Good afternoon, wonderful people, and happy almost-almost-THURSDAY. It’s a brisk but unremarkable afternoon, but there’s big news around the corner that has us sitting on the edge of our seat:
HAPPENING NOW- Finance nerds have plenty to watch as two of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in forever speed toward the finish line. The Financial Regulatory Authority greenlit today the listing of 45.8% — or some 264.5 mn shares — of Macro Pharma, Egypt’s largest and fastest-growing cosmeceutical and neutraceutical company, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The shares will be offered in a secondary sale and are scheduled to start trading on the EGX on 19 April. The company has priced its initial public offering at EGP 5.30-6.15 per share, which would value the company at between EGP 3.3 and 3.6 bn. The subscription period for the retail portion of the offering is slated for 8-14 April.
Get the rundown on Macro, the transaction and its fundamentals here.
FOR TOMORROW- Multi-brand education platform Taaleem will make its trading debut on the EGX on Wednesday. Shares in the higher education management company will open at EGP 5.75 under the ticker TALM after the IPO met strong appetite from global institutional investors, local firms and retail investors.
Get the rundown on Taaleem, the transaction and its fundamentals here.
To borrow from Mr. Twain: Reports of the end of the jaw-fest in Kinshasa were greatly exaggerated. Egypt and Ethiopia are still talking GERD in the DRC, with talks that reportedly wrapped up yesterday extended until this evening as Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia wrangle over the wording of the post-meeting press release, Al Arabiya reports. Cairo and Addis Ababa don’t see eye-to-eye on when and how to hold the next round of negotiations. Ethiopia remains opposed to bringing outside mediators including the US, UN, and EU to the table, preferring to stick with an African Union-led process.
We’re keeping an eye out: The talks are currently underway in the Congolese capital. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said this week on the sidelines that this is the last chance for Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to reach an agreement on filling and operating the dam before the rainy season kicks in. Previous reports have suggested that leaders could step in for a higher level summit if those meetings continue to fail.
That joint statement may not be coming? The Foreign Ministry issued a statement just as we were hitting “send” on this afternoon’s edition saying that talks (on re-starting talks) had failed as Ethiopia rejected a joint proposal from Egypt and Sudan. We’ll have the full story in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.
CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s issue of EnterpriseAM:
- Higher tax revenues will be used to subsidize increased government spending in the coming fiscal year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said yesterday.
- The Health Ministry will start today vaccinating registered tourism workers at two centers in South Sinai and Red Sea.
- An agricultural company and a petrochemicals firm will offer shares on the EGX this year, bourse chairman Mohamed Farid said, offering no further details. Also potentially in the IPO pipeline (but without a timeline): Naguib Sawiris’ Ora Developers
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Credit Suisse is taking a USD 4.7 bn hit thanks to the Archegos meltdown, forcing it to slash its dividend and sack the chief of its risk and investment banking units. The story leads the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Reuters is leading with a grim milestone: 3 mn global deaths from covid-19, while Bloomberg reports that Iran has started “tough nuclear talks in Vienna” with “world powers” including the US, France, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the EU.
Also making headlines abroad:
- Eurozone bond issuance broke records in 1Q2021, as governments took to the debt markets to cushion their economies from the impact of covid-19, the Financial Times reports.
- The French government will be the biggest shareholder in Air France after a EUR 4 bn capital hike to recapitalize the airline more than doubled the state’s stake to almost 30%, reports Reuters.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The French Chamber of Commerce is hosting a webinar at 4pm today that will take a deep dive into the Madbouly government’s program to create a national ID for all residential and commercial properties and to digitalize the country’s building permit system. The gathering runs until 5:30pm and you can sign up here.
ITIDA is hosting a “Hangout with VCs” this Thursday, 8 April in collaboration with The Next Web, a unit of the Financial Times, according to a press release (pdf). Startups can submit applications until the day of the event here.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
For the Olds among us: Alice in Chains’ original front man, Layne Staley, died 15 years ago yesterday. Rolling Stone has a rundown of 10 of his best performances. One link is busted: The full recording of It Ain’t Like That and Would? from the band’s appearance in Cameron Crowe’s Singles. The man’s live voice was nothing short of stunning. Watch and listen here (runtime: 8:42).
SIGN OF THE TIMES #1- We ain’t Bernie Bros, but the US senator hit a nerve when he noted recently that Nike, FedEx, Zoom, Salesforce and Booz Allen are on a rogue’s list of major global corporations that paid zero income tax to Uncle Sam last year. Janet Yellen’s suggestion of a global minimum corporate tax (see this morning) isn’t a bad idea, but the devil is in the details of enforcement (and closure of loopholes) more than it is on the absolute rate.
SIGN OF THE TIMES #2- Peak 2021? This is probably a bit gendered(? or just revealing that we’re … old?), but Paris Hilton loves BTC. Just sayin’. She (and the Wachowski sisters of Matrix fame) will be even more excited to know that Microsoft has filed for a patent to mine crypto using human brain activity.
For bio(chem) nerds: Trim your belly fat to make it through the next pandemic — and maybe even dodge cancer. Two papers have bent our minds lately as we’ve fallen down biochemistry rabbit holes. First, and most accessible to folks for whom biochem sounds about as fun as a root canal without anesthesia: Metabolic health and lifestyle medicine should be a cornerstone of future pandemic preparedness, by Thomas Wood and Guðmundur F. Jóhannsson, which makes a compelling case that fixing our nation’s metabolic health is probably the best way to minimize the hell of future pandemics. What’s more, your metabolic health probably plays a big role in cancer. The common culprit? Sky-high insulin levels, argues this review in the Diabetes and Metabolism Journal: Hyperinsulinemia in obesity, inflammation, and cancer.
A bit more prosaically, the Economist is out with a thought-provoking package on the future of work. Among the pieces worth a read:
From Fortune, a lesson in corporate renewal: McFamily Feud: Scandal, lawsuits, and cultural upheaval at McDonald’s, which says that “Former CEO Steve Easterbrook supersized the company's performance—until he was fired amid a scandal. Now his successor, Chris Kempczinski, must persuade the company's many stakeholders to reunite.”
The US and UAE will work together to finance green initiatives across the MENA region, following US climate envoy John Kerry’s visit to the UAE as part of the MENA climate dialogue in Abu Dhabi, according to a joint statement. The two countries will focus on areas including hydrogen, renewable energy and low carbon urban design and work to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote the success of COP26 in Glasgow.
Sunday’s climate dialogue also saw another statement signed by Egypt alongside Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Sudan, the UAE and the US. The signatories pledged to accelerate climate action, mobilise investment in a new energy economy and help the world’s most vulnerable cope with climate change, according to a separate statement.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
A throwback worth watching: Death Becomes Her. The 1992 film stars Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, with the two female leads acting as hyper-competitive frenemies who always try to one-up each other personally, professionally, and looks-wise, writes The Guardian. When the two women fall for the same guy, a plastic surgeon (played by Bruce Willis in full smarm), one of the women takes a magic potion that promises at least a decade of perfect, unchanged beauty. But as they soon find out, beauty comes with its own sacrifices. The film has been applauded for being ahead of its time and Streep once famously referred to it as a documentary on LA’s obsession with hiding natural signs of ageing. You can watch Death Becomes Her on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
The Champions League is back on today with two big matches at 9pm. Mo Salah’s Liverpool will play against Real Madrid while Manchester City will go up against Dortmund.
The Egyptian Premier League is also on, with Ghazl El Mahala currently on the field against Smouha while Aswan will play against Enppi at 5pm.
The Squash Challenger Tour is being played in Egypt this week with women and men’s draws in a Challenger 5 level tournament running from Thursday, 8 April, until Monday, 12 April, according to PSA World Tour. A similar event last month saw Fayrouz Aboelkheir snag the women’s title, while Moustafa El Sirty took home the men’s title. Both players will be hitting the court for this week’s event. The US and Malaysia are also hosting squash events this week that you can check out.
🍗 EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Flaming Nashville fried chicken is a must-try at Inferno. With fried chicken recently becoming a huge trend all over the country, Inferno has added their own flavor to the mix — a super spicy one. The chicken comes almost intimidatingly red and isn’t for the weak hearted, but the plate is definitely a sight to behold, topped with pickles and served with fries and a piece of garlic butter toast. There are three spice levels to choose from for the chicken, and there’s even an option of spicy coleslaw. If you want to go with less-spicy-loving friends, Inferno also makes regular fried chicken sandwiches and a lot of their sides come fried in Cheetos batter, which isn’t as harsh as the house spice blend. You can find Inferno in Maadi, Masr El Gedida, and Alexandria.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
Adsum Art Consultancy is holding a discussion with Aleya Hamza on Gypsum Books and their experience producing gallery and photobook Ahmed Morsi: The Printmaking Years. The talk will take place at 7pm in Sheikh Zayed’s Walk of Cairo.
The third session of RDNA Salon: Economy of Love is taking place today at 6:30 at KMT House in Maadi. The series is exploring how we can create a global commercial system that allows us to care for each other, the planet and meet everyone’s needs.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Civilization in Overdrive wonders “what does the future look like?” with author and journalist Konrad Stachnio talking to 17 experts in fields including AI, finance, economics, technology, world order, military, cultural change and more. a book that includes interviews with everyone from the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man to an associated editor of the WalL Street Journal via an ex National Security Agency official? We’re in.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re in for even more heat tomorrow, with daytime highs of 35°C and nighttime lows of 15°C.
The current forecast for the first day of Ramadan (next Tuesday, if you’re keeping count): 25°C with sunny skies, according to our favourite weather app. You’ll have until 4:01am to scarf down sohour. Magreb prayers on the first day are at 6:21pm.