Thursday, 19 February 2015
** BREAKING NEWS **
As we were about to dispatch: Qatar announced it has recalled its Ambassador to Cairo for consultations, with one statement implying that Egypt’s delegate to the Arab League, Ambassador Tareq Adel, had implicated Qatar in terrorist acts against Egypt. The Qatari statement also noted that Qatar had reservations over language in the Arab League statement approving Egypt’s air strikes, as well as reservations over plans to provide arms to the Tobruk government while imposing an arms embargo on the Islamist rebels in Tripoli. (Read Qatar News Agency‘s two statements titled ‘Qatar recalls its Ambassador in Cairo for consultation’ and ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement’)
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
We saw two major announcements yesterday — made with shockingly little fanfare — that signal sea changes in government policy: Cabinet has given the green light to the deregulation of the electricity market in a move that will open new opportunities to the private sector, and ministers also approved yesterday a 3x expansion of healthcare spending to the benefit of the nation’s poorest citizens, in line with the constitutionally mandated minimums for spending on health and education .
Less promising is news from New York, where Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s drive for U.N. backing of military intervention in Libya met a cold shoulder from our U.S. and Western European allies. Outside the Arab world, policy on Libya is an odd amalgam of forgetfulness as to whose policies (and air forces) led to destabilization in the first place and “Jeez, guys, can’t you just sit down and talk it out? I dunno, maybe in Geneva or something?”
One of the smarter business people we know wrote in yesterday grumbling about insufficient coverage of the fallout from the CBE’s limits on cash deposits in hard currency. He’s right: Other than a deep dive two Thursdays ago after Hisham Ramez handed down the policy, coverage in the local press has been intermittent. Our letter writer, a significant importer, notes that the “limits [on] companies’ deposits in foreign currency that has not been purchased via the banks [comes at] the same time the banks are not providing the foreign exchange required by business to run their businesses. The consequences are that any company that has payments due to international vendors are late on paying with no control of when payments will be made, as it is up to the Central Bank. This is affecting all companies that have international payments due. Egypt’s credit rating will no doubt suffer as a result of so many companies making late payments.”
We’re fundamentally supportive of Ramez’s war on the parallel market, but wonder: Is now the time for the next phase? We’ve heard stories so far of companies in at least four industries defaulting on some fairly significant payments.
Meanwhile: Today is the second and final day of the Egypt Oil & Gas Summit taking place at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza on the Corniche. View the official website here, and find a brief video segment uploaded by Daily News Egypt featuring some of the proceedings of the first day of the Egypt Oil & Gas Summit yesterday. (Watch, running time: 2:30)
Finally: We’re in another cold snap. Enjoy the cold weather this weekend.
THE WEEK AHEAD
(Wednesday-Thursday): Middle East Congress 2015 – Reviving economies across the Arab World, Jumeirah Carlton Tower London. Read more about the event here.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
The regular talk show lineup was interrupted last night as the major networks, Al Yawm, CBC and ONTV all featured live coverage of the UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Libya. Some networks broadcast the meeting in its entirety and others just aired Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s speech, which stopped short of calling for military action after some of the Western powers that led or backed the military campaign to oust Qaddafi balked at the notion of intervening to stabilize the country today.
After Shoukry’s speech Rania Badawi hosted Emad Gad, Deputy Director of the Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, for commentary on the impact of the Foreign Minister’s address.
“We knew well before the start of the session that a UN backed coalition was an impossibility. The joint statement that was issued by the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain earlier in the day made it very clear that they were pushing for a political resolution and would never back military intervention in Libya. The statement was disappointing, but not entirely surprising. Its indicative of the strong sphere of influence that the US has over its allies,” said Gad.
“So why were we all under the impression that France was on our side? We thought that perhaps the 24 fighter jets that we bought from the French would translate into stronger ties. Did they pull a fast one over us?” askedBadawi.
“Of course not,” said Gad. “We would be very naïve to think that we are more important to France than the US. The message was loud and clear, military intervention is out of the question. However, I still think that Shoukry’s words were impactful. He reminded the Americans of the fact that their ambassador was killed in Libya a short while ago and that if they did not take action the terror attacks would only get worse. He also made it clear that Egypt is not against a political solution. Overall, his speech was balanced. We made our case,” said Gad.
Cabinet green-lights deregulation of power industry: The Mahlab cabinet approved yesterday a new law governing electricity production and distribution that, if enacted, would mean a marked shift in the nation’s energy policy, Aswat Masrya and Youm7 report. The legislation, which reportedly has strong support at the presidency, would mean government agencies will no longer be directly administering electricity production and distribution. Instead, responsibility for distribution would be spun off to a new entity that would be tapped with bringing the private sector into the picture in a more coherent way — something akin to a European-style deregulation of the industry. Private companies would be allowed an increased role in directly managing power facilities, with the government retaining responsibility for overall policy-making, organization and monitoring of the industry. According to a statement from the Council of Ministers, the law aims to increase the efficiency of electricity production in Egypt by promoting market competitiveness, while protecting consumers, in addition to providing a favorable environment for foreign investment in the sector. Ahram Online has additional color from the regulator: “‘Initially, there will be two markets: one competitive and one in which prices are set by the state. But with the gradual liberalisation of electricity prices over the coming five years, the competitive market will expand to include more consumer segments,’ Hafez El-Salmawy, said head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (Egyptera).”
The General Authority for Health Insurance saw its budget increased more than 3x at yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, rising to EGP 2.5 bn from just EGP 811 mn. The move is in line with the new constitutional requirement that health spending rise to a sum equivalent to 3% of GDP. The GAHI serves as many as 50 mn Egyptians, most of them poor and low income earnings. (See item 5 here, in Arabic)
It was a busy agenda at yesterday’s cabinet meeting after ministers were given a (metaphorical) day off when last week’s meeting was cancelled due to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s visit to the UAE. Beyond the power deregulation and healthcare stories above, the most important decisions take included:
CIB gets approval for capital increase, mulls financing coal projects: The nation’s largest private-sector lender has received permission from the EGX to hike its capital by EGP 2.294 bn through the issuance of 229.4 mn bonus shares at a nominal value of EGP 10 per, Reuters reports. The news comes as the bank continues to assess whether it wishes to get into financing coal-fired power generation projects, Amwal Al-Ghad reports, saying CIB is considering entering a consortium to finance three coal projects, each of which has an investment value of c. USD 3 bn. The bank has previously expressed its interest in financing renewable energy projects, including wind farms and nuclear energy projects.
Qalaa Holdings considers divesting Dina Farms and Rashidi Al Mizan, has reportedly received offers from multiple parties. Just a day after disclosing to the EGX that it expected to generate c. USD 300 mn in proceeds from exits of non-core investments over the medium-term, investment company Qalaa Holdings announced before the start of trading yesterday that it had appointed EFG Hermes to advise on the potential sale of Dina Farms (the largest private-sector dairy farm in Africa) and Rashidi El-Mizan (a household name and producer of halawa and tahini products). Chairman Ahmed Heikal noted divestment could “hasten our return to profitability, which we would now anticipate in 2015 as opposed to next year as we had originally envisioned,” while Co-Founder and Managing Director Hisham El-Khazindar said proceeds would be used to both deleverage and fund “growth opportunities … in nationally significant energy projects specifically, including fuels bunkering and storage project Mashreq in the Suez Canal and large-scale power generation projects by TAQA Arabia.” Al-Borsa reports that Qalaa has received offers for Dina Farms fromAlmarai / Beyti, Savola, and several unnamed “Saudi investment funds.”
RUNNING? If you’re throwing your hat in the ring for the nation’s upcoming parliamentary elections, you have until 7pm tonight to finalize your paperwork. Anyone hoping for another extension of the filing deadline will be sorely disappointed, Ahram Online reports: “Some had high hopes that the registration window would remain open beyond Thursday so that party-based candidates could have more time to submit their registration papers. But in a statement to reporters on Wednesday, HEC spokesperson Omar Marawan said, ‘The registration deadline will not be extended beyond Thursday.’”
Al-Ahram‘s online edition makes a big deal this morning of President Abdelfattah El-Sisi’s review yesterday of border security preparedness. According to the report, El-Sisi and Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy met with Air Force crews and lauded air crews’ work to defend the nation’s borders “from infiltration, smuggling and the risk of cross-border operations by armed terrorism.” The president also met with civilian officials in Matrouh governorate, according to local press reports. El-Sisi’s visit came in the run-up to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s diplomatic activities yesterday at the U.N. Security Council in New York.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke recently to France’s Europe 1, saying, “There was no other course of action [referring to airstrikes on Libya]. We had to act, and we acted in agreement with Libyan people and their government. When the situation in Libya worsened, we said that there would be a very great danger to the security and stability [of the region].” This danger “not only weighs on the Libyan people but also their neighbors and at a close second Europe. We need to support the law and the [Libyan] people’s choice.” The numerous militias vying to rule patches of the country “must hand over their weapons and work in the context of a civil action.” (Read in Arabic, Read in Europe 1 in French, where the video is embedded: running time 22:16)
Egypt on Libyan tightrope: ‘Endless war’ beckons: Russian state news outlet Sputnik quotes an analyst at length cautioning Egypt against further military action in Libya. (Read)
Elsewhere in the Libya file yesterday, EgyptAir Chairman Sameh Hefny confirmed the national carrier has finalized contingency plans for an airlift of Egyptians out of Libya, Al-Shorouk reports. EgyptAir has some experience with the task, having reportedly run 60 evac flights in August and September 2014.
Several energy experts are wary that the impact of the current energy crisis may hamper FDI opportunities, as well as slowdown the progress of current and / or new projects. According to these experts, the current energy shortage from which Egypt suffers will be a topic of focus at the Sharm investment summit. Those polled feel, among other things, that the government should create tax and customs incentives for energy importers and new investors. (Read in Arabic)
Egypt had canceled a tender for U.S. wheat, saying American prices are too high relative to world norms, Bloomberg reports, saying the purchase would have been made on a USD 100 mn credit line.
What will be exempt from the VAT? Mamdouh Amr, tax advisor to Minister of Finance Hany Dimian, yesterday to the American Chamber of Commerce, saying that banks, insurance and reinsurance agents as well as dairy producers will be excepted from the proposed value-added tax if it will be used as a replacement for sales tax. He noted that the ministry has yet to make a decision on whether school and other educational facilities will be exempt or not. In addition to Defense and security related goods, and goods that impact low-income earners, such as vegetables, grains, and wheat, will all be exempt from the VAT. (Read in Arabic)
Reuters issued a correction yesterday to note that the agreement to supply Egypt with seven LNG cargoes was made with Noble Clean Fuels, a unit of Hong Kong-based Noble Group, not Noble Energy.
The United States military declassified some of its documents regarding Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of Daesh, according to a report yesterday in Business Insider, revealing, among other things, that before his incarceration by the U.S. army, Al-Baghdadi worked as a secretary. If the United States had wanted to defame this man, it is unknown why they thought it best to wait announce something like this. (Read)
Meanwhile, Daesh reportedly burned 45 people to death in the town of al-Baghdadi, Iraq.
Did the Telegraph spike a story critical of HSBC? So claims Buzzfeed, which shows compelling evidence that the UK daily — which will host next week the conference “Middle East Congress 2015 – Reviving economies across the Arab World“ — spiked news developed last year by one of its own reporters that “HSBC is facing embarrassment after discovering it is paying hundreds of thousands of pounds in rent on one of its London branches to the Iranian government, less than two years after signing a USD1.9 bn settlement with the US authorities over breaches of sanctions.” HSBC is a major advertiser for the Telegraph.
The Buzzfeed piece comes as HSBC’s Swiss unit is now reportedly being probed by the Geneva public prosecutor’s office for alleged involvement in money laundering, per a piece in the Wall Street Journal. That news has prompted other global banks to look for skeletons in their own closets, the FT reports.
Want to know how your company stacks up against startups turbocharged by VC financing?The Wall Street Journal tracks 73 startups valued at USD 1 billion or more — a list that has grown from 41 entries a year ago. Topping the ranking: Chinese mobile player Xiaomi (USD 46 bn valuation), taxi-replacement Uber (USD 41.2 bn) and Palantir (USD 15 bn). What’s Palantir? Only one of the most quietly influential companies in the world, marshaling AI and big data for everyone from intelligence agencies to non-profits and the police.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
Two very distinct visions for American foreign policy emerged yesterday: Obama at his Countering Violent Extremism summit, and Republican hopeful Jeb Bush in his first foreign policy speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. As the Obama administration has gone through great, deliberate pains to avoid almost all mention of the faith of the killers or those killed in recent terror attacks throughout the world, be it the Egyptian Christians in Libya, the Muslim faith of Daesh, or the Jewish identity of terror victims in Europe, criticism is beginning to pile up from both ends of America’s political spectrum.
Yesterday, coinciding with Obama’s summit, and in line with his avoidance of singling out any particular faith,Obama published an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times titled Our fight against violent extremism. At the time of writing, the op-ed has garnered nearly 300 comments, almost all of which are overwhelmingly negative. Again, while many would automatically shun even reading the comments section of any particular news site, it cannot be ignored that there seems to be a huge disconnect between the liberal political and media elite in the United States and the a sizeable part of the population with regard to the direction of United States foreign policy. While most of the comments are openly bigoted toward both Muslims and Obama, there is a strong undercurrent of a complete rejection of his approach of shying away from what many believe is an honest assessment and discussion of terrorism’s roots in a particular interpretation of Islam. Watch Chuck Todd of Meet the Press discuss the White House’s overt strategy of avoiding naming the elephant in the room: (Watch Debate ‘Inside the White House’ Over Labeling Terror Attacks as Islamic Extremism, running time: 1:52)
While there is some truth that socioeconomic factors can be one factor of many that may leave an individual susceptible to terrorist recruitment efforts, U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf’s recent claim that those vulnerable need employment opportunities quickly devolved into widespread mockery on social media, with the tweets tagged with #jobsforISIS lobbing some exceptionally cruel but also hilarious comments towards Harf. She later went on Wolf Blitzer to defend herself after the brief media campaign against her comments: “Lookit. [sic] It might be too nuanced an argument for some, like I’ve seen over the past 24 hours in some of the commentary out there,” (Watch, running time: 1:14)
As if things couldn’t get stranger, CNN’s Carol Costello claimed yesterday that Daesh members use messaging and imagery of Nutella and kittens to lure women into signing up to join their self-proclaimed state: “ISIS is talking online about jars of Nutella, pictures of kittens and emojis,” she said. “They want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours. They actually eat Nutella, and I guess they have pet kittens.” (Read, unfortunately there is no video available at this time)
Jeb Bush publicly unveiled for the first time his thoughts on where American foreign policy should be headed, including some brief comments on Egypt, in his address yesterday at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Bush, who appears much more thoughtful and coherent by far in comparison to both his father and brother, whose foreign policies he took pains to distance himself from, called on improving relations with Egypt. “We’ve got a problem in Egypt,” he said. “We’re holding back from providing support to (Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah) el-Sisi. … Is he a liberal democrat who believes in freedom like we do? No, he isn’t. But I think we have to be practical. We have to balance our belief in liberty with a belief that security and engagement will create the possibilities for the Egyptians to garner more freedom,” (Watch, running time: 1:12:19)
Nancy Youssef, Senior National Security Correspondent for The Daily Beast, writes U.S. Won’t Back Egypt’s Attacks on ISIS: “White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest passed on a reporter’s question about an endorsement of Egypt’s growing campaign against ISIS. So did State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We are neither condemning nor condoning” the Egyptian strikes, is all one U.S. official would tell The Daily Beast. The Egyptian military, in particular, is very frustrated with us,” one U.S. government official explained to the Daily Beast. “It is mutual frustration.” (Read)
The New York Times released yesterday a brief documentary on the “hipster jihadi” Islam Yaken, who made the news some time ago for being a middle-class, educated young Egyptian who left a life of being obsessed with girls and working out to becoming deeply religious to leaving without telling his family and friends to join Daesh in Syria. Yaken followed this by detailing his violent exploits on social media. The documentary follows two of his friends who retrace his gradual transformation from being fun-loving, to more reserved and religious, before his final departure. (Watch, running time: 9:21)
Saturday Night Live recently celebrated its 40th anniversary episode, and every media outlet from Politico to The Hill to CNN have recently done retrospectives focusing on the show’s most famous political skits, where the show’s writers and comedians often excelled at best. Below are a few of the show’s greatest:
Not only is Tina Fey a dead-ringer for former Alaska governor and presidential running mate Sarah Palin, but this particular clip also oddly happens to be a great moment in Egyptian television history. Shortly before we all threw away our votes on Amr Moussa in the first round of the Egyptian presidential elections in 2012, the Arab world witnessed its first and last televised presidential debate between what was mistakenly thought at the time to be the two front runners: the aforementioned Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh. It remains something of a mystery (if anyone knows the real story behind this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) if its was intentional or not that ONTV aired a clip from Tina Fey portraying Sarah Palin in the vice presidential debate versus Joe Biden prior to the Moussa-Aboul Fotouh debate. While the clip as it appeared before the debate is nowhere to be found online, the SNL sketch in question is: (Watch VP Debate Open: Palin / Biden, running time: 12:21)
Tina Fey continued to shine as Sarah Palin in her interview with Katie Couric, whose quote on her economic plan was almost word-for-word for what Palin had actually had said in her interview. (Watch, Couric / Palin Open, running time: 7:19)
The genius Phil Hartman (b.1948- d.1998) did a great turn as the late President Ronald Reagan, subverting the widely-held view that Reagan was a forgetful grandfather-type in President Reagan Mastermind, running time: 6:55)
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Riyadh to meet with King Salman, where the two reportedly discussed the crisis as well as Egypt on Tuesday. We’ve been sitting on this story to see if any further details would be disclosed, but as of no further details seem to have emerged. (Read)
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
‘Gulf states should not help those who are ungrateful’: Sometime shortly before it was reported that Qatar accidentally broke off the Arabian peninsula and started floating away never to be heard from again, the country managed to post online an article that we must assume was critical of Egypt, and what represented an attempt to once again restart the dead on arrival non-story of the alleged Sisi leaks. We say that we assume that the article was critical because we still can’t make out the tiny cuneiform font that The Peninsula uses. Oh well. (Get ready to Ctrl / Cmd + a few times and read)
ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM
Egyptian power stations to consume USD 12 bn worth of fuel in FY2015/16
Al Mesryoon | 17 Feb 2015
Egyptian power stations will consume fuel worth USD 12 bn in FY2015/16 generating the country’s electricity. The Minister of Electricity also said that the average cost of LNG will be USD 12 per mbtu. Power stations’ dependency on natural gas grew from 64% to 70% with the remainder fuelled by diesel and fuel oil. (Read in Arabic)
Electricity ministry to create a company responsible for power stations repairs
Al Borsa | 18 Feb 2015
The Ministry of Electricity announced its intention to create a company responsible for repairing power stations. The Ministry is currently setting up a tendering process so consultancies can submit feasibility assessments for the proposed company. This is expected to reduce the ministry’s expenditures in the long run and improve the operational efficiency of the power stations. (Read in Arabic)
Government allocates EGP 20 bn for energy subsidies in 2016; Electricity prices to rise in July
Al Shorouk | 18 Feb 2015
According to Egypt’s Minister of Electricity, the government plans to spend EGP 20 bn on energy subsidies in FY 2015/2016, a significant fall from the EGP 27 bn that will be spent in FY 2014/15. The minister attributed this decrease to the government’s strategy to reduce spending on subsidies, as well as a general decrease in global energy prices. On a related noted, the minister stated that the government will cut energy subsidies in July, causing electricity prices to rise. The government plans to spend EGP 9 bn on energy subsidies in 2019, concluded the minister. (Read in Arabic)
ADC Energy Systems offers to improve efficiency of 7 steam electric plants
Al Saudi News | 18 February 2015
UAE-based ADC Energy Systems has offered to improve the efficiency of 7 steam-electric power station in Egypt. They are: Ataqa, Kafr Dawar, Abo Sultan, Abo Keer, Talkha 210, Walidiya and Matrouh. If completed, the improved efficiency of the plants could save the state USD 62 mn annually, according to Sabah Mishaly, a high-ranking official in Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity. (Read in Arabic)
ROZATOM expected to build 2 nuclear reactors in Al Dabaa
Al Mal | 17 Feb 2015
Eng. Ibrahim El Essiry, the spokesperson for Egypt’s nuclear power agency, revealed that the Egyptian Government will award two nuclear power projects (out of the eight expected at Al Dabaa) to Russia’s ROZATOM. The reactors should cost somewhere around USD 10 bn, with a capacity of 1,200 MW each. (Read in Arabic)
OIL & GAS
BG delays linking two 9A+ wells to 2016 instead of this year
Daily News Egypt | 18 Feb 2015
BG announced it is delaying the linking of two wells from its 9A+ concession to 2016. The wells, which would have increased gas production by 150 mcf a day were supposed to be linked this year. Linking the two wells was delayed presumably so that the new purchase prices, currently being negotiated with the government, be applied to production from there. Rashpetco, BG’s local affiliate, changed the names of the two wells to 9B+ as they will be linked in mid-2016 with the phase 9B wells. (Read)
Eni limits expat staff in Libya to offshore facilities, reduces their numbers
Reuters | 17 Feb 2015
Italy’s Eni announced it is reducing the number of expatriate staff working in Libya in the light of increasing terrorist threat. Oil and gas production is proceeding regularly as Eni noted that the number expatriates and local workers in Libya were enough to sustain normal production activities. However, Eni limited the presence of expat staff in Libya to “certain offshore facilities,” according to the company’s spokesperson. (Read)
EGAS considering setting the second FSRU unit at the Adabiya Port
Al Shorouk | 18 Feb 2015
EGAS is considering renting space at the Adabiya Port to set a second FSRU unit there. The transport ministry had refused a request by EGAS to use the port at Port Said for that in fears that setting up the FSRU there would disrupt progress with the new Suez Canal project. EGAS will now assess funding options to finance the building of a new pier at the Adabiya Port to allow the FSRU to dock there. (Read in Arabic)
Ministry of Petroleum seeks EGP 15 bn from IPOs
Al Ahram | 18 Feb 2015
The Ministry of Petroleum says that planned flotation of its shares in oil companies aims to raise EGP 15 bn, according to oil minister Sherif Ismail. Ismail will meet with representatives from NBE and Banque Misr to negotiate company valuations. The ministry plans to float companies in both EGP and USD and will use the proceeds to finance sector projects, and not to repay debts owed to IOCs. (Read in Arabic)
EGPC seeks 282,000 tonnes of gasoline and gasoil for March delivery
Business Recorder | 17 Feb 2015
EGPC has issued tenders for a total of 282,000 tons of gasoline and gasoil for March delivery for delivery to Suez Port. Offers for the tenders close on 19 February, with a validity until 25 February. (Read)
Misr Petroleum seeks to increase exports
Veto | 18 Feb 2015
According to Mohamed Shaaban, the president of Misr Petroleum, the company is in the process of devising a plan to distribute its oil products to foreign markets. Last year, the company exported its products to Kenya and Libya, achieving modest revenues. This year the company plans to enter the Iraqi market through a local agent. Misr Petroleum also plans to enter several countries in sub Saharan Africa in the near future, according to Shaaban. (Read in Arabic)
Egyptian and Jordanian oil ministers meet in Amman
Youm7 | 18 Feb 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum, Sherif Ismail, met with his Jordanian counterpart, Mohamed Hamid, on Wednesday in Amman. The two discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of crude oil and natural gas production.(Read in Arabic)
BASIC MATERIALS & COMMODITIES
Naeem Holdings to build EGP 155 mn corn mill
Al Borsa | 18 Feb 2015
Naeem Holdings is investing EGP 155 mn in financing 95% of the cost of building a corn mill in the Tenth of Ramadan City. The mill is expected to be the largest regionally and have a capacity to grind 1,500 tonnes of maize to produce 1000 tons of fructose along with other products. Turkey’s Sigma PT will design and oversee operations after placing the winning bid for the mill. (Read in Arabic)
ASCOM eyes capital increase
Al Borsa | 18 Feb 2015
ASCOM announced its intention to increase its issued capital by EGP 150 mn to EGP 500 mn through the issuance of 15 mn shares at a nominal value of EGP 10 each. The company will use EGP 35 mn to fund exploration and development at its Ethiopian gold mining project, EGP 72.5 mn and EGP 21.5 mn to cover capital increases at Glassrock and ASCOM for Chemical and Carbonates Manufacturing, respectively, and finally EGP 21 mn to be added to ASCOM’s working capital. (Read in Arabic)
Finance ministry wants to apply VAT on companies in free industrial zones
Al Mal | 18 Feb 2015
The finance ministry will seek to apply VAT on corporations operating in free industrial zones. The tax authority is currently waiting for the new unified investment law to check the limitations on its ability to impose the tax. The issue is still be deliberated with the ministry of industry and trade. (Read in Arabic)
EIPICO targets EGP 370 mn in exports in 2015
Amwal Al Ghad | 18 Feb 2015
Egyptian pharmaceuticals producer EIPICO is targeting EGP 370 mn in exports in 2015. In 2014, EIPICO exported EGP 320 mn worth of products. The company currently has access to 80 export markets. (Read in Arabic)
World Bank planning healthcare project with Egypt’s Ministry of Health
Al Mal | 18 Feb 2015
Enis Baris, Sector Manager for Health, Nutrition and Population in the Middle East and North Africa Region of the World Bank, revealed to Al Mal that the World Bank will soon announce a new project in healthcare with an investment value of USD 400mn. (Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Planning ministry to present ERTU restructuring planning in March
Amwal Al Ghad | 17 Feb 2015
The Ministry of Planning will present to the government a plan to restructure the Egyptian Radio and TV Union (ERTU) before the end of March. The plan seeks to restructure the managerial structure at ERTU, improve workers conditions, and limit the entity’s losses. ERTU recorded a deficit of EGP 13.6 bn in FY2013/14. (Read in Arabic)
Hurghada Port closed due to bad weather
Al Borsa | 18 Feb 2015
Operations at the Hurghada Port were halted yesterday due to poor weather conditions, according to the Red Sea ports authority. Wind speed reached 21 knots at the port with wave height going over two meters. (Read in Arabic)
Dar El Handasah meets with investment banks to promote the New Suez Canal
Al Mal | 18 Feb 2015
Dar El Handasah met with 30 banking institutions for financing opportunities for the planned projects at the New Suez Canal undertaking. DEH explained that the reason behind these meetings is to not only raise funds, but to also promote the numerous projects that are available in order to set the stage before the upcoming investment conference in Sharm this March. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Minister of Trade and Industry set to arrive in Paris tomorrow
Moheet | 18 Feb 2015
Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour is scheduled to arrive in Paris tomorrow for a two day trip to promote the investment summit in March. Abdel Nour is expected to meet with the heads of 20 French companies, and will discuss investment opportunities for French companies in Egypt, with particular emphasis on the Suez Canal Corridor project. (Read in Arabic)
Question: Let’s say you’re the Moroccan king. Why would you allow this photograph of yourself to be published on a Moroccan news site? Also: why are you walking around wearing yellow pajamas in public?
Theory: Andy Kaufman didn’t pass away in 1984, but has actually been living all these years in character asTony Clifton, who in turn has been living all these in character as the former Qatari emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
BY THE NUMBERS
USD CBE auction (Wednesday, 18 Feb): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 18 Feb): 7.69 (-0.01 from Tuesday, 17 Feb)
EGX30 (Wednesday): 9,537.23 (+1.10%%)
Turnover: EGP 500.1 mn (27% below the 90-day average)
WTI: USD 50.66 (-2.84%)
Brent: USD 59.56 (-1.60%)
TASI: 9,407.9 (-0.4%)
ADX: 4,674.5 (+0.3%)
DFM: 3,857.5 (-0.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 451.1 (+0.2%)
QE: 12,561.9 (+0.1%)
MSM: 6,691.8 (-0.04%)
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