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Monday, 5 July 2021

TONIGHT: MaxAB raises USD 40 mn series A. + No one is budging in OPEC+ meeting today. ALSO: PMI tomorrow.

Has the summer news slowdown begun? It may be too early to call it, but today’s newsflow was drier than the ring road asphalt at noon in July.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- B2B bulk ordering e-commerce company MaxAB raised USD 40 mn in a landmark series A round led by Ahmed Badreldin’s RMBV. A number of leading venture capital funds and international institutions have joined in on the round that brought the total funding raised by MaxAB to just north of USD 46 mn. We have more in the Speed Round below.

HAPPENING NOW- Word from the grapevine is that “a major” announcement from Misr Ins. Holding Company and the Planning Ministry will be made in the next few hours. We’ll be keeping our ear to the ground with the details being covered in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • Gov’t relaxes covid restrictions in public places: Hotels, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theaters and retail stores are now allowed to operate at 70% capacity instead of the current 50%.
  • Ever Given saga is about to end: The Ever Given will be released on Wednesday, 7 July after the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and the ship’s owners reached a compensation settlement for the six-day blockage of the canal in March.
  • These Alexandria bidding wars have us learning auction chants: Private equity outfit Compass Capital increased its offer for 90% of Alexandria National Company for Financial Investments (ANFI), following in the footsteps of a rival bidder, Hong Kong-based Zeta Investments.

We were hoping to get some clarity by now on where things stand with Egypt and Sudan’s diplomatic push in New York today. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is currently drumming up support at the UN Security Council for a resolution that will halt Ethiopia’s attempt to unilaterally begin the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam prior to reaching an agreement with Egypt and Sudan. Word on the street is that the UN Security Council will hold a special hearing on the matter on Thursday, though this has yet to be officially confirmed.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Today’s OPEC+ meeting is turning into a bust as UAE and Saudi Arabia continue their deadlock over an oil-output agreement. The UAE went in demanding that production quotas be removed, but has since suggested a short-term allowance for output increases — a proposition Saudi will probably refuse as well. It is now expected that the oil producing countries will agree to gradual production increases in the coming months as well as the extension of the OPEC+ accord from April to December 2022.

Why this matters: If the UAE doesn’t get on board and no agreement is reached, the fallback is that oil output will stay the same for the rest of the year, possibly risking an inflationary oil price spike. Covering the developments are: Bloomberg | Reuters | CNBC | The Economic Times

FOR TOMORROW-

It’s PMI day: Egypt’s purchasing managers’ index for June will land tomorrow morning at 6.15am CLT. The PMI rose to 48.6 in May from 47.7 in April, signalling that the country’s non-oil private sector contracted for a sixth consecutive month but at a slower pace than earlier in the year. Fears of mounting inflation locally and globally were on the minds of businesses surveyed, and will likely continue this month.

The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) MENA is holding a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the MENA region: Status and Outlook tomorrow at 3:30pm.

Catch day two of The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) virtual education week. A talk on the digitalization of education in Egypt will be held at 12pm tomorrow.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The EGX will hold its board elections for the 2021-2025 term on Wednesday, 14 July, four days earlier than it had originally planned, the exchange said in a bulletin. We had a rundown on the candidates in this morning’s EnterpriseAM.

The Cairo International Book Fair is currently ongoing at Egypt International Exhibition Center today. The event will run through to 15 July.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

Chile is a role model for EMs in pushing renewable energy, aiming to become a leading global exporter of green hydrogen, according to a Financial Times opinion piece. Chile’s pitch to investors is that it is setting up the necessary infrastructure while it waits for the technology to become more easily available and scalable, and thus available for distribution at a very low cost. The Pacific nation is targeting a price tag of USD 1.50 per kilo by 2030, compared to the current USD 4.30, and is wagering that new transportation methods will also be launched by then.

Egypt is also on board the green hydrogen train, with the government launching a USD 3-4 bn initiative to produce the renewable energy and integrate it into the country’s 2035 energy strategy.

Digital advertisers are shifting their spending to Android users, following Apple’s recent tracking permissions change in iOS 14.5 that asks individuals whether they agree to allow apps to track them, according to the Wall Street Journal. Less than 33% of iOS users opt in to tracking, according to ad-measurement firm Branch Metrics, which has led to a loss of the detailed user data that firms justified the high price tag with. While it is not yet clear what the impact of Apple’s move is on apps that offer ads, Facebook has been a vocal opponent to the loss of iOS user tracking. Facebook, however, still suggests that the repercussions will be “manageable”.

Where is Liam Neeson when you need him: Russia-linked hacking group REvil is demanding USD 70 mn to restore data they’re holding from Kaseya, according to Reuters. The cybercriminals hacked the Miami-based IT firm and gained access to clients and their users, freezing 40k computers worldwide. Among those hit included schools, supermarkets, small public-sector bodies, travel and leisure organizations, credit unions and accountants. Executives from Kaseya have not yet disclosed their next course of action after finding the demand posted on the dark web.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

Netflix’s newest true crime documentary: Sophie: A Murder in West Cork. The three-part film was given the blessing and cooperation of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family. Her death, which took place 25 years ago, was a gruesome scene, with people finding her body found a day later tangled in briars after her head was bludgeoned with a concrete block. The 39-year-old film producer’s murder has long been the subject of media attention but has remained unsolved to date. The prime murder suspect is a British journalist named Ian Bailey, who is also interviewed in the documentary, alongside police and family members. The Guardian is out with a review and gives the doc three stars.

The Egyptian Premier League has two matches on today: Wadi Degla is going up against Misr Lel Makkasa at 5pm while Ismaily is playing Al Ittihad at 7pm.

Are you excited for the Euro semi finals? The first match is taking place tomorrow between Italy and Spain at 9pm and is expected to be a match for the ages. Meanwhile, England is going up against underdog Denmark at 9pm on Wednesday.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

It’s rock night at The Room New Cairo, featuring Pink Floyd cover band Paranoid Eyes as well as music group NightShift. The performances will start at 9pm.

Go karting race ‘Rev It Up Speed Test’ is taking place at AutoVroom race track in Obour on Saturday from 5-11pm.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

If you’re stuck at a cubicle, wondering what brought you to this point, this book might be your (very comprehensive) answer: Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots by James Suzman looks at the grand history of work by drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, zoology, physics, and economics. Finding joy, meaning, and purpose in work is a very modern concept, and our ancestors worked far less and saw work as more of a chore than an identity, he found. The contemporary culture of work can be traced back to the agricultural revolution and it’s super interesting to see how mentalities can be altered to serve a purpose, paving the way for capitalism. The changing thoughts around work has already altered our relationships with one another, our sense of time, and our impact on the environment and there’s more to come as the age of automation threatens to once again redefine what ‘work’ actually means.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Cairo is still steaming, with daytime highs of 40°C and nighttime lows of 24°C, our favorite weather app tells us. Meanwhile, Sahel is boasting highs of 33°C and lows of 22°C tomorrow.

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