Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Off-duty cops to lose privilege of carrying firearms?


What We’re Tracking Today

When do we eat? Iftar will be at 6:58pm CLT today, while the cut-off for sohour will be at 3:08am CLT, according to Islamic Finder.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The local wheat buying season will end on Wednesday as the government has already surpassed its set target of buying 4 mn tonnes. "Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi pointed out that the door for receiving local wheat from farmers will close at the end of Wednesday due to lowering local procurement rates," Reuters quoted a Supply Ministry statement as saying.

Interest rate watch: The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meets to discuss interest rates this coming Tuesday and Wednesday (14-15 June), with the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee due to do the same on Thursday.

Analyst consensus (so far) is for a rate hike. Of the eight analysts who have made public calls on which way they think the MPC will break, four expect rate hikes, two expect the committee to leave rates on hold and two see it as even odds.

  • Rate hike: EFG Hermes, Arqaam, Institute of International Finance, Prime
  • On hold: Beltone, Multiples
  • On the fence: CI Capital and Mubasher see there being a 50-50 chance of a 25-50 bps price bump

Further reading on the topic: Ahram Online’s poll of yesterday as well as coverage here and here.

On The Horizon

The next session in the trial of former Central Auditing Organization chief Hisham Genena is due to take place on Tuesday, 21 June, and next week is Brexit week as the U.K. heads to the polls to vote on whether to remain in the European Union on Thursday, 23 June.

Speed Round

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Lebanese private equity firm Emerging Investment Partners (EIP) acquired 100% of General Cable Egypt (GC Egypt), Al Mal reported. EIP plans on changing GC Egypt’s name to BICC Egypt, which was the company’s name before it was acquired by General Cable. EIP is also assessing a number of potential targets in the manufacturing, education, and agriculture in the Egyptian market. The value of the transaction and the advisors were not disclosed.

Clarification- Renaissance Capital got in touch with us to clarify a few statements made in Daily News Egypt’s interview with the outfit’s MENA CEO, Ahmed Badr. Badr said RenCap sees “Egypt as an attractive market and are now looking at various opportunities arising from the current growth of the country’s economy. Setting up our own presence on the ground in Egypt is something we have recently been considering but there are no imminent plans." Contrary to the piece DNE carried yesterday, when asked if RenCap is taking “real” steps to set up an investment bank in Egypt, Badr says, “We are studying the available options now but no decision has been taken in this regard. Hopefully we will have a clear picture by the end of this year.Daily News Egypt posted a corrected version of the interview yesterday. RenCap hosted in late April its first Egypt equities conference in Cape Town, advised on its first equity placement on the EGX last month, and was ranked as the number-one frontier brokerage house in the 2016 Extel survey. H/t Hazem A.

A Chinese builder has won a EUR 1+ bn cement plant contract from Egyptian government, but we can’t say for certain how much the contract is worth. Al Ahram’s breaking news website said yesterday a subsidiary of publicly traded Chinese cement producer Sinoma International Engineering will won a contract to build a EUR 1.05 bn cement plant in Egypt, but Chinese state news agency Xinhua says the 2.2 MTPA facility will cost EUR 1.503 bn to build. A global industry news site puts the figure at EUR 1.05 bn, but doesn’t cite its source. Xinhua suggests it’s an EPC plus operations and maintenance contract for “six clinker cement production lines with 6,000 tonnes of daily capacity for Egypt’s equipment bureau of the Ministry of Defense and Military Production.” Industry site Global Cement adds that the lines will be in Beni Suef and that the contract also includes maintenance of two production lines in Arish. Sinoma has previously won expansion and upgrade contracts in Egypt.

Confusion over wheat makes global headlines once more: In light of recently rejected wheat shipments, Bloomberg writes that Egypt is staring down the barrel of another season of expensive grain. “It will be harder for Egypt to buy and they will need to pay more" unless it clarifies its policy on ergot soon, said Alexandre Boy, an analyst at Agritel. “Today, I wouldn’t take the risk of selling a 60,000 tons vessel and guarantee zero ergot,” Philippe de Raynal, chief executive officer of Axereal said on Friday. “We need a clear position from Egypt to be able to do normal business.” As the debate continues, four shipments of Ukrainian and Russian wheat totalling 139K tonnes have arrived in the port of Alexandria, where they will await inspection by Agriculture Quarantine Authority, Al Mal reports.

Apparently, the Housing Ministry is blaming the FX crunch for recent water supply cuts in outlying governorates, Al Borsa reports. FX shortages have hampered imports of electromechanical equipment used to pipe water to homes, according to a report by the ministry, which announced that the problem was resolved. As we noted yesterday, the office of the president had expressed concern over a recent spate of power and water cuts. The Power Ministry had blamed the water outages on crumbling transmission infrastructure.

Egypt and Portugal have signed an investment promotion agreement, Minister Sameh Shoukry said, Al Mal reported on Monday. He added that there is a high likelihood that an aviation agreement will be signed during a meeting in 4Q2016. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva is on a two-day visit to Cairo that began Sunday for trade and political talks. Portuguese exports increased 30% in the last year, while there are currently 10 Egyptian businesses operating in Portugal.

And while we’re on investment, the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce has begun holding meetings on Monday to set their proposed amendments for the Investment Act, Youm7 reports. The federations will hold “continuous meetings” with investors and members of the business community to get their input and come to a consensus, said federation head Ahmed El Wakeel. The federation had already set up a committee to draft these recommendations. Amending the unpopular Investment Act is a cornerstone of Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid’s agenda.

MOVES- Television network OSN appointed Martin Stewart as CEO effective 1 August, Gulf News reported. Stewart is currently the CFO of the Football Association in the UK. He succeeds David Butorac, who served as OSN’s CEO from 2010.

The government committee responsible for amending the controversial protest act will submit a draft to cabinet next week, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Magdy El Agaty said on Monday, Ahram Online reported. The amendments primarily relate to penalties, El-Agati said. El Agaty said if the law is ultimately passed by the House of Representatives, it could be retroactively applied to those already sentenced to jail, possibly reducing sentences for many.

The Interior Ministry is moving to strip most rank-and-file members of the police service of the privilege to carry firearms while off-duty, a move that could be enshrined in the amendments to the Police Act, a government source tells Al Masry Al Youm. The decision to strip them of weapons was taken following the killing of a tea seller outside Al Rehab City by an off-duty NCO after a dispute over the price of tea, the source added. The ministry had earlier ordered an investigation into off-duty carry policies after a February shooting involving an off-duty officer in Darb Al Ahmar.

In other law enforcement news, Prosecutor General Nabil Ahmed Sadiq ordered the detention of the head of Al Haram Police Department Mohammed Abu Al Hasab for four days, pending the investigation into his possible involvement in the burning of the department’s evidence storage system, Al Mal reported on Monday.

EgyptAir MS804’s black boxes will continue to emit a signal until June 24, a statement from the Egyptian investigation committee said on Monday, Reuters reports. The AP had reported yesterday that there were only around five days of battery life left. The investigating committee on Monday approved a request by the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board to join the investigation team, the statement added. The group also confirmed the plane turned 360 degrees before it disappeared from radar, confirming previous claims by Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos. "The radar photos which were delivered to the investigation committee affiliated with the Egyptian military shows that before the crash happened that the plane turned left then right in a full cycle," the statement read.

Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for USD 26.2 bn, its largest-ever deal, Reuters reported Monday. Connecting their software “marks a turn” for Microsoft and could help LinkedIn “jumpstart its growth, which has slowed in recent years,” as LinkedIn has a network of 433 mn professionals and Microsoft’s customers include 1.2 bn users of Microsoft Office. “Microsoft said after adding in LinkedIn, the total potential market size of Microsoft’s productivity and business-process segment was USD 315 bn, up from USD 200 bn without LinkedIn,” the article read. Meanwhile, Bloomberg asks why Microsoft, which has “enough cash to buy LinkedIn Corp. four times over,” is borrowing for the buy. The answer? “Maybe because it’ll lower the technology giant’s tax bill.” Either way, Microsoft is on fire under CEO Satya Nadella (read his note to staff on why they acquired LinkedIn). Office 365 is now fantastic on Mac, in the cloud and on iOS. The company has acquired some of the hottest startups in town and rolled them into its core platform, including Skype, SwiftKey, Accompli (relaunched as Outlook on mobile). Their pricing is still confusing for small businesses, but even their ads are now sensible.

We didn’t hold our collective breath for new hardware at Apple’s WWCC 2016 yesterday, but it’s hard not to be a little disappointed that “one more thing” was a video about iOS and not a teaser about new, thinner MacBook Pros. Still, the next versions of macOS (as OS X has been rebranded) and iOS look fantastic. They’re available to developers now, to the public in beta in July, and as free upgrades in fall. You can check out all the features of iOS 10 here and of macOS Sierra here. Or watch the keynote presentation starring the firm’s senior management.


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The Macro Picture

It’s bonds, bonds, bonds this morning: “Today’s bond market is defying just about every comparison known to man,” writes Bloomberg, with traders never before paying so much for debt with so little return. “This absolutely leaves the markets a lot more vulnerable,” said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. Morgan Stanley says the bond market has nowhere left to go, while Goldman Sachs is looking for benchmark U.S. Treasury yields to rise, according to Bloomberg. Across the pond, economists surveyed by Bloomberg say the German 10-year yield is expected to increase from “record lows.”

We’re closing in on less than 10 days from the Brexit referendum (23 June), ladies and gents. The race between the leave and remain camps appears to be too close to call still, but David Cameron did manage to squeeze in a warning on pensions and health spending after Brexit, the FT (paywall) quotes him as saying on Sunday. Meanwhile, Bloomberg writes that US investors are more worried about Brexit than they are about a June Fed hike or the 2016 election, while the FT’s (paywall) Edward Luce looks at why the Americans are so worried (hint: Donald Trump).

Speaking of Brexit, it’s one of the four things most worrying FTSE 100 companies (after taxes, terrorism, and regulation) according to analysis of their annual reports, the FT (paywall) writes. Tax is of course the biggest worry: “Some firms in the extractives sector, including Fresnillo, are worried about the impact of lower commodity prices on the fiscal positions of the countries they operate in and what this means for tax policies,” said a new report from advisory firm Global Counsel. Egypt was also among several countries posing political risks, including Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.

Egypt in the News

South Africa’s pain has become Egypt’s gain, Dawn Kiss and Javier E. David write for CNBC. “South Africa has lost its shine with investors, which have taken fright at the country’s slumping currency and worsening growth prospects,” they say, but separately, “investors are warming to Egypt. The Middle East’s most populous country continues to see its fundamentals slowly improve.” Garbis Iradian, MENA chief economist at the Institute of International Finance says “beyond 2016, FDI could increase significantly if the Egyptian authorities implement deeper structural reforms–including major improvement in the business environment–and if geopolitical environment in the region improves."

Egypt is building new homes to replace crumbling slums, Reuters’ Mahmoud Mourad profiles in a photo essay. Mourad shows that while some “slum” residents are happy with the new affordable housing being provided gradually by the state, others lament the rising rent costs and inadequate upgrades to services provided.

Worth Reading

Clearing a path for subsidy reform: Taking stock of the way forward for Egypt’s fuel subsidy policy, doctoral candidate Tom Moerenhout first praises what was right about President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s first round of energy subsidy reform, while taking pains to point out what was different then versus now. “Taking a closer look, it is clear that the 2014 action [on fuel subsidies] was enabled by an unusual mix of political-economy factors… Sisi was elected with more than 95% of the vote, and he promptly used a significant part of his political capital to reform energy subsidies.” Moerenhout says this was also enabled by an effective communication outreach to the public, and argues that Egypt has entered into a far more difficult phase of subsidy reform, and that for it to proceed successfully, the government must redouble those same outreach efforts. It’s the type of reasonable advice that may leave one nodding in agreement while at the same time leaving one with the impression it will go unheeded. (Read Nobody said it was easy: Egypt’s energy reforms unwrapped)

Worth Watching

Be blacker: The talented Nicole Byer auditions for a role where the casting agent constantly asks Byer to up her “blackness.” The sketch is equal parts funny and depressing. (Watch, running time: 3:22)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has issued a statement condemning the attack in Orlando, Florida and expressed Egypt’s support in the fight against terrorism globally.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ratified the appointment of new ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions abroad, including former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hisham Badr as ambassador to Italy, Assistant Foreign Minister for Neighbouring Countries’ Affairs Osama El Magdoub as ambassador to Beijing, and former Foreign Ministry aide for the Americas Mohamed Farid Moneeb as ambassador to Athens, among others, Youm7 reported on Monday.


Eni to complete fourth Zohr well in July

Eni has begun drilling on the fourth Zohr well and plans to complete drilling operations in July, Al Borsa reports. Eni plans to complete drilling all six wells in the field this year, in line with raising output to 1 bcf/d of gas by the end of 2017 and to 2.7 bcf/d by 2019, said a source from the Petroleum Ministry.

EGEMAC-XD EGEMAC consortium awarded 15 May transformer station

An EGEMAC-XD EGEMAC consortium was awarded a EGP 130 mn contract to build the 15 May transformer station, Al Mal reported. The station will have a capacity of 220 kV and is part of the government’s five-year plan to upgrade the national grid to 34,000 MW from 31,500 MW, said EGEMAC Chairman Medhat Ramadan. The project duration is eight months, he added.

SDX completes seismic survey of South Disouq asset onshore the Nile Delta

SDX Energy has completed the acquisition of 115 square miles of 3D data on the South Disouq asset onshore the Nile Delta in Egypt, “safely, under budget and ahead of the anticipated schedule,” the company announced on Monday, according to Rigzone. The initial data is of “good quality” and “clearly indicates the presence of the prolific Abu Madi trend within the block,” according to a company statement. The data processing is expected to take three months to complete. The company intends to use the information to build “a prospect inventory with a view to selecting a location for a fully carried exploration well, which is ‘anticipated to be drilled in late 2016,’” according to a brief research note from FirstEnergy.

China’s TBEA awaits Ministry of Electricity response on EGP 500 mn loan from Export-Import Bank of China

China-based electrical equipment manufacturer Tebian Electric Apparatus (TBEA) is currently awaiting the response of the Electricity Ministry for an EGP 500 mn loan offer from the Export-Import Bank of China for potential energy production, distribution, or transmission projects, Daily News Egypt reported on Monday. The offer, which is set to expire in two months, includes credit facilities, a 15-year repayment plan, and a grace period of 24 to 48 months with 2.5% interest, said Hisham Qasem, the commercial director of electric power projects company Mirage, which is working with TBEA on several energy and electricity projects.


Plan to renovate main roads, squares in Cairo

The Cairo Governorate is looking to implement a plan to upgrade and repair a number of roads and squares in different neighbourhoods in Cairo at an estimated cost of EGP 100 mn, an official within the governorate told Amwal Al Ghad. The plan involves paving new roads, building bridges, and maintenance in northern and southern districts of Cairo, he added. The plan comes as the governorate seeks to double the budget for its Roads and Bridges Directorate.

Basic Materials + Commodities

UAE’s Al Nebras investing EGP 3.63 bn in Ehupt

UAE-based Al Nebras for Real Estate and General Contracting is looking to invest AED 1.5 bn (approximately EGP 3.63 bn) in Egypt. The company is particularly interested in the real estate, construction, agriculture, livestock, and tourism projects until 2018, Chairman Said Al Souden told Daily News Egypt. The company has a 3,5000 feddan farm in Assiut and is looking to establish juice and dairy factories to meet market needs and export the surplus, he added. Additionally, the company is studying establishing the Teba Farm, cultivating medicinal herbs over a 15,000 feddan land plot in Wadi El Natroun.

Katilo allocates EGP 60 mn towards building new factory in New Damietta

Dairy manufacturer Katilo has allocated EGP 60 mn towards building a new factory in October, Chairman Abdel Moneim Katilo told Al Borsa. The company obtained the land from the industrial zone in New Damietta over an area of 5,000 sqm, he added, and will include three cheese production lines. The company is also looking to add four new production lines to its main factory in Damietta.

Traders not pleased with El Sisi’s request that they take pity on the people

Goods and commodities traders and storeowners are not too happy with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s request that they take pity on the people and keep prices low, a request the president made during the state iftar ceremony on Saturday. They feel the president effectively placed the onus (and, inadvertently, the blame) on them for the recent spike in inflation during Ramadan. Traders speaking to Al Mal blamed the devaluation, supply shortages, and a lack of proper market regulation for the inflation.

Egypt’s cotton exports decreased by 54.2% December 2015-February 2016

Exports of Egyptian cotton fell 54.2% between December 2015 and February 2016 to 112,700 metric kantar compared to the same period of last year, according to CAPMAS, Daily News Egypt reported Monday. The period marks the second quarter of the agricultural season of 2015/2016.

Real Estate + Housing

Edar Real Estate affiliate to start developing Sahl Hasheesh project in January 2017

Sea View for Real Estate, an affiliate of Edar Real Estate, is set to begin marketing of the USD 21 mn Hawaii Resort in Sahl Hasheesh in January 2017, with the project spanning over an area of 20,000 sqm, CEO Sherif Roushdy said, Al Mal reported on Monday. The firm expects returns amounting to EGP 350 mn from the project, which will comprise of 280 units, including chalets, villas, and apartments. Prices are set to start at USD 1,135 per meter targeted at both Egyptians and foreigners.

Automotive + Transportation

Cairo Airport Terminal 2 to begin operations on 30 June

Cairo Airport’s Terminal 2 is set to begin operations on 30 June, Al Borsa reported. The airport is already conducting weekly testing for the revamped terminal after ground services were made available.

Banking + Finance

Mashreq Bank issues high-paying CDs in Egypt

Mashreq Bank has issued a seven-year certificate of deposit carrying an interest rate of 13%, Al Mal reported. The interest rate offered by the new instrument is the highest in the market that does not require savers to give up foreign currency holdings. National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr offer a 15% to savers give up foreign currency and convert their holdings to EGP.

Finance ministry issues USD 745.4 mn in 1-year USD-denominated treasury bills

The Finance Ministry issued USD 745.4 mn in one-year USD-denominated T-bills with an average yield of 3.629%, the CBE said in a Monday statement, Reuters reported.

Other Business News of Note

Omar Effendi in talks to restructure debt

The Omar Effendi company is in talks with banks and government entities to restructure its debt, company Chairman Ayman Salem told Al Shorouk. The company is looking to lease seven of its branches within the month, he said in a meeting with Public Enterprise Minister Ashraf El Sharkawi. The minister asked for a timeline for all the steps the company will take and directed the company to cooperate with experts at the Holding Company for Tourism and Hotels on partnership with the private sector.

On Your Way Out

Mona El Khodairy, founder of El Khodairy Biogas, is challenging socioeconomic traditions in Upper Egypt by carving a place for herself as renewable energy entrepreneur in a male-dominated agricultural sector, reports Wamda. The startup built 140 biogas digester units in eight governorates in cooperation with the Environmental Affairs Ministry until 2015, when in April El Khodairy entered the Grow Your Company competition by UNIDO that supports entrepreneurs in waste management. There she met the CEO of Sustaincubator, a sustainable ventures incubator that changed the company name to Eco Taqa and won first place at The Impact bootcamp for social entrepreneurs in Dubai in June.

Deposed Central Auditing Organization head Hisham Genena’s daughter Shorouk Genena was effectively fired from her post as an aide in the administrative prosecution for sharing a Facebook post critical to former Justice Minister Ahmed El-Zend, she told ONA news agency. She was sacked by way of an Administrative Prosecution Authority’s Supreme Council decision issued on April 6 and ratified by a presidential decree on May 29, according to the AP. However, she was not informed of the decision until Monday. She was referred to a disciplinary committee last March, she said, which was denied by a council member in statements to Al Shorouk. She is considering procedures to appeal the decision.

Security forces arrested 155 migrants on their way to Italy through the Mediterranean from Beheira and Kafr El-Sheikh, Al Ahram reports. They include Egyptians, Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese and Ethiopians, who were in trucks and about to travel. Some said they paid EGP 30,000 per person to travel.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 7 June): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Saturday, 11 June): 10.92-10.95 (compared to 10.90 on Tuesday, 7 June, domestic press)

EGX30 (Monday): 7,645.21 (-0.07%)
Turnover: EGP 498.5 mn (15% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +9.12%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended yesterday’s session little changed, inching down 0.1%, with most con­stituents in the negative territory. CIB and GB Auto were the only two index stocks to close in the green. Edita, OTMT, and Orascom Construction were the worst performers. With a market turnover of EGP 498.5 mn, foreign investors were the sole net buyers. Regionally, Gulf markets were mostly lower on weak oil prices with the exception of Saudi Arabia where some stocks gained on hopes they would benefit from the economic reform plans announced last week.

Foreigners:Net long | EGP +58.8 mn
Regional:Net short | EGP -30.2 mn
Domestic:Net short | EGP -28.6 mn

Retail: 52.2% of total trades | 50.5% of buyers | 53.8% of sellers
Institutions: 47.8% of total trades | 49.5% of buyers | 46.2% of sellers

Foreign: 29.0% of total | 34.9% of buyers | 23.0% of sellers
Regional: 8.2% of total | 5.1% of buyers | 11.2% of sellers
Domestic: 62.8% of total | 60.0% of buyers | 65.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.88 (-0.39%)
Brent: USD 50.00 (-1.07%)
Gold: USD 1,286.20 / troy ounce (+0.81%)
Nymex (futures prices) USD 2.59 MMBtu, (+1.17%, July 2016 contract)

TASI: 6,589.64 (+0.29%) (YTD: -4.66%)
ADX: 4,365.09 (-0.06%) (YTD: +1.34%)
DFM: 3,323.43 (-0.38%) (YTD: +5.47%)
KSE Weighted Index: 354.30 (-0.39%) (YTD: -7.18%)
QE: 9,704.36 (-0.92%) (YTD: -6.95%)
MSM: 5,847.44 (-0.36%)(YTD: +8.16%)
BB: 1,123.30 (+0.66%) (YTD: -7.62%)

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14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meets to discuss interest rates.

15 June (Wednesday): Buying season for Egypt’s domestic wheat harvest officially ends.

16 June (Thursday): The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to consider interest rates.

21 June (Tuesday): Trial of former Central Auditing Organization chief Hisham Genena resumes.

23 June (Thursday): It’s Brexit Day as the United Kingdom holds a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union.

27 June (Monday)” Beltone Financial’s general assembly to decide on converting a third of its share capital to GDRs, according to Reuters.

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

05-08 September (Monday-Thursday): The 6th EFG Hermes London MENA and Frontier Conference, Emirates Arsenal Stadium, London, U.K.

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

19-20 September (Monday-Tuesday): Euromoney Egypt, venue TBD

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

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

November (TBD): Delegation of German companies in the renewable energy sector due to visit to discuss investment opportunities.

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

27 November (Sunday): 2016 Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Centre

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

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

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

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