Sunday, 18 December 2016

We’re smiling this morning:
VAT exe regs are done, the IFC loves us and the House will deregulate the gas industry


What We’re Tracking Today

** TAP OR CLICK HERE TO TAKE OUR READER SURVEY, the results of which will run in our 29 December Year-in-Review edition. We’re asking what USD rate you’re using in your budget, your expectation of the economy, whether you’ll invest more this coming year and more. The survey closes on Tuesday, 20 December at 5pm — it won’t take more than a minute to complete unless you’d like to leave us a long note.

Why we’re smiling this morning #1: The VAT exec regs are done. The guys at the Finance Ministry have finished the executive regulations for the value-added tax. It’s no secret that we’re fans of Amr El Garhy and his team — nor were we shy in saying we wished the regulations were out earlier. The finalization of the regulations is very good news indeed. What’s more, it seems the Tax Authority may allow companies to recognize some of the cost they incurred sourcing FX on the parallel market. We have more on this in Speed Round, below. Separately, we’re also hearing rumblings from government that the notion of raising tax rates and / or moving to a so-called “progressive tax system” is a creature of the House of Representatives, not of the ministry, and is not being led by cabinet.

Why we’re smiling this morning #2: IFC pledges USD 2 bn over three years, will “bring other investors here,” declares Egypt a “priority country.” International Finance Corporation chief Philippe Le Houérou ended his three-day visit to Egypt with a pledge that the institution would invest USD 2 bn in Egypt over three years — and finalized investments of at least USD 32 mn while here, including a USD 10 mn commitment to Algebra Ventures and USD 20 mn in equity financing for Hassan Allam Holding. Le Houérou “described Egypt as a priority country” to which the IFC has committed USD 1.5 bn since 2011 to support private-sector businesses, according to an emailed statement (pdf). “Egypt has tremendous long-term potential, given its large workforce, strategic location, and well-established manufacturing sector,” the IFC chief said. “The country’s recently announced economic reforms will help it capitalize on that promise-by breathing new life into the private sector, which can drive innovation and employment, and create lasting opportunities for all Egyptians.” The IFC’s Egypt landing page is here if you want more.

Flat6 lands IFC commitment: Our friends at Flat6 Labs have landed the IFC and the Social Fund for Development (SFD) as the lead investors in their EGP 75 mn Egypt-focused venture capital seed fund, Flat6 CEO Ramez El-Serafy said in a statement (pdf). IFC have committed USD 2 mn, the announcement said. Flat6’s Egypt fund will invest in up to 20 startups a year with an average seed investment of EGP 350k. “We’re very excited to have received the support of IFC, through its Startup Catalyst program, and the SFD, through its first investment in an accelerator program,” El-Serafy.

Why we’re smiling this morning #3: Momentum. We’re reading the House of Representatives giving preliminary approval to the bill that will deregulate the natural gas industry as a sign the House is willing to play ball on the most critical, business-friendly components of the Ismail government’s agenda. More in Speed Round.

Crédit Suisse names Egypt one of its 10 “focus” frontier markets. The investment bank has made Egypt one of its “Crédit Suisse Frontier Markets 10” (going by the ungainly moniker “CS FM10”) alongside Argentina, Bangladesh, Iran, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania and Vietnam, the Wall Street Journal reports. These are the most promising of the 30 frontier markets CS covers, according to a report the bank issued last week. “This group of developing nations situated across four continents includes collectively represent between three-quarters and four-fifths of the total economic, demographic and equity investment opportunity set.” The full Crédit Suisse report is available for download here (pdf).

Not enough pdfs for you? Control Risks’ annual political and security risk infographic is out and available for download. No surprises here.

Random fact of the morning: Of 350k migrants who have arrived in Europe so far this year, 170k came from routes that pass through or leave from Egypt or Libya. The balance arrived from Turkey or the Eastern Med, according to Deutsche Well.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The World Bank’s board of directors will vote on disbursing the second tranche of USD 3 bn loan to Egypt on Thursday, 22 December.

On The Horizon

The Ismail cabinet will decide on the new Investment Act on Sunday, 25 December, according to Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid.

The Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committeewill discuss interest rates for the last time this year on Thursday, 29 December.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Hona Al Assema’s Lamees El Hadidy began with the news that investigators of the EgyptAir’s MS804 crash found traces of explosives on the victims’ remains. Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy phoned in to confirm. “We still can’t say that there was a bomb on plane… We have to wait for the Prosecutor General’s Office to conclude its investigation.” Fathy was adamant that the crash could not have been maintenance-related (watch, runtime 13:59).

The head of the risk department at Misr Insurance, Hussein Attallah, told the talk show host that his company will cover the insurance costs for the incident regardless of the investigation’s outcomes. “Whether it’s a bomb or anything else, we will compensate the victims’ families.” Attallah said. El Hadidy was curious if Misr Insurance intends to ask France for compensations in light of recent updates, to which he replied that “traces of explosive traces are enough for us to undergo such a procedure” (watch, runtime 48:13).

El Hadidy also spent some time criticizing the Ikhwan’s denunciation of the execution of Islamist terror leader Adel Habara. She broadcast recorded phone calls in which Habara admitting to committing terrorist acts in Egypt (watch, runtime 7:32). El Hadidy ended her episode with the weekly 4+1 debate, which discussed fuel prices and military trials (watch full debate here, runtime 36:34).
Amr Adib also delved into EgyptAir’s findings on flight MS804 and kicked-off Saturday’s episode of Kol Yom with exclusive pictures from the crash. The pictures show parts of the right wing and the engine, which Adib said suggests the plane might have exploded prior to crashing into the water (watch, runtime 7:55). Adib said that he hopes the matter doesn’t escalate into a “fight between Egypt and France” (watch, runtime 0:47). Adib spent some time going through the French press’ reactions to the findings (watch, runtime 14:13). The Civil Aviation Minister also spoke to Adib and said that the plane’s black box didn’t record any sounds of explosions, adding “but that doesn’t confirm or deny anything to us” (watch, runtime 15:43).

For the second half of his episode, Adib aired a report on the Egypt Can conference (watch, runtime 5:28) and again applied his mad journalism skills to the price of chicken, which he can’t seem to drop (watch, runtime 3:02). We beg his dietitian to allow him one KFC meal per week.

Are fertilizer prices rising? Al Hayah Al Youm’s host last night held up what she claimed was a signed ministerial decision that would hike the price of fertilizer — a document of which Cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan denied any knowledge. “I haven’t seen any official decision issued by cabinet regarding the matter,” he said during a phone interview, adding that the decision is still being considered. Companies and farmers, however, claim they have received the official notice (more on that in Basic Materials + Commodities) (watch, runtime 4:17).

Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer and Ibrahim Eissa were off last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

The Finance Ministry has finished drafting the executive regulations for the value-added tax (VAT) law, Minister Amr El Garhy said in a statement issued on Saturday. The draft will be presented to industry professionals soliciting their opinion and comments. A second draft will be formulated at the end of the week, which include input from industry associations, he added. Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer said the VAT aims to pull the grey economy into the official one, make it more difficult to dodge taxes, and improve the business environment in Egypt.

Lawyers beware, Finance doesn’t think much of your lawsuit: Abdel Moneim Mattar, outgoing head of the Tax Authority and now special commissioner charged with overseeing the VAT, said the Finance Ministry will not be looking to amend the VAT rates or the legislation until after it is fully implemented, Al Masry Al Youm reports. We’re reading that as Mattar speaking to lawyers, who have a filed a suit demanding the VAT be struck down. Mattar also had a message for pharma: Don’t blame the VAT for your woes as meds are VAT-exempt. The ministry is also working on a separate tax for SMEs, but did not state whether these would fall under the VAT-regime. The executive regulations are expected to outline how businesses that don’t meet the EGP 500K threshold to register for the VAT registration will be taxed.

Settlement on writing-off parallel market FX charges expected this week? More good news on the taxation front, as the ministry appears set to release regulations this week that would settle the issue of writing-off expenses incurred in sourcing foreign currency outside the banking system before the 3 November float of the EGP, said El Monayer. “After meeting with the Federation of Egyptian Industries and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, we have settled on allowing write-offs of 4-5%,” he tells AMAY. As we noted last week, prominent Cairo advisory firm Nasr Aboul-Abbas & Co believes that the current tax code considers the cost of the FX acquisition to be a direct tax deductible cost and allows for writing off expenditures without receipts for up to 7% of documented general and administrative expenditures. You can read Nasr Aboul-Abbas’ opinion here (pdf, Arabic).

Are philosophical differences on the nature of investment incentives slowing down the new Investment Act? Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer was quoted by Al Mal as objecting to new tax exemptions for investors, preferring instead a simple universal tax regime. Al Borsa, meanwhile, quotes him as saying that the ministry is studying how to implement tax incentives based on rebates and not exemptions. The draft investment act proposed by the Ministry of Investment would grant tax cuts to investors based in free zones and would offer special perks as a function of the project’s geographic location, size and how labor intensive it is. The law was discussed yesterday at a cabinet meeting should be finalized at the Council of Ministers level on 25 December, said Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid, according to Al Shorouk. Cabinet was due to have made that decision last week, according to media reports.

The USD 2.5-3 bn eurobond issuance will go ahead as scheduled in mid-January despite the US Federal Reserve hiking interest rates by a quarter point to the 0.5-0.75% range, said Deputy Finance Minister Mohamed Maait. He tells Al Borsa that a meeting will be held with investment banks advising on the issue to discuss the impact the interest rate hikes will have on the issue. Maait revealed that interest rates on the eurobond issue will be in the 6-7% range.

Deregulation of the natural gas industry is one very big step closer to being a reality after the House of Representatives gave its preliminary approval on Thursday to the Natural Gas Act. The deregulation of the sector is now one full vote away from becoming a reality. The law will come into effect and new licenses to operate will be issued in 2017, said Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, according to Al Shorouk. The ministry is currently working on the law’s executive regulations. Al Masry Al Youm carries what it says is a rundown on key features of the law — take them with a grain of salt, but they are in line with our expectations, if incomplete. Highlights:

  • New regulator: The law forms a new regulator that will issue licenses and permits, amend regulations and generally oversee the industry. Terms and conditions for using any node of the gas distribution infrastructure can be determined by the private sector but must be approved by the regulator.
  • Five primary industry roles are now open to the private sector: Pipeline operator, distributor, storage provider, gas shipper, and importer (defined below).
  • Privatization of the industry will take place in stages to be determined by the new regulator.
  • Pricing: The regulator will have a say on pricing of gas throughout the supply chain based on investment costs, maintenance, the cost of developing pipeline infrastructure and projected returns on investment.
  • Tolling exports: The regulator will set and collect a pipeline utilization fee on gas being exported from Egypt.
  • Pipeline operators: Own and operate the main pipelines that feed into distribution hubs. They must develop a five-year plan to grow their infrastructure. Operators can withhold gas if distributors fail to make payments.
  • Distributors: These will own and operate the local pipelines to which end-users are connected. The onus is on the distributor to build pipelines to the consumer. Distributors must also provide the government with regular data on gas consumptions. Both pipeline operators and distributors can set their pipeline utilization fees. They cannot ban usage of their networks unless the grid is at full capacity or there is failure to make payments on contracts
  • Storage providers must allow equal access to gas producers who can pay the fees the set.
  • Gas shipping operators: Can sell imported gas to pipeline operators.
  • Gas importers: Are not allowed to sell imported gas to pipeline operators unless they obtain a shipping license.

Fitch affirms Egypt IDR ratings, sees EGP at 16 by July 2017, at 14.50 in FY2018. Fitch affirms Egypt’s long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at ‘B’ with a “Stable” outlook.Fitch says the “ratings balance a large fiscal deficit, a high general government debt/GDP ratio, strains on the balance of payments and recent volatile political history, with low albeit rising external debt and renewed progress in implementing an economic and fiscal reform programme.” Fitch also thinks Egypt will miss its budget deficit target for FY2016-17, expecting it to record a deficit of 11.6%, as “the subsidy bill will increase because the impact of the weaker EGP on import costs of fuel, for example, outweighs the subsidy price reform.” The ratings agency believes fiscal conditions will improve in FY2017-18, forecasting greater fiscal consolidation narrowing the budget deficit to 9% and GDP growing at a rate of 4.5% “as the exchange rate adjustment beds in, as gas production starts at the giant Zohr field, and with stronger investment.” The ratings agency also expects the EGP to stand at 16 to the greenback by July 2017, with the currency appreciating to 14.50 in FY18.

Subsidy bill higher than expected: The cost of fuel subsidies will rise to EGP 75-80 bn this fiscal year as a result of the EGP float and rising crude oil prices, said Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. The Oil Ministry had stated last month that its subsidies bill for the year would rise to EGP 65 bn, from a budget allocation of EGP 35 bn in the beginning of the year.

And while we’re on subsidies, the government appears to be moving on that most sacred and untouchable of goods: bread. The Supply Ministry will announce a price hike for subsidized bread this week, due to the EGP flotation driving up production costs, Minister Mohamed Ali El Sheikh told Al Borsa. The ministry reached an agreement with bakery owners that will see the government temporarily covering the difference in fuel prices in exchange for the bakeries maintaining production levels.

The Health Ministry has accepted international pharma producers’ latest proposal for increasing prices — kind of. Health Minister Ahmed Rady approved in principle demands by the industry that 15% of meds produced locally, and 20% of all imported meds be raised on Saturday. The caveat: meds slated for a price increase will be classified into price tiers, with each tier rising by a set amount, Al Borsa reports. This comes after pharma manufacturers proposed raising the price of 15% of locally produced meds by 50% every six months. While some companies did accept the minister’s counter offer, sources tell the newspaper that most members of the Federation of Egyptian Industry’s pharma division plan to reject the proposal.

USD 1+ bn acquisition of Solb Misr by National Service Authority and Litat Group is Egypt’s largest M&A transaction of the year, according to a statement from Matouk Bassiouny, which served as “transaction counsel on the majority acquisition of Solb Misr, advising both the National Service Authority under the supervision of the Assistant Minister of Defense General Adel El Morsy and Litat Group.” The Matouk Bassiouny team on the Solb Misr transaction was led by Omar S. Bassiouny (executive partner and head of corporate / M&A at the firm) and included senior associate Islam Saeed and a team of 11 associates.

Mercedes-Benz is looking to invest more in Egypt, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said, according to Al Mal. The news followed a meeting with a delegation headed by the company’s CEO for Egypt, Thomas Zorn, who reportedly said that a delegation from the German Association for the Automotive Industry will visit the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) to explore new opportunities. The head of the SCZone had announced last week that he intends to dedicate 100-200k sqm to establishing auto manufacturing plants, Al Borsa also reported. The delegation had met with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association to discuss resuming industrial operations in Egypt; Mercedes-Benz downed tools in its local assembly facilities in mid-2015.

CPA investigating Pepsi? The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) is investigating Pepsi following alleged uses of toxic substances, AMAY reports. CPA head Atef Yacoub said that the investigation follows claims made on social media. Pepsi has denied the claims and said it would also run its own tests. Yacoub has recently made headlines for everything from a campaign to award smiley faces to retailers who don’t raise prices to his campaign to censor Ramadan television advertisements and for going after pharma retailers. He was also the architect of the 1 December “buy nothing day” campaign, which he’s looking to turn into a three-month-long “buy no foreign products” drive.

Obour Land closes up 1.2% in its EGX debut at EGP 9.80 per share compared to its initial offering price of EGP 9.70 per share, Al Mal reported. Read more about the cheesemaker’s IPO here and here.

Sawiris makes a run at struggling Brazilian telecom operator Oi. “Egyptian bn’aire Naguib Sawiris is ready to invest USD 250 mn to help steer troubled Brazilian telecom company Oi SA out of bankruptcy proceedings, according to a recovery plan his investor group is presenting to the company,” the WSJ reports. The story ends months of speculation after Sawiris said he would make a run at the company — in bankruptcy protection with USD 20 bn in debt — but appeared not to have reached out to Oi with details. The Journal says Sawiris would “invest USD 250 mn, another USD 1 bn would come from a public share sale.”

Traces of explosives have been found on victims of the EgyptAir flight MS804, which crashed over the Mediterranean in May, investigators said, according to statement by the Civil Aviation Ministry, BBC reported. The cause of the crash is still unclear. The official investigative committee has referred the case to state prosecution, a standard procedure "if it becomes clear to the investigative committee that there is criminal suspicion behind the accident." No group has yet claimed responsibility for downing the airliner; 66 people lost their lives in the crash. The story is getting wide pickup everywhere from the CNN to the WSJ.

Egypt executed convicted terrorist Adel Habara on Thursday after his final appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation. Habara was sentenced to death in 2014 for killing 25 army conscripts in Northern Sinai in August 2013. Reuters says terrorists issued threats to ignite "a volcano of jihad" across the country if the state moved forward with the execution. Al Masry Al Youm said security was tightened in Sinai in the wake of the sentence being carried out.

** Earnings Watch: Qalaa Holdings reported a net loss after minority interest of EGP 207.6 mn in 3Q2016 compared to a net loss of EGP 135.7 mn in 3Q2015, according to a company statement (pdf). “Our primary focus over the coming period will be to manage our foreign currency risk particularly with regard to our USD-denominated debt at the Qalaa Holdings level,” said Qalaa Holdings Co-Founder and Managing Director Hisham El-Khazindar. “In that regard, Qalaa will continue to push forward with its divestment strategy, with a focus on exiting assets that would generate USD-denominated proceeds to be channeled towards debt repayment at both the holding and platform levels. These assets could include Sudan’s Al-Takamol Cement and Algeria’s Djelfa Cement.”

Egypt in the News

For international media outlets covering Egypt, it’s all terror, all the time, with major stories on Egypt including the discovery of traces of explosives on the bodies of victims of EgyptAir Flight 804, suggestions that the nation could yet face more Daesh terror attacks in the wake of last week’s Cathedral bombing, and news that a son of Osama bin Laden was denied entry to Egypt yesterday.

More worrying in the long run: Do you remember the heat wave that killed more than 100 people in August 2015? Scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration think it is one of 24 “weird weather cases” from 2015 in which climate change played a role. ABC News has the story here, the landing page for the American Meteorological Society’s page hosting the study is here. You can download the full document here (pdf), or simply focus on the Egypt heat wave chapter here (pdf).

The Financial Times published a special report on “Doing Business in the Arab World with articles on “what privatisations in Saudi Arabia may mean for young people; the UAE’s support for fintech companies; the Egyptian army’s economic role; Dubai’s red carpet treatment of tourists; and how technology is helping Syrian refugees.” Heba Saleh wrote about the achievements and prospects of the region as a whole. She says “in terms of scale and ambition, no economic development in the Arab region this year has rivalled Saudi Arabia’s plan to transform and diversify its economy away from a reliance on oil.” On Egypt, Saleh chose to focus on the discovery of the Zohr supergiant gas field and “the growing role of the military in the economic sphere.” Among the pieces most relevant to Egypt:

Aya Hijazi’s family is urging the US administration to intervene before Donald Trump is sworn in as President, Ruth Michaelson writes in The Guardian. Hijazi has been detained for over 900 days so far and is charged, along with her husband and two other co-defendants with “a range of offences, including human trafficking, [redacted] exploitation of children and using the children for protests against the security forces.” Michaelson writes “time could be running out for Hijazi, as the incoming Trump administration has already signalled it intends to build close ties with the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.”

The Washington Post is also stepping up its pressure on the case, where its latest editorial is headlined, “Will Donald Trump help this American imprisoned in Egypt?

Illegal migration law is a positive step but lacks key protections -HRW: Egypt’s recently passed law to tackle irregular migration is “a positive step toward shielding asylum seekers and migrants from criminal responsibility but fails to affirm important refugee rights,” Human Rights Watch said. The law “lacks guarantees for the rights to seek asylum or to freedom of movement and education. It also does not guarantee protection against refoulement.”

On Deadline

The call to renew religious discourse is vague and turning into a tired line pulled out every now and then, without yielding any tangible results, Osama Ghazaly Harb writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Harb notes that, although those enlisted should be carefully chosen from a pool of seasoned thinkers (suggestions included), some who have been mandated with said renewal are individuals who harbor the type of ideology that should be changed.

Worth Watching

Egyptian phone thief unwittingly stars in Dutch film project: Dutch film student Anthony van der Meer wanted to know what goes on in the mind of mobile phone thieves. He pre-loaded a phone he bought with spyware and the anti-theft app Cerberus to keep tabs on it, and tricked a thief into lifting the device. The app gave van der Meer access not only to the location of the device, but also to its contents and features, meaning that he could retrieve any file stored on the phone and also use its camera and microphone to surreptitiously spy on the bandit (as if we needed to be even more concerned about our privacy). “Over the next two weeks, the film student secretly followed the thief as he wandered around Amsterdam with his lifted phone, documenting his each and every move — and eventually turning it into a documentary,” calling it “Find My Phone” (runtime 21:29). The Next Web calls the short film “equally thrilling and disturbing … an intimate exploration of the mind and life of a thief through the lens of technology.”

Oh, and turns out that the guy who stole van der Meer’s phone was a middle-aged Egyptian man.


Power Ministry halts talks for new power plants, to focus on transmission projects

The Power Ministry has decided to halt negotiations for new power plants to focus instead on transmission projects and developing the national grid, Al Borsa reported. Egypt produces a daily surplus of 3,000 MW, which will increase to 7,000 MW once Siemens adds its new capacities at the end of the month, unnamed ministry officials told Al Borsa. The ministry has allocated EGP 15 bn to expanding the national grid and upgrading its transmission and distribution mechanisms, they added.

EGPC issues tender for fuel imports after Aramco freeze

The Egyptian Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) issued a new global tender last week to import its fuel needs for the month of January, an official told Al Shorouk. Egypt is having to find new sources to cover its fuel import requirements, after the Saudi national oil firm Aramco decided it would indefinitely suspend its fuel shipments to Egypt, as we noted last month. The state-owned EGPC will look into the bids presented by international firms at the end of this week, the official told the newspaper.

EGPC rescues IOCs from 5% surtax

The Tax Authority has notified EGPC that it must pay EGP 2.5 bn in back taxes owed from the scrapped 5% surtax on income over EGP 1 mn it had imposed on E&P companies back in 2014, Al Borsa reports. The EGPC had stepped in to pay the surtax on their of IOCs after as many as 30 E&P companies had objected to paying the surtax on the grounds that a special income tax system had been already been set for the industry. Under this system, E&P companies pay a 40.6% income tax on top of a 22.5% general tax on corporations. Sources said that the taxman is also after the banks, having asked NBE, Banque Misr, and AAIB to pay a total of EGP 817 mn owed as a result of the surtax.

Oil Ministry makes USD 100 mn payment to smaller IOC

The Oil Ministry made a USD 100 mn payment to IOCs for overdue receivables, Al Mal reported. The payment was not made to major operators, but to smaller companies, including Circle Oil, TransGlobe Energy, and SDX, a source said. The source noted specifically that Circle Oil got 30% of its total receivables with a payment of USD 12-15 mn. Major players BP, Shell, Eni, and Apache are due a payment soon, the source added. EGPC said it will begin making monthly payments to the IOCs starting from 2017.

GE does USD 80 mn worth of maintenance and refurbishment work on power plants

General Electric has begun maintenance and refurbishment work on the Kuraymat and North Giza power plants at a cost of up to USD 80 mn. An Electricity Ministry source told Al Borsa the cost is spread between USD 70 mn for refurbishing a production unit in Kuraymat and USD 10 mn to run maintenance for the North Giza power plant. The units in the Kuraymat plant are expected to be running again by the end of the month.

BP to produce 600 mcf/d from North Alexandria concession by June

BP expects to begin producing 600 mcf/d of natural gas from its North Alexandria offshore concession by June, Al Borsa reported. The Fayoum and Giza fields are expected to come on stream in 1Q2019 and will produce at 400 mcf/d, BP’s ‎North Africa Regional President Hisham Mekawi said. He added that the Raven field should also begin producing around 350 mfc/d by 3Q2019.

Dabaa nuclear power plant contracts likely to be postponed

Contracts for the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant will most likely not be signed this year, as the Egyptian government is still reviewing the agreement, unnamed state officials told Al Borsa. The state was expected to ink the agreement with Russia’s Rosatom before the end of December, as we noted last month.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Confusion in the domestic press over fertilizer prices

There’s widespread confusion in the domestic press as to whether the government has approved raising fertilizer prices. Unnamed government sources told AMAY on Thursday that cabinet had approved a hike in prices demanded by producers, who say they’ve been hit by the float of the EGP and the phase-out of fuel subsidies, but the Agriculture Ministry issued a press release yesterday denying the reports, according to Ahram Gate. The head of the Agriculture Ministry’s agricultural reform committee warned that an increase in fertilizer costs might push farmers to stop farming altogether, according to Al Mal. Meanwhile, some transport companies are reportedly refusing to deliver fertilizers to government warehouses until contracts are revised to reflect the new fuel rates they’re paying. Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemicals said companies transporting fertilizers have demanded a price increase of 40-50% to match the increase in fuel products Al Mal reported. The company’s head also said his company has lost EGP 180 mn after delivering 120k tonnes of fertilizer to the government at prices set before the EGP float and fuel cost increase.

Edita begins operating EGP 100 mn production line

Edita has begun operating its EGP 100 mn production line in Beni Suef, Chairman Hany Berzi told Al Mal. The date of the second phase of operations has not been set yet, he said.


German ruling coalition parliamentary leader promises to advocate for tourism in Egypt

German MP Volker Kauder, parliamentary group leader of the ruling CDU/CSU coalition, stated that he will advocate for tourism in Egypt, in a visit to the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral which was bombed last Sunday, Al Ahram reports. He states that Egypt’s security situation is stable adding that European cities have been hit by terrorism as well.

Grand Egyptian Museum unable to calculate cost of displays due to EGP float

The Grand Egyptian Museum has not tallied the cost of designing the displays for the project due to the EGP flotation, the museum’s general supervisor Tarek Tawfik told Daily News Egypt. “German company Atelire Bruckner, which won the Ministry of Antiquities’ tender for the museum display designs, is completing the project,” he says. The museum’s first phase is set to be opened by the end of 2017, with the final opening in 2020.

EgyptAir raises domestic flight prices, offers discounts on New York flights

If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple sometime between February and June of next year, use your end-of-year bonus to book your flight by Friday: EgyptAir is offering a 25% discount on plane tickets to New York City, Al Borsa reports. Meanwhile, a source from EgyptAir told Al Borsa that the airline increased prices of domestic flight prices by 15-30%, with the increase rate determined by the destination and time of booking.

Automotive + Transportation

AOI and Chinese partner to begin producing public transport buses in Egypt

The Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) is partnering up with an unnamed Chinese company to begin producing buses locally, Al Borsa reported. The Transport Ministry has already signed off on a model for a public transport bus, designed by the mystery Chinese partner, sources said, and the AOI has started constructing the assembly line. AOI hopes to source 60% of the components locally and gradually work its way up to 100%.

Shell and Ghabbour Auto extend motor oil supply agreement

Shell and Ghabbour Auto have extended an agreement that has Shell supply GB Auto’s after-sales service centers, across its brand portfolio, with motor oil, Al Borsa reported.

Banking + Finance

CBE, EFSA encourage new partnerships between banks, microfinance lenders

It would appear that more regulations to incentivise burrowing to small, medium and micro enterprises may be in the offing following a meeting on Thursday between banking executives, the CBE, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) and the Egyptian Microfinance Federation (EMF), said Zulficar & Partners’ Mona Zulficar, who also chairs the EMF. At the meeting, banks were encouraged to buy the loan portfolios of smaller, non-banking SME lenders. Among the proposals championed by EFSA officials was allowing microfinance organizations (particularly those with a loan portfolio of less than EGP 10 mn) to collect on the loans on behalf of the banks for a commission, Zulficar tells Al Ahram’s Economics Edition. The meeting comes on the back of the CBE adopting new regulations for mobile payments on Wednesday, which the central bank hopes will open the door for a wide array of new financial services.

National Security

Officer, 9 policemen charged with torturing to death fish vendor

Prosecutors have charged a police officer and nine low-ranking policemen with torturing to death fish vendor Magdy Maken, who died in police custody last month, after the forensics report confirmed the merchant was killed due to one of the policemen standing on his back, AMAY reports. The policemen were also charged with torturing two of Maken’s colleagues in the police station.

On Your Way Out

Contemporary feminism helps us understand ancient Egypt, according to a new long-term collection exhibition opening at the Brooklyn Museum titled “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” The Art Newspaper reported. The exhibition looks to tackle why ancient Egyptian women were sometimes depicted with male attributes. It is believed that through the use of colour symbolism and language, women can overcome the difficulty that the ancient Egyptians believed women would have to be reborn into the next world.”

The markets yesterday

Share This Section

Powered by
Pharos Holding -

EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.2950 | Sell 18.6497
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.15 | Sell 18.4
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.15 | Sell 18.4

EGX30 (Thursday): 11,326 (+0.08%)
Turnover: EGP 1.4 bn (230% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +61.66%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 rose =0.1% on Thursday. The top performing stocks were Ezz Steel, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, and Telecom Egypt. On the downside, Thursday’s worst performing stocks included Eastern Co, Porto Group, and Domty. The market turnover was EGP 1.4 bn and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +106.4 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -31.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -74.9 mn

Retail: 59.2% of total trades | 55.8% of buyers | 62.5% of sellers
Institutions: 40.8% of total trades | 44.2% of buyers | 37.5% of sellers

Foreign: 23.0% of total | 26.7% of buyers | 19.3% of sellers
Regional: 5.8% of total | 4.7% of buyers | 6.9% of sellers
Domestic: 71.2% of total | 68.6% of buyers | 73.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 51.90 (+1.96%)
Brent: USD 55.21 (+2.20%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.42 MMBtu, (-0.55%, January 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,137.40 / troy ounce (+0.67%)

TASI: 7,090.9 (+0.4%) (YTD: +2.59%)
ADX: 4,463.0 (-0.8%) (YTD: +3.62%)
DFM: 3,554.45 (-0.8%) (YTD: +12.80%)
KSE Weighted Index: 378.4 (+0.2%) (YTD: -0.88%)
QE: 10,224.1 (-1.30%) (YTD: -1.97%)
MSM: 5,728.7 (-0.2%) (YTD: +5.96%)
BB: 1,188.70 (+0.03%) (YTD: -2.24%)

Share This Section


19 December (Monday): LOGIC Management Consulting’s “Egypt Exports” workshop, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo. Registration information here.

19 December (Monday): Arab International Public Relations Conference, InterContinental City Stars, Cairo. Registration information here.

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

22-24 December (Thursday-Saturday): Innovations to Solve Egypt’s Challenges in the Next Millenium conference, Zewail City of Science and Technology, Cairo.

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

30 January – 2 February 2017 (Monday-Thursday): Arab Health Exhibition, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center, UAE.

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

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.