Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Thomas Cook says UK tourists are trickling back to Egypt. Whaddya say, Boris?


What We’re Tracking Today

Some good news to start your morning: Thomas Cook says there are early signs tourists are returning to Egypt, Reuters reports. The tour operator expects to hit its full-year operating targets and says “after a slow start to the season and a tough year in 2016, we’re seeing early signs that customers are beginning to go back to Turkey and Egypt.” Hey, Boris. Are you listening?

Some bad news this morning: The first shot has been fired in the robot apocalypse infinance. BlackRock just axed portfolio managers and hired robots. The ominous headline atop the press release announcing the change? “BlackRock positions equity investment platform for future of active management.” The firm has fired “several prominent stockpicking fund managers and plans to switch their funds to quantitative investment strategies in what chief executive Larry Fink calls a ‘pivot,’” the Financial Times dryly notes. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, saw USD 20 bn flow out of actively managed funds last year. The news is prominently featured this morning in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Bloomberg.

Also raising eyebrows in finance circles today: Bloomberg sold fewer terminals last year than the year before, the Financial Times reports, the first time since the global financial crisis that the data giant has sold fewer of the USD 22k per annum boxes year-on-year. The catch: Overall spending on financial data is rising.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi arrived in Jordan for the Arab Summit that kicks off today, according to a statement from the President’s spokesman. El Sisi will be advancing agendas on terrorism and the economy and is expected to hold one-on-ones with other heads of state and government. Look for Syria and Yemen to but put on the backburner, Reuters suggests. Instead, attendees will focus on coming up with a unified policy what to do about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in light of The Donald. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is also skulking around Jordan for the summit.

The White House has officially confirmed El Sisi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, 3 April. “President Trump and President Al Sisi will use the visit to build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship. They will discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues, including how to defeat ISIS and pursue peace and stability in the region,” the statement said.

Contrary to earlier reports in the domestic press, El Sisi will take a trade delegation with him to the US — and talk business and politics while there. We have that news and more from the AmCham investment conference yesterday in our Spotlight section.

Also at AmCham yesterday: Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk confirmed the state budget should reach the House of Representatives by week’s end.

The Egyptian Private Equity Association’s seminar on “first-time SME equity fund managers in Egypt” takes place today from 9:30am-1:30pm at the Cairo Marriott

Random fact of the morning: Egypt is the second-largest market after India for Truecaller, the privacy-invasive caller ID app based in Sweden and backed by Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins. (We’re not recommending sharing your contacts with that thing. We’re just saying.)

What We’re Tracking This Week

If you’re filing taxes as a private citizen, you need to submit your tax return before the end of the week: The Tax Authority said it is extending its working hours to 8 pm nationwide until the end of the week. The head of the authority says the extension is to make it easier for taxpayers to file their returns before the 31 March filing deadline. The deadline for corporate filings is next month.

It’s interest rate week: The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meets Thursday to review rates.

On The Horizon

The return of private-sector owned and run free zones is still on the table. The House Economic Committee is holding a final session next week with representatives from the business community to discuss the potential return of privately owned free zones, Al Borsa reports. The committee had announced last week that the return might be allowed under the Investment Act is still on the table despite persistent rumblings about objections from the Finance Ministry.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Just like the foreign press, the talking heads of Egypt have begun to get excited about President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s DC trip next week to meet Trump.

Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer hosted AmCham President Anis Aclimandos to talk about economic ties between Egypt and the YS ahead of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s upcoming visit to the White House, which Aclimandos believes will be a harbinger of good news. Egypt, home to about 30% America’s investments in Africa, is an important market for US companies. American outfits should look at Egypt’s trade agreements with Europe and Africa and consider Omm El Donia as a potential manufacturing hub, Aclimandos said. “President Donald Trump will try to promote investment in Egypt if he believes it will benefit the US because he has a business mindset,” he added.

Over on Masaa DMC, Osama Kamal spoke to Industrial Development Authority (IDA) chief Ahmed Abdel Razek about his office’s plan to allocate around 60 mn sqm of land to industrial projects by 2020. In 2016 alone, the IDA issued 11.5 mn sqm (watch, runtime 3:24).

The host then moved on to the challenges facing SMEs in Egypt, where a gent by the name of Hossam Faried said the coming two years will be a great time in which to get into manufacturing given (a) the import substitution imperative and (b) the prevailing exchange rate (watch, runtime 7:08).

On Kol Youm, Amr Adib covered the Health Ministry’s agreement with Saudi-Egyptian infant milk producer Lacto-Misr, which will see the latter supply the ministry with an annual 18 mn packs a year starting next year, enough to cover the shortage in the domestic market, according to an announcement by Health Minister Ahmed Rady made on Tuesday. There was plenty of bloviating centered around MPs not buying the Health Ministry’s claim that it had basically forgotten that Lacto-Misr exists. The company exports to the Netherlands, but was apparently banned from selling in Egypt after a 2005 quality incident. Clips here and here and here if you must.

On Hona Al Assema, Lamees El Hadidi kicked off the qualifiers for the final stages of her EG Bank-sponsored Hona Al Shabab startup competition, which saw most votes going to the online psych platform Shezlong (watch, runtime 4:29).

Speed Round

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Shake up at Telecom Egypt: Telecom Egypt has appointed Ahmed El Beheiry as its new CEO, the state-owned landline monopoly announced in a regulatory disclosure. El Beheiry succeeds Tamer Gadalla, who was the subject of rumors surrounding his future in the company circulating earlier this week. The board of directors also announced adding Mohamed Barakat and Amr Mansour as the government’s representatives on the board replacing Lobna Helal and Gadalla. The appointments are for the remaining duration of the current board of directors’ term.

In other Telecom Egypt news, the Administrative Court has handed down a ruling against a lawsuit calling for the reversal of TE’s 2005 initial public offering, AMAY says. TE’s shares advanced 0.52% on the news

Separately, Cairo Metro company spokesperson denied chairman Ali Fadaly has submitted his resignation, Al Mal reports.

Government employees who don’t fall under the Civil Service Act are getting a 10% social welfare raise after the Finance Ministry signed off yesterday on the measure, which will apply retroactively from last July (the first month of the current fiscal year), Al Borsa reports. The minimum raise per employee was set at EGP 65 per month, and the maximum at EGP 120. According to Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, the measure will cost the state EGP 3.5 bn this fiscal year. El Garhy came to the agreement with the House Manpower Committee, which had been pushing to apply the raise to civil servants across the board. The committee had unilaterally approved a bill mandating the raise earlier this month, after the Ismail cabinet refused an original request to give civil servants an additional 10% social welfare bonus on top of the 7% annual bump granted under the Act. Articles 37 and 38 of the Act’s executive regulations stipulate a 7% annual raise for all civil regulations and allows an additional 5% performance-based bonus for a limited number of employees. Al Shorouk has the full text of the approved amendments.

So who’s getting a raise under the measure? State-employed physicians, teachers, public transportation workers, employees of most public-sector companies and a number of government bodies, including the central bank and the Central Auditing Organization.

IPO Watch- The Oil Ministry has greenlit the beginning of the process to offer up to 24% of state-owned oil and gas engineering contractor Enppi on the EGX, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The next step now is for issuance manager NI Capital to arrange the company’s fair value assessment.

The second USD 500 mn tranche of the African Development Bank’s USD 1.5 bn loan to Egypt will be disbursed within two weeks, pending final government procedures, Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer tells Al Borsa.

Raising the value-added (VAT) rate to 14% from 13% in FY 2017-18 should bring in an extra EGP 7-8 bn in revenues, Deputy Finance Minister Amr El Monayer told Reuters. The newswire notes that the delayed implementation of the VAT had the state targeting around EGP 20 bn in revenues from it in the current fiscal year.

Separately, the Finance Ministry has set three rates at which companies will be allowed to expense FX losses they incurred from sourcing USD from the parallel market in 2016, Al Borsa reports. Companies can write-off 15% of the variance between the official and parallel market rates for January-June of last year, 40% between July and September, and 60% in October 2016.

Sorry, counsel. You’re going to be paying VAT. The VAT will be applied to all “professional services” including accountants and lawyers but a payment system can be worked out for each profession, El Monayer also told Al Masry Al Youm. Agreements can be signed which would facilitate accounting procedures come tax season, he added. The ministry and the House Budgeting Committee agreed to hold meetings with the various syndicates to hammer out the details of the proposed procedures, according to Al Borsa. Actors’ guilds will be included in the new system, El Monayer is quoted as saying. The Lawyers Syndicate had filed a lawsuit to kill the VAT, saying it was unconstitutional to impose the tax on them.

Schneider Electric Egypt has had no trouble repatriating its profits out of Egypt since the EGP was floated in November, regional head of North East Africa and the Levant Walid Sheta tells Reuters. The company is also not meeting any issues sourcing FX since the float to purchase equipment and production inputs, said Sheta. His statements follows those by Air France-KLM Group VP Patrick Alexandre noting improvement in Egypt’s FX availability and repatriation. Schneider is also looking for some recognition for its work on Eni’s Zohr supergiant gas field, where it has provided electrical infrastructure and controls, Al Mal says. Schneider is also going to be bidding for contracts at the Daba’a nuclear power plant, Sheta tells the newspaper.

Unnamed company to build USD 624 mn pharma plant in Suez Canal Economic Zone: SCZone chief Ahmed Darwish said at a press conference yesterday that a USD 624 mn pharma plant will be built in the zone, a story getting considerable traction in the local press on a slow news day. The former minister provided no additional detail, but had previously said that an American company was interested in the opportunity. All factories to be established in the zone will be geared towards manufacturing, not packaging, Darwish said, adding that the SCZone’s tech cluster is also a promising home for would-be manufacturers of solar panels./

CIB has taken home two awards from Asian Banker magazine for Achievement in Operational Risk and Liquidity Risk Management for 2016 at the Future of Finance Middle East & Africa Summit held in Dubai, according to a statement.

Amazon announced yesterday it has reached an agreement to acquire regional e-commerce platform Souq, fending off last-minute rival bid. Subject to closing conditions, the transaction should be executed this year. Goldman Sachs advised on the transaction and although values and terms were not disclosed, a source described it as “the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world.” A document noted that Amazon’s entry into "attractive Middle East countries with significant growth potential given e-commerce only represents (roughly) 2% of retail sales.”

Souq probably wasn’t a unicorn after all, late stage investors may have taken a haircut: With Amazon reportedly thwarting a last-minute bid by Mohamed Alabbar’s Emaar Malls, sources tell Reuters Amazon still paid less than Emaar’s bid, keeping Souq’s valuation below the USD 1 bn mark it reportedly hit during its last equity raising last year.

Saudi Aramco’s IPO could be as big as USD 1.5 tn after the government announced it was cutting the company’s tax rate to 50%, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and Rystad Energy AS. Bernstein analysts predict that the tax cut will increase Aramco’s after-tax income by 300%, allowing for higher cash returns to shareholders, while Rystad Energy increased its valuation of Aramco by 250%, Bloomberg reports.

On a reasonably slow news day in Egypt, there are a handful of international stories worth knowing about:

The United Kingdom served notice under Article 50 last night. Or, to be precise, UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed a letter giving official notice under the Treaty of Lisbon provision. Qatar seized the occasion to toady up and pledge to invest GBP 5 bn over the coming three to five years. “Gulf state confident in the long term on British economy,” declared the FT. Reuters has more on the “show of support for the world’s fifth-largest economy.”

Canada is still considering a ban on laptops and tabletsin the cabins of inbound flights. Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said last week the federal government was evaluating intelligence provided by the US, Canada’s CBC News reports. Analysts and experts believe the hesitation suggests that there may be something that is less than compelling about what drove the US and UK to impose the ban. The head of the International Air Transport Association shares those doubts, it seems. Alexandre de Juniac called on governments to work with the transport industry to ensure passengers aren’t separated from their devices. “The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate,” de Juniac said in a speech picked up by the Associated Press.

China is giving Brazil and South Africa another year to join its infrastructure bank after the two missed a deadline at the end of 2016 to finalize procedures for joining.


Spotlight on: AmCham’s Tuesday investment conference

We attended AmCham’s “New Investment Horizon Conference” yesterday, where we learned that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s upcoming visit to Washington will include a trade delegation and business discussions. Other highlights from keynote speeches and presentations:

Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr:

  • Consistent with her remarks earlier this month at the EFG Hermes One on One, Nasr encouraged the business community to reach out to her at the earliest sign they may run into problems on a significant issue. They key is to ask for help before something escalates to the level of a dispute resolution committee.
  • The minister is pushing for region-specific investment incentives to drive investment in Upper Egypt, particularly in more labor-intensive sectors.
  • The government is studying locations for new free zones, including in the New Administrative Capital.
  • Foreign funding the international cooperation arm of her ministry is now arranging will be deployed to repay arrears, especially in the energy sector.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk:

  • The next phase of reforms will all be about supporting competitiveness, with a focus on trade, exporters, and manufacturers.
  • Also on the agenda: Shoring up the social safety net with more spending.
  • “Intended outcomes are starting to kick in,” Kouchouk said, pointing to data showing improvements in foreign currency cash flows to Egypt and stronger trade figures.
  • Early export figures for January-February 2017 show an increase by 20% y-o-y, he says.
  • Kouchouk confirmed the 2017-18 budget will be submitted to the House by Thursday and that an IMF delegation will visit end of April or early May prior to the disbursement of the second tranche of the loan.

GAFI Chairman Mohamed Khodeir:

  • One key reform we took note of in Khodeir’s remarks: the Investment Act will treat any license requests as issued and approved if it takes GAFI longer than 60 days to respond to them.
  • The Act comes with a temporary incentives program targeted for designated sectors, namely industry, electricity, and infrastructure sectors, in specific zones
  • The one-stop shop policy is a main focus of the Investment Act. “It does not mean GAFI makes all the decisions, but that the investor only deals with GAFI to apply for regulatory licenses,” Khodeir said.
  • New regulations will facilitate land allocation.

Separately, CI Capital’s head of investment banking Hesham Gohar told Al Mal that the market is ready for IPOs of state companies, noting that it takes anywhere between nine months and one year to prepare any company for an IPO.

The Macro Picture

There might not be a slowdown in productivity growth after all: In contrast with Deloitte Chief Economist Ian Stewart’s warning in yesterday’s issue that slowdowns in productivity growth could be contributing to a new-normal of weaker economic growth, Goldman Sachs says there could be early signs of a productivity rebound. GS suggests that the perceived slowdown could be because of a financial crisis-induced “temporary hangover” effect, increased measurement error, or both.

The measurement error is small, but GS Chief Economist Jan Hatzius and his team see two reasons with the temporary hangover effects are important: “First, a decomposition of productivity into its underlying drivers shows that slower growth in capital services per hour worked has been the most important drag. This looks like a cyclical consequence of the weakness of capital spending since the financial crisis, and there are some early signs that this weakness is abating. Second, while the official productivity data remain lackluster, they are quite lagged and there are some early signs of improvement in the higher-frequency indicators. A decomposition of GS Research’s Current Activity Indicator (CAI) shows that output-related indicators have been growing more rapidly relative to employment-type indicators over the past year or so. Historically this has been associated with acceleration in the official productivity measures over time.”

Image of the Day

Photographer Marwa Ragheb launched a photo series directed at the true cause of [redacted] harassment in Egypt: the silently complicit. The campaign, entitled “Your silence is harassment,” Ragheb photographs women in everyday scenarios getting harassed, with someone in the background with his mouth taped shut. Ragheb’s powerful and evocative images have received attention from Al Arabiya.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning are pickups of Thomas Cook’s statements that tourism in Egypt and Turkey is improving, which is music to our ears.

Coming in at a close second: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s upcoming visit to the White House. Outlets including The Hill are attempting to gauge what may be discussed beyond fighting terrorism. While the two will see eye to eye on security and the possibility of a regional alliance, Trump’s 20% cutbacks on foreign aid and to the State Department’s budget may be a source of friction. In the run-up to the visit, The Washington Times is noting the “heated debate” inside the US administration over the status of the Ikhwan after Trump “put on the back burner” an executive order that would have designated them as a terrorist organization.

Following the EGP float in November, UAE-based economist Abdulnasser Alshaali writes in Gulf News suggesting that “Egypt will need to be active in the following: one, ensuring that its newly-established fund to bail out insolvent companies is being effectively managed, bailing out only those worth saving. And, two, initiating huge infrastructure projects, the new capital being a China-like recipe for development and job creation.”

Other international coverage worth noting in brief:

  • India’s the Wire is running a very doom and gloom piece on the plight of Egypt’s middle class as a result of recent subsidies cuts.
  • Few are paying attention to the mosquito-borne diseases in Egypt and the region generally, according to Nature Middle East.
  • The release of former President Hosni Mubarak made for a stinging insult, Mona Eltahawy writes in The New York Times. Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Mieczyslaw Boduszynski believes that the trial was indicative of how fickle transitional justice in Egypt is.
  • Reuters is noting a video posted by Daesh-bags in Sinai beheading two men for sorcery. The run of terrorism pieces continues in Al Arabiya, where former Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Nabil Naeem calls out his old homeboy Ayman Al Zawahiri.

Worth Reading

Does Egypt still matter to the US? Samuel Tadros argues that it does, despite reservations from some people in Washington, but that the relationship should change. Despite the importance of rights of passage through the Suez Canal and flights over Egyptian airspace, the US can survive without both, he says. Tadros also argues that: Egypt’s control of the Arab League is no longer as strong as it was and that “the Arab League is irrelevant anyway,” maintaining peace with Israel no longer requires US support, Al Azhar no longer holds sway over the Muslim population, and a “cultural decline” left Egypt with limited soft power over the Arabic-speaking world amongst other challenges.

This doesn’t mean it’s time for the US to abandon Egypt: “It is precisely because of Egypt’s movement towards the regional abyss that the United States needs to reinvest in the American-Egyptian relationship. Egypt is no longer a regional player but rather a playing field where local, regional and international powers are in competition over the country’s future.” That said, Tadros believes the relationship should no longer be based on “an Egypt that no longer exists… Instead of focusing on military cooperation, the United States needs to develop a new partnership with Egypt that addresses the growing terrorist threat in the country, the collapse of the rule of law, the failed economic policies, the educational vacuum, and the growing sectarian hatreds that threatens the fate of the Middle East’s largest Christian community.”

Worth Watching

Cairo streets, you have outdone yourself once again: Imagine a placid drive down the October Bridge (we know, it’s a stretch), and the occasional motorcycle whizzes by. You turn and instead of the familiar sight of an entire tribe fitting on a moped, you catch some guy standing on his moving bike. You’d whip out your phone, of course — might as well, since traffic laws clearly don’t factor in anymore. The rider was pretty impressive. Stupid, reckless. But impressive. (watch, runtime: 0:30).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

South Korea wants a free trade agreement with Egypt: The Korean government is seeking a free trade agreement Egypt, according to Korean publication DongA Ilbo. The agreement would be Korea’s first with an African country as part of its plans to expand the reach of Korean companies regionally. The Korean ambassador to Egypt told Al Mal he wants the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries to increase to USD 3 bn.

So, that went well, right? We’re re-engaging with the Nile Basin countries, but don’t expect an overnight love-in: After Egypt attended the Nile Council of Ministers held in Entebbe, Ugandan newspaper the Independent reports: “‘We have rejected demands by the Egyptian government to take full control of the Nile’s water,’ said Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris. ‘The other countries also have a say on how the water is used, as they have growing populations that need to use the water as much as the Egyptians.’” Ah, domestic posturing. Ugandans: They’re just like us.

USAID’s Jordan boss denied entry to Egypt on technicality? Local media outlets are widely reporting Cairo Airport’s decision to bar Sean Osner, a director at USAID Jordan, from entering Egypt yesterday. Al Masry Al Youm says Osner arrived to Egypt with a diplomatic passport but had not obtained an entry visa. Osner was flown back to Jordan.

The Electricity Minister signed a EUR 115 mn facility with the European Investment Bank to fund a wind power plant in the Gulf of Suez, according to an Investment and International Cooperation Ministry statement. The Agence Française de Développement, the EU, and German Development Agency GIZ are contributing a further EUR 345 mn. The EIB will sign a EUR 500 mn contract with Banque Misr to support SMEs, EIB Director for Neighbouring Countries Heinz Olbers said, without giving a date.

The Agadir Agreement’s foreign ministers committee approved requests from Lebanon and Palestine to join the pact, Sky News Arabia reports. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia signed the trade agreement in 2004.


Sherif Ismail denies allocating daily rations of subsidized petrol

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail denied rumors that the government is allocating 5 liters of subsidized petrol to citizens per day, saying that there is no intention of doing so in any quantity, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Illegal fresh produce exports to Libya partly to blame for price increases

The increase in “illegal” exports of fresh produce to Libya is one of the reasons why fruit and vegetable prices are rising domestically, a member of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce told Ahram Gate. Other reasons behind the price increases include seasonal factors in the transition for winter to summer crops.

Food Exports Council launches initiative to help SME exporters

The Food Exports Council has launched an initiative to support SMEs in the food industry by helping bolstering their exports, Al Shorouk says.


Jushi’s third furnace to open in Suez in 2H17

Fiberglass producer Jushi Group’s third furnace will open in Suez in 2H17, three years ahead of schedule, Plastic News reports. The move would increase the facility’s annual production capacity will be 200K tonnes.

L’Oréal looking to develop Egypt’s chemical production

L’Oréal Egypt is looking to upgrade its Egypt’s chemical manufacturing, and wants to rely entirely on the domestic market for raw materials, country managing director Benoit Julia said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports.

Health + Education

Alexandria University signs nuclear cooperation MoU with MEPhi

Alexandria University and Russia’s National Research Nuclear University (MEPhi) signed an MoU to cooperate on mutual nuclear research and development programs a week ago, according to an emailed statement.

Gov’t to impose mandatory prices on dietary supplements starting April

The Health Ministry will begin issuing mandatory pricing on dietary supplements starting from April, Al Borsa reports. There were no details on how this mandatory pricing will be applied or what products it entails. Health Minister Ahmed Rady also said he is working on accelerating the approvals process for new medications.

Real Estate + Housing

Facing slowdown, contractors should look for projects abroad

Taking on work outside of Egypt could be the best way to for local contractors to alleviate the pressures caused by the EGP devaluation, Hossam Abougabal suggests in MEED. “Some contractors operating in Egypt have told MEED that although a government package is on the way, it is unlikely to truly reflect the actual increase of construction. Similarly some contractors have been unhappy with contracts already renegotiated with private sector clients,” Abougabal writes.

Automotive + Transportation

Red Sea Ports Authority approves restructuring maritime companies’ debts

The Red Sea Ports Authority approved restructuring the debts of maritime companies in a bid to keep the companies’ business and attract more companies to the port, Al Ahram reports. No details were provided on the names of the indebted companies or the value of the overdue payments. The move is the latest efforts to make maritime industry more attractive following five major shipping lines exiting the port of East Port Said over taxes.

Banking + Finance

Economic Appeals Court upholds NBE’s decision to freeze Misr Insurance assets

The Economic Appeals Court upheld the National Bank of Egypt’s (NBE) decision to freeze EGP 3 bn of Mirs Ins.’s liquid assets, NBE’s legal counsel Saher Al Faseeh said on Tuesday, according to Al Mal. We had reported in June that the NBE had frozen EGP 5.2 bn of Misr Insurance’s assets for failing to comply with an Economic Court ruling that forces the company to pay the NBE for insuring Hussein Salem’s East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) from default against a USD 174 mn loan.

Other Business News of Note

Tourism Urbanization Co. sends EGX official notice of its intention to delist

The state-owned Tourism Urbanization Co. has sent an official notice to the EGX of its intention to delist, a decision the company had taken last month.

Legislation + Policy

Maybe contractors will stop whining now

The House of Representatives’ general assembly approved the Contractor’s Compensation Act on Tuesday and has passed it on to the Council of State for a final review before it’s passed, Youm7 reports. Contractors had given Baby Huey a run for his money with their whining, pressing the House to issue the legislation that is expected to compensate them for losses incurred on government contracts as a result of the EGP float.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Judges call Sunday meeting to discuss amendments to the judicial code

Judges at the Council of State have called for a meeting on Saturday to discuss their objection to amendments to the judicial code that had been hastily approved by the House of Representatives on Monday, reportedly without prior consultations with any judicial authorities, Al Mal says. The amendments, among other things, would give the president the power to appoint the head of the Court of Cassation and the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, a power that currently rests with the judiciary.

Municipal elections will likely to be postponed to June 2018 -sources

Municipal elections to choose local council heads will likely not be held until after the next presidential elections by June 2018, as state coffers are not ready to bear the high costs of elections at the moment, sources close to the matter tell Al Shorouk.

On Your Way Out

Upper Egypt’s entrepreneurs face challenges to grow their business, often having to move to Cairo, Doaa Farid writes for Wamda. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s Imkan program in Upper wants to help them. The program offers technical training, marketing, financial and legal advice to over 20 early-stage startups and SMEs, UNIDO project coordinator Mohamed Soliman says. Their research apparently found out that the agribusiness, renewable energy and waste management sectors have the best chances to grow in Luxor.

A novel written by late writer Taha Hussein titled “The Sheikh’s Speech,” only published as a series of short stories in an newspaper in 1915 was discovered, Egyptian National Library and Archives chairman Mahmoud El Daba’ says, Ahram Gate reports. The book consists of 15 letters exchanged between the novel’s characters, discussing the issue of women’s rights. An official announcement will be made soon.

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0821 | Sell 18.1876
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.10 | Sell 18.20
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 18.00 | Sell 18.10

EGX30 (Tuesday): 12,982 (+0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 886 mn (104% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.2%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended 0.2% up. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Juhayna up 3.0%, Eastern Co up 2.0%, and Domty up 1.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks included Credit Agricole down 3.9%, GB Auto down 1.8%, and SODIC 1.0% down. The market turnover was EGP886 million, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP + 113.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP + 38.8 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP – 152.2 mn

Retail: 70.7% of total trades | 66n.0% of buyers | 75.5% of sellers
Institutions: 29.3% of total trades | 34.0% of buyers | 24.5% of sellers

Foreign: 12.6% of total | 19.0% of buyers | 6.2% of sellers
Regional: 10.5% of total | 12.7% of buyers | 8.3% of sellers
Domestic: 76.9% of total | 68.3% of buyers | 85.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.49 (+0.25%)
Brent: USD 51.33 (+1.14%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.09 MMBtu, (-0.26%, April 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,252.70 / troy ounce (-0.48%)

TASI: 6,872.8 (+0.3%) (YTD: -4.7%)
ADX: 4,469.7 (+0.1%) (YTD: -1.7%)
DFM: 3,447.0 (-0.2%) (YTD: -2.4%)
KSE Weighted Index: 417.9 (-0.8%) (YTD: +10.0%)
QE: 10,461.8 (+0.3%) (YTD: +0.2%)
MSM: 5,543.1 (-1.1%) (YTD: -4.1%)
BB: 1,377.6 (-0.4%) (YTD: +12.9%)

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29 March (Wednesday): First Time SME Equity Fund Managers in Egypt Opportunities and Challenges seminar, Marriott Zamalek Hotel, Cairo.

29-30 March (Wednesday-Thursday): Cityscape Egypt Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

29-31 March (Wednesday-Friday): Balanced Development of Siwa Oasis International Tourism Conference, Siwa Oasis.

30 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

31 March – 03 April (Friday-Monday): Cityscape Egypt Exhibition, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo. Register here.

03-06 April (Monday-Thursday): Agri & Foodex Africa, Khartoum International Fair Ground, Khartoum, Sudan.

04 April (Tuesday): Emirates NBD Egypt PMI reading for March announced. The report will be available here.

08-10 April (Saturday-Monday): Pharmaconex, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

16 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday.

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

20 April (Thursday): Closing date for the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority bid round number 1 for 2017 for gold and associated minerals.

22-24 April (Wednesday-Friday): Food Africa, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

24-25 April (Monday-Tuesday): Renaissance Capital’s Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

25-26 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): MENA New Energy conference, Hyatt Regency, Dubai.

28 April – 08 May (Friday-Monday): IMF delegation visit to Egypt to assess economic reforms.

30 April – 03 May (Sunday-Wednesday): Cement & Concrete 2017, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center, Saudi Arabia.

01 May (Monday): Labor Day, national holiday.

08-09 May (Monday-Tuesday): Third Egypt CSR Forum, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

16 May (Tuesday): Official expiry date for the decision to suspend capital gains taxes on stock market transactions.

22-23 May (Monday-Tuesday): North Africa Mobile Network Optimisation Conference, Cairo.

27 May (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

26-28 June (Monday-Wednesday): Eid Al-Fitr (TBC).

30 June (Friday): 30 June, national holiday.

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day, national holiday.

02-05 September (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday (TBC).

17-19 September (Sunday-Tuesday): Pipeline-Pipe-Sewer-Technology Conference & Exhibition, Intercontinental Citystars Hotel, Cairo.

20-23 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

22 September (Friday): Islamic New Year, national holiday (TBC).

06 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

01 December (Friday): Prophet’s Birthday, national holiday.

08-10 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown 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.

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