Thursday, 15 December 2016

With 10 business day left this year,
office Christmas Party season has begun

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

**What USD : EGP rate are you using in your 2017 budget? What’s your outlook on the economy? Do you want to hold more assets outside of Egypt? We ask this and more in our quarterly reader survey. We’re also leaving you a box (optional) in which to tell us anything you want about business, the economy, Enterprise — you name it. Among the reader responses that stood out from yesterday, in whole or in part:

  • There’s some serious head-hunting going on in the PE industry from global funds looking at Egypt. Probably a good sign.
  • History tells us that after a revolution, it takes several decades and several governments to reach stability and democracy. (Chile, France, Spain, etc.)
  • I see the recent initiatives taken by the government as clear steps in the right direction and from an economic / political perspective this is great for the long-term prospects for Egypt. My main concern remains (and I really do not like to say it) with the general Egyptian public…

** TAP OR CLICK HERE TO TAKE OUR READER SURVEY, the results of which will run in our 29 December Year-in-Review edition. The survey closes on Tuesday, 20 December at 5pm — it won’t take more than a minute to complete unless you’d like to leave us a long note.

Music to our ears: Getting that parallel market rate tax write off. Our friends at prominent Cairo advisory firm Nasr Aboul-Abbas & Co, an independent member of Morison International, believe that the tax law as it stands allows companies to write-off expenses incurred in sourcing foreign currency outside the banking system in the period from 1 January through the 3 November float of the EGP. The argument is based on article 22 of law 91/2005, as the cost of the FX acquisition is considered a direct tax deductible cost essential to engaging in commercial activities. The executive regulations of the law explicitly allow for writing off expenditures without receipts for up to 7% of documented general and administrative expenditures. Nasr Aboul-Abbas & Co say this article is it at odds with article 22 of the law, which did not set a limit on the deductions and, given the precedents in accounting for the FX costs that require the Tax Authority to acknowledge the parallel market rate, the firm believes the Authority should acknowledge all the costs incurred in acquiring FX from the beginning of the year up until the date of the EGP flotation.

The other option? The variance between the official and parallel market rate falls straight down your income statement, where you’re then taxed on phantom profits. You can read the firm’s opinion here (pdf, Arabic) and given their track record — and the problem so many in the community face with FX this year — we’re hoping this argument gets wider attention.

Is Rosneft looking to build a pipeline to export gas from Zohr to Europe? There is speculation in the Russian media this week about whether Rosneft is planning a pipeline to export gas from the Zohr field to Europe. Russia’s Economy Today (Russian) quotes energy analyst Igor Yushkov from that country’s National Energy Security Fund as saying that Rosneft’s acquisition of a 30% participating interest in Eni’s Shorouk offshore concession for USD 1.125 bn signals an ambition to export to the EU through a pipeline. Rosneft, he says, is positioning itself as Egypt’s main export partner on the Zohr field. Meanwhile, state-owned Sputnik’s Arabic site is running with a report that a pipeline is definitely in the cards in what we’re reading as a pickup of the Economy Today piece. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, folks.

US Fed raises interest rate, sees three hikes in 2017: The US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Markets Committee raised short-term interest rates for the second time in a decade, hiking the target range for its federal funds rate by a quarter point to the 0.5-0.75% range, according to a BBC report. The WSJ reports that the Fed “showed increasing optimism about the U.S. economy and signaled interest rates would rise at a faster pace than previously projected … Fed officials now expect to raise rates next year by another 0.75 percentage point, likely in three quarter-point moves.” That could present a challenge to US president-elect Donald Trump: “The U.S. central bank has the potential to stand in President-elect Donald Trump’s way if it raises borrowing costs to squelch growth.” The Fed’s post-meeting statement is here if you’d like to read it in full.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Kol Yom’s Amr Adib spent a good portion of last night’s episode criticizing law enforcement and the judiciary (watch, runtime: 0:57). Adib wondered why a country as large and as populated as Egypt would admit only 1,800 citizens out of 70,000 applicants to the country’s single police academy. “Especially under these circumstances, you need officers, you need security,” he said. “Why do we only have one police academy? Why don’t we have another in Upper Egypt for instance?” (watch, runtime 4:02). Adib said there must be some way “to modernize and develop the Egyptian police force.” (watch, runtime 1:30)

The host then interviewed Orascom Hotels and Development’s CEO Samih Sawiris on the new EGP 55 mn Bedouin village in Taba in South Sinai developed by Sawiris Foundation for Social Development and Orascom Hotels and Development to support the Bedouin community in the area. “The aim of this project is to allow the Bedouins living in the area to truly identify with the place and feel at home,” said Sawiris (watch, runtime 13:36).

Over on MBC, Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer spent the evening discussing the latest in the Health Ministry’s tangle with pharma producers. Ali El Ghamrawy, a member of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s pharma division, said that while the industry “appreciates” the Ministry’s offer (allowing companies to raise the prices of 10% of their locally produced products, while imported meds would be bumped up by 15%), “it just won’t do.” He said that companies need to raise prices on 30% of their products to remain in operation (more on that in the Speed Round).

For the other half of the episode, Amer spoke to political commentator Mostafa El Fekki, who gave a brief overview of the history of suicide attacks in Egypt. El Fekki said that in the struggle against terrorism, the Egyptian administration should focus on developing education, finding the sources that fund terrorist acts, and enforcing stricter punishments. Amer then told audiences that unnamed security officials confirmed to him that the militant Islamist figure Adel Habara will be executed within 48 hours.

Amer also announced that security forces had identified suspects in the attack of a police checkpoint in Giza last weekend. <br Ibrahim Eissa, stressed the vital role that education and transparency have to play in helping Egypt overcome its current crises. “The way the political administration in Egypt deals with terrorism is outdated and has proven its failure since these acts of terrorism continue to take place,” Eissa said (watch, runtime 38:39). Eissa also moderated his weekly Wednesday debate, which was about the new Media Act that the House of Representatives had voted in favor of earlier in the day. (watch, runtime 4:28) <br Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin was also concerned with the draft Media Act. He spoke to the head of the House’s committee on media, Osama Heikal, who said that the House intends to vote on the second bill that is part of the Media Act — which would regulate the media — by next week (watch, runtime 5:48). MP and film director Khaled Youssef told Amin that he voted against the legislation because it allows the state to appoint most members of the Supreme Media Council and that he had hoped for “more balanced representation” (watch, runtime 6:00).

Lamees El Hadidy was off last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The CBE wants to transform the digital economy: The Central Bank of Egypt released new regulations governing mobile payment services designed to expand use of the service in Egypt, according to an emailed statement. The new version of the “Mobile Payments Regulations” is part of the CBE’s drive to enhance financial inclusion, or FI as it’s often called.That’s banker-speak for getting the masses to trust their cash to the banking system, and as one of the smartest bankers we know said yesterday, “FI is going to be one of the big themes of 2017.”

Will subsidies one day be transferred via welfare beneficiaries’ phones? Expanding mobile payments, the central bank says, will open the door for a wide array of new financial services, such as payroll, bill payment, collection of microfinance installments, in addition to government payments — all from a mobile bank account. You can read the CBE’s statement on the regs here (pdf).

Under the regulations, banks will be able to employ agents to deliver services including the establishment and verification of customer identity — and micro-enterprises, organizations and merchants will be able to pay or collect funds through their mobile accounts. Notably, the regs will also allow the transfer of funds between a client’s mobile bank account and other accounts at the same bank.

Lobna Helal, deputy CBE Governor, says the new regulations aim to support a transition towards a “less-cash economy” and to promote financial inclusion, utilizing the widespread of mobile phones nationwide. The mobile payments system was launched in Egypt three years ago and has grown to include 6.2 mn customers since. Assistant Sub-Governor Ayman Hussein said the new regulations will make it possible for customers of mobile network operator number “x” to make payments to customers on MNOs “y” and “z”. As matters today, Vodafone customers can only transfer to other Vodafone customers, Orange to Orange, et cetera.

This would be an excellent opportunity to read more about how Kenya has come to lead the world in mobile payments through adopting M-PESA. How ubiquitous have mobile payments become in Kenya? Besides them being used to offer loans and savings products and to disburse salaries or pay bills, 43% of the country’s economy flowed through M-PESA in 2013. Daniel Runde writes in Forbes: “Groups that typically have limited access to formal financial services have benefited from the financial products offered through M-Pesa. In particular, its short-term Pay Bill Account service allows users to fundraise for a variety of purposes, including expenses relating to medical needs, education, and disaster relief. M-Pesa has also empowered business creation—many small companies rely on M-Pesa for nearly all transactions, or provide a service that is a derivative of the platform itself.”

Al Borsa / Daily News hit by assets freeze: The judicial committee tasked with freezing the Ikhwan’s assets has seized funds and frozen the assets of Business News, which owns and operates Al Borsa newspaper and Daily News Egypt. The assets of its chairman, Moustafa Sakr, have also been frozen, according to a statement published in English and Arabic. The move was unexpected, according to the statement, and no reason was given as to why the committee had taken the decision. Business News says its financials are filed with the state like any other company’s and denies it has ties to any political or religious group. The company is appealing the decision.

Algebra Ventures announced the USD 40 mn first close of its new technology venture capital fund. “The fund will invest in up to 25 technology and technology-enabled start-ups in different areas including technology IP, fintech, industry platforms, e-commerce and consumer internet.” The investments will predominantly be in the range of USD 500,000 to USD 4 mn and Algebra Ventures plans to reach a final close of USD 50 mn. The fund is backed by Cisco Investments, the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF), the EBRD, and IFC. Philippe Le Houérou, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, who attended the signing, said “by increasing access to capital, we can help these companies grow and create jobs. This investment shows how IFC, our development partners, and other private investors can come together to unlock the transformative potential of the private sector.”

The IFC also signed an agreement to inject USD 20 mn into Hassan Allam Holding, Al Borsa reports. At the signing, CEO Hassan Allam said that the company is planning to list on the EGX in three to four years. The bank has yet to decide which investment bank will manage the IPO, he added. EFG Hermes had been selected previous to manage the offering before it was postponed.

Cleopatra launches MTO to acquire outstanding shares in Cairo Specialised Hospital: Cleopatra Hospital Company announced yesterday that its board will seek regulatory approval for a mandatory tender offer to acquire 47.3% of Cairo Specialised Hospital at an offer price of EGP 110 per share, according to an emailed statement (pdf). Cleopatra is being advised by EFG Hermes Investment Banking and Zulficar & Partners is serving as legal counsel.

Cost pressure driving Edita to raise prices: Edita said it is going to raise prices by 20-50% amidst higher input costs following the EGP flotation. The company had told Reuters last month that it planned to raise prices but did not specify by how much and the newswire says the “decision points to challenges faced by firms around the country grappling with higher import costs and surging inflation.” Edita says it believes a “higher-inflation environment facilitates the pass-on of price increases in the long term as consumers are primed to expect price increases across all sectors.”

Don’t expect a sudden boom in textile exports, Patrick Werr writes in The National. The sector will regain competitiveness gradually, as the price of Egyptian textiles will not fall by half straight away due to domestic inflation pressures. However, Egypt is back on the radar with foreign textile buyers now, said Mohamed Kassem, the chairman of the Readymade Garments Export Council of Egypt: “We will see two waves of textile and garment production growth: first with the use of idle capacity, then with new investment.” He expects exports to be 10% higher in 2017 than in 2016, and although Kassem would like to see more efficiency in government, he says he is “a lot more optimistic.”

TE’s 45% stake in Vodafone presents no conflict of interest, said ICT Minister Yasser El Kady. Speaking with CNBC Arabia (watch, runtime: 22:18), the minister said TE will replace its board members with non-executive directors representing the government who will have no affiliation with TE. The state-owned fixed-line monopoly had come out with a statement on Tuesday that the terms of its 4G license did not stipulate it had to divest its stake in Vodafone Egypt.

The Health Ministry has asked pharma companies to send a list of meds whose prices they want to raise, Al Borsa reports. The ministry is offering to raise the price on 10% of domestically produced meds, while allowing prices to increase for 15% of imported products. Once approved, these SKUs would be subject to price hikes every six months, at a rate that has yet to be decided. The Federation of Egyptian Industries’ pharma division is not happy with the offer, according to Al Mal, which added that division members will meet today to discuss a united response. A source told the newspaper that most members are leaning towards rejecting the offer. This “new” offer doesn’t seem to differ all that much from the previous one, which would allow all pharma companies to raise prices of 10% of their meds every six months.

In other related news, the House of Representatives has decided to indefinitely suspend its committee looking into the pharma pricing issue, citing work overload (we nearly choked to death with laughter on that one), according to a report from Al Borsa. Tom (of Tom and Jerry fame) sympathizes greatly.

House Industry Committee rejects clauses of the automotive directive: The House of Representatives’ Industry Committee will send the automotive directive back to cabinet after rejecting some of its clauses, said committee member Mohamed El Zeeny. He states that the committee rejected articles that impose a 0.5% tithe on the industry’s profits which will go towards an industry development fund. The committee is apparently advocating for an optional “membership fee” for companies that want to participate in the automotive directive’s incentives program. The fee would be “progressive” depending on the how many vehicles are exported. The House is expected to vote on the legislation in a month after the government signs off on the rewrites (and sends them to Maglis El Dawla), committee member Tarek El Sayed tells Al Borsa.

This comes as the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association is organizing a meeting with Mercedes-Benz to discuss the possibility of resuming assembly in Egypt. The company shut down its assembly plant here last year. Attending the meeting will be representatives of the Industry and Trade Ministry, the Federation of Egyptian Industries and GB Auto, Al Borsa reports. It is unclear where Mercedes-Benz stands on the directive, but other companies, including Peugeot-Citroën, have made passing the measure a must to consider assembling in Egypt.

Criteria for brokerage mergers made official: The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) published its criteria announced last week for approving acquisitions of a stake greater than 33% of any brokerage in the Official Gazette, making it officially the law of the land, Al Borsa reports. Under these criteria EFSA will look into concentration risk of in the portfolio of the acquiring entity in a given sector, in addition to past violations of EFSA rules among others. These will be applied to CIB’s sale of 71.94% of CI Capital.

Qatar denounces claims that it was involved in terrorist attack: Qatar’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “denunciation and disapproval of tendentious claims that the State of Qatar was involved in the condemned terrorist act [on the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo], on the pretense that the suspect … paid a visit to Qatar in 2015.” The ministry also condemned the terrorist attack itself. Ahmed Al Rumaihi, a spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry, said “dragging the name of Qatar under any pretense to cover up on failures of designated authorities at the Arab Republic of Egypt incites the feeling of brotherly peoples and doesn’t help in deepening the ties between brotherly countries,” adding that the suspected suicide bomber visited Qatar “on an entry visit visa in accordance to the legal procedures” and left the state two months after. Al Rumaihi also said that the “brotherly ties between the Qatari and Egyptian people will remain deep-rooted regardless of any baseless claims.”

Goldman Sachs taps David Solomon, Harvey Schwartz to Succeed Gary Cohn: The high-profile global investment bank “will elevate David Solomon and Harvey Schwartz to serve as top lieutenants to Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, filling a void left by No. 2 executive Gary Cohn, who is leaving the bank to join the Trump administration,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Bloomberg and Reuters have more if you, like us, have an (unhealthy) fascination with GS.

CORRECTION- GB Auto has issued a statement denying a local press report that it received preliminary approvals for land to build its USD 60 mn tire factory in the SCZone. GB Auto says what it is moving forward with is a plan to build a USD 60 mn motorcycle factory and it is in the final stages of securing land permits for it.

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Egypt in the News

Sunday’s Cathedral bombing continues to dominate headlines on Egypt in the international press, and ten year-old Maggie Momen (above) has become the face of the tragedy. The wonderful Maggie Michael puts the child at the center of the story, writing that the girl is clinging to life after the bomb attack. “Maggie’s friends and family say she was an avid volleyball player, a ballet dancer and an actress in religious films made by local TV stations. Her volleyball coach, Mohammed Abdu, said she helped her team defeat a rival at a match on Friday. ‘She told me ‘If we win, I will dance.’ She loved dancing,’ Abdu said. ‘Now she is in God’s hands.’” The story has been picked up everywhere from the San Francisco Chronicle (with all five accompanying photos) and the New York Times to the Daily Mail.

Also making the rounds of the Cairo business community yesterday: A local Illinois newspaper column by world-renowned hand surgeon Nash Naam on the Cathedral bombing, headlined “Killing Egypt’s Christians with Impunity.”

Egypt has few better friends than Hannah Burns, the former global head of PR at Lehman turned New York-based advisor to major Egyptian corporations and non-profits. Her latest piece for US Congressional staple The Hill sees Burns take off her advisory hat and let loose her inner tourist, leaving the precincts of Cairo for the first time in ten or so business trips. Economic challenges and Sunday’s terror attack notwithstanding: “What I came to realize this past week is that Egypt’s culture withstands and transcends disruptions whether driven by politics, economics, hatred or envy. The burst of contemporary talent that spans textiles, glass, jewelry, fashion, ceramics and pottery, home design, accessories and all forms of craftsmanship that I saw this trip is clear evidence. The energy is infectious. More so is the warmth of the Egyptians.” Read Hannah’s piece in full here.

Peter Schwartzstein takes a trip down memory lane to showWhy Donald Trump and Abdel Fattah El-Sissi’s Romance Might Not Last in Egypt. From the dawn of Egypt-US relations following the end of the Civil War in the 1800s (which was quickly marred due to financial troubles and cultural differences, among other things) to Barack Obama’s fall from grace in Egyptian public opinion, “few expect the relationship between Washington and Cairo to remain copacetic,” Schwartzstein writes for Newsweek.

The future of growing food in Egypt will rely on hydroponics and use less water, Amr Bassiouny, CEO of Egyptian Hydrofarms, tells Reuters. Bassiouny says arable land in Egypt is being eaten away by unlicensed construction and so, “we will be forced to move our farming to the desert, and when we move to the desert, we will either use up all the available water, so in 40 or 50 years we won’t have any more water and we will not be able to farm … Or, we can start looking for ways of growing larger quantities by using the least amount of our resources as possible." Reuters’ Seham El Oraby says “though costlier, hydroponics is attractive for present-day Egypt, much of which is arid and unsuitable for traditional farming.”

On Deadline

Call to give El Sisi the “tools he needs” to fight terror: The government’s failure to enact new, stricter criminal procedures laws to curb terrorism has undermined President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who called for new tools in the war on terror over a year ago following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, Sabry Ghoneim says in his Al Masry Al Youm column.

Copts in Egypt have long been persecuted, and to say otherwise is to ignore a long list of transgressions,ending with the bombing that specifically targeted an important church, journalist Karima Kamal writes in an impassioned column for AMAY. Kamal rails against the “broken record” played by the media to promote a sense of national unity, saying that Christians are forced into silence for the sake of the country that has turned into their “modern-day cross.”

Image of the Day

Egypt’s artistic Belle Époque: Catherine David of the Musée de l’Art Moderne in Paris invited curators Sam Bardouil and Till Fellrath to put together the show Art et Liberté: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938-1948) at the Centre Pompidou. Harper’s Bazaar Arabia’s Roxane Zand says the project focused narrowly on the decade which was possibly the “most seminal” in Egyptian art history. Zand provides the historical context “founded on December 22, 1938 upon the publication of a manifesto entitled Long Live Degenerate Art, a collective of surrealist artists and writers working in Cairo provided a restless generation of artists, intellectuals and political activists with a heterogeneous platform for cultural and political reform. Art et Liberté became globally engaged in its defiance of Fascism, Nationalism, and Colonialism. The group also played an active role within an international network of surrealist writers and artists, proposing a new and particular definition of Surrealism itself. Through this definition, ‘Subjective Realism’ was born, and achieved a contemporary literary and pictorial language that was as much globally engaged as it was rooted in local artistic and political concerns.”

Art and Liberty: Rupture, War, and Surrealism in Egypt runs until 16 January 2017 at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Worth Watching

NatGeo orders McDs: A video of a man ordering McDonalds in the voice of the narrator of National Geographic’s Arabic-dubbed documentaries has gone viral (watch; runtime: 3:32), and it certainly deserves to. The hilarity of the imitation is only matched by the utter bewilderment of the McDonalds Delivery dispatch guy, whose face we can’t help but imagine as a confused meerkat … or that of Ahmed Shafik.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudan has officially filed a complaint against Egypt for “detaining Sudanese gold prospectors inside its national territory.” Sudan Tribune says “media reports said that an Egyptian force has attacked a traditional mining site owned a by a Sudanese miner in Al-Alagi valley, in Tharyira area of the Red Sea State, and detained 45 Sudanese miners and seized their drilling machine.” Sudan’s foreign minister “said that Sudan has protested to the Egyptian foreign ministry about the detention of the Sudanese gold prospectors and their ill treatment.”

President Abdelfattah El Sisi met with the Chadian foreign minister on Wednesday, according to Ahram Gate. El Sisi also met with the Senegalese education minister, who visited Egypt as a special envoy from Senegal’s president, AMAY reported.

Energy

Cairo Solar to implement 2.5 MW of projects in 2017

Cairo Solar is targeting to implement projects generating 2.5 MW of energy in 2017, quadrupling its 2016 output, Al Mal reported. The company told us the 2.5 MW target is its baseline scenario, but that it has 10 MW worth of projects in its pipeline. Cairo Solar is looking to implement 100 small-scale solar power plants to be used for land irrigation. CEO Hisham Tawfik said the profit margin on installing solar power plants has dropped to 12.5% from 16% after 1H2016 due to the FX rate and as interest rates increased. Tawfik also said the government should move away from the solar power sector to allow the private sector to grow and become more competitive.

Shell begins exporting from Idku

Following up on our piece yesterday on Shell gradually increasing its LNG exports from its Idku liquefaction plant, the company has begun operating the plant and has already exported three shipments, according to Al Borsa.

EGPC looking to increase crude imports

EGPC is looking to increase crude oil imports to utilize the capacities at local refineries, Al Mal reported. More crude from Iraq and Kuwait is being considered, sources said, as it is suitable with Egypt’s refining capabilities.

30 companies express interest in joining FiT projects

Some 30 companies have notified the Electricity Ministry of their intention to participate in phase two of the feed-in tariff (FiT) programme, Al Mal reported. A source at the Ministry said all of the companies that qualified for the first phase are allowed to enter the second one by just notifying the Ministry. Other sources said that 27 companies in total have withdrawn from FiT projects altogether.

El Sisi reaffirms Egypt’s commitment to renewable energy in meeting with IRENA head

Egypt remains committed to renewable energy, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a meeting with the director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Al Shorouk reported, citing the presidency’s spokesman.

Engie discusses expansions with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla

Oil Minister Tarek El Molla met with Engie’s E&P CEO Maria Moraeus Hanssen, where the latter reportedly expressed interest in expanding the company’s operations in Egypt, according to state-owned Al Ahram.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Russia to resume potato imports from Egypt

Russia has partially removed its restrictions on potato imports from Egypt starting from today, agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said, according to Reuters. “The decision was taken after Egypt’s regulators provided their guarantee over safety of these supplies, the watchdog added.”

Supply Ministry blames private sector for throwing sugar supply burden on government’s shoulders

In a routine round of the blame game, the Supply Ministry’s spokesman tells Al Mal that the private sector’s failure to adequately provide sugar for the local market forces the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to import the white stuff. The spokesman’s accusations come as the Food Industries Holding Company reduced the supply of sugar to packing and distribution companies due to ongoing shortages, according to Al Borsa.

Manufacturing

Trade and Industry Ministry launches permit-ready factories’ campaign

The Trade and Industry Ministry has launched a campaign to build 296 factories in Sadat City in the sectors of engineering production, foodstuffs, and medication. The campaign centers on having the factories ready and having their permits provided. The factory complex aims to support SME investments and create new job opportunities, Al Masry Al Youm said.

Automotive + Transportation

Bavarian Auto looks into establishing a factory in Suez Canal Zone

Bavarian Auto Group wants to establish a factory in the Suez Economic Canal Zone, Farid El Tobgy, the group’s CEO, tells Amwal Al Ghad. He does not specify, whether this will be a manufacturing or assembly plant. El Tobgy positioned the move as part of the company’s plan to adapt to the new FX realities.

Uber partners with AXA for a new safety program

Uber has partnered with AXA to launch a new safety program to cover riders while on the road, according to an emailed statement. Uber now provides coverage to its riders against accidental death, permanent, total, and partial disabilities, and accidental medical expenses during any trip with Uber in Egypt.

Suez Canal Authority to offer transit fee discounts to oil tankers until December 2017

The Suez Canal Authority will continue to offer transit fee discounts, until end of December next year, to oil tankers passing through and using the SUMED pipelines, Al Shorouk reported. These discounts aim to encourage tankers to use the Canal.

Bentley showroom to open in 1Q2017

Egypt will get a Bentley showroom in 1Q2017, MTI, the licensed dealer, announced to Al Mal. The opening of the showroom was delayed because of FX shortages and challenges to imports especially as Bentley has certain specifications to its showrooms internationally, according to MTI. The company has not yet announced the selling price for its models given the uncertainty surrounding the FX rate.

Banking + Finance

High-interest rate CDs attracted EGP 64 bn so far

High-interest rate certificates of deposit issued by banks following the EGP float have so far attracted EGP 64 bn in investments, the central bank says, according to Reuters. “Egypt’s two largest state-owned banks offered 18-month certificates of deposit at 20 percent and three-year certificates of deposit at 16 percent in a bid to attract currency being held outside the banking system.”

Other Business News of Note

Mintra to invest EGP 1 bn next year

Stationery producer Misr for Industry and Trade (Mintra) will invest EGP 1 bn in FY2017-18 in the plastic, leather, and furniture industries, according to Al Borsa. Mintra is also targeting EGP 1 bn from exports during the current fiscal year and plans to double its revenues to EGP 2 bn within five years, CEO Hany Kassis said.

Legislation + Policy

House votes in favor of Media Act’s part 1 to objections from the syndicate

The majority of the House of Representatives voted in favor of part 1 of the draft Media Act, AMAY reported, which would see the state establish three new administrative bodies to regulate both independent and state-owned media. The Journalists Syndicate continued to object to the law, Al Shorouk reported. The House has also approved a draft law proposal to establish a new Media Syndicate, according to Youm7. In anticipation of a possible Press Syndicates backlash, authorities have reportedly beefed up security around their headquarters, according to Ahram Gate.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Head of Tax Authority says decentralization and fighting tax evasion are his two top priorities

New Tax Authority boss Emad Samy has put decentralization and clamping down on tax evasion at the top of his priority list, Al Borsa reported. Samy intends to give the younger local administration heads more authority to make decisions and resolve disputes and will appoint a new head for the authority’s anti-tax evasion unit, filling a position that has been vacant for nearly two years now.

On Your Way Out

The Google Doodle yesterday celebrated the prolific Egyptian feminist Doria Shafik on what would have been her 108th birthday. Shafik was one of the leading champions for the Egyptian women’s liberation movement. Google says “Doria Shafik knew she was destined for more than what society offered women during her time—she earned a PHD in Paris, became a prolific feminist activist, philosopher, poet, author and editor. As a direct result of her efforts, Egyptian women were granted the right to vote for the first time. She led protests at the Parliament, initiated hunger strikes and traveled around the world to spread her wisdom.” The Doodle celebrates her “with a personal motto that inspired her along the path of reformation and justice: “To know, to be able, to want and to dare.”

Actor Ahmed Rateb passed away, Wednesday, after suffering a heart attack at a private hospital in Cairo, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Rateb, who was 67, is well known for his many comic roles and has starred in several films, many of which alongside Adel Emam.

By The Numbers

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.45 | Sell 18.88
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.3 | Sell 18.6
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.35 | Sell 18.6

EGX30 (Wednesday): 11,317.17 (-0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 1.9 bn (341% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +61.5%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: GB Auto, Global Telecom and Eastern Tobacco closed up yesterday in a down market as the EGX30 close 0.6% for the day. Domty was again among the day’s worst performers, while OTMT and MNHD joined it on the list of those closing deepest in the red. Benchmark heavyweight CIB closed the day unchanged. Local investors were the sole net sellers, as they have been most of this week.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP + 420.7 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP + 104.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP – 525.2 mn

Retail: 64.8% of total trades | 52.3% of buyers | 77.3% of sellers
Institutions: 35.2% of total trades | 47.7% of buyers | 22.7% of sellers

Foreign: 18.8% of total | 29.7% of buyers | 7.8% of sellers
Regional: 6.0% of total | 8.8% of buyers | 3.3% of sellers
Domestic: 75.2% of total | 61.5% of buyers | 88.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.85 (-0.37%)
Brent: USD 53.90 (-3.27%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.58 MMBtu, (+1.13%, January 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,140.90 / troy ounce (-1.96%)<br
TASI: 7,066 (-0.60%) (YTD: +2.23%)
ADX: 4,497.39 (-0.94%) (YTD: +4.41%)
DFM: 3,583.62 (-1.15%) (YTD: +13.73%)
KSE Weighted Index: 377.47 (-0.69%) (YTD: -1.11%)
QE: 10,358.99 (-0.37%) (YTD: -0.67%)
MSM: 5,737.48 (+0.09%) (YTD: +6.13%)
BB: 1,188.35 (+0.02%) (YTD: -2.26%)

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Calendar

14-16 December (Wednesday-Friday): IFC’s Executive VP and CEO Philippe Le Houérou visit to Egypt

17 December (Saturday): National Research Center’s 13th Conference of the Medical Research Division, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

17 December (Saturday): Integrated Urban Solutions to Groundwater Problems in Al-Khalifa seminar, Al-Khalifa community center, Cairo.

19 December (Monday): LOGIC Management Consulting’s “Egypt Exports” workshop, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo. Registration information here.

19 December (Monday): Arab International Public Relations Conference, InterContinental City Stars, Cairo. Registration information here.

22 December (Thursday): World Bank board of directors votes on second tranche of USD 3 bn loan.

22-24 December (Thursday-Saturday): Innovations to Solve Egypt’s Challenges in the Next Millenium conference, Zewail City of Science and Technology, Cairo.

29 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

30 January – 2 February 2017 (Monday-Thursday): Arab Health Exhibition, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, UAE.

14-16 February 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2017 (EGYPS), CIEC, 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.