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Monday, 21 May 2018

What we’re tracking on 21 May 2018

This fifth day of Ramadan is shaping up to be somewhat quiet at home and abroad.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced it has set up an information page for Egyptian fans heading to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, which kicks off in less than a month on 14 June with a match between Saudi Arabia and host country Russia. Egypt’s first match will see the national team face off against Uruguay on Friday, 15 June at 2:00pm CLT.

For private equity, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times:

Worst of times: Abraaj, the embattled Dubai-based emerging markets private equity giant, faces new allegations that it misused funds committed to pools other than the healthcare fund now under the microscope. “Two separate examinations into the alleged misuse of money … found potential irregularities in its USD 1 bn health-care fund as well as its other vehicles,” Bloomberg reports, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” Both a Deloitte audit commissioned by Abraaj and a separate investigation ordered by four high-profile investors found “potential discrepancies in the accounting at some of the other pools.” Abraaj’s leadership team “has been focused on executing on the re-organization of the business, engaging with all investors, and driving value in Abraaj’s portfolio companies across its operating markets,” was the reply from the firm’s spokesperson. Abraaj investors are asking founder Arif Naqvi to “scale back his involvement” in the firm, despite a reorganization that reduces his role and spins off the company’s asset management division. Tom Barrack’s Colony NorthStar (which bills itself as a global real estate and investment management firm) is said it be in the pole position to take a controlling stake in the fund management unit.

Is there a fundraising slowdown in PE as a result? “Abraaj’s woes have already sent shock waves through the ranks of local dealmakers, contributing to bringing private equity deals and fundraising in the region to a halt,” the business information service says, citing interviews with “about a dozen” finance execs.

The best of times: New private equity funds in Europe have raised a combined USD 8 bn, the Financial Times reports, and are “turning away large amounts of capital amid a continued boom for the sector.”

US-China trade war averted … for now: “We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday, according to Reuters. The move follows positive developments that China may have agreed to raise its imports of US goods by USD 200 bn largely through tariff reductions. Talks are still ongoing.

GE is reportedly close to inking an agreement that would see it merge its transportation unit with railways manufacturer Wabtec, according to Reuters. The combined entity would be valued at around USD 20 bn. The agreement could be announced as early as this week, sources said. The move comes as GE looks to cut costs USD 2 bn this year by divesting stakes in units.

Your Ramadan rundown for today:

Bank hours run 09:30 am to 01:30 pm for customers and from 09:00 am to 02:00 pm for employees, CBE announced.

The EGX is running shorter trading hours. The trading session will kicks off at 10:00 am, but closes at 1:30 pm. Tap or click here for the full schedule.

It’s going to be hot all week: The heatwave continues through Thursday, with forecasts for a daytime high of 41°C today, rising to 43°C Tuesday and Wednesday. Respite comes on Saturday, when you can expect a more reasonable 33°C.

So, when do we eat? For those of us, Maghrib is at 6:45 pm CLT today. You’ll have until 3:17 am tomorrow to finish your sohour.

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