Thursday, 1 June 2017

We’ve made it through the first week of Ramdan


What We’re Tracking Today

Well, we have (almost) made it to the weekend. Happy first week of Ramadan, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, and it’s the first day of June. Anyone else feel as if 2017 is going by on fast-forward, or is it just us?

If it’s the first of the month, it’s stats time: The Egyptian Exchange’s brokerage league table should be released today, and The Emirates NBD / Markit purchasing managers’ index should be out on Monday, 5 June. Central bank of Egypt reserve numbers should be out next week, and CAPMAS typically releases inflation figures on 10-11 of the month.

Talks with Sudan back on: Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour is set to meet with his Egyptian counterpart on Saturday, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid. It is being suggested by diplomatic sources that the talks will explore “ongoing economic issues,” a veiled reference to the blanket ban on imports of agricultural and animal products from Egypt that Sudan imposed this week. The talks are also seen covering political issues that are at the root of the flap — and that escalated last week when Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir accused Egypt of arming rebels in Sudan. Regional issues including Libya will also be on the agenda. Ghandour was originally scheduled to visit this week, but canceled his trip “due to internal issues.”

Sometimes, a low profile is the way to go: Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil has reportedly (and quite sensibly) instructed senior ministry officials not to talk about Sudan’s ban on Egyptian imports, sources tell Al Mal. In a lovely statement of the obvious, the story suggests that given the root cause of the ban is political, it may not be appropriate to blather on about unfettered trade.

The executive regulations governing the stamp tax on capital market transactions should be out in a few days’ time, a Finance Ministry source tells Al Mal. The stamp tax is expected to be implemented within the next week.

Shut your Face, close your Tweeter. We’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you’re reading Enterprise, you’re unlikely to be a closet Daesh sympathizer. But do you really want US immigration officials scrolling through whatever you ranted about when you were tipsy four years ago? Or that racy image you accidentally RT’ed? No? Then now might be a good moment to embrace privacy and get off social media as “the Trump administration has rolled out a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants worldwide that asks for social media handles for the last five years and biographical information going back 15 years,” according to Reuters. You can check out the State Department’s new questionnaire (called the DS-5535 Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants”) here in pdf.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

INVESTMENT WATCH- Pharma giant Sanofi is looking to increase investments in Egypt by EUR 70 mn “in the coming period,” company representative told Investment Minister Sahar Nasr. Pfizer is also looking to expand in Egypt, with plans for a USD 50 mn investment. Nasr also met with executives from Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pharma Egypt to discuss investment opportunities, according to Al Borsa.

Candy maker Mars is also looking to expand in Egypt, with Ahmed Seddik, Mars’ boss for North Africa and the Levant, telling Nasr yesterday that the company will invest EGP 750 mn over an unspecified timeframe. A ministry statement puts Mars’ current investments in Egypt at EGP 2bn. Nasr also noted yesterday that the UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim Group has plans to expand the footprint of its Carrefour chain in Egypt.

IPO program for state companies inches forward: The Investment Ministry has asked for a list of state companies that could be candidates for the government’s IPO program, Al Mal reports. The government will be moving forward with the program “in the coming period,” Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, and investment banks have been invited to pitch for the listing of Enppi. State-owned investment bank NI Capital had compiled an initial list of 10 companies that could be listed.

Foreign investment in Egyptian treasuries increased 13% in the past week to EGP 136 bn (USD 7.5 bn), the Finance Ministry’s head of public debt, Sami Khallaf, told Reuters. The increase followed the central bank’s decision to raise interest rates by 200 bps. Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer described the level of investment since the rate hike as “historic,” Ahmed Feteha writes in Bloomberg. Separately, central bank data showed that M2 money supply grew by 38.7% y-o-y in April.

The central bank received on Wednesday the USD 3.2 bn that Egypt raised in last week’seurobond sale, unnamed bank officials tell AMAY. Proceeds from the issuance will be used to bolster foreign currency reserves, for which May figures should be announced next week.

Renaissance Capital MENA CEO Ahmed Badr sets Bloomberg’s morning show hosts straight on Egypt. Our friend Ahmed Badr held down the fort on Bloomberg’s regional morning show yesterday, fielding questions on Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the still-unfolding intra-GCC tiff from both Yousef Gamal El Din in Dubai and Sherry Ahn in Hong Kong. The highlights:

Why didn’t the EGP move against the USD after a 200 bps rate hike? Gamal El-Din was bothered that “inflows have touched a record high with investors taking advantage of low USD-based valuations … but we haven’t seen movement in the currency after the 200 bps interest rate hike. This is not a normal reaction from a currency.” While acknowledging there was pressure from the IMF to curb inflation with a rate hike, Badr says he thinks “the real reason the central bank did it is to get the inflows you’re talking about — we’re talking about the carry trade. If you look at it since the rate hike, we’ve had about USD 1 bn into treasury bills. What the CBE was after was the hot money. And for the hot money to keep coming in, you need the rates to remain attractive, you need the EGP to remain [affordable]. And if you look at the overall economy, a 2% rate hike in an economy in which less than 10% of households have bank accounts is not going to affect the EGP much. And I think there are still a lot of other things [in play]: Tourism is still coming back, there’s still a lot of demand for USD, so that’s why it’s all balancing out.”

Badr likes consumer stocks, banks: “Investors are still looking at consumer stocks … they’re looking beyond the adjustment period in 2017 because at the end of the day, the EGP is very cheap. … And banks, of course. If you’re betting on an economy to recover, then banks are going to be the first place you’re going to look.”

Gamal El-Din seemed certain that remittances — a “huge part” of Egypt’s currentaccount — are being hurt by low oil prices. Badr explained that, “Actually, if you look at remittances in Egypt, they haven’t dropped at all. They’ve been very stable and they will always be a fundamental part of supporting the current account.”

But what about inflation? “Are they on top of it or not? Because it doesn’t look like it,”asks Gamal El-Din. “The answer is ‘Yes.’ We’ve seen it coming down. The people who have argued the rate hike and seen that it’s about inflation argued that it’s actually a bit late, because inflation has already started to come down [month-on-month]. It was a positive surprise,” Badr said.

You can watch Badr’s comments on Egypt herestarting at about 34:58. Or back up to 31:00 for his remarks on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, where Badr argues that: (a) The economic reforms program has yet to filter through to the economy, so investors remain cautious and (b) The MSCI upgrade will happen in 2019 at the earliest, so “we’re seeing foreigners slowly trying to chip into stocks that are expected to be heavyweights in a potential MSCI inclusion” but it’s far “too early to say the market is pricing that inclusion in.

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil issued amendments to import and export regulations on Wednesday meant to slash red tape, AMAY reports. The new regulations — which go into effect today — make it mandatory to process payments for imported goods worth USD 2k or more through the domestic banking system. The changes also make it mandatory for banks to notify the Customs Authority electronically of proof of payment before ports can allow importers to transport their goods. Among the other stipulations:

  • Importers must be registered in the Importers Registry and be licensed to purchase their respective goods;
  • Manufacturers importing production inputs and raw materials will not be required to register. The Industrial Development Authority will, however, be required to document raw material imports and file reports with the Customs Authority, which will in turn pass that information on to the government;
  • Banks will also have to process importers’ customs administration fees and transfer those directly to the Trade Ministry’s main account at the CBE.

Government agencies have three months to transition to the new regulations, while businesses were given six months, according to Al Borsa.

In other news from the ministry, the new Industrial Permits Act is now in full effect, the ministry said on Wednesday, according to Al Shorouk. The act is meant to expedite industrial licensing and was published in the Official Gazette earlier this month after passing through the House of Representatives.

The Ismail government signed off on amendments to the Consumer Protection Act during its weekly meeting on Wednesday, according to a Cabinet statement. The amendments had stirred tension in the business community, particularly provisions that would allow the government to set price controls. Cabinet also began discussing amendments to the Companies Act announced by the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry had issued last week that aim to protect minority shareholder rights by forcing longer notice periods of general assemblies. Discussion is expected to continue at cabinet’s next meeting. Other decisions yesterday included:

  • Approving a draft bill that would establish a single agency to govern all river transport and commercial traffic on the Nile;
  • Approving amendments to the criminal code to that will impose a prison sentence of 15-20 years on individuals found guilty of kidnapping, with the penalty rising to life in prison or a death sentence if the kidnapping is linked to other crimes;
  • Approving a USD 88.6 mn loan agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to fund the creation of an Egyptian-Japanese education curriculum.

There are 500k unregistered buildings nationwide with a combined estimated market value of EGP 300 bn, the Housing Ministry’s Building Technical Inspection Authority chairman Abdel Moneim Saleh tells Al Borsa. Saleh says the ministry expects a haul of EGP 150 bn if the illegal developers filed to resolve the disputes. This is pending approval of a law on the resolution of construction violations the House is discussing. Saleh adds that dispute resolution is the only practical solution available now, as “99% of the properties” are inhabited and even tearing them down would involve high costs. Reclaiming state land and seizing unlicensed developments has been a major government priority, with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi launching a campaign early last month to “reclaim” the land and kick out squatters.

On that front, the state tore down buildings with a combined built up area of 18.39 mn sqm and has reclaimed more than 394.5k feddans of state-owned land in 26 governorates since the campaign began, the Agriculture Ministry said in its report on the seizures on Wednesday, reports AMAY.

EARNINGS WATCH- Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC) reported a consolidated net profit of EGP 66.1 mn in 1Q2017, up from a net loss of EGP 1.4 mn in the same period last year. Revenues increased to EGP 121.3 mn in 1Q2017, up from EGP 10.3 mn in 1Q2016, on the back of revenue recognized from the sale of land plots. The company’s management notes that, “As Sahl Hasheesh becomes one of the fastest growing Red Sea coastal destinations in Egypt, the company’s growth in sales follows management’s successful strategy of controlling the supply of the company’s land bank starting late 2015 — during which major land sales were halted — with the aim of maximize its future value.”

In its maiden earnings as a publicly traded company, Raya Contact Center (RCC) reported a fivefold year-on-year jump in consolidated net profits to EGP 40.2 mn in 1Q17, up from EGP 8.0 mn in 1Q16. Revenues for the quarter were up 87.6% y-o-y to EGP 174 mn, up from EGP 92.8 mn during 1Q16. “ Revenue growth for the quarter was driven by our push for organic expansion over the course of FY2016 — and as we capitalized on our global price-competitiveness as an Egyptian service exporter following the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016. Offshore revenues grew 105.5% y-o-y in 1Q17 to EGP 138.3 mn, representing c. 80% of total revenues in the period. Our revenue mix continued to be dominated by our outsourcing segment, which generated some 77.6% of our total revenue in 1Q17, followed by our hosting services at 13.7% and insourcing at 8.7%,” said RCC CEO Reem Asaad.

The National Press Authority appointed press syndicate head Abdel Mohsen Salama as chairman of Al Ahram, Ahram Online reports. Hit the link for the full list of new editors-in-chief and chairmen.

Editors of blocked websites hold press conference: Editors-in-chief from some of the 21 websites blocked by the Ismail government for allegedly spreading fake news or being pro-terror condemned the ban at a press conference held at the Press Syndicate yesterday, Daily News Egypt reports. In a statement yesterday neither supporting nor condemning the ban, the Press Syndicate said it will continue to support journalists’ right to freedom of expression and opinion, but added that it must also take into consideration the interests of the state. The tepid statement also said the syndicate will work to solve the issue and stressed that it has been “transparent” about the situation from the beginning. The statement highlights apparent rifts within the syndicate’s board, after four board members publicly condemned the ban as unconstitutional and called on syndicate head Abdel Mohsen Salama to hold a meeting to discuss it.

Publishers of the blocked websites have reportedly lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor General and are also planning to file suit against the CIT Minister for imposing the ban without a court order, Press Syndicate board member Mohamed Abdel Hafiz said, Al Mal reports.

The state’s Supreme Media Council announced at a separate press conference yesterday that it has received complaints from six of the affected websites, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Three of the complaints are from Al Borsa, Daily News Egypt, and Al Mesryoon, whose assets have been frozen over alleged connections to the Ikhwan, council head Mohamed Makram Ahmed said. A subcommittee will be formed to look into the complaints from the remaining three websites — Mada Masr, Masr Al Arabia, and Al Qahera — on Sunday.

The suspenders tighten: In other news from our dysfunctional fourth estate, the Supreme Media Council is apparently mulling whether to file a complaint with the Prosecutor General against firebrand journalist and former television host Ibrahim Eissa on the grounds that he has been provoking sectarian strife with his newspaper, Al Maqal, Al Masry Al Youm reports.


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The Macro Picture

You know millennials are coming of age when Goldman Sachs has its eye on them. The generation, one of the largest in history “is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.”

Retailers are closely watching the cohort’s shopping habits, Goldman Sachs Research’s Lindsay Drucker Mann explains in a video (runtime 02:31). There are three critical changes millennials are bringing: first is a greater migration to online shopping and, from there, the second factor is the increased impact of online retailers. Third, Drucker Mann says, is the creation of new demand models that include efficient exchanges of pre-owned products and buying directly from factories and moving further away from traditional models.

In an excellent infographic, Goldman Sachs presents some well-known facts about the cohort, the first generation of digital natives. It shows that millennials are indeed delaying decisions like house ownership, marriage, and having kids. They also have higher debt levels and are reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Millennials are also exercising more, eating smarter, and smoking less than previous generations.

Image of the Day

A snapshot of Egypt: A river taxi is crossing the Nile is how French Instagram user Olivier Romano describes the image. Romano who has had three pictures featured by The Guardian. He took a cruise in the Nile from Aswan to Luxor on a ship built in 1885 for King Fouad.

Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign media this morning is morenegative ink on the signing of the controversial NGO Act this week. First up has to be the Washington Post, whose partisan editorial board cannot go on a rest in blaming US President Donald Trump for “not lecturing” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on human rights. This they believe resulted in both the website ban and the NGO Act passing when it did. It concludes with a call to congress to block military aid to Egypt. Al Jazeera added nothing new to that hypothesis, beyond suggesting that El Sisi banking on Trump was a miscalculation, as it is congress that holds the purse-strings to Egypt’s aid.

And then, surprisingly enough, there is Bloomberg View, which ran a particularly sour “I told you so” opinion piece by Noah Feldman. While it goes against the mold of blaming Trump and the US for the NGO Act and the website ban and gives Egyptians credit as mature adults who can make decisions on their own, Feldman criticizes Egyptians for overthrowing Morsi adding that they have themselves to blame for the “repression” that followed.

A number of outlets have taken to questioning who exactly Egypt is bombing inLibya. Sputnik Radio interviewed managing director of the Libya-Analysis consultancy and deputy director at Eye on ISIS in Libya, Rhiannon Smith, who questions the strategy of blanket bombing of terrorists, saying that the situation will only destabilize Libya further. Smith seems particular critical of the Egyptian government choosing a side in the multi-factional conflict there.

It has even been suggested by Reuters’ Ahmed Aboulenein and Giles Elgood that the air raids on Libya were planned all along to bolster the position of Egypt’s ally in the conflict Khalifa Haftar and that the massacres in Minya were a pretext to launch them. A leading target of the allies was the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, which reportedly denied attacking Egypt and has limited operating capacity outside of Derna. Breitbart is also picking up coverage of Egypt’s targets in Libya and their relation to the attacks in Egypt.

No, don’t drag us into this: A defense analyst told semiofficial Russian media outlet Sputnik that the “closer relations” between Russia and Egypt show that both nations are “‘committed to counter’ the policies which Washington and Riyadh pursue in the Middle East.” The story also quotes a separate unnamed, Egypt-based expert as saying Egypt and Russia are committed to fighting extremism and are acutely aware of the threat presented by militants returning from Iraq and Syria.

The proposed efforts to reorganize how Al Azhar is governed were designed not just to change things at senior levels, but were more audacious and aimed “to reach deep into its functioning,” Nathan Brown and Mariam Ghanem write in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The proposed amendments would have restricted the tenure of Al Azhar’s Grand Imam to 12 years, allowed for a committee to investigate him in cases of misconduct, introduced a process to remove him, changed how he is chosen, and added members with secular expertise to the Body of Senior Scholars, among other changes. The draft would have also called for the separation of literary and scientific colleges from Al Azhar University. Brown and Ghanem say Al Azhar was more successful than the judiciary in fighting law that would have changed how it operates.

French solidarity group l’Oeuvre d’Orient has called on the international community to “extend its action to Egypt and to support the struggle of the Egyptian State against terrorist groups,” following the terrorist attacks targeting Copts, Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner writes for La Croix. Hoffner writes that the motivation behind the attacks is “to condemn the government as being incapable of protecting its own citizens” as well as to show Egyptians Daesh’s “capacity for harm” but “without necessarily provoking a sense of animosity.” Separately, the leader of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Dr Richard Clarke, has urged people to pray for Coptic Christians in Egypt, describing the victims of the attacks as martyrs.

…The attacks on Egyptian Christians are part of a pattern of rising terrorist and mob attacks on non-Muslims in Muslim countries, Farahnaz Ispahani writes for the Huffington Post. HA Hellyer says in The National the attacks in Egypt and Iraq show a need for a new understanding of the social contract between Arabs.

On Deadline

A state ban on some 21 news website accused of spreading fake news and / or of being pro-terror is being widely pilloried by the nation’s columnists. Ashraf El Barbary called the move illegal and unconstitutional in more ways than one. In a piece penned for Al Shorouk, El Barbary claims the fact that no government body has laid claim to the decision points to its dubious legality, adding that most of the websites are licensed with the government and did not receive prior notification of the ban. Meanwhile, Ahmed Samir takes to the pages of Al Masry Al Youm to express his disbelief that some are justifying the ban by saying countries such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Burma also restrict their citizens’ access to the Internet. Abdel Naby El Shahat defended the ban in Youm7, calling it a national security imperative.

Worth Watching

The Devolution of Arabic Music: Alaa Wardi, a Saudi-Iranian singer (we can’t help but wonder what his family reunions are like) has created an acapella mashup of 42 of the most popular songs in the Arab world. With the help of Angham, Wardi takes us back to the early 1900s to present day, covering icons and divas such as Fairuz, Om Kolthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez, Amr Diab, Elissa, and Nancy Ajram. He sings well, does these legends justice, and the nostalgia definitely put a smile on our faces. An unintended consequence: It really starts going downhill once you get to Saad El Majarad territory. (Watch, runtime: 6:17).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vázquez, marking the first official visit from a Uruguayan president since 1932, according to an emailed Ittihadiya statement. The two leaders discussed the trade liberalization agreement between Egypt and the Mercosur region, which Vázquez said “will reinvigorate economic relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of agriculture, livestock and energy.”
Vázquez and El Sisi also looked at cooperating in the food and agriculture sectors.

We should have a Russian industrial zone agreement by fall: The Russian Industrial Zone in East Port Said’s signing is expected to take place by this fall, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said, according to TASS. Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil is reportedly set to visit Russia next month to finalize the signing. A framework agreement to set a timeline for the Zone is expected to be signed in June and will include 17 projects with USD 22 bn investments.

The Egyptian embassy’s building and the ambassador’s residence in Kabul were significantly damaged in a blast that claimed the lives of at least 80 people in the diplomatic square, according to a Foreign Affairs ministry statement. One embassy guard was also injured.


GE, Shanghai Electric, and a Marubeni-Mitsubishi JV bid for Hamrawein

General Electric, Shanghai Electric, and a Marubeni-Mitsubishi JV are the three biggest players bidding on the USD 8 bn Hamrawein “clean coal” power plant, government sources tell Al Borsa. Belgian consultant Tractebel is reportedly about to start reviewing the three technical and financial offers that the Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) received earlier this month.

Basic Materials + Commodities

USD 100 mn silos complex inaugurated in Luxor

A USD 100 mn silos complex built by Denmark’s Cimbria was inaugurated in early May by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Luxor, Susan Reidy reports for The facility consists of 23 silos with a total storage capacity of 1.38 mn tonnes of wheat. “Geographically, the locations of the 23 plants stretch from the Mediterranean Sea and Suez all the way down to Aswan, in addition to a plant at East Owinate, 600 km west of Aswan,” writes Reidy.

Dutch company helping Egyptian producers transition to high value vegetables

Dutch company Rijk Zwaan is taking part in Egypt’s production transition from low to high value vegetables, according to a profile on Fresh Plaza. “At our R&D station located in Ismalia, we execute a tailor-made program testing new varieties that can withstand the climate conditions and are resistant to local diseases. As the weather in Egypt is representative for the Middle East region, the varieties can also be successfully cultivated in the neighbouring countries,” MD Tarek El Said says, adding that the transition to “high value seeds has started.”

Fish prices down by 30-40% after export restrictions

Fish prices have fallen 30-40% since the imposition of export restrictions, Cairo Chamber of Commerce’s Fish Division suggested, according to Al Borsa. An EGP 12,000 per tonne fee was imposed on the exports of fish for four months starting at the end of April.

GASC buys 180k tonnes of Russian, Romanian wheat

GASC bought 180,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat in a purchase tender on Wednesday, Reuters reports.


Tourism Ministry agrees to launch cruise trips between Egypt and Greece

The Tourism Ministry reached an agreement with Greece last week to launch cruise lines between the two countries, international relations advisor to the Tourism Minister Samy Mahmoud tells Al Shorouk. The trips will begin with medium-sized cruise ships carrying 700-800 passengers between Greece and Egypt, via Port Said and Alexandria. The ministry plans to begin using larger ships with a passenger capacity of 2000-5000 individuals by 2019.

Telecoms + ICT

Huawei Egypt halts supplies to e-commerce platforms

Huawei Egypt stopped the direct supply of its products to online retailers including Jumia and, accusing them of “burning prices,” sources tell Al Borsa. The online retailers are accused of selling at prices 5-10% below market. Jumia Egypt CEO Hesham Safwat denied the halt by Huawei, saying both companies are in talks for a partnership.

Automotive + Transportation

Amid sales slump, car dealers looking to attract would-be Uber and Careem drivers

The story reads as a paid advertisement for a domestic car dealer, but the theme nevertheless holds: Where a few years back car dealers made bank selling on installments to taxi drivers through the state-backed “white cab” program, today they’re angling for agreements with ridesharing apps including Uber and Careem to offer payment on installments, Al Mal reports.

Banking + Finance

MM Group partners with BPE Partners to form investment financing company

MM Group for Industry and International Trade announced partnering with BPE Partners to operate an investment finance company. The company, in which MM Group will control 50%, will be called Ibtikar for Investment Finance and will provide financing for SMEs, e-payments, and financial leasing.

NBE to arrange EGP 1.6 bn loan for Elsewedy Cement

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is arranging a EGP 1.6 bn loan for Elsewedy Cement to finance a new factory in Ain Sokhna, Al Borsa reports. NBE, QNB Alahli Bank, and Banque Misr will provide the loan. NBE and QNB had previously provided Elsewedy Cement with a EGP 650 mn bridge loan for its factory.

Other Business News of Note

NBC News has finalized its acquisition of 25% stake in Euronews

NBC News has finalized its acquisition of 25% stake in Euronews from OTMT chairman Naguib Sawiris for EUR 25 mn, Market Watch reports. The new channel will be rebranded as EuronewsNBC, adorned with the peacock feathers and everything. The sale of channel, which Naguib held a majority stake in, was announced back in February.

Cairo Airport launches tender for food and beverage spaces at Terminal 2

Cairo Airport Company opened bidding to food and beverage companies for four restaurant spaces at Terminal 2, according to The Moodie Davitt Report. The deadline for bidding is 2 July. The terminal was upgraded following USD 400 mn renovations.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Customs exchange kept unchanged rate at EGP 16.50 to the USD in June

The Finance Ministry kept the customs exchange rate unchanged at EGP 16.50 per USD 1 for June, Minister Amr El Garhy told Reuters. This is about 9% below the market exchange rate, the newswire notes.

Banks cover USD 35 bn in imports since EGP float

The banking sector has covered USD 35 bn in imports since the EGP was floated back in November until May 2017, said CBE Sub-Governor Tarek Fayed in a emailed statement. Banks covered USD 25 bn in letters of credit to importers and have issued USD 10 bn in new LCs during the period, he added.

National Security

Sobhi meets with Cameroonian counterpart in Cairo

Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi and Army Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazi met with Cameroonian Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo in Cairo to discuss bilateral cooperation and the war on terrorism in Africa, according to Ahram Online.

Three military officers, one conscript killed in Western Desert

Three military officers and a conscript were killed yesterday by an explosive belt seized from Islamist militants in the Western Desert, Reuters reports.

On Your Way Out

Among the most-clicked stories in Enterprise in the past week:

  • How to get your state-issued smart card for subsidized fuel. (
  • Our nomination for the ultimate Ramadan business story for business owners and PE type: At Tim Hortons it’s not business as usual: Profits are up, but so is franchisee discontent. (Financial Post)
  • Some monkey who styles hair with fire. (Facebook video)
  • Is China’s economy turning Japanese? (Financial Times)
  • List of websites apparently banned in Egypt (Al Mal) (tie)
  • Around the World in 30 Steaks: The Best From Las Vegas to Tokyo (Bloomberg) (tie)

Things we’re going to be reading this weekend, for better or for worse:

And last, but not least: “What happened to USD 650 mn? An explosive legal battle between one of Hollywood’s best-paid actors and the business managers he fired has laid bare tumultuous finances, outrageous spending and troubling behavior on Disney’s new ‘Pirates’ movie in a case that could even change how the industry does business.” Read Johnny Depp: A Star in Crisis and the Insane Story of His "Missing" Mns

The markets yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 18.0324 | Sell 18.1353
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 18.05 | Sell 18.15
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.95 | Sell 18.05

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,340 (+0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 2.9 bn (41% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +8.1%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 3.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: CIB up 3.0%, Credit Agricole up 2.4%, and Heliopolis Housing up 1.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Cairo Oils & Soap down 3.8%, Juhayna down 3.3%, and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 3.2%. The market turnover was EGP 2.9 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +264.1 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -111.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -153.0 mn

Retail: 29.2% of total trades | 27.7% of buyers | 30.6% of sellers
Institutions: 70.8% of total trades | 72.3% of buyers | 69.4% of sellers

Foreign: 49.2% of total | 53.8% of buyers | 44.7% of sellers
Regional: 11.2% of total | 9.3% of buyers | 13.1% of sellers
Domestic: 39.6% of total | 36.9% of buyers | 42.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.75 (+0.89%)
Brent: USD 50.31 (-2.95%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.09 MMBtu, (+0.62%, July 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,269.90 / troy ounce (-0.43%)

TASI: 6,871.24 (+0.01%) (YTD: -4.70%)
ADX: 4,427.30 (-1.65%) (YTD: -2.62%)
DFM: 3,339.37 (-0.03%) (YTD: -5.42%)
KSE Weighted Index: 404.46 (+0.59%) (YTD: +6.41%)
QE: 9,901.38 (-1.61%) (YTD: -5.13%)
MSM: 5,421.95 (+0.36%) (YTD: -6.24%)
BB: 1,319.75 (-0.04%) (YTD: +8.14%)

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26 May-23 June (Friday-Friday): Window for firms to submit expressions of interest to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for consulting on Egypt’s oil and gas sector reform, London, UK.

07-09 June (Wednesday-Friday): 19th Annual Africa Energy Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

11 June (Sunday): Egyptian Private Equity Association’s annual Sohour, Four Seasons Hotel Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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

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

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

13-15 July (Thursday-Saturday): AGRENA’s 19th Annual Poultry, Livestock, and Fish show, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

15-19 July (Saturday-Wednesday): SSIGE’s GeoMEast 2017 International Congress and Exhibition, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

03-05 August (Thursday-Saturday): Watrex Expo Middle East, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Center.

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

26 August (Saturday): 27th Egyptian-Jordanian Joint Higher Committee meeting, Amman Jordan. (TBC).

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.

18-19 September (Monday-Tuesday): Euromoney Egypt conference, venue TBD.

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).

25-27 September (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Downstream Summit and Exhibition, Kempinski Royal Maxim Palace, Cairo.

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

03-05 October (Tuesday-Thursday): J.P. Morgan’s Credit and Equities Emerging Markets Conference, London, UK.

18-19 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Middle East Info Security Summit, Sofitel El Gezirah, Cairo.

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

11-12 October (Wednesday-Thursday): 2030 Mega Projects Conference, Nefertiti Hall, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

11-13 October (Wednesday-Friday): Middle East and Africa Rail Show, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo.

18-20 October (Wednesday-Friday): AfriLabs annual gathering with the theme “Smart Cities,” The French University, Cairo. Register here.

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

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

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Solar-Tec, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

03-05 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix, Cairo International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

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

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

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