Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Surprise tax hike sends smoke prices up


What We’re Tracking Today

Cigarette prices are going up, and the local press is already losing its mind in a pre-emptive fit of nicotine withdrawal. The House of Representatives voted yesterday to amend the Value-Added Tax Act to increase the schedule tax on tobacco, Ahram Online reports. The move follows a petition by the Finance Ministry that has passed the House Budget Committee in record time before getting the nod from the House in plenary session.

How much more are they going to cost? Cigarettes sold for less than EGP 18 will see a EGP 3.50 increase per pack, while those sold at EGP 18-30 will see a EGP 5.50 price jump. Packs currently going for over EGP 30 will now cost EGP 6.50 more each.

When does it go into effect? Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told talk show hosts last night that he expects President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to sign off on the tax hike later this week.

How much will state coffers net — and what will El Garhy do with the windfall? Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told the House Budget Committee that the increase is expected to generate between EGP 7 bn and EGP 8 bn in new revenue. Funding from the tax grab will go towards spending on social welfare programs and on implementing the EGP 600 mn Universal Healthcare Act.

PM threw his weight behind the bill? “The quick and sudden submission of the bill for a vote came after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail paid a surprise visit to parliament on Tuesday morning to discuss the increase with speaker Abdel-Aal,” Ahram Online’s Gamnal Essam El-Din reports.

It’s the only story the domestic press can talk about this morning. The story has topped headlines in almost every local paper with updates across the news cycle as if they were covering a natural disaster. It also dominated last night’s airwaves (see Last Night’s Talk Shows, below). It’s also just about the only tax that even the smokers among us will full-throatedly cheer. We say this in the most secular way possible: They’re called sin taxes for a reason.

Schneider Electric is organizing the 2017 Innovation Summit Egypt starting from today and until Friday, where it will launch its EcoStruxure architecture and platform for end-to-end IoT-enabled solutions. CEO and Chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire will attend the summit, as will the ministers of electricity and CIT.

Looking at how to balance your personal portfolio? Stay in equities and look at both Europe and emerging markets, writes self-styled personal finance ‘guru’ Ken Fisher (personal website), the former equities analyst and founder of Fisher Investments who enjoys moonlighting as a columnist and author. “I don’t see this bull market ending soon. Markets tend to look forward only about 3-30 months, focusing most closely on the next 12-18. In that span, what I see looks positive. Economic drivers are strong. Corporate earnings are zooming globally. High and rising leading economic indices say more growth is in store.” Read the full piece in the FT here or check out a rundown on his FT Money Ask Me Anything appearance here.

Uber hid a data breach that compromised the personal data of some 50 mn users and another 7 mn drivers, the Financial Times reports, saying prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation. The ride-sharing service is believed to have paid USD 100k to hackers to have them destroy the information, but failed to tell customers or regulators about the incident. The company’s new CEO has apologized and says he’s ordered an investigation. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal also have the story. It’s unlikely the data on that bank-issued piece of plastic you use to make purchases has been leaked, from what we can gather. Uber’s statement on the breach is here. Advice for affected riders is here and for affected drives is here.

Pixar’s John Lasseter is the latest figure in the US to fall in what appears to be a [redacted] harassment scandal broken by the Hollywood Reporter. Lasseter said yesterday he would “take ‘a six-month sabbatical’ after unspecified ‘missteps’ that made some staffers feel ‘disrespected or uncomfortable,’” the New York Times notes.

Insight into our fevered brains: Why are we talking about [redacted] harassment and “piece of plastic you use to make purchases”? We’re all grown-ups and should be able to read the word [redacted] in that last sentence. And even our resident 10-year-old dreams of having her own piece of plastic. But we do this so as not to anger the algorithms that govern our deliverability to your inbox every morning. The first [redacted] word does that outright. The second word, used in this context, would do the same. That’s why we talk about freetrade rather than breaking it into two words as it should be. It’s by we talk about banks issuing LGs rather than spelling out the words (the second one is the problem). And it’s why we sometimes explain concepts rather than using simple words that would do the trick.

PSA- Do you have kids? Or are you young enough that the hell that is K-12 education is still fresh in your mind? Go see Wonder. Our word not good enough for you? Google it — it’s getting great reviews. Check out takes from the New York Times and Variety, get the inside scoop on its marketing from Deadline or check out the RJ Palacio book on which it was based. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson are perfect (not normally an adjective we’d use for Mr. Wilson), and the child actors are — as Glenn Kenny rightly writes for the Times — simply perfect.

Also from the land of education, some very nice news this morning: Egypt’s entry to the Injaz regional student entrepreneurship contest took home two trophies from the three-day regional finals held in Cairo. The Cairo American College ‘Zip & Flip’ team, representing Egypt in an 11-country competition, won nods for “overall best product of the year” and the “Citi Signature award for customer service.” The team was represented by Hashem Abdou (CEO), Shivani Pillai (sales), Fadi Tawfik (finance) and Riad Khawam (production). Minister of Education Tarek Shawky was among the regional dignitaries and CEOs to attend the competition. Zip & Flip’s signature product was a stylish, functional bag-towel combo that we covered here back in May (scroll down to the end for the story).

**HAPPY THANKSGIVING a day in advance to our American friends and readers who won’t be joining us tomorrow as they start their holiday weekend.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The French Institute in Cairo is hosting its first week-long Sustainable Cities forum in Cairo from 22-28 November, Ahram Online reports. Sessions will focus on issues pertaining to urban planning and development, such as transportation and environmental concerns. French company executives are also expected to sit down with the Transport Ministry during the forum to discuss potential cooperation.

On The Horizon

We might be looking at a short week next week. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail declared Thursday, 30 November a holiday for the public sector to mark the occasion of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which actually falls on Friday 1 December. There’s been no word on whether the central bank is taking the day off, but us here at Enterprise will be.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

As expected, the talking heads were almost universally preoccupied with the surprise increase in the value-added tax on cigarettes, which is by a wide margin the lead story in the domestic press this morning.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy made the rounds to calm a nation distraught over the prospect of downgrading to Cleopatras. The minister told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to sign off on the new taxes this week, at which time they will be implemented. He warned the public that they should expect further increases in the price of cigarettes as he expects tobacco companies to hike prices in a bid to protect their P&Ls (watch, runtime: 8:58).

El Garhy took to Al Hayah Al Youm to talk up the health and financial benefits of the move, saying the tax would see more people quit smoking. He stressed that cigarette prices in Egypt are among the lowest in the world.

Blame your lazy MPs for the shock of the news: The finance minister told host Tamer Amin that the increases had been factored in to the FY2017-18 budget and should have been passed by the House earlier this year. He quite perfectly dismissed concerns raised by Amin on the impact the move would have on lower-income citizens (watch, runtime: 7:15).

Eastern Company Chairman Mohamed Othman Haroun phoned to Yahduth fi Masr to say that they still haven’t received official notification of the tax on cigarette packs. He said his company’s death sticks will rise at most about EGP 3-4 per pack.

Back in the real world, Lamees Al Hadidi looked at Saad Al Hariri’s visit to Cairo and the Lebanon crisis. Her guest, Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies head Emad Gad, said that there might be an Egyptian-French initiative in play to calm the crisis (watch, runtime: 7:28).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib was rather sensibly sticking to an actual crisis: Egypt’s water shortage. He spoke with the head of Potable Water & Sanitary Drainage Regulatory Authority Mohamed Hassan who implied that the government’s move to increase water prices will help keep consumption down, saying that these were mainly targeting those using up to 200 liters per day (watch, runtime: 1:25). Head of the water utilities department at the Irrigation Ministry Khaled Abdel Latif told Adib that the average daily per capita consumption in Egypt is 350 liters, whereas the international average is 100 liters (watch, runtime: 1:47).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Aton Resources has officially notified the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) of its intention to make a declaration of commerciality at its Hamama Project. Aton intends to have a producing mine there constructed by the end of 2019. “This is a historic day for Egypt and Aton, as we are only the second company, after Centamin back in 2001, to issue its intention to declare a commercial discovery, and we will now move towards our goal of building only the second new producing gold mine in Egypt in more than 90 years,” President and CEO Mark Campbell says. EMRA also granted Aton a two-year extension on its current exploration license to allow it to develop the rest of its concession area and the potential for more mines and larger production.

EgyptAir will swing to a profit this year, buoyed by an increase in passengers and cost cutting, Chairman Safwat Musallam said, according to Reuters. “This year the company will transfer from a loss,” Musallam told the newswire, but declined to say how much EgyptAir is projected to make or to mention the loss recorded last year. The national flag carrier will be flying nine mn passengers this fiscal year, up from eight mn a year earlier. Musallam also noted that EgyptAir is dropping unprofitable routes and reducing workforce by up to 500 employees or 10% by not replacing staff who resign. Besides signing agreements to buy new planes, EgyptAir is also planning to “retire 30 aircraft, including its older Airbus A320 and A330s and its Embraer jets.”

We’re going to sit here and quietly cheer the national flag carrier. Yes, the food is mediocre at best — so are the eats on every other airline, at least in business class. But we’ve generally found the staff professional, cheerful and sometimes even fun, the aircraft well-maintained, and their routes into and out of CAI can’t be beaten (and that’s before you factor in their price advantage).

IPO WATCH- CI Capital to IPO in 2H2018: Investment bank CI Capital is expected to list on the EGX in the second half of 2018, CEO Mahmoud Attallah tells Al Borsa. Last we heard, CI Capital’s initial public offering was pushed to 1Q2018 from its slated date in 2017. In the meantime, the investment bank is the latest in its industry to look at breaking into the consumer finance market. Attallah left the door open to both a greenfield play and an acquisition. CI Capital is also a month away from finalizing a transaction with Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini Holding to acquire its majority stake in Reefy Microfinance Enterprises, which it hopes to integrate into its platform of non-banking financial services, which includes Corplease.

Transaction pipeline: Attallah says CI advised on Cairo Three A’s acquisition of the National Company for Maize Products and that has two IPOs in the pipeline for next year. The government had tapped a CI Capital-led consortium in July to be lead managers and bookrunners for the listing of state-owned company Enppi, the first of various state-owned enterprises to list on the EGX under an ambitious government program that also includes Banque du Caire sale being quarterbacked by EFG Hermes.

EARNINGS WATCH- Our friends at Orascom Construction Limited (OC) reported net income attributable to shareholders in 3Q2017 of USD 22.4 mn, down from USD 26.0 mn in the comparable period last year. Revenues came in 16.3% lower y-o-y at USD 805.4 mn compared to USD 962.1 mn in 3Q2016. The company’s consolidated backlog as of 30 September 2017 stood at USD 4.8 bn, with new awards standing at USD 1.5 mn. “This current backlog marks an increase over the closing backlog level of USD 4.7 bn as of 30 June 2017. In addition, the Group signed new contracts amounting to USD 788.7 mn in 3Q2017, compared to USD 747.3 mn in 1H2017.” Infrastructure and industrial work make up the bulk of the backlog, accounting for 81% of the total. In Egypt, OC added c. USD 550 mn in new awards for the 3Q2017 period across a number of sectors, including transport, water treatment, power, as well as projects in the new administrative capital and New Alamein city. “The Group is playing a leading role in the construction of the New Administrative Capital and Alamein cities, and is currently executing select projects such as the cultural center.”

Are wheat inspection bureaucrats getting the slap on the wrist they sorely need? Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna approved yesterday a major shakeup in the ministry’s Agriculture Quarantine Authority, Al Masry Al Youm reports. While the shuffle was ostensibly done to improve quality control standards, it comes against a backdrop of a showdown between the government and wheat traders on one side, and the Administrative Court and disgruntled wheat inspectors on the other over the return of the zero-tolerance policy on ergot. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy had declared that the government was fighting the Administrative Court’s decision to impose the zero-tolerance policy and that it would continue to allow shipments of 0.05% of ergot — the global standard.

Few more steps towards actually signing the Dabaa contracts? Russia’s Rosatom has reportedly invited Egyptian engineering and consulting firms to begin presenting their offers to work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant, Al Borsa reports. Rosatom is planning on signing contracts with Egyptian consultancy firms and contractors to get the ball rolling as soon as the final contracts are signed, said Hussein Sabbour, whose firm Sabbour Consulting was one of the companies invited to take part. The move could signal that the December deadline might actually be legit. The story follows a press conference in Egypt held by Rosatom to extol the economic benefits and safety standards of the Dabaa plant. Which makes this news about a cloud of radioactive pollution nearly 1,000 times normal levels hitting Europe coming from a nuclear plant Russia or Kazakhstan all the more worrying.

Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus signed an MoU on joint cooperation on tourism during a trilateral summit in Nicosia yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras discussed “forging closer ties and boosting cooperation on issues including energy following the discovery of gas deposits in the east Mediterranean,” Ekathimerini notes. This came one day after El Sisi and Anastasiades reportedly began talks over constructing a natural gas pipeline connecting both countries. Talks over a gas pipeline that connects all the way to Italy via Cyprus and Greece are also expected to take place in early December.

The three leaders also agreed to enhance efforts to rein in illegal migration and step up the fight against terrorism along the east Mediterranean with help from the EU. “The problem isn’t confined to countries in the region, but is expanding and is threatening the European Union’s cohesion,” Anastasiades said, calling on the international community to act more swiftly to “[disrupt] sources of financing and arming of terror groups.”

Counterterrorism and achieving regional stability were on El Sisi’s mind during a press conference after the summit. The president said the resolution of outstanding issues in Palestine and Cyprus is key to stability. He also pointed to the crises in Syria and Libya, confirming that they would take precedence in future trilateral talks.

El Sisi also discussed CT efforts and cooperation with Tsipras in a one-on-one meeting yesterday on the sidelines of the summit.

Zimbabwe’s strongman, Robert Mugabe, resigned from office yesterday, “a week after the army and his former political allies moved to end four decades of rule, Reuters reports. The 93 year-old Mugabe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, “whose sacking this month prompted the military takeover that forced Mugabe out,” is expected to be sworn in as new president later this week. The Associated Press also has the story.

Other international news worth noting in brief include:

  • Nigeria raised USD 3 bn in its biggest ever eurobond sale, Bloomberg reports. The issuance is its third sale this year.
  • Kurdish independence update: The Iraqi Supreme Federal Court declared the Kurdish independence referendum and its results invalid in a ruling on Monday, Reuters reports.
  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is apparently facing a mini-revolt at the State Department after about a dozen diplomats accused him violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers, according to Reuters.


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The Macro Picture

Goldman Sachs Research economists expect the world economy will continue to outperform most prediction in 2018. Jan Hatzius and Jari Stehn write in their 2018 Global Economic Outlook report that they expect world economy to grow at 4% in 2018, up from 3.7% in 2017 — and meaningfully above consensus.

“The strength in global growth is broad-based across most advanced and emerging economies,” they note. Goldman Sachs sees emerging markets growing at 5.6% in 2018, above the market consensus of 4.9%. “We are cautiously optimistic that the EM economies will be able to weather rougher waters following the adjustments of recent years. China’s move to a basket peg and partial closure of its capital account, declining currency mismatch in EM economies and a more broad-based global upswing have made EM economies more resilient and should enable them to cope with gradually tighter Fed policy. The bigger risks to our global outlook are likely political… escalating tensions around North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and ongoing instability in the Middle East pose geopolitical risks with highly uncertain but potentially important consequences for the global economy.”

Image of the Day

Egypt is home to some strangely structured caves that are loaded with history predating Ancient Egypt, Egypt Today reports. The Djarra cave in the Western Desert is home to pure groundwater and has Neolithic engravings of animals; it’s thought to have been an important Stone Age settlement. The Foggeni cave was discovered recently in 2002 and is considered incredibly rich in terms of prehistoric art, earning the nickname “Cave of Beasts.” We went with the Sannur cave for our image pick because of its spectacular colours and unique topography.

Egypt in the News

Banana girl tops coverage of Egypt in the foreign press: Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning once again is the arrest of pop singer Shaimaa (spelled ‘Shyma’) for allegedly being lewd and suggestive with a banana. Our overzealous lawyers who ride into town on high horses have made this our reputation of late.

The Telegraph tells its readers to look into buying property in Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera for “guaranteed yet affordable sunshine a short flight from the UK.” El Gouna, Sahl Hasheesh and Soma Bay, stand out, the piece notes, telling readers to “picture a fairytale Arabian Nights landscape dotted with huge swathes of tropical plants, blue lagoons, PGA golf courses and marinas, plus a huge choice of villas, apartments, hotels, sports facilities, opulent spas, chic cafes, shops and restaurants. Security is highly visible and stringently enforced.”

The same paper also gives us a whack over the head, with reporter Magdy Samaan writing from Cairo that, “a secular blogger is the latest social media activist to be arrested in what human rights groups say is a widespread new crackdown on free expression in Egypt.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on authorities in Egypt and the UAE to disclose thelocation of Egyptian prisoner Mosaab Ahmed Abdel Aziz, who was released on 20 October from a Dubai prison after serving a three-year sentence. His family had been told that arrangements for deportation were being made and that he was had left the UAE on 6 November, but hasn’t heard from him since, the group said in a statement.

The Israeli parliament commemorated the 40th anniversary of late president Anwar El Sadat’s visit with a special session yesterday, the Associated Press reports. Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein referred to Sadat’s 1977 speech as “groundbreaking” in his opening address for the event. Arutz Sheva also notes the anniversary with a piece titled “Begin and Sata: The Peacemakers.”

Egypt’s ambassador to Israel gave a speech to the Knesset — the first by an Egyptian official in the Israeli parliament in more than a decade. He urged the country to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians, saying it could “open a new page” in relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, the Financial Times reports.

Other stories worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Pole dancing is gaining popularity in Egypt and trying to fly under the radar to avoid social stigma, Deutsche Welle write.
  • Former football star Mido is claiming Mohamed Salah is a superior striker to Man City’s Raheem Sterling and is on his way to Real Madrid, Sports Illustrated reports.

Worth Watching

Miss Game of Thrones yet? Then definitely check out Kit Harrington’s Gunpowder in December. Jon Snow (a.k.a Kit Harrington) stars as Robert Catesby, the leader of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot against England’s King James I, in HBO’s new three-part miniseries Gunpowder, which hits the screens on 18 December. Tim Cullen plays Guy Fawkes and Liv Tyler is Catesby’s cousin Anne. Tap or click here for the trailer (runtime 1:10)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri in Cairo yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The discussion centered around political developments in Beirut, with El Sisi confirming Egypt’s commitment to Lebanese stability and rejection of any form of foreign interference in its internal affairs. Al Hariri, who thanked Egypt for the support in a press conference later, appears to be dragging his feet on his return to Lebanon today to clear up the confusion over his resignation. He had made another stop to Cyprus to meet its president last evening, according to Reuters. Al Hariri had announced his resignation during a visit to Riyadh earlier this month over alleged Iranian interference in Lebanese politics. El Sisi, together with French President Emmanuel Macron, are said to be “trying to mediate a solution that would involve rolling back Hariri’s resignation,” according to The Associated Press. The story is being widely covered by wires including Reuters and the AFP.

Also on El Sisi’s agenda yesterday was a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where talks revolved around regional developments, particularly the situation in Syria. The two also discussed aspects of the bilateral relationship including the nuclear energy sector and implementation of various projects, according to Sputnik’s coverage of Putin’s heavy diplomatic day.

Sudanese FM’s tactless comments earns unanimous condemnation fromParliament: The House of Representatives is in an uproar over statements made by Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Monday which basically accuses Egypt of eating into Sudan’s share of the Nile since a water treaty in 1959. In a rare show of unity, numerous MPs took to the local press to denounce the statement. Deputy Chair of the House National Security Committee Yehia Kedwany and MP Osama Sharshar called the statements proof of a conspiracy by regional countries to isolate and hurt Egypt, with the latter noting Ghandour linking the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with Halayeb and Shalatin as signs that Sudan is backing Ethiopia on political grounds. Other MPs have even accused Qatar of playing a hand in the situation, AMAY reports.

In other diplomacy news, Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah entered the next phase of their reconciliation talks in Cairo on Tuesday, Bloomberg reports. The talks reportedly got off to a rocky start with Fatah waiting to resume complete administrative control of Gaza, which should happen 1 December, before tackling anything meaningful/

Egypt shuts down Rafah border crossing: This comes as the Palestinian Interior Ministry announced yesterday that Egyptian authorities decided to close down the Rafah border crossing as of Tuesday, the Anadolu Agency reports. The crossing, which was meant to open officially on 15 November under Palestinian Authority control, had been open for three days on Saturday.

The Turkish Egyptian Businessmen’s Association is studying setting up a 1 mn sqm Turkish industrial zone, probably in 10 Ramadan City, the association’s head said, according to Al Shorouk. Plans for the zone include Turkish development of the infrastructure in the zone in addition to Turkish financing for the projects there, he added. The move comes as Turkish companies plan to invest some USD 1 bn in Egypt over the coming period, he said.


Elsewedy Electric guides for FY2017 revenues of EGP 40 bn

Elsewedy Electric is targeting full year revenues in 2017 of EGP 40 bn, up from EGP 24.6 bn in 2016, said the company’s CFO Sherif El Zeiny, according to Al Mal. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, El Zeiny said that 50% of the company’s revenues comes from cable manufacturing, while power generation made up 39% of the company’s revenues. Revenues in 3Q2017 increased 135.2% y-o-y to EGP 11.46 bn, driven largely by growth in the turnkey projects and wires and cables segments. As we noted last week, the company is in talks to build six wind power plants and has plans to develop six logistics centers across sub-Saharan Africa.

SDX announces completing a number of projects in Egypt in 3Q2017, attributes rise in profit to Circle Oil acquisition

SDX Energy announced completing a number of projects in Egypt during 3Q2017. The company concluded a twelve-well program at North West Gemsa, which should allow it to achieve its 5,000 boepd target for the year, in addition to finalizing the expansion of a processing facility at its Meseda project by increasing treatment capacity to 20,000 bfpd from 10,000. In South Disouq, SDX is in talks with Natural Gas Holding Company to drill an additional two wells and add 10 km of pipe to the main export line, which it hopes to complete in 1H2018. SDX has also completed development plans for its South Ramadan concession and should begin moving forward on the project soon. The company attributed the rise in its 3Q2017 net revenues to USD 10.1 mn, from USD 2.9 mn in 3Q2016 to “the acquisition of the Egyptian and Moroccan businesses of Circle Oil” in January this year.

Real Estate + Housing

IHG to develop a Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sheikh Zayed

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced it is developing a Crowne Plaza Cairo in Sheikh Zayed City in partnership with Al Badr For Investments and Commercial Spaces Company. Scheduled to open in 2021, the 187-room new build will form part of Phase II of Arkan Plaza. IHG currently has 2,169 rooms in Cairo under the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, and Staybridge Suites brands.

Mövenpick to manage 300-room hotel in the North Coast

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts signed an agreement with Arabia Investment & Tourist Development to manage a 300-room hotel on the North Coast,according to Gulf News.


Tourism in Egypt rebounding, 2010 levels to be reached next year

The tourism industries in Tunisia and Egypt are rebounding, Colin Randall writes for The National. Egypt is on target to return to 2010-levels of tourist arrivals by next year, Tarek El Bagoury, Managing Director of Egypt Promotion, says. “Early bookings for next summer are up 26 per cent for Egypt but down by 8 and 5 per cent, respectively, for Spain and Portugal,” the piece notes.

PM asks tour operators to promote Sharm El Sheikh

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail encouraged tour operators to market Sharm El Sheikh by providing incentive programs to foreign tour operators,according to a press release from the Tourism Ministry. This came during a meeting with companies which was also attended by Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed and Antiquities Minister Khaled El Nany. Ismail added that a promotional campaign for Sharm El Sheikh was in the works. The meeting also covered back pay of incentives to foreign charter airlines.

Automotive + Transportation

House discussing proposal to reduce licensing fees for personal cars

The House of Representatives and Finance Ministry are currently discussing a bill that would reduce fees for the licensing and registration of personal cars, an unnamed member of the House’s Budgeting Committee tells Daily News Egypt. The proposed law would reduce licensing fees to the equivalent of 0.25% of a car’s total price from 0.5% previously for vehicles with 1,330 cc engines or smaller, while engines up to 1,600 cc would see fees reduced to 0.5% of a the vehicle’s price. Engines larger than 1,600 cc would pay fees equivalent to 1.75% of car’s value. The bill would leave unchanged the 2.5% duty imposed on engines larger than 2,030 cc. There is pull within the committee to impose a fee based only on car price, irrespective of engine capacity, the MP told the newspaper.

Banking + Finance

Volante partners with eVision to enter Egypt and North Africa

Payment software provider Volante Technologies announced its partnership with eVision to deliver efficient and agile payment solutions across the Egyptian and North African banking and finance markets. “eVision is a leading software solution provider in North Africa with a strong presence in Egypt” and will be using Volante’s VolPay Suite of payments processing products to accelerate all aspects of payments transformation projects, including the cost of change in local and international financial message standards. “We are delighted to partner with eVision to extend the reach of Volante’s payment solutions to the Egyptian and wider North African market,” Volante’s MEA VP Mick Fennell commented.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Ikhwan member Mohamed Ali Beshr released on parole

Prominent Ikhwan member and ex-minister of local development Mohamed Ali Beshr was released from prison on parole yesterday, judicial sources tell Anadolu Agency. Beshr, and five others released alongside him, will have to report to a police station for several hours every day. He was charged with illicitly communicating with Norway and involvement in a judicial official’s assassination attempt.

On Your Way Out

The 39th Cairo Film Festival kicked off last night, according to Youm7. The festival will feature 175 films from 53 countries and be attended by a plethora of regional stars with the token Hollywood attendee coming in the form of Elizabeth Hurley.

Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Nasr is helping spread video analytics in the regionthrough his startup Mintrics. The tool uses metrics such as “the average length of views, user engagement, how a video stacks up against similar content…to break down the performance of videos across social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter,” Forbes Middle East says. The service — which targets media companies, brands, ad agencies, and other companies that are looking to be more “data driven” — has generated a lot of investor interest, first signing with Dubai-based venture capital fund Numu Capital and currently “finalizing another seed round worth USD 500k from an undisclosed regional private equity firm.”

ON THIS DAY- Today is Lebanon’s Independence Day, celebrated in commemoration of the end of the French Mandate over Lebanon in 1943, after 23 years of Mandate rule. On this day in 1963, US President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas as his motorcade was travelling through the main business area of the city. In Europe, Angela Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s first woman chancellor in 2005. 30 year earlier, in 1975, Juan Carlos became king of Spain, two days after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. In 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quit after her cabinet refused to back her in a second round of leadership elections. On this day in 1890, French President Charles de Gaulle was born. In 2003, England became the first team from the northern hemisphere to win the Rugby World Cup after beating Australia 20-17. This time last year we were starting to see inflows trickle in as banks attracted USD 3 bn since the float three weeks earlier. In 2014, we were covered reports that OTMT was struggling to repatriate profits from its North Korean subsidiary Koryolink.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6 | Sell 17.7
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.6 | Sell 17.7

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,726 (+0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 933 mn (6% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +11.2%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 closed Tuesday’s session up 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Heliopolis Housing up 3.3%; SODIC up 3.0%; and Porto Group up 2.9%. Today’s worst performing stocks were: Domty down 2.0%; AMOC down 1.6%; and ACC down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 933 mn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -4.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +28.7 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -24.2 mn

Retail: 58.4% of total trades | 60.3% of buyers | 56.5% of sellers
Institutions: 41.6% of total trades | 39.7% of buyers | 43.5% of sellers

Foreign: 26.0% of total | 25.8% of buyers | 26.2% of sellers
Regional: 8.8% of total | 10.3% of buyers | 7.3% of sellers
Domestic: 65.2% of total | 63.9% of buyers | 66.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.1 (+1.21%)
Brent: USD 62.8 (+0.93%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.02 MMBtu, (-1.05%, DEC 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,281.7 / troy ounce (+0.5%)

TASI: 6,778.32 (-0.38%) (YTD: -5.99%)
ADX: 4,310.19 (+0.5%) (YTD: -5.19%)
DFM: 3,410.99 (-0.17%) (YTD: -3.4%)
KSE Weighted Index: 394.77 (-1.17%) (YTD: +3.86%)
QE: 7,768.52 (-0.51%) (YTD: -25.57%)
MSM: 5,076.52 (-0.16%) (YTD: -12.21%)
BB: 1,263.24 (-0.19%) (YTD: +3.54%)

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22-24 November (Wednesday-Friday): Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit Egypt 2017, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski New 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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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