What we’re tracking on 10 March 2021
Good morning, nice people, and welcome to a very busy newsday.
M&A is again the big story here at home, this time in the country’s red-hot non-bank consumer finance sector as the National Bank of Egypt begins what looks to be an aggressive push into the sector that will include further acquisitions. We also have news of a transaction in the country’s nascent waste management sector, as Empower looks to raise some EGP 400 mn through a sale of equity to unnamed investors out of the Gulf.
It’s been a really big week for M&A. Shell agreed yesterday to sell its assets in the Western Desert to our friends at Egypt’s Cheiron Petroleum Corporation and UK-listed Cairn Energy for up to USD 926 mn. That follows on the heels of news that the Saudi Public Investment Fund is bidding to take private driller ADES International and Banque Misr’s mandatory tender offer to acquire up to 90% of CI Capital. The MTO for CI ends on Thursday and a source close to the transaction tells us that Banque Misr has no intention of upping its offer price.
We also have lots of news from the energy sector, including word on the kickoff of the natgas car conversion project and news from the EastMed Gas Forum.
THE BIG STORY INTERNATIONALLY is the Nasdaq snapping out of correction territory yesterday to rise 4% by market close, buoyed by a rally in tech stocks. The story is on the front pages of Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal this morning.
Asian markets followed Wall Street up overnight, but we’re looking at a mixed open in Europe later this morning. Futures also suggest the Dow, the S&P and Nasdaq will all open weakly in the red later today.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-
It’s inflation day: The Central Bank of Egypt and state census bureau Capmas should release February inflation figures later today. Annual headline inflation slowed in January to its lowest level since September 2020, raising the possibility of the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee enacting a rate cut when it meets at the end of next week.
Banks in Egypt will be able to carry out immediate interbank payments in foreign currencies as of 22 March under a central bank decision (pdf) that aims to make FX transfers in Egypt cheaper for banks, and faster for their customers.
Only 65% of EGX-listed companies complied with a Financial Regulatory Authority directive to include at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2020, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid said at a virtual IFC-organized event celebrating International Women’s Day, the EGX said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. This is an improvement from the 48% of companies that included a woman on their BoD in 2019. The regulator also has plans to raise each company’s quota of women’s board representation to 25%.
Women in Egypt are getting access to a mentorship program on digital and online marketing skills that USAID is launching with Google.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Individual taxpayers have until 16 March to request an extension to the 31 March deadline for submitting their income tax returns through the electronic filing system, the Tax Authority said in a statement. The deadline can be extended for up to 60 days. Both income tax and property tax needs to be filed online.
D-day for corporate taxes is the end of April.
We have a full calendar on our website. EnterpriseAM has a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers, while our Circle Your Calendar and Out and About sections in EnterprisePM has a rundown of upcoming arts, cultural and other similar things you can attend.
*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, urban development and as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.
In today’s issue: We look at our favorite documentaries about exciting and sometimes challenging aspects of global infrastructure — and how these global themes are relevant and hold potential lessons for Egypt. Our top picks cover key issues in structural engineering, aging road and bridge infrastructure, water shortages, smart city design, and solar energy.