Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Madbouly threatens new covid restrictions.
Plus: It’s election day in the US of A.


What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning ladies and gents. It’s the first hump day of November, and two stories have really captured our attention.

#1- We just got another warning that at least some covid-19 restrictions could come back into effect. Authorities may have to take “difficult decisions” to reimpose some restrictions that were in place earlier in the pandemic if citizens continue to flout social distancing and precautionary measures such as wearing masks, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly warned during a cabinet meeting yesterday. It’s the second time in less than two weeks that Madbouly has issued this type of warning, having earlier said that soaring case numbers in neighboring countries are cause for significant concern.

The PM has a point: It only takes a short walk through the streets of the capital to see that all of us — from every walk of life — have largely “cancelled” covid. Madbouly repeated yesterday his call for authorities to fine people for not wearing masks in public transportation, malls, and government buildings. Bloomberg also covered Madbouly’s statements.

Cases have been creeping up in the past few days: The Health Ministry reported 189 new cases yesterday, the highest daily figure since 31 August.

But a full lockdown still seems unlikely, with even Health Minister Hala Zayed seeming to take a second lockdown off the table a couple of weeks back, even if we begin to see a serious spike in cases.

Covid was topic du jour on the airwaves last night: Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 16:31), Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 9:13), Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 9:40) and Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 7:29) all featured segments on the PM’s statements yesterday.

#2- It’s election day in the US — Anxiety, chaos and patience are the key themes running through the global press’ coverage this morning as Americans head out to the polls.

The key question as polling stations open: Whose ballot will count? Anything other than a landslide victory for either candidate may well end up in a bitter legal battle — at the center of which will be the validity of mail-in ballots. The Donald has already tried (and failed) to launch lawsuits against mail-in ballots in the states of Texas and Nevada, the Financial Times reports. Trump has repeatedly railed against mail-in ballots, claiming that they will be used to commit election fraud. A major point of contention for the president surrounds absentee ballots posted before election day but which do not arrive until after 3 November. Trump insists that these votes will not be counted, eliciting a strong response from the Michigan attorney-general who described a failure to count all the ballots as tantamount to a “coup.”

Wondering where to watch it all go down? Everyone and their mothers will have live coverage as the results start to trickle in. CBS News has a live election coverage and results stream scheduled to start at midnight CLT tonight, ABC News is streaming its news on YouTube, while CNN will be live with its traditional all night coverage. Until then, for a comprehensive look at all the potential developments, FiveThirtyEight has you covered with a series of graphs that update based on new polls and results as they come in. You can also get live election news on The New York Times. And for those of you tired of legacy media, Joe Rogan will be live-streaming on YouTube all night long. Check out his channel later tonight.

And if you want to get nerdy with it: The Wall Street Journal has an hour-by-hour breakdown of when polls close in states across the country, when we’re likely to start seeing results, and what to keep your eye on.

What are the pundits saying? FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver is warning “I’m here to remind you that Trump can still win,” writing that “a 10 percent chance isn’t zero. And there’s a chance of a recount, too.” 270toWin has Biden taking 290 electoral votes to Trump’s 163.

A sign of things to come — or the calm before the storm? Global stock markets finished in the green across the board yesterday as investors positioned themselves ahead of the vote. Coming off their worst week since March, US stocks rebounded as the Dow closed the session up 1.6% and the S&P 500 up 1.2%. Apple and Amazon held back the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which closed 0.4% in the green. Over in Europe, major indexes all gained 1-2%.

Asian markets were all up in early trading this morning while markets in the US and Europe are looking like they’ll see gains when they open later.

Don’t let the green fool you: The VIX measure of stock market volatility remained high during trading yesterday, while yields on US treasuries and German bunds both fell, indicating increased risk-off sentiment.

PSA for Apple nerds: There’s one more thing. How long is it that you’ve waited for someone at Apple to utter those words from the stage? They’re not coming at the end of a keynote, but you’ll still want to make sure your credit card is at hand next week: Apple is holding what looks set to be its final product unveiling of 2020 under the banner of “One more thing.” Expectations are that the faithful will be rewarded with Macs powered by Apple silicon and perhaps those tracking tags. The event streams on Tuesday, 10 November at 8pm CLT. You can stream it here.

It’s PMI day, with the gauge due out here at 6:15am, just a few minutes after our traditional dispatch time. Egypt’s private sector finally entered expansion territory for the first time in 14 months in September, driven by a strong rise in consumer demand and strengthened business activity. October PMI figures for Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also set to be released today.

The Egypt Romania business council is meeting today with 15 Romanian companies and the Romanian deputy economy minister in attendance, the local press reports. A delegation of Romanian companies yesterday held talks with the Arab Organization for Industrialization to discuss joint projects in a range of sectors including defence, IT and solar energy.

GERD negotiations will continue today, and possibly Wednesday, as legal and technical representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan prepare their recommendations on the framework for future negotiations and the role of observers ahead of Thursday’s ministerial committee meeting, the Sudanese Irrigation Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki is in Portugal to talk military cooperation with Portuguese officials over the course of several days, according to a ministry statement.

The second phase of House elections kick off tomorrow, when Egyptians abroad going to the polls. Casting their ballots are folks registered in Cairo, Dakalia, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai. Expats have until Friday to vote. Polls open for voters here at home on 7-8 November.

Other news triggers to keep your eye on:

  • Foreign reserves figures should be out next week;
  • Inflation data for October will be released on 10 November;
  • The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review rates on 12 November.

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Egypt could jointly manufacture Russia’s Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Russian news agency TASS after meeting with the Russian trade minister last week. Egyptian pharma company Pharco has already agreed to work with the Russian sovereign wealth fund to distribute some 25 mn doses of the vaccine. The minister said it was too early to say when the vaccine will arrive in Egypt.

WHO boss in self-isolation as the world sees the deadliest week for the pandemic since April: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is self-quarantining after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for the virus. This comes as global fatalities top 1.2 mn, Europe goes into lockdown, and the US possibly entering a second wave more severe than the first, reports Bloomberg.

Covid-19 patients are reporting symptoms that can persist for weeks or months after being cured, including severe fatigue, memory lapses, and heart problems, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many of those reporting latent long-term problems initially only experienced mild symptoms, calling into question the assumption that people with minor cases of the disease fully recover within two weeks. A survey of more than 4k covid-19 patients found that about 10% of those aged 18-49 still struggled with symptoms four weeks after becoming sick while another preliminary survey showed that 25% of patients had at least one symptom after 90 days.

US corporates are reporting better earnings than Wall Street pundits had penciled in, according to the Financial Times. Earnings per share reported by S&P 500 companies have beaten expectations by almost 20% while corporate sales are 2.8% above forecasts. While the figures disclosed so far are still below those of the third quarter of last year, “companies [are] broadly reporting a shallower rate of decline,” says the salmon-colored paper. There’s some overly optimistic thinking from Deutsche Bank, which has stuck its neck out and raised its EPS forecasts for the fourth quarter. We’ll reserve judgement on that until the trajectory of the virus/economy becomes clearer in the coming weeks.

At least two people were killed and 15 more injured in central Vienna last night in a series of shootings which are being described as terror attacks by the Austrian government, the Guardian reports. Egypt condemned the attack and reiterated its rejection of violence and extremism in a statement by the Foreign Ministry.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Topping the coverage of the talk shows: A new and so far inexplicable plan to regulate the opening times of shops, restaurants and cafes. Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad appeared on Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 16:31) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 24: 48) to announce a new and altogether confusing new set of rules on what time shops and restaurants will be required to close. According to Saad, closing times will be determined by the time of year, where they are in the country, and what kind of services they provide. What this means in practice is that shops will have to close earlier in the winter months — unless they’re based in a governorate dependent on tourism or provide certain services such as groceries and medicine, in which case they have more flexibility over when they close.

When will shops have to close? Saad wasn’t very specific on this, saying that closing times in summer months will be between 11pm and 1am and 10pm and 12am in winter.

Why do we need more regulation in our lives? Saad said only that the move would allow people working on “local development” at night to do so in peace and quiet. Apparently we will learn more on Wednesday.

The tourism chamber is already up in arms: Adel Al Masry, the head of the Tourist Facilities and Restaurants Chamber, complained to El Hekaya’s Amr Adib that the tourism sector is already going through crisis, thanks to the pandemic and the government’s (very sensible) precautionary measures in tourist hotspots. Forcing businesses to close earlier could cause job cuts and further economic pain, he said (watch, runtime: 4:04).

In miscellany: Communications Minister Amr Talaat joined Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 6:29) and El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 5:37) to talk about the Digital Egypt Builders initiative, which aims to improve technical education. The program targets 1k people who graduated from engineering and IT faculties between 2016 and 2020, and will provide training in advanced technologies such as AI and robotics in addition to a curriculum offered by Ohio University to improve personal and English-language skills.

Speed Round

Are factories getting closer to a temporary real estate tax break? That’s what Egyptian Federation of Investors Association Secretary Sobhi Nasr claims, telling Amwal Al Ghad that Finance Minister Mohamed Maait agreed to temporarily exempt factories from paying the property tax. The apparent decision, which still requires a formal sign-off from the Madbouly Cabinet to come into effect, follows months of lobbying from businesses. Maait reportedly agreed after a recent meeting of the newly-formed joint committee the ministry set up with business groups to address investor concerns.

Background: Industry has been calling for real estate tax relief since the beginning of the year, when the Investors Union urged the government to abolish the tax for factories. The push came on the heels of the cabinet signing off on amendments that exempt unused land from being taxed. These amendments were later signed into law in May. The Trade Ministry also said in September it was working on proposals that would exempt factories from real estate tax.


Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Mexico are expected to be the biggest net issuers of sovereign debt among emerging markets in 2021, according to a Goldman Sachs report picked up by Reuters. The investment bank expects EM sovereigns to issue some USD 140 bn in debt as cash-strapped governments continue to look to the international debt markets to plug financing gaps. This year has already seen USD 145 bn of sovereign debt issued by EM governments, Goldman says.

A stronger appetite for risk next year could also drive up high-yield sovereign issuances to USD 60 bn in 2021, up from USD 45 bn in 2020. On the flipside, investment-grade debt sales are expected to see a slowdown to USD 80 bn next year from USD 100 bn this year, Goldman analysts said.

M&A WATCH- The International Finance Corporation has confirmed it has offloaded its 10% stake in Ahli United Bank’s Egypt unit to its Bahraini parent in a press release picked by Al Mal. AUB Bahrain announced last month that it had purchased more than 30 mn shares in its Egypt arm for EGP 913.1 mn alongside Misr Strategia. The bank intends to buy all 43.5 mn shares it doesn’t own, equivalent to a 14.5% stake. The IFC acquired its 10% stake in the bank (which was named Delta International Bank at the time) in 2006 for USD 40 mn.

Background: In last month’s transaction, AUB Bahrain — which previously held 85.5% of its Egypt subsidiary — purchased 30.6 mn shares from foreign shareholders and 68.7k shares held by Egyptian shareholders. The Financial Regulatory Authority had said the bank would be buying all 43.5 mn of the remaining shares at EGP 29.783 apiece, including the International Finance Corporation’s 10% stake, and Qatar National Bank’s 4% stake.

M&A WATCH- Al Ahly Capital has reportedly completed its acquisition of 100% of healthcare player Cairo West, which owns El Nada Hospital, Al Mal reports, citing what it said are sources in the know. Al Ahly — the investment arm of the National Bank of Egypt — purchased the company from a group of doctors and individual investors in an OTC transaction on the EGX. A formal announcement with more details should be out “within days,” the sources said. Earlier reports had suggested that the transaction, which was said to be worth EGP 300 mn, was due to close towards the end of October. Al Ahly is planning to establish a health-focused holding company, and has reportedly already received offers from local and international investors to participate.

Advisors: Our friends at investment bank Pharos’ brokerage arm executed the share transfer on the EGX, while ALC Alieldean, Weshahi & Partners acted as legal counsel.

M&A WATCH- MCDR offloads 70% stake in Makkasa Sport to gov’t-owned Estadat: Misr for Central Clearing and Depository (MCDR) has reportedly sold its 71% ownership in Makkasa Sport — which manages football team Misr Lel Makkasa SC — to state-owned Estadat Holding, according to Amwal Al Ghad. The newspaper made no mention of the transaction value. MCDR was said to have been considering two offers besides the offer from Estadat, and had rejected three others for failing to meet its EGP 80-85 mn valuation. An unnamed Kuwaiti investor and an unnamed sporting club were in the running.

DEBT WATCH- China State Construction locks down USD 2.2 bn loan with HSBC, others  for new capital business district: HSBC participated in a USD 2.2 bn loan to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to finance the construction of the business district of the new administrative capital, the bank said in its Future Cities report (pdf). The loan, which carries a tenor of 13.5 years, is backed by Chinese export credit insurer Sinosure. The bank is also financing Redcon Construction’s work on the new capital’s USD 500 mn Central Park, known as the “Green River” project.

CORRECTION- 3 November 2020 

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that HSBC is solely providing the loan to CSCEC. 

Banque Misr is in the process of applying for licensing to establish a rep office in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby told the local press. The bank has already received regulatory approval from the Somali Central Bank to establish a representative office in Mogadishu, and El Maghraby said the bank hopes the Nairobi office will serve as the headquarters for its planned expansion into East Africa. Chairman Mohamed El Etreby had previously said that Banque Misr, the second-largest state-owned bank, plans to open either branches or rep offices in Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti.

Private-sector flag carrier CIB has already entered Kenya with its acquisition of a majority stake in the country’s Mayfair Bank. CIB confirmed the acquisition earlier this year.

STARTUP WATCH- US-based delivery service OTO has expanded its operations to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman looking for a piece of the market helping brick and mortar retailers ship online orders to customers, according to a press release (pdf). The OTO platform receives retailer’s orders and fulfills them from the nearest store or hub, boasting delivery times of two hours inside cities, and two days between cities, it claims. The startup signed strategic agreements with stores such as the Body Shop and Arabian Oud as well as over 70 global and regional delivery service providers such as DHL, Aramex, and Careem, making OTO the largest integrator for last mile delivery services in MENA.

EARNINGS WATCH- NileX-listed Speed Medical tripled its net profit in 9M2020 to EGP 49.1 mn from EGP 16.4 mn in the same period last year, the company said in a regulatory filing.

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Enterprise Explains

Enterprise Explains: Corona bonds. The European Union made headlines last month after its maiden issuance of so-called “corona bonds” set a new record for the largest ever order book in the global bond markets. Falling under the rubric of ‘social bonds,’ pandemic-linked securities have this year enabled countries and companies alike to stay afloat, channel funding into supporting healthcare services, and finance the development of vaccines.

The idea of using debt finance to provide support during pandemics isn’t a 2020 innovation. Inspired by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Bank in 2017 launched the first ever pandemic bond; a fixed-income security whose proceeds would be earmarked exclusively for developing countries in the event of a pandemic. Using its new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), the bank pledged to channel USD 500 mn to low income countries over five years via the issuance of bonds and derivatives, with Japan and Germany on board to cover the premiums.

The PEF has been deployed in response to the covid-19 outbreak. By September more than USD 195 mn had been disbursed to 64 low-income countries to bolster the capacity of health authorities to contain the spread of the virus.

Enter the EU. The European Union has become a standard bearer of sorts for the corona bond concept. Despite long-standing opposition to joint debt issuance from the bloc’s fiscally hawkish members, the EU finally agreed to launch a EUR bn programme in July that will channel funding to the countries hardest hit by the pandemic and accompanying economic downturn. The bloc plans to issue EUR 100 bn of the bonds under its SURE programme, EUR 17 bn of which were sold in an offering last month which received “outrageous demand” from international investors.

Things get a little more nebulous when it comes to corporate corona bonds. Fuelled by huge investor appetite for the securities, USD hundreds of bns of corona bonds have been issued by companies this year. This may be more fiction than fact though: the Wall Street Journal suggests that some companies have been more interested in capitalizing on the corona bond name than actually channelling funding into work related to the pandemic. Companies such as Pfizer, Bank of America and the Bank of China have all claimed to issue covid-linked securities this year, but there is little consensus on the definition of what a corona bond actually is, and no system exists to track how the proceeds are used.

Herein lies the issue for corona bonds: While an international framework like the one agreed by the EU obliges sovereigns to report on how the funds are being used, there is no such structure governing corporate issuance. There are no transparency regulations or reporting requirements that compel companies to fully disclose where the money is going, or even whether it’s being used for sustainable or social purposes. For investors who put a premium on trust and social responsibility, this could be an issue.

Egypt in the News

It’s a quiet morning for Egypt in the international press as reporters and editors zero in on the US election (and wonder whether they’re going to be conned into a “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment 72 years later — you may recognize this iconic image).

The one story that got our attention: US officials plan to downgrade the rank of military attachés posted to embassies in key allied countries, and Egypt is apparently on the list alongside the UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Wall Street Journal reports in an exclusive. The move would see the military attaché gig “downgraded” to the level of colonel rather than it being held by a general. Attachés are being withdrawn entirely from some African countries. The downgrade from general officer level comes as the US looks to counter threats posed by China and Russia, the newspaper says, adding that “The attachés are a key part of U.S. outreach overseas, particularly in countries where the local military plays an outsize role in government and politics.”

Worth Listening

To sell products, sell experiences: We spoke to Majid Al Futtaim Properties CEO Ahmed Galal Ismail in last week’s episode of Making It about how retail is keeping up with online commerce in emerging markets, and the role of a mall in a community. The company is a top foreign investor in Egypt, having deployed some EGP 40 bn here Egypt since 2002, and operating dozens of Carrefours and four malls across Cairo and Alexandria.

You already have a podcast player on your iPhone, or you can listen to the episode through our website (no download required). We’re also on Google Podcasts | Anghami | Omny. Making It is on Spotify, but only for non-MENA accounts.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Recent acts of terrorism in Europe were high on the agenda during discussions President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held with Macron and Merkel. El Sisi told the French president that Islam is not to blame for the recent atrocities and urged him not to play into anti-relgious bigotry. In a separate call with Angela Merkel, he reiterated Egypt’s commitment to combating extremist ideologies and working collectively to fight hate speech.

The USD 350 mn Italian-Egyptian Debt for Development Swap program could be extended for a fourth time, following discussions yesterday between International Co-operation Minister Rania Al Mashat and Italian ambassador Giampaolo Cantini. The program is currently in its third stage, worth USD 100 mn. Under the program, a portion of Egypt’s debts to Italy are reallocated to developmental projects in Egypt. The program funded 88 projects in its first two stages, and is currently funding projects in food security, agriculture, civil society, the environment and heritage preservation. The program is also funding the EGP 40 mn expansion of the applied tech schools program, as well as an EGP 42 mn Human Resource Development program in Luxor.

Also on the diplomatic front, Iraq has ratified three MoUs it signed with Egypt last week during Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s recent visit to Baghdad, the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) reported. The MoUs cover cooperation on economic development, statistical reporting, training, and governance, the news outlet said without giving details. Egypt and Iraq signed 15 different MoUs during Madbouly’s visit. Both countries also agreed on a mechanism that could see Egyptian companies work on development projects in Iraq in return for importing Iraqi oil.

Turning to trade: Several Asian countries including China, and others from the GCC, are looking to double their imports of Egyptian oranges, especially the baladi variety used to make juice, Youm7 reports, quoting unnamed sources. Asia is the biggest destination for oranges shipped from Egypt, which recently became the largest exporter of the fruit in terms of volume after overtaking rivals Spain and South Africa.

This comes as Japan has just lifted a 25-year ban on citrus imports from Egypt following talks between Cairo and Tokyo that came after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to Yokohama last year, the Foreign Ministry said. Japanese experts are scheduled to visit Egypt next month to examine our citrus crops and inspect the production and storage processes, the ministry added.


Gila AlTawakol Electric to establish USD 30 mn solar plant in Cameroon

Egypt’s Gila AlTawakol Electric plans to establish a USD 30 mn, 30 MW solar power plant in Cameroon, the local press reports, citing an unnamed company source. Gila Al Tawakol Electric had previously worked on a 5 MW solar plant in Sharm El Sheikh as well as Aswan’s Benban solar park.


GRG, Italy’s Sopria to launch Italian supermarket chain in early 2021

Supply Ministry-affiliated Global Retail Gate (GRG) is planning to begin opening branches of an unnamed Italian supermarket chain in Egypt starting early 2021, GRG Chairman Mohamed Wafi said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The company wants to set up 30 branches beginning with Cairo, Wafi added. This comes under an agreement Egypt signed with Italy’s Sopria Holding in September. Sopria owns and operates Crai supermarkets.


Ezdehar’s AluNile to acquire land for new Sadat City plant ‘within days’

Private equity outfit Ezdehar’s Nile Aluminum and Metals Company (AluNile) expects to complete “within days” it acquisition of land in Sadat City for a new plant. AluNile CEO Ahmed Guindy told the press. The facility is expected to cost some EGP 100 mn. It will add two new production lines to the company and will focus on producing exterior glass for building facades, Guindy said.

Health + Education

Nile Scan to establish diagnostic radiology centers in Speed Medical labs

Nile Scan is setting up specialized diagnostic radiology centers within Speed Lab and Misr Lab branches after the companies signed an MoU, according to a regulatory filing (pdf). Nile Scan will outfit the branches with diagnostic radiology devices, while Speed Medical and its subsidiary Misr Labs will provide the venues and other services in exchange for a 30% cut of the profit. Speed Medical had acquired Misr Laboratories’ eight branches in an all-share transaction worth EGP 10 mn last September.

More than 2k parents report schools who didn’t provide 25% bus refund

Disgruntled parents have filed more than 2k complaints to the Consumer Protection Authority against schools that have flouted the authority’s directive to refund 25% of last year’s bus fees, the local press reports. Head of the authority Ahmed Farag said 93% of schools complied when approached by the authority, while some schools unsuccessfully challenged the decision before the State Council. Schools could face hefty fines ranging from EGP 20k to EGP 1 mn if they refuse to provide refunds.


380k tourists visit Egypt since July

Some 380k tourists have visited Egypt since commercial flights resumed in July, with Ukranian tourists making up the bulk of Egypt’s visitors, Tourism Minister Khaled El Enany said during a meeting of the coronavirus crisis management committee. The minister had said in mid-September that 250k tourists had visited Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada since flight restrictions were lifted. Tourism numbers hit a record high of 13 mn last year, but steeply declined in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Banking + Finance

Raseedy rolls out independent digital wallet with SAIB Bank, Mastercard

Cairo-based telecoms app Raseedy has launched a digital wallet in partnership with SAIB Bank and Mastercard, according to a press release (pdf). The product, which Raseedy bills as the country’s “first independent” digital wallet, allows users to transfer money, make QR code purchases, pay bills, hold virtual debit cards, and receive remittances from abroad. The company aims to see the wallet reach 1 mn users “in the coming months,” CEO and co-founder Jacques Marco said.

CORRECTION- 3 November 2020

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Raseedy’s name as Raseedi, and linked to the incorrect website. 

Who’s in the market for debt? Vetopharm Int’l + EDB

Vetopharm International has obtained a EGP 650 mn syndicated loan from local banks to finance a new production facility in the Borg Al Arab Industrial Zone, according to the local press. The banks include the Export Development Bank Of Egypt, Egyptian Arab Land Bank, Industrial Development Bank, Suez Canal Bank, and Housing and Development Bank.

The Export Development Bank has secured USD 15 mn from the Green for Growth Fund to on-lend to clients for energy efficiency projects, the bank said in a regulatory filing (pdf).

Other Business News of Note

Sameem Financial quits Prime Holding board after offloading stake

Activist investor Sameem Financial has resigned from the board of directors of Prime Holding, a company in which Sameem previously owned a 26% stake, Prime said in a regulatory filing (pdf). This came after a recent board reshuffle gave Sameem only one seat on Prime’s board, leading the investor to lodge complaints and pursue legal action. Sameem, however, ended up offloading its stake in Prime to individual shareholders, saying at the time that it already made a 63% return on its investment in Prime.


Egypt’s El Sherbini regains her spot as world’s number one squash player

Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini is back on top of world squash rankings for the first time since 2018, putting her on track to break a personal record of the fifth-longest reigning no.1 in history, according to PSA World Tour. The 25-year-old Sporting Alexandria player ascended one place after her victory over compatriot and former world no.1 Nouran Gohar at last month’s CIB Egyptian Open. Gohar is still ranked second in the world, rounding up the world’s top three with fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.66 | Sell 15.76
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.66 | Sell 15.76
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.65 | Sell 15.75

EGX30 (Monday): 10,429 (-0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 1.3 bn (16% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -25.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.3%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Export Development Bank up 4.2%, Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 1.2%, and Juhayna up 1.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Dice down 7.4%, Egyptian Iron & Steel down 6.2% and Orascom Investment Holding down 4.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.3 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -42.3 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +9.5 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +32.7 mn

Retail: 70.8% of total trades | 69.9% of buyers | 71.7% of sellers
Institutions: 29.2% of total trades | 30.1% of buyers | 28.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 37.09 (+3.63%)
Brent: USD 39.18 (+3.27%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.24 MMBtu, (-3.52%, December 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,896.50 / troy ounce (+0.88%)

TASI: 8,021 (+1.99%) (YTD: -4.39%)
ADX: 4,637 (+0.07%) (YTD: -8.63%)
DFM: 2,165 (+0.60%) (YTD: -21.68%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,903 (+0.40%)
QE: 9,639 (-0.01%) (YTD: -7.54%)
MSM: 3,547 (-0.13%) (YTD: -10.88%)
BB: 1,426 (+0.01%) (YTD: -11.42%)

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November: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

November: An Egyptian-Russian ministerial committee will meet to discuss trade and investment in Moscow.

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

4-6 November (Wednesday-Friday): Polls open to international voters for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Dakalia, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

4-7 November (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt Expo, International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

7-8 November (Saturday-Sunday): Polls open for first round of Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Dakalia, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

7-9 November (Saturday-Monday): Techne Summit 2020, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria.

12 November (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

12 November (Thursday): The African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) is organizing an online conference titled “State of African Private Equity & Venture Capital: Regional Perspectives.” You can sign up here.

13-15 November (Friday-Sunday): A conference on banking in the time of covid by the Union of Arab Banks, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

15 November (Sunday): Egyptian Tax Authority’s online intro seminar on new electronic invoice system for first tranche of companies transitioning to e-filing program.

19-28 November (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo Opera House, Egypt.

22-25 November (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo ICT 2020, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23-24 November (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs for Parliamentary elections in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

30 November (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

December (date TBC): Egypt Economic Summit, Cairo, Egypt, venue TBD.

December: Fifth round of Egypt-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.

December: The 110th regular session of the Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee will be held under the chairmanship of the prime ministers of the two countries.

1 December (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a first review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June (proposed date).

5 December (Saturday): A court will hold a postponed hearing to look into an appeal by Syria’s Anataradous against an arbitration ruling in favor of Amer Group and Amer Syria.

7 December: Former Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik faces trial over embezzlement allegations.

7-8 December (Monday-Tuesday): Runoffs for Parliamentary elections in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

9-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): BiznEx, the international business expo in Egypt, venue TBD.

14 December (Monday): Final results will be announced for Parliamentary elections held in Cairo, Qalyubia, Menofia, Gharbia, Kafr El Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai and South Sinai.

15 December (Tuesday): House of Representatives reconvenes from recess.

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

24 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

13-31 January (Wednesday-Sunday): Egypt will host the 2021 Men’s Handball World Championship at the Giza Pyramids.

25 January 2021 (Monday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

25-29 January 2021 (Monday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Dialogues” will take place virtually.

26-28 January (Tuesday-Thursday): Future Investment Initiative, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

28 January 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

4 February 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break.

18 March 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

12 April 2021 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April 2021 (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

3 May 2021 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

6 May 2021 (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

12-15 May 2021 (Wednesday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

18-21 May 2021 (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting will be held under the theme of “The Great Reset” in Lucerne-Bürgenstock, Switzerland

31 May-2 June 2021 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

1 June 2021 (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

10 June 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

24 June 2021 (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year.

26-29 June 2021 (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center

22 July 2021 (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 July-3 August 2021 (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday (TBC).

1 October 2021-31 March 2022 (Friday-Thursday): Postponed Expo 2020 Dubai.

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