Tuesday, 14 June 2022

PM — It’s Fed day and there’s an eerie calm before the storm feel to US equity futures and bonds this morning.

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the limbo issue, as all eyes are eagerly awaiting the results of the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting to decide on interest rates.

THE BIG STORY TODAY-

Egypt was the second largest recipient of FDI flows in Africa last year — after South Africa, according to the UN’s world investment report (pdf). That said, FDI in Egypt saw a 12% y-o-y decline to USD 5.12 bn. Despite the decline, Egypt could be bucking the trend with a USD 22 bn boost from our friends in the Gulf, the report says. Announced greenfield investments more than tripled to USD 5.6 bn last year, according to the report, making way for more potential inflows.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

US equity futures saw a slightly stronger open this morning: S&P 500 futures added 0.3% after the index tumbled 3.9% on Monday, before ceding gains later in the day. Meanwhile, Nasdaq futures climbed 0.3%, and Dow Jones futures inched up 0.1%.

And while US treasuries slipped to around 3.3% today, yields on 10-year bonds soared to levels not seen since 2011, Reuters reports. Two-year yields eased to 3.26%, slightly lower than its 3.43% peak — its highest since 2007.

MSCI’s index of global shares remained flat after Monday’s 3.7% fall, as did Europe’s Stoxx 60 index. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both have the story.

Calm before the Fed storm: Markets are not quite out of the woods yet, with the Fed’s crucial meeting setting the stage for more potential sell-offs. Yesterday’s sell-offs came as expectations of a massive Fed rate hike tipping the US into a recession caused one of the worst days in financial markets since the covid crash in March 2020. The crucial meeting is set to kick off as we dispatch this issue.


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

  • Gov’t gets the ball rolling on its privatization plans: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly launched the start of consultations with experts over its ambitious state ownership policy document as the state pushes with privatization efforts.
  • No electricity price hikes coming this July, after all: The Madbouly government will freeze electricity prices to ease financial pressure on the public, which is already coping with high inflation, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said yesterday.
  • Beltone halts WM due diligence after Chimera enters the chat: Beltone Financial has suspended the WM Consultancy-led consortium from doing due diligence after receiving a rival offer from Chimera Investments on Sunday.

HAPPENING TOMORROW-

The African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) annual meetings will take place at the new capital’s St. Regis Almasa Hotel. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer, and Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah will give keynote speeches at the event, which will focus primarily on implementing the Africa freetrade agreement that came into force in 2021.

Internet Explorer is dying tomorrow… and no one is mourning: When Microsoft announced that it was retiring Internet Explorer last year, what came to our minds was: Isn’t it already dead? Starting tomorrow, if you attempt to use Internet Explorer using Windows 10, you’ll be redirected to Edge. However, it will still be available for use on older versions of Windows and Edge will have an Internet Explorer mode that users can switch to. Launched in 1995, Internet Explorer was the dominant browser for over a decade, but lost its relevance after Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge rose to popularity.

Its greatest legacy, perhaps, was the breakup of the Microsoft stranglehold on the PC market. Internet Explorer became a key component of the US Justice Department’s antitrust case against the software giant, who used its dominant position in the operating systems market to push Internet Explorer on PCs, which led to the death of Netscape Navigator (the very first browser). Some of us are old enough to remember the ugly side of Bill Gates that was on full display during the depositions (watch, runtime: 39:27). Internet Explorer ultimately represents how monopolies can push a far inferior product that stifles the competition, so, good riddance.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

There’s a handful of conferences coming up:

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Tomorrow will see the mercury rise to 37°C during the day before falling to 22°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

***
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We’re looking for editors who want to run publications and teams, editors to help reporters craft stories and talented reporters. Egyptian and foreign nationals alike are welcome to apply. So are job-switchers: If you’re an equities analyst tired of the rat race, we’re a great place to come work.

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enterprise

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

Is the gig economy really the ‘servant’ economy’? Ultra-fast delivery apps and on-demand services and the gig workers they depend on have been termed “the servant economy” by the Financial Times’ Sarah O’Connor. Critics have signaled that the rise of these apps reflect a resurgence in inequality as companies often play up how servile their employees are, with slogans such as “everyone’s private driver” and “democratizing the right to laziness.”

The grow-at-all-costs model has played its part in this: For years, companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Deliveroo have struggled to make returns due to offering these services at a cost that’s less than what they pay. This has often led to gig economy workers being overworked and underpaid.

The current climate may be changing this: Amid high inflation, gloomy growth forecasts, and higher interest rates, investors are beginning to shy away from loss making companies. Paying workers less or cutting down on jobs will be difficult in a time of worker shortages as well as increased employment rights and protections for gig workers. Meanwhile, charging higher prices to customers will be tricky too as higher inflation eats into their straggling bottom lines, O’Connor writes.


Pixar’s Lightyear has been banned in Egypt and 13 other countries: Walt Disney has failed to receive approvals to release its new film — which features the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear — in a number of Arab and non-Arab countries, producers tell Reuters. Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, and others are among the countries who will not be showing the children’s movie due to a brief scene that portrays a moment between a same-gender couple.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(all times CLT)

Peaky Blinders returns in style for its sixth and final season: The Shelby family is back with more gritty, intriguing, yet less violent episodes this time around. Fans of the 1900s gangster English show have been following the notorious family since 2013 from their street gang days in Birmingham to becoming one of Britain's most influential business empires, all due to the ambition of one man, Thomas Shelby (masterfully played by Cillian Murphy). The final season of Peaky Blinders brings satisfying closure to the personal demons that had been tormenting the Shelby brothers over the years, and sets up what is sure to be an epic feud with fascists in the upcoming film.

An upcoming feature-length movie could be in the works, creator Steven Knight told Deadline. “I can say that my plan from the beginning was to end Peaky with a movie. That is what is going to happen,” he said, without revealing more details on when the movie could start production.

UEFA Nations League: Not one, not two, but four exciting games are kicking off tonight at 8:45 pm: Germany v Italy, England v Hungary, Netherlands v Wales, and Poland v Belgium.

World Cup: Costa Rica and New Zealand will face off at 8pm, and the winner will get the final slot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, after Australia qualified yesterday by beating Peru on penalties.

Egypt just reached the end of its friendly match against South Korea as we dispatch, with the Pharaohs losing 1-4.

🍦 EAT THIS TONIGHT-

We’re firm believers that there's nothing good ice cream can't fix, and Gelato Eden being a testament to that. The ice cream parlor in New Cairo’s Dyar Mall has 24 flavors to choose from, including some quite unique options such as sweet potatoes, guava, and chili mango. We particularly loved the greek yogurt flavor, which we recommend you try. Take your family out for the classic summer outing this week and grab a cone of Italian gelato. The parlor also serves hot and cold coffee, which is always a plus.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(all times CLT)

Awardwinning dance collective Nasa4nasa is back with No Mercy at Rawabet Art Space tonight at 8:50 pm. The gymnastics and martial arts-trained duo Noura Seif Hassanein and Salma Abdel Salam express their thoughts and feelings towards modern life through choreography. The contemporary dance performance was awarded the 2020 production grant by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

In his final work of nonfiction, the late Barry Lopez urges us to Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World. The iconic environmental writer’s essay collection combines new and old work with memories, stories, reflections and meditations on landscape. In its essence, this book is here to remind us of the importance of remaining wholly present to the beauty and complexity surrounding us on this planet. Lopez writes lyrically about the way we use and destroy the world and each other, and urges us to pay attention. “Each place is itself only, and nowhere repeated. Miss it and it’s gone,” he wrote.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

EARNINGS WATCH-

Pharma company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) saw its bottom line rise to EGP 869.2 mn in 1Q2022 up from EGP 2.7 mn in 1Q2021, according to the company’s financials (pdf). Sales also rose during the period, increasing 164.3% y-o-y to EGP 370.2 mn.

MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 fell 0.3% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 683 mn (18.2% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 16.5% YTD.

In the green: CIRA (+2.4%), Egypt Kuwait Holding-EGP (+2.2%) and MM Group (+1.9%).

In the red: TMG Holding (-3.3%), Credit Agricole Egypt (-2.1%) and e-Finance (-1.9%).

🌱 FOUNDER OF THE WEEK

OUR FOUNDER OF THE WEEK- Omar El Defrawy, co-founder and CEO of Sylndr (LinkedIn).

My name is Omar El Defrawy, and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Sylndr. I started my professional career as an intern in the Central Bank of Egypt’s reserve management department, then went on to work in investment banking at EFG Hermes for six years. Right before co-founding Sylndr, I joined Elmenus’ team and became the CFO and a board member.

My experience at EFG exposed me to a myriad of industries. My tenure there also helped me hone my presentation and selling skills. I was on the investment side of the fence, and witnessed how you can successfully pitch and sell a company to investors.

Elmenus, on the other hand, enabled me to learn the skills needed to lead a tech startup. I learned the ins and outs of the operations side of the business, and learned how to manage a rapidly growing business. I was not a traditional CFO in any sense of the word; instead, I worked with the growth team, the commercial team, and the operations team.

It was in August 2021 that I decided to start a business of my own. Coincidentally, two days before I decided to resign, my wife informed me that we were going to have a baby. I had just finished reading The Hard Thing about Hard Things, the awesome book that so many founders have recommended in the Founder the Week column [laughs]. It inspired me to build a startup from scratch. I didn’t have a business model in mind yet, but knew that starting my own business was something that I had to do while I was still young.

We founded Sylndr in November 2021, with the aim of making the process of buying and selling used cars trustworthy and without any hassle. We are currently focused on buying used cars and offer inspections at no cost to the customer from the comfort of their homes. After we’re done with the inspection, we offer a price for the vehicle and the customer can be paid via a variety of instant payment methods.

The two problems that we want to address: The lack of trust between buyers and sellers in the used car market, and the lack of accessibility to deferred finance. Our aim is not to be the biggest used car retailer in the market. Instead, our goal is to be the most trustworthy retailer in the market.

I began looking at countries that are similar to Egypt in terms of demographics, challenges, customer behavior, and so on. While doing so, I came across a company called Kavak, the first Mexican startup to attain a USD 1 bn valuation. I stumbled upon an interview with Carlos Garcia, the company’s CEO, who explained the challenges faced by Mexico's used car industry. The challenges were identical to those we face in Egypt. Among other things, Garcia explained that there was complete mistrust between buyers and sellers, and that resonated with me. After reading a lot about second-hand car startups abroad, I delved into the business models that failed and into the ones that continue to thrive. I became determined to start a business that would tackle that same problem in Egypt.

We will start venturing into the selling side of the equation by the end of 2022. We will offer a seamless online experience that will enable users to fully view used cars, both from the inside and outside, prior to making a purchase. We will also be offering our users a warranty for several months on the used car they are buying, and a money-back guarantee.

The most important KPIs I focus on: These include monitoring the health of our conversion funnels, the level of customer satisfaction, and tracking our burn rates and our income margins.

I don’t think solo-founded startups can be as successful as ones started by a solid team of co-founders. The founder journey can be very lonely and stressful, so you need to surround yourself with competent co-founders who can compliment your weaknesses, and who you can always turn to for advice. I knew that my chosen line of business would be quite operationally- intensive, so I decided to find the right co-founders who would be able to help me navigate this journey.

We raised USD 12.6 mn in our pre-seed round earlier this year. The round was led by RAED Ventures and featured others like Algebra Ventures, Nuwa Capital, 1984 Ventures, and Global Founders Capital. We are not planning on raising new funds soon. As a team and a company, we have a lot of building to do and a lot of milestones to achieve before raising more capital.

If I had to do it all over again, I would still go down the investor route. Our business is very difficult to bootstrap. Ours is a very capital intensive sector: we had to build a very solid operational foundation, equally solid technology infrastructure and create a platform that provides a seamless customer experience. Investors obviously bring capital to the table and I think that’s the least important asset they bring. They also provide strategic advice, market insights, professional support, and so much more.

Our long-term goal is to become a multi-market, vertically integrated business and a one-stop shop that enables users to buy and sell used cars and one that provides deferred payment options for our customers. We will be partnering with banks and various financing stakeholders to ensure that the customer experience is simple. We also want to provide various solutions including body and paint protection, roadside assistance, and so much more. To ensure that the quality of work is top tier, we plan to build a refurbishment facility of our own as well.

Startups that I think are killing it include MaxAB, Rabbit, and Trella. They are solving real problems and I love how impactful they are.

📆 CALENDAR

OUR CALENDAR APPEARS in two sections:

  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.

JUNE

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

15-18 June (Wednesday- Saturday): Afreximbank annual meetings, St. Regis Almasa Hotel, new capital, Egypt.

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

16 June (Thursday): EU-Egypt Sustainable Food Value Chain conference, Grand Nile Tower Hotel, Cairo.

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

21-22 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, Cairo.

21-23 June (Tuesday-Thursday): Commonwealth Business Forum, Kigali, Rwanda.

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

25-27 June (Saturday-Monday): Big 5 Construct, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

26 June (Sunday): The deadline for private companies to pre-register ahead of bidding for the second phase of the PPP national project to establish and operate 1k language schools.

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

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

30 June (Thursday): Deadline for bids for National Democratic Party HQ redevelopment contract.

June: Egypt will launch a unified ticketing system for all means of transport at the Adly Mansour Interchange Station.

June: Egypt and Israel will sign an agreement with the EU to increase LNG exports.

JULY

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

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

July: Actis’ expected sale of its majority stake in Lekela to Infinity and Masdar’s Infinity Power.

First week of July: The national dialogue called for by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi kicks off.

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

1 July (Friday): Official rollout of e-receipt system begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

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

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

AUGUST

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 600 MW to be completed.

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

SEPTEMBER

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

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

6-9 September (Tuesday-Friday): Gate Travel Expo 2022, El Kobba Palace, Cairo.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

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

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

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.

OCTOBER

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

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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

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

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer, Washington, DC.

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

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

NOVEMBER

November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

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

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

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

4-6 November (Friday-Sunday): The Autotech auto exhibition kicks off at the Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

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

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

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

DECEMBER

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

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.

MAY 2023

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

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

2Q2022: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt will invest in two companies in the financial inclusion and non-banking financial services sectors.

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

End of 2Q2022: Door for bidding for the contract to redevelop the site of the former National Democratic Party HQ to close.

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

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.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

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: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

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.

**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.

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.