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Monday, 23 May 2022

THIS MORNING: Car price cap raised + new refund rules; Shoukry at Davos

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to a morning packed with M&A news. Two of the three transactions involve inbound foreign (Saudi) investment, as this morning’s tl;dr stack suggests. Unsurprisingly, food, healthcare and finance are all in play. We also have two IPO stories this morning: Fawry is putting on hold its plans for a New York listing (smart, given market conditions). And it looks like a number of high-profile state-owned hotel assets could be combined in a new entity on the fast-track to IPO.

It’s particularly nice to see M&A and IPO news back at the top of the issue after a news cycle that was heavily dominated by state policy announcements.


WATCH THIS SPACE- Are you still waiting for a new car you ordered before 12 April? Dealers may have to give you a full refund of your down payment — with interest — on orders placed before that date, according to reports overnight in both Masrawy and state-owned Al Ahram. The reports say the refund mechanism will be specified in a regulation to be published later today in the Official Gazette. The ruling by the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) will reportedly specify that anyone who requests refunds will be entitled to interest “at the highest prevailing bank rate,” which by our math is the 18% deposit offered by Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt. Folks who paid before 12 April (three weeks after the float) will have full price protection, the reports suggest.

The Consumer Protection Agency is also raising by 5% the cap on prices it introduced in March in the wake of the float of the EGP. While the domestic press reports some car industry players welcoming the decision, which was announced at a press conference, the CPA has not issued a written statement. We’ll have the full rundown for you once the Official Gazette is out and we can see whether the rubber meets the road (pardon the horrid pun, but it’s 4am and, well, it is what it is).

MEANWHILE- Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s first in-person annual meeting since the covid-19 outbreak, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Shoukry, who is also president of COP27, will participate in an event on how policymakers in the MENA region can use public-private partnerships to meet climate targets, and will hold talks with WEF delegates about Egypt’s hosting of the global climate summit.

On Day #1: The first day of the event will see attendees chew over the global food crisis, the impact on the global economy of sanctions on Russia, and climate tech, as well as the future of globalization, national digital currencies and the effects of social media on societies. It will also see a special address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Business leaders warn that three-decade era of globalization is ending. That’s the headline atop the front-page WEF scene setter in the FT this morning.


Vaccines at the ready: It has only been in the headlines a few days but the EU and the US are already talking about monkeypox vaccine programmes in response to the outbreak, which has so far spread to 15 countries. The EU’s infectious diseases agency is recommending member states start preparing to vaccinate against the virus, while President Joe Biden said that the US government will study what vaccines it has to deploy. Meanwhile, Belgium yesterday became the first country to mandate a three-week quarantine for people infected with the virus. The UK is telling people who have come into contact with patients to isolate for three weeks, and has launched contact tracing and testing. (FT | Washington Post | Politico | The Guardian)

Ukraine latest: Eyes are still firmly trained on Ukraine, where Russia is making gains in the east of the country after taking full control of Mariupol at the weekend. (Reuters | AP | Washington Post | WSJ)


Direct flights between Cairo and Dublin will launch starting 2 June, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement yesterday. EgyptAir will operate four flights a week between the two capitals.

Direct flights between Cairo and Sao Paulo will also be announced soon, Brazilian officials in Cairo were quoted as saying.

The Islamic Development Bank will hold its 2022 annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh from 1-4 June under the slogan “post-pandemic recovery: resilience and sustainability,” according to a statement from the Planning Ministry. Several Egyptian ministries and representatives from the bank’s 57 member countries and other financial institutions are set to attend the meetings.

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


*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed. Blackboard appears every Monday in Enterprise in the place of our traditional industry news roundups.

In today’s issue: We do a deep dive on the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB) — an online portal launched in 2016 by the Education Ministry that gives researchers access to a number of academic journals.

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