Wednesday, 29 November 2017

CBE lifts caps on USD deposits and withdrawals.
(Enjoy your three-day weekend — see you Sunday)

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Unless you work in retail, today is the last day of the work week. Banks, the EGX, the finance industry, most manufacturers and the public sector will be closed in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which officially falls on Friday 1 December.

The end of the “chequebook era” of government: Today is the last on which government employees will be paid by cheque or cash before it moves to an electronic payment mechanism tomorrow, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy confirmed at a press conference yesterday, Al Mal reports. The move comes in accordance with the National Payments Council’s decisions from its inaugural meeting June to move the government to e-payments. That includes banning all state bodies from making cash payments or payments using bank cheques for amounts over EGP 20,000 to private sector entities for a trial period running through 1 July 2018.

What Women Want magazine is hosting a Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event today running from 9am-5pm at the Steigenberger Hotel in Tahrir Square. It features a host of keynote speakers, including designer Azza Fahmy, CEO and founder of natural cosmetics company Nefertari Mona Al Erian, and MO4 Network founder Amy Mowafi. You can tap or click here for the full agenda.

It’s RiseUp weekend starting tomorrow: 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 event kicks off at 5pm. Contact Flat6Labs for more.

Egyptian weightlifting champion Sara Ahmed is “aiming to make more history at the IWF world weightlifting championships” next week, the International Olympic Committee says. 19-year-old Ahmed first grabbed attention at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, where she landed a gold medal for her “starring performance.” She then went on to become the first Arab woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ahmed now has her sights on landing her first World Championship medal next week and a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Some reading (and one watching) suggestions for this holiday long weekend:

Hedge funds are “too busy surviving to hire robots,” Bloomberg warns, writing that while the industry is far from dead (contrary to recent mems), its focus on the threat from low-cost passive investing strategies sees it overlooking artificial intelligence. Name-checked in the story and worth downloading: EY’s 2017 Global Hedge Fund and Investor Survey (pdf), headlined “How will you embrace innovation to illuminate competitive advantages?”

Also worth a read from Bloomberg: The very artfully laid out rundown on who in finance and business is big on bitcoin and who isn’t — from Lloyd Blankfein to Tidjane Thiam, Warren Buffet, Peter Thiel, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and at least a dozen more. Why does it matter? The cryptocurrency is up 1,270% in the past 12 months. Read: Bitcoin Bulls and Bears, then head over to the Financial Times and peruse Drivers and risks of the cryptocurrency boom, a neat little Q&A about the industry right now.

Need something longer for a flight or the haul to Gouna? Fire up your Kindle, open iBooks or head to the nearest bookstore (if you live in a city that has one worth visiting) to arm yourself with a selection from the Financial Times’ business book of the year feature. The long list of nominees is here, the six-book short list is here (including the excellent The One Device), and the winner is Janesville, “a deeply reported story about the impact of factory closure on a US community.”

Not nominated, but recommended for its combination of nostalgia and business storytelling: Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation.

A snarky, shorter-form offering: The magical thinking that misleads managers, or “A handy guide to sorcery and superstitions in modern leadership,” from the Financial Times.

Not in the mood for finance or business stuff on your break? How about serial killers? (Same-same, right?) A very cool piece in the New Yorker estimates that some 2,000 serial killers are at large in the United States — far more than the FBI acknowledges. Go read The Serial-Killer Detector: How an algorithm is discovering new links between unsolved murders.

Need to really unplug your brain: Business Insider has All 42 of Netflix’s notable original movies, ranked from worst to best.

But what we really think you should watch: Sharing Things, the official Sesame Street parody of Stranger Things, complete with the Cookiegorgon from the Snackside Down (watch, runtime: 6:00).

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.

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

The Investment Ministry will unveil its map of some 600 projects at the Business for Africa and the World Forum in Sharm El Sheikh on 7-9 December.

Also next month, the ICT Ministry will inaugurate two new tech zones and unveil the first locally assembled smartphone.

The supergiant Zohr natural gas field is expected to begin operations in three weeks’ time, according to Oil Ministry officials.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to visit Egypt and deliver a speech at the House of Representatives next month on the issues surrounding the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The issue will also come up at the next meeting of the African Ministers’ Council on Water.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Between the government’s long-awaited transition to an e-payments system, reactions to Egyptian actress Shadia’s death, and continued coverage of the situation in North Sinai, the airwaves were brimming with miscellany last night.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal that the government willcelebrate officially bidding adieu to paper cheques in favor of an electronic system at the Cairo ICT Conference on Sunday. Next on the ministry’s to-do list: digitizing the budgets of state agencies to streamline the revenue collection process and allow for better oversight of state funds (watch, runtime: 7:33).

Kamal also talked to Banque Misr Deputy Chairman Sahar El Damaty, who said the bank’s portfolio of non-performing loans has eased to 5.5% of its loan book in “recent years” from a previous high of 10.3%. On the back of easing FX restrictions and export-promotion measures, the majority of the bank’s loan growth is being driven by industry, she noted (watch, runtime: 4:27). El Damaty said that 55% of all current loans in nation’s banking system (which she pegged at EGP 1.4 tn, up from EGP 200 bn in 2010) have been extended by state-owned banks (watch, runtime: 4:17).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib persevered in his coverage of the developments in North Sinai, starting with a discussion about the equipment and devices security forces found during a raid on terrorist hideouts in Ismailia (we have more details in National Security, below). Adib pointed to the equipment as evidence of the massive amount of funding being funneled into terror organizations there (watch, runtime: 5:32).

Adib also took note of a report CNN aired yesterday that included footage from inside ElRawda mosque. He hailed the decision to grant CNN’s reporters access to the mosque after the government had barred foreign journalists from the area. Adib attributed the change of heart to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, during which the issue of press access came up (watch, runtime: 4:44).

Meanwhile, Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi and Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin dedicated the better part of their evenings to mourning the loss of Egyptian cinema icon Shadia. We have our own tribute for her in Worth Watching, below.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

CBE lifts caps on USD deposits and withdrawals: The central bank announced yesterday that it has lifted all previously-imposed restrictions on USD deposits and withdrawals for importers of non-essential goods. The central bank had set a deposit limit of USD 10k a day to a maximum of USD 50k a month (and a withdrawal limit of USD 30k a month) back in 2015 to control the flow of foreign currency at a time of severe shortage. “We saw it as appropriate to remove the caps today because the market has strengthened, our foreign-currency resources have increased,” CBE sub-governor Rami Aboul Naga tells Bloomberg.

“The move is another sign that bank liquidity is improving as a result of Egypt’s USD 12 bn, three-year IMF program and a currency flotation that halved the EGP’s value and helped crush the black market for USD,” Reuters notes. FX reserves have been on a steady rise since then, climbing to a high of USD 36.703 bn at the end of October. This continued improvement had prompted the CBE back in June to scrap all caps on overseas bank transfers, which had been set at USD 100k per client.

Analysts are nodding in agreement with the decision. Pharos Holding COO Angus Blair said the decision is “a confidence building measure that shows the private sector that things are back to normal.” The question now is, though, “whether this would have an impact on the exchange rate,” Naeem Brokerage’s head of research Allen Sandeep tells the newswire.

Is the government going to revisit its calculations on fuel subsidy cuts for FY2017-18? The Finance Ministry will review the impact of higher crude prices on Egypt’s fuel subsidy bill for FY2017-18, said El Garhy at the press conference, according to Al Mal. It is yet unclear whether the statement signals that the government may move to cut fuel subsidies again if global oil prices continue to grow. Both El Garhy and Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had said the government has no plans to cut fuel subsidies again this fiscal year. The IMF had noted that higher global energy prices and regional political insecurity were the biggest risks facing progress on the economic reform program. El Garhy stated that the government will look to the next OPEC meeting on extending production cuts.

Background: Oil prices have surged since the start of Egypt’s fiscal year, rising nearly 25% to a peak of nearly USD 59 last Friday.

OPEC ministers meet tomorrow (agenda here, pdf) and will hold a conclave with their non-cartel counterparts. Look for an agreement that OPEC and Russia will extend their production cuts into 2018, but with an option to review the agreement in June. CNBC has a rather solid look at how oil prices could move in response the meeting. While crude has been flirting with the USD 60 mark, a shorter extension or a delayed decision could see it retreat toward the mid USD 50s.

Egypt planning consecutive eurobond sales in 1Q2018 starting late January:Egypt’s first USD-denominated eurobond sale in 2018 will take place in late January or early February, with an EUR-denominated issuance to follow later in February or March, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Bloomberg in an interview. The EUR-denominated issue will have a tenure of 5-10 years, while the USD eurobonds will have tenures of five, 10, and 30 years, “but we might add a new tenure in order to deepen our yield curve,” the minister added. El Garhy had previously said that the USD-denominated issue will be worth EUR 3-4 bn and the EUR-denominated bond around EUR 1-1.5 bn. The ministry is now 2-3 weeks away from finalizing proposals for the structure of the sales, which are expected to go smoothly “because even the rate on Egypt’s existing bonds is tightening and interest rates are going down and that’s giving us a lot of momentum,” El Garhy said.

Emirates NBD’s asset management arm is still tipping Egyptian opportunities despite last Friday’s attack on Al Rawda Mosque in Sinai, said the lender’s head of asset management, Salman Bajwa, in an interview on Bloomberg on Tuesday (watch, runtime 3:31). Bajwa says the attack needs to be viewed as “an isolated incident” for now as macroeconomic indicators remain strong. What is crucial is that the President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s administration remains steadfast on economic reforms despite potential for future terrorist attacks.

Negotiations over the return of UK flights to Sharm El Sheikh will not be impacted by the terrorist attack on Al Rawda mosque last Friday, British ambassador John Casson tells Al Mal. Casson said the UK government understands the “special nature” of security in North Sinai and how far removed the trouble is from the southern part of the peninsula — which begs the question: why is this still an issue for them? British MPs tell Egypt Today in an interview that they are “doing our best to pressure the government to allow tourism back to Sharm El-Sheikh.” A delegation of UK aviation experts and officials had visited Cairo last week to inspect security procedures.

CIB signs USD 100 mn subordinated loan agreement with IFC: CIB signed an agreement (pdf) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) yesterday for a USD 100 mn subordinated loan that qualifies as tier-two capital under recently amended central bank regulations. The loan carries a 10-year maturity and will not cause any dilution to equity, but will “enhance CIB’s already strong capital ratio from 18.05% to 19.10%,” supporting growth plans and hedging CIB from risk. The loan agreement is also in line with management’s current strategy “to explore and pursue all available avenues to ensure a sustainable, comfortable capital base that is less vulnerable to external factors.” Earlier this month, CIB signed a USD 100 mn subordinated loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will also be added to its tier-two capital.

At the signing, IFC MENA regional director Mouayed Makhlouf reiteratedprevious statements that the institution will invest USD 1 bn in Egypt in 2017. The IFC’s Vice President of New Business Dimitris Tsitsiragos had said last month that this figure would increase to USD 1.5 bn in 2018.

In other IFC news, the corporation is investing EUR 15 mn in PE firm Mediterrania CapitalPartners’ Mediterrania Capital III fund and expansion into Egypt and West Africa, the IFC said in a statement on Tuesday. The fund, which will focus on small and mid-cap companies, will also invest in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. “We are expanding into new markets in Egypt and West Africa and are well placed to facilitate investment flowing from Europe to Africa to help investors capitalize on new growth opportunities,” said Albert Alsina, Founder and CEO of Mediterrania Capital Partners. Mediterrania Capital III is due to start operations at the end of November with EUR 103 mn at first close. Second closing is scheduled for July 2018 with a target of EUR 250 mn.

Speaking of CIB: The bank topped Forbes Middle East’s Top Egyptian Companies list, which was unveiled earlier this week, The UAE News reports. The bank was honored at Forbes’ Egypt 100 conference alongside the likes of Global Telecom Holding, Elsewedy Electric, Union National Bank of Egypt, Qatar National Bank, Arafa Group, Palm Hills Development, and Oriental Weavers. The selection process for the companies “comes in line with the global criteria followed for choosing the best 100 companies in the Arab world, including analysis of revenues, profits, market value, and assets,” Forbes Middle East’s Editor-in-Chief Khuloud Al Omian said.

The event also honored CBE Deputy Governor Lobna Helal, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali, and Planning Minister Hala El Said among the 25 most powerful Egyptian women, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The Egypt 100 list also included a category for the 25 strongest Egyptian startups, with awards being presented to Eventtus, digital recruitment platform Wuzzuf, international shipping platform Edfa3ly, and online medical booking company Vezeeta.

M&A WATCH- Egyptian, Spanish funds in talks to acquire majority stake in Cairo Scan: Two unnamed private equity firms, one each from Egypt and Spain, are in talks to jointly acquire a majority stake in radiology provider Cairo Scan from Chairman and Managing Director Mohamed Abdel Wahab, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. Abdel Wahab holds more than 40% of Cairo Scan, the sources said, refusing to provide further details. They added, however, that both funds intend to split the shares evenly once the transaction complete and are willing to buy up to 100% of Cairo Scan if other shareholders were to agree. Talks are expected to wrap up by year’s end. The potential transaction is the latest in a string of transactions in the industry, most prominently including an acquisition spree by Saudi Arabia’s Elaj Group.

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INVESTMENT WATCH- Mowasalat Misr to invest EGP 1 bn in Egypt bus fleet expansion during 2018: Private transport company Mowasalat Misr is investing EGP 1 bn in Egypt in 2018 to support its planned expansions, sources familiar with the matter tell Al Mal. Mowasalat, a 70%-owned subsidiary of the Emirates National Group, is planning to secure EGP 500 mn via loans from the Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. The company is also planning to raise EGP 32 mn in capital through its shareholders to bring its total capital up to EGP 500 mn. Mowasalat had announced in July that it was planning to bring 500 buses into its fleet over the next two years to cover the Greater Cairo area after it launched AC- and WiFi-equipped buses in the capital over the summer.

Shipping lines alliance to return to East Port Said? An alliance of five shipping lines that had ceased East Port Said operations earlier this year to protest a hike in fees have agreed to return to the port, Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Mamish said yesterday, Al Mal reports. The latest round of negotiations proved fruitful, said Mamish, who had been in Germany with Transport Minister Hisham Arafat over the last two days for talks with Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Yang Ming Marine Transport, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and the NYK Group. It’s unclear how the officials managed to sway the alliance, which had announced in May that its return to the port was contingent on the government backtracking on the hike. Mamish said executives from the five companies reassured him that they have come to understand the need for the increase and the fact that it is offset by a number of incentives and discounts the authority extends to shipping lines.

Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra inaugurated its new Egypt headquartersyesterday, Al Borsa reports. The new premises will serve as the company’s regional office for North Africa, overseeing all operations including the manufacturing of cars, farming machinery and equipment, and building materials. We had noted in October that the Indian automaker was finalizing its entry back into the Egyptian market, with plans to launch vehicles that target the mid-income segment.

Egypt gained a whopping 23 places on Bloomberg’s Climatescope 2017 annual report to rank 19th out of the 71 nations assessed for progress made towards clean energy transition and on clean energy investment. “[Egypt’s] significant progress was largely due to the surge in clean energy investment to some USD 745 mn in 2016 from almost nothing in the preceding year,” the report said. Egypt is only MENA region country to make it to the Top 20 of the report apart from Jordan. Egypt’s Benban solar park, which aims to be the largest in the world, has drawn pledges of over USD 1.8 bn from international finance institutions this year.

France is proposing that the UN Security Council impose targeted sanctions on human traffickers operating in Libya, Reuters reports. The call comes after CNN aired a documentary earlier this month that allegedly showed “an auction of men to Libyan buyers as farmhands and sold for USD 400 each.” French Ambassador to the UN François Delattre says his country will help to prepare a list of individuals and entities responsible for the trafficking trade in Libya. “Some council members expressed support for the possibility of imposing targeted sanctions, while others backed the council first issuing a statement,” according to the newswire.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned the alleged slave auctions, saying in a statement yesterday that these abuses are a result of certain countries’ policies to close their borders to immigrants fleeing conflict zones. The ministry also praised the Libyan presidential council’s planned investigation of the auctions.

Other international highlights worth noting in brief include:

  • Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to thethrone, was freed after reaching a USD 1 bn settlement with Saudi’s anti-corruption authority, a Saudi official said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. Bn’aire investor Alwaleed Bin Talal is still imprisoned, but has received words of support from Bill Gates, Bloomberg supports.
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term on Tuesday, Reuters reports. His rival Raila Odinga is contesting the elections swore he would have his own inauguration in December.
  • North Korea fired what appeared to be an ICBM that landed close to Japan, officials said, according to Reuters. Analysts warn that this could mean in theory the country has the capability to hit the east coast of the continental US.

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Image of the Day

Meet The Falafel Guys, the two Egyptian-born Englishmen who sell Falafel out of a truck in Leeds. Ahmed and Abd Allah Gouda hold degrees in international business management and mechanical engineering, but for this past year the two brothers have been answering their true calling: Selling falafel made off for their mother’s recipe out of a bright, red truck on Briggate in Leeds. “This is like a miniature factory in a way. We source all the ingredients for the products, we make the products and then we sell them,” the brothers tell the Yorkshire Evening Post. “On our first day, we didn’t know if we would sell anything… but we actually sold out.” Since then, the brothers have been topping the charts on TripAdvisor and making headlines around the UK.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning is news that thecentral bank has lifted caps on USD withdrawals and deposits for importers of non-essential commodities, which we have full details on in the Speed Round, above. The Financial Times (paywall) notes that the move comes “a year after Egypt floated its currency against the dollar in order to clinch a loan deal with the IMF.”

The terrorist attack that claimed 300 lives last Friday was still making the rounds as well this morning, with both Newsweek and The Huffington Post suggesting that the attack indicates that the Egyptian government has lost the battle against terrorism in the northern parts of Sinai, and with it control over the area.

Meanwhile, HA Hellyer writes for The Guardian that “to find the extremism behind the Egypt terror attack, start with anti-Sufi preachers,” arguing that there is a general tendency among Muslim preachers to speak against Sufism. Vox tackles the Sufi angle in a piece titled “The terrorist attack against Sufi Muslims in Egypt, explained.”

Also worth a skim this morning:

  • One man’s business is booming on the back of economic difficulties that are prompting Egyptians to buy and restore old, damaged cars, says Africa News.
  • Amnesty International issued a statement condemning the sentencing of more than a dozen Egyptians to three years in prison for debauchery, calling it an “unprecedented homophobic crackdown.”
  • News that an EgyptAir plane “clipped wings” with a Virgin Atlantic jet on the tarmac at JFK yesterday made headlinesfor some unfathomable reason, as no injuries have been reported.

Worth Watching

Iconic Egyptian actress Shadia passed away last night at the age of 86, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The cinematic legend’s passing comes after a 15-day struggle following a stroke, according to the newspaper. Shadia had an illustrious acting career that began when she was 16 years old and ended in 1986 with more than 70 films in her repertoire, according to Ahram Online. Some of her most famous films included Meraty Modeer Aam (My Wife is a General Manager) and Al Zoga Al Talatashar (The Thirteenth Wife). She also leaves us with several famous singing performances, including Haga Ghareeba (Something Strange), which she sang alongside Abdel Halim Hafez (watch, runtime: 7:25).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

An Egyptian security delegation arrived in Gaza to continue mediating talks between Hamas and Fatah after developments on the ground threatened to derail a recent reconciliation drive, Asharq Al-Awsat reports. Egyptian officials, including General Intelligence Service General Hammam Abou Zeid, met separately with Hamas and the PLO to work through outstanding issues with the agreement, including Hamas’ disarmament, which the group said on various occasions it will not do. Egyptian officials are also trying to press the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel, according to Arutz Sheva.

Meanwhile, Israeli Social Equality and Foot in Mouth Minister Gila Gamliel’s statements that a Palestinian state can only be established in Sinai drew condemnations from Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday, Egypt Today reports.

Egypt will reportedly join other countries “harmed by dams being developed by Ethiopia” in mounting an international lobbying effort, unnamed sources tell Al Shorouk. The lobby would include countries downstream of Ethiopia’s rivers, and will document the economic, environmental, and social issues these countries will face as a result of developments on the Ethiopian stretch of the river.

Energy

Elsewedy clarifies it is still in talks with NREA over Gulf of Suez wind farm

Elsewedy Electric issued a clarification to the bourse yesterday explaining that it was still in talks with the New and Renewable Energy Authority over a wind farm project in the Gulf of Suez. The statement, which was issued in response to a query from the bourse, comes after sources claimed just a day before that the company, and its Japanese partner Marubeni Corporation, had reached a preliminary funding agreement for the 500 MW, EUR 500 mn project. CEO Ahmed Elsewedy had said last week that his company was in talks with the government to acquire land to build six wind-powered stations under an IPP framework.

Infrastructure

Schneider Electric to invest in water desalination, power distribution, smart city construction

Housing Minister (and acting Prime Minister) Mostafa Madbouly met with executives from Schneider Electric in Cairo yesterday to discuss possible collaboration on a new water desalination and treatment project, Al Mal reports. The company is hoping to land new contracts in Egypt to supply components of desalination, smart city, and power distribution infrastructure, said Walid Sheta, the company’s North Africa and Levant director.

Basic Materials + Commodities

GASC purchases 120k tonnes of Russian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased yesterday 120k tonnes of Russian wheat, to be delivered between 11 and 20 January, Reuters’ Arabic service reported. Traders tell Reuters that the lowest offer GASC received in the tender issued on Monday was USD 192.99 per tonne free-on-board from Russian trading firm GTCS.

Manufacturing

Tahya Masr to market excess production capacity at state-owned factories to private sector

The Tahya Masr Fund is reportedly holding talks with seven public sector petrochemicals, pharma, paper and textiles companies to see if they would allow private sector companies to use their excess capacity, Al Borsa reports. The move is part of a drive by the fund to market excess production capacity in government factories to the private, which has already seen two investors in 10 Ramadan sign up for, according to the newspaper.

Health + Education

FEI reaches out to Parliament to raise med prices

After failing to convince the government to look into possibly raising prices again, the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) pharma division is taking its case to the House of Representatives, sources tell Al Borsa. The division plans to send a memo to the House beseeching them on the “tough time the pharma sector is going through” as a result of prices staying the same since January. Yet their pleas seem likely to fall on deaf ears, according to statements from House Health Committee member Samy Al Mashd. Driven mostly by foreign pharma companies, the FEI still plans to push the issue with the Ismail cabinet and are awaiting the return of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail from Germany to intensify lobbying efforts. After repeated snubs by the Health Ministry, the lobby group will apparently focus its efforts with the Trade and Industry Ministry and the Investment Ministry.

ACDIMA looking for new pharma acquisition, planning expansion

Pharma company ACDIMA is shopping for a new acquisition target, CEO Olfat Ghorab tells Al Borsa. The company’s board of directors has also signed off on new planned investments that will see ACDIMA either add new production lines to its existing capacity or invest in a promising pharma manufacturer, she adds. The state-owned ACDIMA had reportedly acquired United Pharma IV last August in a transaction valued at over EGP 320 mn.

Tourism

Nile Air pending approval to launch new flights to African and Middle Eastern cities

Nile Air is planning to launch new flight routes between Egypt and other cities in Africa and the Middle East, CEO Ahmed Ali tells Al Mal. The charter airline is waiting for approval from different airports to begin mapping out flights. We noted this week that Nile Air’s IPO plans were back on, with the company planning to list up to 30% of its shares on the EGX by the end of 2018, in a transaction that EFG Hermes had reportedly been tapped to manage. Nile Air is also planning to add two new Airbus-321s to its fleet by 2020.

Banking + Finance

Banque Misr abandons plans to establish independent mortgage finance arm

Banque Misr appears to have abandoned its plan to establish an independent mortgage financing arm, which Chairman Mohamed El Etreby had announced in May. Management found the decision currently untimely and decided instead to extending mortgage finance facilities, under the central bank’s initiative, through its existing administration, an unnamed bank official tells Al Mal. The central bank had recently decided to allocate an additional EGP 10 bn to its Mortgage Finance Fund, bringing its total value up to EGP 20 bn.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Prosecutor General refers Alexandria deputy governor to trial for corruption

Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek referred yesterday Alexandria Deputy Governor Soad El Kholy and six others to a criminal court over charges of corruption, Al Masry Al Youm reports. El Kholy, who has served in her post since 2015, was arrested in August alongside five businessmen.

National Security

Security forces kill 14 militants, arrest six in raids

Security forces killed 11 militants and arrested six more during two raids on hideouts in Ismailia and 10 Ramadan City yesterday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The militants were reportedly planning to launch a series of attacks against state institutions and churches in North Sinai. The ministry did not link these militants with last Friday’s terror attacks on El Rawda mosque, during which more than 305 worshippers were killed, Reuters notes. Separately, the military killed another three suspected militants in Central Sinai, Armed Forces Spokesman Tamer Al Rifai said without providing additional details, according to the Associated Press.

On Your Way Out

Archaeologists working on the Kom Ombo Temple have uncovered a sandstone carving that dates to Alexander the Great’s successor,according to an Antiquities Ministry statement. The piece bears the name of Emperor Philip Arrhidaeus, half-brother and successor to Alexander the Great in Macedonia. His mention on the artefact potentially makes it the oldest piece in the Ptolemaic-era temple.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6810 | Sell 17.7810
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.66 | Sell 17.76
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73

EGX30 (Tuesday): 14,537 (+2.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.7 bn (69% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +17.8%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 2.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 2.8%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sodic and El Sewedy Electric both ended up 5.1%, and Ezz Steel up 4.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Cairo Oils & Soap down 0.5%, Eastern Co, and Porto Group were both flat. The market turnover was EGP 1.7 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +195.2 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -40.3 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -155.0 mn

Retail: 65.3% of total trades | 59.8% of buyers | 70.9% of sellers
Institutions: 34.7% of total trades | 40.2% of buyers | 29.1% of sellers

Foreign: 16.8% of total | 22.6% of buyers | 11.0% of sellers
Regional: 11.6% of total | 10.4% of buyers | 12.8% of sellers
Domestic: 71.6% of total | 67.0% of buyers | 76.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.71 (-0.48%)
Brent: USD 63.61 (-0.36%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.13 MMBtu, (unchanged from yesterday’s close, December 2017 contract)
Gold: USD 1,297.40 / troy ounce (-0.14%)TASI: 6,967.35 (+0.41%) (YTD: -3.37%)
ADX: 4,295.12 (+0.48%) (YTD: -5.53%)
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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.