Thursday, 5 March 2015

Investment law approved. And to close out a slow news week: Monkeys on the loose in Nasr City. Talk show hosts join social and print media in losing it over Hani Messiry. And Sama El-Masry is looking to get into politics…


Two stories are on our minds as this very slow business news week crawls to a close: Cabinet has approved the draft investment law, leaving us wanting to see the text in either language, particularly given both (a) the scant details we’ve seen so far and (b) the absence (to date) of any mention of setting a clear 10-year plan for tax rates, as Investment Minister Ashraf Salman suggested last week.

The second is the fate of Arabtec’s USD 40 bn plan to build 1 mn affordable homes nationwide. Arabtec CEO Khadem Abdulla Al-Qubaisi was due in Cairo yesterday for talks with the Housing Ministry; a source had told Reuters to expect news of the way forward yesterday or today. Al-Shorouk reported yesterday that Al-Qubaisi’s legal team had received a draft of proposed amendments to the contract prior to his arrival in Egypt; the primary bone of contention remains how land sales to Arabtec will be organized.


The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) continues today and closes tomorrow in Cairo. You can check out Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s address to the delegates here.


Palm Hills Developments will hold its FY2014 results call on Monday, 9 March 2015, at 3:00pm CLT.

The landmark Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) runs 13-15 March (Friday-Sunday) in Sharm El-Sheikh. EgyptAir said it will increase the number of flights to Sharm El Sheikh on its charter line EgyptAir Express from 35 to 70 flights in preparation for the investment conference, according to Al Borsa.


Rania Badawy filled in for Amr Adeeb, as she usually does on Wednesdays, hosting Dr. Hala Mustafa, the prolific political science author and analyst. The two spoke of a number of challenges Egypt faces domestically and within the region. Regarding the possibility of reconciliation with Turkey, Dr. Mustafa answered instead with a question of her own: “Turkey’s interests are aligned with the Ikhwan. To consider what would bring about a change in this strategy, one must ask, what would Turkey receive in return?”

On the question of the future role of Salafists in Egypt, Dr. Mustafa warned “One can’t fight one religious movement [the Ikhwan] with another.”

ONTV played a rerun of Youssef El Hosseiny’s Monday-night interview of Egyptian Steel group CEO Ahmed Abou Hashima.

Khairy Ramadan appeared on CBC Egypt in lieu of Lamees El Hadidy, as per usual as well on Wednesday nights. The opening sequence, ripped off from that of Game of Thrones, never stops being annoying.

Ramadan opened with news of the fire that consumed part of the International Conference Center in Nasr City yesterday. While showing footage from the burnt out interior, Ramadan claimed that the damages were upwards of EGP 300 mn. Ramadan hastily asserted that the fire seemed to be an act of arson, only to have Minister of Trade and Industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour call in to the program and bring some clarity to the reporting. He began by stating that the loss is obviously regrettable, but pointed out that the authorities believe the cause of the fire was a short circuit. The Minister also noted that only a part of the center was destroyed in the fire — a section called the Gallery as well as another hall, and that estimates of the costs of the damage have not yet been assessed.

Abdel Nour stressed the limited nature of the damage, and that an event set to take place today (Thursday) at 2:00 pm local Cairo time will go on as planned, as it will be held in a section of the center that was undamaged by the blaze.

In the middle of his program, Ramadan joined the media feeding frenzy currently revolving around the Governor of Alexandria Hani El-Messiry and the manufactured controversy over the public appearances his wife has made with him at official events. Ramadan began with a clumsy segue from the fire to the issue of the governor by saying the common theme was of public duty: “He who doesn’t want to accept responsibility should stay at home.” Which is definitely an interesting argument to make for the governor’s wife to … stay at home?

Ramadan played a clip from an Alexandrian television program featuring an interview with the governor speaking on the same issue. The governor simply replied that Egypt needs everyone it can working for it right now. After the clip, Ramadan kept getting himself tangled in his own rhetoric. “Some may say that the media discussing this issue is a waste of time. Yes, it’s a waste of time. And he’s the one making us waste this time. He’s wasting time by involving his wife in his work.” If reading that doesn’t make sense at first glance, it’s because it didn’t make sense when he said it.

Ramadan then claimed this is the reason why so many people turned down gubernatorial positions — because the country doesn’t have politicians. At no point did he wonder aloud that perhaps very talented and competent people avoid political life in Egypt because of the omnipresent threat of libel, slander and general defamation by the Egyptian media. “What does all this mean? There’s chaos. Chaos that makes a terrorist go blow something up. Chaos that makes a governor say this is who I am.” — Yes, that’s a real quote.

Ramadan later hosted Minister of Health Dr. Adel El Adawi, who halfway through his appearance made Ramadan visibly squirm as he described his own bouts of defamation at the hands of the Egyptian media, with Ramadan looking as if he was attempting to decouple the minister’s statements from his own previous tirade:

“But those reports about you were false.”

“Yes, they were false,” the minister replied, at which point Ramadan visibly relaxed and continued the interview.

CORRECTIONS: In yesterday’s talk show review, this guest reviewer misspelled (and the editor failed to correct) the Minister of Social Solidarity’s family name. The minister’s name is Ghada Waly, not Ghada Wady.

This guest reviewer also did not realize that Ibrahim Eissa’s show is actually always that bad, with his show opening in the same TMZ format every night. We apologize for this writer’s error, as this is the product of years of having a television set that is not plugged into the wall, serving only a decorative purposes so as to better blend-in with the normals. We regret the error.


Cabinet approves investment law: Investment Minister Ashraf Salman kept his promise, made earlier this week in Dubai, to pass the new investment act by “8-9 March” as Cabinet approved the legislation yesterday, setting it up for president Abdelfattah El-Sisi to sign it into law. As Reuters put it, the law would make “deals less vulnerable to legal disputes or changes in government, and reducing stifling bureaucracy.” Details are thin at the moment, but the law apparently includes provisions on issues including:

  • Companies (as legal persons) and individual employees will face the legal consequences of any violations of law and regulations, apparently more along the lines of a western model than today’s case in Egypt, where senior execs bear personal criminal and civil liability for any act of the company;
  • Guarantees for contracts signed with the government and state agencies;
  • Investment incentives for labor-intensive projects;
  • The establishment of a one-stop investment shop and streamlined procedures to form, fund and exit a company. Under the one-stop-shop provisions, GAFI will act on behalf of all state agencies for investments in sectors to be identified by separate regulator (apparently a presidential decree will be forthcoming on this front).
  • If an investor decides to liquidate his / her business, the government would have 120 days to respond to the request, which is automatically granted if there is no state response within that period;
  • Capital equipment will be taxed at 5%, deductible from the first tax filing;
  • 30% of the value of capital equipment purchased can be deducted in the company’s first tax filing period
  • The law contains a new method for land allocation that all government entities will abide by;
  • SMEs will enjoy new (so-far unspecified) protections.
  • Dispute resolution procedures have been streamlined.

NOTABLE: No detail has yet emerged on a 10-year fixed tax rate. Although we have yet to see a copy online of the final text in either language, you can find more coverage of the investment law in Al-Mal, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Reuters and Ahram Online.

In addition to signing off on the investment law, cabinet took decisions yesterday including:

  • Approving the establishment of licensing authority for arms at the interior ministry. (Read in Arabic)
  • Amending some laws relating to the new urban communities to optimize resource usage. (Read in Arabic)
  • Agreeing to the administrative processes to issue USD 1.5 bn in dollar denominated debt. (Read in Arabic)
  • Agreeing to issue tenders for the selection of external legal counsel and underwriters on the sovereign bond issue. (Read in Arabic)

Monkeys broke out of a veterinary hospital in Nasr City and set the International Conference Center on fire: No, not really. But we’ll take whatever opportunity we can to shoehorn in this video. Please forgive us for joking about it; it helps us process the increasingly undeniable possibility that Egypt appears to be a portal into another universe. The facts: Yes, monkeys did escape from a veterinary hospital. And yes, part of the conference center was lost to a fire. But as of now, the only common thread connecting the two incidents appears to be that both events took place in Nasr City yesterday near or not too far from Tayaran Street. As of now, officials believe the cause of the fire was likely due to a short circuit. Residents of Nasr City can rest assured, however, that the monkeys will not be able to get far from the site of their escape, due to their inability to cross Nasr City’s roads, as everyone knows that monkeys that can’t swim (only Nasr City residents are likely to get that last part). Pictures of the monkeys on the loose may be found here at Youm7 and at Al Mogaz.

Orascom Construction will offer 11% of its shares on the EGX to raise USD 185 mn in two tranches, with the first closing today, according to Reuters. In total, 12.984 mn shares will be issued at EGP 108.71 per share and the stock is expected to begin trading between 9-11 March. Orascom did not give a time for the second tranche but a source close to the matter told Reuters that the door would close for orders on both tranches today.

Sovaldi generics now available at pharmacies, retail price at EGP 2,670 per pack: Hepatitis C cure Sovaldi’s generics are now available at Egyptian pharmacies at a cost of EGP 2,670 per pack, according to the Minister of Health, Adel El- Adawi. The generics have a similar quality to Sovaldi, Adawi added noting the ministries plans to treat 200 thousand patients annually. Al Borsa notes that, according to the most recent data, there are seven mn Egyptians living with Hepatitis C and 150 thousand new cases are discovered annually. (Read in Arabic)

‘Egypt negotiates with Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Rafah crossing -Sources’: Ahram Online cites unnamed sources as saying that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group has proposed to the Egyptian government that it be empowered to manage the administration of the Rafah-Gaza border. Reports from the last Gaza conflict suggested that the government was in contact with the PIJ in its efforts to negotiate a ceasefire. (Read)

Ahmed Ezz gives up second steel license: Per Ahram Online: “Egypt’s Mubarak era steel tycoon, Ahmed Ezz, returned to the state a steel license acquired illegally in 2009 in response to an ongoing trial in the criminal court. The former chairman of Ezz Steel, along with the former head of the Industrial Development Authority Amr Assal, face retrial in a case of squandering public money worth EGP 660 mn in relation to the improper acquisition and use of the license.”

Egypt to showcase USD 5.3 bn in tourism projects‘ (at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai) may be a press release, but it has a decent little overview of tourism patterns and retail developments nationwide, with the primary source being Minister of Tourism . Highlights: Tourist spending per-night rose to USD 80.10 from USD 72.00 in the first half of 2014, and revenues in the industry were up 23.6% last year. The story also has a quick roundup of some of the larger projects presently under development, which apparently include nine hotels or resorts and seven malls.

Marina Tourist Center will be the third housing ministry project to debut in investment summit: The Ministry of Housing announced it will debut the El-Alamein Marina Tourist Center among the ministry’s projects in next week’s investment summit in Sharm. This marks the third housing project announced by the ministry, with the others being October Oasis and Zayed Crystal Spark. (Read in Daily News Egypt)

Sama El Masry interviewed by Masrawy: “I may quit singing and focus on politics.”

Dubai property prices falling faster: The FT picks up on a study by real estate consultancy Phidar Advisory that found “apartment sale prices decreased 3.7 per cent, while villas fell 3 per cent in the first six weeks of 2015, when compared with the last quarter of 2014” in Dubai. The FT’s Simeon Kerr notes that few expect a 2008-style meltdown — and that many in the country welcome a gradual real-estate slowdown that would keep the emirate affordable, adding: “Anecdotal evidence of hiring slowdown and redundancies, especially in the real estate sector, is further dampening confidence. One-in-four jobs in Dubai is linked to construction and property.”

WRITE YOUR OWN JOKE: Turkish lira falls to all-time low as Erdoğan says central bank governor is under “foreign influence.” Erdoğan has declared that Turkish Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci is acting “under foreign influence,” is “selling out the homeland” and doing the bidding of “western powers.” Think we’re exaggerating? Check out the FT.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: From the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal‘: “‘A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,’ said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. ‘The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.’”

Lower commodity prices aren’t rising anytime soon, folks: With few signs that Europe will get over its malaise this year comes news yesterday that China has re-set its growth target, lowering it to 7% from last year’s 7.5%. The WSJ notes that “in recent weeks, Beijing has unveiled increasingly dramatic moves to spur bank lending in a bid to rekindle economic momentum. But such moves could set back its efforts to shift away from excessive reliance on exports, a bloated property market and government spending.” Because that’s what the world needs: More NPLs in China on the back of loose credit policies.

Eid-al Fitr and Eid el Adha have been added to the New York City public school system’s holiday calendar, as reported by The New York Times. The news has reached Arabic media, with a pickup in this morning’s Al Mal.

CORRECTIONS: In our story yesterday regarding conflicting ministerial statements as to the timeline regarding Egypt paying back its debts to international oil companies. We had stated that Reuters quoted the Ministry of Petroleum statement that the USD 3 bn would be repaid by mid-2016, while Investment Minister Ashraf Salman had said that almost the entirety of the amount outstanding would be repaid by August 2014. The minister had, in fact, said August 2015. We regret the error. H/t Mennatallah Afifi.


‘President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran’: Acknowledging Al Arabiya’s disclaimer that opinions of its writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper, Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, writes an op-ed in support of PM Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress:

“It is extremely rare for any reasonable person to ever agree with anything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says or does. However, one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran … What is noteworthy, is that whilst in the past Tehran plotted and implemented most of its terror activities in secret (apart from a few obvious examples such as the 1983 Beirut attack on U.S. Marines); the Islamic Republic seems so at ease today that, as noted by renowned media columnist Diana Moukalled recently, it went public with documenting the appearances of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force. In her latest column, Moukalled wrote the days of the few, amateur shots of the infamous Commander are long gone. ‘Since a few months, photos of Qassim Soleimani have become plentiful and available in High Definition. Soleimani is no longer that secretive personality whose role over the past two decades has lingered been between myth and reality. He is now telling us bluntly: Yes, I am Iran’s strongman who is responsible for the Iranian military’s expansion in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine,’ she wrote.” (Read)

Even Al Mal has reported on Jon Stewart’s response to Netanyahu’s speech. Stewart called it a State of the Union as well. (Watch, running time: 9:52. A little bit of profanity at the end.)


The limits of privatization in the Middle East: “A close look at the role and impact of state ownership in the region reveals that the state is not always – as is commonly assumed – an inefficient owner. The popular perception of the state as an “inept capitalist” collides with reality in some countries and sectors … While many Algerian, Tunisian and Egyptian SOEs are unprofitable, the same cannot be said of all Moroccan, Emirati or Saudi state-owned firms.” (Read in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog)


I, Claudius – watch the amazing John Hurt portray the mad emperor Caligula (Caligula had the Roman senate vote to declare him a living god, which he seemed to fully believe to be true) as he returns to Rome from his battle with the god of the sea, Neptune. (Watch, running time: 4:27)

“Erdoğan: Steps by Riyadh may change things in Egyptian administration” -Daily Sabah:“Erdoğan has said that a step to be taken by Saudi Arabia may change things in the Egyptian government,” according to the Turkish Daily Sabah, although what form of said pressure or the form of what change it would produce is not mentioned. “Erdoğan also said that he is hopeful about Saudi Arabia’s changing its negative stance on the Muslim Brotherhood without prejudgments.” (Read)


It’s been such a (relatively) slow business news week, that the top-trending story on Egypt in the foreign press in the past several hours is about a video that has become widely shared of an Egyptian wedding in Menoufiya that featured, of all things, a Daesh prank — the kidnapping and imprisonment of the bride in a cage. The bride and her family were not aware of the prank and were initially startled, but then apparently found it funny, with the bride and groom dancing in the cage. Probably not the stupidest theme this writer has seen at an Egyptian wedding, but that’s the news. (Read inThe Guardian, the NY Daily News, Turkey’s The Daily Sabah, FOX News, the BBC and Al Arabiya – which features an embed of the video)

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R) is calling for the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R) to invite President Abdelfattah El Sisi to address the U.S. Congress, according to Russian news site Sputnik. If the Islamist-enabling liberals of the world were apoplectic with rage at Netanyahu’s address, the thought of the Egyptian President making a speech at the same forum would probably cause them all to spontaneously combust. (Read)

What Egypt Needs Now: Bloomberg View has published an editorial (signed by The Editors) informing Egyptians of what they need, which is democracy, the freedom to choose their own future. “The Egyptians who have twice gone into the street to topple their leaders won’t accept decades more of emergency rule under a thinly veiled military dictatorship, on grounds of fighting terrorism.”


NREA seeking bids from consultants for wind and solar power plants
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
The National Renewable Energy Authority set 18 March as a deadline to receive applications for consultants to oversee the building of wind and solar power plants. The winning bidder will be required to complete the feasibility studies for a 200MW solar power station at a cost of USD 400 mn as well as a 250 MW wind farm at a cost of USD 500 mn. The NREA is also currently addressing some concerns regarding the feed-in-tariff system, a source told Al Borsa. (Read in Arabic)


Oil projects on offer in the Sharm summit amended; could top USD 10 bn
Al Mal, Ahram Online | 03 March 2015
The Ministry of Petroleum has amended the list of projects it is presenting at the Sharm economic summit in March. The ministry withdrew a USD 250 mn refining project to produce high grade octane for ASORC and replaced it with a USD 2.13 bn project to produce aromatic compounds from paraxylene and benzene. This brings the number of refining projects presented down to three and increases the petrochemicals projects on offer to five, Al-Mal claims. Ahram Online has similar details, but pegs the number of project 12 with a total investment cost of USD 10 bn.

Energy investments vital for Egypt’s economy
Al Mogaz | 04 March 2015
Energy investments are vital for Egypt’s economy, the head of the Egyptian Natural Gas Association, Khaled Abu Bakr, said. Abu Bakr attributed Egypt’s energy problems to having energy consumption grow by 7.5% annually with a fall in production rates. He outlines six steps to address Egypt’s energy issues: moving from using oil to natural gas, expedited importing of LNG, increasing E&P opportunities in the Mediterranean, improving the gas infrastructure network, incentivizing renewable energy investments, and the gradual removal of the fuel subsidy. (Read in Arabic)

Butane gas supplies increased by 103% – Ministry of Petroleum
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
The Ministry of Petroleum announced it has increased the production and import of butane gas driving up supply by 103%. On average, the government is channeling 1.2 mn canisters a day now. 50% of the supply comes via imports but the domestic oil sector continues its increased refining operations. (Read in Arabic)


Fertilizer production rota agreed with agriculture ministry and EGAS
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
A production rota has been agreed to between fertilizer producers with the Ministry of Agriculture and EGAS. According to the agreement, fertilizer plants will stop production in shifts, with each plant shutting of once every 15 days. Abu Qir Fertilisers is excluded from this rota and it will continue operations unimpeded given its size. EGAS will channel natural gas that was supposed to go to the Sokhna power station to the fertilizer producers whom are struggling to meet the contracted amounts required by the agriculture ministry. (Read in Arabic)


Steel imports to halt until currency issues are resolved
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
Imports of steel are expected to halt completely as hard currency availability remains a challenge, according to the head of the construction materials department at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce Ahmed El Zeiny. El Zeiny said banks have been refusing to issue dollar-denominated guarantees thus halting imports since January with about 20 thousand tons stuck in ports across the country. Worsening the situation for importers was the government’s decision to impose antidumping duty of EGP 290 per ton. (Read in Arabic)

L’Azurde invests in Egypt
Al Hadath | 04 March 2015
L’Azurde, the jewelry maker, plans to invest EGP 60mn to 70 mn in Egypt during the current fiscal years. The money will be used to develop the company’s production facilities in Egypt, said Selim Shihab, L’Azurde’s chairman. The decision is inline with the company’s plans to boost production and increase exports to MENA, Europe, and North America. (Read in Arabic)


ICMI to buy shares in two medical services companies
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
The International Company for Medical Industries (ICMI) announced it is currently in negotiations to buy shares in two medical services companies. ICMI is seeking 5% of the shares of Alfa Medical and New Alpha. ICMI is hoping to amalgamate a complementary medical producer portfolio and set it up to be competitive internationally. (Read in Arabic)


Minister of Communications and Technology meets with private and public sector reps
Youm7 | 04 March 2015
Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Technology on Wednesday met with Abdallah Abdelaziz Aldarab, the head of Saudi Arabia’s Communication and Information Technology Commission in order to investigate ways in which the two countries can cooperate in the telecom sector. Helmy also met with the regional heads of CISCO Systems and Huawei in order to discuss the companies’ participation in this month’s investment summit. (Read in Arabic)


EGOTH gets Marriott to manage the Mena House, offers the Cosmopolitan in Sharm
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
The Egyptian Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) announced it has finalized a deal with Marriott to operate the Mena House hotel. The 15-year deal sees the Marriott taking over the management of the historic hotel, after having paid a signing fee of USD 5 mn, and will rebrand it under the JW Marriott name. EGOTH will also present a project to redevelop and manage the Cosmopolitan Hotel in downtown Cairo at an estimated investment cost of USD 60 mn. (Read in Arabic)


Egyptian National Railways seeking USD 500 mn to buy locomotives
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
Egyptian National Railways is seeking USD 500 mn to buy 100 new cargo locomotives in the next three years. Once the funding is secured, a tender will be issued for the locomotives. A USD 17 mn tender to provide spare parts to 20 cargo locomotives will also be issued. (Read in Arabic)

COSCO considering building dry port near Port Said
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
China’s COSCO is considering building a dry port near Port Said, according to COSCODOM, COSCO’s Egyptian operator. COSCODOM is assessing the possibility of acquiring a piece of land on the Port Said-Ismailia road to provide logistics services from there. The company is looking to expand to beyond shipping and into logistics. (Read in Arabic)

200 new buses set to join Cairo Public Transportation Fleet
El Bashayer | 04 March 2015
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab attended an event celebrating the addition of 200 buses to Cairo’ public transportation fleet. An additional 400 new buses are expected to be operational in the coming months. The 600 bus fleet was financed as part of an Emirati aid package to Egypt. 300 of this buses will be assembled at GB Auto’s factory in Ain El Sokhna. (Read in Arabic)

GB Auto tire factory to cost EGP 1 .8 bn
Al Mal | 03 March 2015
Ghabbour Auto Assistant Vice President of Finance Hoda Yehia announced that the company’s tire factory will cost approximately EGP 1.8 bn. Yehia also stated that GB Auto has already completed its feasibility study for the project. The company is also undergoing work on a USD 50 mn motorcycle and a three-wheeled vehicle assembly plant. (Read in Arabic)


United Bank establishes SME unit
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
United Bank chairman Mohamed Ashmawi says the bank has created a new department to handle SMEs, saying the institution is looking to grow its portfolio beyond the current EGP 500 mn. (Read in Arabic)


Desalination capacity at the Qusair plant to increase by 7,500 cubic metres a day
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
The production capacity at the Qusair desalination plant is set to increase by 7,500 cubic metres to reach 25,000 cubic metres a day. This comes as part of the plans to respond to the increase in demand for potable water. Future plans for the Red Sea governorate include building a new desalination plant, according to the head of the Red Sea Water and Wastewater Company. (Read in Arabic)

Beltone Capital to float 60% of Giza Systems’ shares on the EGX
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
Beltone Capital is preparing to float 60% of the shares of Giza Systems on the EGX. The company aims to raise EGP 1 bn to be used to finance expansion plans. Existing shareholders, including NBE and Banque Misr, are not expected to divest, according to Beltone as the listing just aims to grow the company. (Read in Arabic)


Government preparing to issue USD 1.5 bn in dollar-denominated debt
Al Borsa | 04 March 2015
The government began preparing for a 3Q 2014 / 15 debt issuance of USD 1.5 bn in dollar-denominated borrowing. The Ministry of Finance is setting a deal for credit rating with Fitch and Standard & Poor’s and preparing to assess bids from investment banks for the issuance process. The ministry is also assessing offers from local law practices to act as legal consultants. (Read in Arabic)

Businessman violates law by conducting transactions in USD
Youm7 | 04 March 2015
An unnamed Egypt businessman has been prosecuted for using US dollars to purchase and sell goods within Egypt. This action is in violation of law 88 of 2003, which mandates that all transactions taking place within Egypt be conducted using our beloved currency, the Egyptian Pound. Although refraining from providing his name, this businessman apparently sells automobiles from a center located in the Moqatam area of Cairo. (Read in Arabic)


Lebanon mulling handing Norway’s Petroleum Commission its offshore geological survey data
Naharnet | 04 March 2015
Some Lebanese officials are pressing to hand over the country’s data from the offshore gas geological survey to Norway’s Petroleum Commission. Wary of the move, some describe it as a way to “draw the attention of new companies in an illegal way to enter the country’s tenders … in return to a certain commission” and could harm Beirut’s strategic interests. Lebanon is still arguing over the maritime border with Israel. Domestically, debates are still ongoing on dividing the exclusive economic zone blocks and setting revenue sharing models. The delays left Lebanon out of deals involving Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, Naharnet laments. (Read)

South Korea to build two nuclear reactors for KSA
Al Mal | 04 March 2015
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed an accord with the South Korean government for the latter to build two ‘Smart Nuclear Reactors’ in the Kingdom at a cost of USD 2 bn. (Read in Arabic)


‘Egypt: Small Forward Steps on Child Rights’: It’s one of those rare moments when Human Rights Watch praises, (cautiously, of course, and wrapped in criticism) Egypt’s progress on human rights. The HRW report notes that on 24 January, Egypt “amended its Child Law to lower the age when children can be raised by foster parents from 2 years to 3 months, allowing non-institutional support of orphans and other children in need nearly from birth. ‘Egypt’s enforcement of recent legal changes can make a difference in the lives of the country’s children,’ said Zama Coursen-Neff, children’s rights director. “But the Egyptian government still needs to do much more to protect children from serious abuse.” On 11 February 2015, “Egypt withdrew its reservation to an article in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child that sets the minimum legal age for marriage at 18, aligning its international obligations with changes Egypt had already made to its domestic law.” (Read)


USD CBE auction (Wednesday, 04 March): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 04 March): 7.66 (+0.01 from Monday, 02 March)

EGX30 (Wednesday): 9,461.06 (-0.15%)
Turnover: EGP 415.1 mn (35% below the 90-day average)

WTI: USD 51.76 (+0.45%)
Brent: USD 60.47 (-0.13%)

TASI: 9,462.6 (-0.3%)
ADX: 4,672.6 (-0.1%)
DFM: 3,747.4 (-0.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 452.7 (+0.2%)
QE: 12,130.3 (-1.3%)
MSM: 6,543.9 (-0.4%)

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