Wednesday, 14 January 2015

IDH seeks IPO on LSE, World Bank cuts global forecast, renewable energy fund targets Egypt, Amer expands into medical & education sectors, Canadian FM in town for AJE resolution, Emiratis bid for Citi’s Egyptian retail portfolio, ETF trading begins

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Trading of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) starts today: While previous reports had indicated that trading would begin tomorrow, in fact it will be today’s session on the EGX that sees ETFs in the wild, allowing investors to buy into a specific market index without the need to buy the individual stocks constituting it. The first ETF to be offered will track the EGX30 index and will be traded in the same manner normal stocks would, with no minimum required investment, additional fees (apart for the broker’s commission), or need for an intermediary fund manager. The availability of these new instruments on the EGX is expected to boost trading volumes given it provides the ability to trade a sub-section of the market rather than a single stock. (Read in Arabic)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya will hold talks today in Geneva, according to a statement. The release lists some representatives from the elected parliament with a number of participants from the rebel Islamist camp yet to be confirmed. (Read)

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Its not often that Amr Adeeb admits that he’s gone overboard with one of his rants, but last night he sort of confessed that he may have been a bit too harsh in his critique of preparations for the Sharm El-Sheikh economic conference.

Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman, who is quickly becoming every talk show host’s favorite member of cabinet, called in to reassure Adeeb that things are on track for the gathering.

“We are working till 2:00 am every night to ensure the success of this conference,” said Salman. He went into a detailed discussion that lasted over an hour about logistics. As Salman rambled on about the projects (without really telling us what the projects are), how he got the investment banks to work for free, and how the conference went through several name changes, his messages did not come across as clearly as they could have despite his best intentions.

“The investment banks are currently working on 28 projects in a variety of sectors including real estate, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, energy (wind, sun, coal), retail and food. In about a week, we will be giving them an additional 14 projects. I believe about half of those projects will actually make it to the conference,” said Salman. He noted that the New Suez Canal and projects within the canal zone as well as a new Suez Canal investment law will be presented separately.

“Inshallah the new investment law will be good to go before the conference,” said Salman. Much to Adeeb’ssurprise, the Minister admitted that the long-awaited One Stop Shop will be a reality 18 months after the law is approved.

“We sincerely want to help you, but please give us information, tell us who the public figures attending the conference will be so we can start promoting. Put us to work, we want to help,” said Adeeb and his co-hostKhaled Abu Bakr.

Lamees El Hadidy yelled at her producers to display her ‘countdown to Sharm’ clock when it didn’t appear at the beginning of her show. “Don’t let anyone in the government scare you — we want that clock up there,” said El Hadidy. 59 days and counting.

El Hadidy then shifted her attention to the investment law and began reading from a draft in front of her.

“According to this draft, the definition of a foreign investor is as follows: ‘A normal person with foreign nationality who has good intentions.’ What do they mean by good intentions. How do we gauge intentions? Is there a blood test to determine who is good and who is bad? What sort of language is this?”

El Hadidy also presented a short report on Qalaa Holdings’ Egyptian Refining Company, ERC announcing that the USD 3.7 bn mega project is nearly 50% complete, and El-Hadidy aired footage of massive pieces of heavy equipment as they arrived at the Adabiyya Port. ERC is expected to cut by more than half Egypt’s present-day diesel imports when it comes on line.

SPEED ROUND

Integrated Diagnostics Holding targets USD 600 mn valuation from UK IPO: Abraaj-backed healthcare healthcare diagnostics service provider Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) is eyeing USD 600 mn from its planned IPO on the LSE, according reports yesterday in Reuters and the FT. IDH offers medical diagnostic services in Egypt, Jordan and Sudan and operated 283 laboratories as of end of September 2014. EBITDA in 9M2014 was EGP 265.6 mn. Shares being sold in the IDH offering are being provided by Abraaj and founding shareholders, who currently own 38.72% and 40.28%, respectively. Abraaj sold a stake in IDH to Actis last month, as we reported at the time. Abraaj created the group in 2012 when it rolled its Al-Borg Labs holdings into Al-Mokhtabar. EFG Hermes and Deutsche Bank are leading the IPO.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has arrived in Egypt to press for the release of dual-national Mohamed Fahmy, the former bureau chief of Al Jazeera English who the Sisi administration may be readying for deportation alongside Australian national Peter Greste. While the Toronto Star has thelonger take on Fahmy, Canadian broadcaster CBC has the more up-to-date information, having picked up Baird’s tweet that he had landed in Egypt earlier this morning.

Significantly: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said yesterday in Nairobi that Fahmy could be pardoned or deported. Long-time Reuters Cairo bureau chief Edmund Blair, now heading the wire’s East African bureau, writes: “Asked about a presidential pardon, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said: “All avenues are on the agenda in the context of the president’s constitutional and legal rights. … So in principle that is also an avenue that might be pursued but that is the prerogative of the head of state when he deems it necessary or appropriate to do so.’” (Read)

Mubarak fraud conviction overturned, retrial ordered: The Court of Cassation found legal procedures were not followed properly in the corruption case against former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons yesterday and has ordered a retrial. This was the final case for which Mubarak had been detailed or jailed; his lawyer hopes the ailing former president will soon be freed. (Read)

Erdogan, a recovering survivor of a telekinetic assassination attempt, on Monday accused the French of staging the Charlie Hebdo massacre to frame Muslims, just days after his prime minister participated in the Paris rally in a show of solidarity. Erdogan: “The duplicity of the west is obvious … as Muslims we have never sided with terror or massacres: racism, hate speech, Islamophobia are behind these massacres … The culprits are clear: French citizens undertook this massacre and Muslims were blamed for it … “ (Read)

BP is planning to invest a further USD 10 bn in Egypt over the next five years, according to a statement by Hisham Mekkawi, the group’s regional CEO who didn’t give any further details. Mekkawi made similar remarks last month, as we reported on 10 December, citing a Reuters piece that noted Mekkawi said “BP will invest more than USD 12 bn in Egypt over the next five years, and will double its gas supplies to the local market within the next decade.” (Read)

The World Bank released today its forecast for the global economy in 2015 titled ‘Having Fiscal Space and Using It.’ The Wall Street Journal notes that the report cuts the World Bank’s previous forecast for the growth of the global economy from 3.4% to 3%, citing growing concerns in the eurozone and developing markets. From the executive summary: “Several major forces are driving the global outlook: soft commodity prices; persistently low interest rates but increasingly divergent monetary policies across major economies; and weak world trade.” (Download the pdf of the 3-page executive summary or the full 216-page report)

The head of Israel’s antitrust authority David Gilo is showing no signs of letting up in his dogged mission to break up the Delek-Noble monopoly in his comments at the authority’s annual conference. (Read in Globes)

Charlie Hebdo post-attack issue cover ‘unjustifiably provocative,’ says Dar Al-Ifta. Dar Al-Ifta has criticized the magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing their follow-up issue to the attack with a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad holding up a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie.” Dar Al-Ifta said in a statement that the cover is “unjustifiably provocative” to the feelings of Muslims across the world, saying it could “cause a new wave of hatred” within French society. (Read)

In findings that may become relevant to Egypt’s efforts to reform the fuel subsidy regime, a joint Canadian-Dutch study used an EU dataset to assess the effectiveness of different types of taxes on reducing fuel consumption. They found that taxing fuel at the pump is more effective in reducing total fuel usage than an upfront car tax — even though consumers moderately undervalue future fuel costs. Essentially, fuel taxes better target the “right” consumers (i.e. those with higher mileage) and are thus more effective in reducing total fuel usage.

The euro has dropped to a nine-year low against the US dollar, the WSJ reports, as investor speculation mounts that the European Central Bank will announce at its meeting a week from tomorrow (22 Jan) a large asset-purchase program in the style of the US Fed’s quantitative easing bid of recent years. The news comes as the ruble continues its slide, raising questions about the advisability of what is reportedly the CBE’s approval for tourism establishments to accept payment in ruble from Russian tourists. (See Tourism, below)

IN FOCUS: UK TRADE DELEGATION IN EGYPT

Mehleb meets with UK trade delegation, says UK is Egypt’s largest foreign investor, reforms are ongoing: In opening remarks to delegates, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb noted the UK is the largest foreign investor in Egypt, adding that UK investments in Egypt topped USD 5.1 bn in 2013-14. Mehleb also told an audience attending the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) conference that Egypt is forging ahead with its comprehensive economic reforms ahead of the upcoming Sharm El-Sheikh economic conference, which will be held under the slogan “Egypt the Future.” (Read in Arabic)

The Associated Press ran a widely-syndicated piece with the headline ‘Britain opens Egypt trade mission, largest in over a decade.’ British Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood is quoted as saying at the conference that the delegation is a “part of an ongoing program of economic cooperation which will include more trade visits and U.K. participation in the March investment conference … “ (Read)

VICE criticizes UKTI’s delegation over human rights concerns in Egypt: Meanwhile, influential digital upstart VICE News ran with: ‘UK Brushes Off Human Rights Controversy to Promote Business with Egypt,’ reiterating the usual critiques. The article provides a link to the UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI)promotional flyer, which offers some insights as to the projects and sectors of focus by UKTI. VICE also helpfully posts a tweet by the director of UKTI in Egypt Jason Ivory, who notes that the visit is the largest of its kind in a generation, i.e. the past 15 years. (Read)

Most investors seemed completely unfazed. Reuters quotes Don Gillanders, Chief Executive at Airboss Tyre Ltd. as saying “‘We have been a bit unadventurous and we thought we would push out of it,’ he said, showing little interest in a question on political stability. ‘I think what I am most worried about is people don’t buy my tyres.’” (Read the Reuters piece, which provides a pretty good overview of UK views on the investment climate)

WORTH WATCHING

Correction: Yesterday’s link to Mona ‘Shut Up Your Mouse Obama’ al-Beheiri ended up enraging readers for a different reason altogether: the internet hate machine that is Enterprise broke yesterday as the link we provided was not working. It turns out the link was missing the last character in the URL. We apologize — abjectly. Watch Mona al-Beheiri run around in a two-and a half minute stream of consciousness performance art piece on Arabs Got Talent here. If anyone knows anything about this woman’s handlers or when she’s expected back in the country, please let us know so we can wait for her at the airport with a sedative (outside, in the cold, because that’s apparently a thing now).

ICYMI: Matthew McConaughey has been filming a series of increasingly bizarre Lincoln car commercials “in character,” and while people are just calling the performance stoic, we can’t help but wonder if it’s just an implicit continuation of his character’s story from True Detective. They’re all a minute or less in length. (Watch Bull and MKZ Hybrid: Extended Version)

DIPLOMACY

Highlights of the Egypt-Kenya Business Forum, Nairobi:

Shoukry: Egypt is interested in increasing political and economic cooperation for the benefit of the people of Africa: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasized that Egypt’s interest in strengthening relations with its African neighbors through investment opportunities and shared interests, according to a press release issued by the MOFA yesterday. Shoukry noted that his discussions with his Kenyan counterpart, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, included developments in Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and Kenya with regards to its own fight against terrorism. Preparations being made for the environmental summit of the World Trade Organization were also discussed along with Egypt’s bid for a seat in the Security Council, with the statement affirming support from Kenya. (Read) Kenya’s full support for Egypt’s candidacy was clearer in a separate statement from the MOFA. (Read)

The Kenyan media reported that Kenya seeks better visa terms from Egypt to ease trade:Kenyan news site Daily Nation reports that Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has asked that Egypt reciprocates its 3-month visa to Egyptians upon arrival to the Kenyan visitors to Egypt, noting it as a restriction to further trade. She also noted that Kenya is ready to sign a bilateral trade agreement with Egypt. The Daily Nation notes that the USD 1 bn Egyptian investment portfolio in Kenya is led by Qalaa Holdings and their subsidiary Rift Valley Railways, as well as Arab Contractors and other engineering and electrical companies. (Read)

Kenya calls for more investments from Egypt: “I encourage Egyptian investors to venture into our country and take advantage of our vibrant economy that promises good returns,” Mohamed said when she officially opened the forum yesterday. The Egyptian delegation is expected to visit Kampala after the Nairobi meetings. (Read)

Qalaa MD Karim Sadek made the case for further Egyptian investment, saying, “Kenya is an ideal market for investment. Not only is it a gateway to the rest of East Africa, but it is also extremely dynamic with a hard-working employee force. The government is also very clear about encouraging investments and working with companies — both local and international — to drive capital for growth and development.”

A small number of foreign journalists were photographed staging a silent protest for the imprisoned Al Jazeera English journalists outside the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi during Shoukry’s reception. The photos accompany a fairly extensive interview between Shoukry and the Wall Street Journal headlined “Egypt Urges West to Provide Military Support to Tackle Islamic Extremists.”

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Reuters carries remarkably positive coverage on Egypt’s bread subsidy reform program, which features the use of smart cards: “The successful roll-out so far of a new ‘smart card’ system to distribute subsidized bread has been a major achievement for Egypt’s government, saving money while earning praise from families who no longer have to wake early to fight for loaves. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appears to be succeeding where predecessors Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Mursi both failed in the delicate task of reforming a system that has drained the state’s finances while angering the population.” (Read)

While we’re loathe to link to Huffington Post, a piece published yesterday by Neil Hicks, an advisor atHuman Rights First, merits attention. Hicks offers a counterargument to Steven A. Cook’s recent op-ed in FP arguing for increased U.S. military aid to Egypt, and instead calls for the United States to take an active part in the upcoming Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm. “The United States should play an active role in building a substantial multilateral package of tens of billions … in aid, loans, and investment.” The package, though, should be predicated on “essential reforms, including ensuring protection for basic rights and freedoms like freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and the right of independent civil society organizations to operate freely.” (Read)

Reuters published a video last weekend on the latest political and economic developments in Egypt. Running time: 2:04. (Watch)

ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM

GE and OCI to build transformer unit with Siemens and Hyundai in Assiyut
Al Mal | 13 Jan 2015
A consortium of GE and OCI will build a transformer unit with Siemens in Assiyut. Hyundai will also provide the main cables from the unit to connect it to the national grid system, with PGESCO providing consulting services. The project is part of the Ministry of Electricity’s emergency plan for power generation, for which GE is undertaking projects worth USD 2.1 bn. Construction of the Assiyut transformer unit will begin in few days and the consortium aims to deliver the project before the summer, according to an anonymous source at the ministry. (Read in Arabic)

Access Power and Eren Developpement to form renewable energy fund
Al Borsa, The National | 13 Jan 2015
Dubai-based Access Power MEA and French renewable energy developer Eren Developpement launched the Access Infra Africa vehicle, a new an early stage investment vehicle for African renewable power projects with a plan to develop power assets in Africa worth over USD 500 mn. According to a joint press release, the Access Infra Africa consortium was recently prequalified by Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity to develop large scale wind and solar power plants as part of the first round of Egypt’s renewable energy procurement program. The company was also awarded solar power plant development contracts in Uganda. (Read in Arabic) (Read in English)

PM Mehleb meets with representatives from McKinsey & Co
Al Mal | 12 Jan 2015
Representatives from McKinsey & Co met with PM Mehleb and members of the cabinet to assess improving power generation efficiency and productivity in Egypt and sharing their expertise with domestic partners. During the meeting, the Minister of Electricity noted that McKinsey already has studies to increase electricity production efficiency by 10% with its teams having already began assessing the production process at two stations. (Read in Arabic)

Government to build 5 MW solar energy station in Marsa Matrouh; EGP 57 mn plant to be financed by UAE
Al Mal | 12 Jan 2015
Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy plans to build a 5 MW solar power plant in Marsa Matrouh province this year at a cost of EGP 57 mn, according to an official at the Ministry of Electricity, with financing from an EGP 1 bn renewable energy grant from the UAE. Additional projects have been proposed for Sinai and the New Valley. (Read)

State has allocated EGP 200 bn to rehabilitate national power grid, says NREA head; Returns on solar power investments reach 14%, says NREA head;
Al Borsa | 13 Jan 2015
The Sisi administration has allocated EGP 200 bn to rehabilitate the national power grid over the coming five years, New and Renewable Energy Authority head Mohamed El Sobky said yesterday at a meeting of the transportation and energy committees of the Egyptian Federation of Investor’s Association. Sobky also noted that solar power investments in Egypt generated 14% cumulative returns over a five year period and once more circled back to the key message that 20% of Egypt’s energy would be generated through renewable energy sources by 2020. Sobky told attendees that 200 MW of wind-generated electricity will be added to the national grid next month and that solar power will generate 2,300 MW by 2016, all of it under new tariffs for renewable energy. (Read in Arabic here and here)

OIL & GAS

Butane shortage blamed on delayed imports due to poor weather conditions
Al Mal, Al Borsa | 12-13 Jan 2015
A growing national shortage of butane is blamed on poor weather conditions in Egyptian ports, which resulted in delayed shipments, according to sources at EGPC. Shipments from the Saudi Arabian port of Yanbu’ have been delayed and the Egyptian government has tapped into its strategic fuel supplies to ensure a stable daily flow of 13,000 tons of butane gas, equivalent to 1 mn canisters. The butane gas canister shortage drove black market prices up considerably, with longer queues appearing in lower income areas. Fully 26,000 tons of butane were Egyptian ports yesterday, the media reports, which should allow the Ministry of Petroleum to bring 1.2 mn canisters to market and help stabilize supplies as imports resume. (Read in Arabic and here)

BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES

Mounting opposition to end of subsidized production inputs for cotton?
Al Mal | 13 Jan 2015
Minister of Agriculture Adel Al Beltagui is giving cotton exporters, traders, and cotton weavers, one week (ending a week from tomorrow) to send him a list of demands, including how much cotton they need, the area to be used for planting the crop, as well as a guaranteed price for the local farmer in order for operations to begin next march. Companies, weavers, and traders, voiced concern that the local market is not ready for the government to eliminate the provision of subsidized production inputs and guaranteed offtake agreements. Beltagui had previously said he would move to a system of cash subsidies rather than the allocation of subsidized production inputs. Elsewhere in Al-Mal, Beltagui reported that in the first two weeks of the year, Egypt has exported 26,000 tons of agricultural products, including 10,701 tons of vegetables and 15,645 tons of fruit. (Read in Arabic here and here)

REAL ESTATE

Amer Group to expand in medical and education projects
Al Borsa | 13 Jan 2015
Amer Group will invest in five major projects in the fields of education and medical services in 2015. The projects include building two schools and a hospital in 6th of October as well as hospitals in New Cairo and Ain El Sokhna. Amer also announced it was awarded the franchise of Ocean Basket, a South African seafood restaurant chain and is seeking other contracts currently. (Read in Arabic)

Palm Hills’ board of Directors approves capital increase
Al Mal | 13 Jan 2015
Palm Hills Developments’ board of directors approved a capital increase from EGP 3.5 bn to EGP 6 bn. Paid in capital was increased by EGP 1.6 bn to EGP 4.34 bn, and the capital increase will be financed through issuing 8.24 mn shares to existing shareholders. (Read in Arabic)

Cairo Festival City’s phase-two licenses ready in two weeks
Amwal Al Ghad | 13 Jan 2015
Al Futtaim Group will obtain the license to begin developing the second phase of Cairo Festival City in two weeks, according to Al Futtaim Egypt’s CEO. This follows the resolution of a dispute between the developer and the New Urban Communities Authority that had hobbled development of the mega-mall. The second phase includes USD 3 bn in investments to develop commercial and residential projects over a three-year period. (Read in Arabic)

TELECOMS

Telecom Egypt signs EGP 15 bn infrastructure sharing agreement with Mobinil and Vodafone
Al Borsa | 13 Jan 2015
Telecom Egypt agreed to a EGP 15 bn agreement to share domestic infrastructure with Mobinil and Vodafone. TE will share core infrastructure with Mobinil for five years and with Vodafone for three. The agreement also entails providing international calls for four years. The agreements allow mobile operators to use TE’s infrastructure and not having to dump investments of their own. (Read in Arabic)

TOURISM

CBE allows tourist operators to use Ruble in transactions; Russians to be exempted for entry visa fee
Al Shorouk, Cairo Post | 12 Jan 2015
The Central Bank of Egypt will now allow tourism operators to accept payment in Russian rubles and use them for financial transactions. The tourism sector hopes that this will compensate for the drop in Russian tourist arrivals after the Ruble tumbled more than 40% in 2014, particularly given that the majority of tourists visiting Egypt are from Russia. The CBE will use the received Rubles to pay for Egyptian imports from Russia. Meanwhile, Youm7 reports that Russians will temporarily exempted from the USD 25 entry fee in light of the ruble’s depreciation. Bottom line: We here at Enterprise would not want to be the owner of a tourism establishment being paid in a currency that (causation aside) is heading in the direction of the mark in the Weimar Republic. (Read about the permitting of the ruble in transactions in Arabic and the temporary waiving of the entry fee)

VIDEO: Zaazou: Egypt improving its image as tourism destination
Travel Daily News Asia | 12-13 Jan 2015
The Asia-Pacific arm of Cypriot tourism industry news site Travel Daily News published an interview with Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou yesterday in which he was asked about industry policy priorities, the potential to cooperate with Greece and Cyprus to help attract cultural tourists who eye trips with more than one destination, and Asian tourism to Egypt. Zaazou noted that Egypt’s priorities this year are to rebuild lost market share and to build on it going forward, as well as the expected visit of Greece’s tourism minister to Egypt to discuss joint initiatives. With regard to visitors from Southeast Asia — and Asia in general — Zaazou replied that it is well-known that the region is the future of tourist arrivals, noting that China alone accounts for 100 mn tourists globally per year. (Watch, Running time: 8:43)

BANKING & FINANCE

Ten banks bid for Citigroup’s Egyptian retail operations — sources
Reuters | 13 Jan 2015
Citigroup received 10 bids for its consumer banking business in Egypt, three sources with knowledge of the matter said yesterday to Reuters, with most bids coming from UAE banks. Potential bidders according to the sources include Emirates NBD, Mashreq, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). The story carries no additional detail; all named parties declined to comment to Reuters. (Read)

EFSA considers requests from four NGOs to offer microfinance services
Al Ahram | 12 Jan 2015
Four NGOs have filed for temporary permits to offer microfinance services in a number of governorates, said Sherif Samy, Head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). Samy said that civil society organizations seeking to offer microfinance services are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as official registration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, and to clearly state in their articles of association their intent to practice finance and lending activities, in addition to submitting its most recent financial statements and an official copy of its license to operate within the Arab Republic of Egypt. (Read in Arabic)

OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE

WJ Towell & Co considers energy and real estate investments in Egypt
Al Borsa | 13 Jan 2015
Oman’s WJ Towell & Co is considering investing in Egypt’s real estate and energy sectors, a member of the board of directors told Al Borsa. The group is seeking joint-venture projects to increase its investments in Egypt following a series of portfolio investments undertaken previously but it still awaits legal and economic reforms. (Read in Arabic)

EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS

El-Sisi concludes second day of meetings with political party leaders
Youm7 | 13 Jan 2015
President Abdelfattah El-Sisi met with several political party leaders over a course of two days to discuss the upcoming parliamentary elections. The president assured that the pols that the elections will be transparent highlighting that neither the government nor the presidency favors any political party over the other. The Strong Egypt Party, headed by Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Guidance Bureau, did not attend the meeting. However, a Youm7 article quoted a Fekry Nabil, a member of the Strong Egypt Party, as saying that Aboul Fotouh was invited to attend the meetings but declined due to personal rather than political reasons. (Read in Arabic about the meeting or about the Strong Egypt Party’s absence)

Campaign spending capped at EGP 500k for parliamentary poll, says Higher Elections Committee
Ahram | 14 Jan 2015
The Higher Elections Committee has handed down a string of guidelines and regulations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, the most significant of which include a cap of EGP 500,000 on campaign spending, a ban on the use of religious slogans in campaign material, the prohibition of campaigning at government entities or places of worship. (Read in Arabic)

Mehleb to AMAY: Sharm summit is about international buy-in, not smoke and mirrors
Al Masry Al Youm | 14 Jan 2015
Prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb spoke to several members of Al Masry Al Youm’s top management for almost four hours yesterday. Mehleb revealed to the AMAY team that the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March is not just window dressing to attract investors, but a genuine bid to win international endorsement of its economic plan and the legislative changes that are needed to steer the country in a better direction. Mehleb emphasized the importance of the unified investment law, now in the final stages of review in government, which he said will create the long-mooted one-stop investment shop and, moreover, help put an end to corruption in government. (Read in Arabic)

Italy’s ambassador meets with the Minister of Investment expresses interest in the Suez Canal project
Al Masry Al Youm, Al Mal | 13 Jan 2015
The Italian ambassador to Cairo met with Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman to discuss investment opportunities and relay the concerns of Italian businesses operating in Egypt. The ambassador assured that a high level delegation is visiting Egypt in February and will hold meetings with government officials to gauge the investment climate. The Italian ambassador also expressed Rome’s specific interest in participating in the Suez Canal corridor development project and related opportunities. (Read in Arabic in Al Mal or AMAY)

Ethiopia asks Egyptian investors to participate in building cable factories
Al Mal | 13 Jan 2015
Egyptian manufacturers were asked to participate in building a cable factory in Ethiopia as part of its power generation efforts from the Renaissance Dam. The Ethiopian government had allocated 1 mn sqm for Egyptian investors and so far, three factories with USD 50 mn have already been built. (Read in Arabic)

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty announced yesterday the discovery of the foundations of a 3,000-year-old fortress, the largest of ancient Egypt, near the Suez Canal. (Read)

President Abdelfattah El-Sisi will meet today with President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss ongoing issues in Palestine. (Read in Arabic)

Erdogan will make his first overseas visit of the new year to Ethiopia on 22 January. (Read)

“‘At dawn today, the body of the martyr [police] Capt. Ayman Al-Sayed Ibrahim Al-Desouki was found… after he was killed by the terrorist elements,’ the [Egyptian Army] spokesman said [yesterday] in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.” (Read)

BY THE NUMBERS

USD (CBE auction): 7.1401 (unchanged)
USD (parallel market): 7.84 (up 9 pts)

EGX30 (Tuesday): 9,308.98 (+2.19%)
Turnover: EGP 836.7 mn (23% above the 90-day average)

WTI: USD 46.17 (+0.61%)
Brent: USD 46.59 (-1.77%)

TASI: 8,491.7 (+0.7%)
ADX: 4,510.1 (+1.4%)
DFM: 3,814.5 (+1.7%)
KSE: 443 (+0.2%)
QE: 11,936.6 (+0.2%)
MSM: 6,372.5 (+1.1%)

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