Sunday, 21 November 2021

AM — Lots of M&A and IPO news to start the week on the right foot

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends. We’re enjoying brisk air and a torrent of news on this first day of the workweek, so let’s jump right in.

PSA– Your commute to work is going to be significantly easier today — and you have the rainy weather to thank. Ten governorates have closed schools today as rain batters some parts of the country. Schools in Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Beheira, Matrouh, Menofia, Dakahlia, Kafr El Sheikh, and Damietta will all be closed, while Alexandria has given all non-essential state employees the day off in addition to shuttering schools — and urged the public to not leave their homes except for emergencies. Head to this morning’s talk shows section for more details.

It seems to be a patchwork of closures, so you’ll want to look for an email, check in with your school, ring your bus attendant, etc. The private American International School, for example, is closed, as are universities in Alexandria, Damanhour and Benha. Ain Shams, meanwhile, is open, and Facebook pages of a number of top internationals schools in Egypt had not been updated as of 5:30am CLT.

Expect things to be a bit more chill on the weather front today, at least in the Greater Cairo area, where our favourite weather app is calling for a mixture of sun and cloud today with a chance of rain from noon until mid-afternoon. Expect the mercury to top out at 22°C today rising steadily to 27°C by the weekend. Coastal and delta governorates should continue to hold onto their umbrellas as moderate showers and lightning storms are in the Egyptian Meteorological Authority’s forecast.


IPO WATCH- Abu Auf is expanding into the United Arab Emirates, a company official tells us. It’s the first step in the firm’s expansion into regional markets and could see Abu Auf open as many as five wholly-owned branches in the UAE in 2022. The healthy food brand’s parent company, AUF, plans to make its debut on the EGX by 2Q2022 and could offer up to 49% of the company for sale.

MARKET WATCH #1- Traders have (so far) shrugged at the stimulus measures unveiled by the EGX last week. The benchmark EGX30 index fell 1% during trading on Thursday despite the Financial Regulatory Authority announcing a 20% cut to trading and regulatory fees on Wednesday, as well as a six-month delay to the introduction of new caps on margin trading.

Ditto the wider package of measures unveiled the week before: The EGX30 fell 2.8% between Sunday and Thursday last week despite the largest basket of measures announced by the bourse the week before, consisting of an array of tax breaks and fee cuts aimed at supporting trading ahead of the introduction of a 10% capital gains tax on resident investors in January.

Smaller-cap stocks were harder hit, with the EGX70 falling 8.4% during the last four closes of last week to its lowest level since mid-April. Some shares fell up to 20% during the week in a losing streak that saw the market lose EGP 10 bn, CNBC Arabia said (watch, runtime: 3:58). The EGX100 lost 6.7% during the four-day period.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD-

The big business story this morning: Changing of the guard at UBS + Deutsche. Two of Europe’s biggest banks have announced leadership changes: ex-Morgan Stanley president Colm Kelleher is lined up to replace Axel Weber as the chairman of Swiss giant UBS, while the former CEO of Dutch ins. giant Alexander Wynaendts has been nominated by Deutsche Bank to replace outgoing chairman Paul Achleitner. Bloomberg, Reuters and the FInancial Times all have the story.

Covid is definitely not a thing of the past in Europe, where tensions are rising as governments turn to extreme measures to combat a new surge in cases. Protests are underway in several European cities in response to more stringent measures being introduced to quell the latest rise in covid cases, which in some countries have hit record highs. Austria has gone furthest, announcing last week compulsory vaccination for the entire population, while in several cities in the Netherlands police opened fire on violent demonstrators protesting the country’s return to partial lockdown. There were also demonstrations in Italy and Croatia against the governments’ restrictions on movement for unvaccinated citizens.

HAPPENING TODAY-

AUC and the Egyptian Private Equity Association (EPEA) will host a panel on developments and regulatory changes in the stock market at the Tahrir campus tonight at 6pm, according to a press release (pdf). EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid, Sovereign Fund of Egypt Chief investment Officer Abdalla ElEbiary and managing director and chief investment officer at Nile Capital Holding Basel Roshdy will all make appearances.

The House Planning and Budgeting Committee is set to discuss a bill on public planning this week, Rep. Mostafa Salem told Al Shorouk. The committee is looking at the bill after the government-drafted legislation earned approval in the Senate. The bill, which aims to streamline economic planning policies and encourage decentralization, would give local councils a larger role in mapping out economic development plans — and set up a state council on planning and sustainable development that would have a mandate to coordinate between all state authorities.

Also in the law: Making sure that new projects — particularly those receiving foreign funding — are in line with the government’s long-term development goals, including Egypt Vision 2030.

The Senate will meet today and tomorrow to discuss a draft law to increase protections for senior citizens, Youm7 reports. The law will provide social care and benefits to up to 1.7 mn senior citizens in Egypt.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK-

The new administrative capital plays host to a Comesa summit starting on Tuesday, the same day the state’s SECC hosts a webinar on fintech in Egypt.

Startup festival RiseUp starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday, while the Cairo International Film Festival kicks off its weeklong run this coming Friday.

The Home Appliances and Table Show (HATS Egypt) starts tomorrow and wraps up on Wednesday. The event is organized by the Engineering Export Council of Egypt and brings together companies working in the home appliances sector.

MARKET WATCH #2- The Fed could step on the gas with its taper as inflation fears rise: The Federal Reserve could speed up the pace at which it scales back its massive bond purchases as it scrambles to tame inflation, Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said on Friday, according to the Financial Times. This month the Fed started on a USD 15 bn-per-month taper, which would fully phase out the USD 120 bn asset-purchase programme by June 2022. But according to Clarida, central bank officials could discuss accelerating the process at its December policy meeting in light of last month’s inflation figures, which showed prices accelerating at their quickest pace in over 30 years. “I’ll be looking closely at the data that we get between now and the December meeting, and it may well be appropriate at that meeting to have a discussion about increasing the pace at which we’re reducing our balance sheet,” he said at an event on Friday.

Watch this space: US President Joe Biden said four days ago that he was going to announce his pick for the next Fed boss in … about four days’ time. Pundits think incumbent Jay Powell faces competition from Fed governor Lael Brainard — who, incidentally, is probably better for our part of the world. Conventional wisdom is that Brainard (who is also Mohamed El Erian’s pick) would raise interest rates at a slower pace than would Powell. CNBC has more.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center are hosting a webinar on the future of fintech in Egypt next Tuesday, 23 November. The event will look at the current landscape and expected changes in light of new tech, regulations and market changes. You can register to attend here.

Entrepreneurs aged 18-35 have until 23 December to register for TotalEnergiesStartupper of the Year Challenge. The competition is open for a business creation project or startup under three years old in any sector. Candidates can apply here.

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

enterprise

Somabay will proudly be hosting the upcoming Oceanman World Final Championship which will be held from the 2nd to the 4th of December. Oceanman is the first and biggest open water swimming franchise in the world, combining amateurs and professionals from all over the world with ages ranging from eight to 70 years old.

M&A WATCH

EFG, SFE finalize acquisition of Arab Investment Bank

EFG Hermes is now officially a universal bank: Our friends at EFG Hermes finalized on Thursday their acquisition of a 51% stake in the Arab Investment Bank (aiBank), transforming the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets into a universal bank in Egypt, EFG said in a statement (pdf). Through the acquisition, which marks “a strategic entry into the fast-growing and solid Egyptian commercial banking sector,” EFG Hermes will now assume control of aiBank in partnership with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt’s (SFE) financial services sub fund, which is acquiring a 25% stake. The state-owned National Investment Bank will retain a 24% stake of aiBank post-transaction, having previously held 91.4%.

What do we mean when we say universal bank? With the completion of the transaction, EFG Hermes’ Egyptian operations now include an investment bank, a commercial bank and a fast-growing non-bank financial services platform, “ensuring that we can provide a holistic set of financial products and services to both retail and corporate clients alike in our home market,” Group CEO Karim Awad said.

This is the first privatization in the banking sector in more than a decade, according to Reuters. The last major privatization in the sector was the sale of 80% of Bank of Alexandria to Intesa Sanpaolo back in 2006. Banque du Caire has long had plans to sell 20-30% stake to the public via IPO, but those plans were shelved thanks to covid-19. The Central Bank also got fairly far down the road to disposing of its nearly 100% stake in the United Bank of Egypt, which it had created through the merger of a number of smaller state-owned banks. EFG Hermes and New York’s Evercore had the mandate on UBE, but the sale was officially put on ice “for the duration” in September 2020 — again, thanks to covid.

M&A is the only way into the industry: The central bank has long said that it has no interest in issuing new traditional banking licenses, signalling that would-be entrants to the market will need to look at M&A. The next closely watched front will be the CBE’s policy on digital banking licenses when those come to pass.

The EGP 3.8 bn acquisition is a landmark for the government as it looks to underscore its seriousness about partnering with the private sector to unlock growth. Critical here: The support of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, which has built a solid track record as a trusted partner for private business, and of the Central Bank of Egypt, which gave the transaction the green light. We have background on the transaction here and here.

EFG Hermes now has an addressable market of 1 bn consumers across Egypt and 12 other fast-growing frontier emerging market economies in which it is the leading FEM investment banking platform, spanning from Nigeria to Kenya, from Pakistan to Vietnam as well as offices in London and New York.

Awad and the team at EFG have been working hard on this transformation for years now. Read more in this two-part interview we did with him earlier this year (here and here) or listen to the background in our chat on Making It, our podcast on how to build a great business in Egypt (listen, runtime: 34:07 and tap the button in the player at the bottom of the page).

PRIVATIZATION WATCH

Will Abu Qir Fertilizers be next in the (revived) state privatization program?

The long-awaited sale of an additional stake by EGX-listed Abu Qir Fertilizers will go ahead within the next month, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Reuters on Thursday. Sales of stakes in other state companies as part of the resurrected state privatization program would then follow, with four companies expected to tap the local stock market in the first half of 2022, Tawfik added. His statement came just after cabinet ministers said they’re committing to a review every two years of the industries in which the state is active, as well as setting up a body that will “supervise and manage” the companies of which the state retains ownership.

Abu Qir has pushed back the secondary stake sale several times, with the state’s privatization program running headlong into global market turmoil since it was announced in 2018. The company, a profitable fertilizers producer, was amongst the first batch lined up to sell additional shares as part of the program, with market estimates at the time putting the potential stake of the company to be put on offer at 20%. ِِAbu Qir’s biggest shareholders are the National Investment Bank (25%), the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (19.1%), and the Industrial Development Authority (12.6%). It has a market cap of nearly EGP 25 bn.

Abu Qir would be the second state-owned company to tap the EGX this year if plans to sell an additional stake pan out: e-Finance completed the EGX’s biggest IPO in years last month, raising some USD 370 mn. The state-owned fintech firm was the first of five state-owned companies that could tap the bourse before the end of the current fiscal year in June. Candidates include Ghazl El Mahalla sports club and Banque du Caire. Alexandria Containers and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals could also be in line for secondary sales.

OTHER PRIVATIZATION NEWS- MFF to partner with private sector: The Mortgage Finance Fund plans to launch several housing projects in partnership with undisclosed private sector players in early 2022, May Abdel Hamid said in an interview on Sada El Balad Thursday (watch, runtime: 6:16). This comes as the first nod to a public-private partnership (PPP) since amendments to the PPP Act received their final approval last week. The amendments remove some of the legislative and institutional barriers to forming PPPs and for the first time explicitly allow government entities to contract private companies to work on public infrastructure projects.

IPO WATCH

Paint the EGX (a different shade of) red

Al Ahly could offer almost half the club in an IPO on the EGX, Chairman Yassin Mansour told Al Arabiya in a story published on Friday. The club’s board are considering listing a 49% stake on the exchange, he told the UAE-based outlet, without disclosing a timeline for the sale.

Shares will be sold in the newly-formed Al Ahly Football Company (AAFC), which according to board member Mohamed El Damaty, will hold all of the club’s football-related assets by June 2022. In an interview with Al Mal TV last week (watch, runtime: 55:46), El Damaty said the company will be responsible for managing and organizing all the club’s professional football activities including academies, local and international competitions, marketing activities, merchandise, advertising, and player transfers. AAFC will be headed by Mansour while former general-secretary of the Confederation of African Football Mustafa Murad Fahmy will act as vice president.

This comes within the club’s long-term strategy, which includes establishing three subsidiaries: The Al Ahly 2050 Vision aims to create new sources of income and capitalize on the club’s financial resources while keeping up with developments in the sports industry, according to the club’s website. Other than AAFC, Al Ahly will also establish Al Ahly Stadium Company to build and manage the club’s new Olympic city and stadium as well as Al Ahly Tourism Services Company to manage the club’s traveling services for staff, players, and fans.

Al Ahly aren’t the only sports club thinking of going public: State-owned club Ghazl El Mahalla is planning on selling two-thirds of its shares on the bourse in a small offering projected to bring in EGP 135 mn. Bookrunner Prime Holding said last month that the sale would go ahead in November but with less than two weeks left in the month we still haven’t heard anything. A couple of years ago, the EGX was also reportedly working with Misr El Makasa, FC Masr, and Wadi Degla SC, to prepare for potential listings, but it’s been radio silence since.

It’s all thanks to the 2017 Sports Act, which loosened the state’s grip on private sports clubs, allowing them to have more authority over financial affairs and operate as an institutionalized company.

M&A WATCH

SPMD exits Prime Speed Medical, Misr Labs Company

Speed Medical is offloading its entire 30% stake in Prime Speed Medical, the company said in a bourse disclosure (pdf), capping a feud between the erstwhile partners. Speed Medical (SPMD) will proceed with the exit once it receives its share of income in full according to a mutually-approved valuation. SPMD was set to acquire the remaining 70% of Prime Speed in a share-swap agreement before tensions arose in August and the acquisition plans were dropped.

What got SPMD mad? As SPMD tells it, Prime Speed’s owners were pushy with the sale, trying to get it moving “in an exaggerated way that goes beyond normal commercial transactions.” SPMD also grumbled about what it alleged were a number of operational misses and strategy gaps on Prime Speed’s part.

That’s not the company’s only exit: SPMD is also selling its 30% stake in Misr Labs Company, it said in the disclosure, without explaining why.

Instead, SPMD will establish its own lab chain under the name Al Watan Laboratories with plans to establish 200 branches. A business plan for the venture should be ready within two weeks, the company said.

EARNINGS- SPMD’s net income rose more than doubled to EGP 59 mn in 3Q2021 while revenues rose 154% to EGP 121 mn, according to the company’s financial statements (pdf). On a nine-month basis, SPMD reported a 240% y-o-y jump in net income to EGP 168 mn. The company’s revenues rose 162% to EGP 296 mn in 9M2021.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Géant plans EGP 1 bn investment in Egypt

French hypermarket Géant plans Egypt spending spree: French hypermarket chain Géant Casino, a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, is planning to invest EGP 1 bn to open 15 new supermarkets, hypermarkets, and express markets in Egypt over the next five years, ITIDA boss Ibrahim Ashmawy said, according to Hapi Journal. The announcement came as Géant inaugurated its first branch, in which it invested EGP 100 mn, near Rehab City on Thursday.

PRO TIP- Géant might want to tweak its web security settings to stop blocking its site in Egypt.

COMMODITIES

Fertilizer prices hiked by 50%

Fertilizer prices to rise by 50%: Fertilizer producers have been given the green light to raise the subsidized prices at which they sell urea fertilizers to farmers to EGP 4.5k per ton under a recent Agriculture Ministry decision. Unnamed government officials told Reuters this amounted to an increase of EGP 1.5k per ton, a 50% hike.

The decision also requires producers to sell at least 65% of their output domestically, with only 10% of this amount allowed to be sold at market prices, and 55% to be put up for sale at the subsidized price.

The increase comes shortly after the government raised natural gas prices for industry, hiking rates by up to 28% for businesses including fertilizers, iron and steel, petrochemical, and cement makers. Natgas is a main fuel source for some fertilizer and metals producers, some of whom expect production costs to rise by 5-10%.

Higher fertilizer prices means higher food prices: Fertilizers have been a key driver of the global surge in food prices this year. Spiking oil and natural gas prices have put pressure on fertilizer producers, which have passed on the costs to the agricultural sector resulting in food price inflation. Food has been one of the key components underpinning the recent rise in headline inflation, a trend that will likely accelerate should fertilizer prices rise further.

STARTUP WATCH

Edtech startup Educatly closed a USD 1 mn pre-seed round

Edtech outfit Educatly closed a USD 1 mn pre-seed funding round from Irish state development lender Enterprise Ireland, Falak Startups and a group of angel investors, the company said in a press release last week. The company will use the investment to integrate new tech including AI and blockchain into its platform, double down on marketing efforts, and recruit new hires.

What does Educatly do? Launched in 2020, Educatly’s online platform acts as a “Linkedin” for higher education, allowing users to search through and compare over 120k universities, schools programs and scholarships around the globe, while providing live application assistance through consultants and education ambassadors. Universities and schools can also post their programs and source enrolments through the platform, providing Educatly with success fees upon each student enrollment. The platform currently has over 100k users and 400 partnerships with colleges and universities.

Expect to hear more edtech investment round announcements before year’s end: This marks the third edtech investment in Egypt this month by our count, with VC firm EdVentures closing two of those rounds with OTO Courses and Career 180. EdVentures’ General Manager Maged Harby told Enterprise earlier that we can expect at least one more investment round from the firm this year.

ECONOMY

What’s on the agenda for COP27? Pressure for the rest of the world to help EM meet climate commitments.

Securing and de-risking financing to help emerging markets meet climate commitments will be a central focus at Egypt-hosted COP27, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat told Bloomberg (watch, runtime: 5:38). In an interview on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Al Mashat stressed that expectations placed on EMs need to be adjusted for their contribution to emissions and their ability to lock down the financing they need to meet climate goals. Despite Africa only being responsible for 4% of global carbon emissions, “there’s so much that is put on [these] markets to deliver on global climate action commitments,” she said.

Part of the difficulty lies getting the private sector to develop green projects in countries with a credit rating below B, which is the majority of African countries, the minister said. For these commitments to be realized and to attract the private sector to work on these green projects, innovative means of financing are needed, such as concessional lending.

The potential to ramp up green projects is there — but the resources are often lacking: Several countries across the continent are held back from their ability to roll out green projects because, although they provide jobs, these projects also require upskilling and capacity building, which requires more resources. “The idea is how in these 12 months [leading up to COP27] will we be able to bring in the concessional lending so that the de-risking takes place,” Al Mashat said.

Standardized ESG metrics coming? Al Mashat pointed to the lack of standardized metrics for economic, social, and governance (ESG) metrics for the private sector to follow, despite ESG being a buzzword for investors. These metrics need to “come into place so that they see that doing projects in Africa is similar to other places,” she said.

The government has scrapped its reliance on coal for electricity generation, Al Mashat also noted. Egypt plans to grow renewable energy capacity to 42% of its energy mix by 2030, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla previously said.

ALSO FROM THE FORUM- Al Mashat sat down with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who now runs the Institute for Global Change NGO, cabinet said. The two discussed enhancing cooperation on sustainability issues, and supporting Africa’s self-sufficiency through the institute’s programs. She also met Ian Bremmer, founder and CEO of risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

DEBT WATCH

Corplease, Qasatli are hitting the debt markets again

CI Capital’s leasing arm Corplease will go ahead with a securitized bond issuance worth more than EGP 3 bn before the end of the year, sources close to the transaction tell Al Shorouk. The sale is being managed by Misr Capital and CI Capital, which sources say have already begun preparations. Corplease last tapped the debt markets at the beginning of this year with a EGP 2.7 bn issuance.

Mortgage lender Qasatli is planning an EGP 1 bn issuance of securitized bonds in early 2022, Managing Director Mohamed Youssef tells Al Mal. The sale is part of a plan Qasatli, Amer Group, and Porto Group have to sell EGP 6.5 bn of asset-backed securities over the next few years under a program managed and promoted by EFG Hermes. Qasatli took a EGP 700 mn securitized bond issuance to market at the end of last year, followed by another EGP 700 mn bond sale from Qasatli and four Amer Group companies in January.

MOVES

Microsoft has tapped Wael Elkabbany (LinkedIn) as the managing director of its new Africa Transformation Office, the tech giant said in a statement (pdf). The office is designed to bump up investments in digital infrastructure, skilling, SMEs, and startups across the continent through partnerships with the public and private sectors. Elkabbany previously led enterprise sales for Microsoft across the Middle East and Africa.

enterprise

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Yesterday’s rainy weather was the talk of the town: The entire north of the country was affected by moderate-to-heavy rain, with the coasts, Matrouh and Alexandria, getting worst of it. The heavy rains didn’t cause as much damage as feared, and the nation’s talking heads were keen to tell us that the state was well prepared for the storms. Khalid Qasim, assistant minister of local development, told Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:57) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 6:29) that the flooded roads in various governorates are being dealt with. Inclement weather forced 10 governorates to cancel school for the day, including Cairo and Giza.

Is climate change to blame? Fall is the season for drastic and swift weather changes, but the swing from sunny skies to torrential downpour owes a lot to climate change, Eman Shaker, the undersecretary of the department of remote sensing at the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 6:07). She explained that the entire country saw a 3-4 degree celsius drop in temperature yesterday in comparison to last week. The weather also received coverage on El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 1:03) and Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 5:27).

What did the two royals make of their visit? UK Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley joined Lamees El Hadidi to discuss the visit of Prince Charles and Camilla over the weekend — their first in 15 years (watch, runtime: 7:49). The royal couple enjoyed their time in the country, Bayley said, noting Charles’ interest in Egypt’s renewable energy projects and the Duchess of Cornwall’s work on women’s empowerment. El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 10:53) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 2:49) also covered the visit.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Dominating coverage on Egypt in the foreign press this morning: Prince Charles and Camilla’s two-day trip here is everywhere in the global press. The royal couple were first received by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and First Lady Entissar El Sisi, before heading to Al Azhar and later visiting the Giza Pyramids and lunching at one of the new restaurants erected as part of the larger development plan for the tourist site.

On Friday, the Prince of Wales paid a visit to the Greek Campus (pdf) to attend the UK-backed StartEgypt event as part of his Sustainable Markets Initiative. Charles was met by our friend Ahmed El Alfi, the chairman of the Greek Campus, and Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad. The prince met entrepreneurs behind 10 startups from Cairo, Assiut and Alexandria that have been incubated at the facility over the past two years. The Greek Campus is a key hub for the nation’s high-energy startup industry and it’s great to see Alfi and the facility get the international recognition they have earned.

Later, the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall flew to Alexandria to tour the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

The royal visit is still getting tons of international attention: Associated Press | New York Times | Reuters | Euronews | The National | The Telegraph.

Also making headlines:

  • The women debunking myths about reproductive health in the Arab World on social media: Egypt’s Nour Emam (better known by the handle “motherbeing”) and other women are filling in the gaps in the region’s nonexistent [redacted] ed, reaching a broader audience by posting videos on social media and offering online classes. (The New York Times)
  • Archaeologists’ discovery of a 4,500-year-old lost temple dedicated to Sun God Ra’ last week just South of Cairo is still getting coverage. (CNN)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Schneider Electric is set to complete the first phase of its plan to implement 14 smart control centers in the coming six months, export sales director Mohamed Satouhy told Al Borsa. The first phase includes centers in Sixth of October, Dokki and Nasr City, as well as a facility in New Cairo that was opened in September. The remaining 10 centers will be established over two subsequent phases, the timelines for which are unknown.

Vodafone Egypt is sitting down for a chat with the Consumer Protection Agency after a video clip surfaced online showing two company employees having a physical altercation with a customer. Writing on social media, the consumer watchdog said it had summoned a representative of the company to investigate the incident. Vodafone said it had taken “decisive measures” and that it had settled the matter with the authorities in a statement last night.

COVID WATCH

Japan to donate undisclosed AstraZeneca jabs to Egypt

We’re getting more jabs, this time from Japan: Japan is donating 3.7 mn AstraZeneca vaccines to nine developing countries, including Egypt, through the Gavi / Covax program Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a presser (watch, runtime: 25:15). We still don’t know the details like how many doses we’re getting or when we’re getting them.

The Health Ministry reported 902 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 892 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 349,513 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 61 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 19,872.

AstraZeneca’s antibody treatment could be 83% effective in protecting against severe illness or death from covid-19 for six months, a new clinical trial shows, proving to be highly effective at preventing covid-19 in people who may not respond well to vaccines. A separate study in patients with mild-to-moderate cases of covid-19 showed a higher dose of the antibody shot cut the risk of developing severe disease by 88% when administered within three days of first symptoms.

The US has started administering booster shots for all adults in a bid to prevent the winter surge in covid cases as citizens prepare for their holiday travels, the the Associated Press wrote. All adults who have received their final vaccine doses over six months ago are eligible for the third jab.

PLANET FINANCE

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2021: The year for IPOs. Global IPOs have raised more than USD 600 bn so far in 2021, smashing a previous record with six weeks still to go in the year, according to Bloomberg. A record 2,850 companies and blank-check firms have debuted on stock exchanges around the world this year, beating the previous record of USD 420 bn set in 2007.

The biggest IPO of the year: The Amazon-backed EV startup Rivian, which raised almost USD 12 bn in its IPO on the Nasdaq earlier this month to become the biggest US listing since Facebook in 2012.

Analysts attribute the boom to covid stimulus which has flushed the financial markets with unprecedented amounts of liquidity and prompted frenzied retail trading that produced huge post-IPO pops.

Don’t expect more of the same in 2022, as central banks begin to withdraw stimulus: “As monetary stimulus programs are scaled back, and if global growth slows sharply, markets could be heading for a correction,” said one analyst. “Over-valued companies will feel the pain much faster than others.”

Down

EGX30

11337.99

-1% (YTD: +4.5%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

11,710

-1% (YTD: +34.8%)

Up

ADX

8,349

+0.1% (YTD: +65.5%)

Up

DFM

3,265

+0.1% (YTD: +31%)

Down

S&P 500

4,698

-0.2% (YTD: +25.1%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,224

-0.5% (YTD: +11.8%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 78.89

-2.9%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.07

+3.3%

Down

Gold

USD 1,854.30

-0.5%

Up

BTC

USD 59,685

+3.1% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.0% at Thursday’s close on turnover of EGP 834 mn (43.3% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 4.5% YTD.

In the green: Sidi Kerir Petrochem (+3.0%), Credit Agricole Egypt (+2.7%) and Ezz Steel (+2.6%).

In the red: Aspire Capital (-3.1%), Mopco (-2.7%) and AMOC (-2.7%).

DIPLOMACY

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his French, Greek and Cypriot counterparts in Athens Friday to discuss recent developments affecting “peace and stability in the region,” according to a ministry statement. The meeting was a follow-up of the group’s first meeting held in Cairo in January 2020. This coincided with the start of air and naval drills between Egyptian, Greek, Cypriot and Emirati forces in the East Mediterranean.

Shoukry criticizes UN at Manama summit: Following talks in Athens, Shoukry flew with his Greek counterpart to the Bahraini capital, Manama, yesterday for the IISS Regional Security Summit, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The FM was the keynote speaker for a session titled “Changing Multilateralism and Regional Security,” during which he criticized the international political system of the UN and the Security Council, which he accused of failing to represent the interests of African countries.

The minister concluded the weekend by meeting with EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa Annette Weber, during which they discussed the GERD issue and the current situation in Sudan, according to the ministry’s spokesperson.

ON YOUR WAY OUT

The first FIBA Intercontinental Cup in Africa will take place in Egypt: Egypt will play host to basketball’s 2022 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, bringing the international championship to Africa for the first time, cabinet announced in a statement over the weekend. The event will kick off on 11 February in the Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall in Sixth of October and will be hosted by the Egyptian Basketball Federation. This run of the cup will see the return of the four-team format which was successfully reinstated in 2019. Our very own Zamalek SC will become the first African club to compete in the tournament.

CALENDAR

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.

22-24 November (Monday-Wednesday): The Home Appliances and Table Show (HATS Egypt) is taking place, organized by the Engineering Export Council of Egypt.

23 November: 2021 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit in Sharm El Sheikh.

23 November (Tuesday): Webinar on FinTech Future in Egypt.

25 November (Thursday): Rameda Pharma’s annual general meeting (pdf), at which it will decide on the sale of a 5% stake in the company from an individual shareholder to an unnamed institutional investor.

25 November (Thursday): Ibnsina Pharma’s extraordinary general assembly meeting (pdf) to discuss the company’s planned capital increase to EGP 280 mn through a share issuance.

25-27 November (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, Cairo, Egypt.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

28 November-1 December (Sunday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Nile Ritz-Carlton.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

30 November (Tuesday): Launch of open call by KfW for green project proposals in Egypt as part of their Investing for Employment facility (pdf).

End of November: El Nasr Automotive expects to have found a replacement for Dongfeng as its partner for its local EV assembly plans.

1 December (Wednesday): Unvaccinated members of the public will be banned from government buildings from this date; unvaccinated students will be prevented from accessing university campuses.

1 December (Wednesday): Government departments will begin moving to offices in the new capital.

5 December (Sunday): Purchasing managers’ index figures for November for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will be released.

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

8-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

10 December (Thursday): Capmas and the Central Bank of Egypt will release November inflation figures.

12 December (Sunday): Raya Holding’s Ordinary General Assembly meeting.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

15 December (Wednesday): The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give its final approval for a USD 100 mn facility to state-owned Banque Misr to finance local SMEs working on green projects.

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

End of 4Q2021: EdVentures plans to have closed at least one more edtech investment round.

End of 4Q2021: Fawry plans to have launched its MyFawry card.

1H The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

1H: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will roll out its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

1H: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1 January 2022: Capital gains tax comes into effect on the EGX for local investors.

7 January 2022 (Friday): Coptic Christmas.

10-13 January 2022 (Monday-Thursday): World Youth Forum, Sharm El Sheikh.

27 January 2022 (Tuesday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

11 February 2022 (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

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

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

March 2022: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March 2022: World Cup playoffs.

2 April 2022 (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

22-24 April 2022 (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April 2022 (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April 2022 (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

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

2 May 2022 (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools.

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

30 June 2022 (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

8 July 2022 (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July 2022 (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

30 July 2022 (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

6 October 2022 (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October 2022 (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

**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.

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