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Monday, 12 March 2018

What we’re tracking on 12 March 2018

AmCham’s 40th annual Doorknock mission to Washington, DC, kicks of today and runs until 16 March. The mission will include a delegation of 35 member companies who will meet with members of Congress, Trump administration officials, multilateral institutions and representatives of various DC-based think tanks to discuss the results of Egypt’s ongoing economic reform program. Meetings will also explore the potential for a trade liberalization agreement with the US, which is currently on the hunt for a gateway to the African market, according to Egyptian-American Business Council Chairman Omar Mohanna.

“Given the U.S. Administration’s ‘America First’ slogan, Egypt represents an unmatched opportunity for U.S. manufacturers and investors … offering competitive access to the international markets of Africa and Europe through its existing trade agreements, thereby spreading the demand for American products across the region,” AmCham said in a press release (pdf). The delegation will also be sharing its concerns about US media coverage of Egypt with the Washington crowd. Enterprise is on the road with AmCham, so we’ll have updates from the ground in DC for you this week.

MUST READ- The state’s IPO program will likely take the form of stake sales via accelerated book builds, at least at first, and don’t hold our breath for major private sector IPOs before the second half of the year, our friend Mohamed Ebeid tells us in this morning’s spotlight. Ebeid, co-CEO for the investment bank at EFG Hermes, also sees active investors kicking the tires in KSA now ahead of passive flows after an expected upgrade to MSCI emerging markets status and the expected IPO of Saudi Aramco. Few people know regional markets the way Ebeid does, and his thoughts on everything from expectations of Egypt this year (he sees the index up as much as 25%) and what sectors investors like here and in KSA are this morning’s must-read.

Our talk came just a couple of days before word emerge that the world’s biggest IPO may be delayed until 2019 as advisors have struggled to reach the USD 2 tn valuation that Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman wants. The Financial Times and CNBC have more on the Aramco sale.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Emirates NBD plans to open up to more foreign shareholders as it prepares to bid for Turkey’s DenizBank, the business information service reports, saying the bank wants “shareholder approval to boost its foreign ownership limit to 20 percent from 5 percent.”

Also worth a look this morning depending on where your business and personal interests rest:

Spring has sprung, and so clocks are changing. Clocks in most of Canada and the United States sprang forward an hour on Sunday morning, meaning Cairo is now six hours ahead of New York and Toronto, not seven. Clocks will advance an hour in the UK in the wee hours of Sunday, 25 March.

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