Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Presidential poll in March or April, El Sisi says
Plus: Egypt is in the new “Fragile Five” and an Egyptian is now running ICANN

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The House of Representatives reconvenes today after a short break during which MPs took a tour of Washington, DC. We expect a slow ramp-up on the legislative front this week, with talk of laws on NGOs, drones and other miscellany taking up time. There’s still plenty of business-relevant legislation in the pipeline, including the proposed Bankruptcy Act, which is hasn’t made it out of the Legislative Committee for the Economic Committee to consider — and the draft of which may yet be amended at the Ismail government’s request. A quick recap of what’s to come:

  • The Universal Healthcare Act: The state’s most significant piece of social legislation this year would see health insurance expand to cover breadwinners and their families in all governorates by 2032.
  • The Social Welfare Act: The bill would see the Social Solidarity Ministry establish a new pension fund and set its own investment strategy. The law will also index annual pension increases to inflation and set a minimum pension rate.
  • The Local Administration Act: This bill would set up and organize local councils and elections and is part of the government’s plan to decentralize local administration.
  • The Labor Unions Act: Labor unions say it’s too restrictive. Members of the House Manpower Committee have said think it gives unions too much power.
  • Higher ed: The Ismail government is reportedly looking to enact legislation that would make it easier for foreign universities to open branch campuses in Egypt. Provisions would include fast-tracking both licenses and the “mobility” of staff, according to Times Higher Education.

Do you follow capital markets? Pay attention to proposed amendments to the CentralBank and Banking Act that are being closely watch by investors to see whether it imposes a special “industry development” tax on bank profits.

Also up for discussion: Tweaks to the companies, capital markets, leasing and factoring, auctions and tenders acts, a bill that would form an Egyptian space agency (approved by cabinet in September), and a bill designed to enhance protection for intellectual property.

Will the Automotive Directive finally see the light of day? The House Industry Committee will restart its debate of the long-awaited Automotive Directive on Wednesday after having amended the bill for a third time, committee head Ahmed Samir said, Al Mal reports. Samir reminds us that the Trade and Industry Ministry had hired a German consultancy firm earlier this year to help study the directive — which would give assemblers incentives to go further up the value chain into manufacturing — and prepare a final draft.

Finally, a proposed anti-LGBTQ law is on its way to a joint meeting of the legislative and constitutional committees for discussion, according to the newspaper. The bill seeks to make homosexuality a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The World Youth Forum continues today in Sharm El Sheikh. Agenda here (pdf).

EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference continues today and runs through Thursday at Emirates Arsenal Stadium in London. The conference will bring C-suite execs from top listed companies in MENA as well as frontier markets (among them Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) face-to-face with top global investors with mandates to invest in emerging and frontier markets.

Worthy miscellany this morning:

  • El-Arian on bitcoin: If you’re fascinated (and maybe a bit put off) by cryptocurrencies and are, like us, a fan of Mohamed El-Arian, you’ll want to check out Bitcoin’s Contentious Bid for Legitimacy, his latest for BloombergView.
  • Remember Dick Fuld? “The man who drove Lehman Brothers to the biggest corporate collapse in history is making a quiet comeback on Wall Street” with a new firm, Matrix Wealth Partners, the Financial Times reports.
  • Things are going too well, Episode 999: This time from the Wall Street Journal: “Shareholders are luxuriating in the ideal environment as the global economy delivers growth without inflation. It is hard to be cautious when the fundamentals look great—but this might be just the time to start worrying.” Read: Don’t Buy The Dip. Sell The Rip
  • Sending “sci-fi” drones into “dark, dangerous places”: Also from the Wall Street Journal is a report that fully autonomous drones out of Hollywood science fiction movies could replace minders.

Bonus for World War II buffs: Germany’s Bundesbank has launched a four-year study that will take a deep dive into how the central bank helped implement policy for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. The Financial Times has the story, and the Bundesbank’s website has more in English. Also: A former FBI agent is setting off on a quest to discover Who betrayed Anne Frank.

Soundtrack for this morning’s edition: Fireball Ministry’s Remember the Story. The act is a straightforward hard rock / heavy-metal-meets-grunge outfit from Los Angeles whose latest features fuzzy guitars, driving bass and meaty hooks.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker will inaugurate the first station at the Benban solar power complex in Aswan this Wednesday, unnamed officials tell Al Borsa.Infinity Solar’s facility will connect 50 MW to the national grid once trial operations conclude, making it the first company to complete a solar power plant under the feed-in tariff program. Benban has so far attracted north of USD 1.8 bn in international financing.

A 40-company delegation from the British Egyptian Business Association is in the UK from Wednesday for a four-day visit to take part in Friday’s MENA Britain Trade Expo. Expect infrastructure, financial services, renewable energy, and oil to be at center stage, according to a Trade Ministry statement.

On The Horizon

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes a week from Thursday to review interest rates. We’re not expecting a cut in rates before the MPC’s 28 December meeting, by which time a year of post-float inflation data will be in the bag.

Egypt plans to launch its first electronic visa in December at the Cairo ICT expo running from 3-6 December. The e-visa, which had originally been slated for May, comes as part of the rollout of a number of new e-government services.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

In a mixed night for business, the World Youth Forum and Saudi Arabia’s clampdown on corruption were the topics of the evening.

Amr El Garhy interview: The finance minister had chat with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin about the VAT (watch, runtime: 3:49). El Garhy quite rightly dismissed the belief of previous governments that stability in FX rates reflected a stable economy. The result, he said, was hobble exports, poor economic competitiveness and drain on foreign reserves (watch, runtime 1:39). The minister also signalled that productivity has to be a key factor in weighing decisions on privatization, unlike in past rounds (watch, runtime: 2:01).

Smiley Face in prime time: Over on Kol Youm, host Amr Adib welcomed Consumer Protection Agency head Atef “Smiley Face” Yacoub to talk about amendments to the Consumer Protection Act. Yacoub defended the controversial provision that would require that prices (including VAT) be printed on products as well as measures that would regulate the time frame for returning and exchanging products and requiring that all retailers provide customers with a printed receipt (watch, runtime 4:39). Smiley Face noted that the agency studied similar legislation in Europe and accounted for input in “community dialogue” sessions with business, residents of Upper Egypt and government (watch, runtime 2:05).

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi followed up on Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown, which government sources assured her would not affect Saudi investments in Egypt. According to the host’s sources, the government will be looking to expand Saudi investments in Egypt come December. Al Tayyar Group Egypt Chairman Ashraf Shiha phoned in to say that the company was unaffected by the developments in KSA, despite reports that the company’s owner Nasser Al Tayyar is among the Saudi businessmen currently under investigation (watch, runtime 2:40).

It’s business as usual for four Egypt-based firms affiliated with Sheikh Saleh Kamel, banking sector sources told Lamees. These include Al Baraka Bank, Ismailia Misr Poultry, Arab Moltaka Investment and Arab Engineering; shares of the first three were down in trading again yesterday. Egyptian banks have yet to freeze the domestic assets of Saudi investors arrested in Mohamed bin Salman’s ostensible crackdown on corruption (watch, runtime 13:40).

World Youth Forum coverage: Adib, Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary also had coverage of the World Youth Forum.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Another PR stunt from a ratings agency: Egypt is now a member of a re-born “Fragile Five.” Egypt, Argentina, Pakistan and Qatar have moved onto the list to replace Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa, leaving only “poor Turkey, which has failed to graduate” on from the previous incarnation, the WSJ says (paywall). The new list is based on Standard & Poor’s “new take,” which considers “seven variables that look at a sovereign’s external financial risk, including current-account, reserves and debt metrics.”

The original Fragile Five was a term coined in the summer of 2013 by Morgan Stanley and included Turkey, Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia. The term referred to emerging markets that Morgan Stanley saw as having “become too dependent on skittish foreign investment to finance their growth ambitions.”

This “Fragile Five” stuff is rooted in our debt profile, leading us to note that Egypt’s foreign debt eased fractionally to USD 80 bn in September, down from USD 81 bn in August, but up from July’s USD 79 bn, central bank sources tell Al Borsa. Egypt recently paid off the final USD 200 mn installment of a USD 1 bn it obtained from Turkey in 2012, as well as a USD 250 mn installment to Libya for a USD 1.5 bn loan, of which a final installment of USD 500 mn will be repaid in 2018. Egypt is planning to repay a total USD 8.134 in loans during 4Q2017, including a USD 5.2 bn payment to the African Export-Import Bank before the end of December, which is expected to reduce foreign obligations significantly, central bank Governor Tarek Amer had said.

Slimming down the debt: The Finance Ministry is reportedly working on a two-year strategy to reduce Egypt’s foreign and domestic debt levels.

IPO WATCH- El Farasha for Printing says its plans to list 35% of its shares on the Egyptian Exchange are back on the table, Al Mal reports. The company is mulling a listing on the EGX in 1Q2018, after having first said it was considering the listing by 2016’s end. The company’s head of IR said they opted to delay the listing with the onset of economic reform measures in order to have a clearer view on the direction within the market. El Farasha is now in the market for investment banks to manage the issuance.

M&A WATCH- We now have a price tag on the EAEF’s acquisition of Orchidia: The Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF) acquired 46.5% sake in Orchidia Pharma Industries for around EGP 700 mn, Orchidia’s founder and chairman Ossama Abbass tells Al Borsa. EAEF purchased 38% of the company from SPE Capital (formerly Swicorp Private Equity), and 3% from Abbas with the remainder having been bought through a capital increase, he added. The investment will be used to fund a EGP 120 mn expansion, said Abbass. Arqaam Capital acted as sole sell-side financial advisor on the transaction and Matouk Bassiouny acted as legal counsel.

MOVES- An Egyptian national now runs the internet. Kinda. Cherine Chalaby was appointed as the new board chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Chalaby was first nominated to the board in 2010. Manal Ismail, also an Egyptian national, was appointed as a member of the Governmental Advisory Committee Liaison to the Board.

EARNINGS WATCH- ‘This the season, folks. Among those reporting results yesterday:

GB Auto announced a consolidated net loss of EGP 138.9 mn in 3Q2017, down from a net profit of EGP 39.4 mn a year earlier. Sales revenues rose 16.4% y-o-y to EGP 5.03 bn during the period. “Overall, the third quarter of 2017 showed an improvement, as we had anticipated, but the fact remains that consumer sentiment continues to be a hamper on the automotive business … We do see signs of increasing demand for Passenger Cars, which we believe will steadily continue, as we’ve managed to maintain our market share at above 30% and anticipate we’ll hit 33% — our historical rate — by the end of the year,” CEO Raouf Ghabbour says.

Arabian Cement Company’s net profit after tax for 3Q2017 grew to EGP 95.9 mn from EGP 14.5 mn in the same period last year, according to an EGX filing. The company’s consolidated top line climbed 26.9% y-o-y to EGP 674.5 mn from EGP 531.5 mn in 3Q2016.

President El Sisi declares that there will be no third terms for presidents: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi rejected suggestions that term limits should be eased by amending the constitution to allow presidents to serve a third term in office. “We will not interfere with (the constitution). I am with preserving two four-year terms,” El Sisi said in an interview with CNBC.

El Sisi also said that Egyptians will cast ballots in a presidential poll in either March or April 2018, though he avoided the topic of his candidacy altogether (watch, runtime: 1:47).

The reform agenda is very real and has been designed to minimize the impact of thesereforms on the average citizen, El Sisi said when speaking on the economy. He admitted that there were structural issues with the economy that needed to be fixed and that there is still some ways to go to reach pre-2011 metrics. He also attributed the drop in unemployment to below 12% in part on the national megaprojects, including the New Suez Canal. Speaking on tourism, El Sisi stressed how vital it was to the economy, which is why it is such an attractive target for terrorists. The state has expended efforts to bolster security at tourism sites to ensure against further attacks, he added (watch, runtime: 2:45).

The interview dwelt on regional and international politics. El Sisi noted that Egypt’s regional foreign policy is centered on stability. “The stability of the region is very important and we all have to protect it … I am talking to all the parties in the region to preserve it,” he said. When asked whether the time had come for Egypt to consider measures against Hezbollah, El Sisi replied, “The subject is not about taking on or not taking on, the subject is about the status of the fragile stability in the region in light of the unrest facing the region.” The topic (watch, runtime: 3:07).

(The conversation on Hezbollah come in light of statements by Saudi Arabia that the Lebanese government had figuratively declared war on Saudi Arabia and will be dealt with accordingly, Reuters reports. The statements follows the resignation of Lebanon’s PM Saad El Hariri, who blamed Iran and Hezbollah for his inability to govern.)

Asked about the roles of Russia and the United States in the Mideast, El Sisi said it’s vital for regional stability that the two countries work together. El Sisi then praised efforts by US President Donald Trump to promote security. “We are completely supporting and cooperating with President Trump on this,” he added (watch, runtime: 0:23).

The World Youth Forum began its first sessions yesterday, during which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed his government’s effort to support the country’s youth, Ittihadiya said in a statement. Speaking at a session on differences in culture and civilizations, El Sisi said that there is “political will to connect with and listen to the youth” in order to enable them to reach their goals, pointing to his Presidential Leadership Program (PLP) as an example of propelling the country’s youth towards leadership and influential positions. Pardons from some youth now in jail could be in the works after as special committee wraps up its review of case files, the president suggested.

Separately, El Sisi met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the forum yesterday to discuss developments in the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

Also coming out of Sharm yesterday: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry revealed that Egypt and the European Union will hold talks again later this month on how to stem the flow of illegal migrants to Europe, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

How is this good for business? As the Saudi Arabian media celebrated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s crackdown on corruption, which has seen the arrest of a large number of royal family members, so far without charge. Saudi Arabia scholar James M. Dorsey asks “some of these are businessmen with international status, and if they are caught in this web then it could happen to anyone … How is that going to inspire confidence and attract foreign investment?” Princeton University Professor Bernard Haykel sees merit in MbS’ actions, saying they are “a frontal assault on some members of the royal family and the impunity with which they have operated in the past… It was something that had to be done, [even though it] sends a chill down the spine of foreign investors,” David Kirkpatrick writes for The New York Times.

Ah, double standards: We can’t help but imagine how good old Omm El Donia would be treated in the court of international opinion had prominent business leaders been detained here. We’re reasonably sure there would be calls for an international sanctions regime by this point.

Siemens’ CEO Joe Kaeser is undeterred by the crackdown, telling The National his company is interested in and capable of having a role in the development of the Neom project. “I would not be too surprised if anytime soon, there would be a major announcement about the cooperation between the kingdom and Siemens on how to assist and help the kingdom in achieving the Vision 2030 goals, which Neom is part of … What I think I see is that the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia now are really coming together and lead by purpose in this region, which I believe is a blessing for the whole world. … On the global scale if there’s a shaky Middle East, there’s a shaky world,” he says.

Closer to home: Al Baraka Bank Egypt issued a statement saying it has no direct ties with Saudi sheikh Saleh Kamel except that he owns a personal stake in the bank. The bank says Kamel is not a board member and current “events” in Saudi Arabia have had no direct impact on its operations. Ismailia Misr Poultry also said it has no information on the arrest of Kamel and but business is continuing normally.

Crackdown expands: The great MbS purge expanded on Monday to include the head of Al Tayyar Travel group Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar, according to Reuters. By Bloomberg’s count, this would bring the net worth of Saudi individuals caught up in the arrests, including Alwaleed Bin Talal, to USD 33 bn.

After the Panama Leaks, we now have the “Paradise Papers”: A new series of leaks focusing on alleged tax dodging by leading politicians, business figures and corporations were revealed in what is being dubbed as the “Paradise Papers.” The focus of the leak is Appleby, a law firm that provides offshore services in the tax havens of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

Who just got dinged? Just about everyone, it seems, including the Queen of England, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Twitter, Apple, Facebook, Glencore and a very badly timed connection between a member of US President Donald Trump’s cabinet and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leak, obtained by German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, topped headlines across international news outlets on Monday. You can go dig deeper into the papers here.

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Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning is human rights lawyer Khaled Ali announcement of his candidacy for the 2018 presidential elections. Ali, who was convicted for public indecency in September, is the first to officially announce his candidacy for presidency. The announcement itself was controversial, as he accused security forces raiding his offices a few days ago and ripped up printouts for yesterday’s press conference. The accusation was refuted by a high-level security source speaking to state news agency MENA.

The first hearing in Ali’s appeal of his conviction is tomorrow. As it stands, the conviction could see his candidacy declared void. The elections commission has yet to say when the window for nominations opens and has not set a date for the presidential poll, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has said could take place in March or April.

Advocacy organization Human Rights First called on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to condemn Egypt’s crackdown on its LGBT community. US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had stopped short of condemning last week a proposed law that would further marginalize the community, saying she was unaware of its specifics.

Archaeologists have discovered the remnants of an ancient, 2,300-year-old gymnasium, the Associated Press reports. “The discovery was made by a German-Egyptian mission at the site of Watfa in Fayoum … Watfa is the site of the ancient village of Philotis, founded by King Ptolemy II in the 3rd century BC… the gymnasium consists of a large meeting hall, once adorned with statues, a dining hall, a courtyard and a nearly 200-meter-long racetrack.”

Another big archaeological find was made in Israel last week where a dig uncovered the bones of an Ancient Egyptian Woman where none were previously found, according to Haaretz. The 3,200 year old remains were found in an inhospitable mining area where only men were thought to go. The remains belonged to a pregnant woman.

Also worth a skim this morning:

  • JPost recounts Former President Anwar Sadat’s groundbreaking trip to Jerusalem in 1977, which “proved to be the most important single political event in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, culminating in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of March 1979.”
  • Lake Bardawil on Egypt’s north coast is now the most important foraging ground for turtles that breed at Alagadi in Cyprus, researchers have discovered, Phys.org reports.

On Deadline

As with the talking heads, the corruption crackdown in Saudi has dominated the conversation among opinion pieces. Saudi’s highly public crackdown on corruption is a huge step away from the kingdom’s traditional discreteness in handling sensitive issues, Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein says. Mai Azzam also takes to the pages of Al Masry Al Youm to voice her concern about the crown prince’s actions, which she describes as abrupt and aggressive. She points to other rash decisions MbS has taken in the past, such as waging war in Yemen, and current moves that seem to be in the works, including a potential clash with Hezbollah, which she cautions could spell disaster for the region as a whole.

Worth Watching

The trailer for season two of Netflix’s acclaimed ‘The Crown’ was released, indicating that the show will pick up where we left off — in Egypt. This season’s ten episodes will begin with the Tripartite Aggression in 1956 over the nationalization of the Suez Canal and stretch to 1964. Lead Claire Foy has already picked up a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Queen but this will be the last season for her, with Olivia Colman taking over the role for seasons three and four. The show will be out on 8 December (watch, runtime 2:29).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Agriculture Ministry issued new guidelines and procedures yesterday to govern the export of agricultural products to Gulf countries, Ahram Gate reports. The new regulations make it mandatory for exporters to register with the Agriculture Quarantine Authority, submitting all the necessary paperwork and documentation at most 15 days before they ship any cargo. The move aims to help the ministry keep an accurate log of exporters and their products in order to better monitor quality, especially now that Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, and Jordan all agreed this month to lift bans on Egyptian agricultural imports, like lettuce and onions, that had been put in place due to concerns over excessive pesticide usage. Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim Al Banna told exporters last week to watch out for the announcement of tighter quality control measures and larger fines for violations. The Trade and Industry Ministry is also working on an export development strategy.

We love China, Part 9: “Egypt on Monday reaffirmed its support to China’s Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, while calling for increased Chinese investment in the most populous Arab country,” Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports in a lengthy piece, citing remarks made by top presidential aide and former prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab.

A delegation from French trade association Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF) is planning a four day visit to Cairo and Alexandria on 20 November, according to MENA. The delegation will look to bolstering cooperation in sustainable cities with Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli and Trade Minister Tarek Kabil.

Energy

Gas Natural Fenosa, Trafigura, Vitol, Glencore awarded rights to import 12 shipments of LNG

Egypt is expected to award Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa and three Swiss-based trading houses the rights to import the 12 shipments of LNG is plans to buy in 1Q2018, traders tell Reuters. “The final allocation may change but traders currently expect EGAS to award the Spanish gas company five shipments, trader Trafigura to supply three, Vitol three and Glencore one,” they said. EGAS is looking to bring in nine of the shipments via Egypt’s two FSRUs and three cargoes through a Jordanian terminal.

Total, Eni to drill in Block 6 off the coast in Cyprus by early 2018

Total and Eni plan to start drilling their joint exploration Block 6 off the coast of Cyprus by the end of this year or early 2018, despite disappointing results from the nearby Block 11, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said, according to Reuters. “Yes, (block 11) was disappointing in terms of quantity, but the results are very promising for future drilling. It confirmed the presence of hydrocarbons in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, an extension of the Zohr field in Egypt,” Anastasiades said following a meeting with Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne on Sunday.

Infrastructure

GAFI approves establishment of drydocks company

The General Authority for Freezones and Investments (GAFI) approved the establishment of a company to manage drydocks and provide logistics services, according to Al Mal.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Levity CropScience appoints fertilizer distributor in Egypt

UK fertilizers producer Levity CropScience has appointed a distributor in Egypt, eyeing new sales opportunities for its “smart fertilizers” in the MENA region, according to Fruit Net. The Egyptian distributor, United Group of Agencies Agricultural Development Co, will market Levity’s full six-product range. “Egypt is a market where we anticipate large volume sales and we are looking forward to … help Egyptian farmers get the very best from their crops… Levity products help crops cope with high temperatures and poor water. They also help increase yield and quality in challenging growing conditions, which is helping drive strong interest in the region,” Managing Director David Marks says.

Manufacturing

Unnamed Gulf investor to set up EGP 100 mn windshield plant

An unnamed Gulf-based investor is in talks with the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) to set up a new windshield factory in Egypt with initial investments of EGP 100 mn, Al Borsa reports. The investor is looking to house the facility in close proximity to where silica deposits are found, FEI engineering division head Mohamed El Mohandes said, refusing to disclose any additional detail.

Health + Education

Egypt looking to attract international university campuses in Egypt -THE

The government has proposed a new law that would make it easier for foreign universities to establish international branch campuses in Egypt, Times Higher Education reports. Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar also called on UK universities to “invest in the Egyptian market of education.” Abdel Ghaffar said that the law would “‘facilitate and fast-track the licensing process’ for overseas outposts in the country, ‘support attracting investments in higher education’ and facilitate the mobility of staff.” The only international branch campus in Egypt currently is TU Berlin’s outpost in Gouna.

Real Estate + Housing

PHD to delay securitization plan until interest rate drops

Palm Hills Developments (PHD) is delaying its EGP 500 mn securitized bond issuance until after interest rates drop, Managing Director Tarek Abdel Rahman tells Al Borsa. The company will be looking to the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting on 16 November to gauge where interest rates are heading. He added that Sarwa Capital will manage the issuance while preliminary underwriters for the transactions will be CIB and Attijariwafa Bank.

Redcon Construction to break ground on EGP 2 bn medical complex in March

Redcon Construction expects to begin construction on the first phase of its EGP 2 bn medical complex in Capital Group Properties’ Alburouj compound in March, according to Chairman Hazem Ashry. The complex will span 33,000 sqm, and will be launched over two phases. Ashry says construction is scheduled for completion in 2020, and the project will be finalized by 2022.

Hometown begins work on latest project

Hometown Real Estate Development has begun work on their EGP 40 mn Hometown 3 residential project in New Cairo,General Manager Ahmed Gamal said to Al Borsa. The project covers an area of 3,400 sqm and will contain 40 homes.

Tourism

Tourism Ministry approves raising incentives for charter flights

The Tourism Ministry has approved raising incentives offered to airlines running charter flights to Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Matrouh, Taba, and Alamein to USD 3,000 from USD 2,000, Deputy Minister Adla Ragab tells Al Shorouk. The incentives, which include payouts and fee exemptions, are offered to flights with 50-80% seat occupancy rates that bring in regular tours from the EU to a number of Egyptian airports. The ministry had agreed last month to extend the incentives program, which was initially launched in 2015, to October 2018.

Digital campaign targeting Brits to run starting January

The Tourism Promotion Authority is launching a digital campaign targeting UK tourism starting mid-January,Chairman Hisham El Demery told Al Shorouk. He added that the social media campaign, which hopes to capitalize on an influx of tourists to the country, will run until July.

Automotive + Transportation

Toyota begins upgrading New Cairo facility ahead of Lexus’ 2018 debut

Toyota Egypt began upgrading its New Cairo facility yesterday ahead of the introduction of the Lexus brand to the local market in early 2018, Al Mal reports. The facility will operate as a sales and after-sales service center for the brand, which will be sold alongside Toyota. The company had signed on to becoming Egypt’s Lexus distributor over a year ago and is currently putting together the list of models that will be hitting its showrooms in January.

Banking + Finance

Arqaam obtains custodian banking license in Egypt

Arqaam Capital has obtained a license that allows it to operate as a custodian bank in Egypt, Al Mal reports. Arqaam is looking to become a full-service investment bank, Managing Director Sherif Heshmat says. It already has licenses for brokerage services, financial advisory, and promoting and underwriting.

Remco cancels GDR program

Remco Tourism Villages Construction Company (RTVC) announced canceling its GDR program, Al Mal reports. RTVC had issued GDRs with JPMorgan in 2010, but voted last May to cancel the program.

Legislation + Policy

ECA discusses legislation giving it oversight on M&As with GAFI

Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) head Mona El Garf discussed the proposed legislation, which would require ECA approval on M&A transactions, with the General Authority for Freezones and Investment at a workshop on Monday. El Garf apparently spoke on the broad strokes of the act, according to an ECA statement which did not provide details. What we know of the act so far is that ECA approval will likely be for M&As over EGP 100 mn. The meeting could be the first step towards receiving a sign-off from the Ismail cabinet.

Egypt Politics + Economics

House would only amend NGO Act after implementation

The House of Representatives would only amend the controversial NGO Act only if its implementation would adversely impact the performance of NGOs, said the leader of the Support Egypt Coalition — the largest bloc in the House — Mohamed Elsewedy. This was the message the House delegation relayed to US congressional leaders last week, Elsewedy told reporters on Monday, Ahram Online reports.

National Security

Serraj dismisses brigadier general for threatening airstrikes in Egypt

The head of Libya’s Presidency Council, Faiez Serraj, dismissed Brigadier Mohamed Ganaidi from the Military Intelligence Directorate and the Libyan army, Libya Herald reports. Ganaidi was dismissed after being suspended last week for threatening to attack targets in Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia with threats that included bombing the Egyptian presidential palace. On a related note, Reuters says that Libya’s rival factions are “still far apart on the issue of the leadership of a future national army.”

Sports

Egypt’s World Cup kit leaked

The kit Egypt’s national football team will be wearing has reportedly been leaked online, according to Footy Headlines. “Egypt’s kits for the 2018 World Cup are all but confirmed to be made by Adidas. They should be released in November 2017,” the sports website says.

On Your Way Out

The Giza Plateau’s “cursed tombs” are open to the public for the first time since they were discovered in 1990. The tombs house the remains of workers who helped build the Giza Pyramids thousands of years ago. “the discovery of a pyramid-builders’ settlement complete with areas for large-scale food production and medical facilities, have provided evidence that they were an organised workforce of Egyptian farmers rather than slaves,” says Lonely Planet.

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 2000, the US presidential election ended in a statistical tie between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, only to be settled on December 12 by the US Supreme Court after a bitter legal dispute. In 1987, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali installed himself as Tunisia’s president in a bloodless coup, replacing Habib Bourguiba. Two years later, East Germany’s Communist-dominated government resigned following mass protests. On this day in 1913, French existentialist philosopher and author Albert Camus was born. Besides writing some of the 20th century’s most influential works of fiction, Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957. Scientist and two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie was born on this day in 1867. Jeannette Rankin became the first American woman to hold national office in the US after winning a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1916. This time last year, the exchange rate hit EGP 16.32 per USD 1 on the first day of the new interbank market regime and the government said it was going to ask the IMF’s board to approve disbursing the USD 12 bn financial package.

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6015 | Sell 17.7015
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Monday): 14,073 (-0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (24% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +14.0%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Domty up 3.3%, Eastern Co up 1.4%, and Cairo Oils & Soap up 1.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: TMG Holding down 4.1%, Emaar Misr down 2.7%, and Amer Group down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -27.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +52.8 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -25.6 mn

Retail: 66.6% of total trades | 68.3% of buyers | 64.9% of sellers
Institutions: 33.4% of total trades | 31.7% of buyers | 35.1% of sellers

Foreign: 15.2% of total | 14.0% of buyers | 16.3% of sellers
Regional: 11.0% of total | 13.3% of buyers | 8.8% of sellers
Domestic: 73.8% of total | 72.7% of buyers | 74.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.26 (+2.91%)
Brent: USD 64.16 (+3.37%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.12 MMBtu, (+4.46%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,282.50 / troy ounce (+1.05%)TASI: 6,984.87 (+0.09%) (YTD: -3.13%)
ADX: 4,435.21 (-0.35%) (YTD: -2.45%)
DFM: 3,554.08 (-1.16%) (YTD: +0.37%)
KSE Weighted Index: 402.28 (-2.78%) (YTD: +5.84%)
QE: 8,014.71 (-1.38%) (YTD: -23.21%)
MSM: 5,079.20 (+0.47%) (YTD: -12.17%)
BB: 1,265.64 (-0.93%) (YTD: +3.70%)

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Calendar

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

06-09 November (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference on 6-9 November, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

14 November (Tuesday): SEMED Business Forum: Investing for Sustainable Growth, Conrad Hotel, Cairo.

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

19-21 November (Sunday-Tuesday): 11th Annual INJAZ Young Entrepreneurs Competition, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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

01-03 December (Friday-Sunday): RiseUp Summit, Downtown Cairo.

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

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

05 December (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for November to be announced.

03-06 December (Sunday-Wednesday): 21st Cairo ICT, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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

19 December (Tuesday): Village Capital’s Financial Health Competition: Middle East and Egypt (applications close 3 November)

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

12-14 February 2018 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show 2018 (EGYPS), New Cairo Exhibition Center.

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

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