Sunday, 4 April 2021

Taaleem’s retail tranche is oversubscribed, boding well for upcoming IPOs

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a very busy news morning. We have nine days left until the start of Ramadan, so expect a brisk week as folks look to wrap up projects before the Holy Month.

Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this morning. Western churches including the Roman Catholic Church mark Easter today, while the nation’s Coptic Christians will celebrate on Sunday, 2 May.

Egypt is getting tons of global press this morning thanks to the relocation of royal mummies to in a parade last night to the Museum of Egyptian Civilizations in Fustat from their home at Tahrir Square’s Egyptian Museum.

*** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from Thursday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • The EGX listing committee signed off on Macro Group listing 577 mn shares tomorrow ahead of the start of trading on 19 April.
  • Women held only 13% of board seats in Egypt’s companies in 2020.
  • Global IPO activity had its best first quarter in history.

THE BIG STORY INTERNATIONALLY- Something (almost) went down in Amman: Several senior officials — including several members of the royal family — were arrested by the Jordanian government yesterday, which said it was acting to protect the “security and stability” of the country. The country’s former crown prince and half brother of King Abdullah, Hamza bin Hussein, has been placed under house arrest, while Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, another member of the royal family, and former finance minister Bassem Awadallah have both been arrested. The Washington Post reported that as many as 20 people have been detained.

Egypt expressed its “full solidarity and support” for the king against attempts to destabilize the country.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay is in town for her first official visit to Egypt, which she kicked off by attending yesterday’s parade marking the relocation of 22 royal mummies to the Museum of Egyptian Civilizations in Fustat (more on that below). Azoulay will visit a number of sites in Cairo and Aswan and will wrap up her visit tomorrow.

A fresh round of GERD talks are underway in the DRC: Foreign and irrigation ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are in Kinshasa for three days of talks that are aiming to get the negotiating process back on track, according to the Associated Press. The Democratic Republic of the Congo — the current chair of the African Union, which is mediating the negotiations — called for the talks, according to Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, which said ahead of the meeting that it is looking for a legally binding agreement for filling and operating the dam. The talks began yesterday and wrap up tomorrow.

Keep your expectations low: The three countries have been unable to agree on how to move forward with the talks. In recent weeks, Sudan has proposed bringing in the US, EU and UN to mediate alongside the AU, an idea that was quickly dismissed by Ethiopia, which prefers to continue with the AU-led process. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi last week delivered one of his starkest messages yet to Ethiopia, warning that it will not be permitted to take “a single drop” of Egypt’s water as it prepares to go ahead with the second filling of the dam’s reservoir in a few months’ time.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK-

Egyptian Iron and Steel’s mining spinoff should be going live on the EGX sometime this week as the parent company prepares to go into liquidation. Sources told the local press last week that a liquidator will also be appointed this week to kick off the process which is expected to take up to two years.

Amendments to the VAT act will be in the spotlight when Finance Minister Mohamed Maait meets this week with the House Planning and Budgeting Committee, committee head Fakhry El Fekky told Al Mal. The committee has a raft of amendments to the law to discuss, including applying the 14% tax to the rent and purchase of commercial and administrative properties, imposing VAT on crackers and some sweets, and removing the tax on imports of strategic commodities.

Heliopolis Housing will issue today the conditions booklet for the contract to develop the Heliopark real estate project in New Cairo. Companies have until 16 June to submit their bids for the 1,695-feddan project.

Look for a busy week ahead in the news, as key monthly indicators trickle out:

  • PMI figures for March will land tomorrow;
  • Foreign reserves figures should be out this week;
  • Inflation data for March will be out on or around Saturday, 10 April;
  • Further afield, interest rate day falls on Thursday, 29 April when the central bank meets to discuss policy rates.

MARKET WATCH-

The S&P 500 broke the 4k barrier for the first time ever on Thursday as investors reacted to the Biden administration’s USD 2 tn infrastructure plan, Bloomberg reports. Equity futures extended gains on Friday after the latest jobs report showed that the US economy added 916k jobs in March — the largest monthly increase in seven months. Exchanges in the US and Europe were closed on Friday for the Easter holiday.

European markets will remain closed tomorrow for Easter Monday while exchanges in the US reopen for trading.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group begin tomorrow and run through next Sunday, 11 April. This year’s virtual meetings will bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics. The topics up for discussion include the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, aid effectiveness, and the global financial system. Some events will be open to the public and can be streamed live from the World Bank’s platform.

The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry is hosting a webinar that will take a deep dive into the Madbouly government’s program to create a national ID for all residential and commercial properties and to digitalize the country’s building permit system. The gathering runs Tuesday, 6 April from 4pm to 5:30pm and you can sign up here.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due in town on 12 April to discuss the latest developments on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, signaling Russia could be looking to play an active role in mediating the impasse, according to TenTV’s Al Mashhad (watch, runtime: 1:28). Lavrov’s planned trip comes after expectations that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Egypt sometime in March did not materialize.

“Summer hours” will come into effect for stores and restaurants as of 17 April. This means retail shops can close at 11pm (instead of 10pm during the winter), while cafes and restaurants can stay open until 1am (instead of midnight currently). We have more details on the winter vs. summer hours here.

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

enterprise

IPO WATCH

Retail investors have big appetite for Taaleem

Retail investors poured into higher education management company Taaleem’s IPO last week, leading the retail portion of the offering to close more than 29x oversubscribed on Thursday, bookrunner CI Capital announced, according to Al Mal. Retail investors placed bids for 525.6 mn shares by the close of play on Thursday, compared to the 17.9 mn on offer to them. The company, which is selling a 49% stake on the EGX at EGP 5.75 a share, has offered a 2.45% stake to retail investors with the rest being allocated to institutional players.

Appetite among institutional investors was also strong: The 340 mn-share private placement was 2.34x oversubscribed when it closed last week. CI Capital Investment Bank CEO Hesham Gohar told us that the institutional tranche of the offering had “generated very strong interest from quality investors from the GCC, Europe, South Africa and Egypt, among others.”

Who’s selling? The selling shareholder is an SPV named Sphinx Obelisk, which offered the shares in a secondary sale. CI Capital, which had acquired a 60% stake in Taaleem in 2019 from Thebes Education Management Holdings in an EGP 1.2 bn transaction, is thought to be among the shareholders selling down its stake.

When do the shares go live? Taaleem shares will begin trading on the EGX on 7 April under the ticker TALM.

Good tidings for our long-dormant IPO pipeline? Leading cosmeceutical and neutraceutical player Macro Pharma will start trading on 19 April as it wraps up its IPO, while consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings kicked off a roadshow for its technical listing on the EGX last week. State-owned e-payments platform e-Finance and non-bank financial services player Ebtikar are also among the total of five or six IPOs that EGX boss Mohamed Farid expects will hit the exchange this year. Look for those last two in the second half of the year, we think.

ECONOMY

Egypt’s primary surplus puts it on track to sustainable debt strategy -World Bank

Egypt’s primary surplus heading into the pandemic helped cushion the blow to its public debt, despite higher debt levels that gripped much of the MENA region, according to the World Bank’s April 2021 MENA economic update (pdf). The primary surplus — a measure that strips out debt service paymentsin FY2019-2020 reduced Egypt’s need for short-term borrowing, unlike economies including Morocco, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Oman, whose increased public spending on health measures left their budgets deeper in the red. The pandemic’s impact on our debt levels was only partially reflected in the report however, as Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June, it noted.

Egypt is currently running a small primary or initial budget surplus. The surplus is expected to close the ongoing fiscal year at 0.6% of GDP, but the draft budget is penciling in a rebound to 1.5% in FY2021-2022, returning to levels frequently achieved before the pandemic hit.

Egypt’s real GDP growth rate of 3.6% in FY2019-2020 was the highest in the region, and well above the MENA average of -3.8%, according to data from the World Bank Macro and Poverty Outlooks cited in the report. Iran and Djibouti were the only two other countries to join Egypt and eke out positive growth. Looking ahead, Egypt’s real output is forecast to expand by a slower 2.3% in FY2020-2021 and rebound to 4.5% in FY2021-2022.

Egypt’s debt levels will continue trending down despite a temporary pause to the government’s debt reduction strategy during the pandemic, as authorities sought to address the growing health and education spending needs, said the World Bank’s practice manager for macroeconomics in MENA Kevin Carey during a virtual event to launch the report on Friday, Ahram Online reports. Favorable forecasts for the country’s primary surplus will help achieve long-term debt targets and “put the country’s elevated debt levels on a downturn path,” Carey said. The government’s debt strategy, which was outlined a year before the pandemic hit, seeks to bring down debt to 80% of GDP by 2022, primarily through moving toward longer-term borrowing. According to Finance Ministry figures, debt-to-GDP stood at 86.1% at the end of the FY2019-2020, but the World Bank put the ratio a notch higher at 87.5%.

And Egypt is one of the MENA countries less vulnerable to a debt crisis. Many MENA countries entered the pandemic with already-high debt stocks, weak output growth, and weak governance especially when it comes to policy transparency. While some of that may apply to Egypt, the country was among only three others that grew during the peak of the pandemic’s effect on the global economy. “Increasing economic output remains the most sustainable way to reduce debt,” the bank says.

But public spending is largely what’s keeping us afloat: Purchasing managers’ index data for Egypt has remained largely in contraction territory, rising above the 50.0 mark that signals expansion in private sector activity only three times since it rebounded from a low in April 2020, the bank noted. The pandemic’s impact on tourism and textiles exports were also cited in the report as key macroeconomic threats to Egypt and other MENA oil importers.

Egypt and other MENA countries stand to reap the long-term benefits of ramping up vaccine rollout programs: The cost to benefit ratio of vaccinating 20% of a country’s population estimated at 78:1, the report said, citing a recent research paper pinning the cost of purchasing vaccines for developing countries against the long-term benefits. Effective vaccination campaigns would both help overcome a country’s immediate health needs and pave the way for a quicker recovery, as well as “reinforce the foundation of public health infrastructure,” the report added.

Other takeaways from the report:

  • The regional post-pandemic rebound isn’t likely to allow the MENA region to return to the higher levels of economic activity seen in 2019, and is considerably below the World Bank’s pre-pandemic forecasts. Regional real output is set to grow 2.2% by the end of 2021 on the back of a rebound in oil prices, though the regional economy is estimated to have lost USD 227 bn due to covid-19.
  • Overall MENA public debt is expected to increase to 54% of GDP by the end of 2021, up from 46% in 2019.
  • Fiscal spending will need to prioritize public health and social welfare while the pandemic is still ongoing, but taking on debt to fund fiscal spending could be costly to MENA economies in the long run.
  • Governance and debt transparency remains lacking in many countries, though it is key to effective fiscal spending and could help lower elevated borrowing costs.

SUEZ CANAL

Adiós

The last 61 ships left stranded by the MV Ever Given’s choking of the Suez Canal passed through the waterway yesterday, Suez Canal Authority (SCA) boss Osama Rabie said in a statement, after a total of 422 ships had piled up at either end of the canal as the mega-vessel blocked it for six days. An additional 24 ships that were not held up by the blockage passed through the canal yesterday as normal traffic resumed, according to the statement. About 361 vessels had passed through the Suez Canal as of Friday after traffic through the Canal resumed Monday evening following successful efforts to dislodge the Ever Given, Rabie told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 1:29). At least 80 ships sailed through the canal on Friday alone carrying 4.7 mn tonnes of cargo, the SCA said in a statement, including a US aircraft carrier group as well as several oil and LNG tankers. A number of international shipping companies expect traffic to return to its normal rates in the two streams of the Canal this week, Hapi Journal reports.

Europe’s ports are likely to see a wave of incoming ships that had been delayed by the blockage, while those in Asia and on the US East coast expect a surge in mid-April, the Financial Times reports. The scheduling conflict is putting more pressure on an industry already straining to keep up with an increased volume of ships since late 2020 due to a worldwide e-commerce boom amid the pandemic.

The Suez Canal Authority should prioritize upgrading the shipping route’s technical infrastructure to avoid future disruptions, considering the ever-increasing size of commercial vessels, Reuters reports. In addition to acquiring up-to-date salvage equipment equipment, stricter guidelines on how ships transit the canal are needed, industry sources told Reuters, such as only permitting transit during daylight hours.

The SCA is set to receive two of the biggest tugboats in the region from The Netherlands — with one due to land next week and the other in August — as part of the authority’s plans to develop the Suez Canal, Rabie told El Hekaya’s Adib (watch, runtime: 13:38). Operations to extend the Canal’s width are also under consideration after the Ever Given’s accident, Rabie told CNN Arabic, though the waterway does not need an expansion of its depth, which currently stands at 24 meters, he said.

Four Japanese officials will reportedly be sent to Egypt to lend a helping hand in the ongoing investigations into the Ever Given’s grounding, Transport Minister Akaba Kazuyoshi told Japan's state-run broadcaster NHK.

Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, which chartered the stranded megaship, have denied liability for the Suez Canal blockage, pointing fingers at the Ever Given’s operator and owner Shoei Kisen instead, as the accident occurred during the transportation during which “the ship's owner contractually shoulders the responsibility,” Evergreen Marine President Eric Hsieh said at a presser last weekend, Nikkei Asia reports.

This shipping company’s statement came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Ever Given’s owner against the ship’s operator that highlights the “labyrinthine ownership structure” that makes it difficult to determine who should take responsibility for marine accidents, the Washington Post reports.

The Suez Canal won’t be held responsible for any damages as a result of the incident, the SCA’s Rabie said last week. The authority expects to claim some USD 1 bn in damages from ins. companies, which includes foregone revenues of around USD 15 mn for each day the ship blocked the canal, as well as damages to the Suez Canal from dredging the bank’s embankment to dislodge the ship, Rabie said last week.

COMPETITION WATCH

Up in smoke

Egypt puts tender for tobacco license on ice: The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has shelved a tender for a license to set up Egypt’s second tobacco company, two unnamed industry sources told Reuters. The bidding round was slated to be held this Tuesday. Companies were informed about the decision one day before the deadline set for submitting the bids, sources added.

So, when is the tender going ahead? Not for a while, by the looks of things. “What we understand … is that the postponement is for an indefinite period … Certainly, the conditions for the auction will be changed if it is held again,” one of the sources told the newswire.

Background: The IDA issued in March a tender for the license, which would have brought to an end Eastern Company’s monopoly on the tobacco industry (with a few caveats). But a few days later tobacco players filed a complaint with the competition watchdog alleging that the license violated antitrust rules, before another complaint was handed to the Federation of Egyptian Industries demanding that the IDA scrap the tender and revise its terms.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Emaar loves Egypt, Part XVI

Egypt is Mohamed Alabbar’s favorite real estate investment destination: High demand, attractive turnover, and the sheer size of Egypt’s real estate market give it an edge over markets in the UAE and the UK, and make it the top choice for upmarket real estate developer Emaar Properties, Emaar CEO Mohamed Alabbar told Amr Adib last week (watch, runtime: 1:39). Alabbar dropped into El Hekaya after he told Asharq Business his company is planning to double its Egypt operations to 30% of its overall business, describing its Egypt arm Emaar Misr as the “star performer” of 2020. This followed the company’s announcement last week of its intention to spend EGP 37.8 bn developing a 500-feddan residential project in Sheikh Zayed.

OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Uber is committed to continuing to invest in Egypt, where it has seen one of its fastest recovery rates globally, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a virtual roundtable with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi organized by the US Egypt Business Council, according to a company press release (pdf). The ride-hailing giant’s business in Egypt has recovered to 80% of its pre-covid levels levels to date, Khosrowshahi said.

Leaders of other US multinationals also discussed investment prospects in Egypt with the president during the roundtable, Ittihadiya said in a statement. The companies that took part included Apache, Bechtel, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Exxonmobil, Chevron, Google, MasterCard, PepsiCo, and Hilton.

TOURISM

Egypt has made up to USD 800mn from 500K tourists visiting Egypt in 2021 so far

Some 500k tourists visited Egypt in 1Q2021, generating USD 600-800 mn in tourism revenues, Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalabi told Sky News Arabia on Thursday.

For comparison: This is roughly on par with the USD 800 mn brought in by the sector in 3Q2020, and is a lot better than the USD 80-150 mn monthly average seen through 2020. And some 2 mn tourists have visited the country in the nine months since flights restarted following the initial wave of the virus.

Recovery 2022? Bank of America said last month it expects Egypt’s tourism revenues to recover to USD 7 bn next year, after plummeting by 70% in 2020. While the numbers of tourists visiting Egypt shrank to 3.6 mn from 13 mn in 2019, El Anany recently said Egypt could see a return to pre-covid visitor numbers as early as fall 2022.

Local businesses are still getting a helping hand: The government last week extended for an additional six months a debt, tax, and utilities holiday for tourism companies and businesses originally introduced in April 2020, while the civil aviation and tourism ministries have extended a campaign to promote domestic winter tourism until 15 May.

enterprise

REGULATION WATCH

Brokerages call for restrictions on margin trading

Market players proposed introducing restrictions on margin trading during a meeting with the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) last week, the regulator said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Representatives from a handful of brokerages and custodians called for regulators to put a maximum limit on the volume of margin trades allowed for each security as well as the market as a whole, said Islam Azzam, deputy chairman of the FRA. They also requested that main shareholders face a cap on margin trading of their companies’ stocks. The volume of margin transactions on the EGX is currently around EGP 5 bn, Azzam said.

This comes a week after the FRA green-lit a new EGP 1 bn+ fund that will be deployed to support margin lending in a bid to boost trading volumes on the bourse. The central bank-administered fund will channel liquidity to brokerages by providing financing at competitive rates. The regulator also last month permitted non-bank lenders to finance margin lending.

What’s next? The Egyptian Exchange and Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry should meet this week with the FRA's Advisory Committee to discuss the proposals, Azzam noted. Final proposals will then be submitted to the FRA's board this month.

REAL ESTATE

Egypt receives 2.9 mn requests to settle building code violations

The window for people to legalize informal buildings has finally been shut: Some 2.9 mn requests were submitted to settle building code violations between July and March, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said yesterday, a few days after the 31 March deadline for settling with the government elapsed. This is slightly short of the 3.16 mn buildings that are known to have violated the code. Those who failed to legalize their properties are now at risk of having them demolished.

Background: A crackdown on wildcat building launched by the government in July last year has forced people who have violated the building code to pay so-called “reconciliation” fees to legalize their properties. The end-of-March deadline was the fifth extension granted for property owners, since originally setting an end-of-August due date.

TOURISM

The Golden Parade

Twenty-two ancient royal mummies were moved from the Egyptian museum to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization last night in an extravagant ceremony dubbed the “Golden Parade.” Roads were closed in the center of the city to allow the procession of golden, pharaonic vehicles to make their way south to Fustat, where they were greeted by a 21-gun salute before the inauguration of the museum. The pharaohs were transported in specially-designed nitrogen-filled capsules to protect them, former antiquities minister and self-styled Indiana Jones Zahi Hawass said.

Who are the mummies? Eighteen kings and four queens, mostly from the ancient New Kingdom which ruled Egypt between 1539 B.C. to 1075 B.C., were transported to the Civilization Museum. They include Ramses II, Ramses IX, Thutmose III, Mert Amon, the only female pharaoh ruler Queen Hatshepsut, and the last king of the 17th Dynasty Seqenenre Tao, in addition to Seti I and Ahmose-Nefertari, the cabinet noted in a statement.

Why the move? “We chose the Civilization Museum because we want, for the first time, to display the mummies in a civilized manner, an educated manner, and not for amusement as they were in the Egyptian Museum,” Hawass said.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi personally welcomed the mummies to their permanent home at a ceremony to inaugurate the new museum, according to an Ittihadiya statement. “This majestic scene is a new evidence of the greatness of this people, the guarding of this unique civilization that extends into the depths of history,” the president tweeted. Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El Anany described the parade as a “unique global event that will not be repeated,” and said it will promote Egyptian tourism and raise cultural awareness (watch, runtime 8:41).

Twenty of the mummies will go on display to the public from 18 April at the museum, with the remaining two to be stored, the Associated Press quoted the Tourism Ministry as saying. The Fustat museum was opened with limited exhibits from 2017 and will open fully today.

The parade dominated the airwaves last night: All of the nation’s talking heads had their eyes trained on the royal cavalcade. Lamees El Hadidi’s Kelma Akhira was entirely dedicated to the coverage of the parade (watch, runtime: 1:46:55), as was Al Hayah Al Youm, which screened the parade and inauguration ceremony live (watch, runtime: 3:27:46). Amr Adib interviewed Hawass, who told the El Hekaya host that the museum is designed to narrate the history of the Egytian civilization and will display the mummies as the main “protagonists'' of the story (watch, runtime 2:36). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa featured an interview with El Anany (watch, runtime 6:20).

The event, under the #موكب_المومياوات_الملكية hashtag, was trending number one on Twitter, Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa said (watch, runtime 8:08), and claimed that 1 bn people were following the live stream of the parade.

The parade is everywhere in the foreign press this morning: Associated Press | Reuters | NYT | BBC | Washington Post.

MOVES

Diaa Rashwan was reelected for a new term as head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, the organization announced Saturday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Rashwan had served as head of the syndicate from 2013-2015, and was elected again in 2019. He also heads the State Information Service, and was formerly an analyst at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

State-affiliated tech park operator Silicon Waha has tapped Hashem Mansy (LinkedIn) as its new CEO and managing director, Al Mal reports. A 25-year tech veteran, Mansy has held several top positions at prominent private sector companies, including Dell Egypt and IBM.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

The foreign press can’t get enough of the mummy parade this morning: We have more in this morning’s Speed Round above.

In non-mummy related foreign press coverage: France24 takes a look at the proposed amendments to the Personal Status Act which would limit women’s freedom of movement and child custody, while the Washington Post reports that the US State Department signing off on an arms sale to Egypt is “raising concerns” among Democrats in Congress over human rights issues. Voice of America profiles a Cairo school dedicated to educating deaf children.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Speed Medical’s (SPMD) board of directors signed off on acquiring Prime Speed Medical Services in a EGP 1.8 bn transaction, after the SPMD board of directors approved fair values of both companies, according to an EGX statement (pdf). The acquisition will be financed through a capital increase, provided it gets EGM approval.

Work is underway on building the world’s largest spinning factory which is expected to be operational in the summer of 2022, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said in a statement. The factory is expected to produce 30 tonnes of yarn per day.

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

  • CI Capital’s microfinance subsidiary Reefy has landed EGP 150 mn in funding (pdf) from HSBC Bank Egypt for on-lending to micro firms — a third of which will be allocated to women-led SMEs.
  • Schneider Electric was awarded a contract to set up a new electricity control center that will serve downtown Alexandria.
  • Plans to renovate several Egyptian ports including those in Alexandria, Dekheila, Ain Sokhna, and Damietta were presented to the Supreme Council for Ports in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly Thursday, following a presidential decree ordering the restructuring of the council.
  • State-owned Canal Sugar is planning to begin operating its new EGP 17 bn factory in Minya next month.

COVID WATCH

Vaccine rollout to speed up, more jabs on their way

The Health Ministry reported 710 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 703 on Friday and up from 712 on Thursday. The ministry also reported 39 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 12,123. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 204,256 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Egypt has so far received nearly 1.6 mn doses of different types of vaccines since December, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said on Thursday (watch, runtime: 4:12). Those include 680k Sinopharm vaccines and 904k of the Oxford / AstraZeneca jabs. Some 400k additional doses are expected to land within two days, Madbouly said without specifying the origin of the new doses.

It also appears there won’t be significant delays to shipments of AstraZeneca jabs coming in this month. Egypt is expected to get its hands on a total of 5 mn doses through the Gavi / Covax scheme by late April or early May, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib over the weekend (watch, runtime: 1:33). The first 854k-dose batch of the vaccine already landed on Wednesday, but earlier reports had suggested further deliveries could be interrupted as the manufacturer is struggling to keep up with global demand. Egypt placed a 40 mn-shot order through Covax which it’s expecting to receive throughout the year.

Even more AstraZeneca on the way: Egypt was among 18 African countries that have purchased the 1 mn AstraZeneca doses South Africa said it’s offloading last month after a study showing the jabs offered little protection against its local covid-19 variant, Bloomberg reported, citing South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. It remains unclear how many of these jabs were earmarked for Egypt, or when we’re expected to get our hands on them.

Another 200 vaccination centers will be operational nationwide as of today, in addition to the 139 centers already in operation, Megahed told Adib (watch, runtime 1:36). Forty additional centers will be opened in Cairo alone, Megahed said, adding that they had doubled the numbers of medical staff available in existing centers to accommodate the higher influx of patients. Some applicants will be automatically reassigned by the Health Ministry’s Information Center to the new vaccination centers in order to speed up the rollout, which has been bogged down by long waiting lists at some centers, Megahed added.

PLANET FINANCE

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OPEC+ will gradually increase oil production by up to 1.1 mn bbl per day from May-July, the coalition announced after its monthly meeting last Thursday, going against expectations that it would maintain around 7 mn bdp of production cuts introduced a year ago to temper the effect of a covid-19 induced slump in demand on oil prices. The coalition based its decision on “improvements in the market supported by global vaccination programmes and stimulus packages in key economies,” the statement said. Each monthly adjustment of output will not exceed 500k barrels, with 350,000 bpd increase expected in May, followed by another 350,000 bpd in June, and 400,000 bpd in July, according to its production adjustments table (pdf). Oil prices climbed off the back of the announcement, with Brent rising 3.4% and US crude up 3.9% on Thursday.

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EGX30

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Buy 15.65

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8.25% deposit

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2,557

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USD 1,728.40

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USD 57,716

-1.9% (as of midnight)

The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session flat on turnover of EGP 1 bn (30.8% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 2.6% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+7.7%), Cleopatra Hospital (+4.1%) and Orascom Financial (+3.2%).

In the red: Abu Qir Fertilizers (-2.1%), CI Capital (-1.5%) and CIB (-1.0%).

CALENDAR

April: The government’s fuel pricing committee is scheduled to meet for its quarterly review of prices

5-11 April: The Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group will take place virtually.

5-6 April (Monday-Tuesday): Cityscape Egypt virtual conference on real estate investment.

6 April (Tuesday): French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt working breakfast with Sovereign Fund of Egypt CEO Ayman Soliman.

6 April (Tuesday): French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt will host the “Egyptian Government's Real Estate Wealth Inventory and Management Project” webinar.

7 April (Wednesday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) webinar on digital banking and fintech.

8 April (Thursday): The Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) will host a matchmaking virtual event, dubbed “Hangout with VCs.”

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

12 April (Sunday): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Egypt for GERD talks (watch: runtime: 1:28).

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): Coptic 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.

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).

7-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

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.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

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

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.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

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.

12-14 October (Tuesday – Thursday) Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt

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.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

29 November – 2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo

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.

27 June – 3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.