Sunday, 17 December 2017

It’s Enterprise, the Good News Edition.

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a very good news day, ladies and gentlemen — just the type of thing we need to keep us in high spirits as we look forward to the end-of-year news slowdown.

Why are we smiling this morning?

  • Russian tourists should start returning in February — and the Zohr field has started production. Taken together, that’s excellent news for our current account and for those hoping for FX stability in 2018.
  • We’re ending the year with an IPO — Pharos Holding has a transaction in the market this morning with the announcement that A.T. Lease is going public. What’s more, an arm of Arab Contractors may want to tap the public market next year.
  • Our friends at EFG Hermes are jumping into the consumer finance space with a new mobile app for Egyptian consumers.
  • And we have news of both policy sanity on the requirement that prices be printed on packaging and new investment peppering Speed Round.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed that he is in good health in a written statement to TenTV’s Amr Abdel Hamid, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had said last week that Ismail will be discharged from hospital within days, and will remain in Germany to continue his recovery, but will return to Egypt “soon.”

It’s a big week for: The House of Representatives. Our elected representatives will begin plenary-session discussion of the proposed Universal Healthcare Act today. MPs are also expected to hold a final vote on the ban on drones in a plenary session today, Ahram Gate reports. On Monday, the House Constitutional and Legislative Committee will discuss the Criminal Procedures Act, while the Planning and Budgeting Committee will hold a hearing on the Auctions and Tenders Act.

It’s going to be a bad week for: Uber. The ride-hailing app is being roiled by allegations that it used “hacked phones and ‘signal-intercept equipment’ to collect data about phone calls between Uber’s opponents, politicians and regulators. … Contractors trained by the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly spied on another firm’s executives and sent live video to then-Chief Executive Travis Kalanick in the company’s ‘War Room.’” The allegations are outlined in a 37-page memo by a former manager that claims the company spied on politicians and regulators in multiple jurisdictions around the world. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have the story.

** Take our end-of-year survey — get a bag of Enterprise-branded coffee and cool mugs from which to drink it: It’s that time of the year again — we want you to help us gauge how well business went during the year. What are the biggest challenges you faced during the year? Where will the exchange rate stabilise? Do you expect big raises in 2018? Are you hiring? Help us find out. You’ll get the chance to become one of 25 people who’ll get our end of year giveaway package consisting of Enterprise swag and our first-ever Enterprise-branded batch of coffee, which we’ve put together with good friends in the coffee business. (More on that in a later issue.) The survey ends this Thursday, and we’ll have the results when we’re all back from the Christmas-New Year’s-Christmas break.

Today in miscellany:

  • Private equity outfit KKR is buying Unilever’s spreads business in a EUR 6.83 bn transaction. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The French are smarter than us. They’re banning smartphones from primary, junior and middle schools starting this fall. (Guardian)
  • The Pentagon has been running a UFO study program since 2007. It’s Stranger Things meets the X-Files. (New York Times)
  • A 75-year-old titan of the Canadian business community is alleged to have killed his wife and then himself in their Toronto home. Barry Sherman was the bn’aire founder of scrappy pharma upstart-turned-behemoth Apotex. (Globe and Mail + obit)

Heading to points north of here for Christmas or New Year’s? If you plan on driving, please read How to avoid a white-knuckle drive on black ice

** We’re taking a break next week. As is our custom, we’ll be recharging our collective batteries in the final week of the year. Enterprise will not publish on 24 and 25 December. We’ll then be back with short issues on 26-28 December, and then off again until 2 January 2018. We hope you, too, are planning to relax with family and friends — whether you’re the kid returning home from college for winter break, or the parent looking forward to welcoming them.

What We’re Tracking This Week

US Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his scheduled visit to the region, Haaretz reports. Pence was supposed to arrive to Israel today, but is instead staying in Washington “due to Congressional votes on tax reform,” according to reports. Pence was also scheduled to visit Egypt, but his schedule now is now unclear. According to an unconfirmed schedule, Pence will fly out of Cairo to Israel on Wednesday evening and will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the next day. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had announced canceling his meeting with Pence over the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. Egypt’s most prominent religious figures, including Pope Tawadros II and the head of Al Azhar, had also said they will not be meeting with Pence. On Thursday, the keeper of keys at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre said he also will not be welcoming Pence.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads busied themselves with an assortment of issues, most notable among which was the Zohr gas field officially beginning production. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla made an appearance on the airwaves to discuss the news.

Before we dive into Zohr, El Molla denied that his ministry is in talks with Exxon Mobil for oil and gas exploration projects in an interview with Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. Reuters had reported earlier in the month that the US energy giant was exploring an investment in Zohr. El Molla is even quoted as having had meetings with the company but did not elaborate on any new investments. “I would be happy to have them with us,” he is reported to have said. A source said Exxon conducted a portfolio profitability reassessment in Egypt following the discovery of Zohr and is looking for “tier-one assets” with significant potential (watch, runtime: 1:41).

As for Zohr, El Molla said the field will save state coffers some USD 720 mn per year. He added that the gas field will allow the state to reroute fuel subsidies towards other services, including healthcare, education, and transportation (watch, runtime: 3:21). The minister also broke down economic interests in the field (watch, runtime: 6:03).

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil also phoned in to tell Lamees that Zohr is expected to attract investments to energy-intensive industries, including fertilizer, steel, and ceramics production (watch, runtime: 4:48).

Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib was Debbie Downer on the agreement to resume Russian flights to Cairo. He said the details of the agreement remain unclear and that Russian tourism to Egypt remains unlikely to return to previous levels (watch, runtime: 6:03).

Adib also had a chat with State Land and Assets Reclamation Committee Spokesperson Ahmed Ayoub, who said that the committee is working on a census of reclaimed state land in each governorate. The reclaimed land is then allocated for other uses, including social housing projects. The committee also compiled a report on vacant land plots for the Investment Ministry to include in its long-awaited investment map (watch, runtime: 5:08).

House Health Committee President Mohamed El Amary talked to Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin about the main features of the Universal Healthcare Act, which will be discussed in a plenary session at the House today (watch, runtime: 5:44).

Over on Masaa DMC, Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady told host Eman El Hosary that Egypt has managed to significantly curb the flow of illegal migration thanks to national projects that put youth to work, as well as tightened security measures. He also reminded El Hosary that Europe places great importance on the challenge of illegal migration (watch, runtime: 4:03).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

At long last, Russian flights will be back in February: Egypt and Russia signed a civil aviation security cooperation protocol that would allow direct flights between Moscow and Cairo to resume, starting from February, Reuters reports. The agreement signed between Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov and Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy took place on Friday after Fathy left for Moscow on Thursday, Russian state news agency TASS said.

Only direct flights to Cairo are covered — for now. Importantly, the status of charter flights has yet to be determined and will be discussed at a follow up meeting in April 2018, the Civil Aviation ministry said, according to Ahram Gate. On the possibility of the return of flights to airports of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh, Sokolov said that this will require additional security measures. The signing of the long-awaited agreement comes less than a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the signing of the Dabaa nuclear power plant in Cairo. Russia halted flights to Egypt in the wake of the Metrojet bombing over Sharm El Sheikh in 2015.

Immediately following the signing, reports of Russian tour operators getting ready to open shop in Cairo have emerged. Sokolov said that Russian carrier Aeroflot is ready to begin direct flights between Moscow and Cairo, according to Sputnik. He added that the airline will open its offices and sign contracts with Cairo International Airport.

Welcome news, but different times: The signing of the agreement comes in a year which has seen the tourism sector recover from the loss of Russian tourists, signalling to some degree that Egypt is today much less reliant on Russian tourism receipts. A recent report by state statistics agency CAPMAS said that arrivals from Eastern Europe grew 116.4% y-o-y in October, largely on the back of an 86% increase in tourists from the Ukraine (many of whom are simply Russians coming in the back door). Western European travelers increased 74.7% largely on the back of a 96.8% jump in the number of German tourists. German tour operator sales for holidays in Egypt increased by 55% this year, according to German Travel Association President Norbert Fiebig. Tourism receipts for the quarter grew to USD 2.7 bn y-o-y in 1Q2017-18, up from USD 758 mn in 1Q2016-17, CBE data shows.

More good news this morning: The Zohr gas field goes live, bringing us one-step closer to energy self-sufficiency and becoming an exporter of gas. Gas from Zohr is being pumped to a treatment facility in Port Said city before delivery to the national grid at an initial rate of 350 mcf/d, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said in a statement Saturday. Output is set to rise to about 1 bcf/d in June and 2.7 bcf/d by the end of 2019, he said. "One of the biggest issues Egypt had over the past years was the big shift in its energy balance from a net exporter to a net importer because of an increase in consumption versus a decline in production. With the new gas finds, it’s returning to this balance, if not exporting, then at least there’s no deficit," EFG Hermes economist Mohamed Abu Basha tells Bloomberg. The move brings Egypt closer to its goal of becoming a regional energy hub by 2018.

And it could not come at a better time as far as Europe is concerned: With Zohr, Egypt looks firmly set to cement its place among a small but growing list of African LNG exporters looking to capitalize on growing demand from Europe. The premium for LNG supplies into northeast Asia, the biggest buyer, over southwestern Europe narrowed to USD 0.80 per mmBtu this week from as high as USD 2 in October, according to prices published by World Gas Intelligence. “Demand for LNG is growing three times faster than pipeline gas,” said Claudio Steuer, senior visiting research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, tells Bloomberg. Ship tracker Pan Eurasian Enterprises says all extra production capacity in Africa will help to feed expanding need, especially in Europe.

In other regional gas news, Total, Eni, Novatek won Lebanon’s first offshore licenses on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. The companies had won the rights in October to jointly explore blocks 4 and 9 — the latter which is in an area disputed by Israel. Lebanon is working with the U.S. on resolving the dispute, according to Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The move follows years of delays which have allowed Lebanon to lag behind Egypt, Cyprus and Israel in East Mediterranean finds.

IPO WATCH- Al Tawfeek Leasing Co. (AT Lease) announced that it plans to IPO 24% of the company (19.2 mn shares) and has established a fair value of EGP 6.93 per share. 75% of the shares on offer will be sold through an institutional offering, with the rest earmarked for retail investors. Book-building and subscriptions to the IPO will begin on Tuesday, 19 December, and will continue until Sunday, 24 December. The company announced this morning (pdf) that it will be backing the share price for a period of one month after trading begins through a stabilization fund. AT Least will use the proceeds to diversify its financing base and mitigate risks, said CEO Tarek Fahmy. He had said back in September that the Al Tawfeek is looking to offer EGP 500 mn in funding for companies in the pharma, education, automotive, and real estate sectors. Pharos Holding is the sole bookrunner and coordinator for the IPO.

Our friends at EFG Hermes have vaulted into the fintech space with a consumer finance solution. The firm’s ValU brand will offer Egyptian consumers a payment-on-installment program via a mobile app. ValU, which will be debut in January, gives clients “access to tailored instalment programs to shop across a wide network of stores. The new offering’s unique selling proposition is enabling clients to access these programs using the fastest approval process in Egypt — without conventional paperwork — through a sophisticated risk assessment algorithm,” said Walid Hassouna, CEO of EFG Hermes Finance and group head of debt capital markets. EFG Hermes has allocated an initial EGP 250 mn in investments to its new venture, with more allocation to be deployed as ValU expands its client base and vendor network. “Our venture into the Fintech space falls in line with global financial industry trends that are increasingly focusing on utilizing the potential of a large consumer market — such as Egypt’s — and taking advantage of the growing number of smartphone users,” EFG Hermes CEO Karim Awad says.

ValU’s first order of business? An agreement with Uber to help provide drivers with EGP 100 mn in financing to buy new cars, according to statements by Hassouna picked up by Al Mal. The program, which kicks off next week, will provide drivers with the 20% down payment on the vehicle at a 5% interest rate. The program has the support of the Investment ministry and the Saudi Fund for Development, he added.

Uber, Careem, and other ride-hailing apps are increasing their investment in Egypt and providing innovative solutions to beat Cairo’s traffic, Tamim Elyan writes for Bloomberg. Both Uber and Careem are also increasing investments in Egypt. Careem is planning to triple its USD 25 mn investment in Egypt to USD 75 mn and MD Ramy Kato expects “unconventional transport to outstrip its car service in three to four years from about 10 percent of its business now.” Uber is in talks with the government to start a bus service and is investing USD 20 mn in a customer service center in Cairo. “If you can keep innovating and coming up with different methods to get more people in fewer vehicles and get Cairo and other cities to be less congested, that is definitely a good thing and not just for the ride-sharing industry,” Uber Egypt GM Abdellatif Waked says.

IPO WATCH- Arab Contractors plans to list around 40% of its investment arm Arab Contractors for Investments on the EGX in 4Q2018, Arab Contractors Chairman Mohsen Salah said, according to Al Borsa. The companying had been readying itself for a listing as part of the state IPO program for the past year, with the company having undergone restructuring, Salah added. He gave no further details on the listing.

Separately, the company has completed excavation work on one of the South Port Said tunnels connecting Sinai to the mainland, according to Al Shorouk.

SODIC has recorded EGP 1.8 bn in contracted sales at its Sodic East project, CEO Magued Sherif told Al Mal. The project’s first phase, involving 350 units, was sold out in seven days, he says. The project is being co-developed with Heliopolis Housing over a 655 feddan land plot. Sherif added that he does not expect the real estate market to witness the large jumps in prices seen in 2017 and for the increases to be limited to 10-12%, but he expects demand to remain resilient especially as interest rates drop.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Saudi Arabia’s Al Tayyar Travel Group is planning to expand into Egypt in early 2018, its CEO Abdullah Aldawood told Reuters on Wednesday. The move is part of a broader restructuring to build the firm’s leisure, hospitality and online sales services and will consolidate subsidiaries into four new business units, Aldawood added. The plan shifts the focus of the company, Saudi’s largest private tourism operator, from a traditionally heavy reliance on government travel contracts into advising leisure travelers on tourism plans, operating hotels and developing Arabic-language platforms for online ticket booking. The size of Egypt investment was not disclosed. The company is also planning to list a real estate investment trust (REIT), which manages Al Tayyar’s underdeveloped real estate holdings, on the stock market in 1Q 2018 and develop 30 new mid-market hotels with 6,000 rooms in partnership with US-based Choice Hotels. The move comes after the company’s founder, Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar, was detained as part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s anti-corruption probe.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Indian smartphone manufacturer Lava Mobiles is looking into establishing a mobile phone factory in Egypt in 2019, Senior Vice President Vikram Singh Parmar said, Al Masry Al Youm reports. No further details were provided on the expected investment value. Lava recently began selling its lower-cost mobile phones and smartphones in Egypt, as we noted last week. The company is looking to snap up a 20% market share in the country by 2020.

MNHD obtains approvals to convert 30% of share capital into GDRs: Madinet Nasr for Housing & Development (MNHD) has obtained approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority and the EGX approval to convert approximately 30% of its share capital into global depositary receipts, according to an emailed statement. The GDRs are expected to start trading on the London Stock Exchange by the end of this month. CI Capital is handling the GDR issuance and Zaki Hashem & Partners and Norton Rose Fulbright are the legal advisors on the transaction.

A consortium of Orascom Construction, Engie, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation has reached financial close on a USD 400 mn 250 MW wind farm in Gabal El Zeit tendered under a build-own-operate framework. Shalakany Law Firm acted as local counsel for Japan Bank for International Corporation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and commercial lenders SMBC and Societe Generale who provided funding for the project, the firm said in a statement (pdf).

Gabel El Zeit will also be the site of a 220 MW wind farm by Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa. The project is one of three renewables projects with a combined capacity of 380 MW it plans to complete in 1Q2018, sources from the New and Renewable Energy Authority said, Al Borsa reports. Gamesa also plans increase the production capacity of its other wind farm in Gabal El Zeit to 240 MW, from 200 MW currently.

The Finance Ministry has invited investment banks tender for roles as joint lead managers of the eurobond issuance program which begins in January and looks set to end in June. investment banks have until Monday, 25 December, to submit their technical and financial bids, according to a ministry advert in the Financial Times’ print edition on Friday. Sources had said that the Finance Ministry will begin its roadshow for January’s USD 3-4 bn USD-denominated eurobond issuance at the end of the December. BNP Paribas, Citi, JP Morgan, and NATIXIS were joint bookrunners last time around.

Some policy sanity: Food producers won’t be required to print prices on packaging: Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy issued a decree sparing producers, importers, and distributors of food products from requirements to print the price of a product on each unit, Al Mal reports. Instead, the amended regulations require them to issue receipts that include the wholesale price and the suggested selling price. Retail outlets are required to display their selling prices for the products. The decree also canceled proposals that made selling products without a clear price display a criminal offense.

More sanity? The Agriculture Ministry has officially brought its ergot policy into line with other government agencies, Maha El Dahan writes for Reuters. The decree states that any wheat shipments with an ergot content below 0.05% would be treated and accepted, while those with levels over 0.05% will be rejected. “This fixes a discrepancy in regulations governing the work of the agricultural quarantine agency, which falls under the agriculture ministry,” el Dahan writes. “This means officially by the law, there should be no more ergot issues,” a Cairo-based trader said.

Are China, Turkey and the Ukraine looking to complain to WTO over Egypt’s steel rebar tariffs? China, Turkey and the Ukraine are reportedly looking to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Egypt imposing anti-dumping tariffs on rebar steel imports from these countries for a five-year period, a number of unnamed steel businessmen tell Al Shorouk. Turkey in particular appears to be leading the charge.

Head of the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) Mona El Garf will stay on the job for another three months or until a new board is voted in, according to an Investment Ministry decree reported by Al Masry Al Youm. The decree followed the recommendation of the Financial Regulatory Authority, which proposed extending El Garf’s tenure until a replacement is found. El Garf had said she is planning to return to teaching at Cairo University.

MOVES- Tarek Kandil has been picked as Chairman of Misr Iran Development Bank, sources told Al Mal. Kandil, formerly the Chairman of the Suez Canal Bank, would succeed Ismail Hassan.

CORRECTION- We incorrectly reported last week that Egypt’s Project Services Company is investing EGP 40 mn in a calcium chloride plant it will construct with India’s Sanmar Group. PSC Chairman Mohamed El Sebakhy clarified to us that his company is not investing in the project. We also incorrectly spelled Mr. El Sebakhy’s surname. We apologize — and regret the errors. The entry has been corrected on our website.

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Egypt in the News

Cairo is “as engaging as ever” and is now a great holiday destination for budget travelers, Lucas Peterson writes in his budget travel column for the New York Times. “I felt no less safe traveling around the ancient capital as I have in any American or European city. The staggering amount of history, with its impressive relics and monuments, remains a dramatic accompaniment to serene desertscapes and welcoming people,” Peterson says. He notes that his stay at a hotel, his Uber trips across the city, the SIM card he purchased upon arriving, and the Cairene staple of having shisha after a heavy meal were all reasonably priced, particularly when calculating the costs in USD.

Egypt got some more good tourism press from The Sun, which sings the praises of vacationing at Soma Bay and El Gouna by the Red Sea. “Each has its own character but both have the same beautiful blue sea and sky all year round … The series of resort hotels that make up Soma Bay, which is south of Hurghada, are more peaceful than bustling, partying Hurghada itself. Meanwhile, El Gouna is north of Hurghada and much smaller and more beautiful.”

The spending habits of the middle class have changed significantly as they try to cope with high inflation and a weaker currency, write Patrick Markey and Nadine Awadalla for Reuters. Consumers are swapping new cars for cheaper models, cutting back on pricy supermarket shopping and giving up holidays abroad. This has been reflected in car sales figures, the weakness in some consumer stocks, and in outbound tourism. While both writers are framing the trend as a major hurdle for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi when he seeks reelection next year, they turned to our friend CIB Chairman Hisham Ezz Al Arab for some sensible analysis: “For the middle and upper class, it is a matter of time before income and productivity start to catch up to pre-reform levels,” he had said in a previous interview with CNBC.

Shipping activities are threatening the environment in the Red Sea, with live coral reefs at constant risk of extinction from intense shipping activities and poor tourism practices at dive locations, Joe Baker writes for Ship Technology. “From bad tourism practices to oil tankers spilling their wares, shipping activities have had a troubling impact on this aquatic landmark… Existing port facilities along the Red Sea coastline have historically lacked adequate reception facilities for incoming ships, meaning that some of them have dumped waste and ballast water directly into the sea.” Baker says “the pressure is on for environmental bodies to continue raising awareness of the issues in the Red Sea, so that its majestic ecosystem can be explored by future generations to come.”

Child burial sites found near Aswan: An Egyptian-Swedish archaeological team uncovered Ancient Egyptian burial sites in Gebel Silsila near Aswan containing the remains of four children, according to the BBC. The burials date back to the 18th dynasty and the find included mummification linen and wood remains from coffins.

On Deadline

Was the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt connected to Dabaa, after all? Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein doesn’t seem to buy it, pointing out that the contracts for the Dabaa plant were inked last week but Russia still hasn’t allowed charter flights to return to tourist destinations. He reaches the conclusion that Russia is making demands that would threaten Egypt’s sovereignty in one way or another — and that we’re refusing their terms. Al Masry Al Youm’s Abbas El Tarabily is of the same mind, saying that the reason for Russia’s refusal to allow flights to resume normally remains a mystery. Meanwhile, Karim Abdel Salam takes to the pages of Youm7 to indirectly claim that this is all part of a politically-motivated economic blockade imposed by Russia and the UK, among other countries.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry sat down with the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss cooperating on controlling illegal migration. El Sisi stressed that Egypt has been working to curb the flow of illegal migration, and that no incidents of refugee immigration via the Mediterranean from Egypt’s shores have been reported since 2016. Shoukry also told Avramopoulos that Egypt refuses to host refugees in camps due to humanitarian and legal considerations, and that the state prefers to allow refugees to integrate with the local community. Shoukry and Avramopoulos’ meeting is the first round of Egyptian-European talks on migration.

El Sisi also met with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly to discuss increasing military and security cooperation, Ittihadiya said in a statement. The war against terror and regional security issues, including the ongoing war in Libya, also came up during discussions. Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi, who sat in on the meeting, also accompanied Parly on a visit to one of the airbases where Egypt’s Air Forces house French Rafale fighters, Ahram Gate reports.

Egypt has “no interest in confronting the United States over its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” an official told Israel Hayom, according to Arutz Sheva. Responding to the confrontational stance taken by Turkey, the Egyptian source said: “Jerusalem is as dear to us as to any Arab or Muslim in the world, but we have no interest in confronting the US or Israel, and we have made it clear to the Palestinians.”

Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf met with director of Egypt’s military intelligence Mohamed El Shahat to discuss developing their military intelligence cooperation, Sudan Tribune reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

GASC purchases 46.5k tonnes of imported olive, soybean oil

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 46.5k tonnes of olive and soybean oil imports on Thursday, according to a press statement picked up by Al Mal.

Real Estate + Housing

OUD launches EGP 1.6 bn real estate development in Sharm El Sheikh

The Orientals Company Urban Development (OUD) launched a new EGP 1.6 bn residential and touristic project in Nabq Bay Sharm El Sheikh, founder Mohamed Khamis said in statements carried by Al Shorouk. The project by the Oriental Weavers Subsidiary includes 1,850 homes, 3 hotels, recreational and commercial spaces and it is built around artificial lagoons.

Coldwell Banker to establish real estate investment company next year

Coldwell Banker will establish a new real estate investment company next year, Chairman Mohamed Abdullah said to Al Borsa. The company will be in partnership with several financial institutions and Coldwell will own a stake of 5-10% while retaining management rights.

Tourism

Ancient library reopens in St Catherine

An ancient library at the St Catherine Monastery in the Sinai has reopened after three years of renovations, according to the AP. The library houses a collection of 3,300 early codices and manuscripts, second only to the ancient collection held by the Vatican Library. Amongst the historical gems housed in the library are medical recipes by the father of modern medicine Hippocrates and the Codex Sinaiticus, and an ancient handwritten copy of the New Testament.

Tourism Ministry looking to make e-visas available for all countries within two years

The Tourism Ministry is planning to make e-visas available for all countries in two years, Al Borsa reports. The ministry is also looking to incorporate additional security measures for tourist visas, including eye and fingerprint scanners, according to former head of the E-Tourism Division of Egypt’s Travel Agents Association, Mustafa Sultan.

Automotive + Transportation

Railway tickets will increase by end of June 2018, says Arafat

Railway ticket prices will rise by the end of June 2018, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat announced yesterday, Al Mal reports. The minister did not provide further details on the expected increase. Arafat had previously announced tickets would increase by 4Q2018.

Smart Tuk Tuk unveiled

Egy-Tech Engineering introduced a mini vehicle that is being dubbed the “smart tuk tuk,” according to the Egypt Independent. The four-seater comes in two models: a 150 cc model costing EGP 17,490 and a 250 cc version costing EGP 30k. The little cars are manufactured entirely in Egypt with the exception of the imported engines. Authorities have yet to declared them street-legal.

Other Business News of Note

Agriculture Ministry to launch its own investment map next year

The Agriculture Ministry is working on its own investment map, Al Borsa reports, citing unnamed ministry sources. The map will focus largely on livestock projects, in addition to potential investments in the reclamation of agricultural land. The initiative follows the signing of a joint declaration earlier this month between Egypt and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Bank to promote investment in efficient and sustainable agriculture. We expect the agreement to encourage development finance institutions to increase their investment pledges for the agribusiness sector in the near future.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Finance Ministry preparing long-term economic reform strategy for post-2019

The Finance Ministry is currently preparing a long-term economic reform strategy for 2019 onwards, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said at a roundtable debate organized by BNP Paribas in Paris, according to a ministry statement. The strategy relies mainly on improving social security through the universal healthcare scheme and improving market competition, in addition to improving the management of state assets and expanding the state IPO program.

Shafik apologizes to his arrested supporters

Presidential nominee Ahmed Shafik issued an apology to individuals who were arrested “on account of their personal relationship with me, or for being one of my supporters, or for participating and supporting my 2012 presidential campaign.” Shafik said in a tweet yesterday that authorities must resolve the situation as soon as possible and clarify why these individuals were arrested, calling the situation “dangerous.”

National Security

Egypt agrees to increased military cooperation with Greece and Cyprus

Egypt, Greece and Cyprus agreed to a mechanism for increased military cooperation following Defense Minister Sedky Sobhi’s visit to Cyprus over the weekend, according to an official statement on the Armed Forces’ Facebook page. Sedky met with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts; the three also agreed to expand joint exercises and include Cyprus in the Egyptian-Greek Medusa naval exercises. The meetings received international coverage from the AP.

Sports

Salah named EPL player of the month

Mohamed Salah earned the English Premier League’s November award for player of the month, Reuters reports. He is the first Egyptian player to earn the award and it comes less than a week of him being named BBC African Footballer of the year.

On Your Way Out

Adaptable charging solutions Happiana has won the first prize at Innoventures’ fourth startup program cycle, Disrupt Africa reports. Bioniclimbs, a research and development based company for developing prosthetic limbs, came in second place and interactive presentation creation platform Imaginators won the popular vote prize. In total, Innoventures dished out EUR 15k in prizes. The company also announced an upcoming EGP 100 mn fund for startup ventures based in Egypt.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.7613 | Sell 17.8613
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.77 | Sell 17.87
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.69 | Sell 17.79

EGX30 (Thursday): 14,680 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.8 bn (69% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +18.9%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Elsewedy Electric up 3.7%; Egyptian Financial & Industrial up 3.3%; and Eastern Company up 2.5%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were SODIC down 3.7%; Amer Group down 2.9%; and Orascom Telecom Media & Technology down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 1.8 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +8.9 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +9.7 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -18.5 mn

Retail: 43.5% of total trades | 43.5% of buyers | 43.6% of sellers
Institutions: 56.5% of total trades | 56.5% of buyers | 56.4% of sellers

Foreign: 44.3% of total | 44.5% of buyers | 44.0% of sellers
Regional: 7.2% of total | 7.5% of buyers | 7.0% of sellers
Domestic: 48.5% of total | 48.0% of buyers | 49.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.3 (+0.46%)
Brent: USD 63.23 (-0.13%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.61 MMBtu, (-2.68%, January 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,257.5 / troy ounce (+0.03%)

TASI: 7,075.72 (-0.26%) (YTD: -1.87%)
ADX: 4,339.22 (-1.03%) (YTD: -4.56%)
DFM: 3,355.4 (-1.43%) (YTD: -4.97%)
KSE Weighted Index: 399.78 (+0.87%) (YTD: +5.18%)
QE: 8,211.94 (+0.06%) (YTD: -21.32%)
MSM: 5,061.79 (-0.09%) (YTD: -12.47%)
BB: 1,265.59 (+0.12%) (YTD: +3.7%)

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Calendar

19 December (Tuesday): Village Capital’s Financial Health Competition: Middle East and Egypt (applications close 3 November)

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

29-30 January (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

12-14 February 2018 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2018 (EGYPS), New Cairo Exhibition Center.

19-20 February 2018 (Monday-Tuesday): The Banking Tech North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

17-21 February 2018 (Saturday-Wednesday): Women For Success – Women SME’s "World of Possibilities" Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

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

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