Thursday, 29 January 2015

Fuel subsidy cuts by July. Bloomberg, FT interview Dimian. OCI demerger moving forward. New Hilton in Alexandria. Obourland invests EGP 100 mn in 2 new factories. Enterprise is PRESENTED BY: The Egyptian Tourism Investment Briefing & Sahl Hasheesh


Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb will reportedly be in Sharm El-Sheikh to discuss preparations for the Sharm economic conference slated for March. It’s just the latest in a string of meetings we understand the PM has had with conference organizers this week with an eye to ensuring the high-profile gathering is a success.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to arrive tomorrow in Addis Ababa to take part in the opening of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union as part of the larger AU Annual Summit taking place from 23-31 January.


Last night’s television shows were bereft of value. Setting aside that Wednesday nights don’t feature the big stars like Amr Adeeb and Lamees El Hadidy, the main problem that this guest reviewer had was the incessant repeat of televised confessions of vandals and arsonists arrested in the Matariya unrest. Not only did news programs on most channels air the footage, but talk show hosts including Khairy Ramadan did as well. The segment showed rows of detained young men standing around, some who looked nervous, who had been rounded up after an attack and destruction of a public bus. The segment then cuts to two of the suspects, one of whom almost seems like he’s reading from a statement as he stumbles over the name of the revolutionary movement to which he allegedly belongs. The part of the segment in question featuring the confessions may be viewed here, (Arabic, running time: 1:01).

Note: While these confessions and their broadcast may seem harmless to some, there are some potentially serious implications in doing this — implications which decision makers in the media do not seem to be aware. First, the only other countries that broadcast televised confessions are Iran and China, which are facts that should speak for themselves. While the youth in the video don’t appear to be coerced or mistreated, the simple act of televising a confession may amount to a violation of Articles 14 (2) and (3g) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Egypt has both signed and ratified. When Iran does something similar, it is also in violation of the Covenant, and as for China, they’ve never bothered to ratify the treaty in the first place. To safeguard Egypt’s international standing, these videos should be taken down, and the broadcast of confessions should end.

Ramadan later hosted Abdel Galil Mustafa, coordinator for the National Association for Change founded by Mohamed ElBaradei, but by that point this viewer was fed up with Egyptian television. Speaking of ElBaradei, he had seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth only to tweet every now and then, but has recently reappeared in his first interview since his resignation in 2013. Excerpts from his talk with Austrian newspaper Die Presse may be found here on Ahram Online. Expect the usual.


Egypt will again cut fuel subsidies by July “at the latest,” Finance Minister Hany Dimian said in an interview with the FT’s Heba Saleh, citing lowered oil prices as giving the country breathing room to implement reforms. Her story, “Egypt on a mission to restore confidence in its economy,” gives Dimian a fair shake and allows him to once again note the coming in 2015 of the value-added tax. Bloomberg also has a very strong interview with Dimian, headlined “Egypt’s Finance Minister Sees Fastest Growth in 8 Years“. The business news service’s piece crossed over into Arabic with a summary in Al-Borsa.

The current managed devaluation of the Egyptian pound will stop at EGP 8 to the dollar, Federation of Egyptian Industries head Mohamed El Sewedy said at a press conference yesterday, according toDaily News. The remarks came as the EGP hit a new low against the greenback at Wednesday’s currency auction, weakening EGP 0.03 to EGP 7.4601 as the bank sold USD 38.4 mn, Ahram Online reports. Meanwhile, the Central Bank doubled to 10 piasters the selling corridor it allows banks, Al-Mal reports, suggesting the move will see the USD selling on the official market at above EGP 7.60 today.

LNG imports will arrive in March after a deal with Algeria’s Sonatrach was approved and domestic infrastructure in Ain El Sokhna port is prepared, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Petroleum announced as reported by Al Ahram. More details below in Oil & Gas, for those of you who need them.

The Council of Ministers had its weekly meeting yesterday. Among their major decisions:

  • Approving the decisions and recommendations of the investment dispute resolution committee regarding 22 issues (Read in Arabic)
  • Approving a USD 102 mn loan from the Kuwaiti Fund for Development to expand the West Cairo Power Station (Read in Arabic)
  • Assigning the contract to build the Sheikh Fadl / Ras Gharib road to Nemesis Contracting after a Bin Ladin Group affiliate refused to abide by government-imposed pricing (Read in Arabic)
  • Approving the president’s initiative to combat and reduce industrial waste (Read in Arabic)

The EGX completed its semi-annual index review yesterday, with a number of additions and removals from three indices: EGX30, EGX70 and EGX100. There were six changes of constituent on the flagship EGX30. Joining the EGX30: Arabian Cement Company; Arabia Investments, Development and Financial Investments; El-Shams Housing; Egypt for Poultry; Beltone Financial; Egyptians Housing, Development & Reconstruction. Leaving the EGX30: GB Auto, Sidi Kerir, El-Wadi for Touristic Investment; Egyptians Abroad; Ceramic & Porcelain; Egyptians for Investment and Urban Development. (Read the EGX statement in pdf)

Hilton to open a new hotel in Alexandria: “We are planning to open a new hotel in Egypt this year; Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch, with a further five hotels currently under development. These expansion plans are backed by promising forecasts for 2015,” according to Christian Muhr, vice president of operations of Egypt and Levant for Hilton Worldwide in an interview with Daily News Egypt. (Read) The site for the hotel offers its first available booking in September 2015.

500 UAE companies invited to the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March: The Egyptian Consulate in Dubai and the Northern Emirates has invited 500 Emirati companies to participate in the summit, according to the Egyptian Consul General Sherief Al-Bedaiwy in a story carried by Egypt Independent. Meanwhile, Egyptian Federation of Industries head Mohamed El-Sewedy, Chamber of Commerce leader Ahmed El-Wakil and football great Hassan Shehata have all been tapped to serve asgoodwill ambassadors for the conference, Al-Mal reports. Elsewhere, the newspaper quotes a member of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association as saying a high-level Chinese government delegation will attend the investment summit. Investors in the Chinese delegation are expected to be interested in opportunities in transport, logistics, and tourism, with a particular emphasis on the north-west Gulf of Suez logistics and transport hub.

The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov has a solid piece this morning with “Islamic State Offshoots Spring Up in Egypt, Other Countries.” The story, which focuses almost exclusively on Egypt, treads no new ground, but provides a solid backdrop against which to understand the ongoing terror attacks both in Sinai and (on a much-reduced scale and lower frequency) on the mainland. Speaking parts from ICG / Arabist’s Issandr El Amrani and security analyst and ex-intelligence commander Sameh Seif El-Yazal, among others. Key quote: “The fact that wide-scale violence outside Sinai has been rare, however, shows that Islamic State—at least for now—poses a local rather than systemic challenge to the government of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Western diplomats and Egyptian officials argue.”

Immediate inflows from KSA’s opening to foreign investors will likely be limited this year. That nugget is buried knee-deep in a Reuters markets piece, which notes that EFG Hermes Research issued a report Tuesday estimating that “Saudi Arabia could see inflows of about USD 17 bn from actively managed global emerging market funds if it eventually joins MSCI’s emerging market index. However, that may happen no earlier than 2017 and immediate inflows this year are likely to be much smaller, it said. ‘We favour consumer staples where we feel that demand is relatively robust. Downside to earnings estimates is limited, we think, and margins may widen due to the dollar’s strength,’ EFG Hermes said.” Saudi Arabia is on track to open the Tadawul to foreign investors as early as April, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, saying there would be no policy change following the death of King Abdullah.

Could it be that global banks aren’t dinosaurs? Goldman Sachs and Société Générale are among the banks looking at backing peer-to-peer financing platform Aztec Money in the latest sign that financial institutions are waking up to the threat from mobile platforms that link individual consumers with other consumers or non-traditional lenders with excess liquidity. Banks are looking to set up their own alternatives to “alternative lending” — or otherwise make a buck in the process. FT has an interesting take on it with a solid slide deck at the top of the page, while CNBC carries the same FT story and some related video. City Wire, meanwhile, has news that P2P Global Investments Trust just raised GBP 250 mn “in a heavily over-subscribed C-share issue” and notes that Goldman is among the banks looking at ways to “repackaging P2P loans into tradable securities.”

Still not sure why banks are waking up to the opportunity and threat of mobile? Check out this infographic on all the things you used to buy, but which are now disappearing into your phone. Then go read the seminal Andreessen Horowitz presentation Mobile is eating the world. Also worth a moment if you’re interested: watch BuzzFeed’s “30 things replaced by your mobile” (running time: 2:01) or Adweek’s infographic on the same subject.

Saudi sets aside billions for fracking. Algeria has reportedly backed away from fracking trials after rare public opposition — and KSA is looking to curb the rise of the industry in the United States — but that hasn’t stopped KSA itself from investing billions in hydraulic fracturing. Business Insider has an overview, leading with news that Saudi Aramco’s initial investment in unconventional shale gas drilling will come in at about USD 7 bn, about 2x what it had previously planned.

Israel, Hezbollah exchange fire; emergency UNSC meeting called: Israeli military vehicles were attacked by anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah at about c.09:35 GMT yesterday near Mt Dov, in the Shebaa Farms area, an area where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria meet. Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UN peacekeeper were killed, with Israel responding with fire into southern Lebanon. Hezbollah said it was in retaliation for an Israeli attack 10 days ago which killed 6 Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general in Syria’s Golan Heights. The UNSC will discuss the incident in an emergency meeting called by France. (Read)

McDonalds’ CEO is out, Standard Chartered boss could follow: With the fast-food giant going through its worst slump in a decade, McDonalds said CEO Don Thompson will retire on 1 March. He will be replaced with company veteran Steve Easterbrook. The Wall Street Journal has a long take and lots of onward links. Of more relevant to the health conscious among you: The Journal reports that Standard Chartered boss Peter Sands is under pressure from “shareholders, regulators [and] staff.”

FIFA should hold new vote on 2022 World Cup amid Qatari bribe scandals, Council of Europe says. “The decision to assign the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was so ‘radically flawed’ by illegal payments that FIFA should hold a new vote under cleaned-up procedures, according to a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),” according to a statement issued by the Council of Europe on Tuesday. “Large sums of money” paid to over 30 senior African football officials or their national associations by FIFA’s Qatari Vice-President Mohammed bin Hammam … “ensured that Qatar received the votes of the African Football Confederation (CAF) representatives at a key meeting on 2 December 2010, said PACE’s Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.” (Read)

If that wasn’t bad for the Little Statelet That Could, The Guardian is reporting: ‘Barcelona consider ending Qatar sponsorship deal over ‘social issues.’ The president of the Spanish soccer club says they are considering cancelling their lucrative EUR 30 mn a year Qatar Airways shirt sponsorship deal for “social reasons.” (Read)

Any state media employee who is also in the employ of Qatar is terminated effective immediately, according to an announcement by the Head of Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) Essam Al-Amir yesterday. The statement followed Al-Amir’s meeting with Prime Minister Mehleb, according to Al-Tahrir News Network. (Read)

Qatari royal Mishal Bin Khalifa Al-Thani prevented from entering Egypt: Mishal Bin Khalifa Al-Thani was prevented from entering Egypt for failing to secure a visa in advance, according to ONA. (Read)


A MESSAGE FROM the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and Sahl Hasheesh:
The organizers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference are delighted to announce the first Egyptian Tourism Investment Briefing hosted by Sahl Hasheesh in Cairo on 25 February. ETIB is a high-level, invitation-only event which will bring together a select group of leading investors, developers, government officials and financiers to gain investment insights into Egypt’s steadily recovering tourism sector. Among the confirmed speakers to-date, Maha El Shalkamy (Senior Consultant, Egyptian Ministry of Finance, and Associate Professor of Economics, American University of Cairo) will be addressing “How the economy will shape new investments and defining the macro-economic outlook for Egypt?” Meanwhile, Ben Martin Principal (Head of Economics, AECOM) will join Fillipo Sona (Director-Head of Hotels (MENA) of Colliers international) and Philip Wooller (STR Global) to offer insight into “Renovation and reinvention, shedding light on the current state of the Egyptian hotel and resort industries and looking at the hotel performance patterns over the years, and exploring what the data tell us about the current investment opportunities.” Further information, including the full agenda and list speakers, is available on the ETIB website.



The Center for American Progress, which we’ve noted before in Enterprise as being an American thinktank with very strong links to the Democrats, released earlier this week their recommendations for America’s relationship with Egypt going forward: ‘New Anchors for
U.S.-Egypt Relations: Looking to the Future and Learning from the Past 4 Years After Egypt’s Revolution.’ The authors are Mokhtar Awad and Brian Katulis. Awad is a solid and consistent analyst on Egypt who you should be following on Twitter if you aren’t doing so already. As for Katulis, it would be easier to accept his future recommendations if he hadn’t argued in the past so forcefully for political Islam in his Intelligence Squared debate. It’s difficult to know where he actually stands.

As for the report itself, while some of its recommendations are short term and aimed for Obama, such as supporting Egypt in the upcoming Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm, Obama is a lame duck president. Most of these recommendations seem aimed at the person many of the staffers at the Center for American Progress expect and hope will be their new boss: a President Hillary Clinton. The recommendations in general fall along three main points: modernization of Egypt’s security to meet new threats with a focus on counterterrorism; countering violent extremism by opening up the political space; and shifting from economic aid to a model of development focused on strengthening ties with Egypt’s private sector. (Download the 26-page report as a pdf)

See also Katulis’ piece for the WSJ’s Washington Wire blog earlier this week: Why Egypt Needs to Be Top on Agenda to Counter Violent Extremism

Matt Taibbi rips into Thomas Friedman’s Davos speech and calls it inspired gibberish. (Rolling Stone)


While we respect and understand that many of our readers are not really interested in science-related videos, it is possible that maybe if you just watch enough of them, all at once, you might start liking them.

The field of prosthetic limbs has made some incredible advances over the years, but for real leadership, don’t look to DARPA’s most recent work, but rather to that of this carbon fiber “Terminator arm,” which offers its owner a remarkable range of dexterity and motor control to help him do something as simple as tying shoelaces or dealing cards. (Watch, running time: 3 minutes)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has released an animated video of what they hope will be reality when their Falcon Heavy rocket launches later this year. The project’s purpose is to successfully launch a rocket into orbit, which then separates into three separate rockets which are able to re-enter, land, and be re-used for launch again. (Watch, running time: 2:29)

To get an idea of where we could go one day with more advanced spacecraft, the short film Wanderers by Erik Wernquist opens with the title card: “All locations depicted in this short film are recreations of actual places in our solar system.” The film is beautifully made and inspiring to watch, not to mention that it features narration by the late great Carl Sagan, who puts into words what many feel to be implicitly and intuitively true: there is a deep inborn nomadic impulse in all people that drives us to the edges of our known worlds. (Watch, running time: 4 minutes)


The MOFA released a statement on Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s arrival in Addis Ababaahead of the summit for preliminary meetings. The statement outlines the agenda that Egypt hopes to address during the summit, including the country’s help in the fight against the spread of Ebola. (Read)

Both Egypt and Libya boycotted an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa focused on resolving the crisis in Libya after Turkey and Qatar weaseled their way in, as they often do. The news of Egypt and Libya’s non-participation in the meeting of the African Union’s Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) was reported by state news agency MENA yesterday. (Read)

Egypt condemns deterioration of human rights in Turkey: Turkey is currently undergoing its Universal Periodic Review by the United Nations Human Rights Council, with Egypt expressing dismay at “the acute deterioration of human rights in Turkey” and urging the Turkish government to cease “political, financial, military and logistical support” to what was implied to be the Brotherhood. (Read)

Jordan prisoner swap on hold, fate of Japanese Daesh hostage unclear: Jordan said yesterday it had received no assurance as of yet that its air force pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, captured by Daesh, was safe and that it would go ahead with a proposed prisoner swap only if he was freed. The fate of the pilot was thought to be tied to that of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. Daesh want the freeing of prisoner al-Rishawi if Kasaesbeh from death row in Jordan for her part in a 2005 suicide bombing. Concerns were raised in Japan that Goto might no longer be part of any deal between Amman and Daesh, but CNN quoted Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh as saying “of course” the Japanese hostage’s release would be part of any potential exchange. (Read)


International coverage on Egypt last night and leading into this morning was not focused on any one story in particular; the top stories revolved around Egypt and Ethiopia’s expected negotiations to take place at the 24th AU Summit. Al Arabiya reports on an interview conducted with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn with Tahrir News, who was quoted as saying with regard to the Nile: “We say that this is a God-given resource for all of us, and we have to use this resource in both a rational and reasonable way. That both Ethiopia develops and Egyptian people get their safe share to develop from the Nile water … I think we can share this resource without harming each other, without impeding Ethiopian development, without making insecurity in Egypt. We know that it is a bloodline. The Nile is a bloodline to Egypt. To the people of Egypt.” (Read)

New York Times reporter Robert Mackey distorts a statement issued by SIS in his latest: ‘Egypt Condemns Western Outrage at Fatal Shooting of Protester.’ Nowhere in the article does the statement suggest a condemnation of reactions to the death of Shaimaa El Sabbagh; the statement simply reads that the violence orchestrated by members of the Brotherhood went under-reported in the international media — and as we mentioned (but which is not stated in the SIS release) the incitement to violence made no appearance in the foreign press whatsoever. (Read)

Jordan’s Prince Zeid, in his capacity as UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, deplores killing of protesters in Egypt: Prince Zeid, in a statement released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday, was quoted as saying “hundreds of people have died during protests against successive governments since January 2011, and there has been very little in the way of accountability … The lack of justice for past excesses by security forces simply encourages them to continue on the same path,” he warned, pointing out that this was “leading to more deaths and injuries, as we have seen in recent days”. (Read)


Ministry of Electricity owes EGAS EGP 53 bn for fuel
Al Borsa | 28 Jan 2015
EGAS’s receivables from the Ministry of Electricity have increased to EGP 53 bn, according to the head of EGAS, Khaled Abdel Badie. The ministry has been consuming gas for power generation worth EGP 1 bn a month, but only paying EGAS EGP 200 mn. Abdel Badie noted that the ministry had demanded a daily supply of fuel (gas and equivalents) of 148 mcf with EGAS agreeing to pump 105 mcf and using equivalents for the rest. (Read in Arabic)

Egypt and Jordan ink new electricity exchange agreement
Youm7, Al Mal | 28 January 2015
The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) signed an agreement today with the National Electric Power Company of Jordan to expand the exchange and transmission of electricity between the two countries in 2015. According to EETC Chairman Ahmed El-Hanafy, the move comes as the two nations look to optimize use of their current infrastructure to help avoid power shortages. (Read in Arabic and here)


ITG reaches agreements with EGAS, EGPC, and oil companies to recycle electronic waste
Daily News Egypt | 27 Jan 2015
The International Technology Group (ITG) announced it reached an agreement with EGAS, EGPC, and oil companies to recycle their electronic waste. The company is also researching extracting gold and other pure metals from the residue of the recycling waste. ITG allocated EGP 100 mn for its recycling plant, of which EGP 30 mn have already been spent. (Read)

Egypt to import LNG starting this March
Al Masry Al Youm, Al Shorouk | 28 Jan 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Oil and Natural Resources Sherif Ismail signed an agreement that will see the utilization of a product berth at Al Sokhna Port for the importation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).  The berth will also house the regasification terminal from which imported gas will be pumped into the national grid. Ismail added that this falls in line with the government’s plans of securing Egypt’s energy needs and that the first shipment of LNG should arrive this March after finalizing the deal with Algeria’s Sonatrach. (Read in Arabic and here)


Minister of Supplies signs MoU with Canada
Al Shorouk | 28 Jan 2015
The Minister of Supplies announced the signing of a MoU with Canada’s foreign minister to increase cooperation in food transport and storage facilities. The MoU also aims to attract investment to Egypt’s grains logistics hub. Egypt’s supplies minister hopes this will allow for a larger transfer of experience and reduce barriers hindering trade between the two countries. (Read in Arabic)


OCI moving forward with demerger
Al Mal, EGX Press Release | 28 Jan 2015
Orascom Construction Industries’ board of directors is considering splitting the company into two, the domestic press reports yesterday in the latest development in a story that should see the company separate its the construction and fertilizer businesses. The construction unit would then reportedly be quoted in Egypt and the UAE in a dual listing. OCI will move on with the process once the BoD and the general assembly approve the decision. (Read in Arabic and the press release)

MoP to negotiate installment plans on back dues from factories
Al Masry Al Youm | 28 Jan 2015
The Ministry of Petroleum agreed to allow factories to make good on unpaid natural gas costs bills from the period of 25 January 2011 to 31 December 2014 in installments over a three year period. The ministry is also considering reducing the factories’ natural gas overconsumption fees from 200% to 150% of the price of a normal mbtu. This follows the ministry dropping its “take or pay” system for natural gas consumption having moving to system where it only charges factories for what they actually consume, not the contracted volumes. (Read in Arabic)


Sodic still awaits ITDA’s response to settle the Mansoura land dispute
Al Mal | 28 Jan 2015
Sodic says it is still waiting on the Internal Trade Development Authority’s (ITDA) response for its initiative to settle the dispute before escalating matter to and filing a court case. SODIC had been awarded a plot of land on a BOT basis, continuous violations made developing it near impossible as the company could take hold of the entire plot. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian reps attending world tour guide association conference
El Fagr | 28 January 2015
Khaled Abdel Rahman, Chargé d’affaires at the Egyptian Embassy in Prague, is joining an Egyptian tourism delegation attending the 16th World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations Convention, hosted by the Czech Republic. With 300 delegates and guests from 40 countries attending, the convention aims to develop and promote the adoption of ‘proper tour guide techniques and services’ globally. To promote tourism in Egypt and the Red Sea, the Egyptian delegation, in association with the Ministry of Tourism, is expected to hand out an all-expense-paid trip and tour of Hurghada. (Read in Arabic)


Egypt cheese producer Obourland to set up two factories at a cost of EGP 100 mn
Daily News Egypt | 27 Jan 2015
Obourland Cheese Company plans to set up two new manufacturing plants: one for cheese and another for juice and milk at a cost of EGP 100 mn, according to a press release quoted by Daily News Egypt. The cheese factory will feature three production lines with investment of EGP 50 mn and will start operations in 1Q2015, according to the Daily News Egypt report, which cited a press release. The new juice and milk factory should start operations in 2H2016. (Read)


Mobile operators’ conditions to approve the launch of unified license
Al-Borsa | 28 January 2015
Mobile services operators have submitted to the Ministry of Communications a number of technical and administrative proposals pertaining to the highly anticipated unified license. Significant among these proposals is a push for Telecom Egypt to give up its representation on the board of Vodafone Egypt, a move that aims to avoid potential conflict of interest given that Telecom Egypt would become a competitor of Vodafone Egypt should the new license launch successfully. Telecom Egypt currently owns a 45% stake in Vodafone Egypt. The Cabinet of ministers had previously decided that Telecom Egypt has to conclude its exit from Vodafone Egypt by December 2015. Telecom Egypt has yet to appoint advisors for the valuation of its holdings, having twice postponed the announcement after confirming it publicly. (Read in Arabic)


JICA to provide technical support to EFSA on SME funding
Al Mal | 28 Jan 2015
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) announced an agreement to provide technical support to the EFSA on issues relating to SME funding. JICA is also still in negotiations with the Ministry of Trade regarding a loan that would be channeled to SMEs along with providing training courses to small business owners. JICA had already established three training centers proving technical support in affiliation with the Ministry of Trade. (Read in Arabic)


Al Ahly Club kick-off tender process for sponsorship concession in March
Al Mal | 28 Jan 2015
Al Ahly Club’s board of directors announced it will publish the potential terms of a three-year sponsorship concession in March and begin the tendering process in April. The club’s marketing committee said the new package is “completely different” from older ones and it expects five firms, including a foreign agency, to bid. Al Ahram group won the last concession, which expires next June, after paying EGP 141 mn for a three-year contract. (Read in Arabic)

OCI and Al Kharafi bidding for the Abu Rawash water treatment plant
Al Mal | 28 Jan 2015
Two companies are bidding to build the Abu Rawash water treatment plant project: Orascom Construction Industries and Al Kharafi Group. The project involves the design, financing, and upgrading the plant’s operational capacity as well as a secondary station and has a two-year deadline. The winning bid will be announced at the Sharm investment summit in March. A consortium of NBE, Banque Misr, and CIB will provide the winning bidder a bridge loan of EGP 1-1.3 bn, and a longer term EGP 4 bn facility to finance the project. The EBRD had also expressed its willingness to provide EUR 100 mn. (Read in Arabic)

Guidelines for microfinance lenders’ financial statements being prepared
Al-Mal | 28 Jan 2015
The General Authority for Financial Control and the Egyptian Accountants and Auditors’ Association are working together on draft guidelines for microfinance lenders to abide by when preparing their financial statements. (Read in Arabic)


Administrative Court approves Sami Anan’s party, rejects Tamarod’s
Al Shorouk | 28 Jan 2015
The Administrative Court approved the formation of political parties, including that of former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Sami Anan, accepting appeals after the parties were initially turned down. This followed the resolution of issues regarding the party’s HQ that had prompted the initial rejection of the  application. Tamarod’s appeal was rejected, however, as the court upheld a lower court decision. (Read in Arabic)

North Sinai residents said to start strike next month against curfew hours
Daily News Egypt | 28 Jan 2015
North Sinai residents have said they will begin an open strike on 2 February to express their objection to an imposed curfew, according to Khaled Arafat, the Secretary-General of leftist Al-Karamah Party and as reported by Daily News Egypt yesterday. “We will boycott the expected parliamentary elections and also file a lawsuit against the governor and other officials because holding elections under curfew hours is not exactly constitutional,” Arafat said. (Read)

Al-Mal asks what the Sisi administration can do to ensure success of the Sharm summit
Al Mal | 28 Jan 2015
The newspaper interviewed a range of public figures to ask what the state must to do guarantee the success of the Economic Forum. Recommendations include: a) Strong marketing campaigns and solid preparation; b) solidifying GCC support; c) finalizing the investment law and providing clear guidance on tax-system overhauls and regulations; d) ensuring the media is ‘responsible’ in its coverage of violence and events in the weeks leading up to the gathering. (Read in Arabic)


Kuwait considers moving to a full cash subsidy system
Al Borsa | 28 Jan 2015
The Kuwaiti government is considering removing all forms of in-kind subsidies and replacing them with cash payments. Among the proposals, the government is considering setting up a tier systems for the cash transfers in order to ensure that subsidies reach the neediest consumers. (Read in Arabic)

Royal Shell signs USD 11 bn deal to build petrochemicals plant in Iraq
Reuters | 28 Jan 2015
Royal Dutch Shell signed a deal with Iraq yesterday worth USD 11 bn to build a petrochemicals plant in  Basra, as announced by Industry Minister Nasser al-Esawi during a press conference yesterday, and which Shell officials said was approved by the Iraqi cabinet on 13 January. Expected to begin operations in five to six years, the Nibras complex would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East. “The Nibras complex will be one of the largest (foreign) investments (in Iraq) and the most important in the petrochemical sector in the Middle East,” Esawi said. He said the factory would produce 1.8 mn tons of petrochemical products per year. (Read)

Jordan plans to buy gas from Cyprus
The Jordan Times | 27 Jan 2015
Jordan will sign an agreement to purchase natural gas from Cyprus before the end of June 2015, according to a senior government official speaking to The Jordan Times. A team from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is set to travel soon to Cyprus to meet with their counterparts and begin working on the agreement, according to Jordanian Energy Minister Mohammad Hamed. Jordan is looking to purchase 150 mn cubic feet of natural gas / day from Cyprus, with prices will be announced later. The gas will be supplied to the LNG terminal being built in Aqaba, and is expected to be ready to receive gas shipments in July. (Read)


Nine injured in Qalioubiya security checkpoint attack: Seven security forces personnel and two civilians were injured in an explosion at a security checkpoint in Qalioubiya governorate on Tuesday according to the Health Ministry and as reported by Ahram Online. (Read)

Former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ziad Bahaa-Eldin published an op-ed in Ahram Online yesterday titled ‘After four years: No alternative but national consensus In Egypt.’ Dr. Bahaa-Eldin notes the current state of polarization in the country, and urges that a true national consensus be achieved on the following four points: “economic policy and how to achieve economic growth and encourage investment without disregarding social justice and the fair distribution of jobs, services, and resources; second, opening up the public sphere to youth and civil society; third, how to mobilize society in the fight against violence and terrorism within the framework of laws and constitutionally guaranteed liberties; and fourth, establishing channels to realize citizenship, equality, and the end of all forms of discrimination in society.” (Read)

King Abdullah’s passing last week revealed a disconnect between the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt (which saw his passing as a ‘victorious moment’) and the international arm of the Brotherhood, which posted their condolences on their website. (Read in Arabic)


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Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.