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Sunday, 20 June 2021

THIS MORNING: Vodafone Egypt close to finishing DD on Bee, Masary; Ever Given hearing today; Iran nuclear pact at risk after ultraconservative elected prez.

Good morning, friends, and welcome to a new workweek — and to the last day of spring. Summer officially starts tomorrow, and that has us grateful that we’ve had an exceptionally wonderful run of spring weather (and great air quality), with low humidity and moderate temps. Fingers crossed summer is equally kind to us.

THINGS WE DON’T APPRECIATE ENOUGH #1- The amazing breadth of world-class travel destinations here in Egypt. As many of us gnash our teeth about the prospect of another summer spent entirely here at home, we were reminded by none other than the Financial Times that folks from around the world have our fair country on their bucket list. The latest reminder: Somabay is one of the best places in the world to learn to wing-foil, a brand new water sport that’s a cross between windsurfing and snowboarding. The salmon-colored paper gives a tip of the hat to Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge and the Kempinski.

THINGS WE DON’T APPRECIATE ENOUGH #2- We’re kind of down on Big Oil here at Enterprise World Headquarters (climate change and all…), but we still need to purchase petrol every so often if we want to keep our wheels rolling. It’s in that context that we think Total deserves a tip of the hat for the number of women it now employs in front-line roles at filling stations, jobs that were previously 100% the purview of men.


Are we going to get a resolution on the Ever Given today? The Ismailia Economic Court will hold today a hearing in the USD 550 mn Ever Given compensation case filed by the Suez Canal Authority against the container ship’s owners for its six-day blockage of the canal in March. The court had postponed the hearing last month for the second time to allow settlement talks between the two sides to continue.

The SCA and Shoei Kisen’s ins. company have been at loggerheads over who should be held responsible for the incident and how much compensation should be paid out to Egypt. The authority has slashed its demands from USD 916 mn to USD 550 mn, but the ins. companies are reportedly only willing to only pay out USD 150 mn. The Ever Given’s ins. company, UK Club, is now hopeful about a positive resolution in the case, saying last week that it “is currently engaged in serious and constructive negotiations with the SCA regarding the authority’s claim arising from the grounding of the Ever Given.”

Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is in town today for a two-day visit during which he’s set to meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Al Shorouk reports. This is his first visit to North Africa since he became Malaysia’s foreign minister in March 2020. President Abdal Fattah El Sisi discussed economic ties and investment with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on a conference call three days ago, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

Ethiopia has “temporarily” scrapped visas on arrival and e-visas for passengers of all nationalities. The ban came into effect on Friday, EgyptAir said in a statement.


Expect the first of some 40 mn doses of China’s Sinovac jab to roll off the production line at Vacsera as early as this week. Health Minister Hala Zayed said last week that the first bottles would be ready to go “within days” and would be subject to quality testing ahead of a rollout as early as August. As many as 3 mn doses could be made this year.

M&A WATCH- It seems that Vodafone Egypt could be close to wrapping up due diligence on Bee + Masary, after sources told Al Shorouk that the company would finish “within days.” The telecoms giant signed an MoU with NBFS player Ebtikar in February that could see it acquire 20% stakes in fintech firms Bee and Masary. Ebtikar, which confirmed to us earlier this month it is gearing up for an IPO as early as 4Q2021, holds a 72% stake in Masary and owns 60% of Bee. Ebtikar is owned by BPE and MTI.


Putting the Iran nuclear pact back together may be that much harder after conservative hardliner Ebrahim Raissi won Iran’s presidential election on Friday. Raissi, who heads Iran’s judiciary and is a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won with 62% of the vote and is expected to take a more hostile stance towards relations with the West and the 2015 accord than his moderate predecessor Hassan Rouhani. The story is making front-page headlines across the global press, including in Bloomberg, the FT, BBC, CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

***CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from Thursday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • Good news for the global commodities boom: An expected good wheat harvest in the Northern hemisphere and a drop in oil prices are expected to drive down the surge in commodities, after Egypt’s domestic inflation hit a 2021 high in May.
  • Egypt gears up to put electric vehicles on the road: Renewables leader Infinity will set up 6k EV charing points over the next three years, while El Nasr plans to roll out its first batch of locally assembled models of China’s E70 EV cars by July / August 2022.
  • E-Finance FV gets the regulatory sign off: State-owned e-payments firm e-Finance received approval from the Madbouly government’s IPO committee for the fair value of its shares, paving the way for the company’s expected IPO this year.


It’s the final day for entrepreneurs to apply for the six-month Tourism Recovery Program launched by Enpact and the TUI Care Foundation and supported by GIZ, according to a press release (pdf). The grants are worth EUR 9k each. You can apply here.

The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) is organizing a virtual education week from 5-6 July with three seminars planned. The first, taking place at 10am on 5 July, will discuss skills-based learning while the future of investment in education will be the topic on the table at 12:30pm the same day. On 6 July, a talk on the digitalization of education in Egypt will be held at 12pm.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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