Wednesday, 12 January 2022

PM — EGX signs off on listing Macro Group’s shares ahead of IPO

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

You nearly made it to the weekend, ladies and gentlemen. And if you’re like us, we need it to get last night’s Afcon results out of our heads.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY-

BREAKING- The EGX’s listing committee has signed off on the listing of cosmeceuticals giant Macro Group’s shares ahead of its planned IPO, the EGX said in a press release (pdf) out just moments before dispatch. Macro’s shares will be listed on the EGX tomorrow under the stock ticker MCRO.CA. Macro Group plans to offer up to 45.8% of its shares in a transaction that could see the company valued at around EGP 3.5 bn, the FRA had said last month.

Egypt plans to set up industrial mining “cities” for the extraction of gold, copper, and phosphate, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said today at the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, adding that work is underway to establish the country’s first accredited gold refinery, according to Reuters.

The government is working on making more flexible mining policies as part of its plans to ramp up investments in the mining industry, El Molla said, according to Bloomberg AlSharq.

^^We’ll have more on this story and others in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • World Bank hikes Egypt growth forecast to 5.5% in FY2021-2022: The bank revised upwards its prediction for Egypt’s GDP growth by 0.5 percentage points due to Egypt’s rising exports, growth in our tech and natural gas sectors, and a rebound in tourism.
  • …This comes amidst a forecasted slowdown in global growth this year: The World Bank is projecting a 1.4 percentage-point slowdown in global GDP growth to 4.1% in 2022, with developing economies to get the brunt of the hit.
  • Egypt to see its first locally assembled EV in 2023: Egypt will produce its first locally assembled electric vehicles next year, with El Nasr Automotive in talks with two Chinese firms with the aim of signing final contracts by March.

It’s day three at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh: The day saw Planning Minister Hala El Said headline a panel called Developmental Initiatives to Confront Poverty, speaking on the importance of lowering the poverty rate in order to pave the way for future development, according to a cabinet statement.

El Said highlighted the importance of the Decent Life initiative in this regard, detailing its progress so far. Some USD 45-50 bn have been earmarked for the initiative so far to provide education, medical services, housing, and more to beneficiaries, she indicated.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also spoke today on Egypt’s economic reforms, mentioning how they paved the way for Egypt’s economic resilience and recovery from the pandemic and allowed the country to emerge largely unscathed, according to Masrawy. You can check out the full agenda for the forum here (pdf).

Some updates from WYF yesterday:

  • Egypt launched a local version of UN global initiative “Generation Unlimited” yesterday: The international initiative aims to form a partnership between government sector, the private sector and youth in the world with the aim of providing skills training to people between the ages of 10-24, according to a press release from UNICEF. The local version, dubbed Shabab Balad, was launched yesterday at the World Youth Forum in the first such program in the region.
  • Egypt will continue to support the Palestinian cause and push for peace talks to continue, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reiterated during the forum, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD-

The US could see inflation hit a 40-year high, with consumer prices estimated to have climbed at 7.1% y-o-y, according to the Wall Street Journal. If the consumer price index numbers are as hot as expected, the Federal Reserve will be justified in its shift towards a tighter monetary policy and its plans to raise interest rates this year, as the central bank goes into inflation-fighting mode. At his confirmation hearing yesterday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell downplayed the impact of higher interest rates. The CPI will be out this afternoon and we’ll have coverage in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

The story is making rounds in the business press: Financial Times | New York Times | CNBC | CNN.

Sigh, UK politics: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is sulking in parliament as we dispatch, apologizing for attending a party in May 2020 during the height of covid-19 restrictions — an allegation he had previously denied. When evidence of his attendance was released, the news inspired outrage across Britain as people accused Johnson of not following rules he himself had set. Johnson is currently attempting to defend his actions by saying that he thought the BYOB party was a work event.

Several parliament members have said Johnson must resign if wrongdoing is proved or face a no confidence vote, but Johnson has merely said he would respond ‘appropriately.

The story is all over the foreign press: The Guardian | Reuters | Financial Times | BBC | CNN.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Calling seed-stage fintech startups: You have until Tuesday, 15 February to apply to Orange Ventures’ seed challenge for a shot at EUR 500k. To qualify you need to have a seed-stage fintech business that has raised less than EUR 1 mn so far. You can apply here.

KUDOS- Tailored tutoring platform Orcas and online direct ordering food platform Zyda were the only two Egyptian startups in MENA selected for the third cohort of Google’s Startups Accelerator Middle East and North Africa, a three-month digital accelerator, the company announced in a press release (pdf). 11 startups in total had been selected from across the region.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due in town from 20-21 January on an official visit, during which he will meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect a daytime high of 19°C tomorrow and a nighttime low of 10°C, according to our favorite weather app.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was corrected on 12 January, 2021 to reflect that the EGP 3.5 bn figure refers to the potential value of 100% of Macro Group’s shares, not the 45.8% of shares set to be offered in the transaction. 

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

A company formerly known as Facebook is no longer the dream work place they once were: Meta Platforms dropped 36 spots to number 47 on Glassdoor’s annual ranking of the best places to work for 2022, the company’s lowest ranking in the 12 years it made the list, this comes after the company ranked 11th last year. Meta employees blamed unwanted public scrutiny, lack of action from leadership and questions about the company’s future for their lowered ranking of the company as an employer. The rankings are made based on anonymous employee feedback working in thousands of companies.

Tech companies dominated the 100-entry list, making up 40% of the US’ best employers “thanks in part to their flexible work environments, consistent support throughout the pandemic, and a focus on better pay, benefits, and work-life balance,” Glassdoor said in a blog post.

Computer systems design services company Nvidia topped the list, with 95% of its employees saying that they would recommend the company to a friend and 98% approving of the company’s current head, Jensen Huang.

Toxic work culture, not pay, is driving the Great Resignation, finds a new study published in MIT Sloan Management Review. The study found that company culture was 10.4 times more likely to predict employee attrition, with toxic workplace culture defined as abusive leadership, discrimination, harassment and a cutthroat environment. While higher wages are driving mns of people to quit their jobs, an analysis of more than 1.4 mn Glassdoor reviews found that workplace culture was 12.4 times more likely than wages to predict whether an employee stayed with a company — a trend that held true for front-liners and knowledge workers. Other predictors of employee attrition included job insecurity, poor response to covid and lack of employee recognition.


AI may be able to listen to your CEOs’ conversations — and give investment advice accordingly, reported Reuters. Natural language processing (NLP) — a branch of AI that uses machine learning to make sense of language and turn it into signals used by quant funds — attempts to analyze the tones, cadence, and emphasis of words, in addition to phraseology. In one experiment, NLP software found that tech executives spoke in a worried tone but used reassuring words about a looming semiconductor and supply chain crisis in 2020. Think of it as a really advanced lie detector.

Advocates of the technology claim that it can make sense of data like analysts’ phone calls, Q&As and interviews with the media to glean insights — this in spite of an absence of quantifiable proof to show that these AI systems, which cost mns, can provide financial returns. The tech has proven useful in finding patterns, however, such as showing a correlation between the simplicity of executives’ language during earning calls and companies’ share performance. Other companies are utilizing NLP to analyze written text or successfully quantifying assessments of corporate culture, which may prove to be useful in ESG monitoring.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

The newest Star Wars spinoff is on Disney + A scorecard to help your business be sustainable

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

(all times CLT)

Calling all Star Wars geeks: The Book of Boba Fett is out: The spinoff Disney+ fantasy series focuses on the story of legendary galactic bounty hunter Boba Fett — who was resurrected in a shocking twist in the Mandalorean’s second season. The resurrected Boba Fett is teaming up with fellow bounty hunter Fennec to take over the defunct crime empire of Jabba the Hutt, who was killed in Return of the Jedi. From the trailer we get the impression that Boba wants to turn a new leaf and establish a more “ethical” criminal empire (New Republic ESG requirements, we guess), whatever that means. Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperados, From Dusk Till Dawn) is apparently at the helm. You can watch the trailer here (watch, runtime: 01:48).

There’s no need to rehash the disaster that was last night’s Afcon match, but in case you haven’t been following along, Egypt lost to Nigeria 0-1 yesterday in a disappointing game and a huge loss for coach Carlos Queiroz. We covered the details of the match in this morning’s AM.

Nonetheless, Afcon continues on: Tunisia and Mali hit the field less than an hour ago in a match in Group F. Meanwhile, Mauritania and Gambia are competing in the other Group F match at 6pm while Equatorial Guinea will play against Ivory Coast at 9pm for Group E.

There are three matches in the Egyptian League Cup today: Two of which are finishing up as we dispatch: Misr Lel Makasa versus Al Masry and Eastern Company versus Future. At 5pm, Pyramids will go up against Al Ittihad.

English Premier League: West Ham will face Norwich City at 9:45pm tonight.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

(all times CLT)

The Beatles cover band Glass Onion will be performing on Cairo Jazz Club’s stage on Thursday at 9pm. We’ve attended their concerts before and if you’re a fan of The Beatles, you’ll love their set.

Zamalek Art Gallery opens two new exhibitions: We Do Not Live Alone by artist Noha Deyab features paintings celebrating the wild animals that surround us. Zambalek by artist Ayman Lotfy is a surreal exploration of his own memories and experiences through mixed media works.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

If you’re scratching your head, wondering how to transition your business to be more green, this is the book for you: The Sustainability Scorecard by Urvashi Bhatnagar and Paul Anastas explains how sustainable supply chains are economically and ecologically favorable by creating repeatable and reliable processes that address model design and key performance indicators. The book introduces a straightforward scorecard that business owners can use to judge the sustainability of their supply chains and suggestions on how to employ cost-saving sustainable solutions. In the process, businesses will realize that these sustainable supply chains are more profitable than their traditional alternatives as they remove hidden supply costs and toxic inputs, the authors argue.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

QNB AlAhli’s bottomline rose 1.8% y-o-y in FY2021

EARNINGS WATCH- QNB AlAhli’s bottomline rose 1.8% y-o-y to EGP 7.6 bn in FY2021, according to the bank’s consolidated earnings (pdf). This came on the back of a 5.6% y-o-y increase in revenues to EGP 17.4 bn.

MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 rose 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 937 mn (22.5% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is up 0.9% YTD.

In the green: AMOC (+5.4%), Telecom Egypt (+2.8%) and Rameda (+2.4%).

In the red: Speed Medical (-2.9%), Heliopolis Housing (-2.7%) and Fawry (-2.5%).

🌱 CLIMATE

The ten most destructive climate events of 2021 cost the world USD 170 bn in damages, according to a study from UK charity Christian Aid. Last year marks the fourth time in five years that extreme weather events have cost the world over USD 100 bn — and we can only expect things to get worse from here, the study warns.

The most expensive natural disasters of the year: Hurricane Ida in the US topped the list at an economic cost of USD 65 bn, followed by floods in Europe at an estimated USD 43 bn. Next up was the Texas winter storm which cost USD 23 bn, China’s Henan floods at USD 17.6 bn, and the British Colombia floods in Canada at USD 7.5 bn.

Africa took a major beating from the weather last year: South Sudan experienced major flooding back in July, the Lake Chad droughts affecting Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, as well as the East Africa drought which hit Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia. The report did not add an estimated cost for these events.

Count the cost in lives not USD: The study notes that in the developing world, which suffers the most from global warming despite having contributed to it the least, climate destruction is more adequately measured not by USD lost but by human impact.

2021 also saw the Greenland ice sheet shrink for the 25th year in a row, according to data from the Danish Arctic monitoring service Polar Portal — which operates under the United Nations. The ice sheet lost around 166 bn tonnes during the 12-month period ending in August 2021, meaning less space for animals and humans to inhabit and a signal that global warming continues to affect the world’s arctic regions.

The report outlined a number of recommendations to mitigate the climate change crisis, which should be called the D’uh section: Countries worldwide need to consider cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions as a top political priority, governments should invest in the energy transition to renewables, and richer countries should provide more funding to poorer countries to achieve these goals and further adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Including a call to COP27: The report calls for a fund to be set up by the end of COP27, which will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, to help people who are suffering from permanent losses due to climate change. “Bringing that fund to life needs to be a global priority in 2022,” said Nushrat Chowdhury, Christian Aid’s climate justice advisor in Bangladesh. Last year’s COP26 was largely considered a failure as countries failed to agree on joint action to be taken. The Economist called the summit a COP-out in a podcast episode that looks at what climate cooperation could look like in 2022 (listen, runtime: 32:13).

Meanwhile, the world is still debating what activities should be considered green: Nuclear power and forms of natural gas could be labeled as “green” in the EU’s classification system, which establishes “a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities,” as part of a new proposal from Belgium. The proposal would consider investments in new nuclear power and natural gas plants as “sustainable” and would help avoid depriving the continent of some of its critical energy sources, the Financial Times says.

Egypt would stand to gain from this definition as the country moves forward its energy hub ambitions which includes several ventures into natural gas to maintain its position as a major export market. Meanwhile, Egypt is also currently constructing the 4.8 GW Dabaa nuclear plant — which is so far 20% completed — and work is expected to be completed in 2030 rather than in FY2028-2029 due to covid-19 disruption. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi recently sat down with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi to discuss the use of nuclear energy to lower carbon emissions.

📆 CALENDAR

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

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

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

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

January: Sovereign Sukuk Act executive regulations expected to be finalized.

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

January: Three-month trial period of ACI for air freight to begin.

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

9 January – 6 February (Sunday-Sunday): 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon.

9-12 January: Plastex, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

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

Second half of January: Regulations for installing EV charging stations will be published.

16 January (Sunday): SODIC shareholders will vote on the company’s new board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting.

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

19 January (Wednesday): EgyptAir will operate an exceptional Casablanca-Cairo flight to bring home Egyptians expats stranded in Morocco following border closures.

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

20-21 January (Thursday-Friday): South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Egypt as part of his diplomatic tour of the region.

23 January (Sunday): Deadline for Macro Pharma to IPO on the EGX.

25 January (Tuesday): The IMF will release its World Economic Outlook.

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

25-26 January (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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

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

January-February 2022: Construction work on the Abu Qir metro upgrade will begin.

February: 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.

February: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX this month.

February: Suez canal transit fees set to increase 6%, exempting cruise ships and LNG carriers.

Mid-February: End of grace period to comply with new minimum wage for firms who sent in exemption requests.

3 February (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

3 February (Thursday): January PMI figures for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will be released.

4-20 February (Friday-Sunday): 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing.

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

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

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

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

15 February (Tuesday): Orange Ventures’ deadline to receive applications from seed-stage fintech startups.

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

End of February: Lebanon to receive gas from Egypt via a pipeline crossing Jordan and Syria.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

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

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: The government hopes to sign a final contract between El Nasr Automotive and a new partner for the local production of electric cars.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The 55th edition of the Cairo International Fair.

15-16 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

28-29 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) will take place virtually.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

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

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

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

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

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

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

3-4 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

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

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

16 June (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools.

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

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

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

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

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

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

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

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

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

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

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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

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

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

**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 above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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