequality in the post-pandemic era is the most pressing threat to recovery, and pointed to the widening divide between developed and developing economies.

Other issues raised in the regional report:

  • Countries with weak vaccination rollout are at the risk of a new covid-19 wave, and those that are lagging behind tend to be either low-income or conflict-ridden countries relying on multilateral support to get hold of vaccines.
  • Inflation is limiting the space for monetary policy-led growth in emerging MENA countries, aggravating “limited fiscal policy space” and soaring commodity prices.
  • Real GDP is still expected to remain below pre-crisis forecasts by some 2.4% in the MENA region, primarily due to the uneven recovery.
  • Inequity in the region is on the rise, with lower skilled labor, young people, women, and migrant workers affected most by the pandemic, along with smaller firms, especially those in vulnerable sectors.


14-22 October (Thursday- Friday): El Gouna Film Festival.

Mid-October: The Egyptian Banking Institute, the Financial Services Institute, and I-Score will begin airing in mid-October the Digital Credit Scoring Webinar Series, a line-up of webinars on the banking sector and banking regulations.

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

21-24 October (Thursday-Sunday): The Cairo International Furniture Show, Le Marche, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

23-28 October (Saturday-Thursday): A high-level delegation of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will visit Egypt to meet with government officials and travel to IFAD-supported projects in the country.

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.

28 October (Thursday): Second tranche of overdue subsidy payouts will be handed to eligible exporters.

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

30-31 October (Saturday-Sunday): G20 Leaders’ Summit, Rome, Italy.

31 October (Saturday): World Cities Day, Luxor, 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.

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

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

7-10 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2021, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

15-21 November (Monday-Sunday): Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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

25-27 November (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Cairo, Egypt.

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

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

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

8-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

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

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

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

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

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.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

**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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