Monday, 30 May 2016

Deregulation of the electricity sector just might happen after all.


What We’re Tracking Today

We’ve got lots of stuff to keep you busy in the run-up to Ramadan. It’s a good thing, too, because we’re in the midst of a pre-Ramadan news (and trading) trough at the moment.

How slow was yesterday? As EFG’s Head of Institutional Trading Julian Bruce put it to Bloomberg on Sunday (admittedly speaking at the regional level): “The typical languid Sunday trading has been exacerbated by a holiday [on Monday] in the UK and US, causing western activity to be reduced further.” Is it the start of the pre-Ramadan slowdown? Don’t bet on it. Says Bruce: It’s a “calm-before-the-storm scenario, as MSCI emerging market outflows are anticipated on Tuesday, which would mean a significant uptick in activity before receding once again ahead of Ramadan.”

It starts with the kickoff today of Beltone’s three-day Virtual Investor Conference. The conference, the first of its kind for Beltone, will link over 40 local, regional and international investors and fund managers with around 16 Egyptian companies via video-conferencing, according to a statement from the investment bank. The event will see 400 one-on-one meetings between companies and investors, said Beltone Brokerage CEO Mostafa Abdel-Aziz.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Cairo Angels’ first “community talks” event, headlined “Road to Series A,” will take place tomorrow from 6:00-8:00pm CLT. The talk will be led by Ziad Mokhtar, a partner at Ideavelopers, the venture capital arm of EFG Hermes, which manages a USD 50 mn fund focused on tech startups. Only 30 spots are available and will will go on a first-come, first-served basis. Email to reserve a seat.

EBRD boss Sir Suma Chakrabarti is due in Cairo on tomorrow (Tuesday, 31 May) for high-level meetings. He will also speak on “Inclusive Growth: Challenges and Opportunities” at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt on 1 Jun 2016 from 9-10:30am. Across the Med, the first annual EBRD Research Symposium on the Economics of the Middle East and North Africa is set to take place 2-3 June (Thursday-Friday) at EBRD headquarters in London.

We’re also on the lookout for USD 2 bn that the UAE is due to be deposit at the Central Bank of Egypt by the end of the month, according to a media report late last week.

Shares of Cleopatra Hospital Company are due to start trading on Thursday, 2 June, opening at EGP 9.00, per the price announcement release last week. Check out the company’s offering materials here.

OPEC meets on Thursday, 2 June. Only one of 27 analysts polled by Bloomberg expects a deal to limit oil output when OPEC ministers get together at the end of the week.

Also on Thursday: SODIC will hold its 1Q2016 results call at 16:00 CLT (15:00 London, 10:00 New York), hosted by Deutsche Bank analyst Athmane Benzerroug. Call participants will include Magued Sherif (managing director), Omar Elhamawy (chief financial officer), Mahmoud Badran (finance director), and Ihab Abo Taleb (head of financial planning and investments). Dial-in information is on the company’s investor relations website.

“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” author Thomas Piketty will be in Cairo on Thursday as a guest of the Institut Français d’Egypte. Piketty will speak at 11:00am CLT at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo university and at 6:00pm CLT at the American University in Cairo’s downtown Ewart Hall. The latter will see Piketty in conversation with Ziad Bahaa Eldin post-lecture. Don’t know Piketty or his 700-page doorstop? The Guardian asked four economists why “Capital” became an international best-seller.

GB Auto investor relations officer Andre Valavanis will compete for the World Boxing Federation’s African welterweight title on a fight card scheduled for Saturday, 4 June 2016. Event details are here.

On The Horizon

The Markit / Emirates NBD Purchasing Managers’ Indexes for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will be released a week from today — Sunday, 5 June.

The House Economic Committee will meet with representatives from the Investment Ministry to discuss amendments to the Investment Law (number 17/2015) next week. The discussions are aimed at avoiding problems with applying the law, Minister Dalia Khorshid told Al Masry Al Youm, without providing more details.

Ramadan begins next week. We’re claiming Tuesday, 7 June as the first day, but a good number of readers (including the mother of one of our founders) are quite convinced it will be Monday, 6 June.

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Speed Round

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GDP growth slowed in first half of current state fiscal year. Egypt’s GDP grew 4.5% in 1H2015-16, down from a rate of 5.5% in 1H2014-15, Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby said, as per Reuters. GDP growth in 2Q2015-16 also fell y-o-y, registering 3.8%, compared to 4.3% the previous year. The government is reportedly expecting growth to clock in below 4.5% in 2H2015-16, with a cumulative GDP growth for calendar year 2016 of 4.4% “due to militant attacks that hit the tourism industry and other problems that had affected the economy.” For the FY2016-17, the government is more optimistic, aiming to record a GDP growth of 5.2% for the fiscal year and to bring the budget deficit down to 9.8% of GDP.

Fiji to pull MFO peacekeepers from Sinai amid security concerns; U.S. and Columbia may follow suit: Fiji announced it is pulling “about 65 of the 300-plus peacekeepers” from its contingent in the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) stationed in Sinai, according to the Associated Press. “Commander Humphery Tawake, who heads the South Pacific nation’s foreign peacekeeping force, said Fiji was asked to scale down its presence by the leaders of the international peacekeeping operation in Egypt” amid security concerns. Fiji has the third largest largest contingent at the MFO operations in Sinai, behind the US and Colombia, which Tawake said are also planning to reduce troop numbers. He added that the decision came from the MFO headquarters directly, but the exact reduction to the Fijian contingent is yet to be finalised.

Deregulation ahoy? Electricity Act executive regulations are out — a week ahead of schedule: The executive regulations for the Electricity Act — the first step in deregulating the sector — are out a week ahead of schedule and have been published on the Official Gazette. The executive regulations, which would see the state become the regulator and (separately) owner of transmission infrastructure, but not the sole market player. The regulations will establish a new regulator to set the price of power and oversee the activities of the private sector in the national grid. The regulations also lay out the conditions for production and distribution licenses, banning companies from piggybacking on another company’s license. Power transmission will be the sole purview of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, which is also charged with setting the conditions and strategy for deregulating the national grid at some future time. The EETC will also be charged with developing plans to expand the national grid for the next 5-10 years. Last week, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker stated that the executive regulations would take effect as soon as they were officially published. Al Borsa ran a copy of the regs which you can view here (pdf).

Headway in feed-in-tariff agreements? Following up on the news we noted yesterday, two international renewable energy producers, including Scatec Solar, have agreed to clauses allowing for domestic arbitration in case of dispute, an Electricity Ministry source told Al Mal. The process of drafting the feed-in-tariff agreements was halted partly due to some investors’ insistence on setting international arbitration as the dispute-resolution mechanism, with the Egyptian government insisting on having it run through the domestic court system. Financiers, including the IFC and EBRD, have reportedly expressed willingness to agree to the domestic arbitration clauses, despite their earlier reservations. No investors have signed a feed-in-tariff agreement as yet, said Mohamed El Sobky, head of the New and Renewable Energy Authority.

MOVES- Orange Egypt (and formerly Mobinil) CEO Yves Gauthier is leaving his post in Egypt effective 1 September, according to a bourse statement. Gauthier is moving to Morocco to become the CEO of Meditel, another Orange subsidiary, Jeune Afrique reports.

MOVES- Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek will become the next chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court after current chairman and former interim President Adly Mansour retires on 30 June, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Abdel Razek has been the Court’s deputy chairman since 2001. Per the Egyptian Constitution, the chairman, effectively the equivalent to the chief justice of the court, is chosen from among the sitting chairman’s three deputies.

Cleopatra Hospital Company’s Egyptian retail offering of 6 mn shares is reportedly 6x oversubscribed with one day to go, according to Al Borsa. The subscription period for the retail offering ends today and shares will start trading on Thursday. As we noted last week, the international offering of 34 mn shares was 6.73x oversubscribed. The company has set the price for the offering at EGP 9.00 per ordinary share.

This was always going to create practical problems for the government: The Finance Ministry is currently revising its proposed budget for FY2016-17, Minister Amr El Garhy told Al Mal. The constitution necessitates that the government’s combined spending on health and education be at least equivalent to 10% of GDP and under the preliminary proposal, it was just 4.7%, Al Mal says. El Garhy says one of the reasons the health and education provisions were set at such a low rate is due to concerns over the sectors’ capacity to efficiently absorb the funding. The constitution has set an arbitrary minimum threshold for government spending on certain sectors, including health and education.

That said, the government had apparently planned for total investments in the healthcare sector to increase 16.7% year-on-year EGP 12.6 bn, up from EGP 10.6 bn. According to a detailed healthcare agenda published in Al Borsa, the government had intended for the private sector to cover 40% of these costs with investments of EGP 5 bn. The treasury was expected to cover 81% of the EGP 7.3 bn the government had planned to pump into the sector with the remainder being spent from the reserves, local government budgets and international aid grants. EGP 4.5 bn would be spent on building 160 new hospitals, EGP 450 mn in building intensive care units in varying hospitals and providing them with 300 ambulances, while EGP 520 mn would go into developing prenatal care facilities at existing hospitals.

Fiscal reforms and budgetary belt-tightening will be the main factors assessed by the African Development Bank delegation when it arrives in Cairo from 29 June to 5 July for talks on the disbursement of the second tranche of a USD 500 mn budget-support loan signed last year, AfDB CEO Akinwumi Adesina tells Al Ahram. Subsidy reform, cutting the government’s payroll burden, implementing better governance practices, bettering the business climate, and improving industry metrics will all be on the delegation’s agenda, Adesina added. Asked about the AfDB’s contribution to Egypt’s energy sector, Adesina stated that the second tranche will go into funding the USD 200 mn Damanhour power plant. The third tranche will also look into providing USD 106 mn in financing the Gulf of Suez wind farm and five other renewable projects.

Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) is to blame for the delay in EFSA issuing an opinion on Beltone Financial’s acquisition of CI Capital, said Sherif Samy, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA). Samy reiterated to Al Masry Al Youm that EFSA has outlined two problems with the ownership structure of OTMT and CI Capital and, while CI Capital has resolved its issues successfully, OTMT has not. OTMT has fought back and in April said there are no problems with its ownership structure and that all issues had been disclosed in 2012. Samy says EFSA will not issue a decision on the acquisition until what it sees as a “dispute” is resolved, noting that “there are no political obstacles” stopping the acquisition.

Meanwhile, CIB granted a fifth 15-day extension on acquisition last Thursday, according to filings with the EGX yesterday from both CIB and Beltone Financial. The new deadline is set to expire on Thursday 9 June.

Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is now 70% complete, said Ethiopian Government Communication Affairs Minister Getachew Reda, Daily News Egypt reported. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan contracted two French companies to present a report on the impact of the dam on all three countries. “The dam is being built and this will not be affected by the report, but if there is anyone who believes that he would [be] affected after carrying out the study, then it is not our problem in Ethiopia,” Reda said. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson claims Reda later denied this quote, reports Al Masry Al Youm.

Qatari Diar may be planning to file an arbitration case against Egypt to back out of an EGP 1 bn tourism investment in Hurghada, according to Al Shorouk. Under an agreement signed with the Tourism Development Authority back in 2006, Diar was to establish a company to develop a 30 mn sqm resort in Hurghada with a paid up capital of EGP 1 bn, to which it had only paid up EGP 293 mn. Another Egyptian agency subsequently laid claim to 2 mn sqm of the project and demanded the company pay for that land at a higher rate than agreed upon with the TDA. With the agreement stalled, Diar is looking to a way out or possible compensation for the land. Al Shorouk, which is framing the piece as a continuation of hostile Qatari policies towards Egypt, alleges that the company is using an offshore investment vehicle in Gibraltar to sell off assets in the company it established in Egypt to Qatari investors.

Adeptio’s acquisition of Americana scrapped: Kuwait’s Al Kharafi family scrapped the planned sale of a majority stake in Kuwait Food Company (Americana) to Mohamed Alabbar-led investment firm Adeptio, Reuters reported. The agreement to acquire 69% of Americana from Al Khair for Stocks and Real Estate, which is controlled by the Kharafis, was estimated to be worth USD 2.15 bn. “An agreement has not been reached between Al Khair and Adeptio and both sides have agreed to end all negotiations in regard to the acquisition,” Al Khair said in a statement. Adeptio confirmed the agreement’s cancellation, with a spokesperson saying “the parties involved could not reach an agreement on mutually acceptable terms.” Americana owns the Middle East franchises for KFC and Pizza Hut as well as branded consumer foods, including California Garden.

The Egyptian investigating committee confirmed it has hired a second company to search for the cockpit voice and data recorders of EgyptAir Flight 804, the committee said in an emailed statement sent yesterday evening. A French ship has brought equipment from Alseamar on station, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation has also signed an agreement with Deep Ocean Search, as Bloomberg suggested yesterday. Investigators have also received a data dump from Greek air traffic control.

Saudi Arabia is the most promising emerging market for investment bankers looking to generate fees, says Citigroup, but Egypt’s looking good, too. Bloomberg quotes Citi Head of MENA investment banking Omar Iqtidar as saying, “Saudi, Kuwait, and Egypt are offering the most exciting opportunities across sectors but the notable ones are in downstream oil and gas and petrochemicals, with healthcare and consumer products in the private sector space.”

** SHARE ENTERPRISE WITH A FRIEND ** Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

The Macro Picture

More than 3% of the world’s total oil production capacity is offline, bolstering what the Wall Street Journal is calling the “fear premium” that has pushed oil north of USD 50 per barrel. The Journal says “militant attacks in Nigeria, wildfires in Canada and political unrest in Libya” have taken c. 3.5 mn bopd out of production at a time when there’s “less slack to fill the gap.” It’s the most production taken out of service since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the newspaper quotes an analyst as saying. Market watchers are split on whether disruptions such as these will become an increasingly important factor in price dynamics or whether their impact is already fading.

Egypt in the News

With national holidays in the U.S. and the U.K., the international press is largely leaving Egypt alone today, with coverage focused largely on the ongoing investigation into the crash of EgytpAir Flight 804. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s pressure on the UN to step-up to the plate on Israeli-Palestinian peace is getting limited traction on the holiday weekend, and Reuters noted that an Egyptian human rights activist faces a travel ban as a result of the NGO funding case. Meanwhile, the SIS can’t help by take a swipe at the Guardian after the newspaper pulled stories written by a freelance contributor long-suspected by Cairo journalists of making stuff up.

Meanwhile, Egypt has the lead role in the New York Times’ “Middle Eastern Writers Find Refuge in the Dystopian Novel,” which leads with the genesis story of the debut novel of the psychiatrist Basma Abdel Aziz photographed — where else? — in Brooklyn.

Worth Reading

The “Fat Leonard” scandal: Okay, it’s got nothing at all to do with Egypt, but we’re still digesting the Washington Post’s exhaustive investigation of a Malaysian contractor who bought off top U.S. Navy admirals and captains in line for admiral with cash, gifts, five-star meals and the favours of individuals of the opposite gender who sell, uh, “personal services.” Writes the Post: “In perhaps the worst national-security breach of its kind to hit the Navy since the end of the Cold War, Francis doled out [redacted] and money to a shocking number of people in uniform who fed him classified material about U.S. warship and submarine movements. Some also leaked him confidential contracting information and even files about active law enforcement investigations into his company.”

Worth Watching

And this why we miss talk shows. If by now you haven’t seen this epic meltdown (runtime: 1:29) by football commentator Ahmed Shobeir on Wael El Ebrashy’s show, then you’re welcome. Shobeir attacks his colleague Ahmed Al Tayeb live on the air when the latter stated that Shobeir had asked him to help him find work for his daughter in Qatar, after prodding from Ebrashy. Maspero has announced that it will no longer have Shobeir on its airwaves.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Saudi Fund for Development is set to transfer the first USD 500 mn tranche of the USD 2.5 bn grant for development projects in Sinai and Upper Egypt by next month, Al Borsa reported. The Ministry of International Cooperation is currently reviewing the projects under the agreement, which stipulates that the Fund will deposit five even tranches at the CBE. The agreement will be presented to the House of Representatives for its final approval, said International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr.

In other news from the ministry, Nasr signed a technical and financial cooperation agreement with Germany’s ambassador including a EUR 52 mn grant and a EUR 47 mn loan, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The agreement is meant to bolster SME activity, as well as support women and the renewable energy sector.

The UN asserted its commitment to supporting Egypt and other countries to overcome development challenges, restoring security and stability, as well as combating terrorism, UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft announced at a press conference in Cairo.


Carbon Holdings to invest USD 1.5 bn in Egypt over the next two years

Carbon Holdings plans to invest USD 1.5 bn in Egypt over the coming few years, said CEO Basel El Baz. the move would double the company’s current total investments in Egypt to USD 3 bn. The company is currently in talks with four banks to secure a USD 5.2 bn loan to finance developments at the USD 7.5 bn Tahrir Petrochemical Complex in Ain Sokhna, Al Borsa reports.

El Sewedy Electric completes studies on new power plant in December

El Sewedy Electric is set to complete feasibility studies for a new coal-fired power plant in partnership with Marubeni Corporation ahead of presenting the financial and technical bids to the Electricity Minister in early 2017, reports Al Borsa. The power plant will be located west of Marsa Matruh and will be built under the EPC-plus-finance system, said CEO Ahmed El Sewedy. The project will be built in two phases, each with a capacity of 2,000 MW; the facility will also desalinate 360k sqm/d of water, said El Sewedy.


King Salman Bridge will cost around USD 4 bn -former Transportation Minister

The cost of building the King Salman Bridge connecting Egypt and Saudi Arabia will fall in the range of USD 3-4 bn, said former transportation minister Ibrahim El Demery, which Egypt will make back over 10 years, reports Al Borsa. The 26-30km bridge will be built over three years and will connect from Ras Nosrani near Sharm El Sheikh, through Tiran, and ending at Ras El Sheikh Hameed in Saudi.

Health + Education

ECA probes pharma producers for antitrust following wave of consolidations

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) is forming a committee to assess the market impact of consolidation among medicine manufacturers, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The ECA has received a number of notices of acquisitions in the sector, head Mona El Garf said, which Al Mal describes as potentially creating anticompetitive positions. She explained that the current iteration of the law requires producers that have a business volume of over EGP 100 mn to report to the ECA any mergers or acquisitions, but that this does not grant it the authority to evaluate a proposed merger before its execution. El Garf has also called on whistleblowers to step up, noting that the law protects them from prosecution.

One-third of meds in Egypt are in short supply, says Health Minister

Around 4,000 formulations (or a third of all compunds sold in Egypt) are currently in short supply — if sold at all — as a result of manufacturers pulling the plug, said Health Minister Ahmed Rady at a parliamentary inquiry. Most of the medicines are priced under EGP 30, necessitating the decision to increase their prices 20%, AMAY reports. Companies that fail to produce any one compound within three months of the price hike being authorized will have their licenses revoked, said Rady. He did not elaborate on last Thursday’s decision to cap the price increases at EGP 6, a decision which led to a major outcry from producers. The Federation of Egyptian Industries is expected to meet with Rady this week to formally protest the decision, according to Al Borsa.

Telecoms + ICT

Regulator considers allowing TE to use 2G, 3G, and 4G networks of competitors in exchange for fixed-line usage

The framework being considered by regulators for 4G licenses will apparently allow Telecom Egypt (TE) to use the 2G and 3G networks of all three telecom operators in addition to their 4G networks, a senior source from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) tells Al Borsa. In exchange, Vodafone Egypt, Orange Egypt and Etisalat Misr will be allowed to rent TE’s fixed-line network and infrastructure, an arrangement eerily similar to the defunct unified operator license promoted by government in 2013. This comes as the three mobile operators are studying the possibility of amending their agreements to rent fiber-optic infrastructure from Telecom Egypt (TE) ahead of launching 4G services, Al Mal reported. The amendments include charging the mobile operators the cost of renting infrastructure, but exempting them from the cost of the dark fiber network, sources told Al Mal.

The news comes as Telecom Egypt (TE) is reportedly in talks to borrow EGP 5 bn from state-owned banks to finance its plans to acquire a 4G licence, sources told Al Shorouk. National Bank of Egypt is reportedly forming a syndicate to assess TE’s financial requirements and provide the funding. CIT Minister Yasser El Kady had noted that TE stressed it has the means to pay for the prospective 4G licence.

Automotive + Transportation

GB Auto in talks with five Korean companies over automobile components factory

GB Auto is in talks with five unnamed South Korean companies to open an automobile components factory in Egypt, said the company’s chairman Raouf Ghabbour, who provided few details on the project. In an interview with Al Borsa at the sidelines of an Egyptian Businessmen’s Association gathering, Ghabbour once again stressed the urgency for swiftly adopting the automotive directive, which would provide domestic assemblers with tax and other incentives to go further up the value chain into manufacturing, and expressed bewilderment at why it hasn’t not been implemented yet despite being completed five months ago. He also went on to reiterate that inflation in auto prices were in line with the devaluation.

Egypt cancels locomotive agreement with Russia

Egypt has cancelled an MoU to import 700 locomotives from Russia for Egyptian National Railways after receiving a better bid from Austria, announced International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, Al Mal reported. The Austrian bid offers better financing terms, a training program for Egyptian workers, as well as 80 of the locomotives being presented as gifts. The agreement is expected to be signed during the Austrian president’s visit to Cairo in the coming days.

Banking + Finance

Al-Futtaim Commercial & Administrative Centers requests EGP 3 bn loan from domestic banks

Al-Futtaim Commercial & Administrative Centers, a subsidiary of Al-Futtaim Group, has is in talks with domestic banks for a 12-year, EGP 3 bn facility to refinance debt, sources tell Al Mal. The company is said to be negotiating with NBE, Banque Misr, Emirates NBD, CIB, and HSBC.

Other Business News of Note

Earnings roundup: Domty, Arabian cement

Domty reported consolidated net profit of EGP 24.15 mn in 1Q2016, up from EGP 22.55 mn in 1Q2015, according to a bourse disclosure. Arabian Cement Company also released its financials, announcing a consolidated net profit of EGP 34.15 mn in 1Q2016, compared to EGP 57.37 mn a year earlier.

Investors promised better loan conditions, gov’t commitment to stabilize FX at Investment Forum

Apparently, the CBE, Industry and Trade Ministry and a number of Egypt’s leading banks have agreed to base the size of loans offered to projects at the 10 mn sqm industrial zones on the investment value and not the size of assets, said Industry and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil at the Second Egyptian Investment Forum organized by the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce which kicked off on Sunday. Kabil also announced that land at the industrial zones which will be tendered next month. Also coming from the Forum was a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid with investors and representatives from global chambers of commerce organizations. The president noted how the stability of Egypt’s FX market is linked to the global economic conditions in addition to other domestic factors and confirmed that the government is committed to adopting all measures that shall lead to the stability of the foreign exchange market, according to a statement from Ittihadiya.

Legislation + Policy

CBE solicits proposals on Banking Law 88/2003

The CBE’s legal department has requested domestic banks submit proposals for amendments to the Banking Law (law 88 of 2003), legal adviser to the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) Ruqaya Riad told Daily News Egypt. The amendments are meant to bring the law in line with operational developments domestically and in the international banking system, said deputy Governor Gamal Negm. Among the proposals expected from the sector: Changes to how the act views electronic record keeping (including suggestions that backups will have the same legal force and effect as paper originals) and measures that would grant a measure of protection to loss-making enterprises that are still being backed by the banking sector.


Egyptian Olympic medal hopeful takes step forward at Prefontaine Classic

Egyptian javelin thrower Ihab Abdel-Rahman won the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet on Saturday with a “surprising throw of 87.37 metres,” Ahram Online reports on its new Rio 2016 microsite. The Ahly club member is a “favourite for a medal in his discipline,” the news site says, after becoming “the first ever Egyptian athletics world medallist after snatching the silver in the javelin throw final of the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.”

On Your Way Out

A video apparently showing an Egyptian stripped and beaten by his Kuwaiti employer has been making the rounds on social media and the local press. A statement from Kuwait’s Interior Ministry announced that the assailant (a Kuwaiti national) had been arrested and claims the incident took place a year and a half ago, Al Mal reports. Ahram Online has the story in English. The video, running nearly two and a half minutes, is on Youtube and is disturbing. We’ve thought long and hard about whether to include the link. Given the penchant for social media and the domestic press to exaggerate and fabricate stories of abuse by GCC-based employers, we ultimately felt that the video has sufficient probative value to include it. That said: We’d advise you to give it a pass and trust us that it appears authentic.

The Assistant Minister of Health for medical centers was reportedly arrested on bribery charges yesterday, a ministry source told Al Masry Al Youm. The assistant minister, said by AMAY to be a close associate to minister Ahmed Rady, has since been identified by a ministry spokesman as Ahmed Aziz. The Prosecutor General’s Office is yet to comment on the case.

Al Noran Exchange and all its branches have been shuttered after the committee tasked with sequestering and managing Ikhwan-related assets allegedly found evidence linking its owners and employees to the Ikhwan and a plot to manipulate the FX parallel market rate, Al Mal reports. The move comes as the CBE has intensified its crackdown over the past week on FX bureaus engaged in parallel market currency trading. The committee’s case against Al Noran, however, appears to be part of a widespread probe which saw it freeze the assets of 65 suspected Ikhwan and shut down 12 other businesses.

A team of Egyptian entrepreneurs are creating a “more private” social network that is concerned with protecting users’ privacy, Wamda’s Eman Mostafa writes. The founders call it “Chaino” and it operates “under under the umbrella of Silicon Valley-based parent company Begether, the pair wanted to improve people’s social lives rather than making them more virtual. Privacy is so key that the site doesn’t even have a privacy settings page, ‘because that’s part of its structure’.” Chaino currently has 36,000 users “a 200 percent increase in the last six months, with no marketing budget,” according to one of the founders.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 24 May): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Sunday, 30 May): 11.00-11.04 (compared with 11.00 on Tuesday, 24 May, Al Mal)

EGX30 (Sunday): 7,486 (-0.60%)
Turnover: EGP 208.0 mn (52% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +6.90%


Foreigners:Net long | EGP + 0.2 mn
Regional:Net short | EGP – 4.5 mn
Domestic:Net long | EGP + 4.3 mn

Retail: 74.3% of total trades | 76.0% of buyers | 72.6% of sellers
Institutions: 25.7% of total trades | 24.0% of buyers | 27.4% of sellers

Foreign: 8.4% of total | 8.4% of buyers | 8.3% of sellers
Regional: 7.9% of total | 6.8% of buyers | 9.0% of sellers
Domestic: 83.7% of total | 84.8% of buyers | 82.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 49.35 (+0.04%)
Brent: USD 49.24 (-0.16%)
Gold: USD 1,204.10 / troy ounce (-1.04%)
Nymex (futures prices) USD 2.17 MMBtu, (-0.09%, July 2016 contract)

TASI: 6,428.4 (-0.8%) (YTD: -7.0%)
ADX: 4,297.2 (+0.3%) (YTD: -0.2%)
DFM: 3,360.5 (+0.3%) (YTD: +6.6%)
KSE Weighted Index: 356.9 (-0.2%) (YTD: -6.5%)
QE: 9,675.7 (-0.4%) (YTD: -7.2%)
MSM: 5,890.5 (-0.4%) (YTD: +9.0%)
BB: 1,092.0 (-0.61%) (YTD: -10.2%)

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Due to the length of today’s issue, our Calendar section appears only on our website. 30-31 May (Monday-Tuesday): The Middle East Regional Forum Egypt, Movenpick Hotel & Casino Cairo-Media City, Cairo. 01-02 June (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2016, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo. Register here. 02 June (Thursday): Thomas Piketty lecture in partnership with AUC Middle East Studies Center / School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. AUC Tahrir campus, Ewart Hall, 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 (Sunday): 2016 Cairo ICT Conference Group 04-06 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec exhibition, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo 04-06 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Electricx exhibition, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo 11-13 December (Sunday-Tuesday): The Middle East Fire, Security & Safety Exhibition and Conference (MEFSEC), Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

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