Thursday, 23 February 2017

USD 20 bn from China over 10 years. Thank you, comrades.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

On a reasonably quiet end to a busy week, Afrexim Bank president Benedict Oramah is expected to hold a press conference today to present the bank’s projects to support the Egyptian economy, including a USD 500 mn initiative to boost Egypt’s exports, according to Youm7.

Investment minister Sahar Nasr is in Beirut for a business forum this morning and will lay the groundwork for a joint meeting of Egyptian and Lebanese ministers set to take place in Cairo next month, a ministry statement says.

Next time you diss Cairo or Alex, remember there far worse places to live: Cairo and Alexandria rank among the top 10 African cities in terms of quality of life according to Swiss research agency the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Alexandria came in third place, while our congested and densely populated capital came in at seventh place (to our pleasant surprise). The institute looked at society, housing, spatial development, infrastructure, environment, governance and economy when drawing up the list. Honorable mentions: Morocco which is clearly doing something right as four of its cities (Rabat, Marrakesh, Fez, and Casablanca) made it to the top ten.

Investigators are releasing surveillance photos of the hit team that killed Kim Jong-un’s brother at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The New York Times has one of the best rundowns on the case so far.

Scientists have just announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets in a “nearby” star system that may harbor life. It’s one of the most exciting discoveries in recent years and could open the door to the identification of other planets given they were discovered orbiting a different type of star than astronomers typically scan for exoplanets. The New York Times and NASA’s website have great coverage and videos.

Are traveling to the US or Canada any time soon? McDonald’s is now selling breakfast all day long. Yes, egg McMuffins at any hour of the day. You’re welcome.

** We’re off tomorrow: We are not publishing a Weekend Edition tomorrow so that we can all hammer away at a special edition for the following Friday. We’ll be back at about 6:05am as usual on Sunday. Enjoy the weekend, folks!

On The Horizon

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will be in Washington, DC, on Saturday for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and to prepare for a visit to the White House by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Also on Saturday: A “social dialogue” on the Daba’a nuclear power plant will bring state officials and executives from Russia’s Rosatom together with local groups and elected officials in Marsa Matrouh. Why should you care? We think Moscow is making it clear that the resumption of direct flights to Egypt hinges on the signing of final contracts for the power plant. See Speed Round for more.

Do Merkel’s visit to Egypt, Sobhi’s trip to Hungary suggest a pact on illegal migration with the European Union is in the works? German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Egypt 2-3 March for talks on terrorism and illegal migration, as we’ve previously noted, and now Hungary is calling for Egypt’s support on migration. Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi met with his Hungarian counterpart István Simicskó in Budapest, Hungary Today reported, with Simicskó arguing that instability in Egypt could trigger the departure as many as 10 mn migrants for Europe. Populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been one of the most vocal supporters of migration restrictions in the EU.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy looks like he’s booked all through next week: El Garhy will be heading over to the House to discuss budget and tax revenue projections. MPs have been eager to receive the USD 12 bn IMF loan agreement for review, but some unnamed representatives tell Al Borsa that the government isn’t planning on sending that over until the second tranche of the loan is disbursed in March, after the IMF delegation concludes its trip to Cairo. Members of the House’s Economic and Budgeting Committees said they plan to meet El Garhy next week to discuss the reasons for the delay. That’s not all: El Garhy and his team are reportedly working on an early outline of the FY2017-18 budget and MPs say there were promised a draft by mid-March. The ministry has reportedly set a temporary exchange rate of EGP 13-15 per greenback for next year’s budget, but plans to update its estimates in March.

The finance minister is also scheduled to speak on 26 February at AmCham Egypt’s gathering on the financial reform agenda.

If you care more about films than you do a good night’s sleep before work: the Oscars will take place from about 3:30am through 7:00am CLT on Monday, 27 February. More on the Oscars website or at official broadcaster ABC’s microsite.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Apart from Amr Adib, who was still glowing after his Messi interview, the topics that pervaded the airwaves last night were SMEs and (you guessed it) prices.

Amr Adib spent the better part of last night’s Kol Youm on tourism. Adib pressed the point that not enough is being done to pick up the slump in tourism, adding that the key to this was ratcheting up promotion campaigns — an otherwise brilliant idea had it not been the Tourism Ministry’s main strategy since 2011 (watch, runtime:13:41). Tourism Development Authority head Hisham El Demery raised the point that, regardless of the turmoil and security threat, the biggest obstacle facing the government was a lack of a long-term vision, something that the ministry is looking to rectify (watch, runtime: 5:28).

He then moved on to talk food prices (watch, runtime: 4:28), and ran a report members of the House of Representatives meeting with entrepreneurs in Fayoum (watch, runtime: 3: 37)

SMEs were also discussed on Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin, who spoke on the growth of the National Bank of Egypt’s loan portfolio to SMEs with the bank’s head of retail banking Hazem Hegazy (watch, runtime: 2:24).

It was prices of meds that topped discussions on Yahduth fi Masr. Host Sherif Amer spoke with Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed on how the ministry plans to provide insulin free of charge to those who cannot afford it at the new prices at public hospitals.

Lamees Al Hadidi was off last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Today’s forecast: sunny, with a drizzle of roz: The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is set to provide Egypt with USD 20 bn in financing over the next 10 years, ICBC’s Africa General Manager Ivy Tsai said at a meeting with Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The financing will be geared towards large scale projects such as the New Administrative Capital, the USD 8.6 bn Hamrawein “clean coal” power plant, a phosphate complex, and a Huawei-run smart city. The funding will be part of a wider USD 35 bn financing program for projects in Africa, of which Egypt will receive the lion’s share. This is would be the biggest investment pledge announced from the Chinese since China Fortune Land Development Company announced a USD 20 bn investment in the new capital, showing us once again that when it comes to the Chinese, it’s go big or go home. Tsai also extended an official invitation to Nasr to visit Beijing in May, to attend a summit on that nation’s One Belt, One Road initiative.

Egypt has begun the road to a free and growing economy, says PricewaterhouseCoopers in a recent, glowing report on the Egyptian economy and its prospects issued last Thursday. The crux of PwC’s argument is that Egypt’s road to economic recovery is split into “pre-float” and “post-float” phases, saying the decision to let the interbank market set the FX rate has and will continue to attract foreign investment and make Egyptian exports more competitive. The real flood gates of investments will open up once investors feel that the USD / EGP rate has reached equilibrium, ending a period characterized by speculation and high volatility. “For now, the devaluation has resulted in a valuation gap due to the large decrease in business values compared to previously stated USD terms; valuation adjustments will therefore have to be made, resulting in a delay before [contracts] are sealed,” said our friend Maged Ezzeldeen, Egypt Senior Partner and Deals Leader at PwC Middle East, according to CPI Finance.

Beyond the float, PwC sees Egypt’s fundamentals as having improved through the government’s commitment to the reform agenda, which has become apparent in 2016. Legislative reforms such as the Investment Act, the upcoming Bankruptcy Act, and others will continue to drive investor confidence. Efforts to strengthen capital markets, including the program to IPO state-owned businesses, will help drive capital growth to reach EGP 3 tn from EGP 600 mn. Efforts by the government on the international front, including the eurobond issuance, will also drive growth. The report’s conclusion: This is a good time for investors to explore new investment opportunities in Egypt, as the market is beginning to settle down and absorb the post devaluation impact. You can check out PwC’s landing page for the report here or download the 4pp report in pdf.

…On the flipside, Global Risk Insights is taking a look at the possible economic and political risks to this anticipated take-off of the economy. The underlying factor most investors will look for is political stability as inflation rates spike, a continued high budget deficit, rising public debt, and subsidies reform prove unpopular (something to look out for as we hit presidential elections in 2018). Investors will be looking at the government’s response to this unpopularity, according to the report. Terrorism and security continues to loom over any economic progress, writes Cecil Gueren.

Egypt’s eurobonds are doing well on the secondary market: Yields on the eurobonds Egypt sold last month have tightened by 0.5-0.6% since issuance, according to BNP Paribas’ weekly debt capital markets report. This reflects tangible appetite on the secondary market as well as liquidity. The report also shows that Egypt’s eurobonds are trading tighter, with narrow bid-ask spreads, than Tunisia’s issuances despite the three-notch credit ratings differential in favour of Tunisia. They are also trading tighter than other African sovereigns including Ghana, Kenya, Angola, and Ethiopia.

Egypt’s decision to float its currency can already be declared a success, but it will take time for investment flows to return and revive the nation’s economy, says Orascom Development Holding boss Samih Sawiris. “Now the investment appetite has become bigger…people will start looking at the various opportunities given to them,” he tells Reuters’ Ahmed Aboulenein, but warns that we should not be over-enthusiastic or over-emotional.

Sawiris said that confidence in the flagging tourism sector is all about marketing from both the government and private sector. “We just need to spend a lot more trying to annihilate this bad image that was forcibly spread.”

The interview delved into Orascom’s low-income housing projects, where Sawiris had less than complimentary things to say about the government’s sidelining of the private sector. “Once the government goes into the market, everybody leaves the market because the government doesn’t make money, they spend money,” he said. “I believe governments should be regulators, not competitors. It’s quite sad.”

Are the Russians winking at us to get Daba’a signed before we worry about tourism? “The construction of [Daba’a nuclear power plant] with Russia’s participation is much more important for Egypt than return of Russian tourists,” Russian state-owned news agency TASS quotes Tarek Heggy saying, positioning the former oil industry executive as an Egyptian “political thinker and international petroleum strategist.” TASS uses Heggy to deliver a not-to-subtle message: “Egypt will face an energy catastrophe if the country abandons building the [plant]” Heggy downplayed Egypt’s energy reserves and the giant Zohr gas field, sharing none of the optimism about Egypt that major IOCs had demonstrated during the Egypt Petroleum Show 2017.

And as if to hammer the point, TASS also ran statements yesterday by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who said that no timeline has specified for the resumption of flights to Egypt. Yesterday’s stories are just the latest in a drumbeat of pieces through which Moscow has alternately held out carrots and sticks on the resumption of direct flights. The Electricity Ministry is planning to announce the terms of the Daba’a contract this Saturday.

Inching toward an oil agreement with Iraq: Egypt is on the verge of signing an agreement with Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) to import a 1 mn barrels of crude oil each month, Iraq’s Ambassador to Cairo Habib Hady Al Sadr tells Al Ahram. Iraq has already signed the contracts and sent them to Egypt, he adds, and the first shipment should arrive in the last 10 days of March.

CBE gets props for helping settle pre-float LC crisis: The Central Bank’s intervention to help companies settle their pre-float LCs received praise on Wednesday from QNBA Chairman Mohamed El Dib, who told Al Masry Al Youm that the banks are in favor of the agreement as it will keep clients in good standing. Companies with LCs under USD 5 mn will repay the debt in local currency at a 12% interest rate over a two-year stretch, while those with larger debts will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, El Dib says.

The House of Representatives will be voting on the Compensation Act at a plenary session next week, MP and Federation of Egyptian Industries Chief Mohamed El Sewedy said, according to Al Borsa. The remarks come one day after contractors threatened to suspend work on government projects until the legislation — which would compensate suppliers and contractors for FX losses incurred after the float and has been in the works since December — is enforced. The bill is now being reviewed by Egypt’s State Council.

Tax Authority to chat about VAT with EGPC: Tax Authority officials will meet with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) next week to discuss further exemptions from the value-added tax for the industry. International oil companies are seeking VAT rebates for their equipment and machinery suppliers, Tax Authority Deputy Head Mohamed Abdel Sattar said on Wednesday, according to Al Borsa. IOCs are exempt from the tax under the terms of their production-sharing agreement with the EGPC, but contractors are not.

The new Ismail cabinet approved a presidential decree to streamline the property registration process and impose a standard schedule of registration fees, according to a statement. Other decisions at the new cabinet’s first policy-making meeting included:

  • Approving an EGP 10 mn grant from the AfDB for slum development;
  • Approving amendments to allow the president to delegate decisions related to the expropriation of properties for public utilities;
  • Approving amendments to the traffic law on transferring ownership of vehicles.

Peugeot-Citroën, which had made the automotive directive a condition for its investment in Egypt, has now added the Investment Act to the bundle, Ahram Gate says. The company’s Middle East and Africa Executive VP Jean-Christophe Quémard picked-up the same line other company executives had carried in Cairo in December, telling Trade Minister Tarek Kabil that they would continue to monitor the situation closely before they make the call.

Meanwhile, five French companies are planning on investing in Egypt within three months, Egypt-France Business Council Chairman Fouad Younes tells Al Borsa. Younes declined to name the companies, but said they are in the solar power, athletic supplies, auto manufacturing, and auto component industries. Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said athletic supplies manufacturer Decathlon is looking into setting up in Egypt, according to Al Mal.

LG Egypt has doubled exports from its 10th of Ramadan factory, with 80% of the plant’s output geared towards foreign markets, unnamed sources told Al Borsa. The company now exports 100k televisions to the African and Gulf markets every month and allocates 15% of the factory’s output to the local market.

Orange Egypt reported a consolidated net loss of EGP 2.55 bn in 2016 from a profit of EGP 10 mn in 2015, according to a regulatory disclosure. FX revaluation charges cost the mobile network operator EGP 2.3 bn in 2016. Orange Egypt says its loss owes primarily to rising prices and operational costs, the impact of the EGP float on the company’s import bill, the increase in the central bank’s basic interest rates, and weak tourist arrivals which reduced roaming income.

The spat between Naguib Sawiris and the Free Egyptians Party has come to a head: The FEP (of which Sawiris is a founder) dismissed Naguib from the party after he did not show up to a hearing with the party’s disciplinary committee, Al Shorouk reports. Sawiris had been summoned for questioning about his “slanderous” remarks, alleged use of “sectarian” language, and giving the impression that he speaks for the party. In the words of Board of Trustees undersecretary Ragy Soliman, this is “a new episode of a satire show about a group that has limited insight into anything.”

Aramco has selected JPMorgan Chase, Co and Morgan Stanley, and HSBC as the lead underwriters for its planned IPO, sources told The Wall Street Journal (paywall). Other unnamed sources told Reuters that only JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley were tapped to assist with the IPO, but that Aramco “could call on another bank with access to Chinese investors.” Reuters’ sources add that HSBC is said to be the leading contender for a role among a list of five banks that could provide a pipeline to Chinese investors, but that the final lineup for banks could still be adjusted. JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and maybe HSBC would be joining boutique investment bank Moelis & Co in the IPO transaction that is expected to be worth nearly USD 100 bn.

Is Noble Energy getting cold feet in its development of Israel’s Leviathan gas field? In a piece for Globes, Amiram Barkat asks why has there been no official and binding decision to develop the Leviathan gas reservoir. He says the key behind the delay is that the development of Leviathan depends on “a single strategic gas agreement,” particularly the one with Jordan, “which has not yet been closed.” Barkat adds “there is no progress in the deal with Egypt, and forget about Turkey. Sales of gas to Greece and Italy are a wonderful idea that could be realistic in a world of higher prices.” He says the absence of an export agreement is the “obvious” reason why Noble Energy is unwilling to take an investment decision.

The Macro Picture

Goldman Sachs Asset Management says equities internationally might be getting too expensive, “but there are still select opportunities for value investors.” In a recent email, the firm presents a chart depicting the degree of dispersion between the price of the top 25% and bottom 75% stocks in each of five different markets. “Despite broadly high valuations today, investors can still find low-priced investments. A market with a high dispersion score, such as that of the UK, means that investors can choose from a bigger pool of cheap and pricey stocks.” Emerging markets also appear to provide such opportunities. “Conversely, equity markets with a falling dispersion score, such as those of the US or Japan, may indicate that the range of opportunities is narrowing.” Goldman Sachs Asset Management say the larger differences in valuations from 2005 suggest there are greater stock-picking opportunities, “particularly for value investors, relative to recent history.”

US Fed the raise rates “fairly soon”? The US Federal Reserve said that it believes “it might be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate again fairly soon if incoming information on the labor market and inflation was in line with or stronger than their current expectations,” Reuters reports, citing minutes released yesterday. The news is getting wide pickup in the global business press this morning.

Paris is building seven new skyscrapers to compete with London for financial services companies as the UK gears up to leave the European Union, the Financial Times reports this morning. About 50 football pitches’ worth of office space will go up between now and 2021.

Elsewhere, the International Monetary Fund is getting into the Islamic banking industry, where it will invest in developing its ability to advise central bankers on Islamic banking systems and to monitor the sector globally. “The emergence in recent years of hybrid financial products in Islamic banking … may have brought some benefits, but also raise[s] financial stability concerns,” the IMF said in a statement as it released a white paper (pdf) on the subject. Reuters notes that “Islamic finance, which bans interest payments and pure monetary speculation, is estimated to have over USD 2 tn of assets globally with around USD 1.3 tn held by Islamic commercial banks. The sector is now systemically important in 14 countries, accounting for over 15 percent of total financial assets, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.”

Image of the Day

An 11-year-old Egyptian boy born without limbs due to a rare disease uses old plastic soda bottles as prosthetic limbs to be able to carry out daily activities such as eating, drinking, and writing, Al Arabiya reports. Ziad Mohammed’s father fashioned the makeshift limbs for his son by using bottles that “have been cut in half and placed on the arm, while a tool (be it a spoon, pen or other) is pierced through the bottle cap and held in place.” The heartbreaking images in the piece aren’t likely to make your morning espresso any easier to swallow, but have a look and give a thought to whether you or someone you know could make a difference in this child’s life.

Egypt in the News

Leading international news coverage on Egypt this morning is the return of the body of convicted terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman “the blind sheikh” to Egypt, with Reuters reporting that thousands turned up to the terrorist’s funeral. Abdel-Rahman was the spiritual leader of the Jama’a Islamiyya and sentenced to life in prison in the United States for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as plotting a string of other terror attacks.

Few, if any, modern terrorists share Abdel Rahman’s pedigree, Fred Burton, Stratfor’s chief security officer, writes. “One of the more interesting and lesser-known aspects of the Blind Sheikh’s plots forever changed the methods we used to protect our charges. In the aftermath of the first World Trade Center bombing, we uncovered sophisticated surveillance efforts that Abdel Rahman’s cell had carried out while hiding in plain sight… In light of the unearthed plans, we quickly revised our procedures to put countersurveillance agents on the street. We turned the tables on the terrorists and began aggressively looking for pre-operational surveillance in progress. While the Blind Sheikh’s plots cost lives and wreaked havoc, they also led to a shift in mindset and methods that made our protective details more effective,” Burton writes.

One of our least-favorite Islamists is back in the international spotlight: Writing from prison,Gehad El-Haddad, the Ikhwan’s one-time English-language spokesman takes, to the pages of The New York Times to “recognize the [Ikhwan’s] political mishaps” and argue that they are by no means enough to justify “detention and fallacious designations.” Haddad says the group had always been a non-violent, “socially aware grassroots movement” dedicated to social service and public work and regrets that politics drove a wedge between them and the people they served. He adds that so-called “offshoots” of the group left because “they found no path in our philosophy, vision of society or movement for such extremism.” Read “I Am a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Not a Terrorist.”

The Obama administration might have given President Abdel Fattah El Sisi the cold shoulder, but Donald Trump’s America could be Egypt’s golden ticket back to its days of former glory as the region’s main superpower, Seth J. Frantzman writes for the National Review.
Frantzman misses the mark, arguing that Egypt’s renewed closeness with the US could be mutually beneficial for both (and Israel, naturally), but failing to list any real benefit beyond — you guessed it — US military aid to Egypt helping advance the fight against the big bad wolf that is Iran.

Other coverage of Egypt in the international press worth a gander this morning:

  • Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi’s visit to Egypt this week made its way to international headlines last night, with coverage from Reuters (runtime 0:15) and the UK’s Daily Mail.
  • Another report on Koshary is making the rounds, this time by NPR’s Amy E Robertson. Her twist is that the dish is a “modern mystery in an ancient cuisine,” saying that “no one can say for sure where koshary came from, everyone has an opinion on where to eat it.” Management here at Enterprise has a thought on that last bit: Not in our office.
  • The Associated Press takes a look at youth activist and April 6 movement founder Ahmed Maher’s life after prison and the “grim routine” of nightly imprisonment at the police station from 6 pm to 6 am every day for the next three years.

On Deadline

Egypt’s plans to diversify its energy sources was a well-intentioned idea that was implemented incorrectly: While stepping away from reliance on natural gas is a smart move, having wide diversity in energy sources should not be a goal in itself, Ragia El Gerzawy says in a column penned for Al Masry Al Youm. El Gerzawy notes that choosing the correct mix of energy sources aims to offer energy at reasonable prices, without harming the environment or people’s health, and that coal — which Egypt plans on relying on for 29% of its energy source mix — does not fit the bill. Coal was popular in the early days of energy production in Europe because it was plentiful, but it doesn’t make sense in Egypt when we have many other sources that are less harmful (hint: solar and wind power), she says.

Worth Watching

Are you better informed than the average Egyptian 9-year-old? Probably not when it comes to Egyptian history and antiquities, and you’re up against this group of young students taking a crack at being tour guides for visitors at archaeological and historical sites in Egypt, as part of the Antiquities Ministry’s “Young Guide” program (watch, runtime 5:04). The program aims to educate young children about the richness of Egyptian history and equip them with the tools to be able to give guided tours of major attractions and sites, at the same caliber of professional guides — and in multiple languages, no less. Skip to the 2:18 mark to watch one kid prove that he’s destined to become a tour guide.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

New EU delegation chief in Egypt: The European Union has appointed senior Slovak diplomat Ivan Surkos as the new head of the EU’s delegation to Egypt, according to a statement. Surkos, who was previously the Slovak ambassador to Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan and the Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s director of diplomatic protocol, took up his duties on 16 February.

Energy

Admasco Oil Field Services wants to build a USD 10 mn maintenance factory in Cairo

Admasco Oil Field Services Company is looking to establish a USD 10 mn oilfield equipment servicing and maintenance plant, Al Borsa reported. Admasco is currently conducting feasibility studies for the plant, which the company aims to build in Cairo.

Toyota, Orascom, and GD France to sign power purchase agreement for Gulf of Suez wind station in two months

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company will be signing a power purchase agreement for the 250 MW wind power station that Toyota, Orascom, and GD France are co-developing the Gulf of Suez within two months, sources at the Electricity Ministry tell Al Borsa. The companies will reportedly be given land for the wind farm in a few days’ time and are approaching financial close for the EUR 250 mn project, the sources added.

Manufacturing

Military Production Ministry hopes to join the ranks of local auto feeders

The Military Production Ministry wants to join the ranks of local auto component makers and start manufacturing car parts to aid in the industry in decreasing its reliance on imports, Al Mal reports.

Tourism

Tourism Ministry could set floor for hotel room rates, move to enforce open skies agreements

A floor on how little hotels in Egypt can charge per night could be imposed by the end of June, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said, according to Al Mal. Rashed’s actions follows the recommendation of the Supreme Tourism Council. Rashed also said his ministry is coordinating with the Civil Aviation Ministry to implement open skies agreements in Egypt to allow international airlines more access to Egyptian airspace. The US State Department says Open skies agreements promote “increased travel and trade, enhancing productivity, and spurring high-quality job opportunities and economic growth” by “eliminating government interference in the commercial decisions of air carriers about routes, capacity, and pricing, freeing carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service for consumers.”

EgyptAir to offer flight discounts for Hep-C patients coming to Egypt under Tour n’Cure

EgyptAir will be offering discounts on its flight tickets for foreigners coming to Egypt for Hepatitis-C treatment under the Tour n’Cure initiative, as part of an MoU it signed with Prime Pharma on Wednesday, Al Shorouk reports.

Telecoms + ICT

Court rules GTH should indemnify Atheer to the tune of USD 60 mn

An English High Court found Global Telecom Holding (GTH) and Orascom Telecom Iraq (OTI) liable to indemnify Atheer Telecom Iraq Limited to the tune of USD 60 mn, according to a GTH disclosure. The dispute is from the 2007 sale of Iraqna, OTIL’s Iraqi mobile subsidiary, to Atheer, which sought the indemnity for certain tax liabilities. “The precise terms of the order, costs and interest will be determined at a hearing on 1 March 2017. GTH intends to seek leave to appeal the judgment, however, leave to appeal is discretionary and may not be granted,” GTH says.

National Security

Daesh steps up attacks on Christians in Sinai, may hit more Christian commercial, church targets

Attacks by Daesh’s Sinai branch against Egypt’s Christian population continued, as Egyptian security officials say militants killed two Christians North of the Sinai, days after vowing to step up attacks against Christians, the Associated Press reports. The escalation could also see Daesh ratcheting up attacks on aviation facilities, and Christian commercial interest, IHS Jane reports. The group has also stepped up its propaganda, announcing a hit list of Churches the group plans to attack.

On Your Way Out

The Antiquities Ministry is conducting restoration work on a 10.8-meter-tall colossus of King Ramses II that stood in the Karnak Temple Complex, writes Nevine El-Aref for Ahram Online. It was damaged by an earthquake in the fourth century AD. Restoration work is expected to be done within two months.

American violinist Chelsey Green and the Green Project are playing in Egypt next week, the US Embassy in Cairo announced. “Their historic concert tour, titled ‘Hakawatya,’ will feature performances at the Citadel in Cairo on February 28 and at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria on March 3, and will include joint performances with renowned Egyptian musicians Dina El Wedidi and Fathy Salama.”

The Tourism Ministry will support cafés “wrongfully shut down” during the raids authorities carried out across Cairo earlier this month, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said yesterday, without clarifying what said support would entail, Al Mal reports. Authorities had shut down 131 cafés and restaurants in Greater Cairo for violating building and licensing codes, one day after a 24-year-old was stabbed to death by waiters at a Heliopolis café for an argument over the bill.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is reportedly mulling moving its headquarters out of Cairo as a result of CAF President Issa Hayatou being investigated for violating market competition laws, Al Ahram reports. The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) referred CAF to prosecution for offering Lagardère Sports the exclusive rights to air CAF competitions for 12 years without allowing other bidders to compete.

By The Numbers

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.7382 | Sell 15.8394
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.75 | Sell 15.85
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.7 | Sell 15.75

EGX30 (Wednesday): 12,401 (-2.0%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn (161% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +0.5%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 2.0%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent fell 2.5%. The EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Iron and Steel up 5.9%, Palm Hills up 1.3%, and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 0.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included Global Telecom down 7.9%, Domty down 5.7%, and Egyptian Resorts down 5.1%. The market turnover was EGP1.1 billion and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -91.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -16.3 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +107.4 mn

Retail: 65.2% of total trades | 67.5% of buyers | 62.8% of sellers
Institutions: 34.8% of total trades | 32.5% of buyers | 37.2% of sellers

Foreign: 14.6% of total | 11.5% of buyers | 17.7% of sellers
Regional: 7.8% of total | 7.2% of buyers | 8.3% of sellers
Domestic: 77.6% of total | 81.3% of buyers | 74.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 53.93 (+0.63%)
Brent: USD 55.84 (-1.45%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.60 MMBtu, (+0.15%, March 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,239.00 / troy ounce (+0.46%)TASI: 7,062.9 (+0.1%) (YTD: -2.0%)
ADX: 4,637.5 (+0.6%) (YTD: +2.0%)
DFM: 3,646.1 (+2.4%) (YTD: +3.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 423.5 (+0.1%) (YTD: +11.4%)
QE: 10,952.7 (+0.2%) (YTD: +4.9%)
MSM: 5,867.5 (+0.3%) (YTD: +1.5%)
BB: 1,342.7 (+1.7%) (YTD: +10.0%)

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Calendar

23 February – 16 March (Thursday-Thursday): ‘Glimpses of Upper Egypt’ exhibition at Accademia d’Egitto in Rome.

26 February (Sunday): AmCham conference on Egypt’s Financial Reform Agenda, Cairo. Register here.

02-03 March (Thursday-Friday): German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Egypt.

06-08 March (Monday-Wednesday): 13th EFG Hermes One on One Conference, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

08 March (Wednesday): Microfinance forum, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

09-11 March (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects Summit, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

14-15 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): The third Builders of Egypt conference, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

15 March (Wednesday): Arab Women Organization’s event: Investing in refugee women, UN General Assembly Building, New York City.

15-19 March (Sunday-Thursday): 2017 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

18-19 March (Saturday-Sunday): Delegation of Japanese food industries companies visits Egypt.

29-30 March (Wednesday-Thursday): Cityscape Egypt Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

29-31 March (Wednesday-Friday): Balanced Development of Siwa Oasis International Tourism Conference, Siwa Oasis.

30 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

31 March – 03 April (Friday-Monday): Cityscape Egypt Exhibition, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo. Register here.

03-06 April (Monday-Thursday): Agri & Foodex Africa, Khartoum International Fair Ground, Khartoum, Sudan.

08-10 April (Saturday-Monday): Pharmaconex, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

20 April (Thursday): Closing date for the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority bid round number 1 for 2017 for gold and associated minerals.

24-25 April (Monday-Tuesday): Renaissance Capital’s Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

30 April – 03 May (Sunday-Wednesday): Cement & Concrete 2017, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, Saudi Arabia.

01 May (Monday): Labor Day, national holiday.

08-09 May (Monday-Tuesday): Third Egypt CSR Forum, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

16 May (Tuesday): Official expiry date for the decision to suspend capital gains taxes on stock market transactions.

22-23 May (Monday-Tuesday): North Africa Mobile Network Optimisation Conference, Cairo.

27 May (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

26-28 June (Monday-Wednesday): Eid Al-Fitr (TBC).

30 June (Friday): 30 June, national holiday.

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

02-05 September (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday (TBC).

17-19 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Pipeline-Pipe-Sewer-Technology Conference & Exhibition, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

22 September (Friday): Islamic New Year, national holiday (TBC).

06 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

08-10 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594). Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2016 Enterprise Ventures LLC.