Sunday, 8 May 2016

EFG Hermes looks do double AUM in renewables

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Digital editions of all major daily newspapers are leading this morning with news that eight members of the police service were killed last night in Helwan when masked gunmen opened fire on what appears to have been the microbus in which they were traveling. Police sealed-off the entrances and exits to Helwan late on Saturday night and were pursuing the assailants. There was no news of arrests at dispatch time this morning. Al Masry Al Youm and Al Shorouk have more. Al Ahram’s breaking news website puts the death toll at nine.

The Press Syndicate has backtracked on its demand for an apology from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and has postponed to next week a meeting that was to vote on a call for a general strike, Al Shorouk reports. Expect to see blacked-out front pages at a number of print newspapers that have declared solidarity with the Press Syndicate as it begins its protest week, calling for the resignation of the interior minister. In a statement released on Friday, the syndicate called on newspapers to publish demands for the minister’s resignation. The move was part of 16 decisions and demands adopted by the Press Syndicate at a general assembly last week. The House of Representatives will devote part of today’s session to a discussion of the fight between the journalists and the state, Ahram Online notes.

London elects its first Muslim mayor: Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan was elected London’s first mayor on Saturday, Reuters reported. The 45-year old Khan, the son of a bus driver and one of eight siblings who grew up in public housing, beat Conservative Zac Goldsmith, the son of the late bn’aire financier Sir James Goldsmith. Khan’s campaign was dogged by accusations of having appeared at events with imam Sulaiman Ghani, who was previously described by journalist Andrew Neil as being a Daesh supporter. Neil later apologised for his remarks on Ghani, though Khan had to apologise for his own remarks made to Iran’s Press TV in 2009 when he referred to “moderate Muslims” as “Uncle Toms,” the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

What We’re Tracking This Week

We’ll be keeping an eye out for news coming out of the Business News Foundation’s Third Annual Energy Conference: Energy and Sustainable Development, which kicks off on Tuesday at the InterContinental Hotel Citystars Cairo. Register here.

On The Horizon

The Egyptian-Bahraini Committee is set to meet in Cairo on 16-17 May (Monday-Tuesday).

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EFG Hermes to more than double renewable energy exposure, seeking Egyptian opportunities: EFG Hermes aims to increase the private equity AUM it manages in the renewable energy industry to EUR 1.5-2 bn by 2018, managing director of infrastructure private equity Bakr Abdel-Wahab told Reuters. The firm manages EUR 730 mn in renewable energy AUM today. “We have spoken to Egyptian and foreign companies working in the local market which have projects that need capital. We will provide them with the capital and help them to manage … We are initially targeting projects of around 500 megawatts of solar and wind energy in Egypt,” Abdel-Wahab added. He also said there are plans to expand to other markets include the US and eastern Europe. Vortex, a renewable energy vehicle managed by EFG Hermes, acquired a portfolio of 23 European wind farms in a transaction worth EUR 550 mn on 19 April (pdf of the news release).

The central bank isn’t looking to delay repayment of a USD 1 bn deposit from Qatar, Governor Tarek Amer said. “We are ready to fulfill our debt obligations on time to any entity, whether it is Qatar or the Paris Club,” he said in comments to MENA that were covered by domestic media including Al Shorouk and Al Masry Al Youm. Amer said Egypt is due to make USD 1.8 bn in repayments in July, USD 1 bn of which is to Qatar and the remainder to the Paris Club. According to Al Borsa, Amer also denied that there are any delays in receiving the UAE’s deposit, expecting it to arrive this month. He also said he senses a “strong desire” from Kuwait to continue its support to Egypt, but did not provide specifics.

The CBE continued its crackdown on FX bureaus it accused of being deeply involved in the parallel market, bringing the number of shuttered exchanges to 16, including El Maady Exchange, which was shut down last Thursday. Sources at the Central Bank tell Al Masry Al Youm that the CBE is considering imposing a system of escalating punishment for violators, including a one- to three-month suspension for first infractions. The EGP strengthened to EGP 10.95 to USD 1 in the parallel market yesterday, with FX dealers telling Al Mal that this may be due to a winding-down of import activity after securing supplies for Ramadan. Demand for hard currency in Egypt typically spikes in the run-up to Ramadan and again in during back-to-school season.

Stopgap liquidity measures? The Finance Ministry is going to issue USD 1.25 bn in one-year USD-denominated treasury bills “to local banks and foreign financial institutions on May 10,” Reuters reported. The deadline for the auction will be 9 May and the bills will mature on 9 May, 2017.

The Israeli government will “soon submit to Noble Energy Inc. and Delek Group Ltd. a proposal meant to unblock stalled development of the Leviathan natural gas field and allow exports to Egypt and Turkey,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said, as per Bloomberg. Without providing details, Steinitz said a solution could be reached soon, “in a matter of weeks, no more than a couple of months.” He said “we will probably see some kind of softer stability commitment, but still significant … I want to give them something which is softer but still substantial, which according to our experts has a reasonable chance not to be rejected by the court once again… The prices they will get in Jordan, Egypt, and hopefully in Turkey — because we are very close to resuming a diplomatic relationship with Turkey — are high.”

Still at issue, though: a USD 1.76 bn international arbitration award won by Israel Electric against state petroleum companies EGPC and EGAS and pipeline operator EMG for halting gas supplies to Egypt more than three years ago. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, a backer of Egypt’s bid to become a regional natural gas hub, has said there will be no open discussion of gas imports from Israel until the arbitration award is cleared. Israeli exports to Egypt, as we’ve reported extensively, would rely on EMG reversing its pipeline. Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Partners is among those leading the charge to use EMG, having concluded an import deal with partners in Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s natural gas output increased to 3.9 bcf per day this month from 3.8 bcf last, the first uptick in Egypt’s declining output in a year, an EGAS source tells Al Borsa. This increase came on the back of Petrobel bringing two wells online with a combined production of 110 mcf per day. Egypt’s production rate has been falling at a rate of about 100 mcf per month as fields mature, said the source. EGAS imports through the two FSRUs fell this month to 850 mcf per day, down from 1 bcf per day, the source added. EGAS expects peak summer demand to be about 4.3 bcf per day.

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil has agreed to reduce the red tape required to be on the approved exporters registry, assuring members of the Home Appliances and Importers divisions of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce that registration procedures wouldn’t take more than a week, said Ashraf Hilal, head of the division. Factories exporting to Egypt can export on a probationary basis within one week after applying, provided they’ve submitted all the required documentation. The ministry will also reduce the frequency of mandatory spot inspections for quality, said Hilal.

Will Ibrahim Al Eshmawy be the new head of GAFI? Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid is reportedly considering appointing Ibrahim Al Eshmawy, former deputy investment minister, to head the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, replacing current head Alaa Amr, who may retire this month, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Khorshid may have to reappoint Amr in the event Al Eshmawy declines, according to an unnamed ministry source. The source added that Al Eshmawy is favored to head GAFI by bureaucrats who have expressed reservations about candidates with experience at CI Capital and EFG Hermes due to conflict of interest. Al Eshmawy had previously been considered to head the Investment Ministry and is reportedly to be close to current cabinet ministers including the ministers of housing, ICT, and international cooperation.

Egypt handed over the mobile phone records of the head of a street vendor’s union to Italian investigators looking into the killing of Giulio Regeni, an unnamed legal source with knowledge of the probe said on Friday, according to Reuters. We reported on Thursday that an Italian delegation was set to arrive yesterday for more Regeni talks. “Earlier this week, the Egyptian authorities sent to Rome the records of five people, including Mohammed Abdullah, the head of the street vendors union,” said the source. Italy was also looking to Google for help with Regeni’s email account, said the source. “An email was sent from the account on March 23 and investigators are trying to find out who hacked into it, and why.”

A Russian tourist was found dead at a hotel in Hurghada Saturday night. The medical examiner has been sent to conduct an autopsy on the 45 year old, whose body is being held in the morgue, Al Masry Al Youm reports. As of yet there is no word on the circumstances of his death.

To our gentle readers from Alexandria: Following some feedback from our Alexandrian readers (and friends and staff), we would like to clarify that, while we didn’t note it in our Weekend Edition piece The Infinite Ta3meya Crisis, Alexandrians also call ta3meya “falafel,” but are referring to the Egyptian recipe, which calls for using fava beans, as opposed to the Lebanese recipe, which uses chickpeas.

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The Macro Picture

‘Four quick takeaways from the April jobs report’: Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States increased by 160k jobs in April, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in its in monthly Employment Situation, also referred to as the jobs report, on Friday. Mohamed Al. El-Erian provided his brief take the same day, namely: the number of jobs added was under consensus expectations of 200k jobs, and that the report complicates “the US central bank’s deliberations about the timing of further interest-rate increases. The conflicting data make the jobs report for May, which will be released next month, an even more important input for the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.”

As oil heads toward its first weekly decline in a month, investors aren’t exactly sure where the commodity is heading next as the crude rally “based on slumping U.S. production and lower output from Nigeria, Colombia and Libya, seems to mask longer-term problems of oversupply,” according to Bloomberg. “We’re seriously concerned that the market may suddenly realize we have too much oil,” said Dominic Schnider, the head of commodities and Asia-Pacific foreign exchange at UBS’s wealth-management unit in Hong Kong. “Oil is ripe for a consolidation or correction into the mid-to-low [USD]30s.”

Goldman Sachs is culling staff again, expecting to slack headcount in its fixed-income staff division, according to Bloomberg, as the company attempts to weather a slump in trading and deal making, people familiar with the plan said last month. BNP Paribas is also slimming its workforce, with up to 40 jobs expected to be cut in Asia as it “shrinks its cash equities unit as part of a global push by the bank to reduce costs and employees,” Bloomberg reports.

The Financial Times pens yet another piece on what Brexit means for trade. Last month the paper looked at just how complicated the move could be. This month it lists off the arguments on both sides of the fence. “The Leave camp argues that being an EU member shackles Britain to an economically stagnant part of the world when it could instead be negotiating deals with fast-growing countries elsewhere,” it says. Meanwhile, EU supporters stress the move “would risk losing access to the EU’s huge single market. It would therefore urgently need to strike agreements with the bloc’s remaining members — and with dozens of third countries to which the EU has preferential access.” Oh, and Donald Trump thinks Britain should leave the E.U, saying Britain would be better off.

Egypt in the News

Dominating international headlines on Egypt this morning: An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced three journalists and three others to death after having been charged with threatening national security by leaking state secrets and documents to Qatar, Reuters reports. Alaa Omar Sablan and Ibrahim Mohammed Helal both work for Al Jazeera and Asmaa Al Khateeb is a reporter for Rassd, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood news network. All three can appeal the sentence, on which a final decision is expected to be reached on 18 June, according to the newswire. A verdict on former President Mohamed Morsi and several others charged in the same case was postponed to the same date. The news dominates the foreign coverage on Egypt this morning, with Al Jazeera, the WSJ, and CNN running with the story. For its part, Al Jazeera said: “The ruling is an unprecedented [one] in the history of journalism in the world; it represents a stab in the back of the profession and freedom of expression worldwide.”

On the flip side, Al Jazeera has been accused of “abandoning” one of its Egyptian journalists, according to the Guardian. Mohamed Fawzy is set to be laid off by the station, but doesn’t have a US visa and can’t return to Egypt, where he’s been convicted in absentia for reportedly spreading false news. Fawzy is currently in Washington DC after having gone to the United States to work for the now-defunct Al Jazeera America. “The only option for me is to [seek] political asylum. If I apply for this, I will lose my country forever,” he told the Guardian. And while Fawzy certainly blamed Egypt for his predicament, he said he’s “in a situation not because of Egypt totally, but because of al-Jazeera … News organisations, whoever they are, have a responsibility to follow through on a duty of care for their staff.”

New York Times editorial board is back with “Egypt’s guidelines for repression,” which takes note of the Interior Ministry’s accidental release of its strategy for dealing with the press. The piece talks of an “increasingly incompetent” regime, saying the the leak offers “evidence of the military government’s brutal and destructive approach to the wave of discontent sweeping Egypt.”

Also in the Grey Lady this weekend: Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh picks up on the jailing of human rights lawyer Malek Adlyover his stance against the maritime border demarcation agreement Egypt signed with Saudi Arabia, saying his arrest shows how President Abdel Fattah El Sisi “evidently rattled by public opposition to the transfer of the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, is determined to quell growing criticism from lawyers, journalists and activists.” The president, who is now facing criticism over what the Times characterizes as “a steep economic downturn … has blamed unspecified hostile forces for his woes, and in speeches he has urged Egyptians to give him their unwavering support.” He told farmers at a wheat harvest event this week: “The more you succeed, the more the forces of evil will look for new wiles and more schemes.” Notable: Walsh’s story quotes the very brave Ragia Omran (Twitter), the 2013 RFK Human Rights Award winner (watch on Youtube) who first hit our radar screens in 2011 as she worked day and night to free protesters of all political stripes. Omran was herself briefly detained at Cairo International on Friday for questioning, as the AP’s Maggie Michael reports.

Following an official statement from Ittihadiya after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told a visiting U.S. congressional delegation that human rights in Egypt should not be judged from a “Western perspective,” two Bloomberg View contributors peg “U.S. Doubles Down on Egypt’s Dictator” on the shifting stance of US lawmakers who once sought to make US aid to Egypt contingent on political reform. One of El Sisi’s toughest critics was Chairman of the Senate of Appropriations Subcommittee Lindsey Graham, who led the push for the contingency legislation. “I think he is somebody we can do business with. I think he’s the right guy at the right time, but his actions will determine if I’m right or wrong,” Graham said. “We all understand that Sisi is not perfect, but the failure of Egypt would be a catastrophe for the world.”

The spate of human rights stories continues with the Washington Post’s editorial this weekend headlined “Egypt’s latest target: [redacted],” which treads over the prosecution late last month of 11 men accused of preferring the company of other men, a story that flew largely under the domestic press’ radar. [Pardon the circumloquacious phrasing, but the algorithms aren’t LGBTQ friendly…]

Al-Monitor’s Ayah Ayman delves deeper into the dispute between Egypt and Sudan over the Halayeb and Shalateen triangle following the Sanafir and Tiran debacle. A diplomatic official working on the African dossier at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry tells the paper that “Egypt categorically refuses to discuss the issue or to go for international arbitration, and it has made this clear to Sudan during several high-level and diplomatic meetings.” He adds that the Sudanese political administration is using the dispute over the sovereignty of Halayeb “to place pressure on Cairo regarding thorny issues. Chief among these is the Nile water and the Renaissance Dam crisis with Ethiopia.” Meanwhile, Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Hamid told Al-Monitor, “According to the borders left by colonialism and signed by Britain and Egypt, the Halayeb region falls within the borders of Sudan … We have legal and historical documents signed by Britain and Egypt, and we have included these documents in the complaint filed with the Security Council.”

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr met with a delegation from the Export-Import Bank of Korea to discuss MoUs worth a total of USD 3 bn signed during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to South Korea earlier this year, reports Al Mal. The MoUs include renewable energy, sewage, water treatment and desalination projects. Nasr also met with the Doosan Heavy Industries CEO, who expressed interest in water treatment and desalination projects in Qalyubiyah, Sharkia, Menoufia, and Dakahlia.

The International Cooperation Ministry is apparently in talks to pay the mandatory 20% of its USD 650 mn contribution to the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in EGP after prodding by the House of Representatives, said the deputy chair of the House Economic Committee Medhat Sherif. The participation agreement allows for member states to contribute to the development bank in local currency and a currency basket, Sherif tells Al Borsa.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Egypt’s believes in the inevitability of a political solution for the Libyan crisis. The remarks came during El Sisi’s meeting on Saturday with Libya’s head of presidential council and prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj, according to Ahram Online. El Sisi also pointed to the “necessity of lifting an arms ban on the Libyan army so it can fully perform security operations as it grapples with a direct confrontation with terrorism on its soil.”

Hungarian president to visit Egypt in June: Egypt and Hungary are expected to sign agreements in housing, power, and railway transportation during Hungarian President János Áder’s visit in Cairo in early June, said Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil. An Egyptian-Hungarian business forum is expected to take place during Áder’s visit at the head of a delegation made up of the Hungarian ministers of international cooperation, trade, economic development, and electricity, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Poland is keen on reaching an agreement with Egypt to bolster sales of meat products, said Poland’s deputy agriculture minister Eva Lech at a meeting with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) on the sidelines of the Food Africa Trade Exhibition in Cairo. The EBA also discussed the details of the upcoming doorknock mission it plans to send to Warsaw in mid-May, Al Ahram reports.

Energy

Egypt receives first of nine LNG shipment from Rosneft

Rosneft has delivered its first ever cargo of liquefied natural gas to Egypt’s EGAS, according to Reuters. An official at EGAS told Reuters on Thursday the company was set to be delivering the first of nine LNG shipments agreed to this month. “Last year Egypt and Rosneft signed a memorandum of understanding for a slew of petroleum products as well as 24 LNG cargoes. Only nine of the 24 initially agreed cargoes were later inked into a final [agreement].” The value and size of the shipment were not provided.

Saudi fuel shipments began arriving on Wednesday

The first of Saudi Arabia’s fuel shipments to Egypt arrived last Wednesday, a source told Al Borsa. The shipment is part of the agreement signed with Aramco to provide Egypt with fuel products over five years. It includes gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil. (Read in Arabic)

Schneider, Samsung complete feasibility study on solar power project in Marsa Alam in two months

Samsung and Schneider will complete a feasibility study on a solar power project in Marsa Alam within two months, according to head of the Marsa Alam Investor Association Adel Rady. The drop in oil prices has meant the city’s main power source, diesel, had become cheaper than relying on renewable energy, said Rady, prompting the feasibility study. The association had previously negotiated a similar project with Gas Cool, but the agreement was never finalized, he added. (Read in Arabic)

Infrastructure

Six companies apply for tender to develop multipurpose platform at Damietta Port

Orascom Construction, Hassan Allam, Petrojet, and Arab Contractors were among the six companies applying for a tender to build a multipurpose platform at Damietta Port, said the head of the Damietta Port Authority Ayman Saleh. The project will hope to expand the capacity of the port by building a 630 m-long cargo platform. Bidding companies have requested that the deadline for submitting financial and technical offers be extended one month, Saleh added. (Read in Arabic)

Basic Materials + Commodities

Wheat harvest collection stalled, agriculture and supply ministries point fingers

The ministries of agriculture and supply have been playing the blame game over which ministry was responsible for stalled collection and storage of locally harvested wheat, prompting cabinet to form a joint committee to expedite the process, Al Borsa reports. Domestic harvests have been piling at shouna and silos of late, with the Agriculture Ministry blaming the delay on the Supply Ministry not approving storing the wheat in 140 shounas and the supply minister delaying payments to farmers. Supply Ministry officials have blamed the Agriculture Ministry’s tallying and registration process for the delay. The beef between the ministries was touched on last week, after Agriculture Ministry officials reportedly caught the Supply Ministry trying to mix foreign and subsidized wheat. The Agriculture Ministry said all necessary precautions had been taken to “avoid the selling of cheaper imported wheat to the government during the procurement season and falsely labelling it as Egyptian wheat.” Despite the wrangling and inefficiencies of the process, Egypt has bought 1.15 mn tonnes of local wheat since the beginning of the procurement season on April 15, the cabinet said on Saturday, according to Reuters. The country is planning to buy 4 mn tonnes of Egyptian wheat in 2016.

UAE’s Al Nebras Group to reclaim 10,000 feddans

UAE real estate and agriculture development firm Al Nebras Group signed an agreement with the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces to reclaim 10,000 feddans under the 1.5 mn feddans project. The move is part of an expansion drive by the company in Egypt, which would see it double its investments here, Al Nebras’ chairman Saeed Al Swidan tells Al Borsa. Beyond agriculture, the company is upgrading 500 hospitals and 560 clinics in cooperation with the Armed Forces.

Manufacturing

Industrial Development Authority extends deadline on 14 new cement licenses

The Industrial Development Authority has extended the deadline for investors applying for 14 new portland cement licenses to 31 May, authority chairman Ismail Gaber said in a statement on Friday. The licenses for plants in nine governorates have a combined output of 28 mn tonnes. Existing cement manufacturers are critical of the new licenses, with Sinai Cement Chairman Hassan Rateb saying there was no economic basis on which to apply for a new permit. Similarly, Suez Cement said a new license was unnecessary because the market was saturated. (Read in Arabic)

Health + Education

South Korea to set up an ICT university in Egypt, ambassador says

South Korea is planning on opening a university specialising in ICT in Egypt, Ambassador Chung Kwang-kyun said. The ambassador also added that there are plans to establish a Korean cultural and scientific centre in Egypt. (Read in Arabic)

Health Ministry finalises health insurance law, to send it to parliament

The final draft of the national health ins law was completed by the Health Ministry and will be passed on to the House of Representatives, Health Minister Ahmed Rady said, according to Al Borsa. The latest version of the bill includes a wider array of ailments previously excluded, including mental health diseases, injuries related to natural disasters, and preventative treatment, Doctors Syndicate Secretary-General Mona Mina said. However, a number of articles were not amended, including defining people in need of ins and the rights of doctors and medical service providers, Daily News Egypt reported. Rady also said the ministry is moving forward with plans to restructure Vacsera, adding that there would be no need to import infant formula again once a production plant being built in cooperation with the armed forces is completed.

Memphis to begin selling Sovaldi next month

Memphis for Phar and Chemical Industries will begin selling Sovaldi next month after receiving approval from the Health Ministry and successfully completing trial runs, Al Borsa reports. Company sales are expected to grow and compensate for losses incurred when the ministry discontinued the sale of a pegylated-interferon treatment, said Memphis’ head of accounts Al Hussein Abdel Zaher. (Read in Arabic)

Tourism

Egyptian Company for Tourism reaches out to investment banks to market EGP 1 bn Continental Hotel development

The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) has reached out to EFG Hermes, CI Capital, and Beltone Financial to market the development of the EGP 1 bn Continental Hotel in downtown Cairo to investors, EGOTH’s head Samir Hassan tells Al Borsa. The National Investment Bank is considering coming in as a partner in the development of the four-star 250 room hotel and shopping mall, said Hassan. (Read in Arabic)

Egyptian Tourism Federation to pay USD 140K each to families of dead Mexican tourists

The Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) has reached a settlement with the families of three of the eight Mexican tourists accidently killed by the armed forces in the Western Desert last September, paying compensation of USD 140K for each victim, said Elhamy El Zayat, head of the ETF. The ETF will pay the families from its own funds, Al Shorouk reports. (Read in Arabic)

Telecoms + ICT

4G licenses in two months (don’t hold your breath), could generate around EGP 8 bn for the state, Noor ADSL wants in

4G LTE licenses will be up for auction in about two months’ time, said ICT Minister Yasser Al Qady. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is expected to hold a meeting today to officially set the price for the licenses and draw-up the regulations for them, as we noted last week. The LTE licenses will cost telecom operators EGP 2 bn each, a source told Al Mal. In total, the state expects to generate EGP 8 bn from issuing 4G licenses to the three mobile operators as well as Telecom Egypt. Separately, Noor ADSL says it is looking to bid for the 4G licenses, according to its CEO, who says there is no reason why the ISP cannot bid for it. He also added that Noor has all the technical capabilities to provide the service, according to Al Borsa.

Drones, zones, and 5G at the Techne Summit

Egypt will be ready to roll out 5G wireless connections as early as 2020, said ICT Minister Yasser Al Qady at the Alexandria Techne Summit ICT conference on Saturday. We would like to extend the following message to the minister: Please hold your horses, one G at a time. If 4G licenses are any indication, 5G may be “coming soon” for several few years after 2020. Al Qady also announced that the ministry will suggest draft legislation governing drones. Al Qady invited companies and other groups working on drone technology to lend their thoughts on the regulatory framework for the industry, Al Borsa reports. Al Qady also announced that the ministry would help develop and launch the companies of the top four ideas in the Seedstar competition at the summit. Some 14 teams are competing for the chance to to travel to Switzerland and compete for USD 500k at the global summit.

Also coming out of the summit was the announcement that the Borg Al Arab and New Assiut technology zones will begin operations in October, Al Mal reports. Deputy ICT Minister Mohamed Abdel Wahab said the ministry will begin building the third new tech zone in Tenth of Ramadan at the end of the year. The Borg Al Arab zone will consist of 32 office buildings and tech centers. Furthermore, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport signed an MoU with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to cooperate on developing IT training facilities and manage incubators for budding entrepreneurs at the two tech zones. Under the agreement, the Arab Academy will also market technology events and incubators to universities across Egypt, Al Mal reports. ITIDA’s CEO also announced that the authority will develop four regional incubators at a cost of EGP 100 mn.

Other Business News of Note

Aramex approves acquiring partner’s stake in Egypt

Aramex’s board of directors approved acquiring its partner’s 25% stake in Aramex Mashreq for Logistics Services in Egypt, according to a statement sent to the DFM. Aramex already holds 75% of the company’s shares. (Read)

National Security

Kidnapped Saudi businessman released

Kidnapped Saudi businessman Hassan Ali Ahmed Al Sanad was released on Thursday “with the help of Egyptian security forces after a nine-day ordeal, the Saudi ambassador to Cairo said,” according to Al Sharq Al Awsat. Al Sanad is “an investor working in Egypt who owns farms and juice companies.” Sources refuted the official story, according Al Masry Al Youm and Al Shorouk, saying that Al Sanad was only released after his family made an EGP 5 mn ransom payment. The businessman was kidnapped on the Cairo-Ismailia road nine days earlier.

Egypt to buy French military satellite on Tuesday

Egyptian officials are expected to sign a EUR 600 mn contract with two aerospace companies on Tuesday for a military communications satellite, French newspaper La Tribune reported on Thursday. The deal will be signed with Thales Alenia Space (TAS) and Space Systems Airbus following seven months of negotiations between Cairo and the two companies. TAS and Space Systems’ initial proposal was one satellite specialized for telecom and another for observation, but the final contract stipulates that Egypt will only purchase the military telecommunications satellite. (Read in French)

On Your Way Out

The Cairo Governorate removed the cement barricades surrounding the Interior Ministry in Downtown following the inauguration of the ministry’s new headquarters in New Cairo, Daily News Egypt reported. The barricades had been in place since 2012.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 3 May): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Saturday, 7 May): 10.95 (-0.15 since Wednesday, 4 May, Al Mal)

EGX30 (Thursday): 7,547.5 (1.41%)
Turnover: EGP 521.6 mn (20% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: 7.73%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: TheEGX30 jumped 1.0% one hour into the session led by index heavyweights TMG and EFG Hermes. The broad-based buying appetite continued to strengthen, which led the index to close a tad below its highest level during the day — 1.4% up. EGX70 rose 0.6% while the equally-weighted EGX50 closed 1.8% up. CIB, Arabia Investments and Orascom Construction were the sole EGX30 constituents to end the session in the negative territory. The index’s most notable gainers were Edita, OTMT, and Eastern Company. At a market turnover of EGP 521.6 mn, local investors were the sole net sellers of the day.On the regional front, the Saudi Tadawul closed Thursday’s ses­sion in the green territory as it jumped 1.1%. Other GCC indices came in mixed as the DFM dropped 0.5%, while the ADX ended the session 1.1% up.

Foreigners:Net long | EGP + 3.0 mn
Regional:Net long | EGP + 40.0 mn
Domestic:Net short | EGP – 43.0 mn

Retail: 56.9% of total trades | 55.5% of buyers | 58.3% of sellers
Institutions: 43.1% of total trades | 44.5% of buyers | 41.7% of sellers

Foreign: 23.8% of total | 23.9% of buyers | 23.3% of sellers
Regional: 8.9% of total | 12.7% of buyers | 5.0% of sellers
Domestic: 67.5% of total | 63.4% of buyers | 71.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 44.66 (+0.70%)
Brent: USD 45.37 (+0.91%)
Gold: USD 1,294.00 / troy ounce (+0.83%

TASI: 6,656.4 (1.1%)
ADX: closed
DFM: closed
KSE Weighted Index: 362.6 (-0.1%)
QE: closed
MSM: closed

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Calendar

Due to the length of today’s report, the Calendar only appears in our web edition.

03-17 May 2016 (Tuesday-Tuesday): The Cairotronica Conference, AUC Falaki, Cairo.

07-08 May 2016 (Saturday-Sunday): Techne Summit, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt. Register here.

10 May (Tuesday): Business News Foundation’s Third Annual Energy Conference: Energy and Sustainable Development, InterContinental Hotel Citystars Cairo. Register here.

11-14 May (Wednesday-Saturday): The Afro Packaging and Food Manufacturing Exhibition, Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Center, Cairo. Register Here.

16-17 May (Monday-Tuesday): Egyptian-Bahraini committee meets, Cairo.

25-26 May (Wednesday-Thursday): The Middle East and North Africa Solar Conference and Expo MENASOL 2016, Hyatt Regency, Dubai.

30-31 May (Monday-Tuesday): The Middle East Regional Forum Egypt, Movenpick Hotel & Casino Cairo-Media City, Cairo.

02-03 June (Thursday-Friday): The first annual EBRD Research Symposium on The Economics of the Middle East and North Africa, EBRD headquarters, London, UK.

06 June (Monday): First day of Ramadan (tentative date)

06-08 July (Wednesday-Friday): Eid El Fitr (national holiday, tentative date)

06-09 August (Saturday-Tuesday): The International Conference on Chemical Sciences & Applications, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transports, Alexandria.

11-13 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Eid El Adha (national holiday, tentative date)

02 October (Sunday): Islamic New Year (national holiday, tentative date)

06 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day (national holiday)

01 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (national holiday, tentative date)

27 November 2016 (Sunday): 2016 Cairo ICT Conference Group

04-06 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec exhibition, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

04-06 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): Electricx exhibition, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

11-13 December 2016 (Sunday-Tuesday): The Middle East Fire, Security & Safety Exhibition and Conference (MEFSEC), Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

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