Thursday, 3 June 2021

TONIGHT- Just how good are those Chinese jabs? Also: IDH is looking at M&A targets, but isn’t promising to close one this year

Well, friends, we’ve made it through another workweek together — and our reward after a heavy news day is another weekend of beautiful weather, with daytime highs of just 34°C. Perfect weather for some tennis, if you ask us.

THE BIG STORY here at home today? M&A, baby. Lest you need any reminder that 2021 is shaping up as a great year for M&A (the lawyers and bankers thank you all), we have more on ADQ’s reported quest for a stake in Juhayna — and news that the Abu Dhabi fund is facing a challenge from a Saudi outfit in its bid for a stake in the military’s Wataniya filling stations network. We have chapter and verse in this afternoon’s Speed Round, below.

MEANWHILE- Good news for our regional energy hub ambitions: It looks like we could get access to even more Israeli natural gas as our neighbors to the east mull rolling back limits on exports that have been in place for nearly a decade, according to a draft government report seen by Reuters. Lifting the lid on exports comes as Israel looks to boost natural gas sales abroad before global demand starts to fade as the world shifts away from fossil fuels — and as it works to encourage more natural gas drilling off its coast. The country had previously limited exports to set aside some 60% of its reserves for domestic use.

Egypt will import over 85 bcm of gas from Israel’s Leviathan and Tamar fields through to 2034 under a landmark USD 19.5 bn agreement signed in 2018 by Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus with the field’s partners, which were led by Delek and Texas-based Noble Energy at the time. Natural gas shipments started flowing into Arish early last year.

ALSO: Consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holding (IDH) is indeed on the lookout for new acquisitions (as we reported earlier this week) but hasn’t decided on when to pull the trigger, a company official told us, clarifying a story in Al Mal this morning claiming that IDH was committed to an acquisition this year. IDH is screening a number of potential targets, but there is no set timeline as to when it plans to execute on them, the official said.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • 2.5 mn people have had at least one covid jab — and our first batch of homemade CoronaVac will be ready this month, the Health Ministry says.
  • Revised terms for the license to establish Egypt’s second major tobacco company have been handed to four local tobacco companies, according to a report by Reuters.
  • There’s still a chance that direct flights to Red Sea destinations form Russia could be in the air this month after Russia’s deputy PM said authorities are “putting the finishing touches” on a plan to see them resume “in the near future.”

QUICK FOLLOW UP #1- Just how good are those Chinese jabs? It’s complicated. The World Health Organization gave Sinovac emergency approval earlier this week — and the Health Ministry said yesterday that a seven-country study put the jab’s overall effectiveness at 91%.

But results in Gulf countries are giving some observers pause. The Washington Post reported in late May that the UAE was giving third “booster” shots to some people “after antibody tests indicated they did not have a sufficient immune response” after two doses of Sinopharm’s rival vaccine.

The latest development: Bahrain is giving a Pfizer booster to some folks who were given Sinopharm. Residents over 50, who have chronic diseases or are obese are being urged to have the third jab. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have the story.

Speaking of Bahrain: The kingdom will also begin manufacturing and distributing Sputnik V vaccines destined for the MENA region after signing today an MoU with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to set up a regional manufacturing facility, according to a RDIF press release. Among the signatories of the MoU were Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and Binnopharm Group, the release said, without disclosing when the plant will open or the production capacity it’s targeting.

Egypt has a similar agreement in place, with Minapharm set to manufacture some 40 mn doses of Sputnik V per year under an agreement with RDIF. The locally manufactured vaccines should begin to be rolled out in 3Q2021.

QUICK FOLLOW UP #2- The first women to be appointed as public prosecutors will be sworn in this October, according to a report in Youm7. That’s when the country will also start appointing women to the bench on the State Council (Maglis El Dowla).

THE BIG STORY ABROAD? Not much. No single story dominates the global business news agenda, but we’re keeping a close eye on the inflation story — see this afternoon’s For Your Commute, below, for more.


We’re looking forward to the second-most-holy holiday on the iSheep calendar this coming Monday — that’s when the faithful will stream Apple’s WWDC keynote. We’ll get a look at what’s next for macOS, iOS and iPadOS, sure — but more than a few of us will be praying for hardware announcements, too. You can catch AppleInsider’s and Gizmodo’s prognostications or just circle your calendar for 7pm CLT on Monday and stream the keynote here.

The FIG World Challenge Cup in Artistic Gymnastics for men and women has kicked off in Egypt today and will run until Sunday.

The British Egyptian Business Association will hold a virtual conversation with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla on 7 June to discuss the sector’s achievements. You can register through this link.

May inflation figures are due out next week from state statistics agency Capmas (which, oddly enough, is the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics).


French artist JR will create his next art installation at the Giza Pyramids, he announced on Instagram. JR is known for creating optical illusions at famous landmarks by installing images at a distance. His latest creation was at the Eiffel Tower where he created an installation that gives the illusion that the monument is coming out of a crater. JR hinted that the Giza Pyramids project could be a photo collage after he scouted the location back in April. The installation has been commissioned by Art D’Egypte who are organizing a contemporary art exhibition titled Forever is Now at the pyramids which will be held in October to celebrate the “merging of ancient heritage and contemporary art”. The National has more on the story. You can check out more of JR’s artwork on his website.

Donald Trump may be back to haunt us in the 2024 US elections, hinting in recent weeks that he may be re-running for the presidency, reports the Associated Press. Trump’s potential campaign will be hindered by his tumultuous history of two impeachment trials and the Capitol Hill riots. Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, is also rumored to be running for office alongside other Republican candidates already moving to challenge Joe Biden for the presidency.

Dude can’t even keep his own “blog” running, but that stranglehold on the GOP? That’s apparently not going anywhere.

Supply chain woes and potential for even more raw material-driven inflation: Surging demand for coal that coincided with output constraints as mines in China and Indonesia face safety issues and heavy rainfall is threatening a spike in the global prices of the least climate-friendly fossil, and a seaport in China hit by a fresh covid-19 outbreak is delaying good deliveries to the US and Europe. But the higher coal prices will likely be temporary and a result of a seasonal spike in electricity consumption in North Asia as summer temperatures boost air conditioning needs. Plus, climate policies are making it hard for miners to add capacity. Still, coal isn’t the only commodity whose price has been on the up amid the global post-covid commodities boom that has hit everything from food to energy to key metals as more economies continue to recover from the pandemic.

Should we expect higher inflation? Domestic inflation has so far been shrugging off rising global commodity prices due to a favorable base effect. The latest reading even showed that the headline figure slowed down, against expectations. But it might not be long until the commodities rally starts hitting consumers, and analysts have been increasingly penciling in heightened inflation soon as a result of the year-long rally.


The next Narcos? An Amazon Prime Original series Dom is being released tomorrow. The Brazilian crime-drama series follows police officer Victor who dedicated his life to fighting the narcotraffic war, all while his own son rises to become one of the Rio de Janeiro most notorious criminals. Based on a true story, the first season features eight episodes of around one-hour runtime. The series promises drama, action, emotional scenes, and a ton of plot twists. We recommend you check out the trailer (watch, runtime: 02:59).

Egyptian actress Sherihan is continuing her comeback with a planned show on Shahid that will focus on the life of designer Coco Chanel, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Neither Shahid nor Sherihan have yet announced a timeline for the show. Sherihan ended her years-long hiatus last Ramadan, featuring in a musical advertisement for telecom Vodafone.


Discover a new coffee bean with Fyngan: Located in The Grocer in Sheikh Zayed, Fyngan is a specialty coffee bean store that brings the different tastes of the world into your morning coffee cup. With beans from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Uganda, the beans are one for the books and we love that you can get information on where and how the beans were sourced, their harvest period, and the beans’ variety and cupping notes. If you’re unsure of what beans you would enjoy the most, Fyngan’s website has a quiz you can take to determine the best type of coffee beans for you to take home based on your flavor profile and how you like to make your coffee (we got Nicaragua). You can check out Fyngan in person or order the beans online for delivery — thank us later.


TAM Gallery’s Summer Affordable Art Show is ongoing until the end of August, featuring art starting from EGP 1k for those wanting to get into the art scene without breaking the bank.

The Beatles cover band Glass Onion is performing tomorrow at The Tap West in Sheikh Zayed.

Tivoli Heliopolis is hosting a Hello June Bazar this weekend, with offerings of books, clothes, and accessories.

You can also check out the LA Market-Summer Breeze bazar at New Cairo’s Park Mall tomorrow.


Re-shape your relationship with risk and uncertainty with Michele Wucker’s You Are What You Risk. Released in the midst of an uncertain world, the book aims to shed light on what makes some people more prone to risk than others as well as how to mitigate risk in a myriad of circumstances. Understanding risk and having a framework to decide whether its a venture worth taking can help individuals, organizations, and businesses reach their highest potential. Wucker weaves in economics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology research to come up with what she calls a “risk fingerprint” that once optimized can inspire new habits, catalyze innovation and creativity, and improve teamwork.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- We’re loving the current weather in Cairo and it’s expected to stay put during the weekend. You can look forward to daytime highs of 34°C and nighttime lows of 18-19°C, our favorite weather app forecasts.

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