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Wednesday, 7 July 2021

TONIGHT: EFG Hermes reaches first close of Vortex Energy IV Fund. + Consumer finance players get VAT exemption. ALSO: Take us to Iceland.

It’s a finance heavy issue today, ladies and gentlemen, new transactions, private equity funds and FDI news coming in through the pipeline.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Our friends at EFG Hermes have reached the first close of its renewables-focused Vortex Energy IV fund, with USD 200 mn in funding secured. We sat down with head of Private Equity and Asset Management at EFG Hermes and CEO of Vortex Energy Karim Moussa who talked us through where these investments will be deployed and why and EFG’s ambitions for the fund. You can read more in the Speed Round below.

Mabrouk, consumer finance players, the Tax Authority will give you a VAT exemption following an agreement with the Financial Regulatory Authority. We dive deeper into the move in the Speed Round below.

PSA- In other finance news, state-owned banks were given the greenlight to offer commercial and real estate registry services to their clients, provided they table a request to the Central Bank of Egypt to set up a service desk in their branches. Privately-owned banks will be allowed to follow suit at a later stage, the CBE said in a letter to lenders (pdf).

Calling all brokers: A mockup session to trial a new proposed mechanism for closing auctions on the EGX is taking place tomorrow between 3-4:30 pm CLT, the exchange said in a bulletin. At least one representative from all licensed brokerage firms needs to be present at the EGX trading floor during the trial sessions. Two more sessions will be held at the same time on Sunday and Monday.

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HAPPENING NOW- El bab yefawet gammal (we hope): The Ever Given has made its way out of the Bitter Lake, where it’s been held up for nearly three months since it was confiscated by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA). The vessel got the green light to leave after the Ismailia Economic Court ordered the release of the Ever Given earlier this week.

You can catch-up on a livestream of the signing ceremony and the ship sailing out of the waterway here (watch, runtime: 7:49). Let’s hope it doesn’t get stuck on the way out.

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

  • Egypt’s hotel occupancy rates rose to 35-40% in 1H2021 in key holiday destinations such as Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, and Hurghada.
  • Nile Misr could exit the race for Alex Medical if the bidding war continues. The most recent bid set the purchase price at EGP 740 mn.
  • EGX companies will have to have 25% of their boardroom be female under new diversity targets proposed by the Financial Regulatory Authority to promote more female representation.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Hatian president Jovenel Moise was assassinated last night after being shot by a group of armed men who attacked his personal residence in Port-au-Prince. Moise’s wife, Martine Moise, was also wounded in the overnight attack orchestrated by an unidentified group of men, “some of whom spoke spanish,” Prime Minister Claude Joseph said. The 53 year old president’s murder comes after months of fragmented protests in the poorest Carribean nation over corruption and an alleged constitutional violation of his presidential term. Moise has been in charge of the country since 2017 after his predecessor Michel Martelly stepped down from office.

The story is dominating international headlines: (Reuters | The Associated Press | BBC | The Guardian | The New York Times | The Financial Times)

FOR TOMORROW-

The long-awaited UN Security Council meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is taking place tomorrow. Tensions have been high after Ethiopia unilaterally began to fill the dam, causing the US and the UN to urge for calm. We had the rundown in this morning’s EnterpriseAM.

Support from our neighbors is there: Tunisia has submitted a draft resolution to the council, calling on Addis Ababa to halt the filling of the reservoir after sitting down with Egypt and Sudan, according to a copy of the resolution seen by the AFP. As expected, the draft urged Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to restart African Union-brokered negotiations, with the intent of reaching a resolution within six months.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The EGX will hold its board elections for the 2021-2025 term on Wednesday, 14 July. Here’s a rundown of the candidates vying to fill board positions.

The Cairo International Book Fair is currently ongoing at Egypt International Exhibition Center today. The event will run through to 15 July and the fair’s committee has now allowed the exhibition ground to operate at 70% capacity.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

Iceland is cutting working hours, but keeping the same pay, after finding that no productivity was lost and employees reported less stress and an improved work-life balance, according to a report by Iceland’s Association for Sustainable Democracy and UK-based think tank Autonomy. The trials, conducted from 2015 to 2019, involved 2.5k workers and cut their hours down to about 35 a week. Since then, 86% of Iceland’s entire working population have either moved to shorter hours or can choose to do so.

Achieving the same level of productivity in less time involves changing the way tasks are done, which included shortening meetings or replacing them with emails, cutting out unnecessary tasks, and rearranging shifts, the report said.

Heading in the opposite direction, meanwhile, is Saudi: Saudi Arabia is contemplating changes to the pension system that will increase the retirement age (which is now at age 60) and require citizens to work for longer, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The move comes as the kingdom looks for ways to fill in the USD 213 bn gap at the state-controlled pension fund. They could also begin requiring workers to contribute more of their salaries to the country’s pension organization, the General Organization for Social Ins.. The changes are still being weighed and no final decision has been set, the sources added.


YOUR MANDATORY COVID STORY- PF4 amino acids have been identified as the link to rare blood clotting in people who have received AstraZeneca and J&J jabs researchers at Canadian McMaster University have found in a new study published in Nature. Viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson’s, which effectively instruct the immune system to produce covid-19 spike proteins, have been found in the very rare cases where clotting does occur, to inadvertently cause proteins to cling on to a blood component known as PF4 amino acids and stimulate simultaneous bleeding and clotting. The new findings could pave the way for doctors to improve treatment of the condition, according to the WSJ.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson’s new sitcom is out on OSN Streaming. Young Rock is a family comedy based on the outrageous stories of his youth and his journey to become a famous wrestler and an even more famous actor. From being a young child in Hawaii to a high schooler in Pennsylvania to a college student and football player at the University of Miami. We’re personally big fans of The Rock and we’re sure that he has a lot of mischief and fun in his youth to make for a great TV show. Check out the trailer for a glimpse (watch, runtime: 01:16).

Italy is on to the finals after beating Spain yesterday. The match tied at 1-1, went into overtime with no more goals, and finally ended in a penalty shootout.

Either Denmark or England will go up against Italy, with the semi final match tonight at 9pm. The finals will take place on Sunday, 11 July.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Lamasatt Art Gallery is opening a new exhibition titled Art Through tonight at 7pm, featuring works done by young artists from babies to teenagers.

Bardo Clubhouse is hosting A Day Out with Alan-K & Friends on Friday — a day of music, cool vendors, and food.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

The economics behind the pandemic: Economics in One Virus by Ryan A. Bourne draws on the dramatic events of 2020 to explain the economic decisions and mishaps we all saw during the covid-19 pandemic. From hand sanitizer running out to airlines getting government bailouts, the economic tour of the past year will help readers understand what they went through using supporting data and new academic evidence. As the pandemic continues, the book will help you analyze the policies and choices by political leaders while also applying economic thinking during your own day-to-day reasoning.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Another boat of 40°C weather for Cairo tomorrow, while Sahel enjoys a nice 31°C breeze, our favorite weather app taunts us.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.