Monday, 5 December 2016

Cheese maker Obourland goes to market with IPO

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s PMI day in Egypt, the UAE and KSA, with the gauge for each of the countries due out here sometime around 6:15am CLT. This is the first PMI to be released after the float of the EGP and will come after the November survey found that business confidence had slumped “at the strongest rate since July 2013,” when the survey took place in the run-up to the 30 June Revolution that removed the Islamists from power.

Tourism industry seeks shelter: Representatives of the long-suffering industry are expected to meet today with senior Finance Ministry and Tax Authority figures today to discuss debt rescheduling and the impact of the value-added tax on the sector. It’s just the latest reminder that the Russians aren’t back, even though we’re buying a nuclear reactor from them. (Then again, English tourists aren’t back, either, though we tolerate their embassy’s snideness.)

The euro has hit a 20-month low in Asian trading this morning on the back of the news that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was resigning after losing a referendum that opens the door to troubles at the third-largest bank in one of our most important trading partners.

We love year-end content, whether it’s lists or gift guides: Mohamed El Erian’s pick for best book of 2016 is a pleasant surprise, even though we suspect it would be something of a dull read. The FT and Bloomberg columnist (and author of The Only Game In Town, which looks at the role of central banks) is not only our favourite Egyptian living abroad, we’ll love him forever because the man stepped down from Pimco in part after he realized his relationship with his 10-year-old daughter had taken a back-seat to his relationship with his job. As he told the story back in 2014: “She went to her room and came back with a piece of paper. It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. Talk about a wake-up call. The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. And the school year wasn’t yet over.” El Erian’s pick is a book he wishes he “had had the opportunity to read … during my seven years as a chief executive” about gender equity in the workplace. Read more about his pick and others’ in the Financial Times’ epic “The best books of 2016” (paywall).

Be prepared to feel old when you register that it’s been 20 years to the day since then-US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan coined the term “irrational exuberance,” in which he suggested that asset prices might just be getting a bit frothy. He was a few years too early, but still… The Wall Street Journal has the story here, or you can go read the original speech in which he first used the term here.

If you, like us, have chafed at Evernote’s clunky mobile design, but loved its functionality, have heart: The new Evernote Beta for iOS is out, and it is brilliant — a complete redesign and re-think of the app. It’s version 8.0, and it you don’t want to run the risk of testing out the beta program, wait a few weeks and it should be in the App store. Want to try the beta? Sign up here.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The final draft of the investment act will be submitted to cabinet on 14 December, Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid told Hona Al Assema’s Lamees El Hadidy in a call-in last night. Speaking on the IPO of state-owned industries, Khorshid repeated that energy sector companies will be on offer first in 1Q17 and will include Alexandria Mineral Oils (AMOC) and ENPPI. She also repeated that the companies will list on international bourses including the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai, which raises significant questions about what the state has done to improve governance at both companies. She also stressed that progress is being made on the Supreme Investment Council’s list of investment incentives (watch, runtime: 11:01).

Chicken watchers, we hope you’re paying attention: The government will re-impose tariffs on poultry imports today, the Ismail cabinet’s spokesperson said (watch, runtime: 2:27).

Lamees then went into lecturing mode, telling the government that they need to speed up the launch of labor-intensive projects and reminding it that the country is still in the midst of a meds shortage (watch: runtime: 2:46). She discussed the prospects of the Health Ministry raising prices of a number of meds by 50% every six months and issued this retort to the minister: “I’m telling him the prices have already increased, if you don’t already know, that is” (watch, runtime: 2:26).

Investment policy was also on Amr Adib’s mind (we wonder if he copies her notes at home too). He praised the Supreme Investment Council for holding a second meeting (aka doing its job as mandated by the president). “Forget about taxes, tariffs and donations — attracting investments is the only way to develop this country,” Adib said (watch, runtime: 6:34).

Sherif Amer’s Yahduth fi Masr discussed the proposed Media Act with Al-Ahram Editor-in-Chief Abdel Hady Allam, who added that a cabinet shuffle is in the works. “President knows exactly which ministers have had disappointing runs and will remove them soon,” Allam said.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Eissa allocated his episode of Al Qahera Wel Nas to talk about Wahhabism and the role of Saudi Arabia in the region. “Saudi Arabia succeeded in invading Egypt mentally and economically … it is not strange that the most-watched satellite TV channels in the region are owned and funded by Saudi Arabia,” said the host (watch, runtime: 37:40).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Cheesemaker Obourland has cleared the last regulatory hurdle to its initial public offering after receiving approval from the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority on its fair value report on Sunday, according to a regulatory filing yesterday (Arabic, pdf). Obourland is offering 80 mn shares (or about 40% of the company) at a maximum of EGP 9.68 per share. Seventy percent of shares on offer are earmarked for an institutional offering, while the balance will be part of an offering to domestic retail investors. The filing, which does not specify the expected first day of trading, says the subscription period for the public offering of shares on the EGX kick-off will tomorrow (Tuesday, 6 December) and run until Tuesday, 13 December. Book building on the institutional offering will close on Sunday, 11 December.

Al Borsa said last month that trading would commence on Thursday 15 December. CI Capital is global coordinator and bookrunner, Matouk Bassiouny is legal counsel to the issuer, while Norton Rose Fulbright is international counsel. Grant Thornton prepared the FV report. The EGX’s website has all the regulatory filings (including the IPO announcement, the FV report, EFSA’s approval, and the report of the company’s independent auditor.)

EFSA has also approved the dual listing of Naeem Holding on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the company said in a statement. Naeem Holding can list no more than a third of their USD 198.7 mn in capital in Abu Dhabi, the EFSA approval says.

Naguib resigns as CEO of OTMT: Naguib Sawiris has resigned as chief executive of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) and has nominated his deputy Tamer El Mahdy to take over effective 1 January, according to a company statement (pdf). The release offers no explanation for the move, but OTMT Director of Investor Relations Director Marwan Hussein told Al Borsa that Sawiris doesn’t have the time he needs to dedicate to OTMT. Naguib “will not leave the company and will have a governance role in the coming period,” Hussein added.

Former EFG Hermes CFO Khaled Ellaicy is OTMT’s new chief financial officer, the statement adds. Ellaicy is also a former partner at KPMG and was previously with Zain and Mobinil.

In other company news, OTMT announced yesterday that it would be terminating activities at ORABANK, an “indirectly majority-owned” banking venture in North Korea, due to US-imposed sanctions. In a release to the bourse, OTMT said the winding down of ORABANK will not impact its operations or financial position.

Egypt’s construction sector is facing a cost crisis –MEED. The imposition of the value-added tax, cuts to fuel subsidies and the float of the EGP are “requiring the construction sector to change the way it prices and delivers projects,” MEED writes. While contractors on public works projects have been promised “some sort of compensation … in a replica[ation of] a similar arrangement in 2003,” the news isn’t as good for private-sector builders: “Large private developers are unlikely to renegotiate contracts with firms already working on Egypt’s many schemes. … The cost of construction also affects developers, who may be forced to change their development and financial models moving forward.” The story carries no interviews or data, but we’re treating it as a canary in a coal mine.

The executive regulations to the value-added tax act aren’t out yet, but you still need to remit taxes you collected in September and October, according Tax Authority chief Abdel Moneim Matter.Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer the government is late issuing the executive regulations because its clauses are being “continuously revised” to ensure they are comprehensive and all-inclusive, Al Mal reports. El Monayer added that the ministry has prepared an appendix to the regulations that breaks down VAT for unconventional or complex industries, including the manufacturing of automobiles, tobacco, and soft drinks; real estate development; gold crafting; and independent professional activities such as medicine and law.

Investment act up for review: The Ismail cabinet will review the final draft of the proposed Investment Act on 14 December after the bill is put up for national dialogue, Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid told the Supreme Investment Council during a meeting on Sunday, AMAY reports. The story is getting international coverage in Reuters. President Abdelfattah El Sisi also tasked the council with taking the necessary steps to launch the state’s IPO program as soon as possible.

How popular is the automotive directive within the auto industry? Not very, according to leading industry figures and lawmakers speaking on the legislation to Al Mal. The arguments against the act, which is currently being explored by the House of Representatives, ranged from the domestic components targets being unrealistic, to the law working in favor of the major assemblers at the expense of smaller industry players, to the virtues of the government subsidizing the auto industry after the policy having proven to be a failure of the past 30 years. Almost all appear to agree that more needs to be done to support the development of the auto components and feeder industries.

Importers of fully assembled automobiles don’t like the bill: All of a sudden, people who have never assembled in Egypt say the law would, if passed, make it certain the companies for whom they sell goods will never assemble here. The legislation will jeopardise our trade agreement with the EU, said Karim Naggar, the CEO of the Egyptian Automotive and Trading Company, which distributes imported Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in Egypt. Furthermore, European car companies, which have a vested interest in maintaining exports to Egypt, have expressed concern about the legislation, he added. The law has hindered negotiations with Volkswagen to assemble three models in Egypt, he says, and has also given Spanish automaker SEAT cold feet. The law will impact Ford’s decision to assemble in Egypt, said Tarek Abdul Latif, head of operations at Abdul Latif Jameel. Government sources tell Al Borsa that the tariffs on European cars will drop 70% starting from January, as per trade agreements that will see tariffs eliminated by 2019.

The nation’s two largest assemblers do: GB Auto Chairman Raouf Ghabbour and archrival General Motors have both spoken in favour of the act, as we noted last month. In other words: Support for the direct is split along importer vs. assembler lines. Shocking, we know.

In clearing the system of Kramers, the Ismail government claims to have busted c. 70,000 counterfeit smart cards used in the commodity subsidies program, government sources tell Al Borsa. The cards were allegedly used by government employees and distributors of Supply Ministry-provided goods, the source added. Data from the company making the smart cards was stolen by employees, who then produced the cards on a wide scale. The government has reportedly withheld tens of mns of EGP in payments owing to two card suppliers. Back in March, Reuters’ Eric Knecht — who broke the story of systemic fraud in the subsidy smart card system — had identified SMART, a private company operating in Cairo, as one of the main producers of ration cards. Knecht had correctly pointed to this little discussed element of the commodities subsidies system as one of the leading drain in the government’s subsidy budget. To give you a gauge: 70,000 smart cards would have provided families with EGP 1.4 mn worth of goods per day, representing north of EGP 500 mn state spending a year — and that’s not counting the bread points tacked onto the cards.

The World Bank’s board of directors will vote later this month on disbursing a second USD 1 bn tranche of an USD 3 bn facility. International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr says the 20 December vote was scheduled after the conclusion of talks on the second tranche, which we had reported last month would arrive in January. This comes as Egypt is set to receive in Marchsome USD 300 mn in grants pledged by the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, said the fund’s head, Abdel Wahab Badr. Nasr added that talks with Germany for a EUR 250 mn loan to support the economic reform program are ongoing.

Badr and Nasr’s statements come at the signing of three cooperation agreements between Egypt and the Kuwaiti Fund worth a combined EGP 2.5 bn, Ahram Gate reported. The funding is for a desalination plant, funding for water infrastructure and healthcare projects (some of which target Syrian refugee communities), and technical and financial studies for a 1 GW solar power plant and a solar panel manufacturing plant.

Credit Agricole Egypt reported a 30.1% y-o-y increase in net profit after tax for 9M2016, which closed the period at EGP 957.7 mn compared to EGP 749.9 mn in the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing.

GB Auto investor relations team member Andre Valavanis is in the spotlight once again, with the World Boxing Federation noting that fights this weekend in Egypt and the Philippines “saw local favorites emerge victorious from entertaining bouts.” Valavanis “engaged in a real shoot-out with Tanzanian co-challenger Maono Ally before winning the vacant WBF International Super Welterweight title by second round technical knockout as a result of well-placed body-shots.” Mabrouk for the latest win, Andre. More on the federation’s website.

From the Department of Karma: “State-sponsored hackers who unleashed a digital bomb in key parts of Saudi Arabia’s computer networks over the last two weeks damaged systems at the country’s central bank, known as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency,” Bloomberg writes, explaining that the attacks “used a computer-killing malware known as Shamoon that is linked to Iran.” SAMA, not-surprisingly, denied its systems were breached.

It’s a big morning in Europe, where Austrians have “roundly rejected” a candidate who would have become the first freely-elected far-right president in Europe since the Second World War. Meanwhile, one of our most important trading partners is looking for a new prime minister: Italian PM Matteo Renzi has resigned. With nearly all precincts reporting, the constitutional amendment Renzi had backed was crushed, with 59.62% of ballots cast going against the measure. The result is being widely interpreted as opening the door to the conservative Five-Star Movement.

The Financial Times thinks we should be more concerned about what Italy’s result says for the outlook at banks rather than focus on politics, where it thinks the most likely course is a caretaker PM until the next election in 2018, writing: “The more immediate and real concerns relate to Italy’s banking sector. The referendum result throws into question the ability of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy’s third biggest and most fragile bank, to conduct a successful €5bn capital increase that was planned to take place straight after the vote. It also puts the spotlight on the weaknesses of other banks struggling under the burden of non-performing loans and low profitability. Financial market nervousness in the light of Mr Renzi’s defeat could add to these pressures.”

Meanwhile, down in New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key (a former FX dealer) is stepping down in a surprise move that some suggest opens the door to the rise of the country’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, Bill English. Key has been NZ’s prime minister since 2007 and will step down on 12 December, Reuters reports.

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The Macro Picture

BloombergView’s A. Gary Shilling is the latest to write an obit for emerging markets, and he sees Egypt at risk. Countries without foreign currency reserves are less likely to weather the coming global storm of trade protectionism and higher interest rates, becoming losers in the pullback from EM equities, Shilling writes. “The losers are those emerging markets without that crucial buffer — Brazil, India, South Africa, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey. They have current-account deficits, so are importing capital to fill the gaps and have to take stringent measures as foreign money flees. Their foreign-exchange reserves tend to be slim, about half the size of those of the first group in relation to gross domestic product.” The winners, he suggests: the Philippines, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and Poland. (Read)

A ray of sunshine: EM stocks ended their second-worst month this year by paring their losses, BloombergMarkets reports. Saying that the worst of the sell-off is over, Charlemagne Capital’s Julian Mayo says, “Emerging markets should do reasonably well next year. The asset class is still under-owned as most people are positioned negatively or completely out of it. Valuations are looking reasonable and earnings growth is slowly beginning to recover.”

Egypt in the News

The Ismail government’s surprise hike of customs duties on manufactured goods and products with domestic substitutes remains the single business story to rise to the attention of the international media, with most outlets picking up coverage from Reuters.

Egypt has decided “nationalist pragmatism” requires it to “support Russia’s gambit in Syria despite war crimes accusations coming from key European powers,” writes Raghida Dergham for the Huffington Post. Egyptian leadership sees becoming the “fourth pole” in the Russia-Iran-Syrian regime axis as serving its best interest, she writes, which is critical especially as GCC neighbours rushed with aid to maintain Arab stability. Similarly, Germany is turning a blind eye to Russian-Iranian violations, seeing itself as the nexus of Western-Russian / Iranian relations. But unlike Cairo, Germany plays a leading role in in influencing US-Russian relations from a strategic standpoint, while Egypt is riding on the coattails of these relations having judged them to be proceeding along a path favorable to Cairo.

The same issue is also making headlines in the right-leading Washington Times, which writes, “U.S. commanders in the Mideast are keeping a wary eye on the burgeoning military relationship between Egypt and Russia, which could further expand Moscow’s growing influence in the region.

Also making headlines in the international press this morning:

  • Private intelligence outfit IHS Jane’s 360 (paywall) looks at the NGO law passed by Parliament, writing that the measure “opens space for Muslim Brotherhood reconciliation while restricting civil society.” We can’t say we share the concern that reconciliation with the Ikhwan is about to happen.

On Deadline

Al Ahram columnist Farouk Goweda says it’s not the House’s place to call for a ban on Naguib Mahfouz’s literature, especially when it has much more important legislation to attend to. The call was only the most recent in a series of rogue, unnecessary and unjustified measures called for by representatives, says Goweda, and should be silenced swiftly by House speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

Worth Watching

Cafe that serves free food? It would never work in Egypt: AJ+ showcases international cafe chain Ziferblat (watch, runtime: 1:37). The concept is simple: time is money. All the food and drinks in the cafe are free. All customers pay for is time, which could cost you USD 0.07 per minute. With all the cafes popping up left and right in Cairo, someone is bound to pick up this concept, though the soundness of the business model in Egypt (with all of our issues around food prices and time management) is debatable.

Spotlight

Is the Middle East in the midst of an HIV/AIDS epidemic?

Is the Middle East in the midst of an HIV/AIDS epidemic? The Middle East is seeing an uptick in HIV infections compared to regions that were hardest hit at the height of the epidemic back in ‘80s and ‘90s. “This region is witnessing one of the two fastest-growing epidemics in the world,” Joumana Hermes, an HIV expert for the MENA region at the World Health Organization. While the numbers of people infected with HIV regionally are still comparatively low it has been on the rise over the last five years. According to UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2016 report, there were around 230,000 HIV-positive people in the region. AIDS-related deaths rose 66% between 2005 and 2013, while globally they decreased by 35%. Deaths in the Middle East rose from 9,500 in 2010 to 12,000 in 2015. New infections rose by 1,000 regionally between 2010 and 2015 while falling by 50,000 between in Eastern and southern Africa.

As was the case in Sub-Saharan Africa during the HIV-crisis, lack of education and cultural stigma may be contributing to its rise in the MENA region. This closing of ranks in traditional and mostly conservative societies creates a problem of data. What are traditionally dubbed as at-risk groups (drug addicts, the LGBT community) are precisely the communities in which most of the data is coming, but health experts warn that expanding the search to the wider community could produce more frightening figures.

By Egypt’s Finance Ministry’s own account, the infection trend is rising, Ahram Gate reports. The ministry’s Human Development report, however, dismisses claims of an epidemic in Egypt with only 0.01% of the population being classified as HIV-infected. The ministry also states that contraceptives, while prevalent, remains a barrier for many, with 40% of families in Egypt not having access or opting not use them. Vice News posits that Egypt is leading the way regionally in terms of acknowledgement and acceptance through what the UN called a landmark court ruling this year that bans discrimination of HIV-positive people in the workplace, but a lot more must be done.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Slovenian President Borut Pahor is in town today for an official visit and meeting of the Egyptian-Slovenian Business Forum, Al Borsa and Youm7 report.

Energy

Electricity Ministry will not reprice FiT contracts for solar companies

The Electricity Ministry will not be repricing its contracts with renewable energy companies under the feed-in tariff (FiT) program, according to Minister Mohamed Shaker, Al Borsa reports. We noted yesterday that a number of solar companies had approached the Minister about amending FiT contracts to account for increases in the costs of project construction. Shaker, however, said the set tariff already factors in variables such as the EGP’s devaluation. He explained that under the terms of the agreement, companies are required to pay 30% of their component of the cost-sharing agreement for infrastructure at a fixed EGP 8.88 to USD and 70% at the Central Bank’s rate on the day.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Industry sues Ismail cabinet for waving custom duties on poultry imports

The Egyptian Poultry Association is keeping its promise: Attorneys have filed three lawsuits against the Ismail government on Sunday demanding it repeal its suspension of import duties on poultry until May next year, Al Borsa reported. We noted yesterday that the cabinet is already re-considering the move under pressure from the industry.

Fertilizer producers boycott Agri Ministry until state agrees to price hike

Growing season began a month ago, and the Agriculture Ministry’s supply of fertilizers is running dangerously low, Al Borsa reports, after some fertilizer producers said they would not replenish the ministry’s stocks before the government agrees to raise regulated fertilizer prices by EGP 500 per tonne. Fertilizer producers are under pressure from rising prices post the float of the EGP; the government has so far rejected industry demands to lower the cost of natural gas feedstock.

Manufacturing

Egypt Kuwait Holding seeking EGP 500 mn facility for wood manufacturing factory

Egypt Kuwait Holding is seeking an EGP 500 mn, 10-year loan to fund the building of a medium-density fiberboard and high-density fiberboard wood (pressed wood) production factory in Minya, Al Mal reported. Among the institutions EKH is said to be approaching are NBE, Banque Misr, CIB, AAIB, QNB, Emirates NBD, and NBK.

Health + Education

Pharma Syndicate surveys 1,688 medicines in shortage

The Pharma Syndicate has sent a report on the 1,688 medications it says are in short supply to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, Al Borsa reported.

Real Estate + Housing

MNHD reports sales of EGP 1.1 bn in November 2016

Developer MNHD reported sales of EGP 1.1 bn in November 2016, up sharply from EGP 23 mn a year ago. In a sales update (pdf) released yesterday, the company said sales were largely driven by contracts from its Sarai development. MNHD says it has “more than 8,000 units under development / design at five key projects in the Greater Cairo Area.”

Orascom Housing Communities US partner files arbitration case against NUCA

Orascom Housing Communities shareholders Blue Ridge and Equity International have filed an arbitration case against the NUCA over halting developments at the Haram City project in Six of October, Al Shorouk reported.

Tourism

Tenth Egypt hotel for Deutsche Hospitality inked

“Deutsche Hospitality is expanding its presence in Egypt with a new hotel in Damietta, which will open in 2018. The Steigenberger Hotel El Lessan Ras El-Bar” will be in Damietta “Ras El Bar Lighthouse 300 metres away and connected with the hotel by a pier.” The property will include 158 rooms and suites, two restaurants and a rooftop terrace, Hotelier Middle East reports.

Banking + Finance

Cement auction winners seeking EGP 7 bn loans for factories

Cement license auction winners South Valley Cement, El Sewedy Cement, and Cement Egypt are reportedly seeking EGP 7 bn in financing to build their factories, banking sources told Al Shorouk. CIB, QNB, and AAIB are among those in the running to lead facilities, the newspaper says.

Madaar Development signs EGP 800 mn loan agreement with CIB for Azha project

Madaar Development signed an EGP 800 mn loan agreement with CIB to finance expansions at the company’s Azha project in Ain Al Sokhna, CEO Gasser Bahgat told Amwal Al Ghad.

Legislation + Policy

House subcommittee tasked with studying tax reforms, Business Associations displeased

A sub-committee of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee will study the tax system, according to Al Borsa, which it says needs revision, an unnamed member of the newly formed subcommittee told the newspaper. We noted last week that he House’s Budget Committee was considering revisions that would impose a progressive income tax regime capped at 25% on annual income north of EGP 505k. Industry associations are unhappy with the House’s drive to impose new policies, AMAY reports. Increases in the income tax rate beyond its current 22.5% cap could destabilize the recovering economy and deter investors, according to the head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Ahmed El Wakil.

Draft of the Press and Media Act out

A full working draft of the Press and Media Act — which is currently being deliberated in the House of Representatives — is out this morning in Al Ahram. The law will establish three regulators for media in the country: a Supreme Media Council, a National Press Authority, and a National Media Authority. As we noted last week, the Supreme Media Council has the authority to ban the dissemination of foreign news for national security reasons (opening the prospect of direct censorship of newspapers and the internet) and can ban the publication of inflammatory news or news that might be detrimental to the “peace and stability” of the country.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Prosecutor General to request Interpol take ex-trade minister off no-fly list

The Prosecutor General will contact Interpol to request that former trade minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid and his family be removed from airport no-fly lists, AMAY reported. Rashid, who faced corruption and graft charges, reportedly reached a EGP 500 mn settlement agreement with the Prosecutor General and a state anti-corruption committee last week.

More changes to customs regime in January?

Following last Thursday’s hikes in tariffs, the government is expected to amend customs duties once again in January, government sources tell Al Borsa. The move is meant to adapt tariffs to any changes in the Harmonized System Code — a global standardized system of classifying traded goods to determine their customs duties — which will undergo its five-year periodic review by the World Customs Organization next month.

Sports

Scorer of winning goal in Egyptian women’s national team victory over Zimbabwe gets ink in New York’s Newsday

New York’s Newsday has a lovely profile of Salma Tarik, soccer coach at Brooklyn’s St. Joseph’s College — and the woman who “turned 27 on Nov. 22 and celebrated by scoring the only goal in Egypt’s milestone victory over Zimbabwe in the African Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.”

Egyptian athletes dominate medal standings at Sahl Hasheesh triathlon

Egyptian athletes took home nine medals from this past weekend’s Sahl Hasheesh Triathlon, organized by TriFactory, reports the Daily News Egypt.

On Your Way Out

In a rare case of a bank paying attention to small businesses, CIB Egypt has launched Visa-branded debit and credit cards targeting SMEs, the bank announced in a statement. “The new cards allow the SME owners to keep their personal and business expenses separate, and to track, and monitor their expenses through one simple consolidated monthly statement, including their employees’ expenses,” the statement reads. CIB outlines the features of its Visa Platinum Business Cards here.

Bassem Youssef remains liberal America’s token Egyptian: The one-time funnyman is one of nearly 10 foreign comedians contributing to a New York Times video titled, “Trump Therapy, with love from abroad.” We’ll save you a click. His line: “Hey America, how are you doing? Don’t worry about us. I mean, we’re not worried about the rise of hate, misogyny, xenophobia or racism. We come from the Middle East. Where we’re from, we call that ‘Monday.’” (Watch if you must, run time: 4:54).

Has it really come to this? Singer Amr Diab won’t be banning veiled women from his Christmas concert at a Cairo-area hotel, but does look set to enforce a minimum age as ethanolic beverages may be served, Ahram Online reports.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.59 | Sell 18.04
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.5 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.5 | Sell 17.75

EGX30 (Sunday): 11,631.41 (+0.72%)
Turnover: EGP 1.296 bn (198% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +66.02%

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP + 19.4 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP – 4.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP – 14.5 mn

Retail: 78.9% of total trades | 78.1% of buyers | 79.7% of sellers
Institutions: 21.1% of total trades | 21.9% of buyers | 20.3% of sellers

Foreign: 6.9% of total | 7.6% of buyers | 6.2% of sellers
Regional: 12.8% of total | 12.6% of buyers | 12.9% of sellers
Domestic: 80.3% of total | 79.8% of buyers | 80.9% of sellers


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PHAROS VIEW

The curious case of the Egyptian income tax policy

The House of Representatives is considering amending income tax brackets, but Finance Minister Amr El Garhy was clear on the importance of maintaining tax policy stability. The House is considering amendments that include modifying tax brackets to include a 25% tax rate on annual income above EGP505k, which was previously cited at 30%. The income tax brackets have been revisited every year since 2012.

Egypt’s corporate tax rate stands slightly above average versus key regional peers like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. However, assessing the efficiency of the tax system in terms of how easy businesses can pay their taxes provides another less appealing ranking for Egypt. Therefore, we believe that improving the ease of doing business in Egypt shall remain a key priority. Given the magnitude of the informal sector, Egypt can still raise more tax revenues without raising the tax rate.Tap here for the full note.

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Calendar

03-05 December (Saturday-Monday): African Investments and Business Forum, Algiers, Algeria.

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

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

05-06 December (Monday-Tuesday): Slovenian President and business delegation visit Egypt.

6 December (Tuesday): Building a Sustainable Future for Solar in Egypt event, Sonesta Hotel, Cairo.

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

08 December: KarmSolar Annual Forum, a RiseUp Summit satellite event. Al Falaki Theater, Downtown Cairo. Registration: annual.forum@karmsolar.com

09-11 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

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.

12 December (Monday): African Development Bank votes on issuing second tranche of USD 1.5 bn loan.

13 December (Tuesday): Business News’ Third Annual Egypt Automotive Summit, Semiramis InterContinental, Cairo.

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

20 December (Tuesday): World Bank board of directors votes on second tranche of USD 3 bn loan.

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

January: Jordanian trade delegation to visit. Date TBD.

14-16 February 2017 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2017 (EGYPS), CIEC, Cairo

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