Monday, 31 August 2015

Eni’s “super-giant” find in the Med changes Egypt’s energy calculus

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

A super-giant natural gas field within Egyptian territorial waters in the Mediterranean is the largest-ever in the Med. Though it is by some estimates almost double the size of Israel’s Leviathan field, it’s a bit under half the size of a massive field Eni discovered in Mozambique in 2011. Either way: The find looks set to help transform Egypt’s economy. We have a special Spotlight just ahead of Speed Round (below). The Eni announcement makes the Future of Energy in Egypt summit opening this morning even more relevant: The two-day gathering aims to create a roadmap for how Egypt can become one of the Middle East’s top five energy exporters by 2030.

The 12-day nomination period for elections to the House of Representatives opens tomorrow (1 September). We’ll be heading to the polls in two rounds:

  • 18-19 October (with a focus on Giza, Upper Egypt, Alex and the Red Sea)
  • 22-23 November (Cairo, the Delta, Sinai).

Egyptians abroad will vote from 17-18 October, the Higher Elections Committee said yesterday. As always, Ahram Online has the most comprehensive English-language roundup, while Al Masry Al Youm is typical of the coverage in the Arabic-language press. Will you be upset that the prospect of having a parliament is the only thing that bothers us as much as not having one? As we’ve previously noted, a “No to religious parties“ campaign has sprouted up ahead of the polls in anticipation of a possible strong showing by Salafis. We see no need to worry; we can always just dissolve the next parliament if we don’t like it and start over.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi begins the second day of his state visit to Singapore, the first leg of a seven-day Asian tour. The President began his visit on Sunday with a visit to Singapore’s largest desalination power plant, Ahram Online reports, as Egypt seeks to “benefit from Singapore’s wide experience in a number of areas, including port development and management, improving the quality of public and technical education, and management of water resources and water desalination,” as noted in an emailed statement from Ittihadiya. The next leg in the president’s tour is Beijing, where he is set to arrive on Thursday, followed by Indonesia.

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WHAT WE’RE TRACKING THIS WEEK

The Emirates NBD / Markit Economics Purchasing Managers’ Index for Egypt (as well as those for the UAE and Saudi) will drop on 3 September at around 7:30am CLT.

The Arab League’s Economic and Social Council will meet in Cairo on Thursday, 3 September, according to Al Ahram. Mohamed Al-Tuwaijri, Assistant Secretary-General of Arab League Economic Affairs, said that the session will discuss several issues; most notably the Arab League Summit scheduled in Morocco in March 2016 and the Arab Customs Union requirements.

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Sunday night’s edition of Hona El Assema was led by none other than Lamis El Hadidy, this reviewers favorite television personality. The first segment discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections, while the second tackled the state-of-play on the new administrative capital.

El Hadidy kicked-off with her customary opening sermon, this time providing viewers with general information on Egypt’s parliamentary system. Shortly afterward, Mohamed Anwar El Sadat, chairman of the Reform and Development Party and nephew of the late Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, called-in to provide his predictions as the nation prepares to head to the polls this fall.

El Sadat: “Islamist parties, including the Nour Party, suffer from a lack of candidates. As such, they will be unable to secure more than 30 percent of the seats. Conversely, I predict that former NDP members will garner upwards of 100 parliamentary seats. That said, no single party will be able to dominate the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

Despite predicting a fractured parliament, El Sadat expects “there to be a sizable opposition,” calling the development a “healthy sign.”

Shortly after El Sadat’s call came to an end, Housing Minister Dr. Moustafa Madbouly called-in to discuss the murky future of Egypt’s new administrative capital. Madbouly began his call by dispelling rumors that Mohamed Alabbar had withdrawn from the project. Instead, the minister said, “the company’s role in the project has changed.” Rather than being the government’s primary partner on the project, Alabbar will be a member of state-led consortium, comprising Egyptian and foreign entities.

“The government will spearhead the planning and development of the administrative capital project. We will commission leading consulting firms to advise on the project,” added the minister.

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SPOTLIGHT on Eni’s “supergiant” gas discovery off Egypt’s coast

Eni announced it has made “a world class supergiant gas discovery” at the Zohr Prospect. The prospect could hold up to 30 tcf of gas, according to Eni’s press release, making Zohr the single “largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea.” Eni will begin appraising the field immediately. In comparison, Noble Energy estimates that Israel’s Leviathan gas field holds 19 tcf of gross natural gas mean resources. The announcement was timed to coincide with Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi’s meeting with President El Sisi. During the meeting, El Sisi reportedly told Descalzi that the “government will provide investing companies with all requirements needed to achieve new discoveries.” Oil Minister Sherif Ismail also said the government is cooperating closely with Eni to expand production and cooperation. Eni, which bills itself as “the main hydrocarbon producer in Egypt, with a daily equity production of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent,” has been at the forefront of the move by gas producers to secure better pricing from the state to E&P players in the sector.

As you would expect from a discovery of this size, it’s the talk of the international business press and one of the lead stories on Egypt heading into this morning. Coverage is largely what we call “commodity news” so far: Just the facts, with a paucity of analysis. We’ll be looking for solid dissections of the story and where it goes from here in the days ahead.

  • FT: Eni discovers ‘supergiant’ gasfield near Egypt (including a bit of additional detail from Descalzi)
  • WSJ: Eni Reports Natural Gas Discovery off Egyptian Coast: Italian energy firm estimates enough natural gas to supply Egypt for decades
  • Reuters: Italy’s Eni makes mega gas discovery off Egyptian coast
  • Bloomberg: Eni Discovers Massive Gas Field in the Mediterranean
  • Associated Press: Italy’s Eni Finds ‘Supergiant’ Natural Gas Field Off Egypt (NY Times pickup)

What does this mean for Israel and the USD 1.2 bn ‘Dolphinus’ agreement to import gas from Israel? One would presume that (a) Egypt needs all the gas it can get, domestically; (b) Egypt has ambitions to become a leading regional oil and gas hub; and (c) large offshore reserves will give Cairo some measure of pricing power vis-à-vis imports from our Eastern neighbors. Either way, the Egyptian discovery looks set to become a political football in Israel: “The discovery of the massive gas field in Egypt is a painful reminder that while Israel sleepwalks and dallies with the final approval for the gas road map, and delays further prospecting, the world is changing in front of us, including ramifications for [Israeli] export options,” said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday. The compromise oilfield development agreement between the Israeli government and the Leviathan partners was approved by Netanyahu’s cabinet earlier this month, with a vote in the Knesset taking place after the end of the summer recess in September, although a vote could be pushed back to October. John Reed, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the Financial Times, tweeted: “Egypt just found a ‘supergiant’ gas field. Israel is still arguing over how to develop Leviathan, discovered in 2010.

If the new discovery does come online before the Leviathan gasfield begins exporting, Israel may be more motivated to seek an export agreement with Turkey instead, which may in turn come with other political strings attached, including a long-rumored years-long truce between Israel and Hamas.

While development and production is still some time away, the potential future supply, according to Eni’s press release, will give a major contribution in satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades, while Descalzi in the FT piece above says that the gas could do away with Egypt’s need to import gas for up to ten years.

SPEED ROUND

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John Casson, the British Ambassador to Egypt, was summoned for a chat at the Foreign Affairs Ministry over comments MOFA described as “unacceptable intervention“ in Egyptian affairs. Following the sentencing of the three Al Jazeera English journalists to three years in prison, Casson made comments posted on the British Embassy in Cairo’s Facebook page saying, “Britain actively supports stability in Egypt … But the question today is whether this will be a fragile and temporary stability on the basis of suspending freedoms of media and expression and depriving individuals of their rights in the Egyptian constitution.” The British Embassy said it will convey the MFA’s concerns to London. Meanwhile: Canada has formally petitioned Egypt for the pardon and / or deportation of Mohamed Fahmy, Al Jazeera English’s former bureau chief in Cairo. A Canadian national, Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship earlier this year in a bid to win deportation.

Arabtec seeking closure: Arabtec is reportedly trying to set a meeting with the Housing Ministry to make a final decision regarding the company’s involvement in the mn homes social housing project, a source told Al Shorouk. The Housing Ministry was on the verge of annulling the MoU with Arabtec officially, but has postponed that move until after the expected meeting, the source added. The Ministry wants to move out of this grey area to be able to re-tender the land if the agreement with Arabtec is over. The UAE’s Alfahim had offered to implement the project.

Saudi Arabia to disburse USD 2.9 bn to Egypt in September -Al Mal: Sources speaking to Al Malreported on Sunday that Saudi King Salman will provide soft loans in the amount of USD 2.9 bn at a signing ceremony set to take place on 7 September. The assistance would appear to be the first tranche of support from the USD 4 bn pledged during the EEDC. (Read in Arabic in Al Mal or in Egypt Independent)

The Federation of Egyptian Industries is still complaining about the decisions to ban rice exports, saying that the biggest loser from that decision is the average farmer. Rice prices have already dropped by EGP 450 per tonne. The FEI expects a supply surplus of 0.9 mn tonnes, with domestic demand not expected to exceed 3.3 mn tonnes, according to Al Shorouk.

Seven companies including Arab Contractors, Orascom Construction, and the Bin Laden Group taken out bid guidelines for a tender to develop the infrastructure for the Airport City project. The tender was delayed until mid October by the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation to allow competing companies the chance to submit technical specifications for the project. Airport City will cost about EGP 80 bn to build, with infrastructure accounting for about 5% of the total project cost.

Orascom Construction reported 51% growth in its backlog in 1H2015 to USD 7.2 bn, a new company record, CEO Osama Bishai said as the company reported results for the period, with 47% of the backlog being in Egypt. Infrastructure projects account for 63.5% of its backlog. New contracts signed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the USA grew 65% year-on-year in 2Q2015 to USD 2.6 bn. “OC signed new contracts during the second quarter in the transportation sector in Egypt, including airports, roads and bridges. In addition, the Group built on its strong track record in the power sector by signing EUR 1.6 bn to build two combined cycle power plants in Egypt with a total capacity of 9,600 MW. Both power plants will be constructed in a consortium with Siemens and will be the largest in the world once complete,” the company said. OC, listed on the NASDAQ Dubai and the EGX, is a leading global engineering and construction contractor primarily focused on infrastructure, industrial and high-end commercial projects. Read the company’s earnings release or its 1H2015 results presentation, both as pdf downloads.

Meanwhile: NYSE Euronext-listed OCI NV’s 1H15 consolidated financial results report an 11.4% drop in revenues to USD 1.1 bn, down from USD 1.3 bn in 1H14, while net income from continuing operations rose 111.7% year-on-year to USD 104.8 mn from USD 49.5 mn. OCI NV is a global producer and distributor of natural gas-based fertilizers and industrial chemicals. CEO Nassef Sawiris stated that the company made good progress during the first half of the year, in light of improved subsidiary performance, especially EFC, Sorfert and OCI Nitrogen. He expects a better second half on the back of an agreement with CF Industries to combine a number of OCI’s businesses with CF’s global assets, as well as better utilization rates at subsidiaries on the expectation that bringing a second FSRU online will allow gas imports specifically to feed energy- and feedstock-deprived industrial consumers.

Faragallo has landed EGP 200 mn in long-term financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The facility will be used partially to refinance existing short-term debt as well as to finance permanent working capital needs, EBRD said in a statement. EBRD notes that the project will have an impact on Faragallo, a subsidiary of Faragalla Group, through “(i) market expansion through backward linkages to suppliers including supplier development and training and forward linkages to third party logistics providers and (ii) setting standards for corporate governance through implementation of improvements in the Company’s management and Board structures.” Faragallo is a top producer of juice, dairy and processed vegetables. The news has also been picked up by Al Borsa.

More woes for Hisham Geneina: The Rotary Club in Six October cancelled a seminar on institutional transparency in government and fighting corruption featuring Administrative Control Authority (ACA) head Hisham Geneina, Hani Sarie-Eldin and notable academics. Al-Ahram suggests pressure from the security apparatus was the deciding factor in scrapping the get-together.

And if you were wondering how the War on Corruption was going: The ACA has charged Assistant Agriculture Minister and several General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development (GARPAD) officials for allegedly accepting bribes from unidentified businessmen in the sale of state-owned land, according to a Ministry source. Agriculture Minister Salah Helal denied having any knowledge of the incident. Helal has recently played a role in the state’s corruption crackdown, backing an investigation that led to the indictment of 23 officials in his ministry and calling for a comprehensive state anti-corruption strategy.

Schlumberger to buy oilfield gear maker Cameron in USD 14.8 bn agreement: Schlumberger Ltd, the world’s leading top oilfield services firm, announced its intent to buy equipment maker Cameron International Corp for USD 14.8 bn Reuters reported. Competitor Halliburton announced their takeover of Baker Hughes in November.

China will respond too late to avoid recession, Citigroup chief economist says: “Despite the economy crying out for it [consumption-focused fiscal stimulus], the Chinese leadership is not ready for this,” according to Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter in a media call hosted Thursday by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, as reported by Bloomberg. “It’s an economy that’s sliding into recession.” Chinese premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly promised not to pursue stimulus.

According to completely unscientific and possibly inaccurate polling, this guy provides better customer support than TE Data. At least that was our corporate experience with them yesterday, when a “customer service representative” slammed the phone down after we had the temerity to inquire of her (rather politely, we thought) why our ADSL service had been cut off, leading to a three-hour internet outage at Enterprise and Inktank World Headquarters before we could get up and running on backup lines. (running time 0:11).

Speaking of the nice people in the telecoms industry: We’ve received word from a reader that the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority may be trying to protect what remains of international calling revenues for TE and the three mobile network operators by moving to block voice-over-IP applications including Skype, Magic Jack, WhatsApp Voice and others. The regulatory framework has been in place for some time, but has never been effectively brought into force. Anecdotally speaking: We’ve subsequently found one non-staffer unable to use Magic Jack, but most of us on staff have recently fired-up Skype and FaceTime without a hitch. We’re going to dig further into this in the days ahead and would love to hear from you if you’ve recently been blocked. Drop us a note on editorial@enterprisemea.com, specifying the app (FaceTime, Skype, etc.), carrier / ISP (Etisalat / Mobinil / TE Data / Vodafone / Nour / etc.) and date on which it stopped working for you. If we see a trend, we’ll be certain to report back. H/t Marco P.

NOTE: The owner of the original video of Amal Clooney’s interview with Lamees El-Hadidy has switched the clip to private since we first provided the link after viewing it early Sunday morning. A public copy of the interview is available here, (English with Arabic subtitles, running time: 12:12)

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EGYPT IN THE NEWS

International media coverage of Egypt in both the English and Arabic language press on Sunday evening and going into Monday morning was largely focused on Eni’s Zohr discovery, however a number of outlets were widely reported the summoning of the British ambassador by the MoFA over his comments, as well as continued criticism of the Al Jazeera retrial verdicts. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC are both set to air interviews with Amal Clooney.

The Best Of Egyptian Cinema: Film critic Sherif Awad presents his picks (each getting its own page, unfortunately, rather than a single-page) for the 10 best Egyptian movies of all time in chronological order. (Read)

WORTH (RE)READING

What Leaders Really Do, Harvard Business Review. “In 1977, when Harvard Business School professor Abraham Zaleznik published an HBR article with the deceptively mild title ‘Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?’ … the piece caused an uproar in business schools … ‘What Leaders Really Do,’ first published in 1990, deepens and extends the insights of the 1977 article … Managers promote stability while leaders press for change, and only organizations that embrace both sides of that contradiction can thrive in turbulent times.” (Read)

WORTH WATCHING

Fans of the animated Transformers series (1984-1987) may enjoy the re-dubbed edit of The Rude Awakening of Optimus Prime, a good encapsulation of what readers may feel as they return to their offices after their summer vacations, (Watch, running time: 4:07, profanity, viewer discretion advised).

Picking up diapers, Raising Arizona, 1987. (Watch, running time: 2:42)

IMAGES OF THE DAY

The six oldest living trees in the world, with the youngest at an estimated age between 2k – 4k years old. (View image gallery from Mental Floss) For more on the Methusalah, (#2 on the list, whose location is kept secret) and bristlecone pines in general and what they can tell us about climate change, see Aeon’s The vanishing groves: “The world’s oldest trees, bristlecone pines belong to a group of ‘foxtail’ pines that live in small alpine pockets of the western United States … The oldest of the living bristlecones were just saplings when the pyramids were raised. The most ancient, called Methuselah, is estimated to be more than 4,800 years old.”

DIPLOMACY

South Sudan’s Peace Agreement… A Word of Caution: The MoFa’s blog is back with a new post — and in the direction which would one would expect of such a format: a longer analytical piece on a foreign affairs issue, rather than a post about Sarah Carr. Ahmed el-Moslemany underlines the need to recognize South Sudan’s reservations about the recently signed peace agreement and criticizes US State Department spokesperson Jack Kirby‘s dismissal of those reservations. “How is it possible, in light of this acute difference in views, to guarantee the implementation and sustainability of the peace agreement? How can we expect a power-sharing arrangement to succeed if one of the parties was forced to sign under extreme pressure [Kiir] and still has serious reservations which remain unaddressed? How can we avoid the power struggle that has characterised South Sudan’s political scene since 2013 and the ensuing humanitarian crisis that has engulfed South Sudan?” (Read South Sudan’s Peace Agreement… A Word of Caution)

Sudan’s Omar Bashir will travel to China on Monday for a four-day state visit, the first for Bashir outside of Africa since 2011, when he also visited China. Bashir is travelling in defiance of a warrant for his arrest issued by the ICC in the Hague. Bashir also plans to attend the UNGA in New York this September. Somehow.

FM Shoukry meets with Yemeni counterpart: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received Yemeni foreign minister Riyadh Yaseen on Saturday, according to post by the ministry on Sunday. Ministry spokesperson Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt has promised to provide support to help rebuild Yemen.

Legal case calling on UK to take responsibility for landmines in Egypt back in MoFA’s lap: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is studying a ruling by the administrative court accepting a lawsuit that would compel MoFA to seek compensation from the United Kingdom for the latter’s role in sewing land mines across Egypt’s Western Desert during the Second World War. “According to the State Information Service, the battle between German and British troops in the Western Desert left behind around 17.5 mn mines … [an] area, which accounts for more than one fifth of Egypt’s total surface area, is off-limits for development.” (Read)

ENERGY

Oil Libya (Egypt) signs export agreement with Ethiopia
Amwal Al Ghad | 30 Aug 2015
Oil Libya (Egypt) announced the signing of an agreement to export 500 tonnes of oils to Ethiopia each month. The new pact, which was signed in accordance with COMESA, brings the total export value to Ethiopia to USD 12 mn annually. Oil Libya (Egypt) will be exporting oils for gasoline and diesel engines from its Borg El Arab plant in Alexandria. (Read in Arabic)

No restriction on country of origin for coal imports, gov’t says
Al Borsa | 30 August 05
Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy refuted claims that the government is moving to place restrictions the countries from which Egypt will be importing coal. The only requirement will be that the product meet guidelines issued by Cabinet in April. The conversion of cement producers to coal-generated power will free up 6 GW presently generated by firing natural gas, the minister said. (Read in Arabic)

Petroleum Ministry temporarily seize land for gas pipeline extension
Official Gazette | 30 August 2015
The Petroleum Ministry ordered the temporary seizure of land in Marsa Matrouh to extend the Salam=Matrouh gas pipeline. The 2.3 km extension is an EGAS-run project considered of “vital national importance” to secure natural gas supplies and deliveries to Marsa Matrouh.

INFRASTRUCTURE

EGP 600 mn water plant operational in October
Al Mal | 30 Aug 2015
Giza Governor Khaled El Adly announced the EGP 600 mn water plant in 6 of October will begin its first phase of operations next month. The plant will add 400k cubic metres daily to the water grid, with 100k cubic metres dedicated to solving the water crisis in the central Giza area, he added. The project’s total cost was EGP 600 mn and was built by the Ministry of Housing. (Read in Arabic)

EGP 1.3 bn road to connect Port Said to Cairo-Ismailiya Desert Road
Amwal Al Ghad | 30 Aug 2015
Construction has begun on a EGP 1.3 bn road connecting the Port Said governorate to the Cairo-Ismailiya Desert Road as part of the National Roads Project, announced Port Said Governor Magdy Nasr El Deen. The road is 95.5 km long and 55 metres wide. The General Authority for Roads and Bridges will begin constructing 14 new roads in the second phase of the National Roads Project, at an estimated preliminary cost of EGP 13 bn. (Read in Arabic)

BASIC MATERIALS + COMMODITIES

Ministry of Supply studies cooperating with Nielsen
Al Shorouk | 30 Aug 2015
Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy met with Nielsen Managing Director for the MENA region Tamer El Araby to study potential cooperation. The global marketing research firm will prepare reports about the number of consumers, their consumption patterns, and the commodities available, which will then be used by the ministry for strategic planning, Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy said in a statement on Sunday. (Read in Arabic)

Meat boycott campaign will result in higher poultry prices, Poultry Division says
Youm7 | 30 Aug 2015
As we noted before, the success of the meat boycott campaign organized by social media users will likely result in higher poultry prices due to a rise in demand and a decline in supply, Abdel Aziz AlSayed, head of the Poultry Division in the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said. Abdel Aziz clarified that the heat wave that hit Egypt resulted in a decline in poultry supply and a EGP 4 increase per kilo from EGP 18 to EGP 22. (Read in Arabic)

REAL ESTATE + HOUSING

Alhokair to repay its debts by 1 October
Al Shorouk | 30 Aug 2015
Fawaz Alhokair Group announced it is going to repay its debts in full by 1 October, according to Al Shorouk. Alhokair owes around EGP 1.565 bn to banks in Egypt and had asked for a grace period until mid-September in order to complete a debt rescheduling agreement. According to Al Shorouk, an unnamed source says Alhokair has finalized an agreement with a foreign bank to provide it with the liquidity needed to repay its debts in Egypt. The Group has been facing difficulties borrowing domestically due to its ongoing dispute with NUCA. (Read in Arabic)

TOURISM

Lufthansa makes Cairo its regional sales headquarters
Zawya | 30 Aug 2015
Lufthansa announced that Cairo is becoming its regional headquarters for sales in North Africa and the Near East. The airline has also appointed Frank Van den Steen as country manager for Egypt and will be based at the group’s Cairo sales headquarters. “North Africa is one of the Lufthansa Group’s strongest growth markets, and with the Egyptian Tourism Authority reporting a 9% increase in travelers to Egypt in H1 2015 we are confident that we will be able to work together to ensure these encouraging figures continue to increase not only in Egypt, but across the area,” Van den Steen said. (Read)

DER Touristik to increase its Egyptian business by 30%
Al Shorouk | 30 Aug 2015
DER Touristik is planning on increasing its business volume in Egypt by 30% y-o-y from the start of the upcoming winter season, Al Shorouk reported. Nora Ali, the CEO of Masters Travel Service, said her company is planning on increasing cooperation with DER Touristik and will announce the details of a cooperation agreement today. DER Touristik sends 250 mn tourists across the world every year, with 250k of those going to Egypt. Ali expects this number to double next year. (Read in Arabic)

TELECOMS + ICT

Mobinil expects to conclude tower sale-and-lease-back agreement this year
Al Mal | 30 Aug 2015
Mobinil is aiming to complete the sale of its mobile communications towers to Eaton Towers Egypt by the end of this year, said Mobinil CEO Yves Gauthier. Mobinil had inked an agreement to sell 2,000 towers in the Red Sea, Upper Egypt and Delta governorates to Eaton Towers last April. The sale and 15-year lease-back agreement that will see Eaton manage the towers for Mobinil is the first agreement of its kind in Egypt. (Read in Arabic)

MCIT begins EGP 250 mn technological developments with 52 state projects
Al Shorouk | 30 Aug 2015
The Ministry of Communications (MCIT) has begun executing the EGP 250 mn technological development projects across state sectors through 52 projects spanning the current fiscal year to increase the efficiency of government services, CIT Minister Khaled Negm. The Ministry is aiming to implement a system that will transform the Egyptian society into a digital one, with the help of the private sector, including automating information systems and technical support for administrative tools. (Read in Arabic)

Alexandria Governorate inks cooperation protocol with Microsoft
Amwal Al Ghad | 30 Aug 2015
Alexandria Governor Hani El Messeiry signed a cooperation protocol with Microsoft Egypt to improve the quality of government services, following tangible improvements with other government bodies. The first phase of the project involves designing an electronic complaint system that can be monitored by the governorate that will be delivered by September. The second phase will involve digitizing government documents and memos to decrease paper usage and increase efficiency (Read in Arabic)

AUTOMOTIVE + TRANSPORTATION

Egyptian National Railways targets EGP 7.2 bn investment this fiscal year
Amwal Al Ghad | 30 Aug 2015
Egyptian National Railways looks set to invest EGP 7.2 bn this fiscal year in overhauls of existing rolling stock, the import of 212 first- and second-class air conditioned wagons, refurbishing 30 short-haul locomotives in addition to buying 50 new ones. The ENR will also load up on spares and other maintenance basics, sources at the authority told Amwal Al Ghad. (Read in Arabic)

OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE

GAFI looking to establish an Egyptian-Jordanian FTZ
Al Borsa | 29 Aug 2015
The General Authority for Investment (GAFI) discussed plans to establish an Egyptian-Jordanian Free Trade Zone (FTZ) during a meeting with the Amman Chamber of Commerce on 29 August. (Read in Arabic)

ON YOUR WAY OUT

Expect an EGP 5,000 fine if you own a shop in Cairo but don’t have a trash bin by its entrance. Cairo’s Governor, Galal El Saeed, said the decision hopes to restore order and reduce littering, according toAmwal Al Ghad.

Nothing in law bars steel tycoon and former NDP stalwart Ahmed Ezz from declaring his intention to run in for election to the House of Representatives, said Omar Marwan, spokesman for the Higher Elections Committee. Marwan told MBC Egypt that the HEC cannot prevent Ezz from declaring his candidacy, but has the right to disqualify any candidate once the nominations period closes. (Read in Arabic)

BY THE NUMBERS

USD CBE auction (Sunday, 30 August): 7.7301 (unchanged since Sunday, 05 July)
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EGX30 (Sunday): 7,055.28 (-0.33%)
Turnover: EGP 368.3 mn (21% below the 90-day average)
EGX30 YTD: -20.96%

WTI: USD 45.22 (+6.25%)
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MSM: 5,904.4 (+1.5%)

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