Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Gov’t to announce first state firms to IPO in Sep


What We’re Tracking Today

Debating the Ismail government’s deficit-reduction target: The analyst community is asking questions of the deficit reduction target in the draft FY2018-19 budget approved by cabinet on Sunday. The document sees the deficit falling to 8.4% of GDP against an expected 9.6-9.8% this year. Sigma Capital chief economist Aya Abdullah sees the goal as very achievable, considering the revenues the government hopes to net from the state IPO program. CI Capital Asset Management economist Noaman Khalid disagrees, projecting that next year’s budget deficit would not fall below 9% of GDP. He tells Al Shorouk that the government’s debt obligations are too high to hit its deficit target.

Meanwhile, the government is expecting GDP growth to reach between 5.3% and 5.4% in 3Q2018-17, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tells Reuters.

Definitive plans for an international IPO of Saudi Aramco appear dead in the water, with Saudi officials apparently believing an international IPO has become much more complicated than they initially believed, the Wall Street Journal. The decision to list in Riyadh only — for now — has come in part because of concerns about legal risks and also because the need for a bigger listing has been negated by rising oil prices. An IPO on the Tadawul next year appears definite based on comments by the kingdom’s oil minister.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman lands in Washington for meetings with US President Donald Trump, and coverage of the event by the US media is reaching a fever pitch. Most, including the Wall Street Journal, appear focused on political dimension of the visit, particularly MbS’ push for a had line on Iran. On the economic front, the conversation appears dominated by the change in the nature of US-Saudi ties in light of the US shale revolution. See also coverage from the Financial Times and CNBC.

MbS explains the November Ritz Carlton crackdown: In advance of the visit, bin Salman sat down with CBS’ 60 Minutes to discuss a wide range of issues, not least of which was the purge of last November, which the Prince denies was a power play, saying instead it was a move to rein in corruption. Adviser Mohammed Al Sheikh said that the move wasn’t easy given the names involved. “But we just felt that we had to do this. And and we had to do it that way.” Al Sheikh said that corruption had been equal to 20% of Saudi government spending or up to USD 20 bn annually. Bin Salman boasted that the crackdown retrieved USD 100 bn, but that objective was not the money, but to show that “a new sheriff is in town.” Other issues discussed include Saudi’s rivalry with Iran, human rights, the campaign in Yemen, and more freedom for Saudi women. You can catch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 26:36).

Also making headlines on a busy news morning internationally:

  • Uber has stopped tests of self-driving cars after one of its cars killed a woman crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. The incident is reigniting debate over the safety of autonomous vehicles. (Reuters | Wall Street Journal)
  • Facebook shares took their deepest dive in four years yesterday as “backlash intensified over claims it had been used to harvest the data of mns of US voters.” (FT | WSJ | NYT)
  • The UK has agreed a 21-month-long “Brexit transition” in a conditional pact reached yesterday. (Politico)

Negative social mobility: Black boys raised in America by rich families are more likely to become poor than they are to stay wealthy when they become adults themselves, even when they stay in the same neighbourhoods — and there’s no similar income gap between black and white women as adults. The findings are based a study of some 20 mn children born in the US between 1978 and 1983, the New York Times reports. Worth reading for the data visualization alone.

A custom-made gold watch that belonged to Egypt’s King Farouk will go on auction at Christie’s Dubai this week, where it is expected to be sold for as much as USD 800k, Reuters reports. The watch is made of 18k gold and engraved with Egypt’s royal crown and the letter “F.”

PSA- Unseasonably hot weather continues today, with the high this afternoon forecast at 30°C as of dispatch time. Look for the mercury to peak at 40°C on Friday before cooling to 24°C on Saturday.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Egypt’s first fintech-focused accelerator, the Pharos-affiliated Pride Capital, is hosting a workshop on Thursday titled “A Bright Future for Blockchain in Capital Markets” at the Greek Campus. The workshop will feature a discussion with EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid and Henerby Blockchain Consulting CEO Bobby Henerby. To register for a spot in the workshop, tap here if you’re on your mobile and click here if you’re on a computer. You can check out the workshop’s Facebook page for more information on the event or Pride Capital’s LinkedIn page for more on the accelerator.

Look for the newly appointed board of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) to be ratified in the coming days by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. The board will then get to work on executive regulations for the Capital Markets Act, completing the Insurance Act, and drafting legislation that would grant FRA new autonomy.

Cabinet is expected to discuss the executive regulations to the controversial NGO law “within days.” Parliament had signed off on the bill back in 2016. The act has since come under fire from Republican Senators and the US Congress’ human rights commission.

On The Horizon

The Game Sports Industry Conference — Egypt’s first-ever platform dedicated to the sports industry — kicks off in Cairo on 11 April. The conference, which will bring together industry professionals, leaders, and enthusiasts, will feature discussions on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in the sports industry, leveraging sports as a marketing channel, and the digital transformation in sports, among others. You can register for the event here.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir’s visit yesterday drummed up some chatter among the talking heads last night but the highlight of the evening was Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat’s first television appearance as minister on Hona Al Asema.

The minister delved into her plans for the sector, which begin with the structural reform of all government bodies under the Tourism Ministry’s jurisdiction. Al Mashat noted that the Tourism Promotion Authority is of particular importance since it is responsible for international campaigns (watch, runtime: 4:15). On a slightly more pessimistic note, the minister said she was slightly crestfallen by Egypt’s lackluster representation at the ITB Berlin tourism expo (watch, runtime: 2:29).

Speaking of promotional campaigns, the ministry will issue a tender for a fresh round of tourism promotion once its contract with advertising agency JWT expires in August. The new agreement will be tweaked slightly to mirror developments in the market and Egypt’s overall strategy. Meanwhile, her ministry plans to improve tourism infrastructure and standards, and hopes to apply the industry standards on hotels across the country. Some hotels are continuing to face financial difficulties and the ministry is looking into debt restructuring and repayment options through the CBE or foreign lenders (watch, runtime: 28:06). In any case, the need to revamp internal infrastructure should not get in the way of tourism promotion, she said (watch, runtime: 3:10).

Egypt is continuing to keep an eye on attracting tourism from new markets in Eastern Europe and Asia, in addition to encouraging a greater influx of Arab visitors (watch, runtime: 1:10). By diversifying its sources of tourism, the country will be less prone to crises inflicted by a single country, such as is the case with Russian tourism (watch, runtime: 3:15). Al Mashat had nothing new to report by way of the resumption of charter flights to Sharm El Sheikh.

Al Mashat also answered all of Lamees’ questions about her previous stints at the CBE and IMF, as well as the lead-up to being selected for the ministerial job (watch, runtime: 3:02).

You can catch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 28:06).

The timing of Sudan’s Al Bashir’s visit could not be more opportune and is evidence of warming ties, House African Affairs Committee member Hatem Bashat told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 6:13). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib also commended the visit, which he said is the fruit of concerted efforts from both countries to thaw relations after recent tensions (watch, runtime: 4:32). Meanwhile, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr had nothing of substance to add but couldn’t let the moment pass him by without describing Bashir’s meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as “historic” (watch, runtime: 12:41).

Wherefore art thou, workers’ rights groups? Kafr El Sheikh is apparently moving to deduct a full day’s pay from workers’ salaries each month to donate to the Tahya Misr fund, Governor Al Sayed Nasr told a bewildered Lamees Al Hadidi. The workers “can opt out” of the move and “are not required” to commit if they don’t want to but the idea is to give back to the fund for financing projects in the governorate, General Nasr said. Lamees still wasn’t buying it and pointed out that each individual should make an independent and voluntary decision to donate, rather than be made to feel obligated to do so (watch, runtime: 8:20).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IPO WATCH- The government will select the first four or five companies that will part of phase one of the state IPO program in September or October, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tells Al Masry Al Youm. El Garhy had announced on Sunday that the first of the stake sales may be offered within a couple of months, without stating which company had been slated to go first. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla has said the listing of 24% of Enppi would be the pilot IPO of the program. Banque du Caire, the first state bank to be listed, will not see an IPO before 4Q2018.

In a series of interviews with cabinet ministers conducted by the newspaper a day after the unveiling of 23 companies set to be part of the program, El Garhy added that the government hopes to see the aggregate market cap of the 23 companies it is putting into the program stand at c. EGP 3.5-4 tn within three years. He had said that the cumulative value of the listings, which will take place over the coming 24-30 months, is expected to reach EGP 80 bn and would raise their collective market capitalization to EGP 450 bn.

Planning Minister Hala Saeed said 12-13 of the program’s companies will list 5-15% of their shares. She noted that these companies are all subsidiaries of the ministry’s National Investment Bank (NIB). The program’s announcement on Sunday had noted that the companies, for the most part, would list 15-30% of their shares. We’re interpreting this as meaning that the government wants to ultimately see 15-30% of the shares of each company in private hands, while the 5-15% figure is probably the size of the secondary stakes the government will offer in already-listed companies such as EgyptAlum and Sidi Kerir. NIB subsidiary NI Capital had been the leading advisor on the program.

Reactions from the private sector have been positive, as expected. “We see the program as positive for the market, as it will lead to a larger market cap as a result of new IPOs and a larger float market cap due to secondary sales of stakes in already-listed securities,” EFG Hermes said in a research report on Monday picked up by Bloomberg. “This should help attract more inflows into Egypt, in our view, and raise market turnover.” Some, including Mohamed Ashmawy, head of institutional sales at Prime Securities, say further clarification is needed as the market had already been anticipating the announcement.

Already-listed state-owned enterprises get share price bounce: The lack of clarification that Ashmawy is seeking hasn’t stopped shares of state-owned companies already listed on the EGX from climbing: Egypt Aluminium surged 8.3% after the announcement and was the top gainer yesterday, while Heliopolis Housing rose 4.7% and Abou Kir Fertilizers advanced 1.8%.

AMOC reaches USD 500 mn funding agreement with int’l finance institutions: Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC), one of the companies that will list shares in the state IPO program, has reportedly reached an agreement with five international and local banks to finance the company’s USD 500 mn oil refinery project, AMOC sources told Daily News Egypt on Sunday. Among the list of funders were the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the sources added. Feasibility studies for the project, which comes as part of the Oil Ministry’s plan to eliminate the use of oil fuel by 2021 by refining it and converting it to other high value products, will be completed next month.

Dropping yields in Egypt could mean that fixed income investors will be moving to other emerging markets. Egypt is losing ground as a top haven for emerging market debt investors and interest rate cuts could make its short-term treasuries less attractive to foreign buyers in coming months, a report by CI Capital Asset Management picked up by Reuters said on Monday. Foreign buying appears to be tapering off as yields have come down, said CI Capital Asset Management economist Noaman Khalid. “We’ve seen that we’ve reached the limit of USD 19.8-20 bn as a cumulative balance of foreign holdings of debt … the monthly increases are now starting to be minimal,” said Khalid.

And the competition is: Economic conditions in emerging market competitors Nigeria, Argentina, Turkey and Ukraine meanwhile are expected to push their respective treasury yields several percentage points above Egypt’s over the next year, the CI Capital report said.

Not something we need to be worried about just yet: That is “something to watch out for, but we’re not there yet,” Anthony Simond, who helps manage Aberdeen Asset Management, tells Bloomberg. Egyptian officials are not too concerned, saying that a drop in yields will not necessarily mean an exodus, as investors are likely to accept lower returns in exchange for an improving risk profile. Oliver Weeks, economist at London-based Emso Asset Management Limited, agrees, noting that the improvement in the economy’s fundamentals provide room for the central bank to cut rates without seeing outflows. “But they need to be cautious … [yields after tax] will need to remain in double digits even with much lower inflation,” he said. Inflows into Egyptian debt might also be buoyed by the potential gains to the EGP.

Egypt is the only country expected to see a currency appreciation by the end of this year when benchmarked by Bloomberg against Argentina, Nigeria, Ukraine, and Turkey.

Emerging markets investment bank Renaissance Capital also sees the concerns as overblown. “Yes the attraction of Egyptian debt has reduced, but only from ‘extremely’ to ‘very’ attractive,” said the firm’s chief economist Charles Robertson. “We think inflation still has to fall from 14-12% in the next few months, the currency is 15% undervalued relative it owns history and is the third cheapest in emerging markets. It remains our top pick,” he said.

Consumer protection and competition authority are probing steel manufacturers for alleged anti-competitive practices: The Consumer Protection Agency and Egyptian Competition Authority are investigating local steel makers for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices after a series of price hikes, Al Borsa reports. Steel factories’ output hovers around 8 mn tonnes per annum, despite having a production capacity of 11-12 mn tonnes, CPA head Atef Yacoub says. Yacoub says “there is no logical reason” for the factories to produce less than their maximum capacity — which has resulted in rising prices — particularly after the Trade and Industry Ministry imposed anti-dumping tariffs on Turkish, Chinese, and Ukrainian steel. Manufacturers have also been raising their prices almost simultaneously, which raises suspicions of collusion, according to Yacoub. Industry players including Beshay Steel say that the price hikes are a natural reflection of rising international prices of raw materials.

Auto importers are fighting the Automotive Directive: Car and truck importers are still looking to delay the inevitable passage of the Automotive Directive by haggling over the fine print and framework for raising domestic components in auto assembly. At issue now: They’re demanding the Trade and Industry Ministry revisit the definition of what constitutes a locally manufactured car part; the ministry had proposed a requirement that a part would need 20% local content to qualify, Brilliance Bavarian’s deputy general manager Khaled Saad tells Al Shorouk. His statements come following a meeting between the Egyptian Automotive Manufacturers Association, which has sided with importers in the debate on the law, and the ministry.

When will the Germans end their consulting on the law? Ministry officials apparently said at the meetings that the legislation, which hopes to reward assemblers who move up the value chain to manufacturing with incentives, is still with the shadowy German consultancy. The Ismail government has until 1 January to pass the law before customs on imports from the EU fall to zero, threatening to shut down the domestic assembly industry.

OC JV awarded USD 180 mn contract to expand Fujairah airport: Orascom Construction (OC) announced that its joint venture with Al Sahraa Group has been awarded a contract for the expansion of Fujairah International Airport in the UAE. The contract is worth USD 180 mn approximately and OC’s share of the venture is 60%. “The project’s scope encompasses the main infrastructure works for the airport expansion, including a new air traffic control tower, the extension of the existing runway, a new emergency runway, rapid exit taxiways and the airport special systems.”

TV network MBC, through its Egyptian attorneys Shahid Law Firm, have already requested the nullification of any acts of disposal which could take place in connection with the trademarks of Al Hayat TV, the attorneys informed us. This comes in relation to Thursday’s economic court ruling to sequester Al Hayat TV’s trademarks due to the network failing to repay USD 6 mn of debts owed to MBC. Shahid Law Firm says it believes the trademarks would form a core part of the anticipated acquisition by an affiliate of Tawassol group. The law firm says MBC’s requests to the court are:

  • To issue a summary judgment considering Sigma and Al Hayat TV network to be under sequestration and appoint a representative from MBC to manage it until a final judgment has been issued in the case.
  • To declare Sigma bankrupt, as of 21 March 2017, being the date of the arbitration award issued in favor of MBC and O3, and consider such date to be that on which Sigma ceased payment of its debts. Accordingly, any agreement disposing Sigma assets (whether by sale or management) should be considered null and void.


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Image of the Day

Egyptian street vendors have been catering to the whims of tourists since forever, apparently: Selling ancient mummies to wealthy European and American tourists as “tourist souvenirs” was apparently commonplace in Egypt around the nineteenth century, according to Rare Historical Photos. Mummies were readily available from street vendors — such as the one pictured above from 1865 — for tourists to bring back home. “So brisk was the trade in mummies to Europe that even after ransacking tombs and catacombs there just were not enough ancient Egyptian bodies to meet the demand. And so fake mummies were fabricated.” There is obviously no way to verify the picture above, but Egypt has a long history of its wealth and artefacts being purchased under questionable circumstances.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning was the meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. Almost all of the papers note the renewed spirit of cooperation on issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, after a prolonged period of strained ties. If you’re not worn out by the talk from the airwaves above, we have the full story in Diplomacy below.

A twofer on the elections from Reuters: The newswire is pressing ahead with its coverage of the presidential election, which John Davidson says is reminiscent of the pre-2011 votes that kept Hosni Mubarak in power for decades. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s main challenge moving forward is the country’s economy, which Davidson notes has eroded the president’s popularity. Meanwhile, El Sisi’s sole opponent has so far been “avoiding the limelight” and shying away from directing any real criticism at the incumbent president, Nadine Awadalla writes. The relatively obscure Moussa Mostafa Moussa has refused interviews by foreign media and has used interviews with local media to repeat his claims that he is “not an extra.”

Buying natural gas from Israel makes sense for Egypt, Robin Mills writes in an opinion piece for Bloomberg. The agreement comes in parallel with new developments locally and covers for future demand. Egypt’s goal of becoming a regional gas hub is also a strategic one, Mills notes. This allows the country “to import, produce, consume and export gas and derive value from shifting between multiple suppliers and customers depending on the best price.” Mills also points out another possibility for Egypt to benefit from the Israeli gas imports: exporting gas to Saudi Arabia, which is short of gas, despite its oil wealth. Saudi Arabia could be a market for suitably relabeled “Egyptian” gas, he suggests.

Finding My Place is “a brutally frank book … peppered with swearing, humour and a willingness to lay bare her lowest moments,” Katherine Fleming writes for The West Australian, reviewing Anne Aly’s book. Aly, who is now an MP in Australia’s Parliament is “a second-born girl child from Egypt.”

On Deadline

If the government is going to regulate the ICT sector, it should clamp down on the sale of mobile phone users’ personal data to telemarketers, Al Masry Al Youm’s pseudonymous Newton says. This issue is more pressing than trying to control social media platforms such as Facebook, the columnist says. Newton’s angry piece seems to have been fueled by one such telemarketer calling him up while he was abroad and costing him some hefty roaming charges. We’re with you, Newton.

Worth Watching

Mo Salah worship in Liverpool has reached new levels: At the risk of turning into every Egyptian paper out there and succumb to Mo Salah worship, we felt we had to include this video if only to demonstrate that Mo Salah fever in Liverpool is as bad as in Egypt. A choir of 60-70 year olds that looks more at home at a church spontaneously emerged in the streets of Liverpool to offer up hymn for the Egypt legend, chanting: “Mo Salah, the Egyptian king.” That, coupled with Liverpool fans singing that they’d be Muslim too, again shows how the striker has become a football institution in his adopted home (watch, runtime: 0:50).

Worth Reading

A team of local environmentalists are fighting a gunless war in Iraq to build the country’s first international standard national park, Peter Schwartzstein writes for National Geographic. After decades of widespread environmental destruction, the young team is hoping to turn the Halgurd-Sakran National Park into a wildlife sanctuary and a symbol of a peaceful future in a war-torn country. “A lot of blood has been spilled for these mountains, so treat them well,” read a roadside anti-litter campaign. Besides massive minefields, militant groups, and illicit hunters, the team is up against challenges including convincing skeptical locals that the dream project is not “just a cunningly disguised land grab.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received yesterday Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir during his first visit to Cairo since 2016, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Both leaders vowed to cooperate in managing the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Associated Press reports. They also agreed to strengthen ties and work on bolstering trade, military, infrastructure, and energy cooperation. Upcoming joint projects they discussed include land, sea, and river transport, as well as electricity grid interconnection projects. Egypt, which is on the cusp of an energy boom, had made these interconnection projects a mainstay of foreign economic cooperation, with plans for projects underway with Saudi, Jordan and potential plans with Cyprus.

The Sudanese President also announced his support for El Sisi’s bid for re-election, Reuters reports. Al Bashir’s one-day visit comes as relations with Khartoum continue to improve following a rise in tensions over GERD. Sudan’s ambassador also returned to his post in Cairo earlier this month, nearly three months after having been recalled for consultations.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his electoral victory on Monday, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. Putin won a fourth six-year term in office after a landslide victory which saw him garner 77% of the vote, according to Bloomberg, with nearly 68% voter turnout than an electoral official attributed to Moscow’s brewing tensions with the west.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi urged progress on the Egypt-mediated Palestinian reconciliation during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi’s statement came a few short hours before Abbas lashed out at rival faction Hamas during a speech yesterday, in which he blamed the group for last week’s apparent assassination attempt against Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, the New York Times reports. Hamas denounced Abbas’ comments, saying they aimed to “burn bridges and reinforce divisions.”

Italy’s prosecutors have opened an investigation into the death of Egyptian student Mariam Moustafa, who is a dual Egyptian-Italian citizen by virtue of birth, Egypt Independent reports. The Rome prosecutor has asked the UK authorities to share details of the investigation, while the Italian ambassador in London said he is “personally following the case”, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, the family of the 18-year-old student who was killed in Nottingham has said that the violent attack against her might have been motivated by “mistaken identity”, the Nottingham Post reports. A post-mortem examination into Mariam’s death was inconclusive and more tests will be carried out, the Nottinghamshire Police said.

A Belgian business delegation is visiting Egypt “within days” to discuss investment opportunities in textile industries, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil announced yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. During a meeting with the head of a Belgian textile and furniture manufacturers association Francis Verstraete, Kabil invited the delegation to visit the new Furniture City in Damietta. Verstraete expressed interest in Egypt as a pivotal market in the region, as well as an exporter of the famed Egyptian cotton.


Phase 9B to have output of 350-400 mcf per day, Ministry official says

Production from Shell’s (formerly BG’s) West Nile Delta field 9B is expected to reach 350-400 mcf per day by 2019, an Oil Ministry official told Reuters. Production from the first 3 wells in the field is set to begin in FY2018-19. The field is jointly owned by Shell, EGPC, and Petronas.

Health + Education

Education Ministry shuts down four private schools for operating without permits

The Education Ministry has ordered the closure of four private schools for operating without permits in Egypt, Ahram Gate reports. The decision followed failure to reach a settlement with the schools, which refused to comply with instructions, according to the head of the ministry’s private education department Abir Ibrahim. The schools are Alexandria’s Elm International school and Schutz American School, as well as Cairo’s El Kods International School and the New Cairo British International School.

Real Estate + Housing

Capital Group Properties planning new projects in 6 October, North Coast, Red Sea

Capital Group Properties is looking to acquire land in 6 October City, the North Coast, and along the Red Sea to launch new projects, Chief Projects Officer Amgad Hassanein said, Al Shorouk reports. The company is also planning to sign development contracts worth EGP 5 bn this year, according to Hassanein.

ODE general assembly approves sale of stake in Makadi

The general assembly of Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) approved the sale of its stake in Makadi Gardens Hotel, Royal Azur Hotel and Club Azur Hotel. The Board of Directors of Roaya for Tourism and Real Estate Development, a subsidiary of ODE, also approved the sale of a land plot in Makadi destination with the hotels. ODE hopes to net c. EGP 373.8 mn, the company said in a statement (pdf).


Egypt sees 39% surge in UK tourist arrivals this year

Egypt has welcomed 61,481 UK tourists in January and February 2018, marking a 39% increase compared to the same period last year, the Sun reports. British tourists have favored Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia this year as they search for cheaper vacations. The surge comes despite the continuing ban on direct flights between the UK and top tourist destination Sharm El Sheikh. The country’s ailing tourism sector has been recovering slowly in the past few years, with a 66.5% y-o-y rise in group travel to Egypt in 2017.

EgyptAir to increase flights to Russia during World Cup

EgyptAir will schedule additional flights to Russia in June to accommodate football fans heading to the World Cup, CEO Safwat Musallam told reporters yesterday, according to TASS. The national carrier had announced that it will begin operating three weekly flights to Russia as of 12 April. Russian airline Aeroflot said it will offer daily flights from 12 June to 2 July to accommodate the championship.

Banking + Finance

CIB to manage, facilitate Orange Egypt’s EGP 7 bn loan

CIB will manage and facilitate a EGP 7 bn loan that Orange Egypt is seeking to consolidate its existing debt and finance its expansion plan in Egypt, Al Mal reports. The company has said it saw two consecutive years of losses partly due to last year’s 600 bps interest rate hike, which drove up financing costs.

Legislation + Policy

Cabinet refers Unified Planning Act to Parliament for approval

The Ismail Cabinet has referred the Unified Planning Act to the House of Representatives for discussion and approval, Al Mal reports. The bill sets a framework for the state to regulate the planning and execution of national projects based on their merit, costs, and sources of funding. Cabinet had signed off on the law in January.

National Security

Egypt joins GCC military exercise “Gulf Shield” in Saudi Arabia

The Armed Forces took part in the “Gulf Shield 1” joint military drill with GCC ground, naval and air forces in Saudi Arabia, the Armed Forces said in a statement.

On Your Way Out

Say it isn’t so: Former TV Presenter Tawfik Okasha is preparing for a TV comeback on his defunct Al Faraeen channel after two years off air, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The infamous talk show host, who brought the airwaves to a whole new low, disappeared from the Public sphere in 2016 following his expulsion from the parliament due to an unauthorized meeting he held with the Israeli ambassador to Cairo. His son had blamed his disappearance on a stroke.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5719 | Sell 17.6714
Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.65
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.65

EGX30 (Monday): 17,172 (+-0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (39% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +14.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.6%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian Aluminum up 7.5%, Egyptian Resorts up 4.7%, and Heliopolis Housing up 4.00%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank down 3.0%, Porto Group down 2.8%, and SODIC down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +66.8 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -29.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -36.9 mn

Retail: 50.5% of total trades | 50.5% of buyers | 50.5% of sellers
Institutions: 49.5% of total trades | 49.5% of buyers | 49.5% of sellers

Foreign: 12.3% of total | 13.9% of buyers | 10.7% of sellers
Regional: 35.0% of total | 34.3% of buyers | 35.7% of sellers
Domestic: 52.7% of total | 51.8% of buyers | 53.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 62.16 (+0.16%)
Brent: USD 66.21 (+0.24%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.66 MMBtu, (+0.30%, April 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,316.00 / troy ounce (-0.14%)

TASI: 7,710.57 (-0.23%) (YTD: +6.70%)
ADX: 4,542.53 (+0.21%) (YTD: +3.28%)
DFM: 3,183.41 (-0.29%) (YTD: -5.54%)
KSE Weighted Index: 411.97 (-0.30%) (YTD: +2.63%)
QE: 8,889.92 (+0.99%) (YTD: +4.30%)
MSM: 4,832.54 (-1.24%) (YTD: -5.23%)
BB: 1,348.21 (-0.32%) (YTD: +1.24%)

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23 March (Friday): Orchestra In Art gala concert “The Three Egyptian Tenors,” Arts-Mart Gallery, 9:00pm.

28-31 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo.

02-03 April (Monday-Tuesday): Pharos Holding’s investor conference: In Search for Egypt Alpha, Cairo.

08 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

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

11 April (Wednesday): The Game Sports Industry Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

17-18 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

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

02-03 May (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2018, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

07 May (Monday): International Data Corporation’s CIO Summit, The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan (TBC).

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday).

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

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

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. 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. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.