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Monday, 20 December 2021

THIS EVENING: Frosty visits Alexandria’s shores + IDH to acquire 50% stake in Islamabad Diagnostic Center + India’s Uflex to invest USD 30 mn in local manufacturing plant

Alexandrians experienced some snowfall today as the temperature dropped to 7°C following days of extremely cold weather.

Alex isn’t out of its bout of bad weather just yet, with precipitation expected to continue through till Thursday, our favorite weather app forecasts.

As of dispatch, it’s unclear whether children will be back in school tomorrow in Alexandria, Cairo, and other governorates. Kids in Alexandria have been staying under the covers these past few days as schools shut down while their counterparts in Greater Cairo also got a day off today.

THE WEATHER- There is a chance of slight rain tonight for Cairenes, The Egyptian Meteorological Authority noted on Saturday. The temperature will drop to a mean 7°C in the next few hours, so be sure to stay warm. Meanwhile, Cairo’s weather will be slightly warmer tomorrow but a slight chance of rain persists, according to our favorite weather app.

*** Tell us what you expect for the year ahead — and get a chance to have breakfast with us in 2022: Every year, we ask our readers to weigh in on what you expect for the year ahead in our Enterprise Reader Poll. Take a few minutes to tell us your take on the outlook for your business and industry, whether you’re planning fresh investments and new hires, and how your business fared in the year past. We’ll share the results with the entire community in early January to help you shape your view of the year.

We’ll be inviting eight readers who take the poll to breakfast in 2022 and another dozen of you will get your own Enterprise mug to enjoy your morning beverage of choice.


#1 M&A Watch- IDH is going to Pakistan: Consumer healthcare and diagnostics giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) plans to snap up a 50% stake in the parent company of Pakistan-based diagnostics group Islamabad Diagnostic Center (IDC) for USD 72.35 mn, the company said in an LSE filing. The transaction, which will mark the London- and EGX-listed IDH’s entry into Pakistan, will be financed “through a combination of existing cash and committed debt facilities,” IDH said in the filing. The debt package includes a USD 45 mn facility secured from IFC in May 2021, and an additional USD 15 mn IFC syndicated facility from Mashreq Bank, the company said.

#2 Investment Watch- Indian polymeric films manufacturer Uflex is planning on building a USD 30 mn chemicals plant in Egypt, according to a cabinet statement. The announcement came on the sidelines of PM Mostafa Madbouly’s inauguration of a new high barrier plastic films production line at the company’s USD 100 mn Flex P Films factory, the first of its kind in the MENA region, according to the statement. Not much else was said about the new chemicals plant.

^^ We’ll have more on these stories and others in tomorrow’s EnterpriseAM.

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

  • Saudi electronics retailer eXtra plans to spend EGP 1 bn to launch in Egypt, marking the company’s first expansion outside the GCC region.
  • CHG gives the nod to CI Capital’s acquisition bid: Cleopatra Hospital Group’s (CHG) board has approved a bid from CI Capital to acquire up to 26.2% of the company at EGP 5 per share, valuing the company at EGP 8 bn.
  • Tobacco tender boycott, take two? Three major international tobacco producers have reportedly chosen not to bid in the renewed tender for a license to manufacture cigarettes.

THERE’S ONLY ONE STORY ABROAD- Omicron is quickly forcing governments in Europe and the UK to recalibrate their containment strategies, and markets are in a tailspin. News that the UK government is considering reimposing restrictions to contain the spread of the variant — possibly joining the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland, which all introduced new curbs this week — has investors fearing that a new round of global restrictions may not be far away. It’s a sea of red on exchanges across Europe this afternoon, US stock futures are down more than 1% and oil is down more than 4%. (FT | Bloomberg | WSJ | CNBC)

Davos has been put on hold: The World Economic Forum has announced that its annual get-together in Davos will be postponed ”in the light of continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak.” Originally scheduled to run from 17-21 January, the in-person forum is now pencilled in for early summer. In the meantime, the world leaders, b’naires and chief execs who usually congregate in the Swiss Alpine resort will be reduced to solving the world’s most pressing problems over video call, with an online series of talks in the works.

It’s looking increasingly like mRNA is going to be the way to go to defeat Omicron after Moderna today joined Pfizer / BioNTech in announcing that a third booster shot of its covid vaccine provides a “reassuring” increase in antibodies that could help the body fend off the new variant. (Reuters | Bloomberg | Washington Post | CNN | WSJ).

Someone at the Health Ministry best get Moderna on the phone as initial studies suggest that booster shots of most of the world’s vaccines — including that Sinovac shot Vacsera has been cranking out for the past four months — aren’t going to cut it when Omicron shows up.


PSA- EgyptAir resumes direct service to Toronto from Cairo tomorrow after briefly shelving the flight when Canada included us in a (heavily criticized) ban on entry for folks from 10 African countries. Meanwhile, non-resident travelers from Egypt will be prohibited from entering Hong Kong from tomorrow.

Swvl and Magalix are holding a virtual fireside chat titled Stories of Women in the Tech Field tomorrow at 7pm. Connect to the event here.


PSA- Property owners have until Friday, 31 December to pay the second installment of their annual real estate taxes without incurring a late fee, Tax Authority boss Anwar Fawzy said in a statement yesterday. The first installment was due between 1 January and 30 June. Homeowners whose primary residence is valued at less than EGP 2 mn are exempt from paying the tax, Fawzy noted.

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

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