Wednesday, 8 December 2021

PM — CI Capital is making a play for a chunk of Cleopatra Hospitals



Good afternoon, friends — and hold onto your hats. While the news flow is fairly moderate so far today, wind speeds in Cairo are anything but. The west-south-westerly gust is blowing at speeds greater than 40 km/h, according to our favorite weather app. On its wings comes the news that CI Capital is offering to buy a 26% stake in Cleopatra Hospitals, and official confirmation that Abu Qir will be looking to sell no more than 10% of its shares on the EGX. Elsewhere in things that put the wind up us: early research suggests the Pfizer vaccine could be significantly less effective against Omicron; low-earth orbit is set to become commercially viable with a helping hand from NASA; and blockchain-encrypted pixels (otherwise known as NFTs) are more valuable if they resemble white men.


MCI Capital makes a play for 26% of Cleopatra Hospitals: MCI Capital Healthcare Partners for Medical Care, a subsidiary of CI Capital, has submitted a voluntary tender offer to acquire a 26.2% stake in Cleopatra Hospitals Group for EGP 5 per share, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) announced in a bourse filing (pdf). The transaction, which is currently being studied by the FRA, could be worth more than EGP 2 bn at the price and number of shares stated in the filing.

Abu Qir appears to have capped its secondary stake sale on the EGX at 10% of the company’s total shares, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf) filed today. The disclosure names CI Capital, Renaissance Capital, EFG Hermes and Al Ahly Pharos as advisors on the offering, which comes as the government looks to restart its privatization program following e-Finance’s successful IPO in October.

^^ We’ll have more on these stories in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.


The two-day North Africa Trade Finance Summit ends today. The event is bringing together business leaders, people from the financial industry, logistics experts and policymakers to discuss trade finance.

It’s the first day of the Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research which runs through to Friday at the St. Regis Al Masa Convention Center.


Inflation figures for November will be released tomorrow by Capmas and the Central Bank of Egypt. Urban inflation slipped slightly to 6.3% in October from 6.6% the month before, which was the highest reading since January 2020.

The Cairo Woodshow kicks off tomorrow at the Cairo International Convention Center.

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

  • Aldar and ADQ are now SODIC’s majority shareholders: The Emirati consortium of real estate giant Aldar Properties and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ have acquired 85.5% of SODIC in an all-cash, EGP 6.1 bn transaction.
  • SFE jumping on the green bond bandwagon? The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) is considering issuing green bonds, which would follow successful sovereign and corporate bond sales in Egypt over the past year.
  • FinMin goes green: The government will introduce next March a stimulus package to aid Egypt’s transition to a green economy. The measures will be announced during budget season ahead of the new fiscal year and will offer targeted financial incentives to encourage sustainable and carbon emission-reducing projects.


Merkel is out and Scholz is in: The German parliament today swore in Olaf Scholz as the country’s new chancellor, marking the end of Angela Merkel’s 16-year reign. A left-leaning social democrat, Scholz enters office heading a three-party coalition, promising more of Merkel’s famed stability and increasing green investments. (AP | BBC | New York Times | The Guardian | France24)

The UAE’s stock market is aligning with the new Monday-Friday routine: The Abu Dhabi and Dubai exchanges will follow the government in switching from a Sunday-Thursday to a Monday-Friday workweek at the beginning of 2022, an Emirati official told Bloomberg today. Schools are also almost certain to follow the move, meaning the private sector likely won’t be far behind. The switch is meant to pull in international investment and business, but will put the UAE at odds with its Gulf neighbors, meaning investors will have to find a way to juggle the two, according to the outlet.

No Friday afternoons off for the wicked: while government workers will get a half day on Friday (giving them time to attend afternoon prayers), the markets will observe a full business day, the official said.


Omicron has a stealth mode: A handful of cases have been identified of a new version of the Omicron variant that cannot be distinguished from other coronavirus variants by PCR tests. The “Omicron-like” strain, which has around half of the gene mutations of omicron proper, was found in samples from South Africa, Australia and Canada. Unlike Omicron proper, it can only be differentiated from other variants by genomic testing and not through standard PCR screening — making it difficult to say how far the sneaky strain has spread. It's also not yet known whether the variant on the variant may behave differently in terms of transmissibility and severity. The Guardian and Bloomberg have more.

An early study has given us an idea of just how much less effective against Omicron the Pfizer jab is: Research conducted by South Africa’s Africa Health Research Institute found that Omicron reduced virus-blocking antibodies by 40-fold for people who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Bloomberg reports. The loss of immune protection is “robust, but not complete,” Alex Sigal, head of research at the laboratory, said, while maintaining that booster shots can still increase protection against the new strain.


Booster shot registration: The Health Ministry will begin allowing senior citizens with chronic medical conditions, as well as all medical staff, to register for a booster covid-19 vaccine as of next Sunday, 12 December.

Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold its final meeting for the year to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 December.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

🌧 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- There’s a slight chance of rain tomorrow, while temperatures will reach a daytime high of 21°C and a nighttime low of 13°C, our favorite weather app tells us.


Surprise, surprise: The metaverse isn’t immune to discrimination. Discrimnation based on race, gender and skin color have made their way into the popular collection of NFTs known as CryptoPunks, Bloomberg reports. The collection of 10k digital avatars, each with their unique set of qualities that affect demand (and therefore price), are owned and traded on the Ethereum blockchain. The news outlet did the math, coming to the conclusion that lighter-skinned avatars on average trade higher than the mid- and dark-skinned ones, while male avatars trade higher than female ones, despite female avatars being more scarce than their male counterparts.

Why do NFT buyers favor white, male avatars? Probably because crypto enthusiasts skew white and male as a demographic — and buyers are shelling out for avatars that look like themselves, according to investors. Though they were originally disbursed for free among Ethereum wallet holders back in 2017, CryptoPunks traded at an average price of USD 229.5k per punk over the last year, while listed prices as of December range from USD 400k to USD 24 bn.

Or failing that, aliens: Some investors insist that NFT prices are driven by scarcity and uniqueness — pointing to the fact that the rare alien, ape and zombie CryptoPunks trade far higher than their human counterparts of all genders and ethnicities. London auction house Sotheby’s in June sold one of the nine alien avatars in existence for a staggering USD 11.8 mn.

The Weyland-Yutani Prologue (featuring Jeff Bezos): Private ventures are set to replace the International Space Station (ISS) as Nasa looks to commercialize outer space. Three private companies — Bezos’ Blue Origin, aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman, and Nanoracks — will launch projects to develop commercial, independent space stations after signing agreements worth a total USD 415.6 mn with Nasa, marking a major move towards the privatization of space, the space agency said last week. Nasa hopes to launch Nanoracks’s commercial low-Earth orbit destination Starlab by 2027, which will cater to research alongside commercial industrial activity. Starlab will replace the ISS following its retirement by the end of the decade, and is set to rival China’s Tiangong, which launched earlier this year.

For humanity, Amreeka, and a strong space economy: “The agreements are part of the agency’s efforts to enable a robust, American-led commercial economy in low-Earth orbit,” the statement read, adding that “we are partnering with U.S. companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work, enabling NASA to continue forging a path in space for the benefit of humanity while fostering commercial activity in space.”


Read Norm Brodsky’s Street Smarts column + Champions League continues


(all times CLT)

Season three of thriller and coming-of-age drama Hanna is out on Amazon Prime: Rescued from a secret CIA program as a baby, Hanna was raised deep in the forest away from other people and taught languages and survival skills, rendering her a force to be reckoned with. Years later, the CIA catches scent of Hanna’s existence and she’s whisked back to a facility, but manages to escape quickly (she’s a genius). From there, the show follows Hanna as she tries to make her way back home while also learning about who she is and what it means to be a teenage girl. It’s equal parts action and self-reflection and the show, especially the cinematography, is extremely well-executed. Hanna is actually a spinoff from the 2011 movie with the same name, but takes creative liberties with the storyline.

Egypt has finished top of Group D in the Arab Cup by virtue of having fewer yellow cards than Algeria, who the Pharaohs tied 1-1 with in the final group game yesterday. The two north African nations both finished with seven points and had the same goal difference.

We now have all the quarter-final match-ups: Egypt will face Group C runners-up Jordan and Algeria play Morocco on 11 December. The other half of the draw will see Qatar play the UAE and Tunisia meet Oman on 10 December.

The Champions League group stage ends tonight:

Group E: It could be a historic night in Munich tonight with Barcelona in danger of failing to make it out of the Champions League group stage for the first time in more than 20 years. A victory for third-placed Benfica would mean that the Catalans would likely have to beat Bayern Munich on their home turf to progress to the last 16. With Bayern dominating the group and Barca a shadow of their former selves, don’t expect them to walk away from the Allianz with a victory. Both matches will be played at 10pm.

Standings: Bayern Munich (15 points) – Barcelona (7 points) – Benfica (5 points) – Dynamo Kyiv (1 point).

Group F: With Man Utd having already sewn up first place, the focus tonight will be on the game between Villarreal and Atalanta, which can both qualify in second place. Villarreal are one point ahead of the Italians, meaning they only require a draw to make it to the last 16. Meanwhile, Swiss side Young Boys can still make it to the Europa League but they’ll need a victory against Utd and Atalanta to lose. Both games kick off at 10pm.

Standings: Man United (10 points) – Villarreal (7 points) – Atalanta (6 points) – Young Boys (4 points).

Group G: Everything is still to play for in Group G. With only three points separating the four teams, any of Lille, RB Salzburg, Sevilla, and Wolfsburg can come top. Bottom of the group Wolfsburg require a victory against group leaders Lille to have a chance of making it through, while the victors of the high-stakes Sevilla v Salzburg tie will guarantee progression. Both games are at 10pm.

Standings: Lille (8 points) – RB Salzburg (7 points) – Sevilla (6 points) – Wolfsburg (5 points).

Group H: The definition of a dead rubber. Chelsea and Juventus have comfortably made it through and Zenit St. Petersburg have secured third place, sending them to the Europa League. Zenit play Chelsea and Juve meet Malmo at 7:45pm.

Standings: Chelsea (12 points) – Juventus (12 points) – Zenit (4 points) – Malmo (1 point).


(all times CLT)

Austrian classical music ensemble Trio Alba are performing at the Cairo Opera House’s Open Air Theatre tonight at 8pm (if conditions on the balcony of EnterpriseHQ are anything to go by, we suggest you wrap up warm).

Avant Garde Magazine and AUC’s Folklore Troupe have teamed up to provide a folklore performance tonight at 7pm at the AUC New Cairo campus.

El Far3i and Amir Eid are hitting the stage at the Greek Campus on Friday from 5pm.



WHAT’S NEXT- Norm Brodsky’s entrepreneurial and storytelling skills go hand-in-hand in his column Street Smarts. Brodsky founded six different businesses and is now the co-founder of BEN Global Mentorship, which helps businesses expand into institutionalized powerhouses. He taps into this wealth of experience writing Street Smarts, his column for Inc. that touches on everything from how to grow your business to corporate culture, strategy, and the entrepreneurial mindset. Brodsky has a penchant for storytelling and his columns frequently draw on real-world experiences to guide newbies and veterans alike on what to do — and what not to do — when building a business from scratch.


Market roundup on 8 December

The EGX30 fell 0.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.24 bn (12.1% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 5.6% YTD.

In the green: Ezz Steel (+6.2%), Cleopatra Hospital (+4.7%) and Rameda (+3.4%).

In the red: Speed Medical (-20.0%), Heliopolis Housing (-7.0%) and Fawry (-6.4%).


Al Mashat puts green finance front and center ahead of COP27 climate summit: Innovative finance tools are key to ensuring that COP26 commitments are actionable at next year’s COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat told Reuters on Thursday. With officials already working the international media circuit to lay out the agenda for the summit next November, we ask: what green policy priorities are being teed up ahead of the conference?

Support for EMs on mitigation and adaptation is key: Al Mashat noted that one of the biggest challenges is the adoption of climate mitigation and adaptation projects while balancing national objectives, especially for countries with low credit ratings. The minister had made similar points in a conversation with Bloomberg last month, saying that expectations placed on emerging markets must reflect their lesser contribution to emissions and access to funding to meet climate goals.

On the EM front, the focus will likely be on Africa: Hosting next year’s COP27 may cement our role as mediator between African and developed countries on climate aid, although our exact duties won’t become clear until the spring, when the legally-binding Host Country Agreement (HCA) is released.

The private sector will be a key partner in raising the needed funds: Egypt hosted an event at COP26 on blended finance to fund green projects through private-public partnership. Private sector engagement will be critical for the success of the green economy and to put COP26 pledges into action, which will require massive amounts of funding ,Al Mashat told Reuters. She also previously noted in her conversation with Bloomberg that innovative financing models like concessional lending could be key to attracting the private sector to develop green projects.

We’re walking the walk when it comes to green finance: Just yesterday, the Finance Ministry announced a coming stimulus package to support the greening of Egypt’s economy by offering targeted financial incentives to the private sector for sustainable and emission-reducing projects. Egypt has also pioneered the use of green bonds in the MENA region, issuing its maiden sovereign and corporate green bonds in the past year.

What else to expect from COP27? Carbon capture is on the agenda + green hydrogen will make a debut. The government has already announced plans for the country’s first carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) agreement with Italian energy firm Eni, which is set to be announced at next year’s COP27. Carbon capture is expected to be a big theme at COP27, with oil minister Tarek El Molla stressing its importance to the oil and gas industry and to combating climate change. Our first-ever 100 MW green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna — a collaboration between Orascom Construction, Fertiglobe, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and Norway’s Scatec scheduled to come online in 2024— will be showcased at COP27 as well.

And greener transport for the Red Sea: All cars and buses in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada will run on natural gas or be replaced with EVs when world leaders converge on the south Sinai city next year, with cabinet promising 1k natural gas filling stations nationwide by March of next year. The president also fast tracked infrastructure work in the city ahead of the summit.

Our own emissions targets are (perhaps too) ambitious: We are looking to grow our renewable energy capacity to cover 42% of the country’s electricity needs by 2030, El Molla announced on the sidelines of COP26, shortening our timeline for the clean energy transition by five years. We currently get about 10% of our energy needs from renewables.

And we haven’t actually committed to any binding targets: So far, Egypt has signed onto the original Paris Agreement and the updated COP26 pledge, but we haven’t submitted any Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) — binding targets for specific emissions reductions. At this year’s summit, we signed on to an agreement to phase out the use of coal but did not sign on to a pledge to reduce methane emissions nor an agreement between governments and automakers to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2040 or earlier.

But the bar has been set pretty low: COP26 had lofty ambitions that largely fell flat, with the conference failing to achieve its three big-ticket goals: agreeing to halve emissions by the end of the decade, finalizing a financial package to help less developed countries transition away from fossil fuels, and setting a roadmap to limit warming to 1.5°C. Current national pledges put us on track to reach an average 2.4°C of warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century — well above the target of limiting warming to 1.5°C. Even the agreement to “phase out” rather than “phase down”coal is largely seen as an eleventh hour save, and does not include commitments by major emitters the US, China and India.


7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

8-10 December (Wednesday-Friday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

8-9 December (Wednesday-Thursday): The 14th General Conference of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (ICESCO) will be held in Egypt.

9 December (Thursday): Second vaccine shot appointments will be made available to those who previously missed their appointments.

9 December (Thursday): Deadline for tobacco companies to purchase the new conditions booklet for the Industrial Development Authority’s tobacco manufacturing license.

9-10 December (Thursday-Friday): The US Summit for Democracy. Egypt is not among the invitees.

9-12 December (Thursday-Sunday): The 6th Edition of Cairo Woodshow, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

10 December (Friday): Capmas will release November inflation figures.

10 December (Friday): Silicon Waha’s Startup Factory program kicks off in Assiut Technology Zone.

12 December (Sunday): Booster shot appointments for those eligible will roll in on the Health Ministry’s website.

12 December (Sunday): Raya Holding’s Ordinary General Assembly meeting.

12 December (Sunday): Deadline to apply to the McKinsey Forward program for young professionals.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

14 December (Tuesday): Inquiry session for the Industrial Development Authority’s licenses to manufacture steel products.

14 December (Tuesday): CDC event to announce the details of its 2022-2026 strategy period.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

15 December (Wednesday): Target date for snackmaker Edita to wrap up due diligence on its acquisition of the Ole brand owner Egyptian Belgian Company.

15 December (Wednesday): The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give its final approval for a USD 100 mn facility to state-owned Banque Misr to finance local SMEs working on green projects.

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

16 December (Thursday): SODIC shares will be transferred to Aldar Properties / ADQ consortium by this date.

16 December (Thursday): Inquiry session for the Industrial Development Authority’s licenses to manufacture tobacco products.

End of December: El Nasr Automotive plans to sign contracts with a new partner to locally assemble EVs.

End of 4Q2021: EdVentures plans to have closed at least one more edtech investment round.

End of 4Q2021: Fawry plans to have launched its MyFawry card.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

1H2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will roll out its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

Second Half of January: Egypt will host the Egyptian-Bahraini Joint Committee.

The end of January: The Egyptian-Romanian business forum will take place with the aim of strengthening joint investment relations.

January 2022: Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender to be launched.

1 January 2022 (Saturday): Capital gains tax comes into effect on the EGX for local investors.

1-15 January 2022 (Saturday-Saturday): Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) Joint Committee.

4 January 2022 (Tuesday): OPEC+ ministerial meeting.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

10-13 January 2022 (Monday-Thursday): World Youth Forum, Sharm El Sheikh.

15 January (Saturday): Target date for the finalization of snackfood giant Edita’s acquisition of the Egyptian Belgian Company, owner of the Ole brand.

17-19 January 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi.

20 January 2022 (Thursday): Kadmar Shipping’s new line transporting agricultural crops between Alexandria and Russia begins its operations.

27 January 2022 (Tuesday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

February 2022: Hassan Allam Construction’s new construction firm established with Russia’s Titan-2 to handle construction work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant begins its operations.

11 February 2022 (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

15 February 2022 (Tuesday): The Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for receiving offers from companies for licenses to manufacture steel products.

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

March 2022: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March 2022: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

2 April 2022 (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

3 April 2022 (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April 2022 (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

22-24 April 2022 (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April 2022 (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

Late April – 15 May 2022: 1Q2022 earnings season

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

2 May 2022 (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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.

30 June 2022 (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

July 2022: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

8 July 2022 (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July 2022 (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July 2022 (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August 2022: 2Q2022 earnings season.

September 2022: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

6 October 2022 (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October 2022 (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Late October – 14 November 2022: 3Q2022 earnings season.

**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.

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