What we’re tracking on 17 December 2017
It’s a very good news day, ladies and gentlemen — just the type of thing we need to keep us in high spirits as we look forward to the end-of-year news slowdown.
Why are we smiling this morning?
- Russian tourists should start returning in February — and the Zohr field has started production. Taken together, that’s excellent news for our current account and for those hoping for FX stability in 2018.
- We’re ending the year with an IPO — Pharos Holding has a transaction in the market this morning with the announcement that A.T. Lease is going public. What’s more, an arm of Arab Contractors may want to tap the public market next year.
- Our friends at EFG Hermes are jumping into the consumer finance space with a new mobile app for Egyptian consumers.
- And we have news of both policy sanity on the requirement that prices be printed on packaging and new investment peppering Speed Round.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed that he is in good health in a written statement to TenTV’s Amr Abdel Hamid, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had said last week that Ismail will be discharged from hospital within days, and will remain in Germany to continue his recovery, but will return to Egypt “soon.”
It’s a big week for: The House of Representatives. Our elected representatives will begin plenary-session discussion of the proposed Universal Healthcare Act today. MPs are also expected to hold a final vote on the ban on drones in a plenary session today, Ahram Gate reports. On Monday, the House Constitutional and Legislative Committee will discuss the Criminal Procedures Act, while the Planning and Budgeting Committee will hold a hearing on the Auctions and Tenders Act.
It’s going to be a bad week for: Uber. The ride-hailing app is being roiled by allegations that it used “hacked phones and ‘signal-intercept equipment’ to collect data about phone calls between Uber’s opponents, politicians and regulators. … Contractors trained by the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly spied on another firm’s executives and sent live video to then-Chief Executive Travis Kalanick in the company’s ‘War Room.’” The allegations are outlined in a 37-page memo by a former manager that claims the company spied on politicians and regulators in multiple jurisdictions around the world. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have the story.
** Take our end-of-year survey — get a bag of Enterprise-branded coffee and cool mugs from which to drink it: It’s that time of the year again — we want you to help us gauge how well business went during the year. What are the biggest challenges you faced during the year? Where will the exchange rate stabilise? Do you expect big raises in 2018? Are you hiring? Help us find out. You’ll get the chance to become one of 25 people who’ll get our end of year giveaway package consisting of Enterprise swag and our first-ever Enterprise-branded batch of coffee, which we’ve put together with good friends in the coffee business. (More on that in a later issue.) The survey ends this Thursday, and we’ll have the results when we’re all back from the Christmas-New Year’s-Christmas break.
Today in miscellany:
- Private equity outfit KKR is buying Unilever’s spreads business in a EUR 6.83 bn transaction. (Wall Street Journal)
- The French are smarter than us. They’re banning smartphones from primary, junior and middle schools starting this fall. (Guardian)
- The Pentagon has been running a UFO study program since 2007. It’s Stranger Things meets the X-Files. (New York Times)
- A 75-year-old titan of the Canadian business community is alleged to have killed his wife and then himself in their Toronto home. Barry Sherman was the bn’aire founder of scrappy pharma upstart-turned-behemoth Apotex. (Globe and Mail + obit)
Heading to points north of here for Christmas or New Year’s? If you plan on driving, please read How to avoid a white-knuckle drive on black ice
** We’re taking a break next week. As is our custom, we’ll be recharging our collective batteries in the final week of the year. Enterprise will not publish on 24 and 25 December. We’ll then be back with short issues on 26-28 December, and then off again until 2 January 2018. We hope you, too, are planning to relax with family and friends — whether you’re the kid returning home from college for winter break, or the parent looking forward to welcoming them.