Wednesday, 8 September 2021

TONIGHT: MTN’s record round + a very long list of things that should be on your Egypt calendar

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to another busy newsday, with our top story being a blockbuster:

THE BIG STORIES TODAY SO FAR-

#1- Our friends at MNT-Halan have pulled off what we think is the biggest fintech round ever to take place in MENA, raising c. USD 120 mn from a who’s who of investors that includes financial services-focused PE house Apis, the UK’s Development Partners International (DPI) and Lorax Capital Partners.

Emirati fintech player Tabby previously held the crown as the “most-funded” fintech in the region, having raised a total of USD 132 mn after a USD 50 mn round. MNT-Halan has comfortably blown past that milestone with the region’s biggest-ever fintech raise. We’ll have more on the transaction tomorrow morning, including a quick look at what’s next for MNT-Halan.

Forgive us, then, if we declare Egypt the fintech capital of the Arab world. Add e-payments giant Fawry to the mix, throw in e-Finance’s upcoming IPO and we’re easily the most exciting market in the neighborhood — and that’s before you start talking about the dozen (or more) other compelling and credible players out there, from Khazna and Kashat to Thndr and Paymob. The list goes on and on.

#2- Colliers International maintained its optimistic forecast for Egypt’s hotel occupancy through 2021 in its September report on MENA hotels (pdf). Occupancy at Sharm El Sheikh hotels is forecast to reach 45% over the year, while 50% of Hurghada and 52% of Cairo’s hotel capacity is expected to be occupied, marking a y-o-y increase of 111% and 91% respectively.

#3- Speed Medical said that it had paid the shareholders of New Al Safwa Specialized Hospital EGP 4 mn in June as part of its compensation for the months delay on the transaction, the company said in a bourse filling (pdf). The company also confirmed that it will be upping its offer for the acquisition after sellers voiced complaints about the slowness of the regulatory approvals from the Health Ministry.

^^ We’ll have chapter and verse on all three stories in tomorrow’s edition of EnterpriseAM.

HAPPENING NOW- The two-day Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF) kicked off today at the Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo, bringing together representatives from African and Arab governments, leading Egyptian and international businesses and banks, multilateral lenders, and international institutions including the UN, World Bank, OECD to discuss international development issues such as climate change and the pandemic.

Covid-19 has put sustainable growth at the forefront, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat said in her opening remarks, highlighting the role of the private sector, and the importance of leveraging agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in promoting regional cooperation. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also highlighted the need for a climate-friendly approach to development in light of global environmental threats. Bloomberg also took note of the forum, speaking to Al Mashat about Egypt’s bid to attract broader investment.

The state’s privatization program will resume before the end of the year, Planning Minister Hala El Said said at the forum, confirming that at least two, maybe three state-owned companies would IPO between now and December, Masrawy reports. State-owned e-finance is expected to be among the companies to offer stakes, with unnamed government sources telling El Borsa yesterday that 10% of the company could be offered as soon as next month.

You can check out the full agenda for the forum here (pdf).

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

Good news for Dubai Expo 2020: Saudi Arabia has opened up travel to and from the UAE, according to a press release (pdf) from the Saudi Embassy in Cairo. This comes weeks before the Dubai Expo 2020 is set to launch on 1 October, “opening up a key market” for the large-scale event, writes Bloomberg. Saudi also resumed travel with Argentina and South Africa after assessing the countries’ epidemiological risks.

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

  • E-Finance to IPO next month: E-Finance’s long awaited IPO could hit the market as soon as next month, and around 10% could be up for sale.
  • Shell could sell Western Desert assets to Cairn Energy and Cheiron: The companies are expected to finalize their takeover of Shell Egypt’s onshore oil and gas assets by the end of September.
  • BCI lands USD 30 mn loan from IFC: Plastics raw material manufacturer BCI Holding will expand its production facility in Egypt through a USD 30 mn loan from the International Finance Corporation, which will also be used to establish new facilities in Algeria and Nigeria.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

The GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021 wraps today. The two-day virtual event yesterday hosted Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk for a panel session on green bonds.

Day two of the Egy Health Expo starts today at the Al Manara International Conference Center. The conference wraps up tomorrow.

It’s day four of the Arab Labor Conference, which is running through to 12 September at the InterContinental CityStars Hotel in Heliopolis. Government officials, ambassadors, trade union reps and business owners’ association delegates from 21 Arab countries are participating in the gathering.

FOR TOMORROW- Inflation data for August from state statistics agency CAPMAS is expected. Annual urban inflation accelerated to an all-year high in July — from 4.9% to 5.4% — on the back of rising energy and food prices. July’s inflation figures — which hit the CBE’s target range of 7% (±2%) for the first time — fell short of analysts expectations, and August’s figures are expected to show a continuation of the uptick in prices.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

iSheep, take note: Apple is holding a virtual event on Tuesday, 14 September. You can expect a new iPhone, new AirPods and probably a new Watch. If the watch doesn’t make its appearance next week, it may come at one of the rumored follow-up events for the iPad, iPad Mini and hotly anticipated new MacBook Pros. Apple has scheduled the event for 7pm CLT and show’s it running for two hours. You can stream it here.

Need an Apple fix before then? Go watch this brief “marketing masterclass” by Steve Jobs.

EFG Hermes’ fourth Virtual Investor Conference runs 13-21 September with the theme of “After Reflation – FEMs in 2022.”

AmCham event: Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad will give a speech on strategies for generating green, private sector-led growth at AmCham’s virtual monthly event on Monday, 13 September. Register here.

ALSO:

  • New school year: International schools begin the 2021-2022 academic year on Sunday, 12 September.
  • Sahara Expo: The four-day agricultural conference, the Sahara Expo, will start on Sunday at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

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


☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Tomorrow seems to be the last warm day before the weather cools down for the weekend. Expect highs of 39°C during daytime and lows of 23°C at night.

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