Wednesday, 28 July 2021

EnterprisePM — Swvl to go public through merger with US SPAC, will find new home on Nasdaq



Good afternoon, wonderful people, and welcome to what seems to be the calm before the storm. Not a bad storm, mind you, but something in our bones tells us that the usual summertime, pre-weekend news slowdown isn’t in the cards this week.

First up: Mass transport startup Swvl looks like it’s about to go public — by merging with a SPAC and taking up residence on the Nasdaq. We have the bare-bones facts in this afternoon’s Speed Round and expect a formal announcement later today.

Second: We’re digging deeper into this morning’s story on vaccines for folks who need to travel. We want to be sure of two angles: First, that folks who have already been jabbed can go get a QR-coded vaccination record. The hand-written certificates the Ministry of Health has been issuing (documenting your first and second jabs of AstraZeneca or Sinopharm) don’t have QR codes, and a growing number of countries demand them. In fact, Egypt is at the head of the list of countries asking for QR-coded vaccine records to be presented at ports of entry.

We’re also looking deeper into the suggestion that new international vaccination centers will jab would-be travelers with what they need to get into their final destinations.

So far, over 10 mn people in Egypt have registered to receive the covid-19 vaccine through the Health Ministry’s website, the ministry told Youm7 today, adding that all those signed up would receive their vaccine “soon.” More than 5.3 mn vaccine doses (5,337,506, to be exact) have been administered in the country as of 26 July, according to the World Health Organization country dashboard.

CORRECTION- Saudi visitors to Egypt will NOT be subject to a travel ban after they return home. EnterpriseAM picked up today a Reuters story claiming Saudi Arabia had banned travel to Egypt, Argentina, South Africa, Lebanon and other countries — and that claimed Saudi citizens could face an automatic three-year travel ban if they visit those red-listed countries. Egypt is not on the kingdom’s “red list,” which covers 13 specific countries. We are, however, still classified by Riyadh as a “very high risk” destination, meaning KSA authorities are advising against travel here. The story has since been removed from our website.

MEANWHILE- Low- and middle-income earners can now apply for 30-year mortgages at a subsidized rate of 3% to buy fully-finished homes built as part of the Sisi administration’s Housing for All initiative, according to a Housing Ministry statement. Homes under this phase of the initiative will be delivered in two groups. Available for immediate delivery are homes priced at up to EGP 310k for lower income earners in 19 governorates including Alexandria, Ismailia and Fayoum. The second batch will be earmarked for middle-income earners and will be delivered within 36 months in all governorates. The initiative is taking place under the EGP 100 bn mortgage finance initiative for low- and middle-income earners, which the CBE launched earlier this month.

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

  • Economy to grow 4.5-5% in 2Q2021 -RenCap: Renaissance Capital economists are also maintaining the bank’s forecast for 4.2% growth in 2021, which they believe will accelerate to 5% next year.
  • Tycoon to officially kick off bid for 90% of ANFI: The FRA has approved Tycoon Holding’s MTO for Alexandria National Company for Financial Investment (ANFI) which will see it acquire 90% of the company at EGP 6.25 a share.
  • Gov’t to start handing out covid travel certificates soon: Egypt will open designated centers for those who want to get vaccinated for travel purposes in the coming days, with individuals required to show their passport, visa or airline ticket and obtain a documented vaccination certificate.

HAPPENING NOW- The US Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting draws to a close later today, with the central bank widely expected to give a hint this evening “about how and when to begin paring their asset purchases amid an economic rebound clouded by supply-chain bottlenecks and rising Covid-19 cases,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Look for a statement at around 7pm CLT and for chairman Jay Powell to hold a news conference at around 7:30pm.


Startups have until this Thursday, 29 July, to apply for round two of the Green Works Growth Acceleration Program, which aims to support green enterprises in Egypt. The 10-month program is supported by Hivos and implemented by Nahdet El Mahrousa and will see 10 startups receive financial and non-financial support. Chosen startups will be eligible for up to EGP 250k in funding. You can read more about eligibility requirements and the program here (pdf) and register using this form.

Egypt will host the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 2-4 August.

The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 5 August.


Is gaming the next battleground for Chinese soft power? Chinese tech giants like Tencent and NetEase are acquiring more gaming studios around the world, raising flags (for Westerners) about China’s cultural influence, CNBC reports. Sceptics say Chinese owners may try to alter the gamescape of the US and European gaming companies that they have acquired — and could attempt to spread Chinese values through games. The Chinese gaming industry is also heavily censored for political and adult content, and games may have to adapt to strict Chinese gaming regulations. But the cultural impact on the content of games may be different from what we expect, experts say — with games that position the Western character as the bad guy and the Chinese character as the good guy, or games that center the role of female characters to cater to China’s 500 mn strong female gamer market — becoming more likely.

Spotify added fewer subscribers than expected in 2Q220, though it recorded 165 mn paying subscribers, a 20% increase y-o-y compared to the same period, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company attributes the results to covid-19 spikes in emerging markets, where it was expecting to make much of its growth, and to the end of lockdown in other countries pushing people towards more activities outside the home. Meanwhile, average revenue per subscription in the quarter slipped 3% to GBP 4.29 as the firm attracted more users through discounted plans.

Nonetheless, the streaming platform boasted triple digit gains in revenue, bolstered by its growing podcasting business. Revenue from subscriptions rose 17% to GBP 2.06 bn while advertising revenue rocketed 110% to GBP 275 mn. As of June 30, Spotify has 365 mn monthly active users, up 22% from a year earlier.

Maybe now they can consider offering podcasts to those of us peasants who rate only an Egyptian spotify account?

Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia are creating their own border-free travel and business zone by the end of the year in response to delays in their bids to join the European Union, the FT reports. The agreement, dubbed “mini-Schengen,” is expected to provide reduced travel restrictions to tourists, workers and business in the Balkan region as frustration with the EU grows.


Docuseries The Movies That Made Us is a look behind the scenes of some of the best flicks of our time. Each episode focuses on a blockbuster movie from the ’80s or ’90s, allowing the filmmakers to tell the story of how it was made, what obstacles they had to overcome, and all the fun they had along the way. The first season looks at Home Alone, Dirty Dancing, Die Hard, and Ghostbusters while the second season has episodes for each of Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Pretty Woman, and Jurassic Park. The films all proved revolutionary, with some pioneering a genre, and the docuseries also sheds light on the impact of the flicks and how the filmmakers reacted to audiences and critics’ reception.


Egypt’s football team is going to the quarterfinals after defeating Australia 2-0 in a Group C game today and qualifying for the next round. Our quarter finals match will take place against Brazil on Saturday at 12pm.

Egypt's handball team beat Japan 33-29 in their second win in Group B. Denmark and Sweden each have six points, while Egypt ranks third with four points, putting the team in a position to advance to the quarter finals.

Egypt’s fencing sabre team claimed fifth place in the men’s team sabre after beating Iran 45-24.

Swimmer Farida Osman failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women’s swimming 100m freestyle after finishing 33rd in qualifying heats. However, her last race was a valiant one, with Osman coming in third with a time of 55.74 seconds.

Tennis table player Omar Assar was beaten after reaching the quarterfinals, losing to world champion Ma Long of China 4-1.

Amal Adam was eliminated from the archery women’s individual round of 32 after losing to South Korea’s Jang Minhee.

Abdel-Aziz Mehelba finished in 9th place in the men’s trap qualification round, while Ahmed Zaher came in 22nd.

Shooter Maggy Ashmawy finished 21st out of 26 contestants in the first day of the women’s trap qualifying round.

Abdelrahman Oraby was taken out of the boxing men's light heavyweight round of 16 after losing to Benjamin Whittaker of Great Britain.

WORLD STANDINGS- China is now in the lead, with 12 gold medals and 26 in total. Japan closely follows with 12 gold medals and 21 in total. The US has slightly more medals at 30, but has lagged behind with the gold, now holding 10.

WHAT TO WATCH tonight and tomorrow-

  • 2:00am: Maggy Ashmawy will compete in the second day of the shooting women’s trap qualifying round.
  • 2:50am: Abdel-Aziz Mehelba and Ahmed Zaher are up during the qualifying round for the shooting men’s trap.
  • 3:50am: Egypt’s women’s fencing team will compete in the quarter finals for the women's team foil against the Russian Olympic Committee.
  • 4:50am: Abdelkhalek Elbanna will compete in the rowing men's single sculls semi-finals C/D.
  • 11:51am: Yousry Rezk will go up against Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev in the boxing men's super heavyweight round of 16.
  • 12:54pm: Youssef Ramadan will compete in the swimming men's 100m butterfly heats.

Times still TBD as of dispatch:

  • Ramadan Darwish will compete in the judo men's 100kg round of 32 against Pakistan’s Shah Hussain Shah.
  • Aly Badawy has two opening series sailing laser races coming up tomorrow.
  • Khouloud Mansy will take part in two laser radial sailing races tomorrow.


The GrEEK Campus is hosting a mental health event on Friday at 9am. The event is titled Mint Your Mental Health will feature talks, panels, mentoring circles, and networking groups to discuss the importance of mental health, and how to take care of your own.

Egyptian music-inspired DJs Disco Misr are performing at El Sawy Culturewheel on Saturday at 4pm.

Sheikh Zein is performing his folklore music at Darb 1718 tomorrow at 7pm.


What animal emotions can tell us about ourselves: Mama’s Last Hug by Frans de Waal starts off with the story of the chimpanzee Mama who went viral after comforting a scientist who was emotional about the animal’s impending death (watch, runtime: ). Their heartbreaking goodbye is just a small testimony that animals, like humans, experience emotions ranging from sadness to empathy, joy, anger, shame and love. From this notion, de Waal explores human emotions by comparing and mirroring them to those of our often-furry friends. He looks at facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, and animal sentience in a book that will help you better understand yourself and the world around you.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 41°C in the capital city and nighttime lows of 24°C, our favorite weather app tells us. Sahel is at 34°C during the day and 24°C at night.


Swvl to go public through merger with US SPAC

Mass transportation startup Swvl could soon go public through a merger with US SPAC Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ridesharing app will debut on the Nasdaq after reaching a roughly USD 345 mn “de-SPAC transaction agreement” (that’s fancy-talk for “merging with a SPAC”) that values Swvl at roughly USD 1.5 bn. A senior company official we reached out to this afternoon would only confirm that Swvl was set to make a big announcement “within the coming hours.”

Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital reportedly raised some USD 300 mn from a group of unnamed investors earlier this year and brought on an additional USD 45 mn in investment through the underwriters’ overallotment option. There’s also been talk of an additional USD 100 mn private investment in public equity (PIPE) in the works from investors like Agility, Luxor Capital Group LP and Zain Group, an unnamed source told the WSJ. Queen’s Gambit bills itself as “100% female-led.”

Four new members will join Swvl’s advisory board once the transaction goes through, including Queen’s Gambit CEO Victoria Grace, an unnamed SPAC executive, and two others, according to the WSJ.

Looking to new markets: The transaction, which would effectively see Queen Gambit take Swvl public via merger, will likely accelerate Swvl’s plans, which include tapping into “at least 50 new markets in the short term,” the senior company official told us. Developing markets, particularly in Latin America and Asia, will soon become the focus of Swvl’s expansion, where “there’s a high chance” they will be running their bus services.

Advisors: Law firm Ibrachy & Dermarkar was Swvl’s legal advisor on the merger, while Vinson & Elkins and Shahid Law Firm acted as legal advisors for Queen’s Gambit.

Background: Swvl was founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah and has since raised over USD 90 mn in from investors that include Cairo’s Sawari Ventures and Silicon Badia. Crunchbase suggests the company has raised nearly USD 175 mn from 19 investors in six rounds. The startup offers intra and inter city travel options, along with B2B partnerships with public and private institutions aimed at transporting students and employees. Since its founding, the company has moved its headquarters and base of operations from Egypt to the UAE and now operates in Jordan, Kenya and Pakistan.


EGX30 change-up next week

Six companies will become constituents of the EGX30 when the latest rebalancing of the benchmark index takes effect on Sunday, the EGX said today (pdf). The EGX30 is reviewed (or “rebalanced”) twice a year, at the beginning of February and August. Other indexes including EGX50 EWI and EGX70 EWI have also been rebalanced (details in the EGX statement).

Who’s being added to the EGX30?

  • Education outfit CIRA
  • Misr Fertilizers Production Company (MOPCO)
  • Speed Medical
  • Raya Holdings
  • Rameda Pharma
  • Egyptian Resorts Company

Who’s rotating out?

  • CI Capital
  • Orascom Financial Holding
  • Orascom Investment Holding
  • Emaar Misr
  • Export Development Bank of Egypt
  • Sodic
  • Edita

Why are six companies being added, but seven rotating out? Don’t worry, there will still be 30 companies in the EGX30 on Sunday: OIH’s spin-off of OFH means both are leaving the benchmark.

A new set of rules that came into effect this month mean no more than five companies from any one sector can be constituents of the benchmark EGX30. Companies rotate into and out of the EGX30 based on their freefloat and trading volume in the shares. Constituents must also have a minimum issued capital of EGP 100 mn, or its equivalent in foreign currency.

It’s no surprise that real estate and non-bank financial services players are rotating out: Each of the two sectors had at least six companies each as current constituents of the EGX30.

This is the second big change to index criteria to take place this year. In the February rebalancing, the EGX tweaked criteria to give more weight to companies with large market capitalizations, saying the move would make the index more attractive to foreign investors. Those regulations require constituents to have a freefloat market cap equal to or greater than the median average of the 60 most actively-traded companies. Constituents must also have a minimum 15% freefloat, be traded on at least 65% of trading days during the rebalancing period, and cannot have 30% of their shares or more in cross-holdings.

Who joined the EGX30 last time ‘round? Payments giant Fawry, investment bank and NBFS player CI Capital, consumer stalwart MM Group, state-owned Abu Qir Fertilizers, and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC).


Contact Financial to launch e-payment services next month

Contact Financial Holding will begin rolling out e-payments services next month, Contact CEO Saeed Zaatar told Al-Mal. The company will equip 250 Contact-affiliated outlets across the country with e-payments processing capabilities in the initial stage of the rollout, which is expected to take place over the course of six months.


EGX30 barely in the green in today’s trading

The EGX30 rose less than 0.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 2.12 bn (42.1% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 0.7% YTD.

In the green: CI Capital (+3.6%), Ibnsina Pharma (+2.9%) and Cleopatra Hospital (+2.8%).

In the red: AMOC (-2.5%), SODIC (-2.0%) and Abou Kir Fertilizers (-1.4%).

EARNINGS WATCH- Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling Company reported a 5.8% y-o-y decline in net profit to EGP 1.41 bn during FY2020/2021, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The company also reported an 8.1% y-o-y decline in revenues over the fiscal year, reaching some EGP 2.4 bn down from EGP 2.6 bn in the previous year.


Could there be a ninth planet in our solar system? A new state of the art telescope could help us find out. Though Neptune is the farthest known planet in our solar system, scientists have increasingly been looking beyond the blue planet to the behaviour of trans-neptunian objects (TNOs) for clues as to what else might lie beyond. From a mathematical perspective something about the TNOs’ orbital planes seems off, leading some scientists to believe that we may have a ninth planet in our solar system. Now with a new telescope being developed at the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile, we may be one step closer to finding out, this Bloomberg video explains (watch, runtime 13:46).

How do scientists detect new planets? In a nutshell, gravity: In the early 19th century Uranus was believed to be the outermost planet in our solar system. That was until French astronomer Alexis Bouvard noticed an irregularity in the orbital movement of the planet. By Bouvard’s calculations, Uranus could not possibly orbit the sun in the course that it did without being influenced by some external gravitational force. This set mathematicians on a quest to find the source of the anomaly, which eventually led us to discover Neptune.

But first, what makes a planet? There exist three broad criteria defined by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 that determine planethood. For an object in space to be considered a planet it must orbit a star, be large enough for gravity to morph it into a spherical or near-spherical shape, and big enough to have a gravitational force that clears similar sized objects and debris from its orbital path around the sun. So far we only have eight planets in our solar system that currently fit the criteria: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

So where do we stand in the search for planet 9? A research team at Caltech is at the forefront of the inquiry into the location of this mysterious ninth planet. Scientists at the US university have placed all the data they have about planetary orbits in our solar system into a computer simulation, which has led them to hypothesize that a planet somewhere between the size of Earth and Neptune is exerting the gravitational force responsible for the irregularity. Critics however argue that the team’s observation of a “clustering” of TNOs is the result of their selection bias, and their observation of a small portion of the sky during a specific part of the year and moment in the day.

So, why don’t they just look again? We cannot easily observe the presence of this planet because it is estimated to be on a 20k year orbit around the sun, and is thought to be located 10 times farther away from it than Neptune.

Finding a needle in a haystack: The problem with finding this missing planet is its relative dimness in the night sky, and not knowing exactly where to look. Researchers estimate that it is mns of times dimmer in the sky than Neptune, which we are already unable to observe without the use of a telescope. “We can calculate the orbit and mass of planet 9 to a pretty good approximation but what we cannot do is tell you where it is in the night sky,” says Planetary Science professor Konstantin Batiygan.

This is where the Vera Rubin observatory’s telescope is expected to become a game changer: Outfitted with a 3 gigapixel camera the size of a car, the telescope will be capable of conducting massive and incredibly detailed surveys that would pick up even the faintest objects in the sky once it is brought online in the next couple of years. The observatory is expected to survey the night sky every night for 10 years, producing 1k images per night, and a total of 2 mn images once its Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) is complete. The data produced by the telescope is expected to allow scientists to pinpoint specific objects in space that can then be more closely observed using the Hubble Space Telescope. It's also supposed to help scientists investigate the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy and the rest of the Milky Way galaxy.

We did in fact have a ninth planet not once, but twice before Ceres, located just between Mars and Jupiter, was once deemed a planet after it was first observed by scientists in 1801. Later in the 19th century it lost its planetary status and became known as an asteroid after astronomers observed smaller objects and debris in its vicinity. Ceres, Eris, Haumea and Makemake have all been classified as dwarf planets for fulfilling only the first two criteria of planethood.

Remember Pluto? The olds among us will remember the solar system as comprising nine planets, before Pluto was unceremoniously demoted in 2006. Pluto was considered the ninth planet in our solar system after it was first observed in 1930 by US astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, but was reclassified as a dwarf planet for the same reason as Ceres. The change led to some contentious debate among scientists, who did not unanimously agree to the IAU’s definition, as well as uproar among elementary schoolers who struggled to grapple with the absence of Pluto from their 3D models of the solar system.


23 July-11 August (Friday-Wednesday): Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

27-28 July (Tuesday- Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

28 July (Wednesday): Clean Energy Business Council’s webinar Women entrepreneurs in clean energy (3pm)

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

9 August (Monday): Russian flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada resume.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

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.

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.

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.

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.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

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.

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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