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Sunday, 11 April 2021

TONIGHT: Macro postpones its IPO; Economic Reform Program 2.0 is coming

Good afternoon, everyone, and we hope you already stacked your fridge over the weekend.

THE BIG STORY AT HOME as we kick off this new week: Macro Group is postponing its IPO on the Egyptian Exchange despite strong appetite from international institutional investors. A statement (pdf) out just minutes ago says that the company’s “international road show … met with very strong demand from international institutional investors in major financial centres, reflecting Macro Group’s unique position as Egypt’s leading cosmeceutical and neutraceutical company and our team’s ambitious growth plans.”

What happened? Too many offerings at once for domestic institutions: “In consultation with the relevant regulatory authorities, we have nevertheless decided to postpone the offering,” the statement said. “The determining factor in our decision is the market’s capacity to absorb multiple offerings.” Multibrand higher education outfit Taaleem started trading last week, and London-listed consumer healthcare giant IDH is likely to conclude a technical listing of at least 5% of its shares on the EGX later this month.

Macro will likely look to the fall IPO window, writing in the statement that, “in concert with our selling shareholders, we are entirely committed to the next stage of our journey as a publicly traded company and look forward to the start of trading in our shares later this year.” Macro had been scheduled to open the window today to local retail subscribers after having suggested it would price its offering of some 45.8% of the company at EGP 5.30-6.15 per share.

TAKE NOTE- We’ll know in a few hours’ time whether Ramadan begins tomorrow or on Tuesday, as Dar Al Ifta is expected to hold its traditional moon sighting this evening. (We incorrectly said in this morning’s EnterpriseAM that the moon sighting is happening tomorrow. Calendars. They’re hard, sometimes.)

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

We’re also pretty excited about the discovery of what’s being billed as “Egypt’s answer to Pompeii” — a lost city from Egypt's “Golden Age” that has been unearthed near Luxor, almost three millennia after it was built for King Tutankhamun's grandfather.

HAPPENING NOW- The FY2021-22 budget is now with the House of Representatives’ planning and economic committees, after receiving the sign off of the Senate, according to Youm7. The bill will receive its final legislative approval from the House.

Also from the House: A plenary session approved today a USD 200 mn loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development — which is part of the World Bank Group — to implement air pollution and climate change management projects in Greater Cairo, according to a separate Youm7 article.

Are we going to see higher fuel prices as we head into Ramadan? The government’s fuel pricing committee is taking longer than expected to announce 2Q prices as it’s still discussing whether the rise of global oil prices last quarter warrants a hike of at least EGP 0.25 on the liter, Masrawy reports, quoting government sources. The committee was due to make a decision yesterday, with consensus being that it will at least maintain domestic prices since Brent crude was at USD 50-70 / bbl during 1Q2021, much higher than a USD 37-53 average in 4Q2020. The committee meets to review fuel prices under a pricing mechanism that pegs prices to Brent crude and global exchange rates.


“Summer hours” will come into effect for retail stores and restaurants as of 17 April. This means retail shops can close at 11 pm (instead of 10 pm during the winter), while cafes and restaurants can stay open until 1 am (instead of midnight currently). We have more details on the winter vs. summer hours here.


SIGN OF THE TIMES- We’re installing chips in monkeys’ brains to watch them play video games with just their minds: A male macaque with chips embedded on each side of its brain — courtesy of Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup Neuralink — can play videogame Mind Pong by simply thinking about moving his hand up or down (watch, runtime: 03:27). Neuralink works by recording and decoding electrical signals from the brain using more than 2k electrodes implanted in regions of the monkey’s motor cortex that coordinate hand and arm movements. The technology may seem frivolous because it’s … a monkey playing video games, but Musk hopes the chips can eventually help paraplegics to walk again by shunting signals from Neuralinks in the brain to Neuralinks in body motor and sensory neuron clusters. The technology is now being altered to allow humans with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using their thumbs, Musk said in a thread on Twitter.

London was a prime location for wealthy property owners last year, with the super-rich spending almost USD 4 bn on super-prime properties in the UK capital, more than any other city in the world, according to the Financial Times. The so-called super-prime properties are classified as anything with a price tag of USD 10 mn or more. Global buyers were lured to London’s real estate market by the weak GBP and the end of the UK’s Brexit saga, coupled with an exodus from the capital city to the suburbs during the pandemic.


Two very high profile figures passed away over the weekend that are worth noting if you missed it. The first is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh — consort of Queen Elizabeth — who died two months shy of his 100th birthday on Friday.

Millenials of a certain age should certainly shed a tear for the death of rap icon DMX on Friday. The rapper, who died at aged 50 from complications from an overdose, had been a fixture at house parties in the 90s and early 2000s with hits such “Up in Here,” the “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” and “X Gonna Give to Ya,” that had everyone literally barking.


(All times in CLT)

Netflix has released This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, which takes a deep dive into the 1990 theft of USD 500 mn-worth of art from a museum in Boston — the most expensive art heist in history. Two thieves posing as Boston police officers made their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and snagged masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, Manet, and more. Despite a reward offering of USD 5 mn, none of the works have been recovered and no arrests were ever made. The Netflix docuseries talks to museum staff, members of the FBI, and alleged eyewitnesses to the crime. The Guardian and Art News are both fans.

Football is back in full swing, with our favorite leagues showing matches today.

In the English Premier League, Burnley and Newcastle finished off their match earlier in the afternoon. West Ham and Leicester City are currently on the field, while Tottenham and Man United are up at 5:30pm, and Sheffield United and Arsenal will compete at 8pm.

Juventus is currently playing against Genoa in Serie A. Sampdoria will face off against Napoli at 3pm, Roma against Bologna at 6pm, Fiorentina against Atalanta at 8:45pm, and finally, Benevento will go head-to-head with Sassuolo at 8:45pm.

A match to look out for in La Liga: Real Betis will play against Atletico Madrid at 9pm.

Egypt’s Premier League has two matches on today: Ceramica Cleopatra is playing against El Entag El Harby at 5pm while Al Masry will play against El Gouna at 7pm.


Good Stuff Eatery is one of the best burger joints in Cairo, with both classic sandwiches and creative takes on burgers that is an experience for your tastebuds. As indecisive people, we sometimes love short menus that get to the point, and Good Stuff knows the good stuff. Chicken, beef, and vegetarian burgers, awesome fries, and milkshakes are the main event at the Galleria 40 restaurant — which we do recommend visiting in person to experience their sauces bar firsthand. Having originated in Washington DC, they have a Prez Obama Burger — which is our favorite, political connotations aside. You should also check out their Honey Love Bird sandwich and Sunnyside burger.


In commemoration of late Egyptian artist Saad Kamel, Mashrabia Gallery has on exhibition Folklore Tales, featuring a rare collection of his artworks. The exhibit is open everyday from 3-8pm and will run until Thursday at the Downtown Cairo art space.

It’s ladies’ stand up comedy night at The Room New Cairo with an epic lineup of women comedians including SNL’s Yara Fahmy, Noha Kato, Rahma Zein, Bernadette, Reem Nabil, and Medrona Selim. The show will start at 9pm.


The world needs a new social contract, argues Egyptian-born British-American Dame Minouche Shafik in her new book What We Owe Each Other. Shafik, who is currently the director of the London School of Economics, looks at how countries can do more than just offer citizens a decent life. She aims instead for a more generous and inclusive society which in her view would see people share more risks collectively and have them contribute more so that everyone can fulfill their potential. Her reordering of “the system” is comprehensive, taking readers through different stages of life from raising children, getting educated, falling ill, working, and growing old, and showing how together we can build better societies.

Shafik had lunch with the Financial Times: In a separate article, The FT looks at the simultaneous release of both Shafik’s book and Mark Carney’s Values: Building a Better World for All, writing that “there is something profoundly awry with the economy as it is now” which is alarming seeing as these two key figures couldn’t fix what is broken.

???? TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 25°C and nighttime lows of 10°C tomorrow, according to our favorite weather app.

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