Monday, 18 December 2017

EFG’s Vortex sells stake in UK solar assets
Plus: Hilton to open 1k rooms in Egypt next year, logistics play Bosta gets investment from Fawry


What We’re Tracking Today

The Finance Ministry is reportedly soliciting proposals from banks to arrange a USD-denominated eurobond issuance, sources told Reuters. The request was made last week, the sources added. The Finance Ministry was not immediately available for comment, Reuters notes.

Who says term limits in banking are a good thing? Not Bob Wilmers, the longest-serving bank executive in the United States, who has just passed away at age 83. Wilmers had run M&A Bank from 1983 and transformed it from a sleepy local player in upstate New York into a regional powerhouse with 60x the assets and a footprint across the northeastern United States. The story is headline news in CNBC and the Wall Street Journal and even makes the homepage of the Financial Times.

Must-read this morning: The global economy is partying like it’s 2008, declares an op-ed in the New York Times, which succinctly and cogently argues we may be facing another global asset bubble. “The American economy is doing well, and emerging economies are picking up steam. But global asset prices are once again rising rapidly above their underlying value — in other words, they are in a bubble. … While in 2008 bubbles were largely confined to the American housing and credit markets, they are now to be found in almost every corner of the world economy.

** Take our end-of-year survey — get a bag of Enterprise-branded coffee and cool mugs from which to drink it: It’s that time of the year again — we want you to help us gauge how well business went during the year. What are the biggest challenges you faced during the year? Where will the exchange rate stabilise? Do you expect big raises in 2018? Are you hiring? Help us find out. You’ll get the chance to become one of 25 people who’ll get our end of year giveaway package consisting of Enterprise swag and our first-ever Enterprise-branded batch of coffee, which we’ve put together with good friends in the coffee business. (More on that in a later issue.) The survey ends this Thursday, and we’ll have the results when we’re all back from the Christmas-New Year’s-Christmas break.

Among the headlines worthy of your attention this morning:

  • Arab Bank chief Sabih Al Masri has been released from detention in Saudi Arabia. Al Masri was detained for unknown reasons while on a visit to KSA. (Bloomberg)
  • Labor action in Israel shut down that country’s stock exchange, international airport and government offices for half a day yesterday. (Bloomberg)
  • Banks, oil companies, airlines, and Warren Buffett are among those likely to benefit most from Trump’s tax cuts. The bill is expected to pass as early as tomorrow. (Financial Times, Reuters)
  • Trump and Putin held their second call in four days as the Russian leader thanked his counterpart for a CIA tip that foiled a terror plot in St. Petersburg. (New York Times, Financial Times)
  • Sometimes, columnists struggle for a starting point. When that happens, you get an analogy from John Authers that somehow likens investing in emerging markets to fearing for your life under Stalin. (Financial Times)

Mohamed El Shorbagy pipped his brother Marwan in a historic final of the AJ Bell Squash World Championships in Manchester that featured two siblings for the first time, according to the Professional Squash Association. The two train together, grew up mentored by the same coaches and are both managed by their mother Basma, says the Telegraph. The Women’s final also an all-Egyptian final (a recurring theme this year) as Raneem El Welily upset number-one ranked Nour El Sherbiny to claim her first world title.

** We’re taking a break next week. As is our custom, we’ll be recharging our collective batteries in the final week of the year. Enterprise will not publish on 24 and 25 December. We’ll then be back with short issues on 26-28 December, and then off again until 2 January 2018. We hope you, too, are planning to relax with family and friends — whether you’re the kid returning home from college for winter break, or the parent looking forward to welcoming them.

What We’re Tracking This Week

With his advance team reportedly in town, it’s still unclear when US Vice President Mike Pence will arrive in Cairo for an expected visit. Pence’s schedule for his Middle East tour was shuffled around to ensure he was in Washington as US Congress prepares to vote tomorrow on the Republican tax bill. Pence had reportedly been scheduled to fly out of Egypt to Israel on Wednesday. Prominent regional spiritual and political leaders have announced they would boycott meetings with him as a result of the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The US’ Jerusalem declaration has inadvertently damaged attempts to advance Coptic Christians’ rights in Egypt, Jacob Wirtschafter writes for Haaretz. The declaration has unveiled a schism between Copts and Muslims over their respective views of Israel and Jews, which the Coptic community has been forced to cover up to avoid disturbing its relationship with the rest of the country.

Egyptian motion on Jerusalem at the UN: Against this background, Egypt’s delegation to the United Nations is circulating a draft resolution that would insist any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded, Reuters reports. The one-page draft is now circulating among members of the Security Council.

On The Horizon

The Support Egypt Coalition says welcomes Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s planned address to the House of Representatives this month, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The coalition — which is the majority bloc in parliament — said that Desalegn’s visit is “an opportunity to improve relations between Egypt and Ethiopia” as the two are locked in a war of words over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. A number of MPs have signed a letter saying they would not attend his Desalegn’s speech.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

No single topic reigned supreme on the airwaves last night, with talking heads discussing everything from the civil aviation protocol with Russia to a new Egyptian desalination technology.

The civil aviation security protocol Egypt signed with Russia is a positive step, but there remain certain sticking points between the two sides on security measures at Egypt’s airports, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy told Hona Al Assema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. Fathy said the past several months of negotiations have mainly been geared towards bridging the gap on the necessary security measures. Moscow had apparently requested biometric scanners for airport employees, which is a measure Cairo “is not convinced is necessary,” the minister said. He also said that private companies will be enlisted to oversee security at our airports (watch, runtime: 5:23).

Lamees also discussed at length the Supply Ministry’s (now amended) decree requiring prices to be printed on food packages. The final form of the decree requires retailers — the final stop of the supply chain — to clearly indicate the prices of the products being sold, said Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Secretary-General Alaa Ezz. He noted that the method of listing prices is not uniform, and depends on the size of the establishment and the nature of the products being sold.

The end goal for everyone is to ensure that consumers aren’t forced to play a guessing game, head of the food industries division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries Ashraf El Gazayerli said. He also denied that food manufacturers were colluding to keep prices high, an always-popular Nasserist canard (watch, runtime: 27:54).

Egypt is not on the precipice of a real estate bubble, Memaar El Morshedy Group Chairman Mohamed El Morshedy and Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors Secretary-General Hesham Serry told Lamees. Residential units are usually snapped up at a very high pace, with the exception of those that fall under the highest pricing bracket, El Morshedy said. Serry also pointed out that real estate has always been perceived as a good investment that maintains its value over the years (watch, runtime: 12:11).

Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib shed light on a newer and cheaper type of water desalination technology. Adib spoke to Nabil El Maraghi, the engineer behind the technology, who said that the new system is mostly produced domestically at a 60% markdown. These treatment plants can also be used in desert areas to irrigate farms and bring water to livestock, El Maraghi said (watch, runtime: 10: 57).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti is an indicator of improved Egyptian-Italian relations, Egypt’s ambassador in Rome Hisham Badr told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary. Badr also noted that several Egyptian ministers — including Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Oil Minister Tarek El Molla — have visited Rome over the past few months, which confirms the improvements in our ties (watch, runtime: 2:56).

El Hosary also spoke to SICO Technology Chairman Mohamed Salem about the theft of 15,000 batteries manufactured for the recently unveiled Nile X smartphone (we have more in Telecoms + ICT, below). Salem confirmed that the company has arranged new battery shipments to keep up with demand on its phones (watch, runtime: 3:23).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

EFG Hermes’ Vortex platform sold a 45% equity stake in its UK solar operation to Malaysia’s second-largest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), in a GBP 67.5 mn transaction. Vortex will continue to maintain a 5% long-term shareholding in Vortex Solar Investments, having acquired 365 MW of solar PV producing assets in the United Kingdom from TerraForm Power in January 2017. Following the transaction, Vortex Solar’s shareholding structure will stand as 50% Tenaga Nasional Berhad, 45% KWAP, and 5% Vortex. “KWAP fits very well strategically as a long-term future partner to Vortex and EFG Hermes … I am very pleased to have placed a 45% stake with the right partners after a highly competitive process that saw interest from leading investors around the world,” said Karim Moussa, Head of Private Equity and Asset Management at EFG Hermes. Group CEO Karim Awad says “by completing the sale to KWAP we successfully complete the cycle of the underwriting for Vortex Solar in less than 12 months.” Read the full announcement here (pdf).

IPO WATCH- Pioneers Holding plans to list 40% of its subsidiary Rooya Real Estate Investment Company on the EGX in 1H2018, Pioneers CEO Walid Zaki told Reuters on Sunday. Last we heard of this IPO was back in July, when reports emerged that Rooya had filed to list. It had also been reported that the firm had tapped Helmy and AAIB as advisors. Pioneers Holding had bought a 60% stake in Rooya back in 2015 for EGP 1.2 bn. The developer has a 9 mn sqm land bank, with about 6 mn of that currently under development, the newswire says.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Logistics tech startup Bosta has secured seed investment from e-payment provider Fawry in a transaction entailing a share purchase and capital increase. Bosta said it plans to “leverage its latest investment to develop its online delivery platform, boost its user-experience and disrupt the delivery service market in Egypt while maintaining an eye for other regional opportunities.” The investment is the third that Bosta has secured in 2017. The value of the investment by Fawry was not disclosed. You can read the full announcement here (pdf).

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives approved yesterday 39 articles of the Universal Healthcare Act during its first plenary debate of the law, Al Shorouk reports. Articles that passed included those setting up the three regulators which will monitor implementing the new healthcare system. Debate of the law had been contentious, particularly over how to classify those exempt from paying premiums into the new healthcare system and who gets to classify them. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, who attended the session, said that the executive regulations of the law would determine who would be exempt — effectively leaving it in the hands of the government, Al Mal reports. The plenary session, however, voted to keep amendments to the law which state that a committee made up of Finance Ministry, the Social Solidarity Ministry, and the state statistics agency CAPMAS would draw up criteria for exemption. A number of MPs, including from the Free Egyptians party, had voiced opposition to only allowing the Finance Ministry to determine the criteria, while the House Health Committee had recommended tying the exemption with the person’s social security and welfare status, the newspaper says.

The House Health Committee had proposed that an independent committee be set up to monitor implementation the act on an ongoing basis, Al Mal reports. They also called for a re-assessment of how long it will take to roll the act out. It is scheduled to be in place in all governorates by 2032.

Voting on the act is expected to resume today. In other legislative news:

  • The House debate in plenary session today amendments to the Companies Act that govern the establishment of sole proprietorships, committee member Amr Sedky tells Al Borsa. The House Economics Committee had approved the amendments last week. We have yet to hear details on amendments to corporate governance regulations, particularly those on whistleblowers, reported to have been part of the amendments.
  • Sedky also said that the committee had set up three sub-committees to review penalties in the Consumer Protection Act after business associations lobbied against them. They appear to be leaning towards reducing penalties to a fine instead of prison time, in accordance with the recommendations of the business community.
  • The House Manpower Committee has completed its review of the Labor Act on Sunday and will be passing the bill over to a plenary session of the House.

Which brings us to our regular PARLIAMENTARY NONSENSE WATCH- House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal referred a draft (also spelled daft in this case) law to boycott American products to a joint committee including members of the standing committees on the economy, defense and national security, foreign relations, and Arab affairs for review, Ahram Gate reports. The legislation was prepared by 61 MPs in response to the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The Sisi administration plans to honor all export contracts Egypt signed before the nation became a net importer of gas back in 2012, said Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, Al Shorouk reports. The statement appears to signal that the government plans to use influx of gas from Zohr, which it hopes will help Egypt become a net gas exporter in 2018, to resolve outstanding contracts which has caused legal headaches for the government. Most significant of these is a ruling by a Swiss court which fined Egypt USD 2 bn in compensation to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) for halting gas supplies to our eastern neighbor in 2012. The case had led to the government suspending any plans to importing gas from Israel as part of a region-wide collaboration to export gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe. Egypt and Israel have reportedly been holding talks behind closed doors to revive cooperation efforts.

Meanwhile, output from the Zohr gas field will raise Egypt’s natural gas production rate to 5.5 bcf/d from 5.1 bcf/d, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters. Zohr will add 350 mcf/d of natural gas, with output increasing to around 1 bcf/d by mid-2018, he had said. Separately, Saudi Aramco has supplied 1 mn bbl of crude to Egyptian refineries, El Molla also said. “Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be studying the economic feasibility of continuing to refine Saudi crude in Egyptian refineries by the start of 2018 … Saudi Arabia agreed in April last year to provide Egypt with 700,000 tonnes of refined oil products a month for five years,” Reuters notes.

The Ministerial Committee for Settlement of Investment Disputes settled a USD 937 mn dispute with Saudi Investor Hashem El Mehdar Group Industry & Tourism Development, Al Masry Al Youm reports. El Mehdar withdrew an international arbitration case he had filed against Egypt and will move ahead with planned investment in Marsa Matrouh, which were put on hold after a land dispute. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had approved the composition of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement of Investment Disputes to be headed by the PM himself back in November, listing our friend Moustafa El Bahabety, Deputy Justice Minister for Arbitration and International Disputes, as the head of the organization’s technical committee.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Hilton Worldwide is planning to add 1,000 hotel rooms in Egypt next year, vice president of operations for Egypt and North Africa Mohab Ghali said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. Ghali had previously said that Hilton is planning on expanding in Egypt with seven hotels in Cairo, Hurghada, and Ain Sokhna in the next four years. The first of the seven will open by the end of 2018.

EgyptAir Cargo apparently sent its first cargo flight to Moscow in two years on 29 November, the company said in a statement. EgyptAir Cargo plans on sending twice-weekly flights to the Russian capital until the end of February 2018, according to the statement. The company has been in talks with Russia to resume cargo flights since the 2015 Metrojet plane crash, Chairman Bassem Gohar tells Al Mal. EgyptAir Cargo’s negotiations were separate from the Civil Aviation Ministry’s efforts to bring back tourist flights. The resumption of cargo flights came two weeks before Egypt and Russia signed a civil aviation security cooperation protocol that would allow direct flights between Moscow and Cairo to resume as of February.

Plantform Egypt’s Hussein Abou Bakr has become the latest entrepreneur to join the Endeavor network, becoming one of 35 business people from 22 companies and 13 countries to get the nod at an international selection panel in Miami. Plantform is a food processing company with three business lines (canned food, pickles and dehydrated vegetables) and supplies US restaurant chains including Olive Garden, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s and Burger King. The company works primarily out of Upper Egypt and exports 100% of its production. TCV invested USD 2.5 mn in Plantform this summer (pdf). You can read the Endeavor press release here (pdf).

Priority will be given to Egyptian companies in the reconstruction of Libya, said Osama Hamad, Finance Minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord. “Egyptian companies have the ability to accomplish anything, and this is what we’ve seen in our visit to the Suez Canal Economic Zone during our tour,” Hamad tells state-owned news agency MENA. The Libyan government had announced back in 2012 that Egyptian companies will take part in USD 9 bn worth of projects as part of Libya’s reconstruction, according to Daily News Egypt. Real estate development alone amounted to USD 5 bn, with Orascom and Hassan Allam Holding being the most prominent names in the list of companies participating in the reconstruction drive.

On the political front, elections in Libya appear to be high on people’s minds. Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria called for all parties to swiftly reach a political solution to allow for safe and timely elections. The three reiterated their support for Libya’s national reconciliation through political dialogue, the three countries’ foreign ministers said in a statement yesterday following a tripartite meeting in Tunisia. The statement called on all Libyan factions to disarm in order to protect the country’s best interests, and unify their institutions, including the Libyan army.

Libyan political factions are jockeying for positions ahead of the planned elections, which are expected next year. Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are backed by Egypt, said on Sunday the UN-backed government was obsolete and he would listen to the will of the people, a firm hint he may run in elections expected next year, according to Reuters.

But perhaps the most surprising news appears to be Seif Al Islam Al Gaddafi planning to run for president, the family’s spokesman, Basem al-Hashimi al-Soul, confirmed to RT. The son of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said he would run on a platform of restoring security. We anticipate this will go as smoothly as Ahmed Shafik’s current presidential run.

CORRECTION- Pharos Holding will be backing the share price of AT Lease for a period of one month after trading begins through a stabilization fund. Pharos Holding is listing 24% of the company’s shares with book-building and subscriptions to the IPO to begin on Tuesday, 19 December. We reported incorrectly that the stabilization fund will be in place for three months in yesterday’s issue. The entry has been corrected on our website.


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Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press is the return of the remains of exiled Italian King Victor Emmanuel III to be buried a family mausoleum near Turin, The Associated Press reports. Victor Emmanuel ruled Italy from 1900 to 1946 and died in 1947 in Alexandria, Egypt, where his remains had been buried until they were returned to Italy on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Italy’s post-World War II constitution barred male descendants of the royal House of Savoy from Italian soil as punishment for the family’s support of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The ban was lifted in 2002, and moves to bring royal remains back to Italy began in earnest in 2011.”

The Financial Times is back to its semi-regular bashing of the new administrative capital. This time around, the salmon-colored paper picks up on arguments that the project would effectively allow the government to wash its hands of Cairo and development there. “What will happen to Cairo after the exodus? It will be sidelined,” says Mai Al Ibrashy, an architect who heads Megawra, a heritage preservation NGO. The piece also looks into the Armed Forces’ expanded role in the project, which says is indicative of the army’s ever-expanding role in the economy.

Archaeologists working on excavations in Cairo’s Matareya are struggling to balance an interest in the past with modern needs and challenges, Jahd Khalil writes for The National. Matareya is where archaeologists from Egypt and Germany unearthed an eight-meter statue back in March. The neighborhood itself is already inhabited, largely with “self-built housing” that may have contributed to a rising water table. However, general contractors are also looking to press ahead with new construction projects in the area, which may further jeopardize “the trove of antiquities underneath” the surface. “In a place like Egypt, which is densely populated, there’s a conflict. There’s the people who live there now, versus an archaeologist who has a legitimate interest in knowing about the artefacts of the past,” says associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, Elliot Colla.

The “green” standards China put in place for Belt and Road Initiative investments could help Egypt significantly reduce its carbon footprint, Deborah Lehr writes for the Huffington Post. New construction projects are booming in Egypt, but these projects also account for a significant amount of the country’s overall carbon footprint. “Egypt has the opportunity to serve as the ‘hub’” for the USD 1 tn initiative, and the new Chinese environmental standards could help encourage infrastructure development within environmentally sustainable boundaries.

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Nobody knows what happened to a Uighur student who was returned to China from Egypt after he was taken by police upon arrival, according to a piece on Chinese “indoctrination camps” by The Associated Press.
  • Liberals in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries are increasingly allowed to preach ideas through the media as a means of counteracting extremism, Joseph Braude writes for the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
  • The recently approved Labor Unions Act is being criticized by activists, Muhammed Magdy writes for Al Monitor.

On Deadline

The automotive industry is suffering from the continued stalling of the Automotive Directive, Hussein Abd Rabbo writes for Al Borsa. The government has been trying to attract investors by any means possible, but has failed to pass the Automotive Directive for over four years. In the meantime, countries including India and South Korea — which began automotive manufacturing at the same time as Egypt back in the ‘60s — have taken massive leaps in their respective journeys. Abd Rabbo takes note of industry leader Raouf Ghabbour’s continued lobbying for the legislation to pass.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt is committed to finding those who are guilty for the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi reaffirmed that Egypt will continue to coordinate with Italian prosecutors in the ongoing investigation into Regeni’s death. Prosecutors from both countries are set to meet soon to discuss developments in the investigation, according to the statement.

Separately, Minniti also said that Italy is keen to boosting its cooperation with Egypt on illegal migration and anti-terrorism efforts, in addition to increasing Italian investment in Egypt.

This comes as Egyptian authorities reportedly handed over the 1,000-page case file to Regeni’s family, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports (paywall). Egypt will also make the file available to the Italian prosecutor general within days, according to the newspaper. However, the Regeni family’s lawyer claims that Egypt is still sitting on the majority of the file. The handover of the papers is only the first step, and they must be translated before their value to the investigation is determined, Regeni’s family said.

Egyptian plans for a dam to collect rain and flood water in the basin valleys of Shalatin in the Halayeb triangle announced last week raise concerns of diplomatic rows with Sudan, Malek Awny writes for Arab News. Awny writes that the government has allocated EGP 378 mn to construct 11 dams and seven lakes to help protect development areas in the Red Sea province from winter floods. Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour says “we will not let Halaib damage Sudanese-Egyptian relations. However, we will never hand over Halaib.”

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil discussed increasing the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) investments in Egypt during a meeting with an IFC delegation last Thursday, Al Mal reports. The IFC is eyeing investments in energy, fertilizer and petrochemical production, service, and agricultural projects, in addition to SMEs, according to Kabil.

The Turkish Egyptian Businessmen’s Association will meet with officials from the Industrial Development Authority to lobby for the establishment of a EGP 3 bn Turkish industrial zone sometime next month, the association’s head Atilla Ataseven said, according to Al Borsa. The association will also meet with officials from the ministries of investment and trade and industry to further push for the 1 mn sqm zone. The project had first been announced last month, with the association looking to attract Turkish investments worth USD 1 bn.

A Brazilian business delegation will visit in April 2018 to discuss opportunities for trade and cooperation, board member of the Chemical & Fertilizers Export Council Mostafa El Gebaly said in statements picked up by Youm7.


CMA CGM signs MoU to manage container terminal in East Port Said

French shipping group CMA CGM has signed an MoU with the Suez Canal Authority which would see it manage the USD 765 mn container terminal in the port of East Port Said, authority head Mohab Mamish announced on Sunday, according to Al Borsa. A delegation from the company is due to arrive on Tuesday for talks to cement the MoU into contracts. CMA CGM had been awarded the management tender after talks with Singapore’s PSA International fell apart in March.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt has enough wheat to meet consumption until April

Egypt has enough wheat to meet consumption needs until the beginning of the harvest season in the second half of April, Supply Ministry spokesman Mamdouh Ramadan told Reuters. “The ministry said earlier this month that Egypt had wheat reserves totalling 3.4 mn tonnes. Ramadan did not give an updated reserves figure.”


AOI in talks with Polish company to build tractor factory in Egypt

The Arab Organization of Industrialization (AOI) has begun talks with an unnamed Polish company to set up a tractor factor in Egypt which will source 40% of its production inputs locally, AOI Chairman Abdel Sadek Abdel Raheem tells Al Borsa. He added that an MoU had been signed between the two companies to study the project and the possibility of exporting from the factory. We believe the company to be Polish agriculture machinery manufacturer Ursus, which had expressed interest in opening USD 50-100 mn tractor factory in Egypt back in August at a meeting with Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil.

GMC to invest EGP 165 mn in 2018

GMC Group For Industrial Commercial and Financial Investments plans on investing EGP 165 mn in 2018, President Mohamed Geneidy said in statements picked up by AMAY. The investments include spending EGP 50 mn on increasing production capacity of its factories producing washing machines and freezers and the development of new production lines for other household appliances. The company also plans to invest EGP 100 mn in developing a restaurant complex in Mohandiseen and EGP 15 mn into a commercial space in the Haram area.

Telecoms + ICT

Nile’s Eleven — SICO phone sales delayed due to battery theft

In a story that could only come out of an Egyptian parody of Ocean’s Eleven, SICO Technology is delaying the first batch of their locally produced phones for three weeks after suffering a theft of around 15,000 batteries during a delivery, company President Mohamed Salem told Al Mal. The theft was discovered at the battery warehouse in Assiut after the shipment arrived from China. A new shipment is on track for 10 January to keep with SICO’s plan to sell 20,000 phones as an initial phase. SICO’s flagship device the Nile X was supposed to hit shelves on 15 December.

Automotive + Transportation

Salini Impregilo in talks to possibly take part in developing Cairo Metro Line 5

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat met with a delegation from Italian engineering firm Salini Impregilo to discuss possibly bidding on developing Cairo Metro Line 5, Al Mal reports. The two sides also discussed other transport projects Salini Impregilo could invest in.

Banking + Finance

NBE, Banque Misr to provide USD 580 mn in trade finance for Dabaa NPP project

National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr have approved issuing trade finance facilities worth a total of USD 580 mn to the Nuclear Power Plants Authority (NPPA) to fund the requirements for Dabaa project, Al Mal reports. NBE will provide letters of guarantee worth USD 230 mn to be used for imports of project requirements. Sources added that the first installment of the USD 25 bn Russian loan for the project will be USD 100 mn and is expected to be released in early 2018.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Military prosecution releases 237 Zamalek fans

Military prosecutors ordered the release of 237 members of Zamalek fan club the Ultras White Knights after they were detained for five months following violence after a game in Alexandria, according to Ahram Online.

National Security

Interior Ministry raises security levels to maximum

The Interior Ministry is raising the security level to maximum as we approach Coptic Christmas season,according to an official statement from the ministry. Increased security procedures will include heightened measures around Christian places of worship and constant perimeter checks as well as increased patrols and checkpoints on major thoroughfares. Expect the measures to take hold this month and stretch through past 7 January.


Sunday Times profiles Mohamed Salah

The Sunday Times’ (paywall) football correspondent Jonathan Northcroft profiled Egypt’s “jewel of The Nile,” footballer Mohamed Salah. “Those who know Salah say he is two things: incredibly generous and quietly, wickedly humorous… He avoids interviews but speaks through actions. In his rural home region he’s building a school and paid for an ambulance service and several hospital incubation units… He’s a kid from a small town who played football with a kora sharab (a ball made from socks).” The profile comes as Salah continued his tear in the English Premier League by tallying his league high 14th goal against Bournemouth, according to the Washington Post. The goal makes his 20th in all competitions this season and makes him the first Liverpool player to hit that mark since Ian Rush back in 1986.

On Your Way Out

Banque Misr is offering customers loans ranging from EGP 3,000-40,000 to go attend the World Cup in Russia next summer, according to Al Mal. Repayment plans range from three months to two years and annual interest is estimated to reach 11.45%. Customers have to provide a salary certificate, a current electricity bill or water bill as proof of residence and a package from an airline whereupon the bank will transfer the money directly. NBE also announced a similar loan program.

In other Mondiale news, The national team is set to face Portugal and Bulgaria in March in friendly games that will be a tune up for the World Cup, according to The Tribune. The Portugal game will be on the 23 March with Bulgaria four days later. Both matches will be played in Zurich.

An exhibition on the role of cats in Ancient Egypt runs at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington DC until 15 January, according to the Arab News. The collection of paintings, sculptures and statues showcases the feline influence on Ancient Egypt. The 80 piece exhibition explores how cats rose to prominence in Ancient Egypt, starting out as pest control and eventually becoming deities and pets joining their masters in the grave — mummification process and all.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.7632 | Sell 17.8632
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.77 | Sell 17.87
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.69 | Sell 17.79

EGX30 (Sunday): 14,717 (+0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (12% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +19.2%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Ezz Steel up 3.6%; Egyptian Resorts up 3.3%; and Madinet Nasr Housing up 3.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Eastern Co down 1.0%; CIB down 0.7%; and Global Telecom down 0.4%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +18 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +346 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -364 mn

Retail: 59.7% of total trades | 57.0% of buyers | 62.4% of sellers
Institutions: 40.3% of total trades | 43.0% of buyers | 37.6% of sellers

Foreign: 7.2% of total | 7.9% of buyers | 6.4% of sellers
Regional: 23.3% of total | 37.4% of buyers | 9.2% of sellers
Domestic: 69.5% of total | 54.7% of buyers | 84.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.3 (+0.46%)
Brent: USD 63.23 (-0.13%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.61 MMBtu, (-2.68%, January 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,257.5 / troy ounce (+0.03%)

TASI: 7,093.21 (+0.25%) (YTD: -1.63%)
ADX: 4,348.73 (+0.22%) (YTD: -4.35%)
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KSE Weighted Index: 400.32 (+0.14%) (YTD: +5.32%)
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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.

28-31 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), 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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