Wednesday, 23 November 2022

PM — Almost-Thursday, almost-Thanksgiving

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, wonderful people, and a very happy almost-THURSDAY. It’s shaping up to be a very gentle newsday today, putting us in the Thanksgiving mood. We wish joyful preparations to all our US friends and family as they gear up for tomorrow’s holiday.

ICYMI- US President Joe Biden pardoned Chocolate and Chip on Monday.

THE BIG STORY TODAY-

Are talks between TE and Qatar’s sovereign fund over Vodafone Egypt getting serious? Bloomberg Asharq is reporting that the Qatar Investment Authority has “accelerated talks” with Telecom Egypt over the purchase of a 20% stake in Vodafone Egypt. The Qataris are reportedly offering more than USD 1 bn for the stake. QIA and the national telecoms provider have reportedly been in talks over the transaction since September, while the Saudi and Abu Dhabi sovereign funds have also been eyeing a piece of Vodafone Egypt.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

The business press is honing in on Credit Suisse’s less than optimistic 4Q forecast: The lender is expecting losses of USD 1.6 bn for the quarter after its richer clients withdrew up to 10% of their assets in the past few months. CNBC, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times all have coverage. Meanwhile, US lawmakers are getting drawn into the Musk/Twitter drama, the WSJ reports.

HAPPENING NOW-

A good day to head to the museum: The Tourism Ministry has waived entry fees to its museums and archeological sites nationwide for citizens and tourists alike today, to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, according to a ministry statement. As it happens, you’ll still have to pay to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun itself, as well as those of Seti I, Ramses VI ,and Nefertari in Luxor, and the Pyramids of Giza.

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

  • Cairo-born mass transport app Swvl carried out a second wave of layoffs in a bid to stem losses, the company already let go a third of its global workforce this year amid tough economic conditions.
  • MENA-focused venture capital firm Modus Capital and our friends at USAID have launched MV Builder II, an Egyptian venture builder targeting startups working to drive digital inclusion among women and underserved populations.
  • MPs gave their final approval to a number of legislative amendments focused on regulating telecommunications, compensating contractors for losses on state contracts, and property registration in new cities.

enterprise

The Enterprise Climate X Forum is fast approaching, and we’re incredibly excited to meet with some of you in Cairo at the Grand Egyptian Museum on Tuesday, 6 December 2022. We get underway with a networking breakfast at 8am CLT.

What’s on the table? CEOs, execs, bankers and development finance folks will mull over a variety of topics, including:

  • What’s this green hydrogen mumbo-jumbo you speak of?
  • How are leaders building green businesses — from scratch, or as retrofits to decades-old family enterprises?
  • How do we pay for it all?
  • What do you really think of the green economy?

With that in mind, we’ll be dropping little notices in stories and topics we intend to explore more of at the forum. Study up if you’re coming.

Some of the biggest names in business and finance are on board — are you? If you’re a C-suite exec, business owner, climate professional, DFI staff, investor or banker, please email us at climatexrsvp@enterprisemea.com to signal your interest, letting us know your name, title and where you work. You can learn more on our conference website here.

*** YOU MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND by clicking the link on your registration email. Attendance is by invitation only. You’ll need a special QR code to gain access to the GEM on event day.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The deadline to apply for the Chicago Booth Executive Program in El Gouna is Sunday, 27 November. The two-week program, which kicks off in March 2023, offers executives from Egyptian public and private sector the skills to help them “become a better leader for your organization and support Egypt’s growth in the years ahead.”

Payment and fintech conference Pafix will be held as part of Cairo ICT 2022 from 27-30 November at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre in New Cairo.

The US and Russia will hold nuclear talks in Cairo next week: Washington and Moscow will discuss resuming mutual nuclear inspections during week-long talks from Tuesday, 29 November through to 6 December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to CNN.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect the mercury to rise to 24°C during the day tomorrow before falling to 16°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

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FOR YOUR COMMUTE

Man U could be up for sale: The Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, are mulling selling the club, its board said in a statement. The board is looking into ways to “enhance future growth” at Man U and will “consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company.” The move comes after years of protests at the club’s ownership from fans, who say the Glazers see the club as nothing more than a moneymaker, the BBC reports. The statement also comes the day after icon Christiano Ronaldo announced his departure from Man U with immediate effect, following a bare-all interview last week.


Almost three years into the pandemic, China still lives in fear: Looser covid measures announced by Beiijing earlier this month had raised hopes among investors of a return to normality — but a return to lockdowns this week suggest China’s strict covid prevention methods aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The city of Shijiazhuang reopened for just nine days before shutting down once again this week, after authorities grew fearful following a spike in covid cases, the Financial Times writes. Areas accounting for some 20% of China’s GDP are under some form of lockdown, according to Reuters.

The tensions is ramping up at iPhone factories after months of disruptions: Employees at Foxconn’s largest iPhone factory in China clashed with police during protests over the 200k-worker plant’s handling of a covid outbreak, the FT reports. Employees reportedly told the FT that protest broke out after promised bonuses did not materialize, after months of complaints from workers at the Foxconn facility about poor conditions as the company tries to maintain production amid a prolonged covid outbreak. Apple can ill afford to shut down its Chinese factories, especially ahead of the holiday rush — and investors in the tech giant are spooked. China produces over 95% of the world’s iPhones.

Brace for worse to come: “The next few weeks could be the worst in China since the early weeks of the pandemic both for the economy and the healthcare system,” Reuters reports, quoting Capital Economics analysts.

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ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(all times CLT)

We’re all about Morgan Freeman this week: Freeman brings his dulcet tones to the narration of six-part Netflix nature documentary series Our Universe. Produced by BBC Studios, the series tells the story of the universe across the millennia, exploring the link between wildlife on Earth and the workings of outer space. The documentary links six scientific concepts with six animals that live in vastly different climates: cheetahs, chimpanzees, brown bears, sea turtles, elephants, and king penguins. We learn what gravity has to do with penguins, and how the changing seasons dictate bears’ hibernation patterns. The show alternates between nature shots, and special effects, animation, and CGI — and although the constant back and forth can be confusing at times, Freeman’s narration ties it all together.

It’s day four of the World Cup: Teams in groups F and E play their openers today (all times CLT):

Morocco faced off against Croatia earlier today at 12pm and the game ended in a goalless draw.

On the pitch now: Germany v Japan (3pm).

Still to play today: Spain v Costa Rica (6pm) and Belgium v Canada (9pm).

GROUP F-

P

W

D

L

GD

Points

🇲🇦 Morocco

1

0

1

0

0

1

🇭🇷 Croatia

1

0

1

0

0

1

🇧🇪 Belgium

0

0

0

0

0

0

🇨🇦 Canada

0

0

0

0

0

0

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(all times CLT)

Rap artist Ali Loka makes his Cairo Jazz 610 debut tonight at 9pm, with DJ Totti playing trap beats.

The Austrian Cultural Forum Cairo is screening director Arman T. Riahi’s German language movie Fox in a Hole tonight at 7pm, with English subtitles. The movie follows a man struggling to get to grips with his new job teaching at a juvenile detention center as he faces his own personal trauma.

The Wannabe Comedians are performing the final stop in their tour OX Egypt in Heliopolis tonight at 9pm, featuring this lineup of local comedians: Hamza Bahaa, Karim Ayman, Marwan Fares, Youssef Gallad and Marwan Moslemany.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Shonda Rhimes wants you to say yes: The star screenwriter, showrunner, and producer behind TV hits including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and Bridgerton has turned her talents to memoir writing in Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun and Be Your Own Person. Rhimes tells the story of how she went from an introvert who was afraid of everything to someone who could take on new challenges, go out into the world, and find success — all by following her mother’s advice to say “yes” more often. Rhimes’ undisputed talent for storytelling is in full force here, as is the knack for pace and vivid character portrayal that got us hooked on her screen oeuvre. There’s plenty to inspire in Year of Yes — even if the message the book delivers is perhaps a little clichéd.

GO WITH THE FLOW

The EGX30 fell 0.2% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.68 bn (27.8% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 5.5% YTD.

In the green: QNB AlAhli (+11.9%), Fawry (+6.5%) and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (+3.9%).

In the red: CIB (-2.5%), Rameda Pharma (-1.7%) and Heliopolis Housing (-1.5%).

CAREERS

How to deal with job cuts: Huge layoffs at big tech companies in recent months have put a spotlight on mass firings and just how cruelly they can be dealt out. Nearly 130k tech employees at some 814 companies have lost their jobs this year, with companies like Meta, Amazon, and most notoriously, Twitter, resorting to gutting their staff. More than half of Twitter’s staff have been fired since Elon Musk took the helm of the company — many of whom were notified by discovering they had been locked out of their company email and slack accounts, in a frankly brutal example of how not to treat employees.

This spells trouble in the world of tech where workers often hold on to the fact that sacrifices they make for their employers now will reap dividends at a later date. The recent spate of firings has shaken that supposedly long-standing belief, according to the Financial Times.

Layoffs can hurt companies more than their execs think: Since the 1970s, more and more companies have restored to layoffs in times of crisis to stay afloat, but some studies suggest that layoffs might not be the best course to pursue over the long term. A 2012 University of Texas at Arlington study found that “layoffs had a neutral to negative effect on stock prices in the days following their announcement.” Separate studies from Auburn University, Baylor University, and the University of Tennessee have also found that companies who go the mass firing route are twice as likely to end up filing for bankruptcy than companies who don’t.

One big negative consequence of widespread layoffs is the damage to morale among those who remain at the company. Firing 1% of a company’s workforce in a year has been found to trigger a 31% increase in quitting among remaining employees the following year, according to University of Wisconsin–Madison and University of South Carolina researchers. This is partially because a sense of anxiety starts to build among those who witnessed the firing take place and likely also because fewer people have to cover the same amount of work.

What are the alternatives to layoffs for struggling businesses? If something’s not working, it could be that employees are in redundant roles, rather than that there are too many people working at the company. Internally retraining and moving staff to new roles is an option for big firms. If that doesn’t work, companies can opt for furloughs instead of layoffs when times are really tough — when it’s time to power back up, rehiring will be much easier than for firms who made brutal cuts.

When all other options are exhausted: If a company is forced to make layoffs to stay afloat, execs should proceed with caution — and remember that there’s no need to burn bridges. A former employee could be a future client, business partner, or even come back to the company in a new role. “You want to have that alumni network in good shape,” one associate director of business training programs at Harvard University tells CNBC.

Among the ways to make layoffs as painless as possible, according to business experts who spoke to CNBC:

  • Communicate clearly: Explain to employees in plain language exactly why this is happening and what other steps were taken before the decision was made.
  • Lead from the front: Don’t hide behind “HR” — employees need to hear the news from those at the top of leadership, preferably in a one-on-one, in-person conversation.
  • Show compassion: Getting laid off is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. Empathy is important.
  • Offer support for next steps: Helping a recently laid off employee find another job — through resume and cover letter advice or a company’s professional network — might be the single most effective thing to do for someone who has been let go.

Getting laid off is extremely tough. Is there anything employees can do to prepare? If they’re getting the sense that something is amiss and their company could be gearing up to make layoffs, it’s a good time for employees to do an internal audit of their personal finances. If they can, workers should build a savings buffer that can sustain them for three to six months, Christopher Kayes, management chair at the George Washington University School of Business, tells the Washington Post. It’s also a good idea to check their contracts and see what they’re entitled to in terms of notice and severance pay. And employees should keep their resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and professional network current in case they need to make a move.

The worst has happened. What now? The sense of loss and upheaval that comes from losing a job is similar to the grieving process when you lose a loved one, one 2019 study in the journal Frontiers found. It can be necessary to take some time to “mourn” a former role. At some point, though, laid-off employees will have to get back on the horse — and back on the job market. Keeping friendly connections with a former employer wherever possible, continuing to build a professional network, and refusing to let the experience knock your confidence are all good steps to take. “It might be an opportunity versus a crisis,” one recruiter tells the WP.

CALENDAR

NOVEMBER

20 November-18 December (Sunday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

22 November- 23 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Fingerprint Summit will be held at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel.

27 November (Sunday): Senate in session.

27-28 November (Sunday-Monday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.

27-30 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT and Pafix, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

29 November – 6 December (Tuesday-Tuesday): US and Russia to hold talks on resuming mutual nuclear inspections in Cairo.

DECEMBER

1 December (Thursday): Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights.

1 December (Thursday): Contractors to break ground on Egypt-Saudi interconnection project.

3 December (Saturday): Dior Men’s pre-fall collection show in Giza.

4 December (Sunday): House back in session.

4 December (Sunday): OPEC+ meeting.

5-8 December (Monday-Thursday): QS Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, multiple locations.

5-7 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2022 kicks off at Egypt International Exhibitions Center.

6 December (Tuesday): Enterprise Climate X Forum, Grand Egyptian Museum.

7 December (Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt 2022 conference

10 December (Saturday): The TriFactory’s Pyramids Half Marathon.

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): The 2nd edition of the Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.

December: Egyptian Automotive Summit.

December: Egypt to expand Sudan electricity link capacity to 300 MW.

December: Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia

JANUARY 2023

January: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

January: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

1 January (Sunday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

1 January (Sunday): Residential electricity bills are set to rise as per the government’s six-year roadmap (pdf) to restructure electricity prices by 2025.

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

24 January-6 February: The 54th Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

30 January-1 February (Monday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s Annual MENA Investor Conference 2023, Cairo, Egypt.

FEBRUARY 2023

11 February (Saturday): Second semester of 2022-2023 academic year begins for public universities.

13-15 February (Monday-Wednesday): The Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

23-27 February (Thursday-Monday): Annual Business Women of Egypt’s Women for Success conference.

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

23 March (Wednesday): First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.

APRIL 2023

1 April (Saturday): Deadline for banks to establish sustainability unit.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday) National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

JUNE 2023

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday) Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.

SEPTEMBER 2023

26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

OCTOBER 2023

6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

2H 2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H 2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H 2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q 2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

3Q 2022: Swvl to close acquisition of Urbvan Mobility.

End of December/early January: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

4Q 2022: Electricity Ministry to tender six solar projects in Aswan Governorate.

4Q 2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

4Q 2022: Saudi Arabia’s Jamjoom Pharma to inaugurate its EGP 1 bn pharma factory in El Obour.

End of 2022: Decent Life first phase scheduled for completion.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

1Q 2023: Adnoc Distribution’s acquisition of 50% of TotalEnergies Egypt to close.

1Q 2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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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