TONIGHT: Sodic to purchase 123-acre plot in Zayed. + IDH earnings pop. ALSO: Egypt ratifies membership in EastMed Gas Forum.
Well, wonderful people, we’ve made it through another week together — and not a moment too soon. We’re heading into the last weekend of summer and hope you enjoy every minute of it.
#1- Upmarket real estate developer SODIC will purchase a 123-acre plot in Sheikh Zayed City adjacent to its “The Estates” project at EGP 2,385 per sqm, the company said in a statement today (pdf). The new plot is expected to add circa EGP 10 bn of gross contracted sales to the projects pipeline over the next six years, the firm said. The move comes as SODIC expects to soon resume both collection and new sales on a 500-acre plot in West Cairo’s New Zayed after the Housing Ministry proposed moving the development to a new location.
#2- IDH’s earnings pop: LSE- and EGX-listed consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings reported a 283% y-o-y growth in net profit for 1H2021 in its earnings release (pdf). Net profit grew to EGP 668 mn in the first six months of the year, while its revenues rose 141% y-o-y for the period to EGP 2.3 bn.
#3- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ratified Egypt’s membership in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, Youm7 reports, citing the Official Gazette. The Cairo-based forum aims to serve as a platform for regional natgas players to develop resources and infrastructure, cooperate on exploration, and regulate the region's natgas policies. Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine are all founding members. France later joined as a member while the US is taking part as an observer.
^^ We’ll have chapter and verse on all three stories in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM.
HAPPENING NOW- Egypt is in talks with Palestine and Jordan in a bid to kickstart the Palestine-Israel peace process. Jordan’s King Abdullah touched down in Cairo today while President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sat down with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas this morning. El Sisi reiterated Egypt’s support for talks that will lead to a political settlement, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Abbas thanked Egypt for brokering the ceasefire back in May and the subsequent Gaza reconstruction drive.
MEANWHILE- The EGX30 closed up for the week and is now +4.2% YTD. Small beans, but we’ll take it. We have the latest in Go with the Flow, below.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Egypt’s economy grew at a 7.7% clip in 4Q2020-2021: The figure smashed growth expectations for the quarter (previously estimated at 5.2-5.5%), with hospitality, restaurants, construction, natural gas, and electricity driving the rebound.
- From Sokhna to Alexandria in a jiffy: The government signed a USD 4.5 bn contract to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail line, which will run 660 km and link Ain Sokhna, Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh.
- Speed Medical lands nearly USD 100 mn financing from Global Emerging Markets: The Luxembourg-based, EM-focused alternative investor will provide the healthcare outfit with EGP 1.57 bn in financing under a “share subscription facility” on a 36-month term.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Flash flooding in New York has killed at least eight people, with NYC and parts of neighboring New Jersey declaring states of emergency as furious rains pummel the area. You can thank climate change: The rain is the tail end of Hurricane Ida, with some 3.1 inches falling in Central Park in just one hour, breaking records set just a week earlier during Tropical Storm Henri. New Yorkers have been urged to stay inside and all non-emergency vehicles have been banned from the roads as part of a day-long travel ban ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The story leads the front pages everywhere from Reuters and the New York Times to the AP, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
THE BIG GLOBAL BUSINESS STORIES-
Apple could be facing an antitrust probe in India for forcing app developers to use its in-app purchasing system, according to an exclusive from Reuters, citing sources and documents. The case, which was filed by an NGO, alleges that the company forcing app developers to sell exclusively through its platform and charging them 30% of all sales amounted to an abuse of market power. Apple faces a similar case in the EU.
The news comes as Apple has agreed to concede its 30% cut of purchases on the App Store in some cases, allowing apps such as Netflix and Spotify to link to external websites for subscriber payments, according to a press release. Google faces similar pressure. The story is getting plenty of ink in the global business press, from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal.
Also in the Great Tech Smackdown of 2021: WhatsApp has been fined a record EUR 225 mn for breaching EU privacy rules after Ireland’s data watchdog said the chat app failed to tell users exactly what it does with their data. CNBC has the story.
Further east, Didi and 10 other Chinese ride-hailing apps have been summoned by regulators over “illegal behavior,” including allegations that they are recruiting unapproved drivers and vehicles, according to CNBC. Regulators are also probing what they way are fake promotions, transferring business risk to drivers, firms’ excessive commissions, and not enough rest time for drivers. The summoning is the latest installment in Xi Jinping’s Great Capitalist Smackdown.
The Singapore Stock Exchange became the latest to allow listings through SPACs, according to a press release from the bourse today. SPACs will be able to list starting from Friday, provided they have a minimum market cap of USD 150 mn.
NMC is one step closer from being taken out of administration: The big story out of the Gulf is that creditors have signed off on UAE-based, formerly LSE-listed hospital operator NMC Healthcare’s restructuring, the company said in a press release (pdf) this morning. 95% of creditors voted to approve the 35-point restructuring plan, which the company says would pave the way for its 34 group companies to exit administration. The restructuring, which was mandated after NMC was found in 2019 to have taken on more than USD 4 bn in undisclosed debt, will still need approval from an Abu Dhabi court. NMC is no longer a player in Egypt, having sold its 51.5% stake in Alexandria Medical to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in a transaction first reported this past January.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
TOMORROW- Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Planning Minister Hala El Said will be taking part in the Islamic Development Bank’s gathering of central bankers, finance ministers and policymakers, which kicks off in Uzbekistan tomorrow. A post-covid economic recovery will top the agenda for the meeting, according to a Finance Ministry statement.
The key news triggers for the first two weeks of September:
- PMI: August’s PMI figures for Egypt, KSA and the UAE will land on Sunday, 5 September.
- Foreign reserves: The central bank will release foreign reserves figures for August sometime next week.
- Inflation: Inflation data for August will drop next week.
- Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.
Cypriot prez visiting this week: President Nicos Anastasiades arrives in Cairo on Saturday, 4 September for a joint Egypt-Cyprus summit.
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s going to be warm this weekend, but 40+°C temperatures are nowhere in sight as we prepare for fall. In Cairo, look for a daytime high of 39°C and an overnight low of 22°C. In Sahel, you can expect the mercury to hit 30°C during the day and drop to 22°C at night.
CORRECTION- CI Capital Securities Brokerage finished atop the EGX league table last month, not Commercial International Securities Brokerage, as we identified the firm in yesterday’s PM edition. We’ve fixed the error on our website.