Wednesday, 11 March 2015
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
How slow a news week is it shaping up to be? Let’s just put it this way: In the pre-dawn hours when it usually posts its meatiest stories, Al-Mal is featuring not one, but two stories on its homepage about how to dye one’s hair. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: Leaks about possible tax cuts and IEDs aside, it’s clear that business and government are doing their level best to save news (all the news) for the kickoff this weekend of the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm.
That said: It appears the much-anticipated tax cuts will be modest — something on the order of a 2.5 point drop to a maximum rate of 22.5% for corporations and, as we’ve previously reported, lower tax rates, new tax write-offs and faster depreciation for capital equipment, says Finance Minister Hani Dimian, who also confirmed Investment Minister Ashraf Salman’s suggestion that tax rates would be fixed for up to 10 years. (Stories here and here and here, more below). Also clear: The new unified investment law will make its debut at Sharm, but the law deregulating the electricity sector to allow more private-sector involvement in both distribution and generation probably won’t be out until after the EEDC, per Planning Minister Ashraf Al-Arabi.
Unless it’s postponed on the back of ministers scrambling to prepare for Sharm, today’s weekly cabinet meeting will be worth watching. We’ll have our customary wrap-up tomorrow.
Meanwhile: Trading in shares of Orascom Construction Limited (ORAS.CA) will begin today. Shares are at a par value of 7.613 EGP and will be traded in EGP, according to a statement sent to the EGX. Shares of Orascom Construction, the spin-off of OCI’s construction arm, began trading on Nasdaq Dubai earlier this week under the dual-listing arrangement.
The draw for the Dar Misr affordable housing units in Sixth of October will be held today at the Arab Contractors’ Stadium. Doors close at 11 am, Al-Borsa reports.
SODIC will hold its FY2014 earnings call at 3:30 pm CLT.
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK
13-15 March (Friday-Sunday): Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC), Sharm El-Sheikh. The promotional video, which many of you may already caught, may be viewed here, (running time: 4:15)
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Lamees El Hadidy devoted the near-entirety of her program’s airtime to host a panel of three ministers to discuss this weekend’s investment summit: Minister of Finance Hany Kadri Dimian, Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform Ashraf El-Araby and Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade Khaled Hanafy.
Before her guests joined her in the studio, El Hadidy noted that the fundamental reason for the conference is to help improve living standards for all Egyptians. She did her part to manage expectations: “We’re not expecting countries to be cutting us cheques; we’re presenting projects and economic reforms. We’re saying Egypt is open for investment. However, investment takes time. What’s important is for us to say what we’re willing to do to facilitate investment and to improve the lives of Egyptians.”
She also noted two of the top stories of the day – long lines at gas stations for diesel fuel and the attacks in North Sinai that left two dead and 45 injured. El Hadidy said the government dismissed rumors of pending price hikes for diesel, with El Hadidy saying (perhaps mistakenly) that the rumor itself was about the shortage, while others such as Ahram Online suggested that rumor was that new fuel price hikes for diesel and octane 80 gasoline were imminent: “People should not react to rumors [of fuel price hikes] that affect the stability of the petroleum product market, and create a state of confusion as well as unjustified crowding outside filling stations,” the ministry however added, blaming the queues for fuel on a rumor,” according to Ahram Online, quoting the Ministry of Petroleum. Anecdotally, drivers were speculating this as the reason, despite Daily News Egypt quoting oil minister Sherif Ismail on Sunday that there would be no fuel price increases for FY 2015 / 2016. El-Hadidy implied that the rumor was planted in order to cast the country in a negative light.
El Hadidy noted that the government has promised to provide more supplies in order to completely ensure it is covering daily needs. She then moved on to yesterday’s attack in North Sinai, which involved police firing on a man driving a water tanker full of accelerant, detonating it with their fire before it could reach their barracks.
The suicide bomber was killed, along with a civilian bystander, and at least 30 officers were wounded. El Hadidy failed to mention the civilian fatality, but praised that the officers were able to repel the attack to prevent further loss of life.
El Hadidy had a brief call-in from Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly, who discussed her ministry’s ‘Karama’ and ‘Takaful’ social safety net programs, with Takaful being a program involving conditional cash transfers tied to school attendance for children. The two programs are being rolled out in select areas in Upper Egypt.
El Hadidy then hosted her panel of three ministers to discuss the EEDC. Finance Minister Hany Kadri Dimian noted that the number of countries represented at the summit has grown to 112, causing El Hadidy to remark the last figure she’d heard was 80, with the minister again confirming the number has grown, stating some delegations are coming to show their solidarity with Egypt.
She asked Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade Khaled Hanafy what metrics he would use to determine the success of the conference. Hanafy replied that it was already a mark of success in terms of the caliber and number of individuals, organizations and companies who will participate, and that another indication of success will be if we send a clear message that there is progress on reform. He also hopes that the summit will provide a venue to articulate Egypt’s economic vision, as well as to demonstrate the diversified nature of its economy.
El Hadidy asked Finance Minister Dimian when the proposed Eurobond could be expected to launch, with him reiterating what has been said earlier: the roadshow will be sometime between May and June of this year, and aims to raise USD 1.5 bn to USD 2 bn. With regards to a possible IMF loan, Dimian again reiterated his previous answers to the media that “all options are open for consideration.”
Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform Ashraf El-Araby was also sure to manage expectations, noting that the summit is not a quick fix to Egypt’s economic ills, but rather an important step along the way and that time would be needed to see its results.
El Hadidy wrapped by thanking her panel and nothing that she’ll see them at the summit, noting that she will be back on air on Friday along with Khairy Ramadan, where they will broadcast from Sharm El Sheikh.
With all the publicity leading up to the conference, Youssef El Housseiny rightly pointed out that the message that Egypt is hosting a big event in Sharm El Sheikh that will have an important impact on the economy has most likely reached the average Egyptian. According to Houssieny, however, many people outside the business community do not really understand what all the fuss is about. He hosted one of the most prominent ambassadors of the economic conference, Mohamed El Sewedy, Head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, to explain in simple terms what we are trying to achieve and how we will achieve it.
“In my opinion having a fair, unified tax system that is properly enforced is the best thing we can do for investment,” said El Sewedy. “We need clarity, continuity and reassurance that we are all competing on a level playing field.”
“Our biggest problem in Egypt is lack of respect for the law and the inability to follow rules and procedures. In Alexandria alone we have 27,000 building violations and that is just the tip of the iceberg,” said El Sewedy.
“If we can just fix the violations and pay taxes we will have come a long way.”
According to El Sewedy Sharm El Sheikh is about investment friendly legislation, presenting to the world the potential of Egypt and then the actual projects.
“Our target is to achieve 7% growth within the next five years but that growth must be felt by all segments of society. So we aren’t just looking at any investment, we want the types of investments that will make a tangible impact on the daily lives of Egyptians,” said El Sewedy.
“We basically need to make instruction manuals. When you buy a new car you get a users manual. Try going to any ministry and telling them, give me your manual outlining your policies and procedures.”
“This conference is the start of the reform process. If we are serious about working we will feel a true shift after 10 years meaning we will find, decent roads and good traffic, good public transportation, a decent apartment to live in, good hospitals and of course a new education system,” said El Sewedy.
Egypt’s headline inflation rate increased to 10.6% in February from 9.7% in January, with food price inflation jumping from 5.8% to 8.0% over the same period. (Read the CAPMAS press release here). Al Borsanotes that CAPMAS attributes the rise in inflation to increases in the prices of tobacco projects and butane gas canisters.
New income tax ceiling for companies only? Domestic media such as Al Mal and international outlets like Bloomberg reported yesterday that Finance Minister Hany Kadri Dimian announced the ministry had agreed to set an income tax ceiling of 22.5%. The minister added that the government will continue to implement a progressive income tax system, and will also reduce sales tax on capital equipment to 5% from 10%. Al Mal carried a follow-on story last night claiming that Mamdouh Omar, an advisor to the Minister of Finance, has since said the new income tax ceiling of 22.5% pertains only to the corporate tax rate. The income tax ceiling for individuals will remain 25%. Ahram Online has a solid wrap-up in English, minus last night’s clarification.
Mohamed El-Erian talks about Egypt about as often as the Sphinx opens its mouth. Or so it feels to those of us who wish the highest-profile Egyptian in the global financial industry would be a bit more activist on the home front. Taken in that context, though, his latest piece for Bloomberg View (‘Nurturing Egypt’s Economic Transformation‘) offers nothing new for the home audience, but might drive some international attention Egypt’s way in the run-up to the EEDC. The meat of it: The recovery is ongoing, albeit from a low base, so: “As important as these indicators are, their implications pale in comparison to the emerging scope of Egypt’s comprehensive economic policy response. The aim isn’t just to stabilize the economy. It is also to unlock the country’s significant untapped potential, which, despite Egypt’s considerable human and physical assets, has been repeatedly held back by political factors and bureaucratic inertia from delivering the prosperity that past and current generations of Egyptians deserve and now expect.
Gov’t to flood market with refined products as lines at filling stations grow: Following-up on the story we noted on Monday about growing lines at petrol stations nationwide, Ahram Online reports that “Egypt’s petroleum minister said on Tuesday that his ministry would inject large amounts of petroleum products into the market to tackle a reported diesel and gasoline shortage of several days that has caused long queues outside filling stations.” Lineups appear particularly acute for heavily subsidized diesel and 80-octane gasoline, both of which are heavily used by commercial and mass transport drivers. “The petroleum ministry said it would be providing the market with 40,000 tonnes of diesel on a daily basis as well as 18,000 tonnes of different petroleum products, which should cover people’s needs,” the newspaper added.
EFG Hermes economist Mohamed Abu Basha issued a report yesterday titled: ‘The USD-EGP: All Eyes on Liquidity.’ Abu Basha gives his forecast for FX liquidity for the medium term: “We see the economy structurally running thin on FX liquidity for a few years, relying heavily on foreign capital to finance GDP growth. In addition, Egypt is likely to run higher inflation rates than its trading partners, leading to REER appreciation. Such a structure warrants a shift in the country’s industrial base in favour of more value-added exports which is more of a long-term structural adjustment.”
Telecom Egypt’s 2014 net profit fell 31.4% y-o-y to EGP 2.03 bn on “several one-off and operational costs related to license fee payments and tax liabilities,” Reuters reports. TE expects to receive a unified license for mobile and landlines to offer mobile services. Amwal Al Ghad reports that TE is planning to spend EGP 3 bn in 2015 replacing copper wire with fiber-optic lines. Having agreed last year to pay EGP 2.5 bn for a license to allow it to begin offering mobile services, CEO Mohamed Elnawawy said: “We know mobile is the only way forward.”
Vodafone Egypt, meanwhile, is apparently raging against the dying of the light, Ahram Online notes, saying the nation’s largest mobile operator is “raising questions about the legality of WhatsApp’s free voice-calling feature due to be released later this year. In a letter to Egypt’s telecommunications regulator circulated on social media on Monday, Vodafone Egypt inquired about the legality of Whatsapp Voice service.” The website notes that the government has previously considered banning apps including WhatsApp and Viber on security grounds and because they siphon international calling revenues from mobile and landline operators.
Individuals in the United States without a sense of humor are outraged at a Saturday Night Live skit starring Dakota Fanning that makes fun of young women in the West who join Daesh, spoofing a Toyota television ad of a father dropping his daughter off at the airport before she goes off to join the army. A video of the sketch (running time: approximately 1 minute) along with commentary from Dean Obeidallah on CNN may be found here.
The skit is the first successful American attempt at satirizing Daesh, with previous attempts by Chris Rock (also in an episode of SNL) bombing — horribly. Rock’s unwatchable skit may be viewed here. As the Toronto Sun put it, “This is one risk that didn’t pay off. There is no terrorist group that deserves to be mocked more than ISIS, it’s just too bad last night’s attempt wasn’t funny … It was a clever idea, but most of the jokes were met with awkward silence which should have been a sign to abort mission.”
Christiane Amanpour, in an interview with Bassem Youssef, then had the nerve to say: “I want to ask you a serious question: What is it about the West that can tolerate that kind of joke [the SNL skit] …versus … your part of the world …” Youssef, to his credit, defended people’s sense of humor “in this part of the world” and discussed, among other things, his opinion about ever returning to Egyptian television. (Watch the full interview, running time: 9:38)
Court to look into removing Hani El-Messiry from office? A court in Alexandria is will reportedly take up on 28 March a case seeking to remove Alexandria Governor Hani El Messiry from office. The plaintiffs argue that El Messiry should not be allowed to hold public office as he is allegedly a dual national. (Read in Arabic)
A story headlined ‘Banks seek to extend mortgage periods to maximum of 25 years‘ from the current 20 misses the point. Yes, bankers suggested at an industry gathering yesterday that upping the repayment period to 25 years might make mortgages more attractive to some borrowers. More critical, though, is their feeling that perhaps the very concept of mortgages should be promoted through a national campaign on television and in newspapers. (And, we’d add, online.) Mortgage finance hasn’t failed to take-off in Egypt because of regulations, repayment periods or tenor mis-matches, but in large part because of a simple lack of consumer demand.
18 E&P concessions will be on offer by the Ministry of Petroleum at the EEDC. The projects have a cumulative investment value of over USD 9 bn. The ministry will also present seven investment projects through investment banks at the conference with a total value of USD 4.3 bn and will offer five projects directs. (Read in Arabic)
Omar Al Futtaim, CEO and Vice Chairman of Al Futtaim Group, will be heading a delegation from Al Futtaim Group at the EEDC, the group confirmed.
HC Securities and Investment is preparing four projects for Sharm, chairman and MD Hussein Choukri said yesterday. Among them: A USD 3 bn coastal tourism development, two petrochemical projects and one in commercial transportation, Al-Borsa reports.
German’s vice chancellor will attend the Sharm conference, German Ambassador to Egypt Hansjörg Habar said yesterday. Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy will also attend, leading a delegation that will include senior execs from ThyssenKrupp, Siemens, RWI, and BASF. (Read in Arabic)
The Middle East on average continues to have the least demanding tax framework, with the lowest average total tax rate and time to comply, PwC’s 2015 Paying Taxes report concludes. Qatar and the UAE top the global rankings, but Egypt pulls the Middle East’s average behind by coming in the 149th place. PwC profiles Egypt’s new tax reform drive as a case study, noting that it “serves as a good case study for the region, as the country has recently introduced new tax measures … the country introduced a 10% withholding tax on capital gains on privately owned shares or listed shares of Egyptian companies, as well as a 10% withholding tax on dividends paid by Egyptian companies … Egyptian tax resident individuals will also be taxed on their income from foreign sources, in addition to their Egyptian sources income.” Check out the press release here and the full report.
Egypt Oil & Gas presents a brief piece explaining the cost recovery aspect of production sharing agreements between IOCs and the Egyptian government and concluding that “Once regarded as inefficient or time consuming, cost recovery now is seen by most operators as a well-orchestrated process where cooperation with government entities such as EGPC and EGAS is proven fruitful with efficient communication.”
Egypt renewables scheme faces its first hurdles -MEED: Philippa Wilkinson of MEED says that progress has slowed in renewable energy development in Egypt, saying there is uncertainty around the power purchasing agreement (PPA), which is currently in draft form, as is the model for cost-sharing, among other issues. (Watch, running time: 2:58)
‘Egypt on path to become ‘renewable energy powerhouse’: On the other hand, we have Berlin-based consulting firm Apricum project manager Martin Mitscher saying that Egypt’s solar PV market and wind market are each set to grow to around 2 to 3 GW cumulatively by 2020. (Read)
The National has a good backgrounder on the history of the stalled Arabtec 1 mn homes housing project, although it notes there have been no new announcements from the most recent negotiations to get the project back on track.
Several explosions were reported overnight in the Greater Cairo Area, with an apparent attack on electrical towers in 10 Ramadan causing power cuts. In Heliopolis’ Mahkama Square, two cars were apparently blown up, with unconfirmed reports of up to seven people being injured. Youm7, meanwhile, quotes civil defense forces as saying they have received no reports of a rumored blast in Gamalaya’s Darassa area.
Following Credit Suisse’s announcement Tuesday that Tidjane Thiam will replace Brady Dougan as CEO in June, Business Insider has put together a profile on Thiam, the current / outgoing CEO of Prudential. (Read)
Vox is the news told as a children’s storybook: The uproar over Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran, explained.
Hillary Clinton attempted, belatedly, to quell a growing controversy about using her private email for State Department business when she headed the organization, including having a private email server in her residence. Her explanation, offered in a short video embedded in this New York Times article, really only raises more questions than it answers, such as why was Clinton’s staff allowed to decide what emails to delete; why wasn’t it the government who made that call? Setting aside a lack of oversight, why would Clinton’s staff think it would be a good idea to put themselves under potential scrutiny for having deleted emails before turning over the remaining messages to the State Department? Wired goes over what’s wrong with the reasoning offered by the former Secretary of State.
A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes a shift in Egypt’s treatment in US media, according to Al Mal. The source says the shift followed congressional debates on aid to Egypt and attributes it to Cairo’s clearer role as a regional partner and in combating terrorism.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström’s invitation to speak at the Arab League in Cairo was rescinded at the last minute, in the wake of a dispute between Sweden and Saudi Arabia over human rights issues, the Daily News reports. The snub has since seen Sweden scrap a military training and arms deal with KSA, the FT notes, writing, “Sweden is cancelling a controversial military deal with Saudi Arabia a day after an unusually frank diplomatic bust-up between the two countries over human rights. Government officials in Stockholm said that Sweden would not prolong an arms and training deal that had threatened to tear apart the centre-left coalition in the country.”
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
The lead story on Egypt in the foreign press was the Egypt Economic Development Conference getting cautiously positive headlines. ‘Egypt conference to tell world Egypt is ready for investment’ is AP’s take on the summit: “Though the government will likely proclaim some major new contracts during the conference, the deciding factor will be whether the event plants the seeds for more investment down the road. ‘It’s difficult to say how much new money we might see coming out of it,” said Simon Kitchen, a strategist at Egyptian bank EFG-Hermes. “While the conference has a timetable for investment, often deal-making doesn’t work that way.’” (Read)
Forbes has an optimistic assessment of progress achieved thus far: ‘Ahead Of Egypt Investment Conference, Cautious Optimism For Economic Reforms.’
Peter Orszag’s piece for Bloomberg View, which we noted yesterday, has been picked up by the Chicago Tribune with the title: ‘What Egypt can do to fix its disappointing economy.’
As for negative press, U.S. News & World Report brought up a letter sent to some of the speakers at the summit, urging them to bring up LGBT issues at the summit, and to advocate for an inclusive society in Egypt.
The remainder of coverage on Egypt focused on the aforementioned attacks in North Sinai, which included the death of a suicide bomber and a civilian in an attempted attack on a police barracks on Tuesday, as well as a roadside bomb killing three soldiers on Monday. (Read in Reuters)
ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM
Siemens to supply the Attika Power Plant with four turbines
Reuters | 10 March 2015
Siemens was awarded a contract to supply four E-Class turbines to the Attika Power Plant near Suez. The turbines will allow the power plant to add more than 650 MW of power generation to the country’s national grid. The deal was awarded under a supply contract with El Sewedy Power System Projects. Reuters notes that no timeline or monetary value was given for the project. (Read)
Electricity ministry finalizes preparations for EEDC agreements
Al Borsa | 10 March 2015
The Ministry of Electricity has reportedly finalized the agreements it is signing at the EEDC this weekend. The finalized list includes five deals with Arab and Chinese companies. Al Borsa cites a source as saying the agreements include an agreement for clean coal power station with China’s Dong Fang and an electricity transport agreement with State Grid that includes building to transformer units. UAE’s Al Nowais is expected to be awarded a coal-fired power station and IPIC and OCI to be awarded a clean coal station. The ministry has other projects presented at the EEDC, but Al Borsa has no mention of agreements on them. (Read in Arabic)
OIL & GAS
EGPC to sign deal with Kuwait Energy to explore Iraqi oil
CNBC Arabia | 09 March 2015
EGPC is set to sign a deal with Kuwait Energy for oil exploration and production in southern Iraq. The deal is set for block 9 in Basra and is poised to become EGPC’s first deal outside of Egypt. CNBC reports that the agreement entitles EGPC to 10% of Kuwait Energy’s share of production, which is entitled to 70% of the block’s share – with Dragon Oil controlling the rest. The Iraqi government has reportedly welcomed Egypt’s involvement in the deal. (Read in Arabic)
Israel confirms negotiations over supplying Egypt with gas
Daily News Egypt | 09 March 2015
Petroleum ministry officials met with representatives from BG and UFG in London to discuss supplying gas to Egypt, according to Daily News Egypt. “A prominent BG official said the Ministry of Petroleum did not turn down their offer of operating the liquefaction plant with Israeli gas… the ministry notified them that it will be approved but by supreme bodies, as the decision is primarily political,” DNE notes. (Read)
Aminex PLC declares WEEM-2 well a discovery
Aminex Press Release | 09 March 2015
Aminex PLC confirmed that the South Malak-2 well (‘SM2’) on the West Esh el Mellaha-2 concession in Egypt (WEEM-2) has been declared a discovery well. The well is generating production flow rates of approximately 430 barrels per day of 40 API crude. “Based on the success of SM2 a full field development programme will be presented by the Operator to the Egyptian Authorities and the joint venture partners prior to commercial development.” Aminex said it will assess the economic benefit of the discovery to the company and act accordingly. (Read)
Petrobel gets fourth well from DEKA project online
Amwal Al Ghad | 10 March 2015
Petrobel announced that it has brought the fourth well the DEKA deepwater project online with a production rate of 55 mcf per day approximately. This brings the total production rate from the entire project 225 mcf per day out of 265 mcf being targeted from the project as a whole. The company is working on the fifth well in the project and expects it to be completed by the end of next month. (Read in Arabic)
EGPC to pump 40 thousand tons of diesel a day to combat shortage
Amwal Al Ghad | 10 March 2015
40 thousand tons of diesel and 18 thousand tons of gasoline will be pumped into the market on a daily basis to combat the fuel shortage, EGPC said. EGPC’s operations’ VP said supplies, domestic and foreign, are steady and attributed the perceived shortage to hoarding and motorists panicking about a potential shortage. (Read in Arabic)
SODIC acquires land on the North Coast, Tabrouk Building
Reuters | 10 March 2015
SODIC announced its acquisition of a 100 feddan land in the Mediterranean’s North Coast. The land will be used to build SODIC’s first coastal project. The land was acquired followed a takeover of 100% of Tabrouk Building’s shares for EGP 191 mn including the land owned by the company. (Read)
Orange completes purchase of Mobinil shares from Orascom Telecom
Al Borsa | 10 March 2015
Mobinil announced today that Orascom Telecom has officially completed its transaction in selling its stake in Mobinil to Orange for EGP 1.403 bn. The acquisition increases Orange’s stake in Mobinil to 98.9%. (Read in Arabic)
BANKING & FINANCE
ADIB and subsidiaries to promote energy projects at the EEDC
Al Shorouk | 10 March 2015
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and its investment banking arm ADIB Capital will be promoting several projects at the EEDC this weekend, Nevine Loutfy, ADIB’s CEO said. She notes that ADIB Capital will promote a coal-fired power station project along with other energy and transportation PPP projects. The bank has been preparing these projects for over two months, Zeinab Hashem, ADIB Capital’s CEO. (Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Chinese government plans to invest USD 20bn over the next five year -Ahmed El Sewedy
Al Mithaq Al Arabi | 10 March 2015
According to Ahmed El Sewedy, managing director Sewedy Cables and head of the Egyptian-Chinese business council, the Chinese government plans to invest USD 20 bn in Egypt over the next five years. Chinese investments in Egypt currently stand at USD 500 mn, out of a total USD 120 bn invested throughout the world. The Chinese delegation will be headed by the government’s Minister of Trade and will comprise a wide range of industries, including transportation, energy, and technology. (Read in Arabic)
Cairo Metro signs power supply agreement, considers air conditioning for first two lines
Al Masry Al Youm | 10 March 2015
Cairo Metro has signed an agreement with Spain’s E2F to assess the metro’s power supply network and measures its capacity. In store is a plan to assess the possibility of fitting trains in phases one and two with air conditioning units. E2F’s assessment of the power supply network is expected to be completed in seven months. (Read in Arabic)
Consumer Protection Agency: We support retail trade
Al Mal | 10 March 2015
Major General Atef Yacoub, the head of the Consumer Protection Agency, revealed during a press conference on energy and food that the Agency is not working against honest merchants, but it is working for the betterment of retail trade itself. (Read in Arabic)
Daesh militants believed to be holding nine foreign oil workers in Libya
CNN | 10 March 2015
CNN reports that nine foreign oil workers are believed to be held by Daesh-affiliated militants in Libya, according to officials. The kidnapped foreigners (four Filipinos, an Austrian, a Czech and a Ghanaian), work for VAOS, an Austrian-owned oil services company headquartered in Tripoli. The Philippine foreign ministry is stepping-up coordination with VAOS to locate the abductees and ensure their safe release. (Read)
Morocco could have first Islamic bank by September; no sukuk before 2016
The National | 09 March 2015
Morocco is set to have its first full-fledged Islamic bank as early as September through Dar Assafaa, an affiliate of AttijariWafa Bank, Morocco’s largest. “Islamic finance may account for as much as 10% of the total banking assets within 10 years,” Mohamed El Kettani, the CEO of AttijariWafa told The National. The country had introduced a law in January regulating Islamic financial products. Nationally, the finance minister said Morocco will not issue sukuk before 2016. Morocco remains attractive for European investors, an investment banker said, noting the government’s political will and its preparations for a sukuk issuance. (Read)
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Cross-border M-PESA transactions between customers in Kenya and Tanzania are now possible following a partnership agreement between Safaricom and Vodacom. Since its launch in 2007, M-Pesa has become the most famous mobile money service in Africa and is said to have exceeded the reach of any other financial service in Kenya.
Cairo’s Electricity Production Company announced that it has begun cleaning its pipes with vapor yesterday and will continue maintenance operations until the next month. The company added that citizens should expect loud bangs and strange noises throughout the maintenance period, Al-Mal reports.
TV show host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from the BBC show Top Gear after allegedly hitting one of his producers. (Read)
BY THE NUMBERS
USD CBE auction (Monday, 09 March): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Tuesday, 10 March): 7.66 (unchanged since Wednesday, 04 March)
EGX30 (Tuesday): 9,709.50 (-0.04%)
Turnover: EGP 622.5 mn (2% below the 90-day average)
WTI: USD 48.99 (+1.45%)
Brent: USD 56.94 (+0.99%)
TASI: 9,612.7 (-0.1%)
ADX: 4,512.8 (-1.4%)
DFM: 3,752.5 (flat, +0.02%)
KSE Weighted Index: 445.5 (-0.4%)
QE: 12,264.4 (+0.2%)
MSM: 6,462.0 (-0.9%)
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