Thursday, 2 September 2021

EnterprisePM — SODIC buys 123-acre land in Sheikh Zayed + IDH had a good 1H2021.



Well, wonderful people, we’ve made it through another week together — and not a moment too soon. We’re heading into the last weekend of summer and hope you enjoy every minute of it.


#1- Upmarket real estate developer SODIC will purchase a 123-acre plot in Sheikh Zayed City adjacent to its “The Estates” project at EGP 2,385 per sqm, the company said in a statement today (pdf). The new plot is expected to add circa EGP 10 bn of gross contracted sales to the projects pipeline over the next six years, the firm said. The move comes as SODIC expects to soon resume both collection and new sales on a 500-acre plot in West Cairo’s New Zayed after the Housing Ministry proposed moving the development to a new location.

#2- IDH’s earnings pop: LSE- and EGX-listed consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings reported a 283% y-o-y growth in net profit for 1H2021 in its earnings release (pdf). Net profit grew to EGP 668 mn in the first six months of the year, while its revenues rose 141% y-o-y for the period to EGP 2.3 bn.

#3- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ratified Egypt’s membership in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, Youm7 reports, citing the Official Gazette. The Cairo-based forum aims to serve as a platform for regional natgas players to develop resources and infrastructure, cooperate on exploration, and regulate the region's natgas policies. Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine are all founding members. France later joined as a member while the US is taking part as an observer.

^^ We’ll have chapter and verse on all three stories in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

HAPPENING NOW- Egypt is in talks with Palestine and Jordan in a bid to kickstart the Palestine-Israel peace process. Jordan’s King Abdullah touched down in Cairo today while President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sat down with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas this morning. El Sisi reiterated Egypt’s support for talks that will lead to a political settlement, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Abbas thanked Egypt for brokering the ceasefire back in May and the subsequent Gaza reconstruction drive.

MEANWHILE- The EGX30 closed up for the week and is now +4.2% YTD. Small beans, but we’ll take it. We have the latest in Go with the Flow, below.

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

  • Egypt’s economy grew at a 7.7% clip in 4Q2020-2021: The figure smashed growth expectations for the quarter (previously estimated at 5.2-5.5%), with hospitality, restaurants, construction, natural gas, and electricity driving the rebound.
  • From Sokhna to Alexandria in a jiffy: The government signed a USD 4.5 bn contract to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail line, which will run 660 km and link Ain Sokhna, Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh.
  • Speed Medical lands nearly USD 100 mn financing from Global Emerging Markets: The Luxembourg-based, EM-focused alternative investor will provide the healthcare outfit with EGP 1.57 bn in financing under a “share subscription facility” on a 36-month term.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Flash flooding in New York has killed at least eight people, with NYC and parts of neighboring New Jersey declaring states of emergency as furious rains pummel the area. You can thank climate change: The rain is the tail end of Hurricane Ida, with some 3.1 inches falling in Central Park in just one hour, breaking records set just a week earlier during Tropical Storm Henri. New Yorkers have been urged to stay inside and all non-emergency vehicles have been banned from the roads as part of a day-long travel ban ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The story leads the front pages everywhere from Reuters and the New York Times to the AP, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.


Apple could be facing an antitrust probe in India for forcing app developers to use its in-app purchasing system, according to an exclusive from Reuters, citing sources and documents. The case, which was filed by an NGO, alleges that the company forcing app developers to sell exclusively through its platform and charging them 30% of all sales amounted to an abuse of market power. Apple faces a similar case in the EU.

The news comes as Apple has agreed to concede its 30% cut of purchases on the App Store in some cases, allowing apps such as Netflix and Spotify to link to external websites for subscriber payments, according to a press release. Google faces similar pressure. The story is getting plenty of ink in the global business press, from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal.

Also in the Great Tech Smackdown of 2021: WhatsApp has been fined a record EUR 225 mn for breaching EU privacy rules after Ireland’s data watchdog said the chat app failed to tell users exactly what it does with their data. CNBC has the story.

Further east, Didi and 10 other Chinese ride-hailing apps have been summoned by regulators over “illegal behavior,” including allegations that they are recruiting unapproved drivers and vehicles, according to CNBC. Regulators are also probing what they way are fake promotions, transferring business risk to drivers, firms’ excessive commissions, and not enough rest time for drivers. The summoning is the latest installment in Xi Jinping’s Great Capitalist Smackdown.

The Singapore Stock Exchange became the latest to allow listings through SPACs, according to a press release from the bourse today. SPACs will be able to list starting from Friday, provided they have a minimum market cap of USD 150 mn.

NMC is one step closer from being taken out of administration: The big story out of the Gulf is that creditors have signed off on UAE-based, formerly LSE-listed hospital operator NMC Healthcare’s restructuring, the company said in a press release (pdf) this morning. 95% of creditors voted to approve the 35-point restructuring plan, which the company says would pave the way for its 34 group companies to exit administration. The restructuring, which was mandated after NMC was found in 2019 to have taken on more than USD 4 bn in undisclosed debt, will still need approval from an Abu Dhabi court. NMC is no longer a player in Egypt, having sold its 51.5% stake in Alexandria Medical to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a transaction first reported this past January.


TOMORROW- Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Planning Minister Hala El Said will be taking part in the Islamic Development Bank’s gathering of central bankers, finance ministers and policymakers, which kicks off in Uzbekistan tomorrow. A post-covid economic recovery will top the agenda for the meeting, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

The key news triggers for the first two weeks of 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 next week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s going to be warm this weekend, but 40+°C temperatures are nowhere in sight as we prepare for fall. In Cairo, look for a daytime high of 39°C and an overnight low of 22°C. In Sahel, you can expect the mercury to hit 30°C during the day and drop to 22°C at night.

CORRECTION- CI Capital Securities Brokerage finished atop the EGX league table last month, not Commercial International Securities Brokerage, as we identified the firm in yesterday’s PM edition. We’ve fixed the error on our website.


SEPTEMBER IS LOOKING FANTASTIC for gadget nerds. Let’s take ‘em in the order they’re likely to happen:

Fujifilm is holding a big event today — indeed, it may be over by the time you read this. The company is expected to announce two gorgeous bright XF-series primes, an updated X-T30, a new 50 MP GFX 50S II “small medium format” camera, and at least one GFX lens. The Fuji faithful (us included) are also hoping for a development announcement on the X-H2. The event gets underway at 3pm CLT and FujiRumors is the place to turn for wall-to-wall coverage.

Apple is widely expected to hold its flagship fall event on Tuesday, 14 September. Pundits think the device maker will unveil its iPhone 13, new AirPods and a new Apple Watch. But next year’s watch is probably the one to look out for — the Wall Street Journal expects it to have a blood pressure monitor and a thermometer that could help with fertility planning, among other features. 9to5 Mac has a rundown on what to expect from this month’s event, and the consensus is that a new (non-Pro) iPad and the next generation of Macbook Pros will roll out at one or more separate events later this fall.

Canon is also likely to make headlines on 14 September — that’s the date on which the usually very reliable Canon Rumors expects the camera maker to unveil its jaw-dropping EOS R3 pro-level mirrorless camera geared at sports and wildlife shooters.

Microsoft is holding a Surface event on 22 September, and the Verge expects it to unveil a new Surface Duo and a new Surface laptop. Satya Nadella’s team has been so tight in the last while that even iSheep like us will be tuning in to see what’s in store. You can catch the live stream of the event here starting at 5pm CLT.

Would you willingly hand your phone over to the cops if you got a speeding ticket? We join Verge editor Nilay Patel in cringing at that particular future after Apple announced earlier this week at least eight states in the US have rolled out digital versions of their driver’s licenses and state IDs that can be stored in Apple’s wallet product.

SPEAKING OF LICENSES: As people who may have gotten a few speeding tickets on the way to / from / around Sahel this summer, are we alone in wanting to sing the praises of Dakhleya for the new system of on-the-spot fines? With electronic receipts? Beats the hell out of the old “take away your license and good luck figuring out how to get it back before it expires” system.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS- WHO boss renews call for a moratorium on booster shoots, citing widening vaccine inequity: World Health Organization (WHO) director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has once again called for a halt on covid-19 booster campaigns worldwide at least until the end of September, in a bid to narrow the widening gap between vaccinations in wealthy and poor nations, CNBC reports.

How bad is the gap? Some developed countries have vaccinated at least 50% of their adult populations. while other countries — including many in Africa — still have adult vaccination rates of less than 2%, Ghebreyesus said. Of the 5 bn shots have been administered globally, 75% were administered in just 10 countries.

In the US, some are jumping the queue for a booster shot: The fragmented network of US pharmacies and clinics administering vaccines have little way of keeping track of an individual’s vaccine history, a fact that is being abused by some who are keen to get a third top-up dose before the official booster rollout begins, the Financial Times reports. Some 28% of the US’ adult population has yet to receive a first dose.


Seinfeld and Succession to glue us to our screens next month

(all times CLT)

Enterprise’s favorite new dramedy Succession hits the screens next month: We would be remiss if we didn’t close out our dramedy week without what we think is the best to come out in the past two years — and the best HBO has brought to the table in a long while. With its acerbic and sharp wit interlaced with an epic family struggle that would put the Murdochs (whom it is not so low-key based on) to shame, we can’t stress enough how good this Brian Cox-led dramedy is.

Season 3 is coming in October: For those in the know and are still tense after Season 2’s cliff hanger, expect the third season to drop in a month. You can catch the trailer here (watch, runtime: 01:23)

A “show about nothing” is about to make a very splashy debut on Netflix — that’s right, boys and girls. Seinfeld will make its debut on the streamer on 1 October. No soup for you if you don’t tune in. And yes, we in MENA are Seinfeld-worthy: Netflix has acquired the global streaming rights to the series. Catch the streamer’s trailer for Seinfeld here (watch, runtime: 0:59).

Egypt won 1-0 against Angola last night in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers. Our next match will be next Sunday with Gabon at 9pm.


With the backdrop of a Ferris Wheel, scenic restaurant Italiano lies at the heart of Zed Park in Sheikh Zayed, as the park’s own authentic Italian pizzeria. We know … we know, Cairo is now brimming with the “best authentic” Italian food ever, but this one is different, and foodies back us on that. The same chef that runs Pier 88’s kitchen allows Italian influences to shine through, but remain distinct in their own way. Other than the pizzeria, Italiano’s signature dishes include salmon fillet, pasta tagliatelle, and beef fillet.

(all times CLT)

Egypt’s biggest food festival Cairo Bites is taking place tomorrow and Saturday at Family Park in New Cairo. The eighth edition of the festival will see Talabat showcase over 50 restaurants, while other eateries and noted chefs (such as Chef El Sherbini and Amira Shanab) will also hand out their treats to attendees.

A Michael Jackson Tribute Night will kick off today at 9pm at Cairo Jazz Club by cover band Vybe who will be playing MJ’s most iconic songs. Rising star Habiba Azab will also be singing her own renditions with Bakir spinning a closing set afterwards.

Pippi Ciez featuring BOB will be jamming at Cairo Jazz Club 610 tonight at 8pm. The duo will be performing a debut song, Yaba, by a new music label in town known as Inner Voice. Pippi will also be playing a hybrid set afterwards. The special event will be introduced by the spinning of house guru Sebzz.

Shady Ahmed will be at ROOM Garden City’s acoustic night at 9pm, playing his self-composed/written songs.

El Sakia Puppet Theatre will be hosting the legendary Om Kalthoum (puppet), brought back by Mohamed A.M.Elsawy every Thursday of each month.


It’s not one book, it’s five. Go check out Photography Life’s list of five of the best photography memoirs, ranging from photojournalist and combat photographer Lynsey Addario’s It’s what I do to books by Sally Mann and Annie Leibovitz.

Looking for a photo book instead? We can’t overstate how much we enjoyed Gregory Heisler’s 50 Portraits — featuring images and behind-the-scenes text on his time with Michael Bloomberg to OJ Simpson, Tiger Woods, George W. Bush, Lee Iacocca, Al Pacino and Yasser Arafat. It’s unique for being equal parts meditation on people and photographic technique.


EGX30 up 4.2% YTD

The EGX30 rose 0.2% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.86 bn (20% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 4.2% YTD.

In the green: Pioneers Holding (+5.1%), GB Auto (+3.4%) and MM Group (+2.2%).

In the red: Fawry (-2.3%), Speed Medical (-1.0%), and Orascom Development Egypt (-1.0%).


Covid-19 has heralded a new era of TV realism: Production on some of the world’s most popular television shows came to a screeching halt in March 2020 thanks to, well, you know. Now, multiple shows have made a comeback with storylines that include covid-19, but audience reactions have been mixed, with some citing pandemic fatigue as the reason they’re tuning out of shows with covid storylines.

Medical-themed shows have been at the forefront of this trend: ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy highlighted how covid-19 affects medical staff, patients and their families in its season 17 return, making the pandemic the main focus of the season. Universal Studios’ Chicago Med also took a deep dive into the pandemic, introducing a covid-19 ICU unit and other elements to the show. Others, like Fox’s The Resident, only included covid-19 in one episode — the season premier — and chose to set the remainder of the episodes in a post-vaccine world. Similarly, ABC’s The Good Doctor made covid-19 the focus of a two-episode special before continuing the season in a world where the pandemic has been brought under control.

But it’s not just dramas that are working covid into their storylines, comedies are on board, too: ABC sitcom Blackish incorporates the pandemic into its storyline through the work of the family matriarch, a doctor at a local hospital, while NBC workplace comedy Superstore shows shop employees struggling with social distancing, mask-wearing on the job, and their bosses’ failure to provide adequate PPE.

Egyptian TV shows have largely ignored covid in their storylines despite two years of Ramadan shows coming out during the pandemic. The only exception we can think of is Wara Kol Bab, which aired on Al Hayah. The show saw a new and separate story unfold in every five episodes, with one of the stories being fully about the pandemic and called “Malnaash Ela Ba'd”. The Thief on Shahid also had depictions of the pandemic — with Bayoumi Fouad playing a germaphobe who sprays everyone and everything around him with disinfectant — but the virus had little to do with the actual plot of the show and acted as more of a background theme. Meanwhile, the popular Ramadan show Le’bet Newton deliberately ensured the timeline of events didn’t overlap with the start of the pandemic, instead ending the show before March 2020.

Other Egyptian shows dodged the reality of the pandemic by travelling through time: Sci-fi series COVID-25 took a futuristic approach to its depiction of the ongoing pandemic, showing it out in a more surreal and technologically-driven context years from now even as it was playing out in reality. Mohamed Ramadan’s show Mousa also saw the writers include a pandemic, but they opted out of covid and instead chose the cholera outbreak in Egypt in the 1940s.

Should Egyptian producers have done more to put covid on TV? Mixed audience reactions reflect how the pandemic affected each person differently, according to Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces, assistant professor for psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. Some viewers have found the inclusion of a pertinent, real-life issue in what is meant to be a fictional drama disorienting, while others — particularly those who have lost a loved one or otherwise suffered because of covid-19 — have found its ubiquity even in TV shows triggering, and even upsetting.

But some showrunners felt it was necessary to acknowledge covid-19 in their shows: Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff has said she was on the fence about making covid-19 a major part of the storyline, but the series’ senior surgical advisor, Naser Alazari, argued the show had a responsibility to address the biggest medical crisis in recent history, especially since the show has such a wide reach.

How will future audiences look back on covid-19 through fiction? TV shows are a common way for the average person to “learn” about history — and they’re not held to any particular standard of professional accuracy. Too often, they provide not just an oversimplified view, but a skewed or simply inaccurate one. A major point of contention is TV shows’ tendency to condense long periods of time into mere minutes, subtracting in their portrayal a major element of the collective covid-19 experience; the long weeks of lockdown and the seemingly endless waiting for an end to the pandemic. The trope of humanity collectively coming together to fight the pandemic also flattens out important issues such as vaccine inequity in parts of the world such as ours — and turns a blind eye to how different countries were impacted to varying degrees based on their wealth and access to resources.

Seeing covid-19 onscreen may be jarring now, but these shows could be a valuable resource for future generations: From World War II to the French Revolution and the Spanish Flu, portrayals of historical events onscreen have helped form our collective understanding of these significant milestones in human history. What we may now view as a reactionary trend that tried (and sometimes failed) to grasp audience attention through half-baked storylines could be how the children of tomorrow remember, and understand the pandemic. Provided, of course, we’re not on the sigma variant of covid-37 by then.


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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