Sunday, 12 March 2023

PM — Norse god of gods goes way back



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the end of the start of the week. Things are still on a relatively brisk note in the news cycle as the ripple effect of the Silicon Valley Bank continues to be felt.


A new lending pool to resuscitate short selling: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is mulling launching a lending pool of stocks licensed for short selling with the EGX and Misr for Central Clearing and Depository (MCDR) in a bid to resuscitate short selling, Al Borsa quotes FRA boss Mohamed Farid. MCDR would manage the potential lending pool, Farid reportedly said.


Picking up where we left off this morning, the international business press remains entirely fixated on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank as depositors scramble to access their money to be able to meet payroll obligations. The story continues to top the front pages of the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and CNBC.

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

  • Silicon Valley Bank collapse could squeeze dozens of high-profile local startups: The implosion of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week has likely left scores of Egyptian startups without access to deposits they parked at the bank.
  • Inflation surged to a fresh high in February on the back of a record increase in food prices amid the ongoing depreciation of the EGP and higher demand going into Ramadan.
  • CBE wants advisors for United Bank sale: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has sent investment banks — including “several big Western banks” — a request to pitch for an advisory role in the sale of United Bank of Egypt.


*** It’s Inside Industry day — your weekly briefing of all things industrial in Egypt. Inside Industry focuses each Sunday on what it takes to turn Egypt into a manufacturing and export powerhouse, ranging from initial investment and planning to product distribution, through to land allocation to industrial processes, supply chain management, labor, automation and technology, inputs and exports, regulation and policy.

In today’s issue: Automotive industry players express their hopes for the newly-active Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing and the specific issues they hope to see the council address in the industry.


Egypt is playing host to PPP MENA Forum: The two-day Public-Private Partnership MENA Forum kicks off at the Nile-Ritz Carlton in Cairo on 19 March, bringing together over 300 regional and international PPP players to discuss new partnership models and projects to advance the region’s socio-economic growth. Discussions held under the patronage of Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will include policies for infrastructure projects, private funding for national projects, governance, and best practices.

TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Don’t put away your winter wardrobe just yet — we’re still getting a few days of colder weather, coupled with rain or a sandstorm, depending on where you live. We’re in for moderate rain tomorrow through Wednesday on the country’s coasts, while Greater Cairo will see windy periods off and on throughout the week, according to our favorite weather app. Daytime highs will fall to 20-22°C from Tuesday through the end of the week, with an overnight low of 12°C on Tuesday, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority forecast.



Nordic god Odin was worshiped 150 years earlier than scientists once thought: Scientists in Denmark have discovered inscriptions on a gold pendant that trace belief in the Nordic deity back to the 5th century, not the second half of the 6th century as was previously thought, according to the Associated Press. The discovery, which is part of an archaeological treasure the scientists unearthed in 2020, is dubbed the Vindelev Hoard after the village where it was discovered, includes nearly one kilogram of gold, roman coins, and jewelry. Inscriptions on gold pendants reading “He is Odin’s man” in the native runic alphabet reference a mysterious leader or king. Not only are they “one of the best executed runic inscriptions,” according to expert Lisbeth Imer, they are also rare to come by. These inscriptions are therefore particularly valuable because they shed light on the Nordic people’s religious beliefs, how they honored their gods, and the historical timelines through which they did so.

Who is Odin, exactly? In Norse mythology, Odin is the god of gods — venerated but not without controversy. Full of contradictions, he is the god of poetry, but also the god of war who bears no particular interest in principles of fairness and justice. An interesting feature when considering the importance of conquest in Nordic history: A topic that gained a lot of interest lately thanks to a plethora of shows about Vikings.

New innovation at Apple puts Cook’s legacy at the forefront of the company: Tim Cook’s legacy at Apple may depend on the success or failure of the tech giant’s first wholly new computing platform developed under his leadership, reports the Financial Times. Apple has seen spectacular growth under Cook, with its market capitalization ballooning to around USD 2.4 tn today from around USD 350 bn in 2011, but the company has been criticized for “iterating on new ground” rather than breaking new ground with its products.

Enter Cook’s legacy product — a mixed-reality headset: Shaped like giant ski goggles, the headset allows users to watch 3D immersive video, perform interactive workouts or chat with realistic avatars on a revamped FaceTime. Coming in at USD 3k apiece, only around 1 mn units are expected to sell in the device’s first year. Apple’s industrial design team have cautioned Cook to practice patience with the launch of the headset, wanting to delay until a more lightweight version is technically feasible. Cook, however, is pressing ahead with the debut, expected for June — an indicator of changing power dynamics at Apple, with the once all-powerful design team coming up short.



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A little bit of cheesiness, based on a true story: If you’re looking for an easy watch that’s sure to work up some emotions, look no further than Netflix’s 2 Hearts. The movie tells two love tales about fate bringing four individuals together despite the distance between them and their drastically dissimilar lives. 2 Hearts is based on Eric Gregory’s nonfiction book All My Tomorrows: A Story of Tragedy, Transplant and Hope. The movie jumps back and forth between the individual lives of Chris, a college student, and Jorge, an affluent man, before revealing what brings them together in a profound twist of fate.

Today in the Egyptian Premier League: Zamalek will battle it out against Enppi for the three-point addition that would move Zamalek to fourth place at 7pm tonight. The White Knights are currently in fifth place with 33 points, lagging three points behind fourth-place Al Ittihad Al Sakandary. Enppi is on the brink of the danger zone and is currently just three points ahead of the National Bank, which is at the bottom of the ranking. Aswan and Future hit the pitch at 3pm; the match is currently ongoing with Future leading 1-0 as we hit dispatch.

In Gameweek 27 of the English Premier League, Fulham hosts Arsenal at 4pm. The battle for the top spot between Arsenal and Manchester City — which is currently in second — is still going strong, after the title holder beat Crystal Palace yesterday to take a two-point lead over Man City. Other matches happening today:

  • Manchester United v Southampton (4pm)
  • West Ham v Aston Villa (4pm)
  • Newcastle v Wolverhampton (6:30pm)

The most important matches in Spain and Italy:

  • Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona (10pm)
  • Juventus v Sampdoria (9:45pm)


New Cairo gets a European bistro with a modern spin. Osteria recently opened on Choueifat road and features a refreshing and airy atmosphere and a menu to match it. The meat eaters out there must try the rack of lamb slathered in rosemary jus and decadent confit potatoes. And because it’s a crime to leave pasta enthusiasts behind, the fresh pappardelle pasta covered in a mouthwatering black truffle butter and parmesan cheese will induce a party in your palate. For dessert — if you somehow manage to find room in there — we recommend the strawberry and pistachio pavlova. Bonus points: The bistro is hosting a mother’s day brunch on Saturday, 18 March at 3pm which will feature a delicious menu and live oldies performed by Karkadan if you feel like taking your mama out for a jolly good time.

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Get ready to be inspired by some of Egypt's most talented female artists with Art d’Egypte’s Kaon exhibition at the Arts’ Hub in Zamalek. The exhibition, which kicked off last Thursday and runs through next Thursday, 23 March, is held in celebration of International Women's Day.

Cirque du Soleil’s OVO: The event features 100 performers taking the stage with their acrobatic acts. OVO is hosting 16 shows until this Friday, 18 March at Cairo international Stadium Hall, courtesy of real estate developer Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (pdf).

A musical night at Rawabet with Youssra & Friends: Musician Youssra El Hawary will be performing at Rawabet Art Space this Tuesday, 14 March alongside pianist Andrew Milad and several other musicians, “bringing the spirit of friends jamming together to the stage through playfulness and improvisations.” The show begins at 8pm and wraps by 11pm and you can book tickets here.

Folk music with a side of education: Beit El Sennary plays host to Aswat: Egyptian ša‘bī identity in the Nasserist folk ensembles this Thursday, 16 March at 8pm. The event will include a concert by Firqa Al Alat Al Sa’biyya and a lecture from Kawkab Tawfik.


Looking for inspiration? Former first lady Michelle Obama’s latest book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, offers strategies to cope with change and find light and meaning in life. Using the same candid storytelling style that made her bestselling memoir, Becoming, so relatable, Obama taps into a reservoir of personal stories to offer everyday wisdom. She speaks from her own personal experience about building a trusted circle of friends and mentors, finding community, and working through times of fear and uncertainty, offering advice on how to live meaningfully and honestly. Through her stories, she shows how finding our inner light can empower us to live a more full and honest life.



CI Capital reported EGP 796 mn in net income after tax and minority interest in 2022, rising 17% y-o-y. the company said in an earnings release (pdf). The group saw record revenues of EGP 3.9 bn during the year, up 9% y-o-y on a non-adjusted basis and up 37% y-o-y after normalizing for one-offs in 2021. The group’s investment bank “had another solid year having advised on multiple high-profile transactions across the ECM, DCM, and M&A space,” with investment banking revenues coming in at EGP 85 mn during the year.

Raya Holding’s net income dropped 22.6% y-o-y in 2022 to EGP 419 mn, according to the company’s financial statements (pdf). Revenues were up 21.1% y-o-y during the year to post EGP 20.4 bn.


The EGX30 fell 3.1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.8 bn (11% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 9.2% YTD.

In the green: Egypt Kuwait Holding (+0.7%).

In the red: e-Finance (-7.8%), GB Auto (-7.7%) and Ezz Steel (-7.3%).


Will the Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing save the local automotive industry? After the House of Representatives passed legislation last October to establish the Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing — which is mandated with setting up policies for the Egyptian automotive industry, including electric vehicles — the council held its first meeting last month. Industry players Enterprise spoke with are hopeful that the establishment of the council will help achieve the automotive sector’s most pressing goals, including saving factories on the brink of shutting down, attracting new international investors, and encouraging automotive assembly and manufacturing.

Altogether, our sources appear optimistic that 2023 will be a turning point for the industry as the government rolls back import restrictions while introducing policies to encourage local and international investments in the sector.

REFRESHER- The council is chaired by Madbouly and also includes several cabinet ministers, as well as representatives from the Customs Authority, the Federation of Egyptian Industries, and other state authorities. Private sector players — including representatives from Nissan Egypt, local auto parts manufacturer AutoTec, the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, and German exhaust system manufacturer Boysen Egypt — have also been tapped to join the council. The launch of the council comes as the government is working to introduce its automotive strategy, the Automotive Industry Development Program (AIDP). AIDP will provide incentives to carmakers in a bid to increase local assembly and component manufacturing here, up the sector’s competitiveness to become a regional manufacturing hub, and bolster export volumes.

The industry’s first priority: Save the factories that already exist. Several facilities in Egypt — including Al Amal Auto’s BYD and Lada assembly plant — have been hurting and teetering on the brink of shutting down altogether as a result of last year’s import restrictions. Al Amal’s factory has been forced to scale down its operations and is now working just four days per week, with its output slashed by some 60% as a result of limited component imports, Chairman Amr Soliman told Enterprise. Resolving problems for existing assemblers would help push the wheel towards more component manufacturing, which would help create a real automotive manufacturing industry, Soliman suggested.

But we shouldn’t lose sight of the long-term goal of localizing automotive manufacturing: The future of automotive manufacturing in Egypt rests on localizing the production of automotive components, our sources stressed. The majority of automotive components and spare parts for BYD and Lada cars, for example, are imported from China, but companies could be encouraged to bring their operations to Egypt with the right set of incentives, particularly as rising global shipping costs are making it expensive to limit manufacturing hubs to countries like China.

The local industry needs to see some policy changes to thrive: The government needs to support the automotive industry by quickly launching the long-awaited AIDP, which will, among other things, encourage international automotive companies to resume car shipments to Egyptian distributors in a more regular fashion, Soliman said. The strategy needs to introduce some tax and customs changes that would put locally assembled cars and completely knocked-down (CKD) units on the same footing as fully imported vehicles, he said. As it currently stands, CKD units are subject to development fees and customs, while there are fully imported vehicles that are imported at zero customs. Automotive players want to see automotive components imported for local assembly without being subject to the current 5-7% customs fees or the 3% development fee, which together drive up the cost of local assembly, Soliman told us.

That begs the question — where do we stand on AIDP? The strategy still needs to be shipped to the House of Representatives for approval and is expected to begin being implemented in 2H 2023, our sources in the Trade and Industry Ministry said. Global conditions are broadly uncertain, but AIDP will provide “attractive” incentives that will attract large investments soon, our source said. The government is already in “serious” talks with several international manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere, who are ready to begin executing on their investment plans once the strategy is launched, the source said.

EV manufacturing is the real future for the industry: We have a golden chance right now to turn Egypt into a regional hub for electric and environmentally-friendly vehicles by bringing in fresh investors and supporting factories’ transition to begin producing EVs, our sources agree. Electric vehicles are “the future of automotive manufacturing in the world,” which is reflected in the government’s new policies that give special focus to EVs, El Nasr Automotive’s Non-Executive Chairman Khaled Shedid told us. This step needs quick and decisive action from the Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing, including providing the necessary funding for industry players, our sources say.

But we might have to start off with EV assembly, rather than full-fledged manufacturing as a first phase, considering the large investments required, Soliman said. Still, there are some environmentally-friendly cars, including dual-fuel vehicles that run on electricity and diesel together, which can run for 170 km on electricity and 1,245 km on 45 liters of fuel, Soliman said.

Meanwhile, our EV infrastructure needs time to catch up with demand: One of the issues the Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing is looking at is expediting the buildout of electric vehicle charging stations and encouraging investments to expand the network of stations across the country, Saad and Soliman told us.

Your top industrial development stories for the week:

  • Government bodies inked agreements with international pharma firms including a Saudi and Emirati company to build pharma factories and diagnostic labs, including a beta thalassemia screening lab and a factory for biodegradable syringes and other medical supplies.
  • El Nasr Glass plans new production lines: Metallurgical Industries Holding Company signed an MoU with the Egyptian arm of Saudi wealth fund PIF to increase the capital of its subsidiary El Nasr Glass and Crystal Company. The fresh investment will be used to add production lines making glass panels used in solar plants.



23 February-11 March (Monday-Saturday): Diarna Exhibition, Cairo Festival City Mall, New Cairo.

8-18 March (Wednesday-Saturday): Cirque du Soleil’s OVO, Cairo international Stadium Hall.

9-23 March (Thursday-Thursday): Art d’Egypte’s Kaon exhibition, The Arts’ Hub, Zamalek.

15 March (Wednesday): Season 3 of Ted Lasso will be out on Apple TV.

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


16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

21-26 April (Friday-Wednesday): LaLiga Egypt Football Camp, Xanadu Hotel, Makadi Bay, Hurghada.

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).


1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

1 May (Monday): Backstreet Boys at 7pm, ZED East, New Cairo.

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


10 June (Saturday): Thanaweya Amma examinations begin.

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

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.


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.


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

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


6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

13 October- 20 October (Friday-Friday): The sixth edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF).

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