A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
Negotiations between STC and the Vodafone Group are back on the table after negotiations fell through in December. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 27 September 2021

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout

A year later, stc-Vodafone Egypt deal still making headlines despite fallout
  • Telecom Egypt doesn't have any knowledge of stc resuming acquisition negotiations with Vodafone Egypt

CAIRO: Almost a year passed since talks between stc, and Vodafone International Group ended without reaching an agreement on stake sales in the Egyptian unit to the Saudi largest mobile operator, however, the deal still makes headlines.

Few days ago, CNBC Arabiya TV quoted sources saying that negotiations between STC and the Vodafone Group are back on the table after negotiations fell through in December.

The network said that the Saudi company is looking to secure a soft loan of about $1.1 billion to finance the deal using part of the liquidity available to it, and another part of the global debt markets.

Telecom Egypt - the largest telephone operator in Egypt - denied knowledge of renewed negotiations between stc and the Vodafone Group to acquire its stake in Vodafone Egypt.

In a bourse filing, Telecom Egypt attached four previous statements it issued regarding the deal during the period from January 29, 2020 to June 7, 2021, denying its knowledge of any recent developments.

Ayman Essam, head of the External and Legal Relations Sector at Vodafone Egypt, denied the existence of any ongoing talks at the present time between the Vodafone International Group and stc.

In an official statement, Essam affirmed Vodafone's commitment to the Egyptian market and work to provide a distinguished service to its customers, pointing out that his company recently obtained a new frequency package to improve the service, in addition to pumping several investments in the field of network, digital transformation and a number of financial inclusion projects in Egypt.

Negotiations to acquire Vodafone’s 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt began in January 2020, for $2.39 billion, according to a non-binding preliminary agreement signed at the time with stc.

Vodafone International agreed to enable the Saudi company to carry out the due diligence process for a period of 75 days, which can be extended, and in April 2020 stc requested an extension until June due to the repercussions of the coronavirus, and then the deadline was pushed again to September 12.

In September of last year, stc said that the period of the memorandum of understanding signed with Vodafone Egypt ended without reaching an agreement but the dialogue was open between the two parties.


China raises $4bn in U.S. dollar bond after attracting strong investor demand

China raises $4bn in U.S. dollar bond after attracting strong investor demand
Getty Images
Updated 14 sec ago

China raises $4bn in U.S. dollar bond after attracting strong investor demand

China raises $4bn in U.S. dollar bond after attracting strong investor demand
  • The strong appetite came after finance ministry officials told investors on a call on Monday they were confident cash-strapped developer Evergrande posed no systemic risk

China has raised $4 billion through a U.S. dollar sovereign bond issue, a term sheet showed, with the offer attracting robust demand from offshore investors despite an ongoing regulatory crackdown across industries and problems in the property market.


Investor bids for the four tranche deal reached $23.2 billion, nearly six times the amount raised, official statistics published by advisers showed on Wednesday.


The sale comes at a tricky time for China: its economy is slowing, while investors are worried about a regulatory crackdown and potential contagion from China Evergrande Group's debt problems.


The strong appetite came after finance ministry officials told investors on a call on Monday they were confident cash-strapped developer Evergrande posed no systemic risk, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The sources could not be named as the information had not been made public.


The Finance Ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for a comment.


A People's Bank of China official also said on Friday that the spillover effect of Evergrande's debt problems is controllable and individual financial institutions' risk exposures are not big.


Evergrande shares remain in a trading halt on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after it missed a number of offshore bond interest repayments in the past few weeks. It is grappling with more than $305 billion worth of liabilities.


The pricing for China's dollar-denominated sovereign bond was set at 6 basis points (bps) above U.S. Treasuries for the three-year tranche, 12 bps over for the five-year, 23 bps higher for the 10-year and 53 bps above for the 30-year tranche.


Final pricing for the deal was significantly lower than first flagged.


Initial pricing guidance was given to investors at 35 bps over Treasuries for the three-year tranche, 45 bps on the five-year tranche, 55 bps on the 10-year tranche and 85 bps on the 30-year tranche.


The spreads on each of the tranches were the lowest ever for a sovereign bond issue from China, the three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.


The three- and 10-year tranches each raised $1 billion, the 5-year raised $1.5 billion and the 30-year $500 million, the term sheet showed.


Asian banks were strong buyers of the shorter dated bonds because of their capital requirements, while U.S. investors were more active in purchasing the longer dated tranches, statistics on the deal showed.


The bond offering comes as the world's second-largest economy posted its slowest pace of growth in a year in the third quarter, hurt by power shortages, sporadic COVD-19 outbreaks and a weakening property sector.


Investors questioned the economic implications of the power cuts but were assured China's fundamentals remained strong, the sources with direct knowledge said.


The finance ministry also flagged that China would likely carry out a euro denominated bond before the end of the year, copying the pattern of issuance it initiated in 2020, the sources said.


The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 


Iraq oil minister sees oil prices at $100 in early 2022

Iraq oil minister sees oil prices at $100 in early 2022
Updated 10 min 37 sec ago

Iraq oil minister sees oil prices at $100 in early 2022

Iraq oil minister sees oil prices at $100 in early 2022

Crude oil prices could reach $100 per barrel in the first or second quarter of next year as global inventories are at their lowest level, Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said on Wednesday.


UAE-based Fintech Galaxy closes $2m seed round for Open Finance development

UAE-based Fintech Galaxy closes $2m seed round for Open Finance development
Updated 22 min 5 sec ago

UAE-based Fintech Galaxy closes $2m seed round for Open Finance development

UAE-based Fintech Galaxy closes $2m seed round for Open Finance development

RIYADH: The first UAE-based open finance platform, Fintech Galaxy, has successfully raised $2 million in its latest funding round, MAGNiTT reported.

Payouts were led by Jordan’s Ahli Fintech, with Saudi Raz Holding Group, OMQ Investments, EFG EV Fintech Fintech, and INSEAD Saudi Angel Investors also contributing.

Fintech Galaxy plans to utilize its newly acquired funds to further bolster the development and rollout of its Open Finance platform, as it looks to expand its reach and boost financial inclusion across key Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets.  

Founded in 2018, the platform will provide access to customer data from partner banks through its Open Banking APIs, while allowing developers to build new apps and services. 

This comes as Open Finance is the next step in the Open Banking journey, which is widely adopted now in many countries, including Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is launching a framework for Open Banking in the Kingdom during the first half of 2022, according to MAGNiTT.

By the third quarter of 2021, every fourth transaction in the UAE was closed by a UAE-based FinTech, observing more than 700 percent year-on-year growth in funding to rank as the top industry by volume of funding and number of deals, according to a MAGNiTT report.

Major rounds by Tabby, BitOasis, and Sarwa paved the way for an impactful conversation around the new generation of finance in MENA, the report revealed.


Fertiglobe sets mid-range IPO price, gross proceeds of around $795m

Fertiglobe sets mid-range IPO price, gross proceeds of around $795m
Updated 26 min 21 sec ago

Fertiglobe sets mid-range IPO price, gross proceeds of around $795m

Fertiglobe sets mid-range IPO price, gross proceeds of around $795m
  • Its shares are expected to list on the Abu Dhabi stock market on October 27

 Fertiglobe, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and chemical producer OCI, said its initial public offering was priced at 2.55 dirhams ($0.6943) a share, raising around $795 million for its shareholders.

The price is in the middle of the 2.45-2.65 dirhams per share range the company had set out and gives it a market capitalisation of about $5.8 billion, Fertiglobe said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The final offer price was set in the middle of the range by the selling shareholders, with the objective of providing an attractive investment opportunity for new shareholders," the statement said.

The maker of fertilisers and clean ammonia products said the offering received strong demand from international, regional and local investors.

Its shares are expected to list on the Abu Dhabi stock market on October 27, the statement said.
 


G20 leaders summit to focus on climate, pandemic recovery: Italy's Draghi

G20 leaders summit to focus on climate, pandemic recovery: Italy's Draghi
Getty Images
Updated 39 min 18 sec ago

G20 leaders summit to focus on climate, pandemic recovery: Italy's Draghi

G20 leaders summit to focus on climate, pandemic recovery: Italy's Draghi
  • The Rome summit is seen as particularly important because it comes just before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference

 The summit of the G20 leaders scheduled in Rome at the end of this month will focus on the fight against climate change, coronavirus and the measures required for a global recovery after the pandemic, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.


"Without the involvement of the world's largest economies, we will not be able to comply with the Paris Agreement and limit global warming," Draghi told Senate in remarks ahead of this week's European Council meeting.


The Rome summit is seen as particularly important because it comes just before the United Nations COP26 climate change conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, where the position of G20 nations will be critical.