Pakistani health-tech platform MEDZnMORE raises $11.5m Pre-Series A

Pakistani health-tech platform MEDZnMORE raises $11.5m Pre-Series A
The Karachi-based company was founded in late 2020 (Supplied)
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Updated 13 May 2022

Pakistani health-tech platform MEDZnMORE raises $11.5m Pre-Series A

Pakistani health-tech platform MEDZnMORE raises $11.5m Pre-Series A

RIYADH: Pakistani health-tech platform MEDZnMORE has raised $11.5 million in Pre-Series A funding.

MEDZnMORE aims to utilize this funding to expand its team, MAGNiTT reported. 

Investors included Integra Partners, Nunc Gestion, Sturgeon Capital, and Alta Semper.

Other investors in the Karachi-based company, which was founded in late 2020, include AlTouq Group, ACE & Company, Key Family Partners, Reflect Ventures, and Atlas Asset Management.

CEO Asad Khan said: “In a market of over 220 million people, where public healthcare spending is only 1.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, and where 55 percent of all healthcare spending is out-of-pocket, people generally rely on medicines to alleviate their suffering, rather than spend on prohibitively expensive medical procedures.

“Ensuring the accessibility of affordable and authentic medicines is essential. At MEDZnMORE our aim is to make health and wellness products available in all corners of the country.”

The Pakistani healthcare industry surged during the pandemic, and aggregated over $10 million over the past two years, MAGNitt said.

The investor interest in startups providing digital healthcare infrastructures, online teleconsultations, and creating online marketplaces for medicines, spiked.

The sector has raised $5 million in the first quarter of 2022, according to a MAGNiTT report, credited entirely to the on-demand servicing platform, Find My Doctor.

MENA healthcare industry raised south of $50 million with Altibbi ($44 million Series B) raising the lion’s share of investment.


US carrier JetBlue says launched takeover of Spirit Airlines

US carrier JetBlue says launched takeover of Spirit Airlines
Updated 5 sec ago

US carrier JetBlue says launched takeover of Spirit Airlines

US carrier JetBlue says launched takeover of Spirit Airlines

New York: The American low-cost carrier JetBlue Airlines announced on Monday a hostile takeover bid for its rival Spirit Airlines.

“JetBlue has filed a ‘Vote No’ proxy statement and commenced an all-cash tender offer,” JetBlue said in a statement, which asks Spirit shareholders to reject a proposed merger with Frontier.


Vodafone shares up 4% after UAE group buys 9.8% stake

Vodafone shares up 4% after UAE group buys 9.8% stake
Updated 32 min 15 sec ago

Vodafone shares up 4% after UAE group buys 9.8% stake

Vodafone shares up 4% after UAE group buys 9.8% stake

LONDON: Shares in Vodafone jumped 4 percent in early trade on Monday after the United Arab Emirates-based telecoms company e& revealed it had bought a 9.8 percent stake in the British mobile operator.

Formerly known as Emirates Telecommunications Group, e& said it had no intention of making an offer for the whole of Vodafone and it had spent $4.4 billion to invest at an “attractive valuation” to benefit from a diversification in currencies.

The company said it was fully supportive of Vodafone's board, which has come under pressure from other investors after the group struggled in its mature European markets where competition and regulation have pushed prices lower.

Vodafone Chief Executive Nick Read has vowed to lead a wave of consolidation in Europe to rebuild markets and boost returns but in recent months he has rejected an approach for the group's Italian assets and missed out on a deal between rivals in Spain.

Shares in Vodafone were up 3.1 percent at 121.50 pence at 0732 GMT.

The stock is down around 25 percent since Read moved from the finance director role to the top job of CEO in October 2018.

Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight, said the UAE investment was a strong endorsement of Vodafone's strategy and board, despite the failed attempts to strike deals in major markets.

“The move itself will raise eyebrows and may lead to some tension with other shareholders who are keen to see Vodafone consolidate in key markets,” he said.

“There will now be opportunities for both Etisalat and Vodafone to work more closely to bring greater efficiencies and launch new products in more products globally.” 


Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell
Updated 42 min 36 sec ago

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

Saudi stocks rise as oil prices drop: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks saw a second day of gains early on Monday as oil prices eased in the first hour of trading.

Brent crude fell 1.08 percent to settle at $109.30 a barrel, and WTI crude fell 1.41 percent to settle at $109.98 a barrel, as of 10:09 a.m. Saudi time.

The Saudi main stock index, TASI, increased 0.38 percent to reach 13,199, while the parallel market, Nomu, gained 0.05 percent to 22,856, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. led the fallers, down 3.23 percent; Wafrah for Industry and Development Co. climbed 3.58 percent to lead the gainers.

Shares of Saudi insurers declined following poor first-quarter earnings. 

AXA Cooperative Insurance Co. fell 2.77 percent, Al-Etihad shed 2.33 percent, and Tawuinya lost 1.19 percent.

Saudi Azm rose 2.37 percent, after it was approved to establish an office specialized in software development in Poland with SR500,000 capital. ($133,333)

Taiba Investments Co. edged up 1.28 percent, after reporting it turned into profit of SR20 million in the first quarter, supported by post-pandemic recovery.

The financial sector continued to rebound, with Al Rajhi Bank up 0.58 percent and Alinma Bank up 0.80 percent.

Shares of Saudi oil giant Aramco rose 0.12 percent, following its report yesterday that its first-quarter profit rose 82 percent.


Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data
Updated 16 May 2022

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data

Dollar perched at 2-decade high on weak China data
  • HSBC strategists expect the euro to fall to parity against the dollar in the coming year

The US dollar consolidated gains near a two-decade peak on Monday as poor Chinese economic data hurt cyclical currencies including the British pound and the Australian dollar lower.

While expectations of a hawkish Federal Reserve have been instrumental in fueling a dollar rally that has seen a broad index gain nearly 10 percent so far this year, the latest episode of dollar gains has been driven by extended lockdowns in China.

China’s retail and factory activity fell sharply in April as wide COVID-19 lockdowns confined workers and consumers to their homes.

The offshore Chinese yuan held near a September 2020 low of 6.8380 yuan hit last week.

“Increasingly, the risk is that zero-COVID (policy in China) may stay in place even past the party conference in the third quarter and into the winter season,” Barclays strategists said in a note downgrading its forecasts for the euro and the yuan for the rest of 2022.

“As such, it may lead to persistent mobility restrictions, as omicron is notoriously difficult to contain.”

The dollar index was at 104.57, having briefly crossed the 105 level on Friday, its highest since December 2002, after six successive weeks of gains.

The euro was at $1.0395 on Monday morning, slightly lower, and only just above the $1.0354 level it hit on Thursday, its lowest since early 2017. Analysts expect the $1.0340 level as a crucial level of support for the euro.

HSBC strategists expect the euro to fall to parity against the dollar in the coming year. “Much weaker growth and much higher inflation leave the ECB facing one of the toughest policy challenges in G10 (central banks),” they said.

Moves were sharper in the Australian dollar, which fell 0.68 percent, which is most exposed to the Chinese economy.

Crypto markets, which trade around the clock, had a quiet weekend after turmoil last week driven by TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, broke its dollar peg though it retraced its gains in early trading on Monday

Bitcoin was trading at around $29,500, down more than 5 percent, having dropped to $25,400 on Thursday, its lowest since December 2020.


India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal
Updated 16 May 2022

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

India In-Focus — Indian shares rise; RBI to raise rates again in June; Adani to become second-biggest Indian cement maker with $10.5bn deal

MUMBAI: Indian shares jumped on Monday after five consecutive weeks of losses, with Ambuja Cements and unit ACC up as conglomerate Adani Group said it would buy Holcim AG’s controlling stake in the companies.

The NSE Nifty 50 index gained 0.96 percent to 15,934.40 by 0510 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex advanced 0.85 percent to 53,240.26, even as broader Asia struggled to sustain a minor rally after shockingly weak data from China. 

On Friday, both the Sensex and the Nifty marked their longest weekly losing streak since 2020.

RBI to raise rates again in June: Reuters poll

The Reserve Bank of India will follow its surprise May rate rise with another hike at its meeting next month, according to a majority of analysts polled by Reuters who were exceptionally split on the size of the move.

India’s retail inflation accelerated to an eight-year high in April, remaining above the central bank’s tolerance limit for the fourth month in a row, and is likely to stay elevated.

The sudden change in views on surging inflation and how to tame it means the RBI will likely take the repo rate, currently at 4.40 percent, back to at least its pre-pandemic level next quarter and not in 2023 as previously thought.

In the latest Reuters poll, over a quarter of economists, 14 of 53, expected the RBI to hike by 35 basis points to 4.75 percent next month, while 20 expected a larger move ranging from 40-75 basis points, including ten who forecast a 50 basis point hike.

Twelve respondents forecast a modest rate rise (10 to 25 basis points) while seven saw no move at the June 6-8 meeting.

Adani to become India's second-biggest cement maker

Asia’s richest person Gautam Adani’s conglomerate acquired 63.19 percent of Ambuja Cements Ltd. and its subsidiary ACC. (AFP)

India’s Adani Group acquired a controlling stake in Holcim AG’s cement businesses in India in a $10.5 billion deal to become the second-biggest cement producer in the country, Adani Group said in a statement on Sunday.

Asia’s richest person Gautam Adani’s conglomerate acquired 63.19 percent of Ambuja Cements Ltd. and its subsidiary ACC in fierce bidding with local companies.

Ambuja and ACC have a combined capacity to produce at least 70 million tons of cement annually, second to UltraTech Cement which has 120 million tons capacity.

The Adani family, through an offshore special purpose vehicle, had entered into definitive agreements for the acquisition of Holcim Ltd’s entire stake in Ambuja and ACC, the Adani Group said in a statement.

Holcim said in a statement it had signed a binding agreement for the Adani Group to acquire Holcim’s business in India, comprising its stake in Ambuja Cement, which owns a 50.05 percent interest in ACC, as well as its 4.48 percent direct stake in ACC. Holcim would receive nearly $6.4 billion for the stakes.

The Adani Group said it would acquire more shares through an open offer.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022, Holcim said.

(With input from Reuters)