Wednesday, 21 September 2022

PM — Racing for the space economy

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It’s another day where the news cycle at home is primarily led by capital market activity, while the international press is looking at Moscow as it ramps up its offensive against Ukraine.

THE BIG STORY TODAY

Andersen values Alex Medical some 8% higher than Tawasol-LimeVest’s acquisition bid: Alexandria Medical Services is worth EGP 52.80 per share, according to the fair value study the healthcare provider commissioned from financial advisors Andersen, the company said in a disclosure (pdf) to the bourse. The figure is some 7.8% higher than the ongoing mandatory tender offer (MTO) from the Tawasol Holdings-LimeVest consortium at EGP 49.00, and 8.6% more than Yas Holding’s competing bid of EGP 48.62 per share. Andersen values the entire company at EGP 822.2 mn.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD

Putin drafts reserves, threatens nuclear war: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of Moscow’s 300k-strong army reserve as the country’s offensive in Ukraine has struggled. “Russia will use all the means at its disposal,” Putin said, in an apparent threat that Moscow could use its nuclear weapons in the war. The order comes ahead of referendums scheduled for the weekend in the south-eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia to vote on joining Russia.

The story is everywhere in the international press: The Financial Times | Reuters | The Wall Street Journal | NPR | New York Post

Meanwhile, German police raided 24 properties linked to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holstein as part of an ongoing investigation for sanction violations, Bloomberg reported, citing Munich prosecutors. Usmanov is investigated for hiring security staff to guard a luxury compound in Bavaria. The bn’aire is a close ally to Putin and has a net worth of USD 17.8 bn. Reuters and the Washington Post also have the story.


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

  • Central bank eases FX rules for imports: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has relaxed restrictions on the use of foreign currencies for imports in a bid to ease the buildup of goods at ports.
  • Importers get more time to learn how to use Nafeza: The government has postponed the rollout of the Advance Customs Information (ACI) customs system to air freight until 1 January to give importers, customs brokers, shipping agents and overseas companies more time to get used to the system.
  • Alex Medical’s board is taking issue with theTawasol Holdings-LimeVest consortium’s bid to acquire up to 74% of the company, saying the offer doesn’t represent the value of the company and lacks concrete plans for the future.

FOR TOMORROW-

The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to discuss interest rates, and the signs are pointing towards a third hike of 2022. Six of seven analysts and economists surveyed in our regular poll expect the Monetary Policy Committee to raise rates during its meeting tomorrow as inflation rises and the EGP continues to weaken. HC Securities also added its voice to the chorus, saying earlier this week it sees the central bank raising rates by 100 bps at this meeting and another 100 bps in the November meeting due to Egypt’s deteriorating external position and expectations for inflation to accelerate in the coming months.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Our friends at HSBC are hosting an energy transition webinar series next Tuesday-Thursday, 27-29 September. The series will look at the “latest climate analysis in relation to the global energy market and transition to net zero” in six different sessions covering energy security, what is required to ensure the success of COP27, financing and investment needs for the energy transition, and the scaling up of renewables in the region, among other topics. You can register for the series here.

WANT MORE on the region’s energy transition? Catch this op-ed in EnterpriseAM by HSBC’s Group Head, Center of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Zoe Knight on to the capital that’s needed to help drive that shift.

A Spanish business delegation will be in town next Tuesday and Wednesday (27-28 September) for the Egypt-Spain Multilateral Partnership Forum, organized by the Spanish Institute for Export and Investment, according to a press release (pdf). The two-day conference will include seminars and panel discussions on trade and investment in transport, energy, and water with Egyptian ministers and representatives from government bodies, alongside officials from international financing institutions and Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Xiana Méndez Bértolo. The agenda for the conference is available here (pdf).

GITEX Global is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center from 10-14 October. The event, which is running under the theme “enter the next digital universe,” will bring together players in Big Tech to discuss AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, the metaverse, and more.

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

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Our favorite weather app tells us to expect a warmer end to the week, with a daytime high of 35°C and nighttime low of 23°C.

enterprise

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

Could we be getting non-injectable covid vaccines? Regulators in China and India have given the go-ahead for two vaccines delivered through the mouth or nose, the Wall Street Journal reports. While existing vaccines have reduced symptomatic disease, severe illness, and death, they have not had much success in preventing mild infections or transmission. Scientists say the new vaccine method may hold more promise for preventing the spread of covid-19 because they work in the nose and lungs, where we first encounter the virus during transmission.

How it works: An intranasal vaccine could build up immunity in the upper airway tract, effectively block infection and transmission, and also stimulate the immune system better than injected vaccines leading to longer-lasting protection, a scientist told the WSJ. The mechanism of the vaccine is similar to the injectable versions, using an adenovirus — a virus that causes the common cold — engineered to include the genetic coding of the spike protein located on the surface of the coronavirus. Once the vaccine is inhaled, the genetic code tells human cells to make the spike protein, triggering an immune response that can offer protection if you later encounter the real covid.

But are they actually effective? China’s Convidecia Air published the results of a trial on 130 people which reported that two doses of its vaccine generated an antibody response similar to one dose of an injected vaccine. India’s iNCOVACC concluded two clinical trials this year including a trial of over 3k unvaccinated people who received two doses of the nasal vaccine and another booster trial with 875 people who received a single nasal vaccine dose following two doses of another vaccine. The trials showed iNCOVACC produced a strong immune response, but didn’t report whether it reduced symptomatic disease.


Is the race to be the founder of a “space economy” underway? Four American companies are bidding to replace the International Space Station (ISS) with a privately-owned and operated station, the Financial Times reports. The ISS will be decommissioned by the end of the decade, leaving a gap for space-based research but it will also open up the chance for the private sector to expand into manufacturing, tourism, entertainment and more. Axiom Space, Nanoracks, Blue Origin, and Northrop Grumman have been selected to develop commercially viable models, although there are concerns on whether the commercial market will be big enough to sustain private stations.

Looking beyond research: The ISS research lab and microgravity environment has supported thousands of groundbreaking experiments and discoveries across a range of scientific disciplines, NASA says, helping with the development of cancer meds, Alzheimer’s research, and even improving fabric softener with space-based research. But now companies are hopeful that new private sector stations will be designed with the capacity to produce certain products at scale for sale back on Earth.

The space market will pull in big money: Estimates for the size of the ‘space economy’ reach as high as USD 1 tn a year by 2040, the FT says, citing Citi, but the annual sales for commercial space stations is estimated at just USD 8 bn. Out of the four initial contracts awarded, NASA will select one or more for the final contracts around 2025 who will earn an estimated USD 1 bn in annual revenues from the space agency to fulfill station services left behind by the decommissioned ISS.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(all times CLT)

Thriller fans, this one fits just right: Screenwriter Graham Moore (who landed the 2014 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game) makes his directorial debut with his own co-written screenplay The Outfit, which is available to rent on Amazon Prime. The movie is set in Moore’s hometown of Chicago in 1956, in a suit shop run by Leonard Burling (Mark Rylance), a British Savile-Row-trained cutter who immigrated to the US after WWII. The local gangsters are his most loyal customers, often conducting their, ahem, business in the back of his shop, while Burling goes about his business, making suits. This goes on for years until it’s discovered that there is a mole in the gangsters’ organization that has been secretly recording incriminating tapes of conversations and handing them to the FBI, potentially bringing down the entire operation. The mole, along with a rival gang called The Outfit emerging on the scene, escalates tensions as they scramble to find out the mole’s identity.

Not much going on tonight: Scotland faces off against Ukraine tonight at 8:45pm in the UEFA Nations League.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(all times CLT)

Amsterdam-based DJ Disco Arabesquo will play a mashup of 70s-90s Middle-Eastern and North African songs at Cairo Jazz Club tonight at 8pm. DJ Safi will also take the stage.

Austrian director Sabine Derflinger’s documentary Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism, is screening tonight at the Austrian Cultural Forum. The documentary portrays the the life of feminist Austrian politician Johanna Dohnal, who fought for the implementation of women's rights.

Artist Ayman El-Semary’s solo exhibition Tent is ongoing at the Picasso Art Gallery until 2 October.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Meet the Cold War’s youngest peacemaker: At the height of the Cold War in November 1982, 10-year-old US citizen Samantha Smith was worried about the possibility of a nuclear war breaking out. She wrote to the newly appointed Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, inquiring as to why bilateral relations between the Soviet Union and the US had reached such a low point. Her letter was published in the biggest Soviet newspaper, Pravda, but she never got a response. Her lobbying continued with a letter to Soviet ambassador to the US, Anatoly Dobrynin, asking if Andropov planned to respond. Dobrynin ultimately responded, kickstarting a media frenzy with Samantha being interviewed by Johnny Carson among other talk show hosts and being featured on major news networks. In 1983, she received a response from Andropov himself inviting her to visit the Soviet Union. In her book, Journey to the Soviet Union, she details her initial two-week trip to the Soviet Union that played a role in de-escalating tensions between the two countries. Smith went on several other subsequent trips and continued her peacekeeping efforts up to her death in a plane crash at just 13 years old.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

EARNINGS WATCH-

Eastern Company’s net income after tax dropped 6% y-o-y to EGP 4.0 bn in FY 2021-2022, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues increased 7% y-o-y during the fiscal year to EGP 17.1 bn.


CIB’s planned capital increase gets the all clear: CIB will go ahead with its plans to issue EGP 10 bn in new shares to shareholders, raising its capital to EGP 29.82 bn from EGP 19.85 bn currently. The bank will issue 1 bn shares at EGP 10 apiece to be covered by the general reserves for the period ended 31 December 2021, after the bourse greenlit the move, according to an EGX announcement (pdf).

MARKET WATCH-

The EGX30 fell 0.55% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 999.8 mn (4.9% above the 90-day average). International investors were net buyers. The index is down 16.7% YTD.

In the green: Alexandria Containers (+1.7%), CIB (+1.2%) and e-Finance (+0.9%).

In the red: Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (-6.9%), Fawry (-6.1%) and Rameda (-2.8%).

📊 MACRO PICTURE

The USD has been on a tear this year. That strength is problematic for emerging markets and the global economy at large. Spurred by successive interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve as the central bank pulled out all the stops to cap soaring inflation, the greenback has been rallying since the beginning of the year, with the Bloomberg USD Spot Index up some 12% year-to-date. The currency’s rise, while beneficial in some ways for the US economy, is a growing source of concern for the global economy as a whole, and emerging markets in particular.

First thing’s first: Why the USD has been rallying so much to begin with: The Fed kicked off a monetary tightening cycle at the beginning of the year to quell record-high inflation. Although the rest of the world’s central banks — including Egypt’s — have also begun raising interest rates, the US is outpacing most, making the USD an ever-more attractive safe haven. The Fed is widely expected to announce today its third successive 75-bps hike when the meeting wraps tomorrow. Higher interest rates “sparked selling in stocks and bonds, driving up the two-year Treasury yield, which typically moves with expectations for Fed policy,” leading investors to seek shelter in the USD, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Additionally, there are several other fundamentals underpinning the USD, including the strong jumping-off point from the US’ covid-19 macroeconomic response and the fact that the US is not exposed to “egregiously expensive foreign energy,” former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told Bloomberg. “All of those various factors are making [the US] a safe haven, a mecca for capital — and that’s causing resources to flow into the USD,” Summers said.

What does all this mean for the US? It depends whether you’re on Wall Street or Main Street. For Main Street — finance-world speak for smaller businesses that reflect the broader or real economy — a strengthening USD means higher purchasing power for US consumers thanks to imports being cheaper. But on Wall Street, investors are growing increasingly concerned that the strengthening greenback will weigh on US corporate earnings and the global economy, particularly as emerging markets reckon with higher debt costs and a weaker lower currency, the Wall Street Journal notes.

The outlook for emerging markets looks far bleaker: A strengthening USD is “a major headwind for local currency assets in emerging markets,” particularly as the currency’s appreciation comes at the same time as a slowdown in global economic growth and higher interest rates in developed markets, Tellimer Research Strategy and Head of Equity Research Hasnain Malik wrote in a note.

The upside: Equities and currencies in emerging markets both “look cheap,” Malik writes.

The caveat: Currencies being cheap isn’t enough, and must be “accompanied by credible monetary policy and a manageable level of external account pressure,” he notes. And for many emerging markets, any upside from having a weaker currency and therefore more attractive export prospects is outweighed by the higher cost of USD borrowing, the Economist says.

This is all coming at a time when debt piles are quite large, especially because of covid-era borrowing: There is currently some USD 83 bn-worth of USD-denominated debt across emerging markets that will by due by the end of next year, according to data from the Institute of International Finance cited by Brookings. And many markets aren’t ready to face that debt pile, University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business finance professor Raghuram Rajan tells the Wall Street Journal. “Many countries have not been through a cycle of much higher interest rates since the 1990s. There’s a lot of debt out there augmented by the borrowing in the pandemic,” which is expected to “widen” the stress in emerging markets.

What happens now? Further USD appreciation could be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back, cautions Oxford Economics’ head of emerging markets research. “You’re already getting frontier markets on the tipping point toward crisis, the last thing they need is a strong USD.” Economists and policymakers are considering the possibility of a repeat of the 1985 Plaza Accord, which saw the US, France, West Germany, the UK, and Japan coordinating to depreciate the USD relative to the JPY and Germany’s Deutsch mark. However, the possibility of such a coordinated effort appears to be relatively slim, as the contemporary global economy and political dynamics are vastly different from where they were some four decades ago.

📆 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.

SEPTEMBER

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 50 fintech startups.

September: Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

September: A delegation from Germany’s Aldi will visit Egypt to look at potential investments.

September: Government to launch an international promotional campaign for Egyptian tourism.

13-27 September (Tuesday-Tuesday): UN General Assembly, New York.

19-22 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes One on One Conference, Dubai.

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

21 September (Wednesday): The Egyptian Virtual Food Show (pdf).

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

22 September (Thursday): Deadline to submit prequalification applications for companies interested in submitting a proposal for sea water desalination projects

25-27 September (Sunday-Tuesday) A delegation of executives at Egyptian real estate companies visit Saudi Arabia to present developers with potential investments in Egypt’s real estate sector.

25-29 September (Sunday-Thursday) FRANEGYPT will hold its first virtual expo on franchises in the country.

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

27-28 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Egypt-Spain Multilateral Partnership Forum, Sofitel Gezira, Cairo, Egypt.

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Africa Renewables Investment Summit (ARIS), Cape Town, South Africa.

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): HSBC Energy Transition Webinar series.

28-29 September (Wednesday-Thursday): The sixth edition of Arab Pensions and Social Ins. Conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

30 September (Friday): Winter opening hours for shops and restaurants begin.

OCTOBER

October: House of Representatives reconvenes after summer recess

October: Air Sphinx, EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary to commence operations.

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

1 October (Saturday): Start of 2022-2023 public school year.

1 October (Saturday): 2022- 2023 academic year begins for public universities.

4-8 October (Tuesday-Saturday): The Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council of the Trade and Industry Ministry is organizing a trade mission to Kenya.

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

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

10 October (Monday): The CEO Women Conference.

10-14 October (Monday-Friday): Gitex Global, Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Dubai, UAE.

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings, Washington, DC.

15 October (Saturday): Cairo Metro will launch a global tender for maintenance work on the power stations and overhead catenary system of Line 1.

16-19 October (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo Water Week 2022, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

17 October (Monday): Fifth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Geneva, Switzerland.

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

27-30 October (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo ICT, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

Late October: First Abu Dhabi Bank to complete full integration with Bank Audi’s Egyptian operations after merger.

NOVEMBER

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

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Arab League annual summit, Algiers, Algeria.

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): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

7 November (Monday): The inauguration of the first line of the high-speed rail.

7-13 November (Mon-Sun): The International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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

DECEMBER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

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

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

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

FEBRUARY 2023

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

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

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

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

APRIL 2023

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

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

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

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

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

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

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

JUNE 2023

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

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

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

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

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

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

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.

SEPTEMBER 2023

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

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

OCTOBER 2023

6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

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

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

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

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

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

4Q 2022: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

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

4Q2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

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

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

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

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

**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.

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