Sunday, 15 August 2021

Swvl, New Administrative Capital management company eye EGX debuts

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a really big news morning, with plenty of news on everything from IPOs to M&A and public policy. We have the full rundown on it all in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

We hope you had a wonderful long weekend. Your next scheduled break (for those of you not taking annual leave in August to enjoy some Sahel time) will be Thursday, 7 October. That’s when we will observe Armed Forces Day.

A busy news morning is the perfect way to start easing back into fall. Why fall, you ask? Because summer’s coming to an end, ladies and gents. Classes resume at Cairo American College this week, with BISC and NCBIS set to follow later this month. Most other private and international school students will start trudging back into class next month — enjoy your final weeks of good rush-hour traffic.

Speaking of school: Thanaweya Amma results will be announced this Tuesday 17 August, the local press reports, with the Education Ministry live-streaming a press conference at 1 pm during which the minister will also announce preliminary indicators for university allocations.

SMART POLICY #1- Want to access the AUC campus? You’re going to need a vaccine: As of the start of the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year, AUC students and staff will need to present proof of vaccination in order to access the campus, the university said last week (pdf). AUC is working with the Health Ministry to help vaccinate teachers, students and faculty staff ahead of the start of the academic year, when all of its students return to campus for in-class teaching. Students with medical or other valid reasons not to get vaccinated can apply to be exempted from the rule.

SMART POLICY #2- Egypt is planning to install 1.5 mn energy-efficient street lamps nationwide this year — a plan that will cost state coffers some EGP 201 mn, but will save at least EGP 1.6 bn from the government’s FY 2021/2022 budget, Local Development Minister Mahmoud Shaarawy said in a statement. As many as 2.7 mn LED street lights have already been installed across the country, contributing to around EGP 9.5 bn in state savings, Shaarawy said, noting that Cairo will get some 184k LED street lamps during the current fiscal year.

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

THE BIGGEST STORY INTERNATIONALLY- The Taliban have nearly overrun Afghanistan, and the capital, Kabul, is about to fall. Tens of thousands have fled their homes as a dozen cities fell to a rapid advance by Taliban forces, who now control large swathes of the country. US troops are scrambling to extract from the capital embassy staff and Afghans who assisted the American-led coalition of foreign troops during its 20-year presence in the country — with the US Saturday pledging an additional 1k troops to the evacuation effort — as Taliban militants rush to fill the vacuum left by the abrupt exit of US forces. The Washington Post, FT, Reuters, and every other international outlet are tracking events. For an insight into the human cost of the crisis, one Afghan woman journalist who is currently in hiding tells her story in the Guardian.

Everything is still on fire: Wildfires in Algeria continued to blaze into Saturday, with local press putting the death toll so far at 90. Flames have cooled in Greece and Turkey for the time being, though wildfires in the Western US and Canada continue to cause widespread destruction.

OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW-

Calcio, live on YouTube in the Middle East: Fans of Italian football in the MENA region will be able to watch some of the biggest matches in Serie A live on YouTube this season after the league was unable to agree a TV rights sale with broadcasters in the region, Reuters reports. The league will launch an Arabic-language channel on the Google-owned platform to screen the games across the region after talks with Qatar’s Bein Sports and Saudi Sports Company failed to produce an agreement.

Egypt’s first-ever female Olympic gold medalist is getting a bridge named after her: A new bridge in New Cairo will be named after Feryal Abdelaziz, who became the first Egyptian woman to earn a gold medal at the Olympics earlier this month when she won the kumite karate (+61 kg), Ittihadiya said in a statement on Wednesday. The other five athletes who won medals at Tokyo 2020 will also have sites named after them, the statement said. This year’s Games was Egypt’s most successful ever, with the nation’s athletes bringing home one gold, two silver and four bronze medals.

MORNING MUST READ- China appears to have begun building “a potential intercontinental ballistic missile” (ICBM) silo site, suggesting that the country has departed from its declared strategy of keeping a moderate nuclear arsenal for “deterrence” purposes, according to a note published at the weekend by the China Aerospace Studies Institute. China has lately been expanding its nuclear capabilities, with two other large missile silo fields — which are reportedly set to include more than 200 ICBMs — identified by nuclear weapons experts in past months, the Financial Times reports.

MARKET WATCH- The world’s appetite for oil will be lower than expected this year as the ongoing spread of the covid-19 delta variant continues to drag on global economies and new restrictions in Asia are set to reduce demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil report. The IEA has reduced its demand outlook by 500k barrels per day in the second half of 2021 — and does not expect demand to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022, possibly leaving a glut of unwanted oil in the market especially “if OPEC+ continues to undo its cuts and producers not taking part in the deal ramp up in response to higher prices.” China, the world’s biggest oil importer, has scaled back imports by 5.6% cumulatively y-o-y in 2021 so far.

Santa Claus could be a little bit late this year: The surge of the delta variant in Asia is also expected to wreak havoc on supply chains — and cause delays that could ripple into the Christmas shopping season, Bloomberg reports. Shutdowns of container ports in China and factories in Southeast Asia due to covid-19 outbreaks mean supplies of electronics, garments, and other products from Asia — where almost 42% of global exports are sourced — could be sluggish well into the end of the year.

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IPO WATCH

Swvl, New Capital company eye debuts on EGX

Swvl could debut on EGX in 2022-2023: Mass transportation startup Swvl is considering an initial public offering on the Egyptian Exchange in 2022-2023 following its planned debut on the Nasdaq in 4Q2021, CFO Youssef Salem told Reuters, without providing further details.

News of the company’s Nasdaq ambitions broke last month when it announced (pdf) that it had agreed to go public on the tech-heavy exchange through a merger with blank-check firm Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital. The agreement values the company at around USD 1.5 bn, and the listing will raise the company’s capital to USD 550 mn from USD 100+ mn today.

Swvl will become profitable for the first time in 2024 before earning over USD 170 mn in 2025, Salem told the newswire. The ridesharing outfit is yet to generate a profit since being founded in Cairo in 2017. Revenues are forecast to rise to USD 79 mn this year from USD 26 mn in 2020, before reaching USD 800 mn in 2024 and over USD 1 bn in 2025.

Top-line growth fuelled by rapid expansion plans: Swvl plans to expand into as many as 30 cities in 20 countries by the middle of the decade, including southern and western Europe, Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, Salem said. Founder Mostafa Kandil had said last week that the company was looking to acquire an unnamed European firm as part of its expansion plans. It’s also looking at branching out into new sectors such as logistics, advertising and financial services starting 2023, he added.

Swvl currently operates in 10 cities in six countries including Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kenya and Pakistan. By 2025, the company expects to operate 2 mn trips a day compared toa over 3 mn trips a month at present.

Advisors: Ibrachy & Dermarkar is Swvl’s legal advisor on the SPAC merger, while Shahid Law Firm and Vinson & Elkins acted as legal advisors for Queen’s Gambit.

BACKGROUND- Swvl was established in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah to offer intra and inter city travel options and has landed over USD 90 mn in funding from investors that include Cairo’s Sawari Ventures and Silicon Badia.

IN OTHER IPO NEWS- State-owned Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) could go public on the EGX in a record IPO within two years, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said yesterday, Hapi Journal reports. ACUD — the company responsible for management of the new capital — owns EGP 100 bn worth of liquid assets, holding between EGP 3-4 tn in assets under management, El Sisi said, without providing any further details. The ACUD IPO — which would be Egypt’s largest ever once finalized — is still pending hiring a financial advisor, lead arranger and bookrunner for the EGP 100 bn transaction, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid told Sada El Balad’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime 17:39) last night. No further details were given on the size of the potential stake that could be put on offer.

M&A WATCH

Greek bottler acquires Coke in Egypt in landmark foreign investment

Coca-Cola HBC to acquire Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt: A subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt (CCBCE) in a transaction valued at USD 427 mn, the company announced in a statement on Thursday. Coca-Cola HBC Holdings will acquire approximately 94.7% of CCBCE from existing shareholders the Coca-Cola Company and MAC Beverages, the company said.

Who’s selling? Atlantic industries — an Egypt-based, wholly owned affiliate of the Coca-Cola Company — sold its 42% stake in CCBCE to HBC, according to a press release (pdf). MAC beverages, a privately owned group with investments in the beverages and packaging sectors in the MENA region that has been an owner of CCBCE since 1994, was the seller of the remaining stake.

Who’s buying? FTSE 100-listed Coca-Cola HBC is one of the largest Coca-Cola bottlers in the world and is 23% owned by the US’ Coca-Cola Company.

How big is Coca Cola’s local affiliate? CCBCE sold about 275 mn “unit cases” in 2020 (+3.4% over 2019), giving it net sales revenue of EGP 7.4 bn (+2.8% year-on-year). The company’s brands include Coca-Cola, Sprite, Schweppes and Dasani, among others.

Acquiring CCBCE will allow HBC to accelerate its growth in Egypt, which the statement described as “the second largest non-alcoholic ready-to-drink market [in Africa] by volume.” Coca-Cola HBC’s presence in 28 markets globally would bring CCBCE greater opportunities to innovate for efficiency and maximize growth, it added.

HBC could snap up another 2.8% of the company if it looks for agreements with other minority shareholders “which may be entered into in due course,” the company said in a separate emailed statement.

The transaction follows a strong six months for HBC, which on the same day reported net income of USD 233.1 mn in 1H2021, an 88% jump from the same period last year. The company attributed the bottom line growth to a pickup in revenues (+23%) on the back of improving market share.

“This transaction promises to strengthen our system in Egypt,” Coca-Cola Company CEO Brian Smith was quoted as saying in the statement, adding that the agreement “represents an important development in the Coca-Cola system’s long-term commitment to the growth and development of this important market.”

ADVISORS- Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy and Clifford Chance LLP acted as legal counsel to CCBCE, while Zulficar and Partners, Mena Associates – Amereller, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP acted as counsel to the buyer.


IN OTHER M&A NEWS- Bahrain’s Bank ABC has concluded its USD 425 mn acquisition of 99.4% of Blom Bank’s Egypt arm. Blom’s advisor in the sale, CI Capital, made the announcement (pdf) overnight. Blom entered Egypt in 2006, but is leaving amid stress on financial institutions in its home market of Lebanon. The transaction gives Bank ABC 68 branches nationwide, we previously reported, as Blom’s 41 locations are added to its existing network.

ADVISORS- CI Capital Investment Banking was sell-side advisor to Blom Bank SAL, while Baker McKenzie served as legal counsel to the seller. The transaction is CI Capital’s third concluded M&A of 2021. Bank ABC was advised by HSBC Bank Middle East, with Zulficar & Partners doing legal duties.

ALSO- An unnamed state-owned bank is reportedly mulling snagging a 10-20% stake in e-payments platforms Bee + Masary as part of non-banking financial services player Ebtikar’s wider plans to sell stakes in its two subsidiaries, Al Shorouk reports, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the plans. The sources did not name the bank, specify a transaction value or provide further details.

Vodafone Egypt could close acquisition of a 20% stake in Bee + Masary within days after having already submitted an offer and wrapped up earlier this month its due diligence on the two firms. The telecom giant plans to acquire the shares through a capital increase under the terms of an MoU signed with Ebtikar in February.

Who currently owns what? Ebtikar holds a 72% stake in Masary, with the remainder owned by Bahrain’s Sadad. Bee is a 60%-owned subsidiary of Ebtikar, with the remainder held by two other investors including Techno Beez. Ebtikar, which is planning an IPO in 4Q2021, is a joint venture between B Investments, BPE Partners and MTI.

BANKING + FINANCE

Banque Misr eyeing green bonds, CI Capital + Misr Capital integration?

Banque Misr green bond issuance in the works? Banque Misr could soon be following the likes of CIB and the Finance Ministry by issuing its very own green bonds to investors, according to Al Mal. The state-owned bank is exploring the possibility of selling the climate-focused securities, Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby told the newspaper, without revealing further details about the bank’s plans.

2020-2021: The year of the green bond. Last year year saw the maiden issuances of Egyptian sovereign and corporate bonds. CIB was the first to take a corporate issuance to market this past June, selling USD 100 mn of five-year, fixed-rate bonds to the International Finance Corporation, while the Finance Ministry held its first green bond sale last September, issuing USD 750 mn bonds in an issuance that was almost 5x oversubscribed.

CI Capital-Misr Capital integration coming? Banque Misr is considering merging some of CI Capital and Misr Capital’s activities, El Maghraby said, without disclosing further information. The vice chairman said earlier this year that the bank could move to integrate some of the firms’ activities such as asset management, but said that a merger is “unlikely.” This would create an asset manager with assets under management worth EGP 35 bn. Banque Misr acquired a 90% stake in CI Capital earlier this year, and is in the process of acquiring CI’s entire 98% stake in its consumer finance subsidiary, Souhoola.

ALSO FROM BANQUE MISR- The state-run bank is on the verge of setting up an EGP 500 mn real estate investment fund, with the participation of Banque du Caire (BdC) and Suez Canal Bank, unnamed sources in the know told Al Shorouk, without specifying an estimated timeframe. An unnamed subsidiary of Banque Misr will take over the management of the fund, which will invest in commercial and administrative assets nationwide in a way that guarantees constant and recurring income from rental returns, the sources said.

SMEs

Green SME projects to get more help from EBRD

AUB Egypt could get USD 22 mn for green projects, SMEs: Ahli United Bank Egypt may receive up to USD 22 mn from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Global Climate Fund (GCF) for on-lending to Egyptian SMEs working on green projects, according to the EBRD’s website. The finance would be disbursed to the Bahraini lender through two loans: one USD 12 mn loan funded by the EBRD and the GCF, and a second USD 10 mn facility provided entirely by the European lender. Both agreements were announced on Friday and are set to receive final approval in mid-September.

Both loans are earmarked for SMEs in agribusiness, manufacturing and services, and IT, but the first USD 12 mn agreement is specifically ring-fenced for capex investment in “climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and services” under the EBRD’s green economy financing facility (GEFF). The GCF will stump up USD 3 mn of the funding, while the EBRD will provide the remainder. The second agreement comes under the EBRD’s financial intermediaries framework.

The funding is the latest in a series of green loans to Egyptian banks from the EBRD under its GEFF in cooperation with the GCF, including USD 25 mn to National Bank of Kuwait Egypt, approved in April, and USD 50 mn to QNB Al Ahli, confirmed in July. That’s on top of the USD 100 mn for on-lending to green projects announced in June by the EBRD for the National Bank of Egypt, the third such loan the state bank has received through the GEFF.

COVID WATCH

We just got another 1.76 mn doses of AstraZeneca

More AstraZeneca jabs land in Egypt: Egypt received 1.76 mn doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine through the Gavi / Covax program on Friday, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

This is the third shipment of vaccines Egypt has received from Gavi: Egypt has now received some 4.3 mn of the 4.5 mn doses allocated to it by the initiative. The ministry said earlier this month that all of the 1.9 mn outstanding shots would be delivered last week.

More vaccine doses expected this month: The ministry is expecting new doses of Sinovac and Pfizer to arrive in August, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a cabinet meeting last week. The 2.5 mn-dose batch of Pfizer jabs could arrive in the coming days, the ministry said last week, with the shipment having originally been scheduled to arrive in mid-July. The country was expected to receive 1 mn doses of the Sinovac vaccine in late July.

More than 100k people got vaccinated on Thursday including 56k who got their first doses and over 44k who had their second jabs, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Almost 6 mn people had been vaccinated as of earlier this month, Youm7 reported. The ministry had said in July that 4.5 mn people had received at least one dose since the government began its vaccination campaign in January.

We have 539 vaccination centers nationwide administering the covid-19 vaccine, compared to a previous 500. This is in addition to 126 dedicated to issuing official vaccination certificates for those wishing to travel.

Egyptians will need to pay more than previously thought for travel certificates: QR code vaccination certificates needed for travel will cost EGP 250 for Egyptian citizens wishing to travel, USD 10 for non-Egyptians and EGP 100 for local use at government institutions, according to a statement.The certificates were previously said to cost EGP 100 for citizens.

The Health Ministry reported 99 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 97 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 285,257 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 6 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,615.

Cases have been climbing steadily (if slowly) for almost three weeks now, with the exception of a brief drop on 5 August, according to our in-house covid tracker.

IN GLOBAL COVID NEWS-

  • Only vaccinated individuals be allowed to access to public spaces in Abu Dhabi as of 20 August. The Emirate is also going to require boosters within six months of your receiving your second dose. (Announcement)
  • Booster shots are getting the regulatory OK in the United States, with an initial focus on at-risk individuals. (Reuters)
  • China put pressure on a leading WHO scientist to downplay the lab-leak theory of covid-19’s origins. (Washington Post)
  • Hospitalization of covid-19 patients in their 30s reached a record high in the US as the highly-contagious delta variant continues to spread. (Wall Street Journal)

EARNINGS WATCH

GB Auto net income triples in 2Q off of higher revenues

GB Auto’s net income more than tripled to EGP 374.3 mn in 2Q2021, compared to EGP 115.8 mn in the same period last year, the company said in an earnings release (pdf). Revenues surged by 81% y-o-y to EGP 7.27 bn during the quarter thanks to improved market conditions and stronger consumer demand, which saw car sales reach more than 10.1k, up from 4.2k last year.

In detail: Revenues in the auto and auto-related segment almost doubled to EGP 5.4 bn, helping it to an EGP 260.9 mn profit during the quarter after having made an EGP 27.8 mn loss in 2Q2020. GB Capital delivered EGP 1.85 bn in revenues, notching 41% top line growth from last year, while net income was up 6% to EGP 143.6 mn.

Looking forward: Improved market conditions and rising market demand are expected to continue to back the company’s performance through to year-end, said GB Auto CEO Nader Ghabbour. The company has recently added the Changan and Haval brands to its portfolio and sees its market share growing as “supply constraints related to the semiconductor shortage begin to ameliorate, ” he said. Over at GB Capital, the company plans to expand its non-banking financial services sector via “innovation and tech-driven offerings,” noted Ghabbour.

ALSO REPORTING EARNINGS- Prime Holding reported a EGP 14.9 mn net loss in 2Q2021, after its EGP 3.6 mn profit in the same quarter last year, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). Revenues also declined 24% to EGP 22.6 mn in 2Q2021 compared to EGP 29.7 mn last year.

AND- Misr Cement Qena’s consolidated net profits rose 9.2% to EGP 69 mn in 1H2021, compared to EGP 63 mn in the same period last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). The growth comes despite a 4.7% decline in revenues to EGP 1.29 bn in 1H2021.

MOVES

El Sisi renews SCZone chairman Yehia Zaki’s term for one year

Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) Chairman Yehia Zaki (bio) has been reappointed for another one-year term by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, according to a statement yesterday. Zaki has been head of the SCZone for two years. He was previously managing director of Beirut-based engineering consultancy Dar Al Handasah and sits on the boards of Egypt’s Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), Egypt Post, the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA), and the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce. The news comes less than a week after El Sisi renewed terms for EGX boss Mohamed Farid, Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Omran, Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie.

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ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The nation’s airwaves last night were awash in coverage of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s speech yesterday in Badr City as he inaugurated a number of housing developments in the new city.

El Sisi used the occasion to set things straight on the potential rise in the price of subsidized bread, reassuring citizens that there are no plans to remove subsidies on staple goods. Instead there will be a “restructuring” of the EGP 275 bn allocated for subsidies in the state’s budget each year. “I must reorganize the affairs of Egypt in a way that yields tremendous value for its economy and people. The EGP 70 bn allocated from the country’s annual subsidies towards bread should be reconstituted,” El Sisi said.

He also touched on the old rent law, saying there are plans to ease rent protections on pre-1996 leases to ensure the fair treatment of both tenants and landlords, though he did not elaborate. El Sisi said the government would work on increasing the supply of affordable housing in the market in order to create more balance between demand for, and supply of, affordable homes. Among those who had coverage of the president’s speech last night: Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 31:34 | 17:11), Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 60:22) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:24).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Making international headlines during the otherwise quiet weekend: Amnesty International writes that authorities have not held to account members of the security forces responsible for events at the Rabaa sit-in eight years ago, while the solar boat gets another write up, with Global Construction Review running piece on the 45-tonne boat’s journey across the Giza plateau to its new home in the Grand Egyptian Museum.

PLANET FINANCE

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Bread prices could be about to rise as three of the world’s biggest wheat exporters face shortages and quality concerns, Bloomberg reports. Wheat prices are already at multi-year highs, and with drought threatening harvests in Canada and the US and a harsh winter hurting the Russian crop, analysts expect consumer prices to rise further in the coming weeks, heaping pressure on poorer nations and wheat importers.

Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat importer, and the news comes as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said yesterday the government will be “restructuring” subsidies for basic commodities. He had earlier warned that the price of subsidized bread would need to rise for the first time in a generation.

Mubadala is deepening ties with the world’s largest asset manager: BlackRock and other institutional investors have invested USD 1.1 bn in private equity ventures managed by the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund. The commitment includes a USD 700 mn to a PE portfolio managed by the SWF’s investment arm, Mubadala Capital, as well as a USD 400 mn investment in its third private equity fund.

Wall Street analysts’ are the most optimistic on stocks in two-decades after a better-than-expected US earnings season, with the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite both reaching record levels last month, Bloomberg reports. “It’s not just financial conditions and low rates fueling the appetite for risk assets — tremendous fundamental improvement is forecast into 2022,” one analyst says. Analysts see scope for even more gains, with businesses in the travel and hospitality industry still down, leaving room for a rebound second act.

Up

EGX30

10,885

+0.3% (YTD: +0.4%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.65

Sell 15.75

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.65

Sell 15.75

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

None

Tadawul

11,323

-% (YTD: +30.3%)

Up

ADX

7,594

+0.5% (YTD: +50.5%)

Down

DFM

2,814

-0.1% (YTD: +13.0%)

Up

S&P 500

4,468

+0.2% (YTD: +19.0%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,218

+0.4% (YTD: +11.7%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 70.59

-1.0%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 3.86

-1.8%

Up

Gold

USD 1,778.20

+1.5%

Down

BTC

USD 47,066.09

-0.99% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.3% at Wednesday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.74 bn (24% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 0.4% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+3.0%), Fawry (+1.6%) and Speed Medical (+1.4%).

In the red: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-4.5%), Raya Holding (-3.1%) and Ezz Steel (-2.3%).

IN DIPLOMACY

A US warship visited Egypt’s Red Sea Berenice naval base for the first time on Thursday, the US Embassy in Egypt said in a statement Friday. Egyptian Navy chief Vice Adm Ahmed Saeed, US Naval Forces Central Command boss Vice Adm Brad Cooper and US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen were on hand for the event.

AROUND THE WORLD

At least 227 people are dead and hundreds others injured or missing after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on Saturday, raising fears of destruction similar to the devastating 2010 quake that shattered the country, the Associated Press reports. Haiti's civil protection service predicts the death toll could reach the thousands. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti more than a decade ago, left between 220,000 and 300,000 people dead and injured hundreds of thousands more. Reuters and Bloomberg also took note of the story.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Morocco is planning to open an embassy in Israel in the next two months, becoming the fourth Arab country to normalize relations with Israel after the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, according to Reuters.
  • Israel will reopen today both the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings to Gaza for the first time in over a year, after they were closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, Bloomberg reports. Only those vaccinated against, or recovered from covid-19, will be permitted entry.
  • Lebanon is running on empty, with its worsening fuel crisis after the central bank moved to end subsidies to protect the country’s dwindling reserves forcing the closure of businesses and hospitals, and creating conditions that many residents have said are more dire than during the Lebanese civil war, Reuters reports.

CALENDAR

26-28 August (Thursday-Saturday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

September: Delegation of Russian companies to visit Russian Industrial Zone.

1-3 September (Wednesday-Friday): Digi Sign Africa, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

2 September (Thursday): The new EGX mechanism for calculating closing share prices will come into effect.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

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

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

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

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

October: New legislative session begins.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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.

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, UK.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

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

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

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