Thursday, 22 April 2021

EnterprisePM — We’re working on Sunday, have Thursday off instead — and it’s still up in the air when we’ll celebrate Sham El Nessim



Well, nice people, we have entirely “meh” news on which to end the week: Sunday is NOT a national holiday.

Instead, we will be off on Thursday, 29 April, in observance of Sinai Liberation Day, according to a cabinet statement. The Central Bank of Egypt and the Egyptian Exchange had not issued circulars as of dispatch time this afternoon, but expect that you need to be at work on Sunday if you’re a banker or trader.

It’s still not clear whether we’ll have a bank holiday on Sunday, 2 May for Coptic Easter. The day is a statutory holiday for Christians only, but banks and the EGX have traditionally taken it as a day off.

It’s also still unclear when we’ll be off for Sham El Nessim, with Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad telling Al Shorouk that a decision has still not been made.

It is World Earth day. And in honor of the occasion, we explore in this afternoon’s What’s Next what “warming ratings” are and what they mean for portfolio managers.

THE BIG STORY TODAY: We have plenty of news this afternoon, starting with Minapharm inking an agreement to manufacture Sputnik V in Egypt. The Russian vaccine has a higher efficacy rate than the rival Sinovac jab that Vacsera will manufacture.

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

  • FAB has started share transfer process on Bank Audi acquisition: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has begun the share transfer process in its acquisition of 100% of Bank Audi’s Egypt operations. FAB Egypt’s CEO Mohamed Abbas Fayed will remain country CEO of the merged entity.
  • SMART POLICY- Mobile wallet users can now borrow, withdraw, and transfer larger sums per day under new regulations released by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
  • Vacsera has inked manufacturing agreements to produce Sinovac’s covid-19 vaccine.

HAPPENING NOW- The European Central Bank has left interest rates on hold today, Reuters reports. The ECB kept interest rates on the main operation, marginal lending and deposit rates at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50% respectively. “The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics,” the central bank said.

Our own central bank is expected to decide on interest rates next week. The CBE’s monetary policy committee is due to meet on 29 April, and it’s not yet clear whether the meeting will be moved or go ahead as planned now that Thursday is a national holiday. Look for our poll of analysts on Sunday.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Joe Biden is kicking off today a summit on climate change with 40 world leaders and has pledged to cut US emissions of greenhouse gasses by 50% by 2030. The story leads the front pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, among others. The Financial Times also has coverage.

Israel has launched air strikes on suspected Iranian missile and weapons production centers in Syria after “a Syrian anti-aircraft missile landed in southern Israel early Thursday, setting off air raid sirens near the country’s top-secret nuclear reactor,” the Associated Press reports. Reuters adds that Israel “has dramatically expanded air strikes on suspected Iranian missile and weapons production centres in Syria to repel what it sees as a stealthy military encroachment by its regional arch-enemy.”

**So, when do we eat? We’ll break our fast this evening at 6:26pm, and will have until 3:48am to finish up sohour.


The Gouna International Squash Open 2021, a PSA event, will run 20-28 May with 96 men and women competing. The event has the backing of our friends at CIB.



Flying cars touch down in China: Flying vehicles took center stage at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition this year despite unclear consumer demand levels and regulation preventing widespread use, CNBC reports. Alibaba backed startup Xpeng unveiled a second prototype the company claims has been in development for eight years, while Geely debuted an “air taxi” developed by its JV Volocopter. Other companies including Hyundai, Germany’s Lilium, and China-based Ehang are also developing flying vehicles that can carry people. Warren Buffett-backed BYD was absent from the flying vehicle conversation, choosing instead to be “more focused on road transportation,” the company spokesperson said in a statement translated by CNBC.

For science nerds: Cinema might have overestimated the T-Rex, with Dutch researchers saying it was likely that the dinosaur walked at a pace similar to humans, making it easy for a person to keep up or outrun a T-Rex if the need ever presented itself, writes Reuters.


The Netflix original film Stowaway is out on the streaming platform today, starring Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, and Daniel Dae Kim. When three astronauts go into space for a two year mission to reach Mars, they discover a stowaway (played by Shamier Anderson), an engineer who was injured and knocked out during launch prep and is now along for the ride. This is where the big dilemma pops up as a destroyed air filtration device means there’s only enough oxygen for three people to survive in what The Guardian describes as “just the realities of an agonising scenario, unfolding at a steady pace.” Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times compares the film to philosophy’s Trolley Problem — which poses the question of is it moral to intervene in a situation so that one person dies instead of many. Is the result of death immoral, no matter the circumstances.

The Premier League’s gameweek 32 is coming to an end today, with a match between Leicester and West Brom at 9pm. Gameweek 33 is not far behind, kicking off tomorrow with Arsenal and Everton at 9pm before three matches are aired on Saturday: Liverpool and Newcastle at 1:30pm, West Ham vs Chelsea at 6:30pm, and Sheffield United and Brighton at 9pm.

Barcelona is playing against Getafe tonight at 10pm in La Liga, and on Saturday make sure to catch the Real Madrid match against Real Betis at 9pm.

In Serie A, Roma is playing against Atalanta at 6:30pm and Napoli against Lazio at 8:45pm. The league will pick up on Saturday with three matches: Genoa versus Spezia at 3pm, Parma versus Crotone at 6pm, and Sassuolo versus Sampdoria at 8:45pm.

In our local Premier League, Zamalek is playing El Entag El Harby and Al Mokawloon face off against Wadi Degla, both at 9:30pm tonight. Meanwhile, Saturday will see Ahly go up against Enppi at 9:30pm.


Simonds have outdone themselves this Ramadan… The bakery and cafe went more of a traditional route with only a few mashup creations, focusing instead on perfecting the taste and quality of the Iftar table classics. We loved their kunafa bel gebna, atayef bel eshta, om ali, basbousa, and something we don’t find often but go nuts for: baklawa bel mahlabia. You can get a full plate of just one of their specialities, but we recommend the more fun option of getting a mixed box to try a little bit of everything. You can find Simonds in New Cairo, Zamalek, Dokki, Mohandessin, Downtown Cairo, and Sheikh Zayed.


Maadi’s SooMasry has on their weekly Ramadan Nights performance tonight, featuring vocalist Ayoub Saeed and violinist Mohammad Sami at 10pm.

TAM Gallery is kicking off the 7th edition of Artists of Tomorrow exhibition on Saturday which will feature the largest selection of up-and-coming artists in the Egyptian art scene.

Zar-inspired Mazaher Ensemble is performing at Darb 1718 on Saturday at 9pm. The musicians of the ensemble are among the last remaining Zar practitioners in Egypt and the music will be inspired by three different styles of the genre: the Egyptian Zar, Abul Gheit Zar and African Zar.

The Mango Tree campsite is offering healthy Iftars every day out in nature. The site is in the Ahmed Orabi compound and features a number of outdoor activities.


The late Anthony Bourdain’s last book has hit the shelves, thanks to his assistant. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide was put together by coworker and friend Laurie Woolever based on an hour of audio she recorded of their brainstorming session. World Travel is a vast catalogue of Bourdain’s work, set up like a travel guide that spans 43 countries and outlines everything that allowed Bourdain to be connected to the place including the food, experiences, culture, and history. Woolever collected essays from his friends, colleagues, and his brother Christopher Bourdain to further illuminate Bourdain’s life and how he was enchanted with the world. Read these interviews with Woolever on Forbes and Eater to know more about the process of creating the book and the idea behind it.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Sunday sticks out like a sore thumb after this weekend. The nice weather continues on Friday (31°C) and Saturday (34°C) and you may want a light sweater if you’re out overnight. Sunday will see the mercury spike to 39°C before cooling down to 29°C on Monday.


Minapharm to manufacture Sputnik V in Egypt

Minapharm will manufacture in Egypt some 40 mn doses per year of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine under an agreement with Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF, the company said in a statement. The two sides are due to start the transfer of technology immediately, with an eye to rolling out the vaccines in 3Q2021, Minapharm said.

The jabs will be produced in Minapharm’s biotech facility in Cairo and will be earmarked for “global distribution,” the company added, noting that the 40-mn-dose production mark can potentially be exceeded in the future.

It’s unclear how much of the output, if any, will be sold in Egypt. The word “global” would suggest Egypt is included and the jab is already approved for use here. Health Minister Hala Zayed said after a meeting with Russian Ambassador Georgiy Borisenko this week that surplus doses of Sputnik V vaccines manufactured by Egyptian companies domestically could potentially be exported into Africa, but also said they’ll be used to help meet domestic demand.

We asked Minapharm to confirm whether the jab would be distributed here at home, but a company official said that only CEO Wafik Bardissi could comment and that he was unable to come to the phone.

Russia says Sputnik V has a 97.6% effectiveness rate, basing its findings on an analysis of transmission among Russian recipients, according to the Minapharm statement. This is over 5 percentage points higher than a 91.6% rate that had earlier been reported during the vaccine’s Phase 3 clinical trials. By contrast, China’s Sinovac — which Egypt could also begin manufacturing at state-owned Vacsera’s facilities — has an efficacy rate of 50.4%, although it claims to prevent 100% of serious cases that would have resulted in hospitalization and death.

NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON: Egypt lags other frontier and emerging markets when it comes to the vaccine rollout, with an average of only 28 doses administered daily per 1 mn people, EFG Hermes said in a note to clients out today. Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam also all have fewer than 100 daily doses per 1 mn people, consistent with a general trend that “higher income countries have made more progress in terms of [per capita] vaccine rollouts,” EFG’s Simon Kitchen and Farah Hamza wrote. The note covers 26 frontier emerging markets on EFG’s radar across the Middle East, Africa, South America, South Asia and Central Asia, and parts of Europe.

Among those countries, the UAE (by far) maintains the highest vaccination rate, having administered 9.9 mn doses to a population of c. 10 mn and moving at a rate of 8.3k doses a day per 1 mn people. Other high-income countries including most GCC countries are also ahead, while Morocco is doing surprisingly well given it’s a “relatively low-income” country, EFG said.

MEANWHILE, the US has officially put Egypt and 115 other countries on its ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ list after reports this week that Washington would extend the list to include around 80% of countries at risk of covid-19.

That doesn’t mean that US citizens will be prohibited from coming to Egypt, but rather the US State Department uses the categorization to advise people on what countries or territories are safe and how much caution should be heeded.

All this comes as Egypt’s vaccination program has been slowly gathering pace in recent months, with the government set to get its hands on 4.5 mn doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab by the end of May after having secured at least 1.6 mn doses of different types of vaccines for its 100 mn-strong population since December.

Other covid headlines worth noting this afternoon:

  • The EU is set to take legal action against AstraZeneca, after the company failed to meet delivery targets of 120 mn jabs and undermined inoculation efforts, Bloomberg reports.
  • Italy, Greece, and France are loosening restrictions internally in the coming weeks as vaccine rollouts slow down the pace of contagion, reports Bloomberg.


Banks can start issuing deposit-backed electronic currencies under new CBE regs

Commercial banks are now allowed to issue e-currencies under new regulations (pdf) announced by the central bank yesterday. One unit of those currencies has to be equal to EGP 1 when used for mobile payments, and every single unit in circulation must be backed one-to-one by physical deposits, the CBE said. Banks who want to issue digital currencies will need to obtain prior approval from the CBE, develop an internal record-keeping system that can publish detailed audit logs, and keep an eye on how much e-currency is issued by setting a maximum that can only be changed after notifying the regulator, the CBE added.

The move came as part of regulations to raise the daily limits on mobile wallet lending, withdrawal, and transfers, which we covered in today’s AM edition.

Does the central bank still hate crypto? Yes, but this is an e-currency. The main difference being that crypto-currencies rely on a decentralized blockchain, while e-currencies are backed by a central bank. The CBE last month warned again against cryptocurrencies after the recently-enacted Central Bank and Banking Act prohibited issuing, trading and promoting crypto in Egypt without special licensing. Want to know why central banks are getting in on e-currencies? Check out our explainer here.

FOR GOOD REASON TOO- The CEO of a big Turkish crypto exchange has gone missing — and 100s of mns of USD may just have gone with him, Bloomberg reports. The CEO and founder of Thodex has apparently jetted off to Albania as investigators try to figure out what’s happened to him, to his exchange and to the money invested in it. The exchange has more than 300k users.

NO RISK HERE, RIGHT? The Middle East is getting its first BTC exchange traded fund as Canada’s 3iQ Corp is set to list its 3iQ Coinshares BTC ETF on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange, Bloomberg reports. The company is hoping to raise over USD 200 mn through the move, which aims to unlock trading at all hours around the globe, CEO Fred Pye said. 3iQ has roughly USD 1.5 bn in assets, and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year.

What is a BTC exchange traded fund you ask? Much like a regular exchange traded fund, the BTC ETFs track the value of an underlying asset or index. The BTC fund mimics the value of BTC and trades on regular exchanges, not crypto exchanges, removing the hassle of getting involved in the storage and security procedures required from crypto investors. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has historically rejected any BTC ETF application, but the first BTC ETF was launched in Canada by Purpose Investments in February earlier this year.


Kom Ombo solar plant and green cities to get EBRD funding

Kom Ombo solar plant to get USD 114 mn financing package from the EBRD and Co: ACWA Power was awarded a USD 114 mn financing package for its 200 MW Kom Ombo solar power plant by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), OPEC Fund for International Development, African Development Bank (AfDB), Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Arab Bank, the EBRD said in a statement this morning (pdf).

The EBRD is providing the majority of the funding, contributing USD 36 mn to the overall pot, while also providing a USD 14 mn equity bridge loan alongside another USD 33.5 mn bridge loan from the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP). The announcement came during the second day of EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso’s two-day Cairo trip.

The EBRD also signed an MoU that would include 6th of October City in its EUR 2.5 bn Green Cities program, joining Cairo and Alexandria, the bank announced today (pdf). The program aims to provide financing to invest in sustainable municipal infrastructure to help cities become greener through customized Green City Action Plans, tackling the most pressing environmental challenges. What does this mean for 6th of October City? The development of a dry port is the first order of business, the statement reads.

All part of the EBRD’s plan to be a majority green bank by 2025: The EBRD is looking to direct 50% of its global financing on green projects, up from its target of 40% for 2021, Renaud-Basso told us. 75% of that should go to the private sector, she added.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly stated that the EBRD’s USD 114 mn financing for the Kom Ombo solar plant would increase the plant’s capacity by 200 MW. The plant’s total capacity is 200MW. 


The market on 22 April 2021

The EGX30 fell 0.4% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 923 mn (29.6% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net buyers. The index is down 2.3% YTD.

In the green: SODIC (+4.8%), Orascom Development (+2.4%) and Orascom Financial (+1.7%).

In the red: AMOC (-1.6%), CIB (-1.2%) and Fawry (-1.1%).

MARKET NEWS- Speed Medical, Prime Speed get new FV ahead of merger: A revised valuation report has upped the fair value of EGX-listed diagnostics and healthcare firm Speed Medical to EGP 3 bn and nerfed the value of sister company Prime Speed Healthcare to EGP 1 bn ahead of a planned takeover of the latter by the former, the Financial Regulatory Authority said in a filing (pdf).

Background: The authority earlier this month ordered the reassessment of the report in order to comply with Egyptian financial valuation standards, and after Speed Medical’s board of directors rejected the value. The previous report, which was prepared by independent financial advisor Eagle Capital, had valued Speed Medical at EGP 2.4 bn and Prime Speed at EGP 1.8 bn. Speed Medical currently holds a 30% stake in Prime Speed and is planning to acquire the 70% it doesn’t already own.

EGX-listed Odin Investments’ EGM has approved a plan to split its financial and real estate businesses into two companies in a horizontal demerger, Odin said in a regulatory filing (pdf).


What’s a “warming rating” for a portfolio manager, and why should you care?

Warming to climate change is a new success metric: Money managers’ performance is now being measured in terms of their carbon footprint, with “portfolio warming” emerging as a new metric by which to judge the success of investments, Bloomberg reports. Rather than focusing purely on higher gains, companies’ outperformance is subject to the “warming potential” of the underlying assets in their investment bundle. While calculating the “implied temperature” of a portfolio is a new advent, leading some critics to question the accuracy of the estimates, it is becoming increasingly important to investors as nations seek to adhere to the 2015 Paris agreement, which commits nations to working towards a 2°C limit to global warming.

Climate risks have been at the forefront of firms’ ESG priorities for some time now, with 338 large companies globally reducing their emissions by 25% between 2015 and 2019, according to a 2021 report by UN-backed Science Based Targets.

How does one measure a portfolio’s “warmth,” you ask? Investment advisory firm MSCI has developed a methodology for assessing a company’s contribution to climate change through its carbon emissions. This will tend to be higher if the firm is in a carbon-heavy sector, such as fossil fuel extraction or heavy industry, and if its supply chain involves emission-heavy transport and logistics routes. The metric also factors in the emissions likely to be produced by the end users of the product, making the calculation extremely complicated. Companies are then deemed to fall into one of several categories: Business as usual (meaning the companies are not effectively reducing emissions), or 3°C, 2°C, 1.5°C, and so on — the higher the temperature category, the less climate-friendly. A portfolio’s entire warming potential is calculated based on the weighted aggregate of the warming potential of the companies comprising it.

Taking assets’ temperature is gaining in popularity: UK insurer Aviva and Japan’s USD 1.7 tn Government Pension Investment Fund have released data on warming potential, while New York-based BlackRock plans to do the same for some of its USD 8.7 tn-worth of assets. “Managing climate risk has become an increasingly important tenet of the investment process as investors want to be able to measure the impact of climate change and build portfolios resilient to climate risk,” said MSCI’s head of ESG, Remy Briand.

And businesses might actually be better poised to measure global warming than governments: Money managers with fingers in many pies may be better able to evaluate the scale and rate of the climate change caused by the companies in which they have invested, and may also be in a better position to use their capital as leverage to pressure companies to shift to climate-friendly practices.

But don’t expect corporations to enjoy being held to account: Despite Amazon and Apple’s commitments to be carbon neutral by 2040 and 2030 respectively, MSCI gave Amazon a warming potential of 3.9°C and Apple a warming potential of 2.9°C. Microsoft also gets a 2.1°C score, in contrast with its pledge to zero-out emissions by 2030.

Adopting warming ratings as a mainstream metric will take a double pronged push: “The warming-potential concept requires a far broader public-private effort that cannot be achieved by investors alone,” said Ulrike Decoene, head of corporate responsibility at ins. provider Axa, which is a leading adopter of the climate-friendly portfolio. Adopting the metric as a standard could also encourage further data disclosure on the part of companies and allow us to get a broader picture of climate change risks to the planet. MSCI found that only 16% of one of its indexes covering 9k global stocks were on track by the end of 2020 for a 2°C temperature rise, with only 5% coming in below 1.5°C, suggesting much more needs to be done to keep portfolios cool.


April: The government’s fuel pricing committee is scheduled to meet for its quarterly review of prices.

21 April: EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso to visit Egypt.

20-22 April (Tuesday-Thursday): Renaissance Capital’s conference RenCap ESG – a New Focus for EM will take place virtually.

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC — the holiday could be observed on a Sunday or a Thursday).

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

16-19 May (Sunday-Wednesday): The Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is taking place in Dubai. ATM is an international travel and tourism event to promote the Middle East as a tourist destination.

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

1 June (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

7-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on 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.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

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

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet 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 54th session of the Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

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.

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

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.

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

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

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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