Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 22 September 2021

TONIGHT: It’s Hala walla as STC revives acquisition interest in Vodafone. Also: The Sopranos prequel movie is out today, but you’ll have to wait until 1 Oct to see it here.

Egypt’s appeal to Gulf investors appears on the upswing once again. Just one week ago, Aldar and ADQ announced they were launching a mandatory tender offer to for up to 90% of upmarket real estate developer SODIC. Today, we have news that Saudi Telecom is back in the hunt for control of Vodafone Egypt. Not a bad way to slide into the next-to-last workday of the week, huh?

THE BIG STORIES so far today:

#1- Vodafone and Saudi Telecom’s (STC) will they-won’t they dance is back on again after nine months of silence. Citing unnamed sources, CNBC Arabia claims the Saudi company is looking a secure a USD 1.1 bn soft loan to finance part of the USD 2.4 bn it needs to acquire 55% of the mobile network operator’s Egyptian arm, an acquisition which has been in the works since early last year before it appeared to fall through in December.

#2- CIRA’s board has given the green light to an EGP 260 mn loan from an Egyptian bank with proceeds earmarked to fund the education outfit’s upcoming projects, the company announced in a regulatory filing (pdf). CIRA and its subsidiary Eduhive are eyeing major expansion, aiming to have over 25k seats in Upper Egypt alone at K-12 schools and higher education establishments by 2023.

#3- Egypt has infrastructure ready to store up to 4 mn doses of Pfizer’s covid-19 jab, according to Health Minister Hala Zayed, who noted that the country is prepared to receive a batch of Pfizer over the weekend. The ministry has purchased and positioned nationwide some 600 fridges with a combined capacity to store over 4 mn vaccine doses. Egypt has so far received or produced some 33.7 mn doses of covid vaccines, including some 2 mn locally produced Sinovac doses, she said.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Global markets are sighing in (muted?) relief after China Evergrande negotiated an agreement with its bondholders and settled an interest payment on its domestic bonds due tomorrow “via negotiations off the clearing house,” the company said in a statement picked up by the global financial press. The announcement lacked detail, “leaving analysts guessing” about the when and the how of the payment, according to Bloomberg, suggesting the company has struck an agreement to push an interest payment while avoiding the label “default.” Evergrande is expected to pay USD 36 mn in bond interest tomorrow. Evergrande’s statement said nothing about two separate coupon payments totaling USD 131 mn due tomorrow and next week.

Most global media outlets are covering the story from a “this is good for US stocks” point of view as they cast their gaze to the US Federal Reserve, where the FOMC is meeting now. But dig deeper and there’s some worthwhile commentary. Reuters writes that what appears to have been a restructuring — accompanied by an injection of liquidity into the banking system by China’s central bank — has “calmed immediate contagion concerns.” The WSJ, meanwhile, writes that “Evergrande is China’s economy in a nutshell,” suggesting that the country’s “economic model has run out of road” and that more “Evergrande-like mistakes” are waiting in the wings. The Financial Times takes a similar tack, suggesting the Evergrande flap could mark the end of “China’s ‘build, build, build’ model.”

Lehman? Who said anything about Lehman? The news of what may be a restructuring now has pundits proclaiming that it was clear all along that Evergrande was not going to be China’s “Lehman moment.” Not that you’d have gotten that from the headlines yesterday…

Lack of clarity or not, traders have welcomed the news, with CNBC writing that “European stocks have shed Evergrande tensions to trade higher ahead of Fed update.” The Stoxx600 is up more than 0.7% at dispatch time. Shares in London, Frankfurt and Paris are all happily in the green, and futures suggest both Wall Street and Bay Street will follow suit later this afternoon.

Here at home, the benchmark EGX30 finally snapped a five-session losing streak, closing the day up more than 0.9%. The index is now down 2.3% year-to-date.

HAPPENING NOW- The US Federal Reserve’s open markets committee will wrap later today a two-day meeting. Look for word from Jay Powell this evening (CLT) on a timetable for the Fed to taper its stimulus as officials try to “forge consensus on how and when to reduce their asset purchases.” You’ll be able to find the meeting minutes and press conference (link + transcript) here.

ALSO- The Spanish island of La Palma is still struggling with an erupting volcano that has been spewing lava and debris for the past four days, incinerating houses, schools, and fields, reports Reuters. About 6k people of the 80k people living on the island have been evacuated and no fatalities or injuries have been reported. The volcano shows no sign of slowing down, with experts now worried that when the lava reaches the sea, it could trigger more explosions and clouds of toxic gases.

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

  • Real estate firms could face heightened scrutiny. A proposal now being floated could see auditors assigned to each real estate developer and a requirement to produce quarterly reports on their projects and activities.
  • Contact Cars acquires Sa3ar: Egyptian auto marketplace Contact Cars has acquired car valuation and auction platform Sa3ar for an undisclosed sum.
  • Cartona raises USD 4.5 mn in pre-series A funding. The B2B e-commerce platform raised the funds in a round led by the Dubai-based VC firm Global Ventures.


Cityscape real estate investment conference kicks off today at 12pm and runs until 25 September at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

Conference season continues next week with ITIDA’s DevOpsDays Cairo 2021, which is being organized together with Software Engineering Competence Center, DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs. The event will take place on Wednesday, 29 September.

The Cairo International Fair, which will take place on 30 September-8 October at the Cairo International Conference Center.

Egypt Projects 2021 construction expo, which will take place at the Egypt International Exhibition Center on 30 September-2 October.

ALSO NEXT WEEK- The deadline to register for the American University in Cairo Business School’s Private Equity Diploma is coming up on 28 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- Autumn seems to be knocking on our doors tomorrow with the mercury maxing out at just 34°C during the day and dropping to 22°C overnight, our favorite weather app tells us. Expect a high of just 30°C on Friday to kick off the weekend.

PSA- Speaking of weather, has anybody else noticed the excellent redesign of the Weather app in iOS 15? We’ll keep an eye on it over the coming weeks to see if it mounts a challenge to our favourite weather app in the accuracy department.

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 HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; 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; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.