Sunday, 23 October 2016

Price controls ready to roll. Plus: US trade delegation arrives today


What We’re Tracking Today

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The state’s rumblings about price controls will be the story of the day today, judging by the howls of agony emanating from the private sector over the weekend. Look for the issue to factor significantly in what we understand will be a sit-down tonight between Lamees El Hadidy and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. (And yes, Last Night’s Talk Shows will be back tomorrow morning with a recap. The staffer responsible has already been handed his sentence.)

Egypt is getting love from its friends this week. Some 125 executives and business leaders from 54 American companies are in Egypt this morning through Wednesday as part of a delegation organized by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. Among those in town: Apache, Bechtel, PepsiCo, Pfizer, the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation, CompTIA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Institute for International Education. Also joining: David Thorne, senior advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry as well as reps from the US Trade Development Agency.

Members are expected to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and members of cabinet, among others. The delegation arrives just days after the US Treasury signalled it was working with the G7 countries to make sure we close USD 6 bn in third-party financing to unlock the IMF facility.

Also in town this week: A senior delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which as we noted on Thursday arrives tomorrow for a visit stretching through week’s end. The delegation is here to “explore new opportunities … to intensify its activities here,” according to an emailed statement. Look for the Suez Canal Zone project to feature heavily on the agenda.

This is why you couldn’t access Twitter / Youtube / Gmail / the New York Times / Reddit / Netflix yesterday: An unprecedented attack on part of the infrastructure that runs the internet blocked access to popular websites in the US and parts of Canada yesterday. The bot-driven DDOS attack used hacked surveillance cameras and DVRs. Krebs on Security has the best explainer we’ve seen; the WSJ says the attack has now ended. We have no idea whether there’s any relationship between the US attacks and an hourlong internet outage in Cairo late yesterday morning that affected (at least) Orange ADSL, TE Data ADSL and Vodafone Egypt mobile internet in Maadi, Mohandiseen and Zamalek.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is “far ahead” in likely Electoral College votes, Reuters says, suggesting that its latest “States of the Nation” poll gives her a “commanding lead.” The poll gives Clinton a “better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump.” Americans go to the polls on Tuesday, 8 November 2016.

Otherwise, look for a business-y week ahead, with 3Q earnings season in Egypt quietly gaining steam, hundreds of US companies set to announce results (including Apple, which is also expected to announce new Macs on Thursday), and both the US and UK to announce GDP figures on Friday. Most stories we’ve read agree US growth figures should show an acceleration to something on the order of 2.5% for 3Q, while the UK should slow to 0.3%.

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What We’re Tracking This Week

USD 900 mn in FiT phase-one contracts this week: The Electricity Ministry will sign offtake agreements with 12 solar power firms under the first phase of FiT projects this week; deadline for financial close on the projects is Friday, 26 October, Al Mal reports. The projects include nine in Benban as well as three split between Zaafarana and the West Nile, each with a capacity of 50 MW and a total investment cost of USD 900 mn. Among the highlights for far, according to Al Mal and Al Borsa:

  • Elf Energy signed a power purchase agreement with the Egyptian Company for Electricity Transmission;
  • Infinity Solar signed an agreement contingent on reaching financial close by Thursday;
  • Solaris Egypt reached financial close on its Soltag project

Twelve solar firms including Scatec Solar, Wadi Degla, FAS Energy, Al Fanar, Alfa Energy, KarmSolar and Dhamma Energy have reportedly asked to sign offtake agreements under phase one. Also over the weekend: New and Renewable Energy Authority chairman Mohamed El-Sobky said the government is looking to raise USD 6 bn in investments from phase two of the FiT.

Cairo is this year’s “Iconic City” at Dubai Design week, opening tomorrow in Dubai, Ahram Online reports.

Speed Round

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GOVERNMENT EXPLORING PRICE CAPS on basic commodities. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered a committee be formed to set mandatory maximum profit margins on the sale of basic commodities. The committee was created at a closed-door meeting on 9 October. The decision to cap margins on commodities is “ready for implementation if the private sector does not respond to calls to control prices,” unnamed government sources told Al Shorouk. This not-so-veiled threat appears to belie assurances by Ismail last week that the government was not going to set prices for the goods, the newspaper reported. Cabinet spokesperson Hossam Qawish had alluded to the caps in a call-in to Lamees El Hadidy’s Hona El Assema last week.

Naturally, the private sector is in an uproar, with members of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI). including board member Ahmed Mashhour and Juhayna Chairman Safwan Thabet, calling it at best a rejection of free market principles and, at worst, illegal. Importers and manufacturers alike are growling about the return of 1960s economic policies, Al Mal says, and the FEI is set to hold a meeting today to discuss the situation.

Traders claim they welcome the move, saying this way they can’t be blamed for spiraling prices amid a government crackdown on price gouging that was the subject of a sit-own between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer. The two were joined by the ministers of finance, supply, defense, the interior and foreign affairs, El Watan reports. Amer’s presence at the meeting suggests that the move to curb inflation is being considered along with a possible devaluation. The group also discussed ramping up security in the wake of the assassination of a senior army commander yesterday.

Naguib Sawiris took the time to pen a scathing op-ed on the move, calling it proof the government fails to understand either economics or the free market. He starts off by giving a lesson on supply and demand and how the subsidies system is the real culprit in the nation’s present economic state. The government, he said, is sending mixed signals, proclaiming to be a proponent of free markets, then wanting to police it.

The first USD 2.5 bn payment of the USD 12 bn International Monetary Fund facility is arriving in 15 days, an unnamed senior official told Al Masry Al Youm on Thursday, saying we have secured the USD 6 bn in third-party funding we needed. Who was it that saved our skins in the ninth hour? China. Senior government officials and the central bank reached an agreement with the Chinese on a loan last week. As for Saudi Arabia, it had apparently already deposited the USD 2 bn in IMF-required additional funding, the source said. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had said last Tuesday that we only had 60% of the third-party funding. The first payment expected will be part of the USD 4 bn first tranche. The second and third tranches will be paid out in the next three years if the government continues to meet IMF terms for the loan.

New impetus for two-phase devaluation? The third party funding and the requirement that mobile network operators pay part of their license fees in USD has given new impetus to devaluation, said the source. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail was locked in meetings Tarek Amer last week, with the two having agreed there will be no full float, but a two-stage devaluation starting with a 20% easing after the first funds arrive.

An announcement on the reduction of subsidies is expected to come soon, said the source, who added that the decision to form a committee to set profit margins on basic goods is part of that process.

The Ismail cabinet also approved on Thursday measures to reduce government spending which include slashing non-salary expenses by government bodies by as much as 15-20% and downsizing Egypt’s diplomatic missions abroad by as much as 50%. The measures were recommended by the cabinet’s economic group last Wednesday. The cabinet also reportedly discussed the first draft of the new Investment Law.

Speaking of the investment law, all drafts of the proposed Investment Law floating out there in Medialand are wrong, said Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid, according to Al Borsa. The first draft, whose key features Al Mal had been peddling last week, is currently undergoing rewrites after consulting with various government bodies including the Justice Ministry, said Khorshid. Once that is completed, the draft law will be put up for “a national dialogue” — government-speak for consultations with the civil and business organizations for their input, Al Shorouk reports. The ministry is also coordinating with Justice on a series of amendments to the capital markets, bankruptcy laws and companies acts, she added.

AfDB commits USD 20 mn to EFG Hermes’ USD 200 mn Rx Healthcare Fund: The African Development Bank has committed to investing USD 20 mn a healthcare fund managed by EFG Hermes, the institution said in a statement issued on Friday. The fund will invest in healthcare businesses in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in its first deployment of capital and will look at opportunities in “Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Sudan with substantial transfer of lessons learnt and latest healthcare technology.” AfDB will take a seat on the advisory board to the fund, which has a fundraising target of USD 200 mn from which it is aiming to secure pledges from both institutional investors and development finance institutions. The fund is led by former Health Minister and ex-Dar El Fouad chief Hatem El Gabaly.

A Flat6Labs fund has received a USD 1 mn investment from IFC’s USD 30 mn Startup Catalyst Initiative, TechCrunch reports. The funding will allow Flat6 to “close an EGP 50 mn fund to accelerate more than 100 Egyptian startups over the next five years,” Flat6Labs CEO Ramez Mohamed is quoted as saying. The IFC program is looking to make 15-20 accelerator and seed fund investments over the next 18 months in “medium-sized” markets including Egypt, Argentina, Nigeria, Mexico and Ukraine.

Speaking of FDI: Egypt was Africa’s number-one destination for foreign direct investment last year, according to the Africa Investment Report 2016(pdf, no paywall) released last week by the Financial Times’ This is Africa / fDi Intelligence. Among the takeaways from the graphic-heavy report: Egypt was the continent’s top destination for FDI again in 2015 with USD 14.5 bn in announced projects, but mirroring the trend across the continent, that figure is down 19% year-on-year. Nigeria was second with USD 8.6 bn in pledged investment, followed by Mozambique at USD 5.1 bn. Egypt was fourth by “number of projects announced.” The coal, oil and natural gas sectors were, collectively, the top sector for capital investment last year, the study found, accounting for 24% or USD 15.7 bn of FDI in Africa.

Mitsubishi UFJ could add staff in Cairo as part of a push into Africa, Bloomberg reports. The financial group is said to be considering adding staff to its offices in Egypt and South Africa and could open outposts in Morocco and Kenya “as Japanese companies seek natural resource and infrastructure-related opportunities on the continent,” Bloomberg says, citing an unnamed source. Mitsubishi is looking to capture some of the USD 30 bn that Japan plans to invest in Africa over the coming three years, USD 10 bn of which will be in basic infrastructure.

Car dealers, assemblers meet as price-fixing probe continues: An association of automobile dealers will meet today with domestic assemblers to discuss rising car prices, Al Borsa. Dealers are apparently outraged they are being blamed for the price hikes, while assemblers have also been raising prices, in part as a result of the FX crunch. The meeting is being called amid a probe by the Egyptian Competition Authority into alleged price-fixing in the industry.

EGP up on parallel market: The EGP strengthened slightly against the USD on the parallel market on Saturday, with greenbacks changing hands at EGP 15.40 per USD 1.00, according to Al Borsa, after weakening to 15.60 on Thursday. Traders speaking to Al Mal on Wednesday said they were selling USD at 15.25-15.50.

** EARNINGS WATCH: Juhayna reported a 34% drop in net income to EGP 58.2 mn for the three months ending 30 September as the company held back from passing on the full impact of price rises to a sensitive consumer market. Sales rose almost 11% to just under EGP 1.3 bn in the same period. “Sales increased in light of unusual conditions, and this is good. But the increase in cost was not fully passed on to the consumer. We are increasing prices only slightly in order to maintain our customers,” Juhayna Chairman Safwan Thabet told Reuters. The company aims to curb imported production inputs, bringing them to 50% within a year’s time from 60% today. Juhayna is among the earliest filers of earnings results each quarter; look for the pace of disclosures to pick up starting next week.

Finance Ministry looking to settle 160K tax cases could delay VAT regs: You may be waiting a while for the executive regulations for the value-added tax: The Finance Ministry wants to settle 160k tax disputes before issuing the regs, said Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer, according to state-owned Egynews. Many of these cases are related to sales tax disputes, which now fall under the purview of the VAT, and should be resolved before the executive regulations are written, said El Monayer. Tax settlement committees have been formed and given three months to present a report to the ministry, he added.

Beyond this possible delay, important features of the regs have yet to be decided on, the most prominent of which is whether private medical practices will be subject to a VAT, an advisor to the ministry said last week. The report comes despite Tax Authority chief Abdel Moneim Mattar saying earlier this month that private medical practices would be VAT-exempt as they fall under the healthcare services. Pharmacists will be subject to the VAT, however, after the Tax Authority ruled against a request by the Pharmacist Syndicate to be counted as a healthcare service, said El Monayer on Thursday, according to Al Borsa. Pharmacists will be taxed the 13% baseline rate and not the 10% afforded to lawyers and accountants. Pharmacies making revenues of less than EGP 500K will be exempt from the VAT, unlike lawyers and accountants who do not have a minimum revenue threshold to register, he added.

Loans from parent companies to subsidiaries will also be subject to the tax, despite having been exempted from the sales tax previously, said Saddik, Al Mal reports.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s approval ratings have apparently dropped to 68%, according to the latest poll by the Egyptian Center For Public Opinion Research (Baseera). The ratings fell sharply from 82% two months ago. The survey shows the President’s popularity stronger among Egyptians over 50 than under 30.

Senior army commander assassinated outside Obour City home: Brig.-Gen Adel Rajaaie, who commanded an armored division in Sinai, was assassinated yesterday moments after leaving his home in Qaloubiya governorate’s Obour City for work, his wife told Reuters yesterday. “She said neighbours told her the assailants had automatic weapons and fled in a car,” Reuters reports, adding that Louwaa el Thawra (the “Revolution Brigade”) had claimed responsibility on a since-suspended Twitter account. A military funeral was held on Saturday, according to AMAY.

Court confirms 20-year sentence for Morsi: The Court of Cassation confirmed yesterday a 20-year sentence against Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi, Reuters reports. Twenty-year sentences were also confirmed for leading Ikhwan figures Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy. All three men were convicted in connection with the killing of protesters during protests at Ittihadiya in December 2012. The newswire says, “It is the first of Mursi’s four convictions to reach the end of the judicial process, and he cannot appeal further against it.” Ahram Online has more.

This is why we randomly punch a simple statement into our search bar: “I’m just an analyst researching a story, I promise.” A US government initiative “spent USD 15k on a pilot four-week Facebook ad campaign that targeted 13-to-34-year-old unmarried men and women in Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia who expressed an interest in Iraq, Syria or Islamic State-related topics, as indicated by their Facebook activity. Facebook didn’t individually identify the people,” the Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports. A wider trial run will soon roll out targeting 12 countries, including Egypt, Indonesia and France.


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The Global Picture

Bond markets across MENA are “stirring” in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s record USD 17.5 bn issue, Bloomberg reports. The knock-on effects of the offering on KSA and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council countries could be substantial, says Franklin Templeton’s Mohieddine Kronfol: “The new bonds will "help develop the kingdom’s debt markets by introducing a more sophisticated type of investor. There are also positive ripple effects for GCC fixed income as well as more global investors take a closer and longer-term look at the region." Here’s hoping our eurobond will be as successful.

Any chance we might get a bargain on some Russian wheat? The best Russian wheat crop since the fall of the Berlin Wall has “sent prices tumbling,” but exports haven’t grown as the resurgent ruble has made sales less competitive, Bloomberg reports.

MegaMerger: AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to a USD 85.4 bn merger that would create the world’s largest media company. The WSJ broke the story. See also coverage from the NYT, CNN Money and Reuters, depending on your preferences and subscriptions.

Egypt in the News

It was a reasonably quiet weekend for Egypt in the international press until Saturday afternoon. Shattering the calm: The assassination of an army general outside his Cairo-area home and a court ruling upholding a 20-year prison term for former president Mohamed Morsi and two senior Ikhwan officials. (We’re linking to Al-Jazeera on the assassination story just to give you a sense of their verbiage, which hasn’t changed: The daeshbags in Sinai are “fighters” and Liwa Al-Thawra an “armed group.”)

Debunking myths about Ikhwan and 25Jan: Perhaps most interesting this weekend was a book review, as Oren Kesseler (Twitter) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies gives a rave review to Eric Trager’s (Twitter) book Arab Fall, writing for the Wall Street Journal that the “definitive history” of the rise and fall of the Ikhwan “upends the conventional wisdom” that the Ikhwan hijacked the 2011 revolution. “It didn’t hijack anything: The Brotherhood was, in fact, the only movement in Egypt organized and disciplined enough to challenge the old regime at the ballots. Finally, he suggests, the military’s move against Mr. Morsi was not the inevitable result of its determination to deny the Brothers their place in the political power structure. Instead, it was the Brotherhood’s own lack of vision and incompetence that drew Egypt’s largest-ever crowds to the streets demanding redress.”

Is Iran a friend-in-the-making? Also worth a read: The Guardian suggests Tehran lobbied for Egypt to attend the Lausanne talks on Syria, prompting Sadegh Ghorbani, a journalist at Iranian state newspaper Fars, to tweet that it is “interesting how Sisi’s Egypt [is] gradually shifting from US-Saudi axis towards Russia-Iran. Tehran-Cairo relations revival maybe q[uestion] of when not if.” It’s a question raised here at home by El Watan columnist Yasser Abdel Aziz, who suggests we could be drawing closer to Iran and away from the GCC.

Direct flights to Luxor from Heathrow are back, and Ruth Michaelson writing for The Guardian thinks this could be good news for Egyptian tourism. Her piece is solid look at the state of the industry, with a deep dive into Luxor and then spotlights on Cairo, Sharm El Sheikh, and the Red Sea, all from the UK traveler’s point of view.

Elsewhere, Diaa Hadid and Nour Youssef have filed “Sweet-Toothed Egypt Endures a Sugar Crisis: ‘People Are Going to Snap’” for the New York Times, while the Associated Press is getting solid pickup for its “Egypt’s fight against Islamic militancy makes enemies” and Architecture Digest has a (very brief) brief about Chinese support for the New Administrative Capital.

Also making international headlines over the weekend:

  • Offices of a rights group associated with the Egyptian lawyers for the family of murdered Oxford graduate student Giulio Regeni have been raided by authorities, Ruth Michaelson reports for The Guardian.
  • Child marriage — or, more accurately, forcing underage children to become engaged — is the subject of a piece in the Washington Post by Heba Mahfouz. (Closer to home: Two government committees are drafting new legislation to clamp-down on underage marriage and to keep kids in school, Al Masry Al Youm reports.)
  • Also in the Washington Post: “A tuk-tuk driver’s viral video said what many Egyptians can’t. Then his video disappeared.” You can hear in almost every sentence the author’s longing for another #25Jan.

Worth Reading

We have two stories worth reading for your this morning, depending on your mood.

Option #1 — Don’t Dress Your Age: “So what does it actually mean to dress like an ‘old lady’? Or even just ‘dress your age’? Women are more often criticized for dressing like younger, not older, versions of themselves. When you reach 40, you’re suddenly inundated with advice about ‘age-appropriate’ wear. … I have long savored the prospect of letting myself go. One day, I have imagined, I would find myself wandering along the street, hair askew, unkempt but cheerful, wearing a curious assortment of clothes — perhaps a vintage frock with dapper heels — that meet just my liking.” (New York Times)

Option #2 — The USD 108 bn Man Who Has Beaten the Market: “Even in the era of index funds, humans have fundamental investing advantages that no machine will ever replace. So says Will Danoff, manager of Fidelity Investments’ USD 108 bn Contrafund, the biggest actively managed stock or bond mutual fund run by one person.” His secret: He meets four or five company managers a day, every day. (Wall Street Journal)

Worth Watching

One small tumble for the auto industry, one giant dive down a deep crevice to hell for the aerospace industry: We bring you the launch of what is being called the first “air tuk tuk” (runtime: 1:33) in Dakahlia Governorate, because it wasn’t bad enough we had them on planet earth. Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t take off

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The UN’s refugee chief used a visit to Cairo to beat the drum for the rest of this year’s budget, noting that some 70,000 registered African migrants in Egypt waiting for refugee status determination pose a risk: “Resources to support them here are scarce and some of them have started to try to cross the Mediterranean to go to Europe,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement released on Thursday. The statement says there are 190,000 officially registered refugees in Egypt, most of them Syrian, but that “the numbers arriving from African countries have spiked to almost 12,500 in the first nine months of 2016.” UNHCR needs funding: “Of the USD 20 mn budget needed in 2016 to help these people in need, UNHCR has so far only received a quarter.”
Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry denied a rift with Riyadh, Al Masry Al Youm reported, saying the “special relationship” remains unchanged. His statements come as Egypt, New Zealand and Spain are reportedly preparing a draft UN resolution on Syria to be presented to the Security Council. President Abdelfattah El Sisi met yesterday with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, according to a statement from Ittihadiya.

House speaker Ali Abdel Al is heading a delegation of MPs to attend the 135th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva running today through Thursday, Al Mal reported.


Subsea 7 lands Atoll contract offshore Egypt

Subsea construction firm Subsea 7 have been awarded a “substantial contract” by the Pharaonic Petroleum Company for pipelines and structures at the Atoll field, Offshore Energy reports. The value of the contract was not revealed, but the company defines a substantial contract as ranging between USD 150-300 mn, the publication concludes. The project includes the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of more than 40 kms of rigid pipelines and associated structures for the new Atoll field, in addition to a 105 kilometer umbilical.

Oil minister in Cyprus for talks on natural gas

Oil minister Tarek El Molla traveled to Cyprus in part to follow up on August’s preliminary agreement to ship natural gas from Cyprus to Egypt via pipeline once production begins, Ahram Gate reported.

Oil ministry buys eight diesel shipments to be received in November

The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation contracted four companies for eight shipments of diesel to be received next month, traders told newswires, Al Mal reported. Details in the link.


UK provided Egypt with maps for land mines for removal in North coast

The UK has turned over to Egypt maps for locations of Second World War landmines on the Northwestern Coast, ambassador John Casson said, in a newswire piece picked up by Al Mal. The UK has paid USD 10 mn for landmines removal over 10 years, he said. 40% of landmines present on the coast have been removed, said International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Eastern tobacco to begin planting tobacco in Egypt next year

Eastern Company will begin planting tobacco in Egypt during 2017 under supervision of the armed forces, a move which would save it tobacco import costs, Al Borsa reports.

GASC receives five bids on wheat tender

GASC received five bids on an international wheat purchase tender for 21-30 November shipment, traders told Reuters. That’s well below the average of 15 bids Egypt received on a typical shipment before the recent ergot flap. Meanwhile, GASC may tap global markets including India for as much as 500k tonnes of rice Ahram Gate reports.

Health + Education

Health Ministry delays reopening of United Pharma factory

The Health Ministry has delayed the reopening of United Pharma’s IV solutions factory until it is confirmed that it completely disposed of the bad batches that led the government to shut it down last year, Al Borsa reports. The company, which is said to have had a 60% market share, was due to reopen in September.


Thomas Cook resumes direct flights to Sharm in November; Air Cairo adds flights from Austria, Norway to Sharm

The tourism ministry agreed with Thomas Cook to resume flights from the UK to Sharm El Sheikh beginning in November, Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said, following meetings with UK officials in Sharm. The company will operate 34 flights to Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor and Hurghada. Meanwhile, Air Cairo will add two extra weekly flights from Austria to Sharm El Sheikh as of 21 October, as well as one additional weekly flight from Oslo to Sharm El Sheikh starting 30 October.

Automotive + Transportation

Beyond Uber and Careem: Cairo’s transport apps market operates buses and boats

The ride-hailing and transport appspace is booming — in fact, dominant players Uber and Careem face competition on land and on water. Nile Taxi will launch as an app in 2017, Al Borsa reports. Meanwhile, an e-commerce solutions company e Smart Press is working on agreements with car and bus rental services to launch the Kalax app, the newspaper reports. The company is so ambitious it is trying to include not only taxis (which recently launched their own app) but, yes, tuk tuks. You heard right, there will be an app for tuk tuks. It’s one of those few moments where the we hope “the coming period” means the coming few decades. River taxi company Cairo Nile Shuttle is investing EGP 100 mn towards a first phase of expansions, according to Al Borsa.

Cairo Metro ticket price hikes delayed, in an unsurprising move

No decision will be made on Cairo Metro ticket prices before early 2017, according to Transport Ministry sources speaking to Al Shorouk, who said Cabinet is dithering on the unpopular decision.

Banking + Finance

NBE, QNB issue EGP 300 mn letters of guarantee for El Sewedy Cement

NBE and Qatar National Bank have each issued an EGP 150 mn letter of guarantee to El Sewedy Cement as part of its bid for two cement licenses, an unnamed source told Al Mal. The letters of guarantee are in effect until the first week of January, the source said.

Trading on Beltone stocks canceled – again

The Egyptian Exchange stopped trading of Beltone stocks once again on Thursday, Al Mal reported. The trading had suspended earlier last week after questions about an independent financial advisor’s FV report.

HC Securities AUM reach EGP 4 bn

HC Securities has grown its assets under management to EGP 4 bn this year and is planning on growing that by 10% in 2017, said its head of AUM Omar Radwan in a talk with Al Borsa.

Legislation + Policy

Cabinet approves National Authority for Tunnels amended law

The National Authority for Tunnels will be allowed to use its stations to engage in for-profit commercial activity if proposed amendments to the National Authority for Tunnels act pass, Al Mal quotes the Transport Minister as saying. Meanwhile, the company operating the Cairo Metro will be moved from underneath ownership of the Egyptian Railway Authority to the National Authority for Tunnels.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Cabinet allows tasking by direct order between Military Production and Electricity ministries, approves NGO law

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has approved a decision allowing the ministries of military production and electricity to award each other projects by direct order, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The move comes as part of strategy to manufacture domestically and curb costs. Additionally, the Cabinet approved the NGO Law and has passed it on to the House of Representatives, Amwal Al Ghad reported.


ON Sports signs agreement to broadcast Chelsea games

Ahmed Abou Hashima’s Egyptian Media has signed a three-year agreement with Chelsea F.C. to air its games on ON Sport, Al Mal reports. The club’s matches in the English FA Cup, Premier League, and UEFA Champions league will be covered under the agreement.

On Your Way Out

Whacky story of the morning: Poland’s defense minister claims that “good sources” have told him Egypt has sold its two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia for USD 1, the Associated Press reports. (Yes, one USD, no trailing zeroes.) A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assertion “complete nonsense” and a spokesman for Russia’s defense ministry termed it “silliness” and “self-promotion.” We’re tempted to side with the Russkies on this one…

The markets yesterday

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USD CBE auction (Thursday, 20 Oct): 8.78 (unchanged since 16 March 2016)
USD parallel market (Thursday, 20 Oct): 15.40 (from 15.50 on Wednesday morning, 19 Oct, Al Borsa)

EGX30 (Thursday): 8277.21 (+1.43%)
Turnover: EGP 664.08 mn (53% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +18.14%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: EGX30 closed 1.4% up, with heavyweight constituents supporting the index. Today’s top performers were Porto Group, Heliopolis Housing, and Orascom Construction. On the flip side, today’s worst performers were Qalaa Holdings, Elsewedy Electric, and Domty. At a market turnover of EGP 664.1 mn, foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP – 67.2 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP + 41.2 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP + 26.0 mn

Retail: 56.3% of total trades | 54.6% of buyers | 58.0% of sellers
Institutions: 43.7% of total trades | 45.4% of buyers | 42.0% of sellers

Foreign: 24.2% of total | 19.2% of buyers | 29.3% of sellers
Regional: 7.3% of total | 10.4% of buyers | 4.2% of sellers
Domestic: 68.5% of total | 70.4% of buyers | 66.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 50.85 (+0.43%)
Brent: USD 51.78 (+0.78%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.96 MMBtu, (-1.07%, November 2016 contract)
Gold: USD 1,267.70 / troy ounce (+0.02%)

TASI: 5,651.8 (+2.3%) (YTD: -18.2%)
ADX: 4,294.5 (-0.3%) (YTD: -0.3%)
DFM: 3,340.5 (+0.6%) (YTD: +6.0%)
KSE Weighted Index: 346.1 (+0.4%) (YTD: -9.3%)
QE: 10,438.5 (-0.1%) (YTD: +0.1%)
MSM: 5,562.3 (-0.5%) (YTD: +2.9%)
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24 October (Monday): EBRD executive meeting in Egypt on sustainable development strategy.

24-29 October (Monday-Saturday): The 2016 Dubai Design Week Iconic City exhibition Cairo NOW City Incomplete, Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai

26-27 October (Wednesday-Thursday): The Marketing Kingdom Cairo 2 event, Cairo.

30 October (Sunday): El Mal GTM’s Real Estate Debate Conference, Grand Nile Tower Hotel, Cairo

31 October (Monday): Deadline for Telecom Egypt to reach an agreement with MNOs over using their 2G and 3G network infrastructure

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

2-6 November (Wednesday-Sunday): Petroleum Housing Conference, Petrosport Club, New Cairo, Cairo

3 November (Thursday): The Emirates NBD PMI for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE compiled by Markit comes out here.

14-16 November (Monday-Wednesday): Bank of America Merrill Lynch MENA 2016 Conference, The Ritz Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, 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.

29-30 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Citi’s Global Consumer Conference, London, UK.

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

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

07-08 December: Citi’s 2016 Global Healthcare Conference, London, UK.

10-13 December (Saturday-Tuesday): Projex Africa and MS Marmomacc + Samoter Africa, 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.

13 December (Tuesday): Amwal Al Ghad’s top 50 most influential women in Egypt women forum, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

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

14-16 February 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egyptian Petroleum Show, Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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