Monday, 27 November 2017

Sinai elders issue call to back Army as market shrugs off Friday’s terror attack
Plus: New taxes to fund universal healthcare and the IMF’s Lall sits with Lamees

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a relatively quiet news morning at home and abroad, as domestic scribes took a deep breath yesterday after covering the aftermath of this weekend’s carnage in Sinai, the US press recovered from its Thanksgiving meat sweats, and other journos in countries to our west seemed to get an early start on the end-of-year news slowdown.

We’ll have images in Enterprise once again tomorrow morning as the three-day national period of mourning comes to a close.

And we’re off on Thursday, as is the rest of the nation: It is officially a four-day week. The central bank declared Thursday a day off for the banking and private sectors in an official statement (pdf) issued late yesterday afternoon. The government and EGX had announced last week that the public sector would be off for the day in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which falls on Friday 1 December.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote today on three pieces of legislation regulating nuclear sites and industry activities, Ahram Online reports. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal had called for the “emergency” plenary session to discuss and vote on the laws, which Deputy Speaker Mahmoud El Sherif noted must be passed before construction on the Daba’a nuclear power plant begins.

Also around the interwebs this morning:

For media geeks: If you’re into media in emerging and frontier markets, the Washington Post looks at how Zimbabwe’s largest newspaper is keeping up with changing times in Suddenly, Zimbabwe’s biggest newspaper can print exactly what it wants. It’s harder than it sounds. Also: Time Inc sold itself to Meredith and Koch brothers in an all-cash transaction worth some USD 1.8 bn. Throw in debt and the transaction values Time at USD 2.8 bn. Check out coverage from Reuters, the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times, as your personal preferences and subscriptions dictate.

For science geeks: Does bacteria play a role in the spread of cancer? And if so, could antibiotic treatment become part of a successful course of cancer treatment? The New York Times’ fantastic Gina Kolata takes a deep dive into the question after researchers found a common bacteria found in dental plaque also turns up in half of all colon cancers. “Whether Fusobacterium nucleatum causes colon tumors is unknown. But a new study hints that it may be ‘an integral part of the cancer.’”

Also worth a read in the Times: The very bright Anahad O’Connor looks at research that the sugar industry has long known that the sweet stuff it peddles has a negative impact on cardiovascular health. As in “going back to the 1960s” long.

For geeks like us: 12 Great Star Wars Gifts for 2017 from the people at iMore.

For the Luddites among us: The New York Times is on a tear of late with its questioning of technology. Go read How Evil Is Tech?, Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over and Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting. All are out in the past few days. We manage our daily task lists and schedules with Moleskines now rather than one of the dozen tech toys that clutter our lives, but can’t imagine not taking verbatim notes in meetings on an iPad.

Our current finance obsessions, playing out in real time: Robots seem unlikely to take investment bankers’ jobs, but will make bank call center staff obsolete, Nordea Bank says. And in the granddaddy of them all, emerging markets and index providers collide in Bloomberg’s Index Providers Rule the World—For Now, at Least.

Whether you’re hitting your 40s or have parents north of that mark, go read Six things you need to know about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, part of the Financial Times’ annual appeal for funding for Alzheimer’s research. Then go read this set of five short pieces by FT writers on sharing “their personal stories of how dementia has affected their family.”

What We’re Tracking This Week

Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly is acting prime minister for the next three weeks, while Prime Minister Sherif Ismail is in Germany for surgery and treatment. Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf Sultan has dismissed rumors of cancer, saying Ismail’s trip is “routine.”

The RiseUp Summit kicks off this coming Friday, 1 December. The three-day event will include more than 150 speakers, 150 exhibiting start-ups, 50 pitches, and some 60 workshops, including “101s” and “deep dives.” Tap here for the full agenda or go straight to the workshops page.

Our friends at Flat6Labs are holding their ninth demo day on Saturday, 2 December in conjunction with RiseUp. “The cycle brings a promising lineup of startups that work within hardware and software products in education, fintech, agritech, consumer e-commerce, design and media,” the invite says. The event kicks off at 5pm. Contact Flat6Labs for more.

The French-Egyptian Sustainable City Week continues this week until 28 November. French Ambassador Stéphane Romatet, former Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker are expected in attendance along with a number of CEOs of French and Egyptian companies.

On The Horizon

Our friends at AmCham are hosting a conference on the Private Sector’s Role in Implementing Sustainable Development Goals on 4-5 December. Co-organized with the UNDP, the conference aims to chart new and creative methods for local and regional partnerships between the private sector and governments that align with sustainable development goals. Keynote speakers include Investment Minister Sahar Nasr and Planning Minister Hala El Said. You can view the agenda here or tap here to register.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s talking heads chronicles the Sisi administration’s armedresponse to the murder of 305 worshippers in Sinai over the weekend.

The only exception worth noting was Lamees Al Hadidi’s interview with IMF MissionChief to Egypt Subir Lall, who told the talk show host that the IMF is preparing its report and recommendations for Egypt after reaching a staff-level agreement with the government to disburse the next USD 2 bn tranche of the USD 12 bn Extended Fund Facility. The IMF’s executive board is expected to approve the review late next month, but no specific date has been set for the discussion, according to Lall. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy has said on multiple occasions that the disbursal is coming in December.

Lall sang the praises of Egypt’s monetary policy, saying he expects annual inflation willdrop noticeably in November and December and will continue on a steady downwards path to reach single digits by 2019. “On the monetary policy side, we have seen inflation now coming down for the past three month since the peak in July… now when we look at the inflation, it is clear and that happened because of the CBE’s monetary policy stance that was effective in creating a disinflationary path,” he said.

Lall continued to justify high interest rates as a necessary tool to address inflation, saying that interest rates can only be brought down once fiscal deficit and debt levels are reduced. We continue to respectfully — and vociferously — disagree.

The state’s fiscal position is also showing improvements and is on track to register aprimary surplus, excluding interest payments from this year, Lall said. He noted that social welfare programs, particularly cash transfer programs such as Takaful and Karama, have been expanded to cover nearly twice as many households over the past year. Moving forward, the government must continue to push on the fiscal policy side of the equation to bring the deficit to 5.5% over three years while ensuring it has the necessary resources for social welfare, health, and education programs.

The fund is not overly worried about debt levels as long as Egypt’s fiscal consolidationremains on track, Lall said. The biggest worries: External factors such as international oil prices and regional security. “But we know that Egypt has a strong track record in the implementation of policies and it has as well strong credibility in international financial markets,” Lall added.

You can watch the full interview with Lall here, runtime: 16:51.

Over on Masaa DMC, Cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan told Eman El Hosary that the North Sinai governor is responsible for issuing compensations to the families of individuals who were killed or injured in Friday’s terror attack. The compensation has been set at EGP 200k for each victim killed and EGP 50,000 for those who were injured. The government will also provide affected families with food assistance and psychological support for three months. Cabinet is also working on a strategy to develop the Bir El Abd area that will include improving infrastructure and services, in addition to creating job opportunities for the locals, Sultan said (watch, runtime: 3:44).

Development as a means to combat terrorism continued to be the running theme on KolYoum. Tahya Misr Fund Executive Director Mohamed Ashmawy told host Amr Adib that the fund has allocated EGP 185 mn for the development of Bir El Abd, but needs another EGP 215 to complete these projects. The area is in need of ambulances, medical equipment, and new water wells, in addition to the development of its schools. Ashmawy also said the fund will work to secure a stable source of income for families whose breadwinner was killed in Friday’s attack (watch, runtime: 5:28).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

LEGISLATION WATCH- The Universal Healthcare Act will impose a tithe on basic commodities and materials — and business is furious: It would appear that the healthcare sector is not the only industry that will paying a fee to help fund the state’s proposed EGP 600 bn health coverage plan. The law is also expected to charge a tithe for every tonne of cement and steel sold, in addition to a tax for every sqm of porcelain, marble and granite sold. Cement companies are expected to pay EGP 20 for every tonne, while steel manufacturers may see a EGP 50 tax imposed on every tonne sold. Producers of porcelain, marble and granite can expect to pay EGP 5 for every sqm sold. This applies for imports as well as locally produced goods, according to Article 40 of the law. We had noted earlier this month that the bill mandates a series of fees on the healthcare sector that range from EGP 10,000 to EGP 500,000 for various licenses and administrative filings.

Naturally enough, manufacturers are incensed, with some, including the head of the metallurgy industries division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), telling Al Borsa that they plan to pass the costs of the taxes straight through to the consumer. Some companies are considering offsetting losses by importing and selling clinker (a raw material in cement manufacturing) in Egypt. Pharma companies have also quailed at the notion of having to pay into the fund, said Awad Gabr, member of the pharma division of the FEI. Many object to the blanket set fee of EGP 500K imposed on new healthcare companies regardless of their size.

Tell us again how paying tax is optional? The chair of the House of Representatives’ Health Committee Mohamed Al Ammari warned that universal healthcare will be derailed if businesses refuse to pay taxes imposed under the act. The committee is expected to hold further hearings on the law with Health Minister Ahmed Rady today, and will study the recommendations of the Medical and Pharma syndicates, Al Ammari added. The committee had given its preliminary approval of the act earlier this month.

On a related note, it appears that the law has given Egyptian expats the ability to opt out of the new healthcare system, a choice not afforded to residents. The Egyptian Council of State (Maglis Al Dawla) had apparently flagged the provision as violating the constitution, which mandates the right to healthcare for all Egyptians, council member Abdel Razzak Mahran tells Al Shorouk. It is unclear if the option had been scrapped from the draft sent to the House of Representatives.

We have mixed feelings about socialized medicine, but our bottom line is simple: If you can look away for the moment from the inevitable execution gaps — and forget, for an instant, that the devil is in the details — the notion that every citizen should have a right to quality healthcare is one of those “once in a generation” policy moves for which the Ismail government should get credit. In a nation as scarred by poverty and disease as is ours, their ambition is laudable.

“Holders of Egyptian stocks seem to have developed thick skin,” Ahmed Feteha and Andrew Blackman write for Bloomberg. The EGX 30 rose 0.8% yesterday, despite Friday’s deadly terror attack on a mosque in North Sinai, which claimed more than 300 lives and is considered the most brutal attack on Egypt in its modern-day history. Previous incidents, such as the attack on a police convoy on the Wahat road last month and the church bombings in April, saw the EGX drop only marginally and recover within the span of two-to-three days at most. “No one is in shock as investors have, unfortunately, become immune to such events,” said Arqaam Capital’s director of MENA sales, our friend Ashraf Akhnoukh. “16 members of the benchmark EGX 30 Index gained, while 10 declined and four were unchanged. Eastern Tobacco rose 3.8% and ElSewedy Electric Co. added 2.3%. The gauge has advanced 15% this year,” Bloomberg notes.

That said: Trading was light, with total turnover at EGP 833 mn, about 16% below the trailing 90-day average.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Sinai: The Armed Forces continued to carry out retaliatory air strikes against known terrorist hideouts where they believe Friday’s assailants are taking cover, destroying caches of weapons and ammunition, they said in a statement.

Sinai Bedouin call for cooperation with the Armed Forces: The Union of Sinai Tribes issued a statement on its Facebook page calling for solidarity with the Egyptian Army in the war on terror.

Sufis will go forward with celebration of the Prophet’s birthday on Friday: The Sufi community, which Daesh accuses of heresy, also decided in defiance to proceed with planned celebrations this coming Friday to mark Prophet’s Muhammad’s birthday, canceling only their annual “procession from Cairo’s Salah al-Jaafari mosque to the Al-Hussein mosque” to avoid overtaxing security forces, they said in a statement.

Further afield, Israel has reportedly offered to help Egypt in Sinai, according to the Times of Israel. “The Israeli defense establishment expressed its sympathies and, as always, is willing to lend a hand to any country in order to help fight terror,” an Israeli security official said Sunday. He said that the nature of this assistance will be determined by the Israeli cabinet at a later point. Egyptian authorities have yet to confirm or deny that they requested Israel allow more troops to enter Sinai.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also launched the first high-level meeting of the KSA-led military alliance of Muslim nations against terrorism, vowing that extremists will no longer “tarnish our beautiful religion.”

Ankara (of all places) will be flying its flags at half-mast today in mourning for the victims of the weekend terror attack, the Anadolu Agency says. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack in a speech yesterday, describing those responsible as “murderers” with “no relation to Islam.”

Egypt is reportedly still open to buying natural gas from Israel, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke to Oil Minister Tarek El Molla last week, after the latter’s interview with Bloomberg about Egypt reaching self-sufficiency and cutting state LNG imports by 2018 “sent shares of Israeli gas companies tumbling on speculation Egypt would halt talks on buying gas from Israel.” El Molla reportedly told Steinitz that while Egypt is open to importing Israeli gas, “any progress on Israel-Egypt gas talks is contingent on first resolving [the] stand-off” over the USD 2 bn fine that a Swiss court has ordered Egyptian gas companies to pay to Israel’s electricity company as compensation for an older agreement.

Aramco likely to begin refining fuel in Egypt in 1Q2018 -officials: Saudi Aramco is likely to begin refining crude oil in Egyptian refineries in 1Q2018, an official from the Oil Ministry tells Al Shorouk, initially at the Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR). Egypt will receive the 700k tons of fuel per month from Aramco — under the existing five-year fuel supply agreement — for MIDOR’s refineries, with excess output being exported, the official stated. He noted that talks are still ongoing with the Saudi’s largest oil producer. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had confirmed earlier this month that talks had been taking place with Aramco to refine fuel here and that refining would begin at some point in early 2018. This follows other reports that Aramco had agreed to a plan last month to ship crude through the SUMED pipeline and use Sidi Kerir as a center for exporting refined output to Europe.

Shuaa Capital launches brokerage operations in Egypt: Shuaa Capital’s securities brokerage arm commenced operations in Egypt official yesterday, following green light from the Financial Regulatory Authority. “Due to the country’s strong economic fundamentals and depth of available opportunities, we have received strong interest in the Egyptian market from clients in 2017. SHUAA Securities Egypt will enable us to meet this demand and help us to deliver another significant element of the Group’s long-term growth strategy. We thank the Egyptian authorities and regulators for their support and guidance throughout the process,” GM Fawad Tariq-Khan says.

MOVES- Classifieds ads platform OLX appointed Dina Gobran as the new General Manager for OLX Egypt. Gobran was previously OLX’s Head of Strategy.

Also making news in the international business press this morning:

Alhokair Malls IPO on hold? “Plans to revive the public share sale of Fawaz Alhokair Group’s mall unit are on hold after the accounts of its billionaire co-founder were frozen in Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg reports.The unit’s Marakez division runs the Mall of Arabia in West Cairo.

Iraq is planning a USD 2 bn eurobond issue to plug its 2018 budget deficit “as the oil-rich country capitalizes on IMF backing and a gradual return to stability.”

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Egypt in the News

Friday’s attack on Al Rawda mosque in North Sinai was the entire conversation on Egypt in the foreign press overnight, with most pieces pointing to the significance of the attack.

The Financial Times’ Heba Saleh writes that the attack puts more pressure on President Abdel Fattah El Sisi “as his government seeks to attract investors and bring back tourists scared away by earlier attacks. … The scale of the violence is likely to signal the potential for more instability making the authorities’ task more difficult. In addition, the unprecedented carnage in a mosque against fellow Sunni Muslims is a worrying departure for the jihadis who seem to have expanded the list of targets they view as legitimate."

The rest of the press is happy to regurgitate criticism of Egypt’s Sinai strategy. “Critics have called for a counterterrorism strategy in Sinai rather than the reliance on a conventional deployment of overwhelming force,” says The Associated Press. “One suggestion has been for the military to arm local Sinai tribesmen hostile to the [terrorists]” in the same way that the US military armed militias in Iraq that had been “a key part of defeating Al-Qaida in the 2000s.” Ynet’s Alex Fisher also says the situation is hopeless “without recruiting the Sinai population for the fight.”

While the AP and Ynet take a constructive approach, the Guardian simply falls back on crass insults. Taking note of El Sisi’s remarks that Egypt will respond with an “iron fist,” Simon Tisdall accuses the government’s retaliatory attacks of impacting innocent civilians. “It is probable the targets were chosen randomly and yet more innocent lives may now have been lost,” he says before essentially calling the government’s strategy in Sinai intentionally bloodthirsty. The Guardian’s editorial staff doubled down on the accusation and their disdain for the government’s anti-terrorism strategy on Sunday. It is perhaps not surprising that Tisdall’s piece was publically called out by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid, who called it “a blatant example of double standards,” Ahram Online reports.

Move over to the BBC for a fresh view from analyst HA Hellyer, who notes that the attack may spell the demise of Daesh. Hellyer says the attack will specifically will hinder terrorist groups’ ability to recruit more followers in Egypt. “If anything, this will only intensify local opposition to any group that claims the slightest bit of sympathy for attacks of this nature. Indeed, that may be why no group has claimed responsibility for it because even for supporters of [Daesh], this attack was grotesque.”

The Jerusalem Post’s Adam Hoffman calls the attack “Egypt’s 9/11.” He explains that Daesh attempts to remain relevant by carrying out operations of this magnitude, particularly after it lost ground in both Iraq and Syria. Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy fellow Timothy Kaldas thought along the same lines, saying that if Daesh are behind the attack, it would reflect “their willingness to continue to do large operations that have large civilian casualties.”

On Deadline

What happened to the Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council? The council currently stands as an example of the reactionary measures Egypt takes following terror attacks that seem like a good idea at first, but suffer from a lack of follow-up, Alaa El Ghatrifi writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Although the council was meant to meet twice per month and formulate a comprehensive national strategy to combat terrorism, it has failed to fulfill its mandate since its formation back in July, El Ghatrifi says. He points out that the council has only held one meeting, and we are only reminded of its existence when one of its members appears on TV.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Ethiopia plans to continue development on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) despite talks over the dam’s impact studies breaking down, Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister and Electricity Minister Sileshi Bekele said on Saturday, according to a report by the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) picked up by Al Bawaba. “On our part, we are constructing the dam according to the schedule, the quality and the standard that the dam of this size requires,” he said, adding that “the dam is 63% completed and it is being constructed around-the-clock”. The statements follow more conciliatory promises of cooperation made by Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister. The latest tiff over the dam follows a breakdown of talks after Ethiopia and Sudan rejected the results of the independent impact study of the dam.

Sudan’s Irrigation Minister blames Egypt for the breakdown of talks: Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Moataz Moussa said that Egypt had rejected Sudan’s proposals to resume talks on the impact studies on the GERD. The proposals include setting the 1959 water rights treaty between Egypt and Sudan, which grants the latter an annual allocation of 18.5 bcf of Nile water, as the baseline for the recommended water allocation in the study and barring any recommendations which dilutes those quantities. The proposals also include allowing Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to hold an inquiry and question the independent consultant on any aspect of the report, Moussa said at a gathering of regional ambassadors in Sudan, according to Sputnik Arabic. Ethiopia had accepted in principles the proposals, but Egypt had apparently refused. Moussa also blamed the Egyptian media for inflaming the situation further, calling out state outlets for not correcting “misconceptions” on the talks so far. Apparently, it is totally unreasonable for the press to be incensed at Sudan and Ethiopia for backing out of an agreed protocol and a report by a mutually agreed independent consultant. We guess Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour’s accusations that Egypt has been eating into Sudan’s share since 1959 shouldn’t be taken as inflammatory.

A business delegation from Cyprus will visit Egypt soon to build on talks that started during the Egyptian-Cypriot Business Forum in Cyprus last week, Head of the Egyptian-Cypriot Businessmen Council Saeed Ahmed said in a press statement Sunday. Cypriot investors have expressed interest in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and governorates such as Fayoum with one group of unnamed investors looking to establish pharmaceutical factories in Ain Sokhna. Ahmed added that the council is planning an exhibition in Cyprus to market Egyptian textiles, home furnishings, packaging products and chemicals.

Meanwhile, a delegation of 11 South Korean companies will visit Egypt next month to follow up on planned investments, said Egyptian-Korean Business Council head and Chairman of GB Auto Raouf Ghabbour said on Saturday. The firms operate in a variety of industrial fields including construction, machinery, railways and home appliances.

Energy

EEHC issues open maintenance and management tender for three Siemens power plants

The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) issued an open tender for the management and maintenance of the three Siemens combined-cycle power plants, after previously opting for a limited one, EEHC sources tell Al Borsa. 10 companies, including Siemens, an Orascom-ADERA Energy consortium, an Elsewedy-EDF consortium, Germany’s STEAG GmbH, Hassan Allam, a Triangle-GD France consortium, Korea’s Doosan, and Japan’s Mitsubishi are taking part in the tender. The EEHC is planning to come to a final agreement with the winning company or consortium before the end of the year, the sources said.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Novasep to provide Al Nouran with process units

Al Nouran has contracted with Novasep to provide process units for its sugar production facility. Novasep will provide Al Nouran with a decalcification plant for the beet sugar factory allowing an effluent-free softening process and a decolorization plant with a brine recovery system for the refinery part. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Manufacturing

Work on Suez area business park to begin mid 2018

Work on the business park announced by Polaris Zamila and Ardak in Ain Sokhna is set to begin by mid 2018, according to AMAY. The 5.5 mn sqm project was announced earlier this month and is aiming to attract USD 3.5 bn in investments to the area over 15 years.

Real Estate + Housing

NUCA disburses EGP 2 bn of compensation payments to contractors

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has disbursed EGP 2 bn in compensation payments to contractors for losses incurred after the EGP float, NUCA Vice Chairman Abdel Moteleb Mamdouh said, Al Borsa reports. NUCA has disbursed the largest sum of compensation payments under the Contractors’ Compensation Act, which has helped contractors remain on schedule for completing NUCA’s real estate projects, according to Mamdouh. We had noted back in August that deliveries on social housing projects have been pushed back as some contractors halted development following delays in disbursing their compensation under the Contractors’ Compensation Act.

3,500 acres sold to developers in new administrative capital

The New Administrative Capital Company for Urban Development sold 3,500 acres of land to real estate developers for the first phase development of the new administrative capital, Daily News Egypt reports. The land sold will be used for residential projects, commercial and office blocks. The company, which manages development on the city, is considering raising prices to EGP 4,000 per sqm from EGP 3,500 per sqm, with down payments of 20% after seeing strong appetite from developers. Talaat Moustafa Holding Group, Misr Real Estate Management and Misr Italia were among the big name buyers.

Oriental Development wins bid for 21.5 feddans of land in New Cairo

The Oriental Company for Urban Development bought 21.5 feddans in New Cairo for EGP 400 mn,according to AMAY. The Oriental Weavers subsidiary is waiting for the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) and General Investment Authority to sign off on the purchase before making payments. The company is planning a residential project to be built over the next five years.

Heliopolis Housing says it netted EGP 76 mn in four months, only completed 59% of plan

Heliopolis Housing sent the EGX a note saying it registered a net profit after tax of EGP 76 mn from July until October 2017, up 292% y-o-y. The company’s revenues also went up by 124% y-o-y to EGP 235 mn during the same period. Heliopolis Housing also noted that it only achieved 59% of its operational plan for the period.

Marseilia Real Estate signs EGP 1 bn with contractors for Marseilia Beach 4

Marseilia Real Estate Investment signed EGP 1 bn with contractors for the second phase of their North Coast project Marseilia Beach 4,according to AMAY. The 150 feddan phase is being implemented over the next two years and will consist of 1,600 homes with a total investment of EGP 2 bn. The first phase has already been completed and delivered with sales of EGP 411 mn. The group’s residential project in Alexandria ‘Hayat Alex Park’ is targeting an investment of EGP 3 bn, reported Al Borsa.

Automotive + Transportation

Mamish, Arafat meet with shipping lines alliance to discuss returning to East Port Said Port

Suez Canal Economic Zone head Mohab Mamish and Transport Minister Hisham Arafat headed to Germany yesterday in hopes of winning back the five shipping lines that suspended their operations at the East Port Said Port earlier this year, Al Borsa reports. Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Yang Ming Marine Transport, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and the NYK Group had announced in March they would cease operations at the port in response to the Transport Ministry’s decision to hike port fees by as much as 100%. K Line previously said that its return to the port would be contingent on the government agreeing to backtrack on the hike.

Other Business News of Note

Japanese company studying potential factory to manufacture greenhouse components in Egypt

Japan’s Sanyo is looking into setting up a factory to manufacture components for greenhouses in Egypt, Youm7 reports. A delegation from the Sanyo met with five Egyptian companies to discuss the potential for joint production projects and transferring Japanese know-how in greenhouse component production to the Egyptian market, Egyptian Businessmen’s Association managing director Mohamed Youssef tells the newspaper. Talks on the potential transaction continue next month.

Chint Group to establish USD 25 mn electricity meter plant in Egypt

China’s Chint Group will establish a USD 25 mn plant to manufacture smart electricity meters in Egypt, Egypt Marketing Manager Hisham Salah tells Al Shorouk. The plant should be coming online during 2018. The Egyptian government has plans to change all electricity meters in Egypt to the smart system over the next few years.

Legislation + Policy

Justice Ministry to amend economic court legislation to facilitate dispute resolution proceedings

The Justice Ministry wants to make it easier to resolve business disputes and will enshrine its thinking in amendments to legislation governing economic courts, sources tell Al Borsa. The ministry will be calling in experts and judges from the Cairo Economic Court to help draft the amendments, which have become necessary in light of the government’s economic reform measures, the source adds, without commenting on the nature of the changes. The Ismail Cabinet had okayed amendments last week that would allow economic courts to handle consumer protection-related cases.

Egypt Politics + Economics

17 held in LGBTQ crackdown ordered released by court

Seventeen people were ordered released by a Cairo court yesterday after being charged with inciting debauchery and homosexuality, according to Reuters. They had been arrested in the LGBTQ crackdown that followed the Mashrou’ Leila concert at the end of September and sentenced to three years jail, subject to appeal if they couldn’t pay a EGP 5,000 fine. “The defendants were given leave to appeal the sentence in a higher court,” the newswire reports.

Court upholds death sentences for seven alleged Daesh affiliates

An Egyptian court upheld death sentences for seven defendants accused of beheading 21 mostly Egyptian Christians in Libya, AFP reports. 10 people were also given life sentences while three others received 15-year prison sentences. The defendants, who had been sentenced in absentia in September, are believed to be members of Daesh.

Lawyer referred to trial for harassment comments

Prosecutors referred scumbag lawyer Nabih Al Wahsh to a misdemeanor court on Sunday on charges of disrupting the civil peace and harming the public interest by inciting [redacted] harassment, according to Ahram Online. His case, with a trial date now set for 2 December, revolves around statements he made on a talk show on Al Asema in which he promoted rape as a national duty. Media regulators had already banned him on Saturday from TV appearances for three months.

On Your Way Out

ON THIS DAY- On this day in 1895, the will drawn up by Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel established the Nobel prizes. 800 years earlier, in 1095, Pope Urban II ordered the first Crusade, by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, in what The History Channel describes as perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages. Rock music legend Jimi Hendrix was born on this day in 1942. Two years earlier, Bruce Lee was born, and in 1960, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was born. This time in 2014, we were reporting on the EGX approving Edita’s listing. A year later, we took note of Pope Tawadros II becoming the first Coptic pope to travel to Jerusalem since 1832 and Farouk El-Okdah returning for a role at the central bank. This time last year, the international financial markets were viewing Egypt as an “upside story.”

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6407 | Sell 17.7404
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71

EGX30 (Sunday): 14,223 (+0.8%)
Turnover: EGP 833 mn (16% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +15.2%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 closed Sunday’s session up 0.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were: Ezz Steel up 3.9%; Eastern Co up 3.8%; and Oriental Weavers up 3.5%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were: Domty down 2.1%; Egyptian Iron & Steel down 2.1%; and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 833 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +62.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +16.6 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -79.0 mn

Retail: 73.8% of total trades | 70.2% of buyers | 77.3% of sellers
Institutions: 26.2% of total trades | 29.8% of buyers | 22.7% of sellers

Foreign: 10.2% of total | 14.0% of buyers | 6.5% of sellers
Regional: 13.3% of total | 14.2% of buyers | 12.3% of sellers
Domestic: 76.5% of total | 71.8% of buyers | 81.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.95 (+1.60%)
Brent: USD 63.86 (+0.49%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.81 MMBtu, (-5.22%, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,291.80 / troy ounce (-0.39%)

TASI: 6,933.77 (+0.81%) (YTD: -3.84%)
ADX: 4,282.27 (-0.11%) (YTD: -5.81%)
DFM: 3,449.14 (-0.34%) (YTD: -2.32%)
KSE Weighted Index: 398.88 (+0.73%) (YTD: +4.94%)
QE: 7,758.08 (+0.2%) (YTD: -25.67%)
MSM: 5,111.11 (+0.49%) (YTD: -11.61%)
BB: 1,277.02 (+0.03%) (YTD: +4.64%)

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Calendar

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.

03-06 December (Sunday-Wednesday): The fourth e-payment and Innovative Financial Inclusion Expo & Forum (PAFIX), Egypt Expo Center, New Cairo.

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.

29-30 January (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

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

19-20 February 2018 (Monday-Tuesday): The Banking Tech North Africa, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo

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

29 April – 1 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), VENUE TBD, Cairo

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594). 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. © 2016 Enterprise Ventures LLC.