Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Consumer healthcare giant IDH could go ahead with dual-listing in Egypt as early as this month

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome back to another gorgeous midwinter day in Egypt. It’s a moderately heavy newsday in which no single story is dominating the agenda here at home. Abroad, newswatchers are like hound dogs watching ping pong, their gaze languidly flipping back and forth between Joe Biden’s first real test in Congress over a covid relief bill (and the simultaneous post-Trump twitches of the GOP) and the ongoing “rampage of retail” investors on Wall Street.

Also: Happy Groundhog Day. That’s all covid is, right? We’re all actors in some real, live, global and digital recreation of the Bill Murray classic?

Aside from a smattering of M&A and investment news, the big story here at home remains the fact that It’s interest rate week. There are conflicting signals on what the CBE will do when it meets on Thursday, with our poll of economists forecasting a hold, but a move by the National Investment Bank’s (NIB) to slash yields on investment certificates it sells through the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) possibly signposting a cut, Reuters suggested earlier this week.

Don’t read too much into NIB’s move: EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha said in a note yesterday that the rate reduction may be a byproduct of ongoing restructuring under our USD 5.2 bn standby arrangement with the IMF, which includes changes designed to confine the role of the bank. After doling out above-market rates, the state-owned bank will likely have been forced to pay a lower rate of interest after — according to local reports — it sold to the National Bank of Egypt its deposit portfolio, which amounted to EGP 435 bn in December. The NIB also lost a key tax advantage last year when the government scrapped the withholding tax exemption on treasuries. This all suggests that the move is not necessarily market-driven, and is unlikely to have “much wider market implications,” Abu Basha wrote. He’s sticking by his call that the central bank will leave rates unchanged on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr have left rates unchanged on their three-year platinum savings certificates at 11%. Banque Misr last cut the yield on these certificates in December, Deputy Chairman Akef El Maghraby told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 9:15) last night.

WHAT ABOUT THE RETAIL HORDE? It’s still the #1 story in the global business press this morning. The Reddit crowd has taken silver to an eight-year high — and prompted Chinese investors to jump into “poor man’s gold,” Reuters adds. GameStop was down nearly 31% yesterday, but Redditors pushed up AMC and BlackBerry as they continue to try to squeeze short sellers. The story leads the front pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, and the salmon-colored paper looks at how online broker Robinhood’s bid to “democratize finance” has “collided with Wall Street reality.” Robinhood just raised USD 2.4 bn to land its second cash infusion in just days and is now said to be looking at debt markets.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party is (messily) sorting out its post-Trump future. Dozens of former Bush administration officials (you remember him — the nice man who invaded Iraq?) have quit the party in recent days, “dismayed by a failure of many elected Republicans to disown Donald Trump.” Meanwhile, Mitch MCConnell is slurping down a big bowl of his just reward as he denounces “looney lies and conspiracy theories” spread by QAnon nutter (and elected representative) Marjorie Taylor Greene.

PSA #1- If you (or your offspring) are in the New York area (or pretty much anywhere in the Northeast), it’s snowmageddon once more. More than 15 inches (that’s 38 cm) of the white stuff is already on the ground in the Big Apple as the storm swept up the seaboard into New England. It should hit Atlantic Canada in a few hours’ time.

PSA #2- Here at home, the weather is gorgeous as we reap our customary midwinter reward for putting up with the nonsense known as “Cairo in July and August.” Look for daytime highs of 27°C in the capital city and 24°C in Alexandria today and tomorrow. Cairo and Alex are both in for cooler temperatures and some rain on Thursday and Friday, according to our favorite weather app.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON-

The business community has until 10 February to give comments on the Unified Tax Act’s executive regulations that were finalized by the Finance Ministry last month, the cabinet said in a statement yesterday. The Unified Tax Act saw the creation of Egypt’s single tax platform as a way to overhaul tax administration, encourage informal businesses to go legit, and grant authorities better oversight on commercial transactions and tax accounts. The pilot phase launched in January, with 11k of the country’s largest taxpayers now filing returns and paying taxes via the platform.

MORNING MUST READS-

FOR FINANCE NERDS- If you care about the future of the industry, you want to read the Economist’s take on where asset management will be in 2030. By then, the “sorting of the industry into a small club of giant asset managers and a bigger one of niche managers will be largely complete.” ETFs and index-tracking funds will account for “the bulk of all stockholdings.” Products are going to look super-tailored, and competition between niche firms for the AUM that haven’t been hoovered up by the passive giants is going to be intense.

And forget it if you think ESG is going to be the savior of active asset management: “By 2030 it will be too mainstream to be a source of differentiation [and] despite the increased salience of corporate governance, the big passive funds may ultimately choose not to use their vast voting power to influence firms.”

Read the full story here, including how the “newspaper” thinks private markets and China will shake out.

But there’s still lots and lots of room to play with ESG in the meantime: UK outfit Aviva could pull its investments from 30 of the world’s largest oil, gas and mining companies if they do not commit to going green in the coming three years, the Financial Times reports. The companies must set net zero emissions goals and outline clear plans for the energy transition, or risk divestment, Aviva has declined to name the companies it is targeting, though it is among the top 30 shareholders of both BP and Shell.

MEANWHILE- Egypt is leading the way for Africa and the Middle East in its push towards a greener future, with major projects such as the flagship Benban solar power park and the Al Mahsamma wastewater treatment plant in Sinai, according to an FDI Intelligence piece co-authored by International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat and International Finance Corporation MENA Vice President Sergio Pimenta. The green drive is helping Egypt set up its economy to be “more robust and resilient to external shocks” and set an example for the region to follow, with the help of development finance institutions.

We’re on the penultimate day of CI Capital’s 5th Annual MENA Investor Conference, which kicked off on 26 January and wraps tomorrow. The virtual event gathers 320 investors representing 100 global institutional investment firms who together have over USD 10 tn assets under management, according to a press release (pdf).

Other news triggers coming up this month:

  • Purchasing managers’ index: January PMI data for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will land tomorrow at 6:15 CLT.
  • Foreign reserves figures for January should be out toward the end of this week.
  • Inflation figures for January will be released on 10 February.
  • The deadline for businesses to file wage tax returns is now 28 February after the Finance Ministry extended the cut-off date.

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

enterprise

IPO WATCH

Consumer healthcare giant IDH could list in Egypt as early as this month

IDH’s dual listing could happen this month: London-listed, Cairo-based consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holding (IDH) could pull the trigger on its dual listing of ordinary shares on the EGX before 1Q2021 is out — and possibly as early as this month — according to a report in Al Mal’s print edition. The company has reportedly submitted its paperwork to the Financial Regulatory Authority, the newspaper reports, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter. IDH — which owns the Al Borg and Al Mokhtabar brands in Egypt and has a strong presence in Jordan, Sudan and Nigeria — had telegraphed in December that it was looking to push through the dual listing in 1H2021.

The timeline means IDH could be at the front of the line for new listings in Egypt, and the first since small-cap real estate Emerald’s IPO, which was the only new listing the EGX saw in all of 2020, according to the Enterprise IPO Tracker. CI Capital’s Taaleem and non-banking financial services firm Ebtikar are looking at IPOs in the first five months of this year.

What’s the listing going to look like? It’s entirely possible no new equity will be offered for sale. Shareholders signed off in December on a 1 to 4 stock split, but that doesn’t mean a stock split is in the cards — the company and its bankers could just as easily get the job done by convincing some existing holders of LSE-listed shares to transfer their shares to the EGX.

Speculation is scant about how much of the tightly-held company could be listed on the EGX. IDH had said in December that it could need to offer at least 5% of its shares on the EGX to retail or institutional investors to meet freefloat requirements on the exchange.

Advisors: EFG Hermes and Renaissance Capital are quarterbacking the transaction, while White & Case, Clifford Chance and Ogier are counsel. Inktank is IDH’s investor relations advisor.

M&A WATCH

A bidding war for GSK’s Egyptian arm?

Acdima may have just touched off a bidding war for GlaxoSmithKline's Egypt business, according to a regulatory filing (pdf) yesterday, less than a week after the global player revealed that Hikma was interested in a transaction. Acdima, a pharma industry investor focused on Arab countries, plans to make an offer for GSK’s 91.2% stake in its Egypt commercialization and manufacturing business through its Egypt arm, the British giant said.

The race began last week, when GSK said that it had signed a non-binding agreement with LSE-listed Hikma Pharma ahead of a potential sale. Hikma would lodge a mandatory purchase offer for the remaining 8.8% stake not owned by GSK should its board approve due diligence. The agreement also allows Hikma to potentially buy out GSK’s Tunisia operations.

DEBT WATCH

Sarwa’s advisory pipeline includes EGP 10 bn worth of sukuk

Sarwa Capital is quarterbacking at least three sukuk issuances this year with a combined value of more than EGP 10 bn, the local press reports, citing sources in the know. The consumer- and structure-finance player’s sukuk issuance manager, Sarwa Sukuk Company, is currently working on an EGP 5.5 bn offering for real estate player Palm Hills Development (PHD), a EGP 3 bn sale for real estate outfit Hassan Allam Properties, and a EGP 1.1 bn offering for home- and resort-builder Amer Group, the sources say.

Record breaking? If the figures are accurate, the size of the PHD and Hassan Allam sales would break the record set by Sarwa last year, when it closed a EGP 2.5 bn issuance. Sarwa was the first financial services company to land a sukuk license in Egypt.

We already knew about the Amer sale: Sarwa Capital CFO Ayman El Sawy said last year that it would issue EGP 2 bn of sukuk for Amer in 1Q2021, a figure almost double that of yesterday’s report.

Egypt’s sukuk market only saw the light of day in 2019 when the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) published the regulatory framework. After EGP 5.1 bn of the sharia-compliant securities were issued last year, some expect the market to swell to EGP 20-25 bn this year. So far, only three companies have issued sukuk: private education outfit Cira in December, Sarwa a month earlier, and Talaat Moustafa Group in April.

IN OTHER DEBT NEWS-

EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions is looking to securitize a part of its receivables portfolio in the second half of 2021, said Talal Elayat, who heads up the investment bank’s subsidiary. Corp-Solutions, which provides leasing and factoring services, grew 55% in 2020, Elayat said.

Egypt’s secondary bond market may be getting a new lease on life, according to Al Mal, which quotes sources saying that the FRA wants to use the momentum generated by the recent spate of corporate issuance to finally bring retail investors into the fold to push towards an active market. The regulator will invite investors to take part in public consultations on what needs to happen to kickstart a secondary market, the sources said.

Correction: 2 February 2021. Sarwa will manage a EGP 3 bn issuance for Hassan Allam Properties. A previous version of this story taken from Al Borsa incorrectly said that Sarwa will manage a EGP 4 bn issuance for Hassan Allam Holding. 

INVESTMENT WATCH

Raya eyes expansion + EFIC plans fertilizer production upgrade

Raya Holding for Financial Investments will invest EGP 400 mn in 2021 to expand into new sectors, CEO Medhat Khalil told Reuters in an interview cited by Al Arabiya. The company will self-finance half of the amount and is lining up bank finance for the rest, he said.

Haier Raya kickstarts air-con line: Raya’s home appliances joint venture with China-based electronics manufacturer Haier Electric fired up its new AC production line last week, Khalil said. The EGP 200 mn plant will source 60% of its components from local suppliers to produce 70k units a year, with plans to boost production to 200k in the next two years. Around 70% of the facility’s output will be exported.

TV production line launches next quarter: Haier Raya Electric will begin manufacturing TV screens in 2Q2021, Khalil said. Raya invested EGP 50 mn in Haier Raya Electric’s TV production line last year.

Industry + fintech are the priority sectors: Khalil expects the industrial sector to provide 10% of the company’s revenues this year, and has ambitions to become the largest player in the e-payments market in 2022.

ALSO IN THE INVESTMENT PIPELINE-

Egyptian Financial and Industrial Co. is considering a USD 58 mn upgrade of a fertilizer production line at its subsidiary Suez Company for Fertilizers, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Beltone Financial has been contracted to conduct the feasibility study for the project.

STARTUP WATCH

Former Just Eat CEO invests in Elmenus, joins board

Elmenus has landed an undisclosed investment from former Just Eat CEO David Buttress, who will join the board of the Egyptian food delivery platform, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Buttress (bio), now a partner at VC outfit 83 North, has invested a “relatively significant” amount in the company, he told Bloomberg. Buttress is investing his personal funds in the business. Over the next 18 months, Elmenus will use the investment to expand its market footprint by recruiting 4k new drivers and enhancing its social and personalized services. The company currently enjoys a 20% market share.

Boom time for Egypt’s food market: Buttress expects Elmenus to see 10x revenue growth this year following a solid 2020 thanks to the pandemic, which saw the company triple its top-line. “The Egyptian market is big and has a lot of potential to expand,” he told Bloomberg. Prior to the latest investment, the company had attracted USD 10 mn in funding, including an USD 8 mn series B round last year from Algebra Ventures and UAE-based Global Ventures. Congrats to Amir and the whole team at Elmenus.

FROM THE REGION-

Elmenus wasn’t the only Middle Eastern food startup to receive a shot in the arm: Saudi food tech startup Foodics has secured USD 20 mn in a series B funding round led by the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, it announced yesterday. The restaurant management software company will use the windfall to grow its market share, chase new markets, and expand its footprint in fintech. The company launched in Egypt last year after raising USD 4 mn in a pre-series B round.

UAE adtech startup ArabyAds has acquired influencer marketing agency Dmenta for an undisclosed sum, the company announced in a press release (pdf) on Sunday. Both companies — which are based in Dubai — have offices and operations in Egypt.

AUTOMOTIVE

Counting cars

Car sales boomed in 2020, despite the pandemic: Passenger car sales rose 32% y-o-y in 2020, even as the pandemic forced a partial lockdown on the economy early in the year. Figures from the Automobile Market Information Council show that 168k cars were sold during the year, up from 127k in 2019. Sales of trucks and buses were also up in 2020, with bus sales up 30% to 26.4k and truck volumes up 6% to 37k.

Keep it all in perspective, though: Back in 2008, before the global financial crisis, the events of 2011 and the float of the EGP, the market was in the mid-200k per year range.

Car sales were up in December: AMIC member firms sold almost 20k passenger cars during the month, a slight dip from November but up 38% from 14.5k in December 2019. Truck sales rose to 4.5k from 4.2k in the same month in 2019 while bus sales slid 11% to 2.5k.

2020 might have been good, but 2Q was still rough: Sales fell as much as 26% at the height of the lockdown in April, which caused dealerships to close and consumers to defer purchases. AMIC is an industry association which only reports data submitted by its members, who are local car agents.

IN OTHER AUTOMOTIVE NEWS-

All-Egyptian MoU to assemble electric buses: Egyptian commercial vehicles manufacturer MCV, which manufactures Mercedes buses, will work with a Military Production Ministry tank factory to locally assemble electric buses for Egypt’s transportation network within the next eight months, under an MoU signed yesterday, cabinet said in a statement. The agreement is part of the state’s drive to promote the use of clean energy on the road, which includes incentives for domestic EVs assembly and the multi-year natural gas transition plan.

Volkswagen will set up an applied technology school for car maintenance, with classes set to begin next fall, under the terms of an MoU with the Education Ministry, according to a cabinet statement.

enterprise

CONSTRUCTION

Orascom Construction nets USD 920 mn in awards in 4Q2020

Orascom Construction (OC) secured almost USD 920 mn in new awards in 4Q2020, bringing the total value of projects added to its backlog in 2020 to USD 2.9 bn, the company said in a press release (pdf) yesterday. Some 62% of awards during the quarter were for projects in Egypt, while the remainder came from projects in the US. OC’s estimated consolidated backlog was valued at USD 5.3 bn by the end of the year.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Maait presents medium term fiscal targets

Egypt’s tax revenues are expected to hit EGP 862 bn in FY2020-2021, up from EGP 676.8 bn last fiscal year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told the House of Representatives yesterday in a review of the government’s medium-term fiscal plans, Al Mal reports. The initial state budget forecasts — which have naturally been adjusted as the fallout from the pandemic became more evident — had set a tax collection target of EGP 964.8 bn.

Maait compared the forecast for the current fiscal year to FY2014-2015 figures, when state coffers reeled in EGP 253 bn from tax collections. The rise over the past six years comes on the back of a 100% increase in customs revenues and a 250% jump in income tax revenues, Maait said. Real estate tax revenues soared 500% between FY2014-2015 and FY2018-2019, the minister said.

Public debt is expected to record 87% of GDP in FY2020-2021, before dipping to 84% in FY2022-2023, and 79% in FY2023-2024, the minister said.

Expectations for the current fiscal year point to a 0.6% primary surplus, and an overall deficit of 7.8% of GDP. Maait had said last month the overall deficit is projected to come in at 7.9% of GDP, up from the 6.3% originally set out in the state budget. Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to come in at 6.5% in FY2021-2022, and continue to drop to reach 5.3% and 4.6% in the following two fiscal years, Maait said, according to Ahram Online.

Restructuring spending priorities: The narrowing deficit comes after years of subsidy reforms, which helped trim the state’s fuel subsidy bill and reallocate funds to social security, education and healthcare, said the minister. Pension fund allocations are expected to reach EGP 306 bn by the end of the fiscal year. As part of the government’s 50-year plan, spending on pensions is expected to reach EGP 45 tn.

Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa had coverage last night of Maait’s appearance, saying the economy really needs incentives to support local manufacturing of competitively priced products (watch, runtime: 6:42).

Remittances keep inching up

Remittances from Egyptians living abroad jumped 27.9% y-o-y to USD 2.6 bn in November 2020, according to a Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) statement (pdf). Remittances in 11M2020 hit USD 27.1 bn, rising 11.9% from USD 24.2 bn during the same period in 2019, the statement says. Though remittance inflows were rising steadily when the covid-19 pandemic began, they took a 10% dip in 2Q2020 before rising again in 3Q2020.

KEEPING SCORE

EFG Hermes tops Egypt’s brokerage league table in January

EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table in January with a market share of 14.3%, according to EGX figures (pdf). Rounding out the top five: CI Capital (5.2%), Mubasher (5.2%), Beltone (5.1%), and Pioneers (5%).

Worth remembering: This distribution reflects the continued dominance of retail investors, who have “owned” trading on the EGX since early in the pandemic when saw international institutional shareholders sold down their positions as they fled EM globally. Pre-covid, EFG and CI were institutional powerhouses: EFG usually had a market share in the low-to-mid 20% range, while CI commanded mid-to-high teens. Instead, we’ve seen nearly 12 months now in which retail flows have been spread across dozens of ham-n-egger brokers.

Did you know? There are 130 licensed, active brokerage firms registered with the EGX — 142 if you include the ones whose licenses have been suspended. Shall we talk “consolidation,” ladies and gentlemen?

EARNINGS WATCH

Abu Qir Fertilizers’ net income rose almost 4% to EGP 1.49 bn in 2H2020, from EGP 1.44 bn during the same period the year before, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Revenues increased marginally during the six-month period to just over EGP 4 bn from EGP 3.99 bn in 2H2019.

Abu Qir made it onto Egypt’s benchmark EGX30 index this week after the bourse completed a rebalancing of the gauge under new inclusion criteria.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

There was no single story leading the conversation on the airwaves last night, but continued rumors about the Nipah virus led Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 07:34) and Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 7:40) to each dedicate a portion of their evening reassuring viewers that there’s nothing to be worried about. There are still zero recorded cases of the virus in Egypt, said Agricultural Research Center Prof. Ahmed Rizk. Rizk urged citizens to go about their business normally and to wash fruits thoroughly before eating them.

A three-day inferno at a Giza building by the Ring Road is currently under investigation from the Prosecutor General’s office to determine the source of the fire, Giza Governor Ahmed Rashed told Moussa. The building was constructed without a permit in 2013, and preliminary reports suggest the fire could have been caused by safety violations from an unlicensed warehouse in the building, Rashed said. The blaze caused traffic delays on the Ring Road as authorities sealed off a portion of the highway, but it is now up and running again, Rashed said (watch, runtime: 11:01).

Egypt’s successful organization of the Men’s Handball World Championship was the main talking point for Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi, who had an extended conversation with Assal about the state of sporting activities in Egypt. The minister stressed that the country is working on living in the “new normal” and will continue to host activities and competitions as planned, provided safety measures are put in place (watch, runtime: 34:57).

Donations to Tahya Misr: Emaar Misr is dishing out a total of EGP 110 mn to contribute towards the sustainable development of Sidi Abdel Rahman in the North Coast, where Emaar’s Marassi development is, fund spokesperson Mohamed Mokhtar told Moussa. The real estate developer signed an agreement to donate EGP 60 mn to the Tahya Misr Fund, after having previously donated EGP 50 mn. The fund is also getting EGP 3 mn from the Administrative Control Authority to develop rural villages, in addition to donations to finance Egypt’s purchases of covid-19 vaccines (which we note in Covid Watch, below) (watch, runtime: 7:27).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a mixed bag of nuts for Egypt in the foreign press. Among the headlines to skim:

  • The New York Times is out with a quiz about Om El Donia on their Learning Network that tests children’s knowledge about the basics of modern-day Egypt.
  • The rift between television and sports personality Ahmed Shobeir and his estranged brother Mohamed is taken as a microcosm of political divides in Egypt after the Arab Spring. (Washington Post)
  • Archaeologists in Alexandria’s Taposiris Magna site have unearthed a mummy with a golden tongue, which they believe was meant to allow the deceased to speak to Osiris in the afterlife. (The Daily Mail)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

The Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) is looking into launching exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track its new green index, AFE Secretary-General Rami El Dokany said. The funds will eventually be listed on bourses in Arab countries, and will invest in environmentally-friendly equities included on the Low Carbon Select Index, which was launched last year by the AFE and market data provider Refinitiv. CIB and EFG Hermes are among the 30 constituents (pdf) of the index, which also includes Saudi chemicals manufacturer Sabic, AlMarai, Emirates NBD Bank, QNB, and Dubai’s DXB Entertainments.

Other things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

  • SMART POLICY- Egypt plans to halve its pesticide use by 2030 as part of a long term strategy to ensure food security and public health, according to Agriculture Minister El Sayed El Quseir.
  • Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) is expected to sign the final contracts to develop the sound and light show at the Giza Pyramids in one week.

COVID WATCH

The Health Ministry reported 541 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 533 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 166,492 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 44 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 9,360. We now have a total of 130,107 confirmed cases that have fully recovered.

DONATIONS- The Financial Regulatory Authority will donate EGP 250 mn to help fund Egypt’s vaccination program, according to a statement (pdf). The FRA will contribute to the Tahya Misr Fund, which is covering the cost of vaccines for healthcare workers, low-income senior citizens, and other vulnerable people.

Emaar Misr is also donating EGP 30 mn to our vaccination program through the Tahya Misr Fund after the two sides signed a cooperation protocol earlier this week, according to Al Mal.

Lower income countries are struggling to get their hands on life-saving oxygen supplies as global demand for oxygen tanks increased by around a fifth over the past three months, according to data from the Covid-19 Oxygen Needs Tracker. With vaccine rollouts likely to take many months longer in lower-income countries, ensuring oxygen needs are met is the most effective way to limit loss of life, experts say. Egypt is estimated to be in need of 30k cbm of oxygen per day, while larger countries like Brazil would need over 2.3 mn cbm daily. Four covid-19 patients died last month from an alleged oxygen shortage at a public hospital in Sharqia.

India’s export of locally made doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is helping the country boost bilateral ties and get a leg up on China, the Financial Times suggests.

Racial inequality affects the vaccine rollout in the US: Almost half of those to receive at least one vaccine dose in New York were white, despite white people comprising only a third of the city’s population, vaccination data from New York City showed.

PLANET FINANCE

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We were (kind of?) close to one of the largest ever M&A last year: The CEOs of oil giants Chevron and Exxon discussed a possible merger in 2020 as the pandemic roiled the energy markets and heaped financial pressure on their balance sheets, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources close to the matter. The company would have had a combined market value of more than USD 350 bn, becoming the world’s second-largest oil and gas company after Saudi Aramco. The transaction never materialized and may have missed the optimal window under the Trump administration, which “was seen as more friendly to the industry,” although the talks could be revived down the line, the sources say.

IPO WATCH- The world’s largest IPO in more than a year is set to take place this week when Chinese video app and TikTok rival Kuaishou Technology goes public in Hong Kong, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company is expected to raise USD 5.4 bn from the float, making it the world’s largest since the Aramco IPO in late 2019 and valuing it at USD 61 bn.

OPEC+’s oil production boost fell short of expectations last month due to disruptions in production in Nigeria and Libya due to pipeline leaks, Bloomberg reports. The alliance of 23 countries had planned to increase production by 300k bbl/d following cuts earlier to protect oil prices during a slump in demand due to covid-19, but only managed to hit 190k in additional output in January.

Up

EGX30

11,589

+0.4% (YTD: 6.9%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.68

Sell 15.78

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.68

Sell 15.78

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

8,648

-0.6% (YTD: -0.5%)

Up

ADX

5,635

+0.7% (YTD: +11.7%)

Up

DFM

2,696

+1.6% (YTD: +8.2%)

Up

S&P 500

3,774

+1.6% (YTD: +0.5%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,466

+0.9% (YTD: +0.1%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 56.93

+1.0%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.84

-0.3%

None

Gold

USD 1,863.90

Up

BTC

USD 33,637.26

+2.0%

The EGX30 rose 0.4% yesterday on turnover of EGP 1.9 bn (26.7% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is up 6.9% YTD.

In the green: Palm Hills (+5.1%), Alexandria Mineral Oils Co (+2.8%) and Emaar Misr (+2.7%).

In the red: Pioneers Holding (-1.2%), CIB (-1.2%) and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-0.9%).

Asian markets are soaring this morning and futures point to a strong open for stocks in Europe and North America later today.

CALENDAR

26 January- 3 February (Tuesday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s 5th Annual MENA Investor Conference

February: France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, is set to visit Egypt

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

6-18 February (Saturday-Thursday): Mid-year school break (public schools — enjoy the break from bumper-to-bumper traffic).

7-28 February (Sunday-Sunday): The Finance Ministry will receive applications from companies wishing to take part in the second phase of its program for the immediate payout of export subsidy arrears to exporters, minus a 15% fee.

8 February (Monday): Egypt leads an emergency Arab League minister-level meeting on the Israel-Palestine peace process.

8 February (Monday): AUC will hold a webinar titled ‘The Rise of Citizen Capitalism’ featuring Michael O'Leary, the managing director of Engine No. 1, and Warren Valdmanis, a partner at Two Sigma.

9 February (Tuesday): International Conference on Global Business, Economics, Finance and Social Sciences, Ramses Hilton, Cairo, Egypt.

10-11 February (Wednesday-Thursday): Egypt will host an arm of the World Conference on Science Engineering and Technology, Hotel Pavillon Winter, Luxor, Egypt.

12 February (Friday): Deadline to reach a settlement with the Tax Authority on overdue income, value-added, or real estate taxes without all the late fees. Late taxpayers are still eligible for a 50% exemption on interest fees and late penalties until 12 February under a bill passed last year, Tax Authority boss Reda Abdel Kader said.

22-24 February (Monday-Wednesday): Second Arab Land Conference on land management, efficient land use, among other topics.

22 February- 5 March (Monday-Friday) Egypt will host the World Shooting Championship in 6 October’s Shooting Club, with 31 countries set to participate

26 February (Thursday): The Afro Future Summit will take place virtually. The event will bring together futurists, investors, tech entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians and business moguls to address challenges that affect the people of african descent.

28 February (Sunday) Deadline for businesses, sole traders, and those generating income from sources other than their day job to file wage tax returns through the electronic filing system.

March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

4-6 March (Thursday-Saturday): Cairo Fashion & Tex trade show, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt

8 March (Monday): The IDC Future of Work Egypt conference will be held virtually featuring experts from Egypt and Jordan.

9-11 March (Tuesday-Thursday): EduGate 2021 – Enter The Future conference, Kempinski Royal Maxim Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

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

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC),

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

31 May-2 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt,

1 June (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).

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

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

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

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

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

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

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

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

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 below between the actual holiday and its observance.

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