Sunday, 29 March 2015

VAT to drive inflation, Dimian says. Edita offering 13.4x oversubscribed. El-Sisi greets Qatari emir as AL summit gets underway. FT profiles Azza Fahmy. Oil, electricity ministry meet on power cuts. Yemen was once “Egypt’s Vietnam.”


The possibility of a ground invasion of Yemen by Saudi and Egyptian forces remains very real after the opening yesterday of the Arab League summit in Sharm and the endorsement of President Abdelfattah El-Sisi’s suggestion of a standing Arab rapid reaction force. Coming as it does amid continued unrest in Libya and the Sinai — and with open speculation as to where Iran might strike back — we’ll be keeping a close eye on this story in the days ahead. See our Spotlights on both Yemen and the AL summit after the Speed Round, below.

Charlie Rose’s interview of Bashar Al-Assad will air tonight on CBS’ 60 Minutes. A preview of the interview, where Rose asks about the use of chlorine gas and barrel bombs, may be viewed here. (Running time: 2:25)

Nigeria’s elections have been extended to run an additional day today, as yesterday’s vote was marred by voters being turned away after a number of stations had technical issues with a new electronic voting card verification system, as well as violence committed by Boko Haram involving the killing of up to 57 people in various locations. (Read)


Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union Group in the Bundestag of Germany Volker Kauder will meet with President Abdelfattah El Sisi on Monday in Cairo to prepare for an upcoming summit between the two countries, according to a release from SIS.

The 18th COMESA Heads of State Summit will convene in Addis Ababa tomorrow and Tuesday. President Abdelfattah El-Sisi may take a pass on the summit in light of what’s happening presently in Yemen.


The Arab Summit dominated television screens last night.

“The world around us is changing. We witnessed something new at the Arab Summit today. We saw more substantial and calculated speeches that are indicative of both the current volatility in the region and the new spirit of cooperation that exists between our Arab leaders,” said Osama Kamal on Cairo 360. “Formalities were replaced with a sincere will to tackle problems. We have not witnessed intense feelings of this nature in a long time. Of course the differences of opinion still exist, but they’re being dealt with in a very civilized manner.

“To quote President El Sisi, ‘Tahya Misr has become Tahya Al Umma Al Arabeya,’” added Kamal.

Commenting on the warm welcome given to Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad, Kamal said, “Some expected the Prime Minister to greet the emir, but the President insisted on doing so himself, as I personally expected. What’s next for Egyptian-Qatari relations? Is Sharm El Sheikh a new beginning? The Qatari media has started to change its tune a bit — with the exception of Al Jazeera, of course. They are staying the course no matter what. They covered the ikhwani protests against the Arab Summit yesterday and reported it as a mass protest against the military coup.”

“I don’t understand why people were surprised that the President greeted the Qatari Emir according to protocol, what else could he do? It would have been beneath us to do anything else,” said Lamees El Hadidy.

In a point-by-point analysis of the emir’s speech, El Hadidy does not miss the opportunity to criticize Qatar’s “double standards.”

“You claim that you are against intervention when in fact that has been your strategy in Syria, Libya and Egypt. You have made deals with the Americans, the Israelis and the devil. You want a political solution in Libya, you don’t want anyone to be marginalized … what you really mean is that you want inclusion for terrorists,” said El Hadidy. She went on to call Qatari foreign policy “schizophrenic” and the Doha Sheraton the “Casino El Erhab” (the Terrorism Casino).

In an interview with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (his first on Egyptian television) recorded in Sharm El Sheikh earlier in the day, El Hadidy asked about Tunisia’s fight against terrorism.

“We have a large anti-terrorism rally tomorrow, which will be attended by people from all over the world. We are targeted, as all Arab states are targeted but we will not let this derail us,” said Essebsi. We have to acknowledge that we are Muslim countries but political Islam is a totally different thing, it is a political movement not a religious movement.”

When asked why and how his government continues to recognize Al Nahda, Essebsi insists that they are not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. “They originate from the same tree, yes, but the branches of the tree are different. I think they have learned from the mistakes of the Brotherhood. What we are fighting is extremism. Tunisia is a free and independent state. There are people who voted for us, and people who voted for Nahda. We are a secular state, but our population is Muslim and we must recognize that.”

“I am very pleased that Egypt has resumed its leadership role in the Arab world,” added Essebsi.

Amr Adeeb was joined by political analyst Moataz Bellah Abdel-Fattah for a lengthy analysis of the Arab Summit.

Is the Arab world capable of standing against Iran, Asked Adeeb.

Adeeb reported that Morsi’s son, Ahmad Mohamed Morsi, is engaging in a vicious attack against the Qatari Emir on social media. “He’s apparently not too happy that his friends came to Sharm El Sheikh and met with President Al Sisi. The language that he’s using is so foul that I can’t repeat it.”

“Maybe will see some sort of normalization in relations between Egypt and Qatar after this. It’s inevitable. For an Arab state, fighting with Egypt is like fighting with your mother. It just doesn’t feel right, you will eventually have to set things straight,” said Abdel-Fattah.


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The introduction of the VAT will drive inflation up by 2-3.5%, Finance Minister Hany Dimiansaid during a press conference outlining the budget outlook for FY2015/16. This inflationary impact will be borne by the richest 40-50% of the population, he said, given the list of goods exempt from the VAT. Dimian stressed the positive impact of the economic reforms implemented will not be felt immediately, but it ensured that the burden on future generations has been lessened. For FY2015-16, Dimian said there will be no budgeted fuel price increases, but an increase in spending on health and education.

That’s right: no fuel price increases on the horizon: Echoing Dimian, oil and finance ministry officials denied this weekend reports about a further easing of fuel subsidies in June of this year. The ministries reiterated that no date has been set, consistent with earlier government statements that a rise in fuel prices with the new budget is unlikely given the fall in oil prices in 2H2014. (Read in Arabic)

Snack maker Edita’s institutional offering is 13.4x oversubscribed, shares to start trading on EGX and LSE on 2 April. Ordinary shares on the EGX have been priced at EGP 18.50 following a successful book-building process, with GDRs set at USD 12.28 (one GDR represents five ordinary shares). At EGP 18.50, the company’s market cap stands at about EGP 6.7 bn, with the institutional offering having generated a sharp EGP 22.8 bn in demand. Subscription to the domestic offering in Egypt will close on 31 March. In a release issued Friday, Edita Chairman and Managing Director Hani Berzi said: “We are delighted with the breadth of investor interest in our offering, as demonstrated by the level of oversubscription. It clearly underscores that our team’s efforts and dedication to excellence have been well-received by the market and that global investors share our view of Edita’s underlying strength and long-term growth potential.” Selling shareholders Actis(the pan-emerging markets PE firm) and Chipita (the Greek snack maker) net a combined USD 267 mn, Edita said in an announcement this weekend. EFG Hermes and Goldman Sachs are acting as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners for the institutional offering.
Reuters has more here.

Amoun hires Goldman Sachs for sale, replacing Jefferies: Shareholders of Amoun Pharmaceutical Co., one of the largest drugmakers in Egypt, have hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to serve as an adviser on the company’s stalled sale, replacing U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group, according to unnamed sources as reported by Bloomberg. Jefferies had been hired in 2014 to explore a sale. The drugmaker may also consider an IPO, people with knowledge of the matter said last year. (Read)

The Ministry of Finance announced the results of the tender to organizing the issuance of USD 1.5 bn in USD-denominated bonds on the Dublin Stock Exchange, with the winning bids presented from:

  • Helmy, Hamza & Partners as the local advising law office.
  • Dechert LLP as the foreign advising law office.
  • Natixis, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citibank, and BNP Paribas as arrangers.

The ministry has also agreed to place on print advertisement for the issuance in the Financial Times.

The spat between internet service providers in Egypt continues with TE Data’s plans to raise the price it charges other ISPs to use its cable infrastructure by nearly 800%. Telecom Egypt, TE Data’s parent company, says the price increase is to account for the costs incurred to replace the copper wire infrastructure with fiber-optic cable. In the past two days, we’ve noted Noor Internet’s intent to form a strategic alliance with other internet service providers to help counter TE Data’s near-monopoly status – move that was quickly labeled as a potential antitrust violation by an unnamed source at the NTRA. Noor’s hopes were damaged further by Mobinil’s CEO Yves Gauthier’s remarks ruling out the possibility of an alliance with any domestic ISP.

FT calls Azza Fahmy “Egypt’s most successful design-based brand”: The FT’s glowing profile of the high-profile jewelry business quotes Fahmy and her daughters (MD Fatma Ghaly and design chief Amina Ghali), with Fatma noting: “Our focus is on expansion; there is a lot of potential in the brand internationally.” Read: ‘Azza Fahmy jewellery offers a modernist fusion of cultures

Akanar advising on as many as eight M&A transactions: Akanar founder and MD Ahmed Ozalp gives a deep look at the boutique M&A and corporate finance house’s recent track record and upcoming pipeline in a talk with Al-Mal. The firm is advising on eight M&A deals in sectors including healthcare, education and food, with three transactions in advanced due diligence. Akanar helped promote Sawari Ventures’ USD 50 mn VC fund at the EEDC. (Read in Arabic)

Tax exemptions don’t encourage investment, the Tax Authority chief says: “The era of  granting tax exemptions for the purposes of encourage investment has come to an end,” said Egyptian Tax Authority head Moustafa Abdel Kader on Thursday. Providing a very brief explanation for his comments, the authority head added, “Tax exemptions do not increase investments.” According to Abdel Kader, the government’s tax revenues this year so far have increased by over 50% y-o-y.  (Read in Arabic and here)

The Ministry of Housing denied this weekend that Arabtec is pulling out of the 1 mn homes project and maintains that the project remains on schedule, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports.

Thailand’s PTT looking to sell its stake in Egypt-Israel gas pipeline: Thailand’s PTT is looking to sell its 25% stake of the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline, linking Egypt and Israel. PTT is looking to reduce its investments by 5-10% in 2015 due to “volatile oil prices” and has already written off its investments in Egypt. PTT had bought its share in the EMG pipeline in 2007 for USD 487 mn, but the pipeline has not been used following repeated attacks and a halting of gas exports from Egypt. “We are looking at an option to sell the stake. Some investors have approached us, but there is no progress so far,” PTT’s CFO told Reuters. The news comes just days after EMG denied it had had any involvement in discussions between the partners in the Tamar Israeli natural gas reservoir and Egypt’s Dolphinus to reverse the Arish-Ashkelon pipeline and thus allow Egypt to import Israeli natural gas.

Endeavor in the news: Ayman Ismail, head of Dar El-Mimar Group, wears his Endeavor hat for a solid interview with Al-Borsa on “high-impact” entrepreneurs in Egypt and the role of entrepreneurs in kick-starting socially inclusive growth.

The IMF believes the GCC’s financial support to Egypt will “help in completing the reform efforts the Sisi government has been talking about” but also reckons the “government also has a role in developing and strengthening the economy to ensure macro-economic stability and put the economy on a sustainable path otherwise it will continue depending on external support and the economy will continue struggling,” according to remarks made by William Murray, the IMF’s deputy spokesperson at the communications department. Murray noted that Egypt and the fund “are not in talks on a new program financing arrangement at this time and so far the authorities have not requested IMF financing. But as we’ve indicated, we’d be ready to consider such a request when the authorities feel it is opportune.”

World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati says that the Bank’s focus over the next five years will be focused on job creation, according to a brief release from SIS.

Hatchet job on EGX’s Omran: Why take responsibility for your own trading losses when you can just demand the replacement of the head of the bourse? Al-Borsa reports this morning on what it says is a survey of 80 traders at national brokerage houses, which found that 52% want Omran replaced as head of the exchange, against 38% who want him to stay and 10% who were indifferent. Apparently, 79% of those surveyed complained it is difficult to get a meeting with Omran, while 12 of 20 journalists surveyed separately whined that Omran rarely meets with the press.

Amer Group begins construction of Porto Dead Sea resort in Jordan: Amer Group said on Thursday it had begun the construction of a JOD 150 mn dinar (USD 211 mn) resort on Jordan’s Dead Sea coast, due to be completed within six months, as reported by Reuters. The 440-room resort is the first phase of the USD 1 bn Porto Dead Sea project, including four five-star hotels, three malls and a health and spa center to be constructed over seven years. (Read)

Network shutdowns hurt Iraq telcos but 3G offers some solace: Reuters has a look at how the fight against Daesh is hurting telecom operators in Iraq, but that the expected rollout of 3G “‘should stabilise revenue and profit this year, but the bigger impact will come in 2016 when they could achieve high single-digit revenue growth,’ said Omar Maher, EFG Hermes telecommunications analyst.” (Read)

Russian tycoon Fridman’s gas deal in limbo until after British elections: There may be continue to be uncertainty about LetterOne’s purchase of Germany’s DWE North Sea assets, as the British cabinet has left the matter to be decided upon by the next government, according to an unnamed source as reported by The Moscow Times. (Read)

The chicken or the egg? An oft-debated issue was again the focus of discussion at this year’s Economic Research Forum Conference in Tunis: “Does democracy bring about economic development, or does high growth induce democracy? … Adam Przeworski, a professor of politics and economics at New York University …  believes is certain is that once it [democracy] has been established in a wealthy, high-income society democracy is certain to survive.” This view was reiterated by Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, who said that high-income democracies “do not back-slide,” or turn back into autocracies. (Read)

Piketty’s Three Big Mistakes: Doctoral student Matt Rognlie has turned a blog comment into the most biting critique of Thomas Piketty yet produced. (Read in Bloomberg View)

It’s not Throwback Thursday, but: What if today’s hottest tech properties were advertising in the 1950s?These four ads are priceless. The flip side of that ad may just be the WSJ’s ‘Movie-Inspired Gadgets In Real Life,’ which notes that “from ‘Back to the Future’ hoverboards to ‘Blade Runner’ flying cars and ‘Star Trek’ tricorders, filmmakers’ fantasies are becoming a reality.” That hoverboard? It would only work in specially designed skate parks, but, well, go check out Hendo Hoverboards for yourself.

CORRECTION: In Thursday’s story on World Bank economist Ahmed Kouchouk, our wording used implied he had recently joined the Bank; Mr. Kouchouk joined the World Bank in June 2013 after leaving his post at the Ministry of Finance. We regret the error.


How Yemen was once Egypt’s Vietnam: The Washington Post is carrying this already-frequently cited brief take on Egypt’s involvement in the North Yemen civil war in the 1960s, where Egypt, with support from the Soviet Union, fought against Yemeni royalists, who at the time had the backing of both the UK and Saudi Arabia. (Read)

Egypt cannot let go of the baton now: UK Ambassador the UAE Philip Parham along with the British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson co-author a piece in Gulf News where they argue “the time to build is now. Egypt has got the world’s attention. Over the next few weeks the British diplomatic and commercial teams in Cairo, Alexandria, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will identify the opportunities for British, Egyptian and Emirati companies to work together to deliver the new investment. And we are convinced that strong partnerships between UK and UAE companies will be hard to beat. Together we are uniquely placed as Egypt’s investment partners, and together we can maximise the potential of Egypt’s investment opportunities.” (Read)

Egyptian hospitality on the road to recovery: The National does a brief review of the Egyptian tourism sector’s performance over the past few years. (Read)


Eric Trager of The Washington Institute argues that: “Washington has a strong interest in helping Egypt succeed in Yemen. The U.S. military relies on safe transit through the Bab al-Mandab Strait for supporting coalition efforts against ISIS, as well as maintaining its presence in the region more broadly. Moreover, the Obama administration has declared its support for the Saudi-led coalition’s “goal of restoring the legitimate authorities in Yemen,” and Egypt will likely be a central player in that effort. In addition, Egypt’s entry into the conflict represents an important opportunity to clarify U.S. policy toward Cairo and improve a bilateral relationship that has been tense since Morsi’s ouster.” (Read: ‘Egypt’s Yemen Campaign‘)

How Saudis took the lead in Yemen, by Eli Lake and Josh Rogin for Bloomberg View: “Saudi officials who briefed U.S. lawmakers on Thursday said that planning for the coalition began about three weeks ago, following the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Saudi Arabia [also around the same time as President El Sisi’s visit]. During those meetings, Erdogan was apprised of potential military action in Yemen and agreed that Turkey would support it. Not surprising, then, that on Thursday Erdogan announced Turkey’s approval and said his nation might even provide logistical support. “We support Saudi Arabia’s intervention,” he told France 24 in an interview. “Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw.” (Read)


On Thursday, Ittihadiya issued a statement declaring “In response to the request of the Republic of Yemen and in line with the position adopted by the member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to support the legitimacy approved by the people of Yemen led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi; and emanating from the obligation the Arab Republic of Egypt assumes toward the preservation of Arab national security in the Gulf region and the Red Sea; and in line with the Joint Arab Defense Treaty and the Charter of the Arab League, it was imperative for Egypt to assume its responsibility and respond to the call of the Yemeni people in order to restore stability and preserve its Arab identity.”

On Saturday evening, former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who supports the Houthi rebels, “gave an address broadcast on Yemen Today television, blaming the country’s problems since 2011 on Hadi, urging the coalition to stop their airstrikes, and calling for new elections in which he promised ‘neither me nor my relatives will run.’” (Read)

Four Egyptian warships were sent through the Suez Canal to the Gulf of Aden in order to secure the Bab el-Mandeb, the strait which connects the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Expert Richard Mallinson quoted by the AP discounts the possibility that the strait may become closed due to the conflict: “The Houthis and other groups are focused on the intricacies of the domestic conflict,” he said. “There isn’t a group I can see where their primary aim would be to disrupt shipping and also have the ability to do it.” (Read)

With regard to future military action, Egypt reiterated its commitment to provide air, naval “and if necessary ground forces, within the framework of the coalition,” according to a statement by the MFA.

The statement on Thursday of the EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini on Yemen reads, in part: “I’m convinced that military action is not a solution. Only a broad political consensus through negotiations can provide a sustainable solution, restore peace, and preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Yemen. “ (Read)


President Abdelfattah El Sisi opened the Arab League Heads of State Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh by saying that none of the phases which the Arab nation has passed through is as dangerous as the present. The President said that in light of efforts by external parties who wish to take advantage of the turmoil of the past few years, that Egypt reiterates its support for the Arab Foreign Ministers’ draft initiative to create a joint Arab force. El-Sisi  mentioned with regard to Libya that while Egypt supports a political solution, that Egypt reiterates its call for the lifting of the arms embargo from the legitimate government based in Tobruk, as well as for a political solution in Syria, without mentioning if such a solution would include Bashar al Assad.

Regarding the proposed joint force: “Egyptian security and military officials said the [joint Arab] force is planned to include some 40,000 men backed by jet fighters, warships and light armor.” (Read)

President El Sisi also met with the embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, both separately and with King Salman, according to emailed statements from Ittihadiya. The statements, however, do not go into detail regarding the heart of the matters that were discussed, beyond diplomatic formalities. The statements also note that the President met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The Emir, for his part, insisted on a political solution in Libya, while stating that no political solution in Syria can involve Assad. (Read)

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was quoted as saying on Saturday during the Summit: “I say to the puppets of Iran, its toys and those who support it, you have destroyed Yemen with your political adolescence and by manufacturing domestic and regional crises,” (Read in AP, or watch with English voiceover, running time: 1:21)

For a more in-depth look at the Arab Summit, Bloomberg has a piece which quotes an unnamed Arab diplomatic source extensively, who claims that “5,000 fighters from Iran and its proxies, including Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi militias, are training and supporting the Houthis in Yemen … Satellite imagery has also shown that the Houthis have repositioned some of the Yemeni army’s 300 Scud missiles near the northern border and directed them at Saudi Arabia, the official said. The air strikes have destroyed 21 of the missiles … Gulf countries expect Iran to strike back, the Gulf official said. Potential targets include Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, where most of the country’s Shiites live; Bahrain, which has a majority Shiite population ruled by Sunnis; and Gulf embassies and interests, the official said.” (Read)


A conversation with U.S. President Obama and The Wire creator David Simon, (Watch, running time: 12:18)

A MESSAGE FROM PHAROS HOLDING: In an unprecedented move to boost investor confidence and the expectations of anchor creditors and donors, the Ministry of Finance published highlights of the FY16 budget three months ahead of the close of FY15. Highlights include an expected real GDP growth of 5% to USD 333 bn and a budget deficit of around 9.5-10% of GDP or EGP 253.3 to EGP 266.7 bn, at par with FY15’s EGP 256 bn. During the period between late 2010 and 2014, banks have been almost fully geared towards financing government requirements where the ratio of EGP T-bills and bonds to total assets at commercial banks jumped from 34.4% at the end 2010 to 45.9% by the end of 2014. Pharos Holding views that the stability in cash deficits in FY16, on the back of the ongoing fiscal consolidation measures and the windfall from lower oil prices, suggests that the percent of deposits channeled to treasuries at the banking sector has reached its cyclical peak. (Continue reading)


The Consultant office regarding the studies on the GERD will be chosen next week, according to a release from SIS.

Egypt and Ethiopia issued a joint communiqué on Thursday reiterating all the points of the Principles Agreement as well as various statements issued from Ittihadiya over the course of the President’s state visit to Addis Ababa. The only new point mentioned in the statement was the creation of an office for Ethiopian public diplomacy in the Egyptian presidential headquarters.


The five most-clicked links in Enterprise last week included:

  • Islam’s Improbable Reformer (WSJ weekend interview with President El Sisi)
  • What to watch if you’re choking to death at this very moment (Clickhole, running time: 2 minutes)
  • Holcim and Lafarge: A merger of egos (FT)
  • Famous: the Cairo fashion scene redefining Egyptian masculinity (The Guardian)
  • Is Yemen Still Obama’s Model for Fighting Extremists? (ABC News Video, running time: 12:17) (tie)
  • How To Channel Your Road Rage Into Cold, Calculating Road Revenge (The Onion, running time: 2:53) (tie)


Ras Gharib connected to the national electricity grid
Al Borsa | 25 March 2015
Ras Gharib is now connected to the national electricity grid, the Governor of the Red Sea announced. The city had relied on old power stations and was subjected to repeated power outages. The governor said the situation is remedied as a new station, connected o the grid, commenced operations. (Read in Arabic)

Fuel smart card system to be delayed to 1Q2015/16
Al Shorouk | 26 March 2015
The roll out of the smart card system for gasoline and diesel will be delayed to the first quarter of the next fiscal year, a source told Al Shorouk. Not all cities will have received the smart cards by April’s end, which is the reason behind the delay. The second phase of the roll out, which was set to begin in January, did not hit complete its targets, the source noted. (Read in Arabic)

Ministries of Petroleum and Electricity to meet regarding power cuts
Youm7 | 26 March 2015
Spokesperson for the Council of Ministers Hossam Al Qawish announced that a meeting between the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy will seek to resolve power shortages before summer by establishing additional electricity stations. According to Al Qawish, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb urged both ministries to conduct meetings to solve the ongoing power cuts. The Council of Ministers’ Spokesperson added that the Ministry of Petroleum started importing liquefied natural gas to meet the capacity of the new and existing electricity stations. (Read in Arabic)


Weak gas supplies to the national gas affecting power stations
Al Masry Al Youm | 26 March 2015
A drop in the volume of gas supplied through the national natural gas grid is affecting the electricity generation capacity in power stations, the Ministry of Petroleum noted. The decreased flows are due to technical issues related to the production of gas from fields in the Western Desert and the Mediterranean that have slowed due to maintenance operations. The issues are currently being resolved and gas flows will be restored soon, the ministry said. (Read in Arabic)

Diversifying energy resources is integral for sustainable economic development – oil minister
Al Borsa | 26 March 2015
Diversifying Egypt’s energy resources and the introduction of renewable energy supplies is a crucial step towards sustainable economic development, the Minister of Petroleum, Sherif Ismail said. The minister praised the direction taken to use solar energy to power some administrative buildings as well as gasoline stations. Ismail noted that the government is working on improving the supply chain network by improving the transportation infrastructure and increasing storage capacity. (Read in Arabic)

Naftogaz may be forced to forfeit gas concessions Egypt
Youm7| 29 March 2015
Naftogaz may be forced to forfeit its gas concessions in Egypt, due to an ongoing dispute with the Ukrainian Tax Authority. The company has been unable to undertake development and exploration of the concessions, as a result of the dispute. The company acquired the concessions in 2012. (Read in Arabic)


Egypt aims to increase potato exports: Minister of Agriculture
Al Borsa | 26 March 20115
Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture and Reclamation defended Egypt’s potato exports, stating that “None of the country’s potato shipments were sent back and there were no reports of food poisoning as a result of their consumption.”  The minister added that Egypt’s potato exports reached 684,645 tons during the current fiscal year, a 50,000 ton increase from the previous fiscal year. In light of growing international demand for Egyptian potatoes, the ministry hopes that exports to Russia and western Europe increase in upcoming years. (Read in Arabic)


No intention to issue new steel licenses, cement under study –IDA
Al Borsa | 25 March 2015
There is no intention to issue new licenses for steel manufacturers, the head of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) said. The recent licenses extended were just to account for new production capacities of existing producers. The IDA also said that issuing new cement licenses is being considered currently, but the market’s needs and the environmental concerns are being assessed now. (Read in Arabic)


Banque Misr to open rep offices in China and Russia
Al Mal | 26 March 2015
Banque Misr is planning on opening representation offices in China and Russia, sources tell Al Mal. The bank has reportedly already received CBE approvals to begin operating in the two countries and is currently finalizing documentation to apply for licenses there. Banque Misr is looking to expand its global reach and strengthen economic ties with Russia and China following the trade minister’s call to support trade by increasing Egypt’s presence in the two countries. (Read in Arabic)


Dispute with the Ain Sokhna Port workers is resolved
Amwal Al Ghad | 27 March 2015
The dispute with the workers at the Ain Sokhna port has been resolved, announced the Red Sea Ports Authority. The administrative disputes with the workers never led to a complete strike, the Red Sea Ports Authority’s spokesperson said. He added that navigation continues normally and that the port’s workers are operating as usual. (Read in Arabic)

Suez Canal revenues to exceed EGP 40 bn this fiscal year – Mamish
Al Borsa | 25 March 2015
Suez Canal revenues are expected to exceed EGP 40 bn in FY2014/15, according to Mohab Mamish, the head of the Suez Canal Authority. Mamish noted that some of the canal’s income was affected slightly by the fall of the values of international currencies, but remains healthy in EGP terms. (Read in Arabic)

Qena governorate allocates EGP 14.597 mn for SMEs
Al Borsa | 26 March 2015
The governor of Qena has announced that the governorate has allocated EGP 14.597 mn for the financing of 859 SME projects. This initiative is undertaken in partnership with the Social Fund for Development, according to the governor. (Read in Arabic)

Trade relations between Germany and Egypt at their strongest
Al Masry Al Youm | 28 March 2015
Egypt’s ambassador to Berlin, Mohamed Hegazi revealed that the trade account between Germany and Egypt reached its highest ever in 2014, recording EU4.4 bn, broken down between EU1.5 bn of Egyptian exports, and EU2.8 bn of German exports to Egypt. (Read in Arabic)


Electronic ration cards are not being delivered to their intended users –source
Al Ahram | 26 March 2015
The new electronic ration cards being made now are not being delivered to their intended users, a source told Al Ahram. Some cards are lost, delivered to grocery shops, or the wrong users instead of the original paper card holders. Having the paper-based system run in parallel with the electronic one is resulting in some duplication in disbursing the rations, the source added. (Read in Arabic)

SFD signs deals with the ILO to support female entrepreneurs
Al Ahram | 26 March 2015
Three MoUs were signed between the International Labour Organisation and the Social Fund for Development. The MoUs aim to support female entrepreneurs and increase awareness to empower females economically. The MoUs include a training program to improve the capabilities of women leading SMEs, supporting microenterprises, and to support women with special needs. (Read in Arabic)


The Eni-Kogas consortium finds no exploitable gas off Cyprus’ coast
Reuters | 26 March 2015
Eni and Kogas failed to find any exploitable hydrocarbons off Cyprus’ coast for the second time. “Even though this is disappointing, it does not mean there are no hydrocarbons in Cyprus’s economic exploitation zone,” the Cypriot energy minister said. But Reuters notes that the “development is another setback to Cypriot hopes of abundant offshore riches like its neighbour, Israel, home to some of the largest finds in the past decade.” (Read)


Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab took a series of executive decisions allocating plots of land for public utilities and appointing a number of people to the Egyptian Radio and Television Union. Al Mal has all of the details here.

Officials from MENA central banks including Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and 24 other countries involved in the compilation of the balance of payments and international investment position statistics participated in the IMF’s Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC) workshop on the “Sixth Edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6)” in Beirut, Lebanon from 24-26 March.

American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will launch from Earth this week to begin their mission on the International Space Station, aiming to be the first people to attempt to live in space for a full year, surpassing the usual 6-month stay, as well as to evaluate through medical experiments how their bodies handle their extended stay in orbit. (Read)


USD CBE auction (last sale Thursday, 26 March): 7.5301 (unchanged since Monday, 02 Feb)
USD parallel market (Saturday, 28 March): 7.65 (unchanged since Monday, 23 March)

EGX30 (Thursday): 9,052.50 (-1.59%)
Turnover: EGP 531.5 mn (16% below the 90-day average)

WTI: USD 48.87 (-4.98%)
Brent: USD 56.41 (-4.70%)

TASI: 8,903.5 (+0.4%)
ADX: 4,373.1 (flat, +0.03%)
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Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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