Thursday, 21 July 2022

AM — Welcome to the end of an M&A heavy week



Well, friends, we’ve nearly made it through another (M&A-heavy) workweek together. We hope the week has been good to you — and that if you’re sneaking off early to Sahel, that you’re able to do it early enough to sidestep congestion at the bawabet.

PSA #1- It’s not just you — Microsoft Teams is down for plenty of users worldwide as of dispatch time this morning. Enterprise has always run on Slack, but our sister company uses Teams and has been unable to connect since about 3:20am CLT. Microsoft acknowledged the issue here and you can use Down Detector to see how other users are faring if you’re still unable to log in. Maybe that’s your cue to head to the coast early? “Sorry, dude, I can’t get into Teams to join our meeting.”

PSA #2- Teens might have to get their ID cards a year earlier under a draft law approved by the cabinet yesterday that would lower the legal age to 15 from 16, according to a cabinet statement.

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- An Egyptian-foreign consortium has been awarded the Cairo Transport Authority development project, which includes adding 100 electric buses to its fleet, a senior government official told Enterprise. This comes as part of the USD 200 mn World Bank loan to fight air pollution we got last year and it marks the beginning of transforming our transport system to rely on natural gas and electricity instead of diesel. Look for an announcement as early as the end of next week, the source tells us.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Paints company Pachin should announce today whether its board has approved a takeover bid from Saybad. We have more in this morning’s news well, below.

CORRECTION- Islamic New Year falls this year on Saturday, 30 July. We got the date wrong in yesterday’s EnterpriseAM. Our expectation remains the same: Islamic New Year will fall on a weekend, and we won’t have a weekday holiday to replace it, suggesting our next (and final) weekday holiday of the year will likely be Thursday, 6 October. We’ll have more for you as soon as we hear from cabinet.


#1- You’re paying a lot more for your next Big Mac: McDonald’s Egypt has hiked meal prices by up to 50% in response to rising inflation. The price of a share box has risen from EGP 40 to EGP 165, a Big Mac meal now costs EGP 78 (up from EGP 52), and even the price of a small bottle of water has gone up 33%. At the old pricing, the Economist’s Big Mac Index suggested the EGP was undervalued about 52.9% against the USD.

#2- More US tech layoffs: Ride-hailing service Lyft has laid off about 60 employees from its rental division as the company struggles with rising costs, according to an employee memo seen by the Wall Street Journal.

#3- And Microsoft appears to be heading towards a hiring freeze: Microsoft is cutting many of its open jobs ahead of an expected economic slowdown, according to Bloomberg.


The government’s public consultations on its state ownership policy continue today with representatives from manufacturers of medical devices having their say. The wholesale and retail sectors took part in discussions on Tuesday this week. Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday sees workshops on how privatization plans will affect specific industries. You can find more details on the schedule of the meetings here.

It’s going to be an interesting day in the European bond markets: The European Central Bank (ECB) will likely exit negative interest rates for the first time since 2016 when it meets for its policy meeting today. Policymakers are considering a larger-than-expected 50-bps hike, according to the Financial Times, which if true, would lift rates in the euro area to zero. The Bank of Japan also meets today, and is expected to remain one of the only central banks to leave its monetary policy on easy mode.

But on the day of the meeting, the sick man of Europe is about to get sicker: Italy’s government is close to collapse after Prime Minister (and ex-ECB chief) Mario Draghi failed to secure the backing of his coalition partners in a parliamentary vote on his future. Politico has more.

Asian markets are mixed ahead of the central bank meetings: Shares in China, Hong Kong and Japan are comfortably in the red, while the Kospi is seeing slight gains. Shares in the US and Europe are poised to fall later today, while Italy is on course for a major sell-off.


Tesla earnings are dominating the business front pages this morning: The EV-maker witnessed its first quarterly fall in profits in over a year in 2Q but still managed to beat estimates as price hikes helped it overcome production and supply chain disruptions caused by the covid lockdowns in China, according to its earnings release (pdf) out yesterday.

Turns out Musk isn’t the diamond-handed crypto bro we thought he was: A year after becoming one of the biggest cheerleaders for DeFi, Musks’s company reacted to the ongoing crypto winter by dumping around 75% of its BTC holdings, netting it USD 936 mn in cash. (FT | Reuters | Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg | CNBC | Washington Post)

*** THE LOCAL ANGLE- People who are definitely not crypto bros are the folks over at the Financial Regulatory Authority, who yesterday issued a warning (pdf) to investors and NBFS players not to participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Referring to crypto as a form of gambling, the regulator said that investors risk being scammed or losing their money due to its highly-volatile nature. Though crypto trading is illegal under banking and Islamic law, the asset class became more popular in Egypt last year as people sought to get a piece of the BTC bubble.

Russia wants to expand the borders of Novorossiya: Russia is now eying Ukraine’s south, extending its objectives beyond the eastern Donbas region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “It is far from being only DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) and LPR (Luhansk People's Republic), it is also Kherson region, Zaporizhzhya region and a number of other territories, and this process continues, it continues steadily and persistently,” he said. The US said this week that Moscow is preparing to stage referendums in territories outside of the Donbas region and annex them. (FT | CNN | Reuters | Politico)

No breakthrough yet on wheat blockade as Putin visits Tehran: Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for trying to broker an agreement to get Ukrainian grain past Russia’s blockade of its Black Sea ports, but said “not all the issues have been resolved,” Bloomberg reports. Sources close to the talks have reported progress in the negotiations but earlier this week said that Ukraine remains wary of Moscow’s intentions and has not agreed to demine Odessa port and release the grain. There had been murmurs that an agreement could be announced sometime this week.


The national dialogue board is set to meet again before the end of the month, marking its third meeting since the board convened earlier in July. The session will see the board decide on heads and members of the three political subcommittees it agreed on during a meeting earlier this.

IDG to host cultural festival with sustainable waste in focus at Alamein: Our friends at Industrial Development Group (IDG) are hosting a cultural festival at their eco-sustainable industrial park, e2 Alamein, on the North Coast, according to a statement (pdf). The “Locale” festival, which IDG is hosting in partnership with Art d’Egypte, will showcase nine art installations made with recycled materials to raise “awareness around waste management and encouraging waste prevention, reuse, and recycling behavior.” The event launches this Thursday, 21 July and runs through the summer.

Calling tech startups: Universities of Canada in Egypt-based incubator DMZ Cairo has opened applications for its second eight-month incubation program for tech startups, which begins in November, according to a statement (pdf). The incubator — which is backed by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology and the National Technological Incubators Program — is accepting applications for the cycle until 29 September.

Further afield, leaders from across Africa are scheduled to convene in Washington for the US-Africa Leaders Summit from 13-15 December. The summit will bring together leaders to discuss pressing matters including food security and climate change, according to a White House statement.

Thirty fashion scholarships are up for grabs: City Centre Almaza and fashion school ESMOD Beirut are joining forces to offer 30 local designers one-month scholarships, which will include courses in fashion design, pattern making and styling and image consulting, according to a statement (pdf). You can register for the scholarship here and the chosen candidates will be announced on 15 August.

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


A sizzling summer awaits you by the bay: We’ve saved you the hassle of planning by bringing you a lineup of unmatched energy and fun-packed vacation activities to last you all season long. It’s time to create magical memories with relaxed beachside days and excitingly fresh nights. From pumping up the adrenaline with Footgolf and Go-Karting to turning up the music and heat at Sobar with ladies’ nights, groovy beats, and lots of dancing. From BBQ beach parties at S-cape to riding horses by the sea — there’s a little special something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you at the bay.


Cabinet approves military IPOs

A step closer to a military IPO: The state is moving forward with the EGX listing of the National Company for Producing and Bottling Water (Safi) and Wataniya Petroleum after the cabinet approved the pre-listing procedures for the military companies during its weekly meeting yesterday, according to a statement.

This has been a long time coming: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) said in 2020 that Wataniya and Safi will be the first two subsidiaries of the military’s National Service Products Organization (NSPO) the fund will move to privatize. The fund said at the time that the state would first market the firms to private investors, before selling additional shares on the bourse. Several regional energy companies were reported in mid-2021 to be conducting due diligence on Wataniya ahead of a potential stake purchase, but nothing has been heard since.

Cabinet gave no additional information on the mechanism or timing of the sales, mentioning the green light only in passing at the end of its readout on the weekly cabinet meeting. Listing on the EGX would, we expect, also involve restructuring that could clear the way for a pre-IPO sale of equity to a strategic investor.

The trigger: Last month Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly asked the Finance Ministry to prepare plans for selling stakes in NSPO-owned companies, including how much of each company would be privatized and the timeline.

Don’t expect IPOs any time soon: The government is unlikely to sign off on any public share sales until market sentiment improves. Banque du Caire has reportedly postponed its planned IPO as global equity markets have tanked — and with them the EGX. The benchmark EGX 30 is well into bear market territory YTD, having lost nearly 24% since the start of the year.

Background: The Madbouly government had previously said it wanted to sell stakes in as many as 10 state-owned and two military-owned companies this year. It signaled that it is open to both stake sales and IPOs, depending on market conditions and individual investor interest. While market conditions have put a damper on those plans, President Abdel Fattah El SIsi subsequently said Egypt plans to net some USD 10 bn annually in each of the coming four years through the sale of state assets.

Also in the pipeline: The new state-owned hotel company and Egypt Aluminum (EgyptAlum) have both been earmarked for sales to strategic investors.

The story is getting attention internationally: Reuters.


Beltone has 10 days to decide on Chimera’s takeover bid

Beltone Financial has until 3 August to come to a decision on Chimera Investments’ bid to acquire up to 90% of its shares, the EGX said (pdf) yesterday. The Abu Dhabi-based investment firm submitted a bid to acquire the shares for EGP 1.485 apiece in June, an offer that values the company at around EGP 690 mn. The offer was approved by the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) on Tuesday.

Majority shareholder OFH is mulilng the offer, which has received FRA approval, and plans to come to a decision in the coming days, CEO Nils Bachtler told Enterprise earlier this week. It’s not yet clear how big of a stake Orascom Financial Holding (OFH) could offer up, but Bachtler said that “all options are open” and that the decision will be made once the board concludes its discussions. OFH owns around 58% of the company with the rest in freefloat.

What now? Shareholders owning at least 51% of Beltone’s shares must agree to sell for the acquisition to go through. Chimera has the right to adjust its offer price throughout the process.

Advisors: Chimera has tapped Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy as legal counsel to the Abu Dhabi-based fund.


Mohamed El Sewedy acquires sportswear brand Magma

Mohamed El Sewedy has acquired local sportswear brand Magma for an undisclosed amount, Averroes Ventures, which worked on the transaction, said in a press release (pdf). The acquisition saw El Sewedy — who was already an investor and partner in Magma — buy out another partner for full ownership of the firm, Averroes Ventures CEO Ahmed Al Sharif told Enterprise, without disclosing the name of the seller. Averroes Ventures did not disclose the value of the acquisition.

Averroes Ventures’ role was to help restructure Magma and arrange for the buyout, he explained, adding that the firm will now assist with the company’s expansion and operations. El Sewedy is now Magma’s chairman, while Amr Abu Ali is its newly appointed CEO.

What’s next for Magma? A facelift of the brand and expansion into new markets, with an entry into Saudi Arabia on the cards before the end of the year, Al Sharif said. Magma will also open its flagship store in Egypt before the end of 2023, he added.


Look out for an announcement today on whether Pachin’s board has approved Saybad’s takeover bid. EGX-listed Paint and Chemical Industries (Pachin) held its general assembly meeting yesterday to discuss Saybad Industrial Investment’s bid to buy 100% of its shares, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). Saybad’s offer prices Pachin’s shares at between EGP 16.00 and EGP 16.50 apiece, valuing the company at EGP 384-396 mn. The takeover bid comes as “the first actual application” of the state’s privatization plans, a source with first-hand knowledge of the transaction told Enterprise earlier this week. Around 54% of the company is currently owned by state-owned companies and banks, the source added.

ADVISORS- Catalyst Partners is acting as Pachin’s financial advisor. Adsero–Raji Soliman & Associates is the firm’s legal advisor.

Correction: 23 July 2022

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Averroes Ventures acquired Magma.


FMO commits USD 10 mln to Algebra’s second tech fund

Dutch development bank FMO has pledged USD 10 mn to Algebra Ventures’ second tech fund, the bank and our friends at Algebra said in separate statements (here and here, pdf). The money is coming from FMO’s EUR 200 mn investment program, which is co-financed by the Dutch foreign ministry and the European Commission.

Algebra Ventures II: Launched in April 2021, the fund will focus on Egyptian startups “with an allocation for the wider Middle East and Africa region,” according to Algebra’s statement. It will pursue early-stage investment opportunities, particularly in fintech, agritech, edutech, logistics, e-commerce and healthcare. Algebra has said the fund will eventually be worth USD 90 mn.

Development finance institutions (DFIs to insiders) like Algebra: FMO joins the International Finance Corporation, which signed on in April for USD 15 mn, matching an earlier commitment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Egyptian American Enterprise Fund and Cisco Investments were also limited partners in Algebra’s first fund.

FMO is no stranger to the region’s tech scene and has invested in local fintechs Paymob and Dopay as well as Jordan-based SME fintech Liwwa in recent years. ​​”[The investment] aligns with the bank’s ambition to enable innovative business models for impact across Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia,” FMO said in its statement. FMO has also invested in refining and solar power assets, among others, in Egypt.


Rosatom starts construction of Dabaa nuclear plant

The Dabaa nuclear plant is finally getting off the ground: Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has started building the 4.8 GW Dabaa nuclear power plant, the company said in a statement. The company yesterday began laying the concrete foundations for the plant, kicking off an eight-year construction process that is expected to see it come online at the beginning of the next decade.

Refresher: Rosatom was contracted in 2015 to handle the construction and provide fuel for the plant, which will feature four 1.2-GW reactors. The facility will cost somewhere around USD 30 bn, 85% of which is being financed through a USD 25 bn loan from Russia, with Egypt scheduled to begin repaying the sum in October 2029.

Covid forced a two-year delay: Construction work was set to begin in the second half of 2020 and complete by the 2028-2029 fiscal year, but disruptions caused by the pandemic now means that the plant is unlikely to be up and running before 2030. Rosatom acquired a license to begin construction earlier this month.

The news was picked up in the foreign press: Bloomberg | The National.


Swvl losses to almost double this year

Swvl expects losses to almost double this year: Cairo-born mass transport app Swvl is expecting its losses to widen to USD 90 mn this year from USD 50 mn in 2021, Swvl CFO Youssef Salem told Bloomberg Asharq. The Nasdaq-listed company still expects to turn a slight profit next year on the back of job cuts and cutting unprofitable routes before making USD 13 mn in 2024. “Part of our plan for the next few months, and in order to turn profitable in light of the sharp change in the market, is to focus on the routes that have the highest rates of operation and profitability,” he said.

Cutting costs: The company has slashed its headcount by a third, cutting executive pay and eliminating unprofitable routes in Egypt, Jordan and Kenya as it looks to ride out current market headwinds and achieve its financial targets for 2023.

Revenues are looking more solid: Swvl raised its 2022 guidance when it reported 1Q 2022 earnings (pdf) in April, and now expects to generate USD 160 mn in revenues this year, up from USD 100 mn in 2021. The company expects this to jump to USD 400 mn in 2023, Salem told the business newswire.

The market still isn’t buying it: The company’s share price fell another 4.5% in New York yesterday, leaving it down almost 81% since its IPO less than four months ago. Shares are now trading at USD 1.9 after debuted at USD 10 apiece.


Outsourcing startup Stllr closes six-figure USD investment round

Egyptian outsourcing startup Stllr Network has closed a six-figure USD investment round from Silicon Valley VC 500 Global and angel investors through Women Spark and Falak Angels, it said in a statement (pdf). Investors from the Saudi Investment Ministry, ex-Microsoft and Oracle leaders, Accenture, Emkan and the Digital Cooperation Organization all took part in the round. Stllr is a Delaware-domiciled company.

Stllr allows businesses to outsource their marketing: Stllr has built a network of marketing professionals that provide a range of services — including SEO, media buying, copywriting and social media — for its clients. The company’s services are currently used in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and it has hired talent from more than 12 countries, CEO Nouran Ghannam told us. The company recently completed the 2022 Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Program, and is currently piloting its services with Saudi e-commerce player Zid, TikTok MENA, Hesas Misr and others.

Where the money’s going: “We plan to invest in acquiring the best Egyptian and Middle East talents, regional expansion across KSA and the GCC and partnering for enterprise to try out our premium add-ons,” Ghannam said.


Say cheese

That selfie is no longer going to get your phone confiscated: Members of the public will be allowed to take photos of public places under recommendations greenlit by the cabinet yesterday, according to a statement. Egyptians and foreigners will be permitted to use cameras for personal use without needing to obtain a permit or pay fees, the statement says.

Still off limits: Photographers will still need permits to take pictures of ministries, legislative councils, government facilities, police stations, buildings and any site affiliated with the military.

And nothing “offensive,” please: Photographers and producers will be banned from shooting scenes considered “offensive” to the country, Tourism Minister Khaled El Enany said earlier this week. Filming adults without their consent and children are also off limits.

Any form of professional photography will still require a permit as well. That includes photography for cinematic, television, documentary and commercial purposes, as well as photojournalism, media, advertising, or professional photography.

The tight rules on filming haven’t been doing Egypt’s online optics much good as of late after a number of online influencers and vloggers (see: watch, runtime: 17:41) reported less-than-positive experiences.

The foreign press is talking about it: AFP | The National


  • The Suez Canal fund: Ministers greenlit draft amendments to the law establishing the EGP 2 bn fund owned by the Suez Canal Authority that is being set up to support the authority;s economic development. The Prime Minister will appoint the fund’s board, which will be headed by SCA head Osama Rabie.
  • More EV charging stations: The cabinet approved a contract between the Transport Ministry’s Land Transport Regulatory Agency and an unnamed company to construct 12 EV charging stations.
  • Korean firms to help Egypt locally-produce rolling stock: Ministers approved a contract between the National Authority for Tunnels and a Korean-Egyptian consortium including the National Company for Railway Industries (NERC) to locally produce 40 train carriages for the metro.
  • More money into the Social Housing Fund: The cabinet gave the Finance Ministry the go-ahead to backstop a loan that will be issued to the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund to help it build 1 mn new housing units.


EFG Hermes, HSBC and CIB walked away with awards from the 2022 Euromoney Awards for Excellence last week.

  • HSBC was named best bank for environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in Egypt and received the awards for the Middle East’s best investment bank and best bank for sustainable finance for the fourth year in a row (statement, pdf);
  • EFG Hermes took home the award for best CSR in Egypt;
  • CIB was recognized as best bank in Egypt for SME banking and digital solutions, and was named the Middle East’s best bank for SMEs.

Fawry partners up with World Bank-backed initiative to help women-led SMEs: Fawry will work with the World Bank-backed Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to help train Egyptian women entrepreneurs in e-commerce under the World Bank and International Finance Corporation-funded program (pdf), it said yesterday. The e-payments giant will help train female entrepreneurs on digital marketing, export markets and shipping, and online payment gateways, Hassan Abdelgelil, Fawry’s chief investment officer, told Enterprise.



The decision to move forward with the IPOs of military firms Safi and Wataniya Petroleum got headline treatment on the talk shows last night. The cabinet yesterday approved pre-listing procedures for the share sales, which have now been in the works for over two years. We have more on the upcoming listings in this morning's IPO Watch, above.

Can the sales pull the EGX out of its tail spin? “The move will have a positive impact on the EGX and investors,” Rania Yacoub, a member of the FRA’s advisory committee, said on Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 3:07). Medhat Nafei, an advisor to Ministry of Supply, wasn’t so sure, telling Yahdoth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 4:55) that the EGX needs to be revived and reformed before new companies can be listed. The benchmark index is currently trading at its lowest level since November 2016 and is down more than 23% YTD as the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, and soaring inflation fuel volatility in the financial markets.

El Sisi’s time in Serbia was once again on the airwaves last night: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić yesterday then held a joint presser (watch, runtime: 7:34 | 3:43). Masaa DMC also had the story (watch, runtime: 0:29). We have more on this in this morning’s Diplomacy section, below.

Cabinet’s decision yesterday to allow people to take pictures in public without the need for permits or payments will give our tourism sector an online image boost, Tourism Minister Khaled El Enany told Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime: 3:34). More on that and the cabinet’s latest batch of decisions in the Cabinet Watch above.


This morning in the international press: Tumbleweed.gif


GASC is in direct talks with 14 wheat suppliers to buy an undisclosed amount of wheat, traders tell Reuters. The state grains buyer is yet to make a purchase and negotiations are ongoing, they said.

GASC launched a new tender yesterday after canceling one on Tuesday due to high prices, and called for offers from all 17 accredited import origins. Suppliers were asked to submit bids on a cost and freight basis (CFR) for shipment between September and November.

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

  • Cairo's hotels are filling up again: Cairo's hotel occupancy rates were up to 60% during the first five months of 2022, nearly doubling y-o-y, according to a report (pdf) from real estate services firm JLL.
  • Fintech player Lucky has partnered with B2B marketplace Capiter to provide its customers with special offers, including using the Lucky One card without charge. (Statement, pdf)
  • Switzerland will provide Egypt with a grant worth CHF 9.3 mn (EGP 181.9 mn) for a water project in Aswan. (MENA)
  • Hot air balloons can fly again in Luxor after a two-day suspension to investigate a collision earlier this week that lightly injured two tourists. (Ahram Online)
  • Egyptian African Arab Co. for Development (EGAAD) — a consortium of 22 Egyptian contracting companies — will build a food factory over the next two years in Côte d’Ivoire. (Al Mal)


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The number of emerging-market countries at risk of default is at a record high after Angola and Gabon became the latest to see yields on their sovereign bonds rise to distressed levels, Bloomberg reports. There are now 21 nations with yields 10% higher than US treasuries, a warning sign that indicates a rising risk of default.

Egypt is one of them: Egypt, along with Nigeria and Kenya, saw sovereign bonds falling into distressed territory recently, according to the business newswire. With a number of large foreign debt repayments on the horizon, Moody’s warned in May that it could downgrade Egypt’s credit rating if its foreign reserves fall further. Egypt is due to repay almost USD 4 bn in November and another USD 3 bn in February, according to Bloomberg data.

Almost a fifth of all EM sovereign debt was trading at distressed levels earlier this month: Bonds worth USD 237 bn were in distressed territory earlier this month — and that was before Angola and Gabon joined the club of nations staring down the barrel of a debt crisis.

Higher interest rates are only making debt relief more important: Low-income countries will suffer rising poverty and instability if rich nations don’t get serious about providing debt relief, World Bank President David Malpass said following the G20 meeting this week, which made little progress on debt reduction.

Countries that do default on their debt “must brace themselves for tricky negotiations ahead,” writes the Financial Times’ Alan Beattie, arguing that a lack of clear international rules on how to restructure sovereign debt and the rise of China as a sovereign creditor will make it difficult to restructure debt fairly. Most defaulters aren’t big-spending EMs who have bitten off more debt than they can chew, he adds. “It’s important to keep this in context and not start turning it into a morality play about feckless developing country governments,” Beattie writes.

Also worth noting this morning:

  • Russia and Iran just signed a huge oil and gas agreement: Gazprom is to invest USD 40 bn to develop Iranian oil and gas fields in what Iranian media say is the largest-ever foreign investment in the country’s fossil fuel industry. (Tasnim)
  • Remember the Evergrande debacle? It never went away. The Chinese real-estate developer has not yet reached an agreement with its international creditors on restructuring that was supposed to be announced for a July deadline. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Removing conflicts of interest can be profitable, too: Big Four firm EY says splitting its auditing and consulting divisions could earn it as much as USD 10 bn in fees from Silicon Valley tech firms. (Financial Times).
  • Is Apple a healthcare company now? The tech giant has published a 60-page report on how it’s pioneering health technology, including sleep monitoring, fitness classes, atrial-fibrillation detection and cycle tracking. The report marks the first time Apple has laid out its strategy to capitalize on existing health features; it’s getting ink from Reuters.




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The EGX30 rose 0.9% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 896 mn (7.7% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 23.7% YTD.

In the green: Ibn Sina Pharma (+6.8%), Fawry (+6.3%) and e-Finance (+6.2%).

In the red: EFG Hermes (-2.2%), Orascom Development Egypt (-1.1%) and Eastern Company (-1.0%).


El Sisi concludes first Serbia visit with a raft of agreements: Egypt and Serbia signed MoUs on trade, support for SMEs, higher ed, agriculture, environmental protection, and arts and culture following a meeting yesterday, Ittihadiya said in a statement. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said in a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi that Serbia was keen to work with Egypt on investment and trade, and El Sisi encouraged closer military, economic, commercial and tourism ties, it said in a separate statement.

We could soon see an Egyptian-Serbian trade agreement: The two countries are studying the possibility of concluding a bilateral trade agreement, Trade Minister Nevine Gamea said during a business meeting in the Serbian capital.


Iraq artillery strike blamed on Turkey: Iraq has accused Turkey of launching an artillery strike in a Kurdistani village that killed eight civilians and wounded 23 others yesterday, AFP reports. Ankara denied being responsible for the attack and pointed the finger at Kurdish militants. The Iraqi government is investigating the attack which Turkey said it will cooperate with.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Police raided the Lebanese central bank on Tuesday as part of an ongoing probe into Governor Riad Salameh’s activities, who has been charged with illicit enrichment and money laundering. (Associated Press)
  • Crisis-hit Sri Lanka votes in new president: Six-time former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must now lead the country through its economic and political crisis, after a popular uprising ousted his predecessor. (Reuters)


Maria Muñoz, founding partner, Maison Pyramide: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Maria Muñoz (LinkedIn), co-founder and partner at Maison Pyramide.

My name is Maria Munoz, founding partner at Maison Pyramide, or MP, as we call it. I focus very much on business development and ways to expand and grow our business. I have two other partners and co-founders who I’m lucky to work with. We have three offices in Beirut, Dubai, and Cairo — but I’m mostly active in Cairo.

The three of us together focus on how to deliver consistently good services and make sure our clients are satisfied and really feel the impact of what we do for them. We are constantly searching for better and more innovative practices, streamlining services, and trying to always be one step ahead to deliver real value.

A big part of the success of this goal comes from building the right systems, the right processes and most importantly, the best team to support and grow this system. My role as a partner includes much of this — growing the team to become the best at what they do within our field and practice.

MP was founded in 2016, when I met one of my partners in Cairo, and our conversation started out of us recognizing the talent and passion that we see in the MENA region, but also the lack of tools and access in the local fashion industry that could enable them to grow into businesses and compete head-to-head with global standards. We started thinking of how to address these challenges that business owners were facing to establish themselves as actual businesses.

The company has two main pillars: The showroom and the consultancy. Through the showroom, we represent and sell emerging talents, from Monot to Lama Jouni to L’atelier Nawbar. We have a roster of very interesting regional and international talent, and we sell them to the biggest global retailers like Net-a-Porter, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. The second pillar is the consultancy, through which we create innovative communications strategies and full on creative concepts for both emerging and established clients. We — the three partners — are always involved in all operations, but I’m much more involved with the consultancy.

I really respect my morning routine and I try to stick to it as much as I can. I’ve always been an early bird; I like waking up before anybody else, especially now with two kids. The early morning is the space in which I find the most peace and clarity of mind. I usually wake up between 5-6am, except for the days when I’m alone with the kids when it’s a bit more challenging.

I always find time to read in the morning. I read three to four books at the same time on very different topics, so I’m either reading a book on psychology or self-growth or a novel. I try to dedicate time to learning, and I always pray for a while. Then I try to move — not hardcore exercises of course because they don’t really work for me in the early morning — but I try to move a bit before the craziness of the day starts.

I usually take some time to get dressed and ready for the day, because looking good makes me feel good, so I always find time to get dressed properly and put some makeup on. Then I take my kids to school, and either go to the office or to a cafe to work from. When I feel like I’ve given everything I have for the day to work, I stop and try to unwind, usually around 3pm.

I’m a firm believer that working 9-5, five days a week is not necessarily the right thing for everybody. I find that I’m producing much better when I change locations, and as much as I feel that the office environment is necessary, I also feel it’s important to understand where and how you produce the most.

I like to create lists everyday where I prioritize my tasks, and I always start my day with the highest priority items, no matter how difficult they are. I like to write them down by hand — each list I have, whether on a professional level, or a personal or familial one is handwritten and I flag anything that gets carried over to the next day with a red flag. I’m not a very organized person, so I really need these tools to make sure I have the time for myself to be a person and not just a work machine.

One constant in my day is spending time with my kids. We work a lot, and we don’t really take holidays, but I feel like work is a part of my life; I can’t separate it. I’ve reached a level of work-life balance that I’m satisfied with, and I’m aware that this balance is not sustainable 100% of the time. But most of the time, I make sure to make time for myself, for my kids, and for traveling to see my family back in Spain.

When I finish my workday, I start my mom workday [laughs], so it’s not really a time for relaxing. But I do like to play sports later in the day, and I find moments of relaxation in that.

Our business is at a very interesting moment of growth and expansion, so I see myself doing this for a while. On a personal level, I would love to continue to build on my knowledge and give back to the community much more.

One novel that I read recently and really liked is The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell. It’s a very interesting thriller that is impossible to put down, especially if you’re into mystery. The 5AM Club is another one that really touched me; I think it offers a lot of wisdom and personal tools, and is also written in a way that makes it very relatable to all kinds of people. I also love How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk; it gives you a lot of tools as a parent, and shows you how to put yourself in your kids’ shoes.

The best advice I’ve gotten was from my grandfather. He always told me, “don’t let anything take away your inner peace.” To me, this is very valid on many levels across my life, whether personally or professionally, so this is something that really resonates with me.


OUR CALENDAR APPEARS in two sections:

  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.


July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

21 July (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with medical device manufacturers.

21 July (Thursday): Launch event for IDG and Art d’Egypte’s Locale cultural festival, e2 Alamein park, Egypt.

21-22 July (Thursday-Friday): The Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) and Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights (SSCHR) human rights conference.

23 July (Saturday): 23 July Revolution national holiday.

24 July (Sunday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with healthcare players.

26 July (Tuesday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with pharma players.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

28 July (Thursday): The government hosts public consultations on its state ownership policy document with experts and think tanks.

29 July (Friday): Aleph Commodities shareholder meeting to vote on potential merger with Tenaz Energy Corp.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.


August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 600 MW to be completed.

August: Sharm El Sheikh will host the African Sumo Championship.

14 August (Sunday): Conference of Egyptian entities abroad.

16 August (Tuesday): MNHD’s general assembly meeting to decide whether to allow SODIC to go ahead with due diligence on its takeover bid.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.


September: Naval Power, Egypt’s first naval defense expo

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

September: Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

September: A delegation from Germany’s Aldi will visit Egypt to look at potential investments.

September: Government to launch an international promotional campaign for Egyptian tourism.

6-9 September (Tuesday-Friday): Gate Travel Expo 2022, El Kobba Palace, Cairo.

7-9 September (Wednesday-Friday): African Finance Ministers to meet in Cairo to coordinate an African-led position during COP27.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.


October: Air Sphinx, EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary to commence operations.

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer, Washington, DC.

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

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.


November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

4-6 November (Friday-Sunday): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

7-13 November (Mon-Sun): The International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.


13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.


January EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

MAY 2023

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.


2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

**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 above 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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.