Monday, 28 August 2017

The pre-Eid, end-of-summer news slowdown has begun :)


What We’re Tracking Today

We’re deep in the arms of the pre-Eid news slowdown, the effect of which is magnified by it taking place during the last week of the last “real” month of summer. You’ll want to pay close attention to the news on Thursday morning, though — what better time for corporations and regional governments alike to take bad news to the street than on the morning when journalists’ thoughts are elsewhere with the start of a five-day weekend?

Markets are rather sleepy, too: Turnover on the EGX yesterday was an anemic EGP 373 mn, or about 58% below the trailing 90-day average. That’s just about the lowest turnover in the past year.

Also appropriate to the time of year: A divorced couple take their son to college in this essay by former rocker-turned-writer and middle-aged mom Laurie Lindeen for the New York Times. Though the resident 10-year-old has already chosen the university she wishes to attend, we’re rather grateful to have a few years left before that’s us in the car dropping the kid off.

You know The Donald is losing business not when CEOs resign from his councils, but when they’re pulling their money off the table. An analysis by the Financial Times found that “Executives and board members at the top six US banks have been consistent sellers of their own banks’ shares this year,” in a piece “Wall St’s top bankers sell own groups’ shares as Trump rally reverses.” The piece says the share sales “suggest former optimism about the economy and policy is fading.”

Döner kebab is not just Germany’s unofficial national dish — one of us grew up on the stuff in North America, consuming a variety that was called “donair” and (rather universally) slathered with a sauce sweeter than it was garlicky or fiery. (That flavor has even been immortalized in a potato chip.) Imagine, then, our joy at finding the beautifully photographed Biting into Berlin’s Most Popular Dish (Not Schnitzel), a five-restaurant tour of that nation’s capital, one döner at a time.

Game of Thrones season 7 comes to a close: Winter has ended too soon for our liking this year, as the penultimate season of Game of Thrones wraps up today for us here in the Middle East (yesterday if you’re reading from the US or Canada). With filming of the six-episode season eight set to start only in October, it’s unlikely the show will be coming back before July next year, especially as the story wades deeper into winter. We’re expecting nothing short of an epic battle (or two) to conclude this wondrous series. Until then, we leave you with this one “epic rap battle of history,” pitting series creator George R. R. Martin against the master of the Lord of the Rings universe, author J.R.R. Tolkien. Whether you’re a fan of one or the other, this is one showdown you’ll want to check out (watch, runtime 2:48).

And if you’re up to date with your Thrones, you might also want to check out this interview with director Alan Taylor, who talks to Deadline Magazine about “the trick” in filming last week’s episode six to make it look as real as possible. “We were not going to be plunging people into water on a frozen lake in Iceland in the winter and then having to reset the ice and do it again,” he says.

The American loudmouth (rather handily) beat the Irish loudmouth in whatever that fight was early yesterday morning. ESPN has the details, while the New York Times serves up the social commentary. The Irish loudmouth looks set to take home about USD 100 mn from the fight, with the American loudmouth taking some USD 200 mn or more.

Oh, and one last thing: Uganda’s team captain, Denis Onyango, is warning the Pharaohs to expect “fireworks.” The smack talk comes as the two teams gear up for Thursday’s FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier in Kampala. BBC Sport has the story.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The central bank will be reviewing the Federation of Egyptian Banks’ (FEB) notes on the draft of changes to the Banking and Central Bank Act this week, sources tell Al Borsa. The same sources say to expect central bank officials to be in and out of meetings with members of the FEB in the weeks to follow, as they attempt to reconcile a number of controversial items on the bill, including term limits for managing directors, CBE representation on bank boards, and a proposal that banks kick in 5% of their bottom line for an industry development fund.

An amended Nile traffic bill is making its way to the Council of State (Maglis Al Dawla) before being handed to the House Transportation Committee for discussion once parliament begins its fall session, Al Mal reports. Cabinet had signed off on the draft law last week.

Also on the legislative front, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Ismail cabinet reviewed the long-awaited Universal Healthcare Act this week, probably during its weekly meeting on Wednesday, ahead of a promised fall debate in the House.

Egypt will hold several treasury bill auctions on Wednesday to replace sales originally scheduled during the Eid break, the Finance Ministry announced, according to Reuters. Egypt is set to sell 91-day, 182-day, 273-day, and 364-day bills on Wednesday. On 5 September three-year and seven-year bonds will be up for sale.

On The Horizon

Telecom Egypt will launch its mobile network after the Eid break (inshallah), with numbers beginning with 0155. Since the news is yet again based on “sources” and “after Eid” being a pretty broad and flexible deadline, we won’t hold our breaths.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Education (sort of) topped the bill on a slow night for the nation’s talk shows

Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer hosted Education Minister Tarek Shawky for a talk about the 28 schools that will be following a Japanese model when they launch this fall. Shawky said the curricula will still be Egyptian, but the management will be Japanese. Shawky also told Amer that his ministry is planning to begin digitizing schoolbooks to save the EGP 2 bn it costs to print them each year.

On Hona Al Asema, newly minted Cairo University President Mohamed Osman El Khosht told interim host Lama Gebril that tuition fees at his university would not rise this year. El Khosht then spent the remainder of his time talking about offering pro bono treatment for students with Hepatitis C (watch, runtime 3:57).

Gebril also talked to Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ayman Hamza about the ministry’s decision to hire a private sector company to read residential units’ electricity meters to avoid citizens’ complaints about incorrect meter readings. According to Hamza, this is a temporary solution until the country transitions to smart meters in five years’ time (watch, runtime 29:55).

Meanwhile on OnLive, Planning Minister Hala El Said plugged her ministry’s efforts to set up an electronic network to link the country’s governorates. The network will allow the governorates to communicate electronically, and will act as a portal for government services (watch, runtime 29:48).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

INVESTMENT WATCH- Saudi’s Sharbatly, El Shobokshy to invest USD 2.15 bn in Egypt: Abdulrahman Sharbatly’s Al Nahla Group and Fahd El Shobokshy’s Al Ahli Investment and Development will jointly invest USD 2.15 bn in Egyptian projects, according to an Investment Ministry statement. The pair, whose investments in Egypt together are presently worth a combined USD 3 bn, plan to allocate USD 1 bn to expanding their Golden Coast Company projects in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada’s Soma Bay. Another USD 1 bn will fund new projects in cooperation with real estate development firm ARCO. The remaining USD 150 mn will go into a second production line at South Valley Cement Company. The announcement follows a meeting with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr yesterday, at which the two businessmen outlined their investment strategy.

M&A WATCH- The Abbas family’s Intro Group has reportedly bought 50% of the company that owns bakery TBS and the Four Fat Ladies chain, among other brands, by acquiring a stake held by HM Partners, Al Mal reports, citing unnamed sources. Al Mal’s sources say TBS’ capital is “valued at over EGP 50 mn,” but stopped short of suggesting a transaction value. HM Partners is controlled by Maher Maksoud and Hassan Heikal and owns discount supermarket chain Kazyon. EFG Hermes reportedly advised on the transaction, the newspaper adds, with Al Tamimi & Co providing legal counsel. Although it is not clear whether the firm was on the buy or sell side. In February, Al Mal had said TBS hired EFG Hermes to raise USD 30-40 mn to finance expansion plans. Earlier this month, Daily News Egypt cited unnamed sources in saying that an EGP 130-150 mn transaction involving TBS was in the works, but that Al Hokair and Edita had backed away from bids. TBS reportedly has plans to add 10 new branches nationwide this year.

M&A WATCH- A rare management Buyout. The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority reportedly gave the management team at Modern Waterproofing the green light on Sunday to tender for 34% of the company at EGP 0.8 per share, which could bring their collective stake up to 100%, according to Al Borsa. With 119 mn shares said to be outstanding, the transaction would be worth about EGP 32 mn. The buyout window will be open from today (28 August) and until 28 September. Modern Waterproofing CEO Mohamed Gamal El Din and majority shareholder Ali bin Hassan bin Dayekh have reportedly submitted their offers to EFSA and are looking to split the stake evenly, sources tell Al Mal. Al Mal notes that institutional investors who hold a 6.5% stake in the firm had previously refused to sell. Gamal El Din had said before, however, that management was planning to float some company shares on the EGX if they were able to acquire the full 100% stake. Our friends at Beltone Financial are advising, with Zaki Hashem & Partners acting as legal counsel, the newspaper adds. The bidders had sought regulatory approval back in June.

PE WATCH- EuroMena to sell stake in three Egyptian companies as part of shifting regional strategy: Lebanese private equity firm EuroMena Funds is preparing to exit its stakes in three Egyptian companies from its EuroMena I Fund as part of its strategy to shift its focus to Lebanon as well as Africa-based companies with ties to the Lebanese diaspora, Bloomberg reports. The firm is divesting from printing and packaging company Wataniya, software developer ITWORX and food producer Wadi Holdings SAE. EuroMena sees it can “make a decent return in USD” by exiting the investments this year, said Managing Partner Romen Mathieu. The firm had announced last year it was planning to invest USD 30 mn in Egypt in the next four years as part of its EuroMena III Fund.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signaled yesterday that Egypt may soon sign final contracts for the Dabaa nuclear power plant. El Sisi stressed the issue during a meeting yesterday with the CEO of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation Alexey Likhachev in Cairo, according to an Ittihadiya statement (pdf). Likhachev and El Sisi both “expressed their keenness” to launch the project as soon as possible. Last we heard, the Egyptian Council of State (Maglis Al Dawla) had received the final contracts and announced it would begin its review next month. Xinhua also has the story. I can haz tourists now?

El Sisi also sat down with Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi to follow up on work at the giant Zohr gas field, where production is on track to begin before year-end. The first phase of the Nooros field has also been completed, Descalzi told the president.

Transport Ministry to issue global tender for rail management and operations in three months’ time: The Transport Ministry is planning to issue a global tender in three months’ time for the management and operation of the Egyptian National Railway, Minister Hisham Arafat said on Sunday, according to Al Borsa. The news comes one day after the ministry said it was done drafting legislative amendments that would effectively end the state’s monopoly on rail services by allowing the private sector to take part in building, management, and infrastructure maintenance.The bill is expected to go to the House of Representatives in October. Arafat, who had been in the hot seat after a deadly train collision claimed 41 lives earlier this month — had dispelled concerns over the “privatization” of the rail sector — saying the move only aims to improve the quality of the service and will not affect ticket prices. The minister had also pointed out that private sector involvement is necessary to develop the sector, since the cost would be too high for the state to bear on its own. Arafat had met with delegation from Poland’s H. Cegielski – Pozna_ S.A. and Bombardier’s Italian arm last week to discuss upgrade plans.

CBE sub-governors say financial inclusion prioritized, reserves to continue growing in AMAY interviews: Al Masry Al Youm ran a couple of interviews with central bank sub-governors May Abulnaga and Rami Abulnaga to discuss the future of the banking system and financial markets. May says the central bank is currently prioritizing the promotion of financial inclusion and pushing the system away from cash transactions. The CBE is supporting expansion in that direction by pushing banks to launch mini branches, promoting mobile payments, and supporting internet banking. She also said that, overall, the banking system remains healthy and well capitalized, exceeding the targets set for 2017 so far. Rami says there will be no restrictions on the FX market, and expects central bank reserves to continue growing. He says the banking system has managed to attract USD 43 bn since the EGP float in November. Rami added that the central bank aims to bring the inflation rate by 4Q2018 down to 13%, plus or minus 3 ppt.

Alexandria Deputy Governor arrested for corruption: Alexandria’s Deputy Governor Soad El Kholy was arrested on Sunday on charges of corruption, according to Ahram Online. Charges included “bribery, profiting and squandering public funds,” the Administrative Control Authority said. El Kholy, who has served in her post since 2015, was arrested alongside five businessmen (who remain unnamed) for reportedly receiving a EGP 1 mn bribe and wasting EGP 10 mn in public funds in a case related to unlicensed buildings and overdue fines. The case revolves around illegal buildings getting a pass and fines not being collected.

Speaking of nukes — and hedges against Russian power: The International Atomic Energy Agency will officially open the world’s first “bank” for enriched nuclear fuel in Kazakhstan, former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz tells Bloomberg. The energy bank, to be called LEU, aims to “keep peaceful energy programs peaceful … without the significant costs of uranium enrichment and without the risks of proliferation.” Moniz says the bank is geared towards “nascent energy programs” in countries such as Egypt, where he says “the Russians would prefer to be the sole fuel suppliers for those plants going forward, but a country could be concerned if it’s tied to just one supplier, which is where the fuel bank comes in — as a backup should there be any cutoff in supply.”

A handful of international corporate stories about which you may want to be aware this morning:

Samsung Group Vice Chairman (and de facto head of the company) Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday on bribery charges, in what Reuters calls a watershed case for South Korea. Lee had been on trial for six months on charges that he paid bribes to associates of ousted President of South Korea Park Geun-hye — a trial which itself caused her ousting. The court also found Lee guilty of hiding assets abroad, embezzlement and perjury. The case has shaken the traditional ties between the state and South Korea’s powerful, family run businesses, called chaebols. Traditionally, chaebols have been afforded ample protection from the state, at times in the form of presidential pardons, because of their important roles in turning the country into a global economic power. Current president Moon Jae-in ran on a platform of reigning in the chaebols. The current “torch and pitchfork” rallies for the heads of businessmen seems eerily familiar to us here. 

Uber has reportedly tapped Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to “lead it out of crisis,” Bloomberg reported overnight, just hours after former GE CEO Jeff Immelt said he had “decided not to pursue a leadership position at Uber” — and less than eight hours after Bloomberg itself reported that Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman was the leading candidate for the gig. Drama between Uber’s shareholders has had the ride-hailing company on the hunt for a new CEO since ex-boss Travis Kalanick was forced to resign in June. Benchmark, which owns 20% of Uber, had filed a lawsuit against Kalanick on charges of fraud earlier this month. A group of the company’s minority shareholders had then asked Benchmark to divest at least 75% of its stake in the firm and step off the board. The FT also has the story (paywall).

Closer to home, Uber and Mansour Automotive have reportedly inked an agreement that will give Uber drivers price cuts on 2017 Chevrolet Optra Comfort vehicles and spare parts through December 2017.

Qatar Airways CEO to chair IATA board starting June 2018: Qatar Airways announced on Sunday that CEO Akbar Al-Baker was elected chairman of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) board, Reuters reports. Al-Baker’s one-year term will start in June 2018, after Singapore Airline’s Goh Choon Phong completes his tenure.


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The Macro Picture

Middle East M&A activity drops in 1H2017 as investors shift to lower-risk markets: The number of M&As in the MENA region dropped by 23% y-o-y in 1H2017 “as investors focus on low-risk markets outside the region, plagued by political uncertainties and slowing economic growth,” an EY report picked up by The National finds. Total transaction value also declined by 17% y-o-y in 1H2017 to USD 31.9 bn from USD 38.9 bn last year, with only 192 transactions executed, compared to 250 last year. Outbound transactions — whose value rose by 123% y-o-y during the six months — accounted for the larger part of the total value for 1H2017, having brought in around USD 19.6 bn from 61 transactions, making MENA “a net exporter of capital,” said EY’s MENA transaction advisory services leader Phil Gandier. He added that c. 61% of M&A capital flowed out of the region. “We expect this trend to continue for the remainder of the year as investors continue to see more value and lower risk in non-MENA markets.” Inbound sales rose in value by 36% y-o-y, while domestic transactions fell 74% y-o-y but remained in the lead in terms of volume with 93 transactions.

Oil and gas-related activity accounted for over 76% of total transaction value for the period, followed by airlines, power and utilities, chemicals and banking and capital markets.

Image of the Day

We stumbled upon this picture of the impressively intricate relocation of Ramses’ statues from the Abu Simbel temple in Aswan, circa 1964. It’s a little bit unsettling to see Ramses the Great’s face hanging a few meters away from the rest of his colossus body, and we do have to commend the archaeologists for not being crippled by the fear of destroying a 3,000-year-old artefact. We’re guessing they didn’t have Amir glue back then.

Egypt in the News

Egypt is in “decline” and has “descended into corruption, inequality and bigotry” after once being “a diverse, cosmopolitan society,” Steven A. Cook writes for Salon. Cook says that, while there is “a lot of hagiography about Egypt during its so-called liberal period — roughly the years following World War I through the 1940s,” it has been hard to make the case most of the last 60 years. He sees what he views as an Egyptian decline a warning sign for the US. “At a level of abstraction, that toxic brew of populist, nationalist, religious politics that combined with cynicism to cause Egypt’s regression is present in American society too,” Cook writes. He looks back to the policies of former presidents Nasser and Sadat, but says with “their parochial politics, they manipulated identities, whipped up nationalism and sowed division. The result is an Egypt that has lurched dysfunction ally from one crisis to the next, unable to solve its problems because society has become so deeply polarized, mistrust and cynicism reign, and violence is an ever-present possibility. Unless Americans are careful, Egypt’s present reality could be our country’s future.”

The US government’s decision to cancel aid to Egypt “prompted suggestions that the Middle Eastern country may have become little more than a bargaining chip in a wider strategy to apply to North Korea,” CNBC says. While some have cast off the theory for sounding too rich in foresight for the Donald Trump administration, others believe that “this suspension goes against what we have been seeing from the US in recent months,” which could mean it spawned from the rising tension between Trump and the Kim Jong-un regime.

Dahab’s Blue Hole’s “fearsome reputation” as a “divers’ cemetery” is undeserved, divers tell The Guardian’s Edmund Bower. The rising incidence of deaths among technical divers and freedivers is a concern, but divers at the Blue Hole say it “isn’t that dangerous” as long as “divers do their homework and exercise due caution.” Diving the Blue Hole is “an expensive hobby requiring lots of training, and many are unwilling to put in the hours.” Now, safety precautions are being steadily introduced as the sport develops a system of self-regulation. “It’s beautiful … There’s nothing else like it. It’s like standing in an underwater cathedral,” dive instructor Alex Heyes says, adding that “if you look at recent deaths worldwide, the Blue Hole is way down.”

Egyptian women are struggling to fight [redacted] harassment in the street and gender-based discrimination at home, ABC Australia’s Walt Curnow writes. At the core of the issue is the pressure to conform to societal norms, particularly with parents enforcing these unwritten rules, gender equality academic Shereen El Feki says. On the flipside, women’s rights activist Dalia Abdel Hameed tells Al Bawaba that feminism in Egypt is “booming” and that attempts to preserve the status quo — including a campaign that calls on Egyptian men to “man up” by controlling what women wear — are “a reaction from men who don’t want to give up their privileges”.

Other stories worth a skim this morning:

  • Bel Trew takes a look at the rise of delivery and courier culture in Cairo in response to economic challenges in a piece for The Times.
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s decision to withhold aid to Egypt “was a breath of fresh air,” David A. Super writes in a piece for The Hill
  • Tensions between Coptic Christians and Muslims in an Upper Egyptian village eased last week after disputes over prayer areas, Christian Today reports
  • An Egyptian national has been sentenced to at least 26 years in jail for murder in the UK, The Guardian reports. The BBC also has the story. 
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s African tour was the real coming out of his policy of rapprochement and re engagement with the Nile Basin countries, Ayah Aman writes for Al-Monitor
  • Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will ask that Ibrahim Halawa be returned to Ireland after his trial, in a phone call he has scheduled with the Egyptian President, he tells RTE News. Meanwhile, Ireland’s Independent is recalling the case of an Irish boy allegedly kidnapped by his uncle and smuggled into Egypt eight years ago.
  • Claire Armitstead reviews Omar Robert Hamilton’s debut novel, The City Always Wins, for The Guardian

On Deadline

Are trade agreements keeping local industry from benefiting from the current economic conditions? Mohamed Abdel Shafie Eissa seems to think so, saying in a column penned for Al Shorouk that the EGP’s low value and the decision to bar imports of low-quality goods should have been a godsend for local industry and allowed it to boom over the past couple of years. Alluding to the automotive sector (and the drama with the EU over the proposed automotive directive), he says the stipulations of some trade agreements run counter to the interests of local industry. Eissa also takes a moment to point a finger of blame at sky-high interest rates, saying they have only further hampered the rise of domestic manufacturing.

Worth Watching

Logistics — a natural place for robots to start stealing jobs: Automation had hit the logistics industry in full swing, with robots being adopted for everything from warehouse stacking to groceries. The Financial Times’ Michael Pooler takes a look at how this expansion is accelerating in the UK, led by giant companies such as Amazon. While jobs in the logistics sector has continued to grow alongside these developments, many worry that the type of stable employment initially offered by these jobs is becoming rare. Casualization and the gig economy are being tapped, while long-term employment with benefits appears to be dropping. The rise of the machines is also prompting an increase in more technical and require judgement, while manual jobs are on the decline. All of this coincides with declining jobs in retail outlets as more customers move online and rely further on the logistics industry (watch on Youtube, runtime: 4:59).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Foreign Ministry had no prior knowledge of the US’ intention to cut aid: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of the decision to cut USD 290 mn in aid in a phone call just a few hours before the story broke, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The statement refutes reports that Egypt had known about the decision long before it was made, saying Shoukry received the call while in the airport in Lithuania heading back to Cairo from his Russia-Baltic states tour. MoFA’s statement is in line with the timeline as we understand it.

Shoukry in Berlin: And speaking of Shoukry, the minister discussed economic and security cooperation with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, during a meeting in Berlin yesterday, according to a ministry statement. The two sides signed an MoU on stemming illegal migration and handling refugee flows, but there was no Turkey-style migration assistance agreement. Talks also covered regional developments, including Qatar and what’s going on with Tom and Jerry next door.

Berlin backs Cairo on Nile Water: Sigmar also said at a joint presser following the meeting that Egypt needs signoff on any agreement that would change its share of Nile water (watch, runtime 11:55).

The number of Chinese tourists who visited Egypt nearly doubled y-o-y in 1H2017, Cairo’s ambassador to Beijing, Osama Elmagdoub, tells Global Times in an interview. While China has steadily grown to become Egypt’s fourth largest tourist supplier in 2017, the size of Chinese investments in the country is still fairly small. The potential for expansion remains high, though, Elmaghdoub notes, adding that “Egypt aspires to push bilateral cooperation in various fields, such as development and infrastructure projects that align with the Belt and Road Initiative.” China is also the largest investor in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and has major projects slated for the new administrative capital.

Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza in both directions on Sunday to allow patients and students to cross over into Egypt, in what is increasingly looking like a policy of easing the blockade on the region, Xinhua reports.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Steel imports down

Steel imports declined 74% y-o-y in 1H2017 to 263.8k tonnes, compared to 1.25 mn tonnes in the same period last year, according to a General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) report,picked up by Al Shorouk. The weaker currency has made imports unsustainable for a lot of businesses, especially with anti-dumping regulations imposed on the steel industry. Steel prices have continued to rise even on a local level making some question the wisdom of anti-dumping duties. The government recently exempted Belgian and Chinese steel from the duties to prevent the extra charge from affecting the competitiveness of Egypt’s electrical appliances abroad.

Agriculture Ministry looking into new EGP 250 mn cattle farm

The Agriculture Ministry is looking to establish a EGP 250 mn cattle farm in Kafr El-Sheikh in order to boost domestic supply, Minister Abdel Moneim Al Banna said on Monday, reports AMAY. The Military Production Ministry is currently conducting technical studies for the project, from which the ministry expects to also create a dairy production offshoot.

Supply Ministry studying changes to system of selling subsidized goods

The Supply Ministry is studying changes to the system of subsidized food commodities that would require vendors to pay for the goods in advance, rather than after selling them to subsidy benefactors, ministry spokesperson Mamdouh Ramadan tells Ahram Gate. The ministry had imposed a similar regulation on subsidized bread bakeries as of this month.

Real Estate + Housing

Life Park to invest EGP 2 bn in 40 feddan solar power-operated compound

Life Park for Real Estate Investment is working on a EGP 2 bn compound in the Cairo suburb of Sheikh Zayed that will operate entirely on solar power, the company’s General Manager Alaa Eldin Fawzy tells Al Mal. The compound features commercial and residential units, and will include a treatment plant for potable water. The company is scheduled to begin delivering units in the compound by the end of 2019.

NUCA divides Six October City into three smaller cities

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) issued a decision to divide Six October City into three smaller cities in light of recent expansions saw it double in size, Al Borsa reports. The area will now be divided into October City, New October City, and October Gardens. The decision also included the establishment of three separate authorities to tend to residents’ needs.


Polish tour operators want Egypt to reopen tourism office in Warsaw

Polish tour operators are requesting that Egypt reopen its tourism office in Warsaw to cater to a rising demand for flights from the Polish capital, Al Shorouk reports. Operators told Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) head Hisham El Demery, who is currently on a Europe tour, they would work on increasing bookings during the upcoming winter and summer seasons. El Demery also agreed to arrange a trip for Polish media to visit and promote Egypt’s tourist attractions. The TPA is planning to launch a winter tourism campaign in Poland, Ukraine, Germany, and the UK at the end of next month.

Automotive + Transportation

Is the gov’t struggling to fund its share of USD 1.25 bn electric railway line?

The Transport Ministry appears to be struggling to arrange USD 500 mn to fund the government’s expenditure on the USD 1.25 bn electric railway project linking Salam City to 10 October City signed with Chinese firm AVIC. The ministry is now in talks with the company is an effort to get it to finance its portion of the project. It has also apparently reached out to the Housing Ministry to contribute to the funding, though sources tell Al Mal that the ministry is claiming that it is incapable of contributing to the project. China Export-Import Bank is covering USD 739 mn for the project. The ministry hopes to ink the final agreements with contractors — including Petrojet, Arab Contractors, Orascom Construction and AVIC — in September.

Other Business News of Note

Kazyon wants to increase retail outlets to 415 by the end of 2018

Discount supermarket chain Kazyon plans to expand the number of stores it owns to 415 by the end of 2018, the company’s Head of Marketing Ismail Hafez tells Al Mal. the company plans to open 55 retail outlets this year, bringing the total number of stores in 2017 to 265. Hafez did not disclose how much the company planned to spend on the expansion, but Kazyon had previously announced plans to invest EGP 800 mn in growth this year.

Legislation + Policy

PM orders establishment of Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced the forming of the Supreme Committee for Legislative Reform, according to Youm7. Details regarding the exact function of the committee are scarce at this point, but are told it will be housed in the Justice Ministry.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Two extradited from Kuwait

Kuwaiti authorities handed over to Egypt two alleged members of the Ikhwan yesterday, according to Youm7. It appears the two, who stand accused of murder, had been tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 years by a court in Sohag.

Pardon me?

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued the traditional decree authorizing pardons for some convicts to mark the occasion of Eid and Sixth October, reports Al Shorouk. Violent felons will not be eligible for pardon; a committee will decide who is eligible for amnesty.


Egypt’s Mohamed Salah named “man of the match” in 4-0 win

Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah was dubbed “man of the match” yesterday after helping Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-0 in the Premier League, Ahram Online reports, to the dismay of at least one of us here at Enterprise. “Salah couldn’t find his finishing boots until the 57th minute as he managed to score his side’s third goal,” according to King Fut. Liverpool “were able to score their fourth goal through Daniel Sturridge, who headed home a beautiful cross from Salah.” Reuters also notes the story.

On Your Way Out

Pope Tawadoros II inaugurated on Sunday the first Coptic Church in Japan. The church, which had been under construction for the past year, will mostly serve Egyptian expats and families from Ethiopia and Eritrea, Egypt Independent reports.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.67 | Sell 17.76

EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.66 | Sell 17.76

EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.67 | Sell 17.77

EGX30 (SUNDAY): 12,913 (-0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 373 mn (58% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +4.6%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session down 0.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 0.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Egyptian Financial and Industrial up 3.1%; Emaar Misr up 1.9%; and EFG Hermes up 1.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 2.1%, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology down 1.5%, and ACC down 0.9%. The market turnover was EGP 373 mn and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +15.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +15.4 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -30.9 mn

Retail: 76% of total trades | 78.4% of buyers | 73.5% of sellers
Institutions: 24% of total trades | 21.6% of buyers | 26.5% of sellers

Foreign: 11.7% of total | 13.7% of buyers | 9.6% of sellers
Regional: 7.7% of total | 9.8% of buyers | 5.7% of sellers
Domestic: 80.6% of total | 76.5% of buyers | 84.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 47.87 (+0.93%)
Brent: USD 52.41 (+0.37%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.89 MMBtu, (-1.93%, September 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,297.9/ troy ounce (+0.46%)

TASI: 7,225.18 (-0.28%) (YTD: +0.2%)
ADX: 4,479.99 (-0.31%) (YTD: -1.46%)
DFM: 3,602.55 (-0.61%) (YTD: +2.03%)
KSE Weighted Index: 430.46 (+0.21%) (YTD: +13.25%)
QE: 8,933.52 (-0.2%) (YTD: -14.4%)
MSM: 4,962.54 (+0.32%) (YTD: -14.18%)
BB: 1,302.11 (0.00%) (YTD: +6.69%)

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31 August-04 September (Thursday-Monday): Eid Al-Adha, national holiday as specified by the Astronomical and Geophysics Institute. The Thursday is the waqfat Arafat, with the first day of the Eid on Friday, 1 September.

September — The House of Representatives is due to begin discussion of the proposed bankruptcy bill.

06 September (Wednesday): The Emirates NBD Egypt PMI report for August released.

06-09 September (Wednesday-Saturday): 2017 China-Arab States Expo (Egypt is the Guest of Honor), Ningxia, China.

08-09 September (Friday-Saturday): Educate Me’s Conference for Egyptian Education (Mo’allem), AUC, Cairo

13 September (Wednesday): EIB MED Conference: Boosting investments in the Mediterranean Region, Cairo.

13-15 September (Wednesday-Friday) Financial Inclusion Conference in Sharm El Sheikh.

15-18 September (Friday-Monday): Sharm Travel Market, venue TBD, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

19 September (Tuesday): Deadline for applications for funding under the Newton Institutional Links programme.

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).

22-24 September (Friday-Sunday): CairoComix Festival, AUC Tahrir Campus, Cairo.

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

23-25 September (Saturday-Monday): Invest In Africa Conference and Exhibitors Summit, Gala Theater Complex, 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.

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.

15-16 October (Sunday-Monday): The Marketing Kingdom Cairo 3 conference, Dusit Thani Lakeview Hotel, Cairo.

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

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

23-27 October (Monday-Friday): 29th Business and Professional Women International Congress themed “Making a Difference through Leadership and Action,” Mena House Hotel, Cairo. Register here.

06-07 November (Monday-Tuesday): Crisis Communications Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo.

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

26-29 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 21st Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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.

07-09 December (Thursday-Saturday): The Africa 2017 forum: “Business for Africa, Egypt and the World” Conference, Sharm El Sheikh.

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

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

17-21 February 2018 (Wednesday-Saturday): Women For Success – Women SME’s “World of Possibilities” Conference, Cairo/Luxor.

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