Thursday, 14 July 2016

Amr Adib calls it quits


What We’re Tracking Today

Bye Bye Amr Adib? Veteran talk show host Amr Adib will not renew his contract with OSN, which ended on 30 June, he told Al Masry Al Youm. His 20-year relationship with the network ended amicably, according to Adib. “As of now, I don’t know when I could go back to working in the media, as I need time to rest … especially as there is calm in the media at the moment.” Adib said. “In the past [few years], we wanted to make the Muslim Brothers leave, and before that there was the 25 January revolution, but now there is calm around us,” he said.

Solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 landed in Cairo yesterday morning after a 48-hour trip from Seville, Spain. The plane’s pilot, Swiss adventurer Andre Borschberg, celebrated flying over the Pyramids by eating Swiss cheese — cut, of course, using a Swiss Army knife. From Egypt, Solar Impulse 2 will embark on the last leg of its ‘round-the-world endeavour by flying to Abu Dhabi, where the challenge began in March 2015. “Egypt is country where I had the idea to make that project,” Solar Impulse’s co-founder Bertrand Piccard said. You can watch the Solar Impulse 2’s landing and hear Piccard’s comments here (runtime 03:31).

BONUS: Reuters’ Amr Abdalla Dalsh has a great photo of what the FT says are two Egyptian ground crew on bicycles following Solar Impulse 2 as it’s about to touch down at CAI.

On The Horizon

No rest (or summer vacation?) for the wicked: Next week is shaping up to be a busy one for the House of Representatives.

The House committee investigating allegations of fraud in this season’s wheat harvest is due to table its report on Sunday, 17 July

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy is expected to meet with the House Planning and Budget Committee to discuss the latest draft of the value-added tax legislation on Monday, according to Parlmany, Youm7’s Parliament news-focused publication. Parlmany provides the latest draft of the bill following last month’s amendments, which included policy amendments and exemptions we previously noted.

A House committee will look into relations with Italy and the state of the Regeni case after Rome nixed the sale of spare parts for F-16 to Egypt. Parliament has summoned representatives from the ministries of interior and foreign affairs as well as the General Intelligence Directorate and the Prosecutor General’s Office to appear.

Speed Round

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IMF loan rumblings continue: There is a direction within the government to tap the International Monetary Fund for a funding facility by the end of the year and the issue was discussed during this week’s meeting of the cabinet economic group, a source told Al Shorouk. The issue in question is whether to begin implementing a policy of devaluation and phasing out subsidies immediately, or to wait until the year’s end and bet on the arrival of pledged funding from the Gulf Cooperation Council and World Bank, the newspaper reports. The government is reportedly following the same playbook as previous years, saying seeking an IMF loan is not just for the financial support, but that it would act as a stamp of approval on the government’s economic policy, potentially unlocking new investments and additional sources of financing.

A number of Russian companies plan to invest USD 4.6 bn to build an industrial zone by the Suez Canal by 2035, RT reported. “Russian companies Kamaz, GAZ, UAZ, Transmashholding, Gazprom Neft, Tatneft, Inter RAO and others will be part of the new industrial hub.” Russia’s Trade Ministry the investments are expected to create 77k jobs and generate revenues of USD 11.6 bn. RT says Russia has selected a 2 mn sqm land plot in East Port Said to establish an industrial park, with work expected to begin in 2018. It also says Egypt will provide Russian investors with more incentives, including a tax-friendly regime of 10% income tax and no sales tax.

…On resuming flights: Egypt has fulfilled 85% of Russia’s security and aviation safety demands, House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said at a meeting with speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Valentina Matvienko. Abdel Aal said now Egypt is expecting a response from the Russian side, according to Sputnik. Russian lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov had said on Tuesday that Abdel Aal reported that Egypt has thus far complied with 75% of Russia’s security recommendations.

Cutting natural gas prices for manufacturers is “better for the state’s budget” and would “help reduce the budget deficit,” Mohamed El Sewedy, head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, told Al Ahram. Bringing the price down from USD 7 per mmBtu to USD 4.5 per mmBtu will increase economic activity and increase utilisation rates at factories, El Sewedy suggests, saying the benefits outweigh the direct financial costs for the state. He added that the government is yet to respond to the request to reduce gas prices. We noted on Sunday that EGAS is against the price reduction and has called it a “waste” of Egypt’s natural resources.

EgyptAir and Boeing announced an order for nine 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft in an agreement worth USD 864 mn. Eight of the airplanes will be financed by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. “EgyptAir currently operates 20 737-800NGs and when the nine airplanes on order have been delivered will comprise the largest single-aisle aircraft type in its fleet. The airline also has six 777-300ERs and two 777-200ERs. EgyptAir forecast significant growth of their total fleet by 2026,” according to the companies’ joint press statement.

Another EEDC project bites the dust? Construction of the grandiose Zayed Crystal Spark project, labelled by Gizmodo as “a new pyramid” in March 2015, now appears to be in question. The New Urban Communities Authority has decided to re-tender the project and a 410-feddan land plot, 16 months after the project was issued, Al Borsa reported. Housing Ministry sources said the offers presented at the time are no longer suitable given the changes to the exchange rate and NUCA’s participation levels. The new tenders will be announced before the end of the year.

Investors in FiT projects offer price cuts for currency guarantees, international arbitration: A number of investors in renewable energy project sunder the feed-in tariff system have presented the Electricity Ministry with three policy alternatives given its stance on enforcing domestic arbitration clauses and international financiers’ refusal, Al Mal reported. The first option entails reducing the electricity purchase price to USD 0.08 per kW and in return, international arbitration is allowed. The second option, reduces the price further to USD 0.078 kW but requires guarantees to investors that USD liquidity will be available as well as international arbitration. The investor will only accept domestic arbitration clauses if the purchase price was USD 0.095 per kW and they are guaranteed expediting their projects and obtaining the necessary permits.

12 investors have agreements, now looking to replace international financing that backed out: A source told Al Mal that 12 investors, including international companies, have already agreed to terms that include domestic arbitration and are now focused on securing funding after their original international lenders pulled out over the state’s insistence on domestic arbitration. These include the Nile Capital Investments-owned Delta for Renewable Energy, which has reached an agreement with a state-owned bank to fund 50% of the project, after its international funder pulled its 80% commitment over the issue of domestic arbitration. Cairo Solar is seeking new international lenders and is in talks with four Egyptian banks to replace those who have pulled out, said Cairo Solar CEO Hisham Tawfik, Al Borsa reports.

MOVES- Khaled Hashem was appointed as Honeywell’s new country president for Egypt. Honeywell says. Hashem’s appointment “marks a significant milestone … as the company continues to strengthen its presence in Egypt.” Hashem most recently was Country Manager at GE Egypt.

…Also on Honeywell: CIT Minister Yasser El Kady met with Hashem and Honeywell’s President of Russia, Middle East and Central Asia, Norm Gilsdorf, to discuss investments in technology zones nationwide. Al Masry Al Youm reports that Gilsdorf said Honeywell is interested in investing in the Egyptian market and making the country a central hub in producing smart systems.

The EGP was going for anywhere between 11.30 and 11.40 on Wednesday on the parallel market amid policy confusion after the Central Bank of Egypt failed to devalue the EGP following heavy hints last week from CBE Governor Tarek Amer that such a move was in the cards, Al Mal reported.

With inflation running at a seven-year high, the Ismail Cabinet approved yesterday EGP 8 bn in financing to subsidize goods for the poor. The measure, approved at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, was billed as an emergency measure and will see the General Authority for Supply and Commodity (GASC) intervening in the market to cool prices for low-income consumers. Other decisions made at yesterday’s meeting:

  • Tasked NI Capital with evaluating feasibility studies conducted for sustainable development projects as part of the Vision 2030 program;
  • Approved issuing a consolidated tender to supply all oncology medication at reduced prices;
  • Tasked the Health Ministry with a nationwide Hepatitis C scan;
  • Issued amendments to law regulating medical professionals affiliated with the Health Ministry;
  • Reallocated 78,385 feddans in Sinai to the North Sinai governorate to build an industrial zone;
  • Reallocated state land from Ras Abu Bakr and Ras Gharib in the Red Sea governorate to the Electricity Ministry to build coal-fired power plants;
  • Approved EGP 40 mn promotional campaign on the Robeky leather city, Furniture city in Damietta, and the technological zones currently under construction;
  • Tasked Minister of Social Solidarity with implementing the productive cooperation law.

Tax treatment of smokes to change, prices to rise? The Finance Ministry is moving to amend the tax treatment of, moving to a system with just two tax brackets instead of three, Al Mal reported. Sources say in return, price increases will be passed on to imported brands and that this “agreement” was proposed representatives from Phillip Morris. Cigarette manufacturers had asked the ministry to allow prices hikes amid rising tax burdens. Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer told Al Masry Al Youm he received a number of suggestions from cigarette manufacturers and has not adopted a specific one yet.

France closed its embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday until further notice over security concerns, France24 reported. Events previously scheduled to take place today to commemorate France’s Bastille Day in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have all been cancelled.

…Meanwhile, the French foreign ministry is feeling the wrath of its Israeli counterpart following Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s meeting with members of terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon on Tuesday, the Times of Israel reported. “It’s a shame that the French foreign minister didn’t consult with Arab states that do not make a distinction between the military and political arms of Hezbollah. It’s clear that Foreign Minister Ayrault would not meet with the ‘political wing’ of Islamic State,” read a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry. Ayrault’s two-day visit to Lebanon wraps today, where he is holding talks with the country’s leadership to attempt to overcome the political impasse preventing the election of a president since 2014.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has surged past Hillary Clinton in the two key swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania and is tied in the “critical battleground” state of Ohio, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing a new poll by Quinnipiac University that is at odds with national polls showing Clinton with a comfortable double-digit lead. According to the new poll, “the race is so close that it’s within the margin of error in each of the three states,” Politico noted. There are 11 states in total which could go either way for Democrats or Republicans in November.

Also worth noting this morning:

  • New U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May (profile) has appointed a cabinet that the Guardian says “tilts to the right — not necessarily a bad thing for Establishment Egypt. Former mayor of London and Brexit leader Boris Johnson will be foreign minister.
  • The Financial Times thinks “Christine Lagarde wants softer, kinder IMF to face populist anger”.
  • There’s a brewing civil war in South Sudan pitting forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against those of his longtime rival and vice-president Riek Machar. The Financial Times says a Machar spokesman wants more U.N. peacekeepers, and Reuters reports that Monday’s ceasefire is still holding. Need to get up to speed? Watch this short video (run time: 2:27) by NYT East Africa bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman, who warns about the ethnic dimension of the clashes.


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Egypt in the News

Driving the narrative this morning: The landing of Solar Impulse 2 at Cairo International Airport is crowding out other stories as scribes lap-up the notion of pilot André Borschberg scarfing down Swiss cheese as he flew over the Pyramids (tweet). The Solar Impulse story features prominently in everything from the Guardian to the Daily Mail, from USA Today to public broadcaster NPR.

Meanwhile, the Amnesty International report on forced disappearances continues to have legs and the New York Times makes note of the deportation of Lebanese TV presenter Liliane Daoud hours after she was fired from her job at ONTV in an article titled “Egypt’s latest tactic against critics: Block their movements, or deport them.” Daoud is among nearly 500 people, including activists, lawyers, and reporters, who were deported, barred from travel, or detained at Egyptian airports since President Abdel Fattah El Sisi assumed office.

Egypt’s economic managers seem to be “cooking something up” and veteran finance writer Patrick Werr smells change. He expects “a package of reforms that could begin to put its shaky finances back on track: spending cuts, more taxes, a devaluation of the currency and privatisation.” If true then this would be “one of the best things to happen to the economy in years,” the problem is that “no one can really be sure what the government is up to.”

Newsweek sees a media furor where not much existed after Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spent time with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Mrs. Bibi, including maybe (or not) a bit of time in front of the TV screen during the Euro 2016 final. MP Mustafa Bakri thinks the House of Representatives is supposed to weigh in on things in which it has no mandate, such as Shoukry’s visit, though the reader comments kindly tell Bakri to mind his own business. Bakri also imagines he can drag Shoukry in front of parliament for questioning over the trip and alleged photo, according to El Watan.

Worth Reading

Mada Masr’s Amr Adly bit the bullet and pored through former head of the Central Auditing Authority Hisham Genena’s report on state corruption, which Genena said cost state coffers some EGP 600 bn between 2012 and 2015. The report and the figures claimed within it, as most of our readers are aware, led to Genena’s dismissal and charges being filed against him for the dissemination of false news.

Adly’s review of the 350-page report finds “no clear methodology. It neither provides a procedural definition of corruption from which we can derive quantitative criteria to estimate the losses resulting from it, nor does it set a specific timeframe for the incidents it examines.”

One of the more patently absurd ideas bouncing around in Genena’s head and his report is that he includes the value of land upon which informal settlements have been built as part of the EGP 600 bn corruption price tag. As Adly rightly points out, “informal settlements make up some 60 percent of urban space in Egypt and house around 70 percent of the population.” What, then, would Genena have the state do to remedy this incredibly interesting definition of corruption? Raze the homes of 70% of the population, make them homeless, then sell the land? Genena also thinks NUCA sells land on the cheap, and that is corruption to him as well. It never seems to occur to Genena that high land prices leads to increased costs of housing, which has exacerbated the growth of informal settlements.

We’re basically looking at Egyptian taxi-driver-level reasoning skills in Genena’s report. Adly’s analysis of the document, and his appeal for public policy debate as opposed to litigation and the undermining of the sanctity of state institutions, is the definitive read on the Genena case. (Read Objective notes on Hesham Genena’s corruption report)

Image of the Day

Al Ahly winger Ramadan Sobhy is reportedly close to completing a transfer to English outfit Stoke City. The UK’s ambassador, John Casson, greeted Sobhy at the embassy by recreating Sobhy’s infamous “stand on the ball” trick.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Amnesty International is “biased” against Egypt and the government rejects its reports, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in response to the organisation’s report on forced disappearances in Egypt, which we’d taken note of yesterday. “Any unbiased reader will realise [Amnesty International] has only used sources from one side of the argument and ignored the cases handled by Egypt’s judicial system,” he added.

Trade minister Tarek Kabil and Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid discussed establishing a 30 mn sqm Chinese industrial zone in Egypt with Zhao Hongjing, vice president of China Fortune Land Development Company, Ahram Gate reported. Kabil urged the company to provide a general vision of the project with costs by early September, with the company deciding to open up shop in Cairo. Kabil and the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation agreed to study export credit guarantees for Chinese companies doing business in Egypt. The ministers also met a number of company executives including Wei Jianqing, CEO of TEDA Investment Group to discuss progress on the company’s developments in the Suez Canal Zone.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Egyptian citizens in Juba “to take extreme care and stay in their places of residence until clashes cease,” Ahram Online reported. Forty five Egyptians have already sought refuge at the Egyptian embassy in South Sudan, ambassador Ayman El Gammal said. The Foreign Ministry will take necessary procedures to help Egyptians leave Juba once flights are resumed. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice-President Riek Machar, announced a ceasefire which came into force on Monday, BBC reported.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit met to review preparations ahead of the upcoming Arab Summit in Mauritania’s Nouakchott, according to an Ittihadiya statement.


ACWA Power invests EGP 20 mn in three projects

Saudi’s ACWA Power has invested EGP 20 mn in three renewable projects in Egypt under the feed-in-tariff system, Regional Director Hassan Amin told Al Mal. The projects include two wind farms and a solar power plant each with a capacity of 50 MW, he added, and are located in Benban and Ras Gharib. The investment was divided into EGP 18 mn towards splitting the EGP 40 mn cost of connecting the solar power plant to the national grid with the NREA, and EGP 2 mn towards studies and taxes on the wind farms, he said.

Petrobel increasing Nooros production to 700 mcf/d in September

The Nooros field production is expected to increase to 700 mcf/d following the completion of drilling by September, field general manager Hassan Fouad told Al Borsa.
As we had reported earlier, the Nooros field is an important gas discovery owned by Eni and BP, and was drilled by Petrobel, a joint venture between Eni subsidiary IEOC and EGPC. Current Nooros production levels are at 300 mcf/d in additional to 3k bbl of condensates from four completed development wells, he added.


Housing ministry to launch 25 desalination plants this year under PPP

The housing ministry is set to launch 25 desalination plants under a public-private partnership system in the governorates of Marsa Matrouh, Red Sea, North Sinai and South Sinai, Al Borsa reported on Wednesday. The Finance Ministry’s public-private partnerships unit and the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater had agreed to let the latter conduct a technical, financial and legal feasibility study on the project, with a tender to build the plants likely to take place during this year. The National Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitation had reportedly allocated more than 30% of the previous fiscal year’s budget, amounting to EGP 12 bn, to desalination plants, according to the Chairman of the National Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Ergot does not threaten local wheat crop -Agriculture Ministry

Ergot does not pose any threat to Egypt’s wheat crop, the Agriculture Ministry said, citing a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study. Reuters notes that the statement came after Tuesday’s decision to accept ergot limits as high as 0.05% in wheat imports. The ministry caveated its stance by noting that “the decision will be amended should future studies appear that show an effect on Egyptian agricultural crops.”

USD 2.4 bn in Sukari gold sales as of December 2015

Total Sukari gold mine sales as of December 2015 have reached USD 2.4 bn, compared to USD 2.5 bn in expenditures, senior sources at the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority told Ahram. An additional USD 90 mn tranche is under dispute between the authority and Centamin, the source added. The dispute settlement committee eliminated USD 134.3 mn in expenditures with the consent of both parties, he added. The mine’s total production until last December was 71 tonnes, but production has gone up to around 60k ounces per month from around 40k ounces per month in the same period last year.

Armed Forces to cooperate with a state-owned company on gold exploration in Red Sea governorate

An unnamed state-owned company has partnered with the Armed Forces on gold exploration in the Red Sea governorate, governor Ahmed Abdallah said, Al Shorouk reported. A number of small enterprises were also granted exploration concessions, the governor said.


Alexandria to tax steel, cement production at EGP 2 / tonne

Alexandria Governorate’s executive council approved the governor’s decision to impose a EGP 2 fee on every tonne of steel and cement produced in the governorate to shore up the regional government’s budget starting September or October, according to Al Borsa. The decision would add over EGP 2 mn every month to the governorate’s coffers, governor Mohamed Abdel-Zaher told Al Borsa. Critics of the decision, including the head of the Cement Division at Alexandria’s Chamber of Commerce Mahmoud Mekheimar, say it will raise prices dramatically. Steel and cement factories produce 16 mn tonnes per year, which means the fee will cost EGP 32 mn, says Mekheimar. These “development fees”, appear to be relatively commonplace and imposed by regional government as an extra revenue generator.

Real Estate + Housing

Jumeirah Real Estate Investment launches EGP 15 bn Jumeirah Bay Ras El Hekma

The Jumeirah Real Estate Investment company officially launched the Jumeirah Bay Ras El Hekma project in partnership with Sakan for Real Estate Development, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The project has an estimated cost of EGP 15 bn and covers an area of 6 mn sqm, said Jumeirah Chairman Sami Abdel Rehim.


Rashed aims to increase Chinese tourist arrivals to 200k in 2016

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed aims to increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting Egypt to 200k in 2016, Al Shorouk reported. Rashed is already in talks with carriers operating flights between Egypt and China to double their capacities. Some 115k Chinese tourists visited Egypt last year.

Government plans to restructure Supreme Council of Tourism

The government has plans to restructure the Supreme Council of Tourism with the aim of making it more effective in bolstering the industry, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said, following a meeting with the Tourism Commission, Daily News Egypt reported. The private sector was invited to formulate an execution plan for a “big” promotional campaign aimed at promoting beach, historical, safari, and medical forms of tourism.

Five natural protectorates to be opened up to investment in 3Q2016

The Environment Ministry is planning to issue tenders to develop five natural protectorates by the end of 3Q16, Al Borsa reported. The protectorates include Wadi Hankorab, Wadi El Gemal, Wadi El Hitan, and Qaroun Lake, sources revealed. Strict environmental guidelines for hotels and resorts that will be built in or around the protectorates have been put in place, the source added. The Finance Ministry is currently reviewing the pricing, terms and conditions of the tender as set up by the Environment Ministry.

Antiquities Ministry in talks for USD 482 mn additional loan for Grand Egyptian Museum

The Ministry of Antiquities is negotiating final terms and conditions for a USD 482 mn loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to complete the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum, said Tarek Tawfik, the general supervisor of the project, Al Borsa reported on Wednesday. JICA had previously provided USD 400 mn in funding on preferential terms, but the project is running late and has overrun its budget. The museum, now being built at a cost of USD 1 bn, is to be opened to the public next year. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi approved taking a new loan from JICA during his visit to Japan last March.

Automotive + Transportation

DP World Sokhna adopts new SOLAS regulations

DP World Sokhna has adopted the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulation as part of its strategy to become a one-stop-shop for maritime transport, the company said in a statement. As of 1 July 2016, all shippers are required to verify the gross mass of containers before they are shipped and ocean carriers and terminals will not allow any cargo at sea without first having verified gross mass from the shipper.

EgyptAir signs TrueChoice agreement for overhaul consulting with General Electric

EgyptAir signed a TrueChoice Materials agreement with General Electric (GE) for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) consulting services for the CFM56-7B engine, Arabian Aerospace reported. The comprehensive agreement covers technical support and consulting for MRO operations, facility readiness, tooling optimisation and other necessary services required to achieve facility certification.

Banking + Finance

QNB Al Ahli net profits grow 38.4% Y-o-Y to EGP 2 bn in 1H16

Egypt-based QNB Al Ahli’s net profits grew 38.4% year-on-year to around EGP 2.0 bn in 1H16, up from EGP 1.4 bn in 1H15, according to an EGX notice. QNB Egypt’s loan portfolio grew to EGP 65.5 bn in 1H16, up from EGP 60.5 bn in 1H15, Al Borsa reports. QNB Group posted a 1H2016 net profit of QAR 6.2 bn in an earnings release (pdf) to the Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Four banks study EGP 700 mn loan for real estate project

The executive boards of four banks are studying an EGP 700 mn loan to finance a real estate project in a new city, a senior official tells Amwal Al Ghad. The banks involved are NBE, Audi Bank Egypt, Ahli United Bank, and the Egyptian Gulf Bank, the source added. NBE is set to provide 58% of the funding, with the remainder split evenly between the banks. The loan will be repaid over a period of nine years, including a three-year grace period. The real estate project was not disclosed.

Social Fund for Development signs EGP 100 mn agreement with SAIB

The Social Fund for Development (SFD) has signed an EGP 100 mn agreement with Societe Arabe Internationale de Banque (SAIB) to refinance micro enterprise projects, Al Masry Al Youm reported. The agreement is part of the SFD initiative to target micro enterprises through NGOs and micro financing companies.

Other Business News of Note

ONTV and Al-Nahar fight over rights to air Egypt Cup football matches

ONTV ‘is leaning toward’ taking legal action against Al-Nahar satellite television after the latter aired two Egypt Cup football matches on Tuesday from Nile Sports, which ONTV claims is a violation of its licensing agreement with Teleserve, ONTV director Amr Rezk told Al Mal. Teleserve, which owns the broadcasting rights for Egypt Cup matches, terminated its contract with Al-Nahar, alleging Al-Nahar was in breach. Teleserve then sold rights to air the remaining matches to Presentation Sports, which then sold them to ONTV (both of which were recently acquired by Ahmed Abou Hashima) and Al-Hayat. Teleserve is also filing a claim against Al-Nahar, with a court hearing set for 31 July.

Egypt Politics + Economics

No pleasing bureaucrats on the Civil Service Act

The Ismail government once again faces the spectre of mass demonstrations against the Civil Service Act has as a number of bureaucrat unions and labor organizations threatened to picket parliament if the House of Representatives passes the legislation in its current form. This comes despite the House Manpower Committee scoring a victory for the nation’s bureaucrats in getting annual raise rates increased to 7% from 5%. Fatma Fouad, head of an independent union for tax authority workers, tells Al Shorouk that this change is not enough. She added that the union plans to meet with the deputy chairman of the Manpower Committee to relay their grievances with the legislation. The union also plans to meet with the Planning and Budget Committee to push for exempting Tax Authority workers from the Act. Mass protests and sit-ins by bureaucrats last summer made the legislation a pariah in the eyes of MPs who shot down the act when it was first introduced in January.

On Your Way Out

AccorHotels announced it finalised the acquisition of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) for USD 2.7 bn. “The acquisition of privately owned FRHI, which has more than 155 properties around the world, was approved by Accor shareholders in a special meeting held at Accor’s Paris headquarters and the deal consists of payment in both [USD 840 mn] in cash and 46.7 [mn] shares of Accor, totaling nearly [USD 3 bn],” Deanna Ting wrote for Skift.

State authorities are apparently “following up” on the augmented reality app Pokémon Go, according to Cabinet’s spokesperson Hossam Al Qawish, adding that the government is in the midst of developing mechanisms to reduce the risk of online games, AMAY reported on Wednesday. This is reminiscent of a fatwa by a cleric banning the game as it is “un-islamic” back in 2001, during the Pokémon’s first heydays.

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Tuesday, 28 June): 8.78 (unchanged since Wednesday, 16 March)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 13 July): 11.30-11.40 (against 11.42-11.50 on Tuesday, 12 July)

EGX30 (Wednesday): 7,559.87 (+1.37%)
Turnover: EGP 653.5 mn (50% above the 90-day average
EGX 30 year-to-date: +7.91%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The benchmark EGX30 climbed 1.37% yesterday SODIC (+5.7%) and Heliopolis Housing (+4.7%) led the continued winning streak. The EGX30’s largest constituent, CIB, climbed a more modest 0.5%. With market turnover at EGP 653.5 mn, regional in­vestors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -17.8 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +33.7 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -15.9 mn

Retail: 61.9% of total trades | 62.0% of buyers | 61.9% of sellers
Institutions: 38.1% of total trades | 38.0% of buyers | 38.1% of sellers

Foreign: 14.4% of total | 13.0% of buyers | 15.7% of sellers
Regional: 10.5% of total | 13.1% of buyers | 7.9% of sellers
Domestic: 75.1% of total | 73.9% of buyers | 76.4% of sellers

WTI: USD 45.18 (+0.96%)
Brent: USD 46.66 (+0.86%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.76 MMBtu, (+0.73%, Aug 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,346.70 / troy ounce (+0.23%)

TASI: 6,691.2 (+1.0%) (YTD: -3.2%)
ADX: 4,574.1 (+0.7%) (YTD: +6.2%)
DFM: 3,483.9 (+1.4%) (YTD: +10.6%)
KSE Weighted Index: 348.6 (-0.1%) (YTD: -8.7%)
QE: 10,319.7 (+1.8%) (YTD: -1.1%)
MSM: 5,915.5 (+1.1%) (YTD: +9.4%)
BB: 1,174.4 (+0.7%) (YTD: -3.4%)

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12-15 July (Tuesday-Friday): House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal in Moscow for high-level talks.

17 July (Sunday): House of Representatives committee investigating allegations of fraud in the wheat harvest is due to table its report.

21 July (Thursday): Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is due in Washington for a ministerial meeting of the anti-Daesh coalition.

23 July (Saturday): Revolution Day, marking the 1952 Revolution. We’re expecting that Sunday will not be a national holiday despite the statutory day falling on the private-sector weekend.

28 July (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

28 July (Thursday): Ruling expected on charges of disseminating false news against former Central Auditing Organization head Hisham Genena.

07 August (Sunday): Deadline for mobile operators to submit applications for 4G licences

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

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

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

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

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.

11-12 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Global Islamic Economy Summit, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai.

17 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

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 December (Sunday): Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (national holiday; date to be confirmed).

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

29 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to review rates.

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