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Monday, 9 August 2021

TONIGHT: IMF’s NIB liquidation dreams could come true. + UN climate change report says damage “irreversible”. ALSO: Messi closer to signing with PSG.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re so happy that today is hump day, as this Thursday is off as it is the Islamic New Year.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Is state-owned NIB going to be liquidated? It appears that the government could be on its way to close the National Investment Bank (NIB) a move first revealed (and praised) by the IMF in its July 2021 review. The local press appears to have caught on, with the story being front page news in business journals. We’ve known that the government was looking to reform the state-owned investment bank to reduce fiscal risks and had halted its lending and borrowing operations, but this is the first time we’re hearing of an outright move to liquidate the bank.

The bank owns other stakes in several listed companies including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, EBE Bank, ADIB, Abu Qir Fertilizers, Misr Fertilizers Production Company, MNHD, Al Ezz Dekheila Steel – Alexandria, Misr Cement Qena, Misr Beni Suef Cement and Egytrans.

We’re currently reaching out to government and NIB officials to get a better understanding of the move, and should have more detailed coverage in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM, so stay tuned.

Banking news continued to dominate business headlines today, with the sale of Blom Bank Egypt to Bahrain’s Bank ABC getting underway. Shareholders of Blom Bank Egypt will sell a 99.5% stake in the bank to ABC in a mandatory tender offer (MTO) at EGP 22.33 per share, valuing the business at USD 427 mn (EGP 6.7 bn). We cover the transaction in greater detail in the Speed Round below.

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

  • World’s biggest wastewater plant gets more financing: Emirates NBD will provide EGP 2 bn in financing for the plant in El Hamam which will be built by a consortium of four construction firms.
  • Even more Sahel vibes: Some 1.3k new hotel rooms are expected to be built in the North Coast, Deputy Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby said without giving a timeframe.
  • J&J vaccines land in Egypt: Egypt received its first 260.6k batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines through the African Union as part of the agreement to supply Egypt with 25 mn doses of the single-shot vaccine.

HAPPENING NOW- Egypt rolled out the red carpet for arrivals on the first Moscow-Hurghada flight in six years as Russia’s ban on direct flights finally came to an end, according to a cabinet statement. Assistant Tourism Minister Lamia Kamel welcomed the incoming passengers with gifts and travel advice, saying that the tourists’ reactions upon returning home to Russia would be the best promotion for Egypt.

A second flight also landed right before dispatch, bringing 500 more Russian passengers to the Red Sea town, reports Youm7.

Who is operating flights? Today’s tourism group was aboard an Egyptair flight, with the airline planning to operate seven flights from Moscow to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, the Russian state aviation agency greenlit eight Russian airlines to operate five weekly flights to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh from 43 cities across Russia. However, only Rossiya has so far scheduled flights, with a plane to land in each of Hurghada and Sharm later today.

Saudi Arabia will allow 2 mn vaccinated pilgrims to perform Umrah per month: The kingdom will gradually begin receiving Umrah pilgrimage requests from countries starting today, with authorities to greenlight pilgrimage from countries it deems safe, according to the Saudi Press Agency. Saudi has increased the capacity per month to 2 mn pilgrims, given that they are fully vaccinated with a jab that is approved in the Gulf country.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The UN’s panel on climate change has warned of the devastating consequences of global warming, saying in a landmark report that planetary warming is “unequivocally” caused by human activity and has already caused “irreversible” damage. This summer’s heat waves, wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events are the result of a 1.1°C rise in global temperature from its pre-industrial average, dangerously close to the 1.5°C limit that would trigger cataclysmic, runaway effects, according to scientists behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Released ahead of November’s COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the report must sound the “death knell” for the use of fossil fuels.

You can find the full, near 4,000-page report as well as the 50-page summary for policymakers on the report’s landing page here, or watch the recording of this morning’s press conference (watch, runtime: 1:37:40) announcing the findings.

Picking up the story are: WSJ | AP | Bloomberg | Reuters | BBC | CNBC.


SUPERCYCLE WATCH- Construction (mainly cement) is next up, as global governments invest bns in post-pandemic infrastructure projects, according to the Financial Times, which cites industry insiders. The supercycle is expected to go on for years, with cement one of the main boosters for the demand that could increase 20-30% in the coming years, a cement executive predicted. Also fueling the cement-led supercycle are the movements by many major economies to undertake green projects in efforts to gain footing on climate change goals. However, the supercycle might not match the speed of that of the 2000s, which was driven by rapid growth by China, instead proving more sustainable over a longer period.

Amazon is stepping up delivery services for its competitors in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the e-commerce delivery market, the Financial Times reports. Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) delivers goods for the likes of Etsy and Walmart, giving the company an even greater understanding of the shopping habits of consumers, on top of its 40% market share. But stock level limits at its facilities have frustrated some sellers, and could limit the company’s ability to grow the service, despite upper management’s plans to expand the capacity for sellers on the website.

Messi’s potential move to PSG now has a price tag: France’s Paris Saint-Germain is offering football icon Lionel Messi an initial two-year contract, with an expected worth of GBP 25 mn a year after tax, reports Sky Sports. The footballer has said that “nothing has been closed” but fans following the ordeal over the past few days know that PSG is an almost sure thing. Barcelona refused to renew Messi after “financial and structural obstacles” made them unable to fulfil the agreed upon contract.


A modern treasure hunt that will get you hooked: Storage Wars on Amazon Prime and Storage Hunters on Netflix both have the same premise: bid on the contents of abandoned storage lockers and sift through for buried treasures. When storage lockers are left without payment or activity for a prolonged period of time, the general public are allowed to bid for it and acquire everything inside as long as they empty it out. It’s a business model that has led to a myriad of reality TV shows or episodes on YouTube with people finding items that are valuable, historic, or sometimes just plain weird. You know what they say; one person’s junk is another person’s treasure and this show is the epitome of that statement. The shows are a light watch that will make you wish that we had a similar system here in Egypt that could land you a quick buck and a ton of fun.


You’ve got two more days to visit the Creative Competition Exhibition at Consoleya. The event brings together the winning works of the online competition that asked participants to submit art to raise awareness about "non-organic waste”. The exhibit will run until tomorrow and is open everyday until 10pm.


Arabic writer Mohamed Kheir has had his first novel translated into English. Titled Slipping and translated by Robin Moger, the book follows journalist Seif who has lost his way as well as Bahr, a former exile, who is on a mission to document all Egypt has to offer. Together the duo explore the intricacies of Egypt on a dreamlike-quest that often loses sight of reality in favor of magic and miracles. Kheir is imaginative in the way he unveils the two main characters, telling their stories through the situations they fall upon in a reflective novel that highlights the shared trauma many Egyptians hold close. Arab News is out with a great review and you can check out the original Arabic version.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- No reprieve from 40°C weather just yet for folks in the capital city. Temperatures will drop to 25°C at night, our favorite weather app tells us. Meanwhile, Sahel is seeing daytime highs of 32°C and nighttime lows of 24°C.

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