Monday, 7 March 2022

PM — Truce talks, take three

TL;DR

🔎 WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

Good afternoon, friends, and welcome to a relatively quiet Monday, with no major news story dominating the local news cycle so far.

THE BIG(ish) STORY TODAY SO FAR-

Trucking startup Naqla has raised USD 10.5 mn in a pre-series A round led by El Sewedy Capital Holding, Hassan Allam Holding, and the Sallam family, according to a press release.

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

  • Rising wheat and oil prices will hit budget in Egypt, ministers say: Rising global wheat prices could cost the government an additional EGP 15 bn this fiscal year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. Meanwhile, Egypt is being “negatively affected” by spiraling oil prices, as Brent crude is now nearly double the price forecast in the state budget, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said.
  • Real estate brokers face new prospect of regulation: Real estate brokers could soon face regulatory scrutiny after the House of Representatives approved in principle amendments to the law regulating commercial and real estate brokerage.
  • Misr Italia Properties is looking to issue securitized bonds worth EGP 700 mn during 4Q2022.

HAPPENING NOW- The House of Representatives is currently holding several committee-level discussions of bills, including:

  • The Unified Ins. Act, which would make the Financial Regulatory Authority the primary regulator for the ins. sector and mandate economic courts with mediating disputes relating to the law (House Constitutional and Legislative + Planning and Budgeting + Economic + SMEs committees);
  • The Industrial Development Authority’s FY2020-2021 closing balance, as part of the customary end-of-year reports on the closing balances of individual government institutions (House Planning and Budgeting Committee).

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Ceasefire talks, take three: Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are currently in Belarus, near its border with Poland, for a fresh round of talks to find an end to the ongoing conflict, according to Sputnik Belarus. The last round of negotiations last week failed to achieve a ceasefire and agreements to set up humanitarian corridors to allow for civilian evacuation all but disintegrated.

Russia opened new corridors for civilians to flee Ukraine… into Russia and Belarus, which is siding with Russia, Reuters reports. The corridors, which Russia’s Defense Ministry announced were opening this morning, will allow civilians in Kyiv to Belarus, while those in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, can flee to Russia.

Moscow isn’t entertaining a case Ukraine filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Russia, in which Ukraine is accusing Russia of using false claims of “acts of genocide” as a basis for its invasion. The first hearing held today, dedicated to Ukraine’s request that the ICJ impose provisional measures to stop Russia’s invasion, went on without representation from Moscow, according to Reuters.

ON THE DIPLO FRONT- More sanctions against Russia from France and the EU “are on the table,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said today, without providing further details.

China is still trying to toe the middle line, with its Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying today that Beijing has a “rock solid” friendship with Russia and “is willing to continue to play a constructive role in pushing for peace and promoting talks,” Reuters reports. China’s Red Cross is also sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Wang said.

That friendship is affecting corporate decisions in China: Ride-hailing app DiDi reversed its decision to exit Russia, saying that it will continue operations there despite announcing previously that it would shut down operations in Russia and Kazakhstan due to losses, according to the Financial Times.

MARKETS- Some traders are wagering that oil could surpass USD 200 per barrel before the end of March, as prices soar in response to blocked Russian supply, Bloomberg reports. International benchmark Brent crude surged to highs not seen since 2008 amid major supplier Russia’s war with Ukraine, rising as high as USD 139 per barrel during yesterday’s trading.

Apparently not too worried about soaring oil: The Biden administration, which is mulling a unilateral move to ban imports of Russian crude without its European partners (who are heavily dependent on Russian supply), Bloomberg reported this morning, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

US allies including South Korea and Japan would likely follow Biden’s lead if he does move to bar Russian imports, “even though it will leave them vulnerable,” one strategist said. On Russia’s end, meanwhile, supply through Ukraine has so far continued unaffected, Reuters cited Russia’s Prime news agency as reporting.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will be in town this Thursday and Friday, the State Department said in a statement on Thursday. Sherman will meet with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and “other senior officials,” including National Council for Human Rights chief Moushira Khattab.

Contemporary art and culture center Darb1718 is hosting its 3031 Art Festival until next Saturday, 12 March on its premises in Fustat, Old Cairo. Unique collections of multidisciplinary art will be on display along with live music, dance, theater performances, and interactive workshops. Guest speakers Adsum Art Consultancy will be on hand to discuss investing in art. Catch a full day of activities from 1pm–9:30pm on weekends and weekdays from 4pm–1pm.

Other news triggers to keep your eye on over the next few weeks:

  • Inflation: Inflation figures for February will be released on Thursday, 10 March.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its next monetary policy meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

The Ahlan Ramadan supermarket expo will take place from 24 March to 1 April at the Cairo International Convention Center.

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 temperatures to reach 26°C during the day before dropping to 13°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE

Are digital startups taking over the employee mental health assistance industry? Tech-savvy digital startups aiming to ease access to mental health support for company employees have boomed over the past couple of years, in a bid to keep up with the soaring rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse that jumped due to the pandemic, Bloomberg writes. Dozens of companies have jumped in to fill the gap left by industry veterans — famous mostly for their face-to-face counseling sessions and no-toll hotlines — to offer services like mindfulness training, matching workers with caregivers, and fast-tracked appointments with mental health experts. Around 10 of the companies are currently valued at USD 1 bn, and investments in the sector have doubled to USD 5.5 bn.

YouTube Kids gets a revamp — actually prioritizing the kids this time: YouTube Kids, the first children’s version of a tech product, has shifted its method for curating children-appropriate content, the Wall Street Journal writes. When the platform was initially introduced, it was “ruled by algorithms with little human intervention,” but following felicidadmed.com that the platform wasn’t prioritizing children’s safety, it started depending more on humans to select the most kid-suitable content. In 2019, the company removed mns of low quality videos from its kids platform, resulting in almost 80% of the videos available being scrapped. This content included videos that violated its commercial content policy, removing cartoon parodies and many unboxing videos. The platform currently houses videos from preapproved content partners.

👌 ENTERPRISE RECOMMENDS

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(all times CLT)

Jameel Jedan is Shahid’s new comedy drama out of Saudi Arabia: We were pleasantly surprised by this show and how fun it ended up being. The show follows a young girl Jameel — not Jameela — who awakes from a five-year coma to find that all that she knew in life has changed. Her friends are finishing up college while she still has to finish high school — all while coping with everyone around her looking different and leading new lives. Among the big changes Jameel has to catch up with is her mom, who is now divorced from her dad and married to a bossy lowlife who Jameel can’t stand. Meanwhile, when Jameel tries to find out where her dad went but fails to get any information from those around her, she sets off to find him and meets a ton of trouble along the way. Also on the journey is Nour, the brother of one of her mean girl classmates, whom she also sets out to destroy. Together, Jameel and Nour blaze a path of destruction — which the show depicts through colorful animated anime scenes — by setting fires and breaking cars, with a quick stint in jail.

There’s a single match tonight in the English Premier League between Tottenham and Everton at 10pm. Manchester City tightened its control of the city yesterday by beating United 4-1 in the derby, moving to the top of the league followed by Liverpool.

And one match in the Spanish League as well: Atletico Bilbao hosts Levante at 10pm.

In the Egyptian League: The National Bank and Misr Lel Makassa are currently on the field as we dispatch. Meanwhile, El Zamalek meets El Gouna at 8pm, preceded by the Ismaili match against Pharco at 5:30pm.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

(all times CLT)

Japanese Film Week 2022 is ongoing at Cairo Opera House’s Artistic Creativity Center. Seven films from Japan will be shown throughout the week in an event open to the public.

Zamalek Cinema is showing a special screening of The Godfather Part 1 tomorrow at 7pm as part of the 50-year anniversary of the film.

Later on in the week, the Cairo Opera Company will be performing Disney songs in special concerts on Thursday and Friday, 10 and 11 March, at 8pm.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

The Business of Venture Capital covers the basics and fundamentals of VCs that any business owner should know: While VCs are growing players in the Egyptian market, it’s still a black box for many startup and business owners, which leads to issues when raising funding, a VC managing partner told Enterprise. Mahendra Ramsinghani’s book is a great way to change that as it covers the entire process of venture firm formation and management, fund-raising, portfolio construction, value creation, and exit strategies. Full of examples, case studies, and important checklists to keep in mind, The Business of Venture Capital is a highly-recommended book for entrepreneurs to help them approach and talk to VCs with all the needed insights to get an agreement rolling.

🌊 GO WITH THE FLOW

EARNINGS WATCH-

TMG Holding’s bottom line rose 8% y-o-y in 2021 to EGP 1.78 bn, the company said in its financials (pdf). Revenues rose 9% y-o-y in 2021 to EGP 15.35 bn.

Aspire Capital’s bottom line decreased around 43% y-o-y to EGP 578 mn in 2021, according to the company’s financials (pdf). Revenues rose 1.9% y-o-y to EGP 142.8 mn during the year, not including revenues from “non-recurring business activities,” such as the sale of assets over the past two years.

MARKET ROUNDUP-

The EGX30 fell 3.6% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.49 bn (36.7% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 10.4% YTD.

In the green: Abu Qir Fertilizers (+0.9%), Cleopatra Hospital (+0.9%) and Mopco (+0.5%).

In the red: CIB (-7.2%), Rameda (-7.0%) and MM Group (-6.7%).

🚀 WHAT’S NEXT

enterprise

Everything you need to know to sound like a certified Crypto Bro: The rise in popularity of crypto assets in recent years has been accompanied by the growth of an entire subculture of crypto enthusiasts and the subsequent creation of so-called “Crypto Slang.” This new language, now used by investors, traders and kids who are super plugged into the crypto scene first popped up in online forums and social media platforms where users would discuss their market positions and debate strategies. Now, much of this lingo has seeped into the mainstream as interest in digital assets has skyrocketed. Here’s a round up of some of the most common (and bizarre) slang you might encounter on the internet when it comes to crypto assets:

HODL: Initially a misspelling of “Hold,” HODL, refers to holding a crypto asset, rather than selling it. Early on, people had wrongly interpreted HODL to be an acronym for “Hold On for Dear Life,” but it essentially means just that. Users usually throw out the term HODL or hodling during a sell-off to remind others to remain calm and take a longer-term view.

FUD: This one’s actually an acronym that spells out Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. FUD is most commonly used by crypto-enthusiasts to dismiss the spread of worrying info about cryptocurrencies as misinformation or “noise” coming from the outside world. You can HODL despite all the FUD.

Rekt: Rekt isn’t exclusively crypto slang, in other spaces — like online gaming for example — it's simply shorthand for the word “wrecked,” referring to someone or something that has been destroyed. In crypto, it has a similar definition which primarily refers to financial losses resulting from a bad trading decision.

Shill: Shilling is the act of promoting a particular coin or currency in the hopes of drumming up excitement and raising its value in the market. Paid celeb endorsements and other types of marketing designed to increase interest in the asset are typically frowned upon in the crypto community.

Pump and Dump: A more general investment term referring to an orchestrated effort among traders to artificially raise the price of an asset (pump) by buying up loads at once before quickly selling their holdings (dump) at a higher price than they had initially bought.

Bagholder: Bagholders are traders who get stuck holding a currency after a big sell-off, forcing them to sell at a loss. This can often happen in the aftermath of a Pump and Dump ploy where the market moved too fast for someone who was left holding the bag.

When Lambo? People often want to know when and by how much the value of their assets will appreciate. “When Lambo?” is the crypto equivalent of that question because of the astronomical gains made by early investors, who were able to purchase the luxury vehicle with their income. In other words, it asks: How much time before my holdings gain enough value for me to be able to afford a Lamborghini, which will set you back at least USD 200k for a cheaper model.

Flippening: The Flippening refers to a situation where the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH) eclipses BTC, currently by far the most valuable digital coin, in market capitalization. Some predict that the Flippening is not actually far off.

BTD/BTFD: Buy The Dip or Buy The [redacted] Dip is another rallying cry that doesn’t belong to the crypto community but has been adopted from bullish investors in the stock market who buy back into shares following a dip in price.

Sats: What do you call the smallest possible unit of Bitcoin? Sats, short for Satoshis, are exactly 0.00000001 BTC. The name comes from elusive Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, and is an important component of crypto trading to keep in mind. Because of how expensive it is to actually own an entire coin now (some USD 44k), people often trade in fractions of a coin or sats.

Whale: Whales are the biggest market movers. They’re investors with huge crypto holdings with the power to influence the direction of the market.

Diamond Hands: The popular phrase Diamond Hands, used mainly in Twitter and Reddit posts about asset trading, refers to those holding on to an investment despite a dip in value that people might otherwise sell off to cut their losses. This one is a huge rallying call for crypto bulls.

Weak Hands: On the flip side, If you panic at the first sight of turmoil in the market and sell off your entire crypto portfolio then you are a newbie with Weak Hands.

FOMO: Much like its common usage in pop-culture, FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, in crypto refers to concerns over missing out on potential gains from a currency rally. FOMO is sometimes the reason why investors end up buying crypto.

📆 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.

1Q2022: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med.

1Q2022: Pharos Energy’s sale of a 55% stake in El Fayum, Beni Suef concessions to IPR Energy Group subsidiary IPR Lake Qarun expected to close.

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: 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.

1H2022: The Transport Ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a transport route across the Nile to transport products from Al Canal’s Minya sugar factory.

24 February-7 March (Thursday-Monday): Diarna Handicrafts Fair. Cairo Festival City, Cairo.

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: Contracts for last two phases of Egypt’s USD 4.5 bn high-speed rail line to be signed.

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.

March: Egypt to host World Tourism Organization Middle East committee meeting.

March: The Salam – new administrative capital – 10th of Ramadan Light Rail Train (LRT) line will start operating.

March: The new multi-purpose station at Dekheila Port and the revamped Ain Sokhna Port will start operating.

March: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the condition booklets for the operations of the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

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

15 March: The first edition of Export Smart at Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski

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

20 March (Sunday): Applications close for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative.

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

24 March (Thursday): GB Auto Extraordinary General Assembly (pdf).

24 March-1 April: Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo, Cairo International Convention Center.

25 March (Friday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff (TBC).

26 March (Saturday): Egypt-EU World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations end.

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

28 March (Monday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff between Egypt and Senegal (TBC).

28 March (Monday): The court hearing for a case brought by Arabia Investments Holding (AIH) against Peugeot has been postponed until 28 March.

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

31 March (Thursday): Vodacom purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt expected to be completed by this date.

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

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

April: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX.

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.

14 April (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Mid-April: Trading on the Egyptian Commodity Exchange to start.

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.

4 May (Wednesday): 3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in applications for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

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.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy 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: 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 first financing product.

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

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

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 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: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 300 MW to be completed.

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.

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

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

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

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

October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

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

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.

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

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

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.

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.

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.

January 2023: 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.

**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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