Thursday, 9 November 2017

A flurry of IPO, M&A and investment news to cap a very nice, busy week


What We’re Tracking Today

We have a flurry of IPO, M&A news and investment news to cap a fantastic week in which we’ve already been inundated with … IPO, M&A and investment news. We can’t think of a better way to start the weekend, so read on.

EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid discussed plans to attract investment to the Egyptian market at EFG Hermes’ 7th Annual London Conference. First and foremost, the macroeconomic climate speaks for itself and will play the major role in attracting investments, Farid said (pdf). He named tourism, ICT and construction as sectors of particular interest given their recent rebound. On improving liquidity and governance at the bourse, Farid pointed to measures including setting a minimum limit on number of shares companies must offer to be listed. “It’s important for us to look at the quality of both companies and the disclosures which are presented to investors,” he added. Diversifying the EGX through the listing of state-owned companies is expected to be an important draw for investors, he said. He also confirmed the exchange plans to introduce new products including derivatives and short-selling.

Today the final day of the conference,which brought together 290 fund managers and institutional investors for meetings with 130 presenting companies, representing 10 industries and 20 countries.

A 40-company delegation from the British Egyptian Business Association is also in theUK for Friday’s MENA Britain Trade Expo, where infrastructure, financial services, renewable energy, and oil will be in the limelight.

Itching to start the weekend? The New York Times has a rundown of the “Holiday Season’sBiggest Video Games and Consoles” that’s definitely worth a quick look. Even for you non-video game geeks, there’s some great Christmas present ideas in there that could make some people we know very happy.

On The Horizon

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes a week from today 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.

An ILO delegation is visiting Egypt on 13 November to discuss developments in the overall business climate under its program with Egypt, Egypt Today says.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

On a somewhat bland night on the airwaves, the World Youth Forum continued to lead the conversation. Not a surprise considering Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi was off last night.

But first on TEN TV, Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) Chairman Mohab Mamish told host Amr Abdel Hamid that 51% of land development in the zone has been allocated to Egyptian developers, with the remainder going to foreign outfits. The state is responsible for ensuring power and water utilities are in place, said Mamish (watch, runtime 30:23).

Over on Masaa DMC, Osama Kamal discussed the World Youth Conference’s session on rebuilding state institutions in conflict zones with panel speaker and advisor to the IMF’s chief economist, Rania Al-Mashat. Among other things, Al-Mashat noted that conflicts often arise from bad economic conditions such as high unemployment and inflation rates, and that putting in place a clear economic framework to address these issues would be beneficial (watch, runtime 5:50).

Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer hosted political commentator and weekly guest Mostafa El Fekki who praised the World Youth Conference and its organization, saying it paints a positive image of Egypt following a string of terror attacks.

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib praised the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum, which he said is a powerful statement from the UAE that it prioritizes cultural development despite the turbulence of the region, and that it has more to show for itself than oil and technology (watch, runtime 2:48).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IPO WATCH- Ibnsina has listed its shares on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ahead of itsplanned initial public offering of c. 37.5% of its total share capital via a primary offering of newly issued shares and a secondary offering of existing shares held by current shareholders, the company said in a statement last night (pdf). In parallel, Pharos Holding has submitted its fair value report on Ibnsina to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA, formerly EFSA) for review and approval. “We have also concluded our pre-marketing roadshow and have recorded strong interest from investors in London, Frankfurt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the United States, and look forward to our [transaction] roadshow during the second half of November,” said Ibnsina Executive Chairman Mohsen Mahgoub. Ibnsina is targeting a December close to the transaction, subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals.

Background: Ibnsina is Egypt’s fastest-growing and second-largest pharma distributor serving over 35k clients with products from over 325 local and multinational pharma companies. Proceeds from the transaction will be used to grow Ibnsina’s core distribution business and support its expansion into new, higher-margin revenue streams. The company has a market share of c.19% and expects to close 2017 with revenues in excess of EGP 9.5 bn. Ibnsina has seen revenues grow at a CAGR of 30% over the past five years compared to an industry CAGR of c.17%. Ibnsina’s intention to float is here.

Advisors: Beltone Investment Banking is acting as sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the transaction, while Matouk Bassiouny is acting as counsel to the issuer. Pharos Holding is independent financial advisor, and Inktank Communications is investor relations advisor.

Remember the days when the local market could barely support one offering at a time? Ibnsina is in the market right now, EFG Hermes is in the final days of its Dice transaction, and we rate as “serious” at least five of the dozen or so companies that have said they’re preparing to IPO. We’re liking 2017 very much, thank you, and are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for 2018. Now if only interest rates would come down…

EARNINGS WATCH- Our friends at CIB reported record third quarter results overnight, with net income up 23% year-on-year in 3Q2017 to EGP 2.1 bn, the bank said in its earnings release (pdf). Revenues advanced 45% compared to the same period last year to close the quarter at EGP 4.2 bn. On a nine-months basis, that gives CIB net income of EGP 5.7 bn (up 27% on 9M2016) on revenues of EGP 11.0 bn (up 35%). Strong fundamentals and balance sheet growth allowed CIB to deliver “strong financial results in the third quarter of 2017” despite “challenging macroeconomic and regulatory conditions,” management said in comment accompanying the results.

CIB notes that it was able to grow its net interest income “despite intense market competition, which pushed all banks to raise their cost of deposits in order to compete efficiently with the rates offered by public sector banks.” The bank’s performance in an “eventful 2017 largely owes to successful balance sheet and treasury management performance,” management said. Notably, the bank’s cost-to-income ratio decreased, supporting profitability as efficiencies outweighed inflationary pressure on the bank’s cost base.

What to expect next: “The road ahead remains challenging, especially after the CBE’s latest decision to increase the Required Reserve Ratio back to its historical 14%, which is expected to impact banks’ interest margins in the short run, after which pressure would start to ease off as banks gradually adjust their cost of deposits, thereby placing downward pressure on interest rates and helping bring inflation down.” CIB is a bellwether for the wider economy, so a read through the bank’s full earnings release here (pdf) is worth your time if you have a moment this morning.

M&A WATCH- Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt to exit NCMP: Banque Misr plans to sell its 42.9% majority stake in the National Company for Maize Products (NCMP) through Misr Financial Investment Company, Al Mal reports. The National Bank of Egypt will also exit its 9.6% stake in the company after the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA, formerly EFSA) approved yesterday Cairo Three A’s mandatory tender offer to acquire 100% of NCMP’s at EGP 45 per share.

Still a horse race? The remaining bidder for the stake had a unit of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), whose offer was rejected for being lower than Cairo Three A’s at EGP 35.56 per share. ADM still plans to present a counter offer, sources tell Al Mal. The company is legally allowed five days from 21 November — the deadline for the subscription window — to submit its counter offer, which has to be at least 2% higher than the original. ADM executives were surprised by the FRA’s decision to turn down its offer, the sources add, explaining that company executives had met several times with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr to discuss the transaction, which was meant to kickoff their expansion plans in the country’s food sector.

Advisors: Pharos Holding and Banque Misr are sellside advisors to Misr Capital Investment, while CI Capital is advising Cairo Three A Group and Matouk Bassiouny is its legal counsel.

M&A WATCH- Total has acquired Engie’s 5% stake in the first train of the Idku LNGproject in Egypt as part of a larger transaction worth up to USD 2 bn that also includes other assets in the United States, Africa and Europe, the company said in a statement overnight. The transaction, which should close by the middle of next year, will see Total manage a total global LNG volume of nearly 40 mn tons per annum.

M&A WATCH- Veon Holdings is seeking approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA, formerly EFSA) for a mandatory tender offer to buy 1.998 bn shares of Global Telecom Holding (GTH) at EGP 7.90 per share, according to Reuters. FRA says it is studying the offer. Veon is the name VimpelCom gave itself in June. It already owns 57.7% of GTH.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Port operator and logistics services provider DP World announced yesterday (pdf) the details of its agreement with the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), which will see it “develop an integrated industrial and residential zone” in Ain Sokhna. The agreement, which was signed on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, will see the two parties establish a joint venture that will be 51% owned by the SCZone, with DP World holding the balance. The new JV should begin operations by 1Q2018 and look towards attracting foreign investment to the 95k sqm zone, offering “a range of investment incentives.”

Priority sectors: Look for auto parts, food processing, petrochemicals, electronics, building materials, textiles, and medical equipment to be the stars of the show. The zone will also cater to SMEs and offer logistics services through the Ain Sokhna Port, which is also set to see an inflow of investment under the agreement.

The residential side of the project, which is expected to house around 500,000 people, will feature seaside villas and smaller residential units. Built over a 20k sqm stretch, the area will also include shopping and administrative centers, schools, hospitals, entertainment facilities, and sporting clubs.

You now need general assembly approval to buy back treasury stocks: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has made it mandatory for companies to seek general assembly approval before buying treasury shares, Al Shorouk reports. The decision aims to protect the rights of minority shareholders by putting a policy in place to ensure that all investors are receiving fair and equal treatment, according to the newspaper. This is the latest in a series of regulatory changes from Omran, who has hit the ground running since becoming head of the authority. These have ranged from as big as imposing a one-month deadline on IPOs to as rebranding the English name of the regulator.

There are some concerns that state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE) is experiencing a pattern of “unfair privileges” with its entry in the mobile operator market, according to a piece by AFP. The privileges include a potential conflict of interest given its stake in Vodafone Egypt as well as an exemption from an NTRA-imposed price hike. “It is a big responsibility for the government to ensure that competition regulations are implemented in an equitable manner … [such rules] have not always been respected in the field of telecoms,” says Orange Egypt CEO Jean-Marc Harion. Although TE continues to deny having any unfair advantages, Beltone Financial analyst Ahmed Adel says its landline monopoly constitutes “a big challenge because of the number of complaints over the quality of these fixed services.”

Egypt is confident it can achieve a primary budget surplus for the first time years in FY2017-18 and is working to reduce government debt to 98% of GDP, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk told the IMF delegation in town reviewing progress on the economic reform agenda. Positive indicators from the first quarter of the fiscal year support that confidence, according to minister Amr El Garhy, who said that the primary budget deficit dropped to 0.2% of GDP in 1QFY2017-18, from 0.6% last year, while government earnings rose 33.2% y-o-y for the period, and spending increased a prudent 24.4% y-o-y. The delegation has held several meetings with El Garhy and other ministry officials to complete an assessment of the reform program before unlocking a third USD 2 bn tranche of Egypt’s USD 12 bn extended fund facility, but decided to extend its stay, which was meant to end on Tuesday, to meet with other government officials once they return from the World Youth Forum, Al Shorouk says.

The delegation met with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla this week, sources tell the newspaper. On the agenda were increasing natural gas production, progress on subsidy reduction, and arrears to international oil companies. The cabinet had said on various occasions that the year would not see any additional cuts to fuel subsidies.

House preliminarily gives initial approval to Labor Unions Act after heated debate: The House of Representatives’ general assembly granted an initial nod yesterday to the Labor Unions Act following heated debate, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The House decided to postpone full debate of the law to a later date after MPs disagreed over some of its clauses, according to the newspaper. MP Mohamed Elsewedy called for stronger oversight on financing, insisting that all forms of funding (including grants and donations) should be subject to board approval. House speaker Ali Abdel Aal, on the other hand, said that enforcing additional oversight would constitute interference in the internal affairs of unions, pointing out that foreign funding is prohibited by the bill, making further restrictions unnecessary. Other MPs also objected to a stipulation that the unions’ elections would be held within 90 days of the law’s issuance, which they said is not enough time to properly prepare, and would also result in a scheduling conflict with next year’s presidential elections.

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) is not too pleased with the bill either, claiming it violates global principles on union freedoms and leaves practically no room for independent unions to grow and develop. The group called on the government to implement amendments to the law that would create more of a divide between them and the administration of labor unions, Al Mal says.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has approved the composition of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement of Investment Disputes to be headed by the PM himself and to include the ministers of justice, investment, trade and industry, finance, public enterprise, as well as the Deputy Justice Minister for Arbitration and International Disputes, our friend Moustafa El Bahabety. The decree also listed El Bahabety as the head of the organization’s Technical Committee, according to the Official Gazette. The Technical Committee is tasked with resolving investment contract disputes and has within its remit the ability to take any action deemed necessary to resolve the disputes.

Track record of success: The committee has reached settlement agreements this year in international arbitration cases with parties including Germany’s Utsch AG and National Gas Company in France and also reached a settlement last year with ArcelorMittal. You can read our interview with El Bahabety from last year here, in which he explained how his committee is working to save taxpayers money — and to restore investor confidence at the same time.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi fielded questions and addressed some of the mostpressing topics facing Egypt and the region during the Meet the Press segment of the World Youth Forum on Wednesday.

El Sisi spoke on the issue of his reelection, saying he would not consider a second term until after he delivers in a few months’ time his annual state-of-the-union type address on his accomplishments in office, Al Shorouk reports. The public’s reaction to this address will determine whether he will announce his candidacy for the 2018 elections, which he had said earlier in the week would take place in March or April.

On the economy, El Sisi noted that inflation is easing but we are still an economy reeling from four years of instability, according to AMAY. He did express confidence that the EGP will appreciate in the coming period as the economy grows, Reuters reports.

There is no relation between signing the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plants contracts and restoring flights with Russia, El Sisi said. He stated that he understood Russian reservations when it came to restoring flights, adding that he has not and will not insist Russia put the airplanes back in the sky to Egypt, Youm7 reports.

(Speaking of which, Egypt and Russia will ink the final contracts for Dabaa in December, with El Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the ceremony, an Electricity Ministry source tells Youm7.)

El Sisi also revealed that Egypt was planning to launch an international news channel, probably to provide a competing narrative to Ikhwani-loving channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Shorouk reports.

El Sisi backs anti-corruption arrests in Saudi Arabia: International media coverage of the session was more focused on regional issues, particularly with Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. El Sisi said that conditions in Saudi are stable and reassuring, while expressing confidence in the Saudi leadership, Youm7 reports. “What’s happening there is an internal matter which could happen in any country,” he added.

As for regional rivals Iran, El Sisi said that the country should must stop "meddling" in the Middle East and the security of Arab Gulf countries must not be threatened. “Gulf security is a red line for us and others should not interfere in their affairs,” he said. "The region has enough instability and challenges as it is. We don’t need any new complications involving Iran or Hezbollah so we don’t add new challenges to the region," he added when speaking on a possible response, according to the Associated Press.

And on Libya, El Sisi said that Egypt’s support for East Libya commander Khalifa Haftar does not mean Egypt is opposed to the UN-backed government, Reuters report.

Also worth noting from the forum: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delved into Egypt’s role in rebuilding state institutions in countries emerging from conflict, according to a ministry statement. Egypt has offered technical and financial assistance to Arab and African countries through the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development and the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, in addition to contributing to UN peacekeeping forces, according to Shoukry. Both the state and the private sector have not shied away from publically announcing their intentions to help rebuild Syria. The governments of Egypt and Iraq had also previously signed a number of agreements which would see Egypt help rebuild key and vital economic sectors. We anticipate this to be a major foreign policy push in the coming year.


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Egypt in the News

No one story is leading the conversation on Egypt this morning in the international press, but that doesn’t mean it was a quiet night at all:

Development plans for the new administrative capital will “put Egypt’s resources to the test,” Patrick Werr writes for The National. Werr says finding the water resources to supply the new city is “a mystery.” Financing the expansion is also not yet entirely clear, either. Werr says The New Administrative Capital for Urban Development, the company developing the new administrative capital, will “pay for much of the construction, including that of the new ministries. In exchange it will take possession of the property of ministries’ buildings in Cairo and then either sell or rent them. In the case of housing, private and public contracting companies buy land held by the New Administrative Capital Company then in return sell them to future residents.”

Egypt is in danger of slipping into instability caused by stagnation under the status quo, Mohamed Adam warns for The Hill. He argues that while the current administration has promised to be a beacon for security and stability, attacks have actually been on the rise and that they are evidence of repression actually sowing the seeds of instability. Rather inexplicably, he also argues that Egypt lacks a “clear economic … development program.” Having spent the last three years writing our [redacted] off five nights a week chronicling that last bit, we respectfully disagree.

Egypt is also the subject of whining in the Wall Street Journal, where talking heads from the Brookings Institution suggest the US should “encourage political and economic reform” by cutting aid in half and pushing the Emirates and KSA to fill the void. Genius.

Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo stand to lose the most if the US decides to cancel its green card lottery, Africa News says. Over 2,000 citizens from each of the three countries entered the US through the lottery program in 2016, according to State Department figures. President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel the program after a terror attack in New York this month.

LGBTQ rights also continued to make a splash: The proposed anti-LGBT law is a “deeply discriminatory bill [that] would be a huge setback for human rights and another nail in the coffin for [redacted] rights in Egypt,” Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director Najia Bounaim says. The bill, which stipulates a prison sentence of 5-7 years for individuals found guilty of LGBT activity, would also allow authorities to publish the names of those convicted in national newspapers as a means of “publicly shaming” them. Meanwhile, Shawn Gaylord writes for Advocate that the “crackdown” on Egypt’s LGBT community is partly a strategy “to obscure the government’s myriad policy failings.” He urged US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be among the world leaders to condemn the draft law.

Also worth noting this morning:

  • Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (a.k.a Shawkan) is turning 30 behind bars, where he’s been for four years on charges of murderand potentially faces the death penalty, according to France24.
  • The New York Times’ Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh tells all about the prevalence of smartphones and social media in Egypt, and how “the internet can be teeth-grindingly slow.”

Worth Watching

Short films about Egypt by the Lumiere Brothers will be shown at the Panorama of the European Film Festival (PEFF) today, according to Egypt Today. Auguste and Louis Lumière experimented with projecting moving images in the late 1800s and gave us all the gift of cinema. Among their works were short films displaying life in Egypt which was the first time the country was ever filmed (watch, runtime 0:41).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudan, Egypt review immigration, residency issues:The joint Sudanese-Egyptian Consular Committee reviewed the implementation of previous decisions and recommendations concerning immigration issues such as residency permits, visas and following up on issues concerning citizens of both countries, Middle East Monitor reports. “The committee has also discussed a number of consular issues which aim to remove the obstacles facing the citizens of both countries,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said.

EIB, Alexandria studying financing of development projects: Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan met with European Investment Bank (EIB) officials yesterday to discuss financing of development projects in the governorate, Al Mal reports. The projects — which include developing the Mahmoudeya Canal, the Abu Qir railway, and the Alex tram — will be studied by officials from different bodies to agree on a final funding strategy. No details were provided on the expected costs of the projects.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held separate meetings with Chadian President Idriss Debyand Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini yesterday. The meetings came during the sidelines of the World Youth forum.

Al Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed Al Tayeb met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday, according to an official statement.

Egypt was re-elected to the UNESCO executive council for a four-year term on Wednesday, according to an official Foreign Ministry statement.


Egypt, Saudi grid connection tender delayed until January

The Electricity Ministry has decided to delay evaluating offers for companies looking to take part in connecting the power grids of Egypt and Saudi, ministry sources tell Al Borsa. The tender process will be resumed in January, the sources added without explaining the reason behind the delay. It is unclear whether this has anything to do with the anti-corruption arrests taking place in Saudi. The ministry had come out stating earlier in the week that the project would resume according to schedule and was unaffected by the events there. Alstom, ABB, Siemens and State Grid Corporation of China have all submitted bids for the project.

BP to launch production at Atoll field by year’s end

BP will launch production at the USD 3.8 bn Atoll field in the North Damietta concession ahead of schedule by the end of the year, said Hassan Abady, Chairman BP JV Pharaonic Oil Company, Al Ahram reports. Development of the field is 93% complete, including the drilling of three deepwater wells 950 meters below the water’s surface. The field is expected to produce 300 mcf/d and 8k bbl/d once online.


Transport Ministry, SCZone to tour Europe to promote 6 October dry port

TransportMinister Hisham Arafat and Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) chief Mohab Mamish are preparing to tour European capitals to promote the 6 October dry port project,according to Al Borsa. Feasibility studies on the 100 feddan project placed initial investment of USD 100 mn. Arafat said the dry port will be followed by a 300 feddan logistics center for the facility.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Military Production Ministry to manage family subsidy smartcard platform

The Military Production Ministry will be managing and supervising the family subsidy smartcard system on behalf of the Supply Ministry under an MoU the two sides inked yesterday, Al Mal reports. The government had tapped the Military Production Ministry to help with the subsidy roll purge and manage the smartcard platform to increase efficiency, but also ensure data protection after several breaches were reported.

Government buys 120k tonnes of Russian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) bought 120k tonnes of Russian wheat at USD 196.5 a tonne on Wednesday,according to Reuters. The tender was for shipment in the second half of December.


Ukrainian holiday bookings to Egypt continue to increase despite state of emergency

Ukrainian tourists’ holiday bookings to Egypt have continued to increase despite the state of emergency imposed in Egypt, which led the Ukrainian government to issue a travel warning. A Ukrainian tour operator tells Ukrinform that the agency has booked trips to Egypt for some 90,000 Ukrainians since the state of emergency was renewed in July, with 40,000 bookings in October alone. Around 300k Ukrainians will have visited Egypt by the end of 2017, which would mark an increase of more than 100% y-o-y, according to the source.

Automotive + Transportation

Careem introduces bike-hailing

Careem launched bike-hailing services to some of its busier and braver customers looking to speed through traffic,according to a company statement. The expansion into bikes, which the company says will help fight congestion, will be available in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta in its initial phase. This comes as bus ride sharing service Swvl launched services in Alexandria,according to The Egypt Independent.

Banking + Finance

Al Ahly to convert 50% of their AMOC stake to GDRs

Al Ahly Capital is planning on converting 50% of their stake in Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC) into GDRs, according to Al Borsa. Al Ahly owns 25.3% of AMOC. Reports of the size of the stake Al Ahly are converting to GDRs have varied in the last few months. AMOC has already been in talks with the Bank of New York Mellon this year about their GDR issuance.

Other Business News of Note

Gold’s to open eight branches next year

Gold’s Gym is planning on opening eight new branches next year at a cost of c. EGP 150 mn, according to Al Borsa. Half of the branches will be comprehensive gyms, costing EGP 30 mn each and the other half will be workout studios that cost EGP 6 mn each.

Legislation + Policy

El Garhy to attend House discussions over government service fee hike

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy is expected to attend the House’s Budget Committee’s discussions on Monday of a bill that would hike government service fees, MP Yasser Omar tells Al Borsa. If passed, the bill will increase fees for a number of different services, including passport issuance, expat resident visas, and vehicle and gun registration, among the others. The hike is expected to earn the state EGP 3-4 bn for the year, ministry sources said. The bill has been on hold since April and MPs had pushed it over from their previous session to avoid declaring any new price increases given the surge in inflation levels at the time, which have since begun to cool.

House Religious Affairs Committee discusses draft law to regulate religious discourse in the media

The House Religious Affairs Committee discussed yesterday a draft law could regulate how the press covers religious issues, Ahram Gate reports. Committee members said they will be looking to require Al Azhar, Dar Al-Ifta, the Endowments Ministry, and the Supreme Media Council to select individuals who are qualified to speak about religious issues. The committee also wants to clamp down on channels through which controversial religious edicts (fatwas) are broadcast.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Court upholds Alaa Abdel Fattah’s prison sentence

The Court of Cassation upheld the five-year jail sentence against opposition activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, Reuters reports. “Abdel Fattah, who has already served more than three years in prison, was jailed for protesting without permission … Prosecutors said Abdel Fattah was guilty of organizing a protest in November 2013 because he had promoted it on social media.”

On Your Way Out

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1989 the Berlin Wall was opened by the East German government. “Ecstatic crowds immediately began to clamber on top of the Wall and hack large chunks out of the 28-mile (45-kilometre) barrier,” the BBC reported at the time. It was a darker time in Germany in 1938 as it was the beginning of the Kristallnacht, “some 48 hours of Nazi-orchestrated anti-Jewish violence erupted throughout Germany and Austria, resulting in the destruction and vandalizing of synagogues and Jewish businesses and the deaths of at least 91 Jews.” On this day in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power as the Coup of 18–19 Brumaire began in Paris, signalling an end of the French Revolution. France also woke up to the news that former President Charles de Gaulle died on this day in 1970. In 1922, Albert Einstein was named the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect; the Nobel committee had delayed awarding the 1921 physics prize until 1922. King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman “Ibn Saud,” founder of Saudi Arabia, died on this day in 1953. Two years ago we were reporting on the cabinet leaving the passage of the VAT law to the incoming parliament and last year, the reform measures were getting praise from Christine Lagarde.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5997 | Sell 17.6988
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,205 (+1.1%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (64% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +15.1%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 1.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent was among today’s worst performers down 1.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Domty up 8.6%, Global Telecom up 7.2%, and EFG Hermes up 4.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Oriental Weavers down 2.6% and AMOC down 0.9%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -153.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +31.0 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +122.5 mn

Retail: 58.9% of total trades | 57.8% of buyers | 59.9% of sellers
Institutions: 41.1% of total trades | 42.2% of buyers | 40.1% of sellers

Foreign: 16.9% of total | 12.2% of buyers | 21.6% of sellers
Regional: 8.9% of total | 9.8% of buyers | 7.9% of sellers
Domestic: 74.2% of total | 78.0% of buyers | 70.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 56.87 (+0.11%)
Brent: USD 63.53 (+0.06%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.16 MMBtu, (-0.47%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,281.80 / troy ounce (-0.15%)TASI: 6,936.49 (+0.04%) (YTD: -3.80%)
ADX: 4,369.06 (-1.14%) (YTD: -3.90%)
DFM: 3,414.92 (-1.89%) (YTD: -3.28%)
KSE Weighted Index: 390.41 (+0.88%) (YTD: +2.72%)
QE: 7,856.24 (-0.94%) (YTD: -24.73%)
MSM: 5,031.16 (-0.93%) (YTD: -13.00%)
BB: 1,266.81 (+1.10%) (YTD: +3.80%)

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

10 November (Friday): The SODIC annual Charity Run, SODIC West, Cairo.

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 (Tuesd ay): 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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