TONIGHT: US’ Blinken is in Cairo today; Metrojet investigation ongoing; Big Tech gets hammered on the regulatory front; Army of the Dead on Netflix;
Good afternoon, wonderful people. We’ve made it through another workday together — one more to go and we slide into the weekend.
THE BIG STORY TODAY- The first-half IPO window may now be closed, but companies in the chute to go public are already looking to fall. Cosmeceutical giant Macro Group confirmed that it is working with EFG Hermes on its initial public offering on the EGX, expected as early as this fall. Meanwhile, shares of state-owned Egyptian Iron and Steel’s mining spinoff will be listed on EGX as of tomorrow. We have chapter and verse on both transactions in this afternoon’s Speed Round, below.
ALSO big today: Egyptian and Russian investigative teams have met to discuss and “exchange information” about the 2015 Metrojet crash in Sinai. The incident saw Moscow impose a ban on direct flights between Russia and the Red Sea that has so far lasted six years. The five-hour sitdown ended with no word on when travel between the two countries will resume, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Prosecutor General’s Office. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi agreed last month with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that flights would resume, but Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko has since suggested that a June date for the resumption of flights is uncertain.
HAPPENING NOW- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo today ahead of planned talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the Associated Press reports. Blinken’s regional visit has already taken him to Jerusalem and Ramallah, which remain largely calm after Egypt brokered a ceasefire that brought an end to 11 days of Israeli attacks on Palestine. Blinken is also due today in Jordan. You can find Blinken’s latest update here.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Egypt gets good marks from the IMF: Egypt expects to unlock the third and final USD 1.6 bn tranche of its USD 5.2 bn IMF standby loan after an IMF review found that we met all structural benchmarks under the agreement.
- Port roz on the way? KSA’s Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) has over USD 1.5 bn to invest in ports, and Egypt is on the short list.
- Has Ethiopia already started the second filling of GERD? Sudan says it has evidence to suggest that Ethiopia began the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) reservoir at the beginning of May. Ethiopia denies.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The Gouna International Squash Open 2021 is ongoing and runs until Friday. Spectators have been allowed to watch the matches live and tickets are currently being sold for the semis and finals. You can also watch the matches live on PSA Squash YouTube page. The event is supported by our good friends at CIB. Two men’s and two women’s top half quarter final matches will be played today, while Egyptians Tarek Momen and Nouran Gohar have both made it to the semi finals which will kick off tomorrow.
Also for fans of racquet sports: The CIB PSA World Tour Finals will run on 22-27 June in Cairo.
Bibliotheca Alexandria is organizing a webinar tomorrow to discuss safekeeping artifacts and heritage. Headlined “Fighting treasure hunting from Africa for the Americas: Protecting the history of the drowning world,” it will feature University of Edinburgh’s Arturo Rey da Silva. You can tune in live at 2:30pm from the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies’ Facebook page.
WhatsApp could be suing India over regulations that would force the messaging app to break privacy protections, according to Reuters, citing unnamed Indian government officials. WhatsApp has nearly 400 mn users in India and messages have end-to-end encryption. Twitter has recently been the subject of a media crackdown after the platform refused to remove posts from government critics.
The European Commission will open a formal probe into Facebook’s Marketplace, with the organization claiming the feature shows anti-competitive practices as it is offered without charge, reports The Financial Times. This comes after European Union officials sent three rounds of questions to Facebook inquiring as to whether Marketplace is “distorting the classified ads business.” Facebook has previously taken the EU to court over their broad questions that allegedly invaded the privacy of employees. Meanwhile, the UK also has its eye on Mark Zuckerberg’s platform, having launched its own antitrust probe back in March that is expected to look at Marketplace as well as data usage in advertising.
Iran has banned cryptocurrency mining to avoid electricity blackouts ahead of peak demand season waiting around the corner, Bloomberg reports. Iran has become an especially attractive location for cryptocurrency mining in recent years–which by some estimates has indicated it is home to 4.5% of global mining–as economic sanctions have constrained access to much-needed foreign currency. The energy intensive process has also benefited from the country’s subsidized electricity prices, but with drought holding back Iran’s hydroelectric production this year and a peak demand season up ahead the country has decided to suspend mining activities until 22 September.
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead paves the way for Netflix franchises. The film combines a handful of tried-and-true movie plots from zombies to a ragtag team of fighters and a heist. Army of the Dead follows Dave Bautista’s character Scott Ward and a team he’s put together to empty the vault of a Las Vegas casino during the zombie apocalypse. We won’t spoil the ending for you, but it's not a happy one as it paves the way for a sequel (or two). Netflix has already shot a prequel to the film titled Army of Thieves that’s up for release later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The streaming site has also begun production on an anime series Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas to be released next year, as well as a virtual reality game that will pop up in cities across the US. Netflix is trying to add more franchises to its belt in order to compete against WarnerMedia and Disney, whose successful franchises have allowed them to sell merchandise and open theme parks.
⚽ The Europa League final match between Villareal and Man United is on tonight at 9pm.
As for the Egyptian Premier League, National Bank of Egypt will play Smouha at 5pm while Ceramica Cleopatra will face off against Enppi.
💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-
Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is a tale of deceit and betrayal. Washed up fiction writer and low-level professor Jake is going nowhere in life. When one of his students dies after showing him a novel he wrote, Jake decides to help himself to the plot and publishes it in his own name. The literary theft pushes him to stardom, but the fame threatens to be short-lived when Jake starts getting emails from an anonymous sender claiming that they’re on to him. The author blends suspense with complex characters the same way she did in her best-seller You Should Have Known, which later became the basis for the hit HBO series, The Undoing. Stephen King calls the book “remarkable” while the New York Times and Washington Post give it two thumbs up.
🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re still bordering 40s, with expected daytime highs of 39°C tomorrow which will fall to 21°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us.