THIS EVENING: The US is sending us 1.6 mn Pfizer doses. + e-Finance EGX debut slated for 18 October. ALSO: Scammers are pretending to be the CBE.
Well, friends, we’ve made it through another quarter together, and our reward is a super-busy news day with which to end the week. We’ve hit the trifecta, with IPO, M&A and investment news all in one issue. So let’s jump right in:
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW- A flight from the US landed at around 3pm CLT carrying 1.6 mn doses of Pfizer’s covid-19 jab as a gift from the United States government to the people of Egypt. That, ladies and gents, is friendship.
THE BIG STORIES TODAY so far-
#1- e-Finance has issued an indicative price range for its IPO and set Monday, 18 October as the day for its EGX debut, the state-owned fintech platform and payments infrastructure firm said in a statement out around noon today (pdf). The company expects to price its shares in the EGP 12.50 to EGP 13.98 range and should announce the final price for the offering on or around 9 October. E-Finance is on the road (virtually) now, meeting with global institutional investors, CEO Ibrahim Sarhan told us yesterday. The subscription period for domestic retail investors will run 6-13 October. E-Finance is offering 14.5% of its shares for sale in the transaction, including both existing and capital increase shares.
#2- EFG Hermes is reportedly in talks to acquire a 45-49% stake in Ignis Energia, one of Spain’s largest photovoltaic developers, reports Spanish-language press Expansion in a story picked up by Reuters. The transaction could reportedly cost EUR 1 bn and occur through a capital increase, Expansion said. EFG Hermes declined to comment when we reached out earlier today. EFG Hermes-managed renewable energy investment platform Vortex Energy had said a few months ago that it was eyeing investments worth around USD 2 bn in Europe and the US.
#3- Middle East-focused Anchorage Investments is developing a USD 2.5 bn industrial complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), producing a range of derivatives and petrochemical products, according to a company statement (pdf).
^^ We’ll have more on each of these stories in Sunday’s edition of EnterpriseAM — look for it in your inbox by 6am CLT.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The US government will shut down at midnight tonight (Eastern time) if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t broker a budget agreement. Fortune has a rundown on everything that has to happen to avert a shutdown, while Reuters, the FT, WSJ and New York Times have wall-to-wall coverage — and you can expect lots more in the hours to come.
Sound like an Beltway insider: Politico’s Morning Money says there won’t be a shutdown, with Ben White and Aubree Eliza Weaver writing that “the Senate is expected to pass a bill this morning extending funding until Dec. 3, which will then go to the House and to President Joe Biden’s desk.” That will keep government working, but it won’t address the fate of some USD 4 tn worth of infrastructure spending Biden wants to pass, nor will it raise the debt ceiling.
IN OUR CORNER OF THE WORLD- Egypt could be one of the top beneficiaries as global companies trim back sprawling global supply chains, Reuters suggests, noting that fashion brands are “increasingly turning away from globe-spanning supply chains and low-cost manufacturing hubs in Asia.” Benetton, for example, is “bringing production closer to home, boosting manufacturing in Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt,” aiming to cut its reliance on Asia by half next year.
The Egypt advantage: If it takes 4-5 months to get goods from Asia to Europe (a figure that has ballooned to 7-8 months right now thanks to lack of ships), “when clothes are produced in Egypt, delivery to warehouses and stores in Europe can be shortened to two or two and a half months.”
The trend should be positive for major garment manufacturers such as Alaa Arafa, Tolba Group and the folks at Mobaco, among many others?
YOUR AFTERNOON MUST-READ includes video, too: Mohamed El-Erian, Cathie Wood (Ark Investments) and Scott Minerd (Guggenheim Investments) talk about deflation, inequality and cybersecurity in Bloomberg’s Wall Street titans warn of the next big risks for investors.
ALSO IN THIS NECK OF THE WOODS- Shares of STC’s internet unit surged on the Tadawul in their market debut today, part of what Bloomberg is calling a “Gulf IPO rush” that has seen Dubai edged out of the regional driver’s seat by both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.
SIGN OF THE TIMES- Baller move. NBA players who skip games because they refuse to be vaccinated will not be paid, Sports Illustrated reports, in a decision that could ramp up tension with stars including Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, who are resisting getting jabbed. About 90% of the NBA’s players are fully vaccinated.
🗓 WELCOME TO 4Q2021-
LET’S START WITH THE GOOD- You have two long weekends this month, including 7-9 October (Thursday-Saturday) in observance of Armed Forces Day. We can also expect to have a Sunday or Thursday off thanks to the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday, which is formally observed on Monday, 18 October. Those will have to tide you over until year’s end, unless you want to declare yourself an honorary ‘Murican and use a day off to celebrate US Thanksgiving at the end of November.
THE BAD- Your morning commute is about to get worse — and your afternoon drive home won’t be getting any better: Public schools are back in session on Saturday, 9 October.
ALSO- The House of Representatives is back in session on Saturday, 2 October to kickstart the 2021-2022 legislative session. The Senate follows suit on Tuesday, 5 October.
October will also see the Central Bank of Egypt meet at month’s end to review interest rates, while the coming 10 days will see the release of data points including the PMI, foreign reserves and monthly inflation figures.
It could be a huge month for two key figures in the global economy — IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva and US Fed chief Jay Powell. Georgieva is caught up in a scandal in which she allegedly inflated data to make China look better. She’s on the outs with the Biden administration and will face plenty of pressure when the IMF and World Bank annual meetings take place in the week starting 11 October. Meanwhile, Powell’s term as Fed chairman isn’t set to expire until February 2022, but President Joe Biden is reportedly nearing a decision on whether to give him a second term. Powell’s stock dimmed this week after progressive Democratic leader Elizabeth Warren called him a “dangerous man” and said she’d oppose a second term.
PSA- Winter trading hours are in effect as of today. Shops and malls will close one hour earlier at 10pm (11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and national holidays) while cafes and restaurants will shutter at midnight rather than 1am. As during the summer, essential services such as grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies are exempt from the rules and can open and close their doors when they want.
A BIG, HONKING, IMPORTANT PSA- The Central Bank of Egypt is NOT calling you to update your KYC or ask questions about your account(s) or recent banking activity. Neither is your bank of choice. Fraudsters appear to have gotten their hands on one or more telemarketing lists and are placing calls in which they use social engineering tactics to try to brow beat you out of your personal information. The tactics, in a call one of us received this afternoon, included aggressive threats of fines and frozen accounts if we didn’t cough up the information they wanted.
AS A REMINDER- Our friends at the CBE tell us no bank will ever call you unbidden asking for your personal information or grilling you about recent transactions. If that happens, go to your branch, log into your online banking account to check for messages, or call your wealth manager or another contact at the bank you know in person. You can also dial the short number for your bank’s contact center to ask for help.
How do you handle a call like the one we received today? Hang up — and block the number that called you. We think muttered incantations about that person’s parentage and where they can spend the afterlife are optional, and only after you hang up.
The one caveat: You will definitely need to identify yourself and provide proof of who you are if you call the bank asking for help.
** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:
- Your look ahead at the business-relevant legislation on the House of Representatives’ agenda. You can expect more clarity on immediate priorities next week, according to senior leaders of House committees.
- El Sisi meets White House national security adviser: Libya, the GERD dispute, the Israel-Palestine peace process, and human rights were all on the agenda yesterday during talks in Cairo between White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.
- Cutting red tape for the tourism sector: The Madbouly cabinet says it is looking into legislation and new regulations that it thinks will simplify licensing rules for hotels and tourism companies.
The Cairo International Fair started today at the Cairo International Conference Center and will run through 8 October.
The Egypt Projects 2021 construction expo also started today at the Egypt International Exhibition Center and wraps on Saturday, 2 October.
Dubai’s Expo 2020 starts tomorrow: The event, which takes place somewhere on the planet once every five years, runs for six months and will be open seven days a week. You can learn more here.
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.
☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Temperatures will drop gradually this weekend from 33°C on Friday to 31°C on Sunday as fall weather takes hold, our favorite weather app tells us. Overnight weather will be more fitting for the season in the 20°C range — you may want to remember to take a light jacket with you on evening excursions.