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Tuesday, 9 March 2021

What we’re tracking on 9 March 2021

Good afternoon, friends. It’s another busy news day here at home with a nearly USD 1 bn M&A in the petroleum industry dominating the conversation on Egypt this afternoon as our friends at Cheiron join Cairn to buy out Shell’s operations in the Western Desert. Meanwhile, we have word that private equity veteran Hossam Abou Moussa is joining financial services specialist Apis and our Analyst of the Week is Beltone’s Abanob Magdy.

It’s shaping up to be a hell of a week for M&A when you throw in yesterday’s news of the Saudi PIF’s offer to take driller ADES International private and Banque Misr’s ongoing bid to acquire up to 90% of CI Capital.

THE BIG STORY abroad Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal are looking forward to the opening bell on Wall Street later today, saying futures show tech stocks about to rally after they entered correction territory yesterday. Meanwhile, the Financial Times is leading with the OECD’s estimate that Joe Biden’s USD 1.9 tn in covid-19 stimulus could add one percentage point to global growth this year. OECD sees the world economy growing 5.6% this year, up from its November forecast of 4.2%.

But Enterprise, what’s a “correction”? It’s just fancy-talk for shares being down 10% or more from a recent high. It means “watch this space,” but it’s not (necessarily) a sign the apocalypse is nigh. That’s a “bear market,” which we hit when securities are 20% or more below a recent high.

CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:

  • Private companies will not be allowed to independently provide covid-19 vaccines to the public, Cabinet said, although at least one has been given permission to import vaccines for sale to a government agency.
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ordered Maglis El Dowla to appoint women to the bench; he has also directed that more women be hired at the Supreme Judicial Council and the Prosecutor General’s Office.
  • As many as 5 mn casual workers are sitting idle, an industry lobby group says, as the result of a government-mandated work stoppage to crack down on building code violations.

YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine works as well against the Brazilian and UK “mutant” strains as it does against the one discovered last year, according to researchers at the University of Texas showed writing in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. While the research still needs to be validated with real-world data, the results offer another reason for optimism, writes Bloomberg.


Photopia’s Cairo Photo Week 2021 kicks off this Thursday and runs through 20 March. The photo festival will feature over 100 activities including workshops, panels, photo challenges, exhibitions, portfolio reviews and photo walks throughout the week, all led by more than 80 local and international photographers. Genres including fashion, food, portraits, documentary and photojournalism are all in the spotlight. You can check out the event program on Photopia’s website, there’s plenty to look at on the group’s Instagram feed @cairophotoweek, and both physical and virtual tickets are available here.

Also on Thursday: The next iteration of Le Marché, an anchor of the annual expo scene, takes place 11-14 March at the Egypt International Convention Centre, with over 300 local and international brands set to showcase their wares. Full details and digital catalogue on the show’s website.

The Cairo Fashion & Textile Expo trade show is set to open at the Cairo International Convention Center on Thursday, running through 13 March.

Higher education fair EduGate is running until Thursday at Kempinski Royal Maxim on The Ring Road. Participants include universities, colleges and training institutions as well as scholarship and grant providers. There’s also an online-only version taking place 18-20 March.

The Marketers League runs this Saturday and Sunday, 13-14 March, at Kundalini Grand Pyramids Hotel in Giza. This year’s theme is Beyond the Pandemic with panelists and speakers including our friend Tarek Nour (founder of Tarek Nour Communications), Ayman Hegazi (CEO of Allianz), Sherine Zaklama (CEO, Rada Research and Public Relations), and Walid Hassouna (CEO, EFG Hermes Finance).

Life coach Arfeen Khan is giving a talk at a virtual AmCham event on Monday, 15 March.

Talking sustainable manufacturing with BEBA: The British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) will host a virtual conference on how Egyptian and UK firms can work together on sustainable manufacturing projects in Africa in the post-Brexit environment on Tuesday, 23 March. Check out the agenda here (pdf).

AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month. The sale is open to the general public every day from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.


BTC is back up again, hitting a two-week high as more institutional investors eye the cryptocurrency, reports Bloomberg. The digital token rose as much as 4.3% and was trading at about USD 53.9k, still below its all-time high of USD 58.35k, which it hit last month. Longer-term investors such as family offices, insurers and corporate treasurers are mulling exposure to BTC, prompting Goldman Sachs to restart its cryptocurrency trading desk. Evercore ISI strategist Rich Ross saying Bitcoin is in a “strong position” to reach USD 75k.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global has been valued at nearly USD 90 bn after a Nasdaq Private Market auction that ended last Thursday put shares at USD 350 apiece, sources from the auction told Bloomberg. That anchors investor expectations as Coinbase prepares to go public on the Nasdaq in later this month.

You should really check in with your IT department — that Microsoft hack is getting worse. New reports suggest the cyberattacks on Microsoft’s Exchange Server are escalating into a global “free-for-all” as a flood of attacks from groups unrelated to China’s Hafnium rush to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, the Financial Times reports. After Microsoft made the vulnerabilities public, a third, even bigger wave of attacks began as criminal groups jumped to exploit the flaws, a cybersecurity expert told the salmon-colored paper. While initial reports across various publications estimated roughly 30-60k cases, the FT suggests the number could be as high as 250k.

The European Banking Authority was the first major institution to confirm it was targeted in the attack. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency ramped up its warnings last night, urging all organizations to review its guidance on the international exploit.


(All times CLT)

Vox Cinemas is screening a re-release of the 2002 film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers that has been remastered for 4K and IMAX screens. Director Peter Jackson’s 4K editions of the trilogy rolled out on Blu-ray in December, sporting visual changes that the director said would allow the 20-year-old films to look as if they were shot much more recently. The film follows Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor to make a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard. The Two Towers is the second film in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and was an enormous box-office success, making over USD 936 mn worldwide in its initial 2002 release and winning the middle-Earth adaptation two Academy Awards.

The UEFA Champions League is back up and running: Juventus will go up against Porto and Dortmund will face off against Sevilla, with both matches at 10pm today. Meanwhile, in the Egyptian Premier League, Al Ittihad is playing against Ghazl El Mahalla at 7pm.


This heat wave makes it the perfect time to get reacquainted with ice cream: Taiyaki brings Japanese-style soft serve to New Cairo in a detailed fish-shaped cone that’s more of a waffle if you ask us. Each cone is made to order and comes hot and fresh, with the option of an inner filling of Lotus, nutella, raspberries, and more. We had their signature Lotus Taiyaki and loved it. Pro tip: The fish tail has most of the filling and is the best part — and make sure you have tissues on hand. Check out their Instagram page @taiyakiegypt. Opening in Alexandria “soon.”


(All times CLT)

Singer Rowan Maher is performing tunes from Egyptian movies at The Room Art Space in New Cairo tonight at 9pm.

Cairo Jazz Club in Agouza is promising a “night of ‘80s post-punk and new wave gems” featuring the Love Cats and Purplpitch today at 9pm.

The Darkroom Cairo is an amazing place to check out if you haven’t already. The Downtown Cairo venue celebrates classic film photography by holding workshops on how to shoot using silver-based stock and then develop in a darkroom. Also on offer: photography walks. The Darkroom also sells the equipment and film needed to get you started. Excited yet? The Darkroom has a large-format demo session on Thursday at 3pm at which participants will be introduced to the process of using 4×5 film (that’s 4 inches by 5 inches) in the studio to shoot, then move to the lab to develop and print.


Put yourself in the mind of an AI robot: Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro has released his first book since his Nobel Prize win in 2017, with Klara and the Sun. The novel follows Klara, an Artificial Friend or a synthetic girl built as a companion to a child. However, she hasn’t been bought yet and from her place in the store, she spends her days observing people who come in to browse or pass by in the street. Ishiguro uses AI to reflect on what it is to be human by using Klara’s unbiased and moldable intellectual palate to display the act of growing up and growing more closed off.

Vulture is out with a book review, while Wired interviewed Ishiguro about the future of AI and his experience writing the piece.

🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Summer, are you just popping in? Our favorite weather app is forecasting daytime highs of 35°C and nighttime lows 15°C tomorrow. The weather will get gradually cooler from there, going back to the mid-20s by Thursday and falling further over the weekend, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (pdf).

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