Sunday, 12 November 2017

A good-news start to the week

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

We come out of the weekend with a string of good news, folks. Inflation figures have now dropped for the third straight month, signalling once again that inflation may have peaked in July. Rating agency Standards and Poor’s has also upgraded Egypt’s outlook to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’ on the back of stable FX reserves and a renewed strengthening of the economy. And finally, the IMF has given its seal of approval to progress of the economic reforms in its second review, which opens the door for another USD 2 bn disbursement. We have coverage of all this and more in this morning’s Speed Round.

The House of Representatives’ Health Committee will begin discussing the Universal Healthcare Act today, according to Al Mal. We have chapter and verse on what’s expected to be a contentious debate — and one that seems set to add 4% to your payroll expenses — in Speed Round, below.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry kicks off a two-day tour of six Arab countries today for consultations on regional politics, particularly developments in Lebanon following Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri’s resignation, according to a ministry statement. Separately, Shoukry met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday to discuss bilateral issues, including efforts to combat terrorism and restore peace and stability in Libya.

The Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Sudanese irrigation ministers began yesterday another round of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the impact studies conducted by French consultancy firms, Al Shorouk reports.

Calling all adventurers: Ancient sites that were previously inaccessible are being made available by new tour operators, hoteliers and infrastructure developments. Bloomberg’s list of newly accessible sites includes the Maroe pyramids in Sudan, a Mayan capital in Guatemala and an Indian temple amongst those making the list.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee convenes on Thursday to review interest rates. Despite inflation falling on an annual basis again in October, 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.

The Finance Ministry is planning to sell EUR 650 mn in T-bills to local and foreign financial institutions on Monday, Reuters reports. The auction deadline is Monday, 13 November, settlement date is a day later, and the bills’ maturity is 13 November, 2018.

The House Legislative Committee plans to discuss the anti-LGBTQ bill this week, committee members tell Al Shorouk. The bill, reviled by civil society activists and the foreign press, imposes a prison sentence of up to five years for anyone caught engaged in same-gender relations.

On The Horizon

Egypt plans to launch its first electronic visa in December at the Cairo ICT expo running from 3-6 December.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

With plenty of developments on the economic front, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy blanketed the airwaves last night to discuss the IMF delegation’s visit and report on Egypt’s progress and reforms, as well as S&P’s long-awaited move to raise the country’s outlook to ‘positive.’

The IMF delegation agreed to make some adjustments to certain figures to accommodate unforeseen developments, including the interest rate hikes last May and July, El Garhy told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin. As part of its review, the delegation conferred with the CBE on its monetary policy to ensure it is in line with the overall economic reform plan, according to El Garhy. The delegation also stressed the importance of structural reforms to propel economic growth and job creation. According to El Garhy, the country’s indicators continue to bode well with the continued decline of inflation for three consecutive months (watch, runtime 7:38).

An upgrade of Egypt’s credit rating was not expected at this juncture considering the long road of reforms ahead, but the outlook upgrade is itself a positive development, El Garhy told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. The minister said that he is not particularly concerned about debt — which S&P noted as one of its areas of concern — and said that external debt is expected to drop below 35% of GDP by the end of June 2018, from 41% at the end of June 2017 (watch, runtime 3:19).

El Garhy also told Lamees that, so far, there is no need to for further cuts to fuel subsidies during the current fiscal year, but the government is keeping an eye on international oil prices in light of developments including an OPEC production ease. He said prices are unlikely to rise beyond the current USD 64 per barrel, but the government is waiting to see where it will stabilize (watch, runtime 2:46).

He also told Lamees the next USD 2 bn tranche from the IMF loan is expected to be disbursed in December.

El Garhy said the government is looking at why Egypt’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018 dropped sharply (watch, runtime 2:34).

Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib was still squarely focused on Lebanon, where President Michel Aoun claimed that former Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri is under arrest, despite Al Hariri having met nine ambassadors, all of whom have confirmed otherwise (watch, runtime 10:01).

Speed Round

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Urban consumer price inflation dropped to 30.8% in October from 31.6% in September on an annual basis. EFG Hermes economist Mohamed Abu Basha explains that, “on a monthly basis, inflation was up 1.1%, largely due to i) 7% M-o-M increase in communication costs, which followed the increase of pre-paid mobile bills; and ii) 20% M-o-M increase in education prices at the start of the new school year. Excluding these two, one-off items, monthly inflation would have been largely flat, with the rest of the constituents of the consumer basket showing very minor price increases in October. Food inflation was up only 0.2% M-o-M, the lowest since January 2016… [EFG Hermes] forecasts an accelerated pace of deceleration starting November’s readings as the base effect of last year’s sharp inflationary pressures sets in; we forecast annual headline inflation at 25% in November and 22-23% in December.” Core also inflation fell to 30.53% in October from 33.26%.

Standard & Poor’s raised Egypt’s outlook to Positive from Stable on the back of rising FX reserves and strengthening economic growth, according to a statement from the S&P (paywall) on Friday. The positive outlook reflects a "potential upgrade over next year" if Egypt continues to carry outs its reforms to support both investment and growth. The S&P expects political stability in Egypt to continue under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, with the rating agency adding that it does not foresee significant policy changes in the run-up to elections in early 2018. The S&P maintained Egypt’s long-term credit rating at ‘B-‘, “reflecting wide fiscal and external deficits, high public debt, and low income levels.” "[The upgrade] will contribute in attracting more foreign investment to the country, and reduce the cost of financing to both the state and institutions, as well as the private sector," Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said in a statement following the announcement of the upgrade.

IMF reaches agreement with Egypt to disburse USD 2 bn: The S&P’s announcement came just hours after the IMF announced that it had reached a staff level agreement with the government on disbursing the USD 2 bn tranche of its USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility. “Egypt’s economy continues to perform strongly, and reforms that have already been implemented are beginning to pay off in terms of macroeconomic stabilization and the return of confidence,” the IMF said in a statement. The agreement reaffirmed the government’s commitment to maintaining the reform agenda. The disbursement, which will still need to be ratified by the IMF’s board, will bring the amount Egypt has received from the IMF under the EEF facility to USD 6 bn, according to Reuters. The announcement from the IMF follows a second review of progress on the reform measures by an IMF team which concluded on Thursday with a visit to the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said last night on a talk show appearance that the USD 2 bn should be disbursed in December.

Fuel subsidy costs rose 68% y-o-y to EGP 23.5 bn in 1Q2017-18, up from EGP 14 bn in the same quarter of the previous fiscal year, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told reporters yesterday, Reuters reports. The minister reaffirmed that the government would not raise fuel subsidies again during this fiscal year, but said gasoline subsidies will be lifted altogether within five to ten years; some form of subsidy will remain in place for diesel fuel and gas cylinders, according to Ahram Online. The partial lifting of fuel subsidies since November 2016 has trimmed EGP 4 bn off the state’s expenditures this year, El Molla says. As we noted previously, the government is projecting that spending on fuel subsidies this fiscal year will record EGP 110 bn.

Egypt plans to completely halt importing LNG by the end of 2018, particularly as domestic production will be given a further boost once the Zohr field comes online, El Molla said, Ahram Gate reports. The imports will continue through 1H2018 as Egypt is tied to contracts with LNG importers, according to the minister. Ending imports comes as Egypt plans to turn into a regional energy hub by 2018.

El Molla also confirmed that the government is planning to repay another portion of its arrears to international oil companies before the end of December, according to Youm7. Arrears to IOC had dropped to USD 2.3 bn in September.

Separately, El Molla announced that the government is in talks to import more crude from Iraq, buying as much as 24 mn bbl per year at a rate of 2 mn bbl per month, up from 12 mn bbl per year under the current contract. The new agreement is expected to be signed in January 2018.

In other energy news, the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) is expected to begin operations in September 2018, said Ahmed Heikal, chairman of Qalaa Holdings, which has led the development of the megaproject and which holds a 19% stake in the facility. The USD 3.7 bn plant in Mastorod, which hopes to save the government some USD 300 mn in costs associated with fuel imports each year, will be completed in June after a number of delays. Capacity utilization is expected to hit 98% by the end of 2018, Heikal tells Bloomberg. The new plant will satisfy about 14 percent of Egypt’s annual need for liquid oil products, he added.

Sawiris: Please, sir. May I have a bank? Naguib Sawiris has again made it clear that he would really like to open a bank if the authorities would only allow it. “If the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt gives me a license for a bank, I’ll open it tomorrow,” he reportedly said at the World Youth Forum last week, according to Forbes Middle East. He added that he had tried to get a license in the past but was rejected. He says his main motivation for starting one is to channel funding to entrepreneurs in Egypt, which he says have lacked access to capital from other banks.

M&A WATCH- Global Telecom Holding (GTH) has appointed Pharos Holding as an independent financial advisor to evaluate the mandatory tender offer presented by Veon Holdings to acquire the company. Veon, which already owns 57.7% of GTH, submitted an offer to acquire GTH shares at EGP 7.90 per share last week.

IPO WATCH- Trading on Dice Sport and Casual Wear shares will begin on Tuesday 14 November, with the opening price per share set at EGP 22.60, Al Borsa reports. Dice had announced last week that its domestic offering was 5.96x oversubscribed, while its institutional offering was 3.1x oversubscribed.

Separately, Qalaa Holdings announced on Thursday it has sold its entire 27% stake in Dice for around EGP 300 mn, according to Al Mal. EFG Hermes was the sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the offering and Matouk Bassiouny is local counsel.

The EGX has completed technical tests of a platform which would allow short-selling on the bourse, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid said, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The move is part of several new financial tools and instruments the exchange plans to launch in the near future. Farid also briefly spoke of plans to introduce a platform futures trading on the bourse in an interview on Bloomberg TV (watch, runtime 1:47).

State-owned Al Ahram published what it says is the current draft of the Universal Healthcare Act on Saturday. From what we can see, the act retains much of the key features first announced by the health and finance ministries back in March, including the formation of three regulators: the Social Health Insurance Authority will be charged with funding the new healthcare system; the Healthcare Authority, which will be in charge of managing healthcare services provided by the system; and a quality-control regulator.

The bill also sets premiums for employers of 4% of each employee’s monthly salary, and it is not clear whether employers who provide private healthcare plans will be forced to participate.

As for the private sector: The bill allows the private sector to provide health care under the system, but those participating will be obliged to offer prices set out by the Social Healthcare Insurance Authority. There appears to be no provisions in the bill which sets a price caps for private sector players not involved in the system. The Health Ministry had been insisting on implementing price caps for the healthcare sector, and will begin drafting a price list for services in early 2018.

Debate on the bill at the divided committee is expected to be contentious. Rep. Haitham Al Hariri, who is part of the populist-leaning 25-30 Coalition, was particularly critical of the government for not guaranteeing that it will not privatize public healthcare. He also spoke out against the state not covering retired pensioners and children under the age of 18 (breadwinners are obliged to pay a premium for their children). Other committee members, including Rep. Abdel Hamid El Sheikh, say that the premiums are too high. The most common criticism, however, appears to be the timeline, as the government plans to fully implement the system by 2032. A draft of the bill appears to have leaked in the domestic press over the weekend, the highlights of which we cover in the Speed Round.

Brexit is responsible for the continuing flight ban from the UK to Sharm El Sheikh, Gerald Lawless, chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, told a conference in London, Simon Calder writes for The Independent. Lawless says former Prime Minister David Cameron was “about to end the ban — but his resignation after the EU referendum put paid to the plan” and The Independent got a separate confirmation of this story from a senior travel industry source. Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed says the timing now is “perfect” for British tourists to return to Sharm El Sheikh.

The Tourism Ministry is focused on promoting “alternative” destinations including Marsa Alam and Hurghada as Egypt anticipates the travel ban on Sharm El Sheikh remaining in place for the foreseeable future, Rashed tells The Telegraph. The North Coast is also among the destinations being promoted among British tourists. The minister said that the government has tightened security in all tourist destinations, not just Sharm El Sheikh, and that tourists are safe across the entire country. “I would definitely address the British authorities to look into the [flight ban] decision because it is no longer valid,” Rashed tells the newspaper. “People are in Sharm, hundreds of thousands and [mns], so it’s about time to revisit the decision.”

Separately, travel company TUI announced it plans on investing in hotel and services projects in Hurghada, Marsa Alam, and Sharm El Sheikh, Al Shorouk reports. Some of the projects are expected to be completed next year, TUI representatives told Rashed during a meeting in London on Thursday. No further details were provided on the nature of the projects or the expected investment value.

“I am against war,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi says after speculation that the Gulf region could be on the cusp of an armed confrontation with Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, Ahmed Feteha writes for Bloomberg, reiterating remarks we carried on Thursday. “Our point of view when it comes to new troubles with either Iran or Hezbollah or any other issue is that we have to deal with great care so as not to add to the challenges and troubles of the region … We call for not increasing tensions in the region, but not at the expense of Arab and Gulf national security,” El Sisi said, calling on Iran not to meddle in Arab security. El Sisi also reiterated his support for and confidence in Saudi Arabia’s leadership.

El Sisi also said he wants to find those who are guilty for the death of Giulio Regeni, ANSA reports, adding that he believes the murder was an attempt to derail Italian investments in Egypt. “We are working in a very transparent way with the Italian authorities,” he said.

…US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed El Sisi’s statements on Lebanon on Friday, calling on “all parties both within Lebanon and outside” to back off from actions that could threaten that country’s stability. Senior administration officials said that the call was directed at Saudi Arabia as well as at Iran and Hezbollah, according to the Washington Post. The statements come amid heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon over Hezbollah, which saw Lebanese Prime Minister Saad El Hariri resign in Riyadh. The resignation comes amid speculation by his staff and other in the Lebanese government that he is being held against his will and was forced by the Saudi government, Reuters reports. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called for Saudi Arabia to explain why El Hariri is allegedly being prevented from leaving Riyadh, the FT reports.

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Image of the Day

A play about an Egyptian band visiting Israel officially opened on Broadway on Thursday, Peter Marks writes for the Washington Post. ‘The Band’s Visit’ gets a glowing review from the Post and gives a different perspective on Arab-Israeli dynamics. The story is about a band from Alexandria ending up in the wrong Israeli town on their way to playing a goodwill concert and the drama between band members and the unwelcoming townsfolk. The play is based on an Israeli film of the same name from 2007 and features Lebanese American actor Tony Shalhoub.

Egypt in the News

Still topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press is the British woman who is being accused of smuggling restricted meds into the country. 33-year-old Laura Plummer, who insists the meds were for her Egyptian husband’s back pain, has been referred to trial and her detention has been renewed for 15 days, the Associated Press reports.

Egypt’s 1979 peace agreement with Israel should serve as “encouragement to Palestinians and other Arab states to reach their own peace agreements with the Jewish state,” Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat said, according to Times of Israel. “They should go back to Sadat’s address to the Knesset 40 years ago and they should see what we have been able to achieve, and not achieve, from that speech,” Khairat said.

Daniel Bardsley writes that a lack of role models is limiting the number of Arab women who become scientists in a piece for The National. “Negative perceptions of women with successful careers and the challenges that many face of juggling work with domestic commitments were also highlighted” during a special session the World Science Forum in Jordan. “Another factor cited was how people perceive high-achieving women. Dr Amal Amin, a polymer chemist who is an advisory board member of the Egyptian Young Academy of Science, said ‘strong’ women could be viewed negatively in her home country. ‘Inside Egypt, the society looks at you [as though] you’re not a woman,’ she said, adding that it was important that girls were given encouragement to challenge these stereotypes and to see themselves as strong and capable.”

From the Department of Really Bad Ideas: The House of Representatives is looking into a bill that could make “disparaging remarks on the country’s historical figures a jailable offence,” according to Gulf News. Representative Omar Hamrush wants to protect us precious petals because “the controversy resulting from insulting these symbols is dangerous and negatively affects the Egyptian people by spreading depression among them.”

From the Department of Really Unfortunate Company Names: UK payment technology provider Bango announced that merchant partners can now launch carrier billing across all Egyptian mobile operators, according to Business Weekly. “Bango is a mobile payment company for mobile app stores to power direct carrier billing for their customers. Bango enables app store customers to click and buy apps or in-app content, placing the charge directly onto their mobile phone bill.” The company is partnering with Victory Link, whose CEO Engy El Sabban says the partnership will give “Egyptian consumers an inclusive payment method to access the full range of content and services available.”

Also worth noting in brief

  • Egypt’s US-backed war on terror has seen a “spate of disappearances and apparent extrajudicial killings,” Jacob Greene and Allison McManus write for The Intercept.
  • Menna Farouk reports on the government’s “Fekretak Sherketak” initiative to support startups, in a piece for Startup MGZN.
  • Oh, and if you are ever in Seoul, avoid a bar called “The Fountain. ” The racist [redacted] reportedly have bouncers that turn people away saying, “No Indians. It is a rule. No Kazakhstan, no Pakistan, no Mongolia, no Saudi Arabia and no Egypt. It is a rule,” according to Korea Exposé.

Worth Watching

Video of Egyptian-American academic Noha Abdel Karim storming off stage at the World Youth Forum after a brief argument with a moderator over time allocated to speakers has gone viral. The professor took issue with the fact that some speakers got an allocation of 25 minutes while she and some others were cut off after a couple of minutes by the moderator. Criticizing the structure of the forum and calling on her own experience managing panels, she went on a brief tirade before leaving the stage and ripping off her microphone (watch, runtime: 2:32)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt and Greece are ready to sign several MoUs on transportation, tourism, double taxation, agriculture, and fish farming, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said during a visit to Athens on Thursday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Kabil agreed with Greek Economy and Development Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou to implement a new strategy to regulate and promote economic cooperation between the two countries, according to a ministry statement. A delegation of Greek construction companies are also expected to visit Egypt soon to look into potential infrastructure projects, Greece’s Alternative Foreign Minister George Katrougkalos told Kabil. The minister also sat down with Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura to discuss implementing previous agreements with Cyprus to increase cruises between the three countries. Kabil met with several Greek firms in the textiles, agricultural, renewable energy, and auto component industries, many of which expressed their interest in investing in Egypt.

Tunisian cabinet delegation arrives to bolster trade and investment: Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed arrived in Cairo at the head of a cabinet delegation to bolster trade ties, according to Ahram Gate. Tunisian Commerce Minister Omar Al Bahi inaugurated the Egyptian-Tunisian Investment and Economic Partnership Forum with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr and announced nine investment agreements will be signed, according to an official statement. Details of the nine agreements have yet to be announced.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed off on two loan agreement to finance agricultural development in the Sinai worth KWD 110 mn, according to Egypt Today. The financing came from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD).

This comes as Egypt signed on Friday two agreements worth a combined EGP 250 mn with the Saudi Arabian Grant Committee to fund SMEs and ride-sharing projects, according to a ministry statement. The agreements include EGP 150 mn in funding for small businesses in Egypt, and a EGP 100 mn agreement between the committee and an EFG Hermes subsidiary to fund new vehicles for ride-sharing platforms.

The Customs Authority has finalized the customs tariffs rates under the Mercosur freetrade agreement, which came into effect last month, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The authority has also divided commodities into five groups that will gradually become customs-exempt over the course of 10 years. Customs exemptions on “strategic commodities” will be determined by a joint Egypt-Mercosur committee. No details were provided on the commodities in each of the groups.

Egypt has invited the Palestinian factions to more extensive talks on reconciliation on 21 November, according to Xinhua.

Energy

Oil Ministry signs USD 2.4 mn exploration agreement with Trident Petroleum

The EGPC signed yesterday a USD 2.4 mn agreement with Trident Petroleum for oil and gas exploration in the East Esh Al Mallaha concession, Al Borsa reports. The agreement also included a USD 500,000 signing bonus to drill four wells in the concession. No details were provided on the timeline of the project.

TransGlobe increases production, records 3Q2017 loss

TransGlobe Energy announced 3Q2017 production increased by 27% y-o-y to 14.9k boepd on increased volumes in Egypt and an acquisition in Canada, according to the company’s earnings release. TransGlobe recorded a net loss of USD 6.9 mn during the quarter and attributes it to a USD 10.3 mn impairment loss and a USD 3.2 mn unrealized loss on derivatives. The company spent USD 10.1 mn in exploration and development in 3Q2017, of which USD 6.0 mn was spent in Egypt. The company says it “continues to investigate methods to increase its liquidity and general market support, including alternative listings.”

El Sokhna Refinery secures USD 1.4 bn in funding for its refinery

El Sokhna Refinery & Petrochemicals has secured USD 1.4 bn in funding for phase one of its refinery plant from an unnamed consortium of European and Chinese lenders, company sources tell AMAY. The funding will cover the development of 85% of phase one, and the company plans to finance the rest through loans from local banks.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Russia supplied all of Egypt’s wheat since August

Russia extended continued a three-month “clean sweep” in orders from the world’s biggest wheat buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), UkrAgroConsult reports. Russia’s continued wins in GASC tenders against other suppliers came driven by weakness in the rouble and “increased competition” on international markets. GASC has so far bought 3.79 mn tonnes of wheat in 2017-18, of which 2.42 mn came from Russia, including all of the wheat GASC bought last Wednesday. Russian wheat has accounted for all GASC purchases since August.

Fruttella launches fruit sorting and packaging line

The International Company for Food Industries (Fruttella) is launching a EGP 20 mn fruit and citrus sorting and packaging line, Managing Director Ahmed Sarhan told Al Mal. The new line will allow the company to meet export requirements, as it target markets in Southeast Asia and China. Sarhan says the new investment will be self-financed and the company aims to increase its production capacity to 35k tonnes of fresh fruit from 20k tonnes currently.

Gov’t establishes company to regulate gold mining in Shalatin

The government has established the Shalatin Company to regulate gold mining in the disputed Shalatin area on the border with Sudan, which is currently carried out haphazardly and with little oversight, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla announced yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The company is responsible for negotiating with miners and setting competitive prices for purchasing gold to avoid smuggling, according to the minister.

Real Estate + Housing

Redcon to develop EGP 1 bn office project

Redcon Construction plans to begin work on a EGP 1 bn office project in New Cairo within two months, Chairman Tarek El Gamal told Al Borsa. The 25,000 sqm project is located on Road 90 and work is expected to be completed within a year.

Banking + Finance

Catalyst Partners plans to list two companies in 2H2018

Catalyst Partners is managing the listing two unnamed companies on the EGX in 2H2018, CEO Tarek Effat tells AMAY. The first is a EGP 200 mn pharma company while the other is a food industries company with a capital of EGP 160 mn. Catalyst has already completed restructuring the companies before listing procedures.

EGX allows Shuaa Capital to trade on EGX

The EGX has reinstated Shuaa Capital as a company authorized to trade securities on the market, according to a bourse statement. Shuaa had said it was looking to re-enter the Egyptian market last August.

HC to increase assets under management to EGP 5.5 bn

HC Securities is planning on increasing its assets under management 20% to EGP 5.5 bn next year, Vice President Mohamed Metwally told AMAY. Separately the company is currently advising on M&A eight transactions this year.

Other Business News of Note

Investment Ministry aiming to bring the total number of investment zones to 27

The Investment Ministry is planning on bringing the number of investment zones nationwide to 27, up from a current 16 zone with 261 projects, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr told Youm7.

Suez Canal revenue for October at USD 474 mn

Suez Canal revenues grew 13.3% y-o-y in October came to USD 474 mn, said Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish according to Al Shorouk.

Legislation + Policy

Data protection bill might ban e-marketing messages

A draft data protection law is currently being reviewed by committee in the House of Representatives, Soliman, Hashish & Partners’ Mohamed Hashish writes in Lexology. “According to the proposed Draft Data Protection Law, a number of disclosure requirements shall be made as well as a prior explicit approval from the person owning the data shall be obtained before proceeding with the processing of such data. However, even after meeting the said requirements and obtaining the said approval, the said person will still have the right, in certain cases, to postpone, correct, remove or disable any access to his personal data that is subject of the pre-approved data processing. The Draft Data Protection Law proposes also that any direct or indirect marketing e-messages using any personal data shall be prohibited unless a prior approval is obtained,” Hashish writes.

House Transport Committee objects to law establishing commercial transport authority

The House Transport Committee objected to a bill drafted by the Ismail cabinet to establish a commercial transport authority to regulate transportation between governorates, warning it may reject the legislation altogether, Al Mal reports. The draft law would require taxi and microbus drivers to pay more fees, including to receive a special license to operate as commercial drivers, which would result in these drivers raising their service costs, committee deputy head Mohamed Zeineldin tells the newspaper.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Corruption case ordered to a retrial

The Court of Cassation has accepted the appeal of former Irrigation Minister Mohamed Nasr El Din Allam and ordered a retrial, Xinhua reports. The decision also means his seven year jail term from February has been set aside.

Police arrests 10 Nubian protesting Sorour’s death

Police have arrested 10 Nubians for taking part in a protest over the recent death in detention of Nubian activist Gamal Sorour, officials told The Associated Press. “The officials say those arrested are accused of protesting illegally and disrupting public order… They face charges of participating in an unauthorized demonstration and disrupting public order.”

National Security

HR groups file criminal complaint over sale of surveillance technology

The Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies and international human rights groups have filed a criminal complaint over the sale of French surveillance technology to Egypt by Nexa Technologies, according to the AP. The complaint claims the sale amounts to assisting oppression in the country.

On Your Way Out

Alexandria Angels made its first investment, injecting funds into the on-demand delivery app VOO, according to Forbes Middle East. “VOO is a Cairo-based startup that connects part-time and freelance couriers with users in need of items picked-up or delivered in the greater Cairo area.” Alexandria Angels founder Tarek El Kady says his priority remains investing in early-stage startups from Alexandria. The details of the investment in VOO were not made public, but El Kady says Alexandria Angels will look at investing amounts ranging from USD 20k-100k in startups that “have a strong product-market fit, with robust teams, that have high potential for scaling up.”

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 2015, European Space Agency lander Philae landed on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as part of the Rosetta mission, achieving the first ever soft landing on a comet nucleus, ten years and eight months after departing Earth. 35 years earlier, the US space probe Voyager 1 reached the planet Saturn and caught its rings on film. In 1927, Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, paving the way for Josef Stalin to take control of the party and country. In 1982, the Polish Government freed the leader of the outlawed Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, who eventually became the elected President of Poland in 1990. Bahá’u’lláh Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, was born on this day in 1817. Musician Neil Young and serial killer Charles Manson were also born on this day in 1945 and 1934, respectively. This time in 2015 we were left perplexed as the EGP inexplicably appreciated against the USD as a caretaker was appointed at the helm of the central bank with Hisham Ramez vacating the seat ahead of schedule.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6015 | Sell 17.7006
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70

EGX30 (Thursday): 14,350 (+1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 1.3 bn (33% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +16.2%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 1.0%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 2.0%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Qalaa Holdings up 5.8%; Telecom Egypt up 3.6%; and Elsewedy Electric up 3.1%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were: Palm Hills down 2.0%; SODIC down 1.4%; and Egyptian Resorts down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.3 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +138.3 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +263.7 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -402.0 mn

Retail: 51% of total trades | 52.6% of buyers | 49.4% of sellers
Institutions: 49% of total trades | 47.4% of buyers | 50.6% of sellers

Foreign: 11.4% of total | 14.7% of buyers | 8.1% of sellers
Regional: 10.7% of total | 17.0% of buyers | 4.4% of sellers
Domestic: 77.9% of total | 68.3% of buyers | 87.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 56.74 (-0.75%)
Brent: USD 63.52 (-0.64%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.21 MMBtu, (+0.41%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,274.2 / troy ounce (-1.03%)

TASI: 6,954.38 (+0.26%) (YTD: -3.55%)
ADX: 4,376.22 (+0.16%) (YTD: -3.74%)
DFM: 3,449.81 (+1.02%) (YTD: -2.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 397.67 (+1.86%) (YTD: +4.63%)
QE: 7,885.5 (+0.37%) (YTD: -24.44%)
MSM: 5,055.24 (+0.48%) (YTD: -12.58%)
BB: 1,267.58 (+0.06%) (YTD: +3.86%)

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Calendar

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2020 Enterprise Ventures LLC.