Monday, 15 January 2018

Economic group intact after limited cabinet shuffle


What We’re Tracking Today

On a slow news morning, the biggest news is what didn’t happen: We have a new cabinet today after yesterday’s minor shakeup, and as expected, the Cabinet economic group remains intact.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail will reportedly be returning to work next week as his health continues to improve, government sources tell Youm7. Ismail made his first public appearance yesterday since returning to Cairo on 21 December from Germany, where he had sought medical treatment. The PM appeared yesterday at the swearing-in ceremony for four new ministers. Other government sources had said over the weekend that Ismail is still recovering and will not go back to work soon.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will arrive in Egypt on Wednesday for a three-day visit that will wrap on Friday, unidentified sources tell Al Masry Al Youm. The Egyptian-Ethiopian Joint Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss “bilateral, continental and international issues,” according to the Ethiopian News Agency. Desalegn was scheduled to arrive in Cairo yesterday, but his trip was postponed again after having first been pushed from December. The prime minister is expected to be accompanied during his trip to Cairo by Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, who left for Khartoum yesterday to meet with his Sudanese counterpart, Ibrahim Ghandour. At a press conference after their meeting, Gebeyehu urged Egypt and Sudan to de-escalate tensions over territorial disputes, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency. The minister also denied that Cairo had requested to exclude Khartoum from ongoing negotiations about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

EFG Hermes’ annual Egypt Day gets underway starting tonight with the firm’s annual CEO Dinner at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza. It’s the first major event on the 2018 investor calendar in Egypt.

Morocco began implementing a more flexible exchange rate regime yesterday in a bid to boost the competitiveness of its economy. The Moroccan Central Bank announced it would widen the official band within which the dirham fluctuates to 5% from a current 0.3%. “Unlike nearby Egypt, which floated its EGP in November 2016, Morocco isn’t facing a currency crisis and wasn’t under pressure to take immediate action,” Bloomberg notes.

Is the fallout from Mifid II beginning? The president of Nomura, Japan’s largest investment bank, says his outfit has already stopped providing research services in Europe, believes there is “probably … no advantage in providing the service in the US.” Nomura is “not a charity,” he added, and cannot provide research without charge, the Financial Times reports. “Nomura is the first leading bank to publicly indicate that it is considering restructuring as a consequence of the new rules,” the paper notes, writing that, “bankers and experts have warned of significant cuts to research divisions as a consequence of the European reforms, which requires investors to explicitly pay for research instead of its cost being covered by the commissions investors pay for trades.”

Not the name-check Naguib was hoping for: With the Winter Olympics in South Korea looming, the North will be more and more in the headlines in the coming weeks. “Global businesses faced a deadline last week to exit joint ventures operating in North Korea,” reports the Journal, “but dozens of them are still there, experts say, operating under opaque structures that help conceal their links to North Korea.” The paper looks at how “cigarettes and murky joint ventures” help the DPRK “evade crackdown.” OTMT’s JV in North Korea gets extensive mention in the piece, along with the note that it is “unclear if Orascom is violating any sanctions regime” and a note that Naguib may have exposure through his US citizenship.

Also worth noting this morning:

The occasional “swear word” is good for the [redacted] soul—and can “promote social bonding, help us withstand pain and more,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

The Mercedes G-Class has gotten a makeover, but aficionados needn’t worry—it stays true to the beast’s 1970s DNA and is really on par with the one Jeep’s iconic Wrangler recently announced.

And, finally, with all due respect to the good people at the New York Times: Tofu and quinoa cannot be as good for the soul as chicken soup.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The House of Representatives will discuss tomorrow the Consumer Protection Act, Consumer Protection Agency head Atef Yacoub said, Al Mal reports. A delegation from the agency will be on hand for the hearing. It remains unclear whether the discussion will take place in a plenary session or at the House Economic Committee, which last we heard had postponed its vote on the legislation earlier this month to review suggestions. The bill imposes fines on individuals found guilty of hoarding strategic commodities and requires vendors to print a receipt for consumers who pay for purchased goods in installments, among other stipulations.

Meanwhile, the House Legislation Committee is due to begin deliberating soon on a draft law that would set a quota for the appointment of women to the judicial branch of government. The bill was proposed by MP Nadia Henry of the Economics Committee, Al Mal says.

You can tap or click here for a refresher on pending and upcoming

On The Horizon

Arqaam Capital will hold its Egypt Investors Conference 2018 on 22 January. The conference will host senior C-Suite executives from some 20 listed Egyptian companies for one-on-one meetings at the Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

CI Capital is also holding its MENA Investor Conference on 30 January. The conference offers 75 listed corporates from 6 countries across MENA the chance to meet face to face with 75 global buy-side asset managers.

US Vice President Mike Pence will kick off his Middle East tour with a stop in Egypt on 20 January, where he will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. A high-ranking delegation has already arrived in Cairo to prepare for Pence’s arrival to Cairo, Ahram Gate says. Pence will also be visiting Jordan and Israel on his tour of the region, where counterterrorism and Jerusalem will be key discussion points.

The Arab League will meet less than two weeks after Pence’s visit to discuss how to work against US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, Reuters reports, citing MENA.

The 49th Cairo International Book Fair will run from 26 January until 10 February, the General Egyptian Book Organization said in an announcement picked up by Ahram Online. Some 848 publishers from 27 countries will be taking part this year, with the theme being, “Soft Power: How?” Renowned 20th century author and poet Abdel Rahman El Charkawi is the person of the year and Algeria is the guest of honour.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Yesterday’s cabinet shuffle and the incoming ministers’ strategies reigned supreme on the airwaves last night, with the talking heads paying little attention to other topics of discussion. Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer surprised us with an econ-heavy episode and depriving his viewers of their usual dose of Mustafa El Fekky.

Local Development Minister Abu Bakr El Gendy told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin that he will draw on the results of CAPMAS’ state census — which he oversaw as head of the state statistics agency — to figure out what the population needs the most and how to prioritize the issues at hand. El Gendy said he has already been instructed by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to focus on development projects and job creation in Upper Egypt. The new minister will also plays a role in preparing for municipal elections (some century) (watch, runtime: 4:53).

Deputy Health Minister Tarek Tawfik said he has been mandated with addressing the country’s ballooning population, which he told Amin is crippling economic and social growth. The ministry is looking at different strategies, including family planning programs and launching awareness campaigns, Tawfik said (watch, runtime: 2:26). So much for that demographic dividend we keep talking about. Remember folks: In our lifetimes, China’s population will start to decline and India’s will be stagnant, with Africa becoming the world’s primary engine of population growth.

Amin also spoke to Deputy Housing Minister Assem El Gazar, who said he is responsible for drafting a development strategy for various governorates, but priority will be given to North Sinai. El Gazar said that developing the area is the state’s best option for stamping out its terrorist insurgency (watch, runtime: 2:56).

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi had a brief chat with Public Enterprises Minister Khaled Badawy, who remained tight-lipped about the state IPO program. Badawy told Lamees that he is still studying how best to manage public sector companies to the benefit of the economy, whether through IPOs or by restructuring them to make them profitable (watch, runtime: 4:40).

Lamees also spoke to Secretary General of the Arabism Egypt Party Sami Balah, who confirmed that former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan will announce his intention to run for president at a press conference once he receives the required number of endorsement signatures. Balah complained to Lamees that this process has been hindered because Anan’s name is not listed on the endorsement forms at real estate registration offices (watch, runtime: 4:37).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib provided color commentary on the shuffle, commending Prime Minister Sherif Ismail for his service, which Adib said was part of the reason he was not removed from his position despite his health condition (watch, runtime: 3:09).

The hardest economic reforms are now behind us, and 2018 will not entail the same burdens as 2017 did, CBE Assistant Sub-Governor of the Banking Reform Sector Hany Genena told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer. The last quarter of 2017 carried with it positive signs including good performance at the EGX and some USD 40 bn of revenues from the Suez Canal and exports, while remittances from Egyptians abroad have reached USD 26.4 bn to date since the EGP float in November 2016, Genena said. Based on these and other metrics, the CBE is hoping to see inflation drop to 13% at the end of 2018.

EFG Hermes’ Head of Research Ahmed Shams discussed the changes in Egyptians’ spending patterns post-float, telling Amer that high inflation caused automotive purchases to nosedive, dropping 40% y-o-y. Food consumption volumes also dipped 25%, but there were some signs of recovery in 4Q2017, Shams said.

Over on Masaa DMC, Osama Kamal sat down with Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy to discuss his controversial price-printing policy, which El Moselhy claims has already helped to push down prices since it was implemented two weeks ago. El Moselhy also reviewed his ministry’s logistics-focused internal trade strategy (watch, runtime: 1:04:35).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Limited cabinet shuffle sees four new ministers appointed: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi swore in four new cabinet ministers yesterday in a very modest shakeup that thankfully left in place the cabinet economic group — the architects of the Ismail government’s economic reform program.

Those joining cabinet are:

  • Former Central Bank of Egypt monetary policy sub-governor Rania El Mashat was appointed Tourism Minister, succeeding Yehia Rashed;
  • Khaled Badawy was appointed Public Enterprises Minister, succeeding Ashraf El Sharkawy;
  • State-statistics agency CAPMAS head Abu Bakr El Gendy succeeds Hesham El Sherif as Local Development Minister;
  • Dean of Cairo Conservatory Inas Abdel Daim is now the Culture Minister, succeeding Helmy El Namnam.

Also announced with the shuffle was the appointment of Assem El Gazzar as Deputy Housing Minister and Tarek Tawfik as Deputy Health Minister. The appointments were speedily approved by the House of Representatives, but the decision came straight from Ittihadiya, according to House spokesperson Salah Hassaballah.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail remains in office, with sources confirming that he will continue to lead the government for the time being. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly will continue to serve as interim PM while Ismail recovers from surgery.

Please correct us if we are mistaken, but by our count, the current cabinet has the largest representation of women in Egypt’s history. The story is making international headlines with coverage on Reuters and Bloomberg, among others.

Investors, analysts tell CNBC that all is well with Egypt after reforms: Fresh after a continued wave of positive economic news — most recently being Egypt’s primary budget deficit falling to its lowest level in 10 years in 1H2017-18 and the government raising its growth forecast — investors speaking to CNBC’s Dawn Kissi expressed optimism of continued economic growth and gave their take on where they feel the economy is headed. Fear of an unstable currency appears to have all but faded. “The Egyptian pound has also been stable since the large devaluation in November 2016,” said Anthony Simond, investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, adding the currency was likely to appreciate in the near-term.

“Long-term, Egypt needs better trade relationships and a more stable macro environment,” Peterson Institute for International Economics fellow Jacob Kirkegaard said, citing the need for the country to boost its links with the vast European Union market. He pointed to manufacturing, tourism and logistics as sectors that could make Egypt more competitive and boost foreign investment.

Consumer names staging a comeback? Michael Daoud-Irsaneous, Auerbach Grayson’s VP for CEEMEA Sales, says that consumer goods is where investors need to look in 2018: “In 2017, investors basically positioned themselves in the banks as well as direct plays on weaker currency,” he said. “In 2018, the focus is shifting more towards consumer names that were under pricing pressure last year because of inflation, but now inflation is coming off.”

The biggest fear appears to be the election and the possibility of political instability or (worse) backsliding on the Ismail government’s economic reform agenda to score political points. “While we expect the incumbent President Sisi to extend his term in office, there could be some security concerns in the run up to the election, while also the government may loosen its policy in order to boost its popularity,” Simond added.

A little bit of (unsolicited) advice from Enterprise: We’ve been asked on several occasions lately to come in and speak with senior management at major Egyptian and multinational companies about our outlook on 2018. It’s been rather fun. On the issue of the 2018 presidential elections: The president will run. The president will win. We will be excoriated in the international press throughout the process. And, as usual, populist (read: Egyptian Socialist) murmurings will be made. There will be a return to the status quo antebellum after the poll is done and the swearing-in ceremony held. And this is still the best time in a generation to invest in Egypt if your horizon is medium-term or longer.

IPO WATCH- The National Investment Bank could list as many as 9-11 of its holdings on the EGX, informed sources tell Al Mal. The government committee formed to restructure the bank last May is looking into the bank’s assets and how best to make use of them, Planning Minister Hala El Said told reporters on Saturday, Al Borsa reports. El Said did not disclose any further details, and we’re not exactly certain this qualifies as “news”: One of the reasons for being of NIB subsidiary NI Capital was to look at IPO options within the government’s portfolio, many of which would naturally fall under the NIB itself.

INVESTMENT WATCH- UAE clean energy firm Masdar is eyeing opportunities in “the burgeoning Egyptian wind sector,” CEO Mohamed Al Ramahi tells the National in an exclusive. The company is looking at a collaboration between Egyptian companies and Japan’s Marubeni to develop about 800 MW of wind projects across the country. “Basically we will put our portfolio together and develop bigger projects in Egypt,” said Al Ramahi. He did not name specific projects, but as we noted back in October, the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) was shopping Masdar the rights to develop a EUR 400 mn windfarm under a build-own-operate framework. The move is part of Masdar’s plan to invest AED 4 bn (USD 1 bn) over the next few years in energy projects globally, including in including Argentina, Colombia, India and China, added Al Ramahi.

Meanwhile, negotiations between Siemens and the Electricity Ministry over a 2 GW wind farm have again come to a grinding halt after two months of talks failed to move the project forward, sources close to the matter tell Al Borsa. The project had been put on hold back in May pending further negotiations with Siemens to lower the feed-in tariff (FiT) to around USD 0.04 per kilowatt from a current EUR 0.053 (USD 0.0593), which the company has refused to do, insisting that the tariff should be raised instead. The Electricity Ministry is now considering one of three viable options: Bringing the wind farm’s capacity down to 200 MW from 2 GW and reducing the FiT to match that agreed on with the Toyota consortium for the 250 MW Gulf of Suez wind farm project; postponing the project for now; or canceling it altogether, which is highly unlikely, the sources said.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group is planning to increase its investments in Egypt over the coming period to keep up with rising demand for its products, Group CEO Bader Hamad Al Aujan tells Al Shorouk. The company, which says it has about EGP 28 bn in investments in Egypt, will add more production lines and upgrade existing facilities to boost production, Al Aujan adds, without disclosing any details on cost or specific products. Savola’s decision came after a meeting with Egypt’s Supply Ministry, which is looking to fill a gap in the oil and sugar industries, according to Al Aujan.

A number of Egyptian banks are looking to tweak their capital structures to comply with Basel III regulations. Banque Misr, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), and the Egyptian Arab Land Bank are among a number of institutions feeling pressured by new capital adequacy requirements, especially in light of the November 2016 EGP float. Banque Misr is looking to exit 50% of its investments over the coming three years, including its stake in Incolease and Banque du Misr Amman, while the NBE plans to auction off a significant amount of land in 1H2018, in addition to divesting other smaller, non-core investments. The Egyptian Arab Land Bank is also planning to offload EGP 3 bn-worth of land over the coming year and a half to allocate the additional liquidity to meeting Basel III requirements, as the central bank had advised in 2016.

The struggle is not as profound for international banks operating in Egypt or those with EGX listings, Pharos Holding’s Head of Research Radwa El Swaify tells Al Borsa, explaining that the CBE had instructed state-owned and smaller, mid-cap banks back in 2016 to gradually increase capital by 0.6% a year to reach a ratio of 12.5% by 2019.

We’re coming close to an announcement of El Sisi’s presidential reelection campaign: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will hold a two-day state-of-the-nation conference from 17-19 January at which he is expected to outline his achievements during his first four-year term in office, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. The conference will also include meetings with representatives from civil society groups and organizations, and El Sisi will take questions from the public through the “Ask the President” initiative. El Sisi has said he would gauge the public’s reaction to this conference before announcing his intention to run for a second term. The president has already garnered endorsements from over 500 MPs in the House of Representatives. As we noted yesterday, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, and the curse of the Zamalek Football Club, Mortada Mansour, have announced that they will run for office. Former MP and opposition figure Mohamed Anwar Al Sadat will announce today whether he will enter the race.

The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) has arrested Menoufia Governor Hisham Abdel Basset on charges of corruption and graft. According to a statement by the ACA widely picked up by the local press, Abdel Basset had been arrested for allegedly selling state land to two businessmen who were also detained. The investigation had turned up evidence, including wiretaps, of Abdel Basset engaged in the sale with the two businessmen, sources close to the matter said. The arrest was reportedly made merely hours prior to the governor’s scheduled meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who was visiting Menoufia to inaugurate development projects there, AMAY reports. Chinese newswire Xinhua is saying the arrest comes as part of a recent and widespread anti-corruption campaign waged by the state ahead of the 2018 elections, which included the arrest of the Deputy Governor of Alexandria late last year.

The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has been investigating Lactalis-Halawa, the domestic partner of French dairy group Lactalis, for three weeks amid allegations it has sold contaminated dairy products, CPA head Atef Yacoub said, Al Mal reports. According to Yacoub, the investigation is limited to products that were manufactured using dairy from a specific farm and that went rotten when boiled. The investigation is also not connected to a separate issue Lactalis is facing over salmonella contamination in its baby milk products. The CPA reached an agreement with Lactalis-Halawa to announce that it will recall the faulty products and pinpoint the problem to ensure it is resolved.

Great MbS Purge looks to expand beyond Saudi: Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor will pursue extradition of corruption suspects living abroad as part of the Great Purge of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman. Evidence is being collected against “fugitives” ahead of indictments against them and requests that foreign governments return them to the kingdom, Prosecutor Saud Al Muajab said, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, Kingdom Holdings Chairman Alwaleed bin Talaal, the most high profile of the princes nabbed, is reportedly in settlement talks with Saudi authorities after a two-month imprisonment, CNBC reports. The cash-for-freedom program (known in some parts of the world as “extortion” given there is no “trial” preceding the payments) hopes to “retrieve” some USD 100 bn.

CORRECTION- Emaar’s contract with Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) for the construction of the Marassi marina basin is worth EGP 800 mn, and not EGP 800 bn as we mistakenly wrote in Thursday, 11 January’s issue. We apologize for the mixup. The entry has been corrected on our website. H/t Mounir S.


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Egypt in the News

On a quiet morning for Egypt in the international press, the most notable story with some Egypt involvement is the Wall Street Journal’s use of OTMT’s North Korean joint venture as poster child for its piece on how international businesses are still operating in the DPRK despite sanctions regimes.

Cyprus Mail takes note of Egypt’s achievements in the natural gas industry in the East Mediterranean in 2017, comparing to Israel, which “said a lot but achieved little, while Egypt said less but achieved most.” With the supergiant Zohr gas field and a number of other smaller projects coming online last year, 2018 is set to become “an even better year for Egypt’s energy sector,” with the greatest challenge being the practical application of the new Natural Gas Deregulation Act, which is meant to liberalize the market and regulate private sector participation in it.

Also this morning: Arab News looks at the stats to determine whether it is Egypt or Lebanon that is home to the world’s worst drivers.

On Deadline

House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal’s decision to appoint a spokesperson for parliament will not improve transparency, Hamdy Rizk writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Restricting what the public’s insight on what goes on in the House to what MPs tell the press is not nearly enough to keep the public informed about important issues being discussed, he says, adding that it would be much more useful to go back to live streaming parliamentary sessions. We couldn’t agree more.

Worth Watching

A snake hunter in villages north of Cairo has earned notoriety and the nickname “Tyson” by helping communities get rid of venomous snakes, CGTN Africa reports. Mohamed Attia is a self-taught hunter of snakes (and other reptiles) who keeps as pets the creatures he captures. Critics say he is doing more harm by taking the animals out of their habitat and that keeping them as pets is dangerous. We don’t think you can convince his daughter, who has to be the highlight of this video as she casually plays with both a crocodile and a cobra. Tyson hopes he can have his own show at some point, after which he would give his reptile collection to a zoo (watch, runtime 2:23).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Israeli military said it had destroyed a cross-border “attack tunnel” that ran from Gaza into Israel and Egypt, dug by the Hamas, Reuters reports. “We understand this was a terror tunnel because it runs underneath strategic facilities … It could also have served to transfer terrorists from the Gaza strip into Egypt in order to attack Israeli targets from Egypt,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said, noting that it ran under gas and fuel pipelines as well as an army position. Cornicus says the tunnel was 1.5 km long running underneath the Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to The Associated Press. “The exposure of the tunnel will apparently make it clear to Egypt that Hamas has tried to deceive them,” Ron Ben-Yishai suggests in an opinion piece covered by i24news.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated he would only accept a broad international committee as mediator in any peace process, Reuters reports. Abbas didn’t reject US participation in such a panel but redoubled his statements saying the US had disqualified itself from any negotiations after moving their embassy to Jerusalem; especially as a solitary entity.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmad al-Othaimeen arrives in Cairo today for a three-day visit that will see him meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Wednesday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Al-Othaimeen will also meet with Al Azhar’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb and attend the opening of Al Azhar’s upcoming International Conference in Support of Jerusalem on Wednesday.


Housing Ministry spending EGP 700 mn on water treatment in Matrouh

The Housing Ministry is building two desalination plants and a sewage treatment facility in the Matrouh government at a total cost of EGP 700 mn,supervisor of utility projects at the ministry Randa Al Menshawi said, according to Al Borsa. EGP 460 mn will be spent to develop the sewage treatment plant which will be built by the Arab Organization for Industrialization. The Al Ruaila desalination plant will cost EGP 57 mn, while the Barani desalination plant, which will be developed by Arab Contractors, will cost EGP 65 mn.


Packtec Group to open new EGP 100 mn plant in two months.

Packtec Group’s new EGP 100 mn packaging material factory at the Badr Industrial City is set to begin production in two months’ time, Group Chairman Alaa Al Saqty tells Al Shorouk. The plant will produce more than 10,000 tonnes of packaging material a month and will export 80% of output.

Government to establish 1,000 factory complex for SMEs

The government is set to establish a 1,000 factory complex for SMEs at a cost of EGP 1.5 bn, head of the Small and Medium Enterprises Union Alaa El Sokati said in a press statement reported by Youm7. The location and a timeframe for the complex have yet to be revealed.

Health + Education

Plans for a Hungarian university in the new administrative capital

A consortium of investors are reportedly considering starting a Hungarian university in the new administrative capital with a USD 50 mn investment, Al Mal reports. The investment would be self financed, sources say, and the consortium is looking to acquire a 50-feddan land plot to implement the project.

Cairo Investment and Real Estate to build six schools in the Delta for EGP 200 mn

Cairo Investment and Real Estate Development Company plans to establish six schools in the Delta area for a total EGP 200 mn, Managing Director Mohammed Hassan tells Al Borsa. The company will build two schools a year, in governorates including Sharqiya, Damietta, Monofeya, and Kafr El Sheikh, estimating each to cost around EGP 30-40 mn.

Real Estate + Housing

Tatweer Misr in talks for EGP 1 bn loan to finance purchase land in new capital

Real estate developer Tatweer Misr is in talks with local banks over a EGP 1 bn loan to finance the purchase of 500 feddans at the new administrative capital to construct a mix-use development, sources tell Al Shorouk.


Egypt to reopen TPA offices in Stockholm and Madrid

As tourism continues its strong climb back to recover, the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) will reopen a number of its offices abroad, beginning with Stockholm and Madrid, TPA head Hisham El Demery said, Al Shorouk reports. The decision comes after the number of TPA offices abroad dropped to eight from 20 in the years following 2011.

Telecoms + ICT

MNOs to meet with NTRA Wednesday to discuss selling lines through distributors

Mobile network operators plan to hold a meeting with officials from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to discuss its decision of phasing out sales of phone lines and sim cards through distributors by March, Al Borsa reports. The decision, taken to guarantee know your customer data is properly logged, has thrown off the industry, which is scrambling to come up with alternative solutions to adapt to the new regulations. Among the most popular proposals being shopped are setting up franchises with some of the largest traders, a move opposed by telecom distributor unions for fear of marginalizing smaller traders, the newspaper reports.

Banking + Finance

CBE, Banks launch the “spare change” initiative

Government banks have begun complying with the Central Bank of Egypt’s directive to set up a unified account to collect change from paper cheques and redirect the funds to national charity and development projects, Al Ahram reports.The CBE had announced late last week that it would begin implementing the strategy, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had initially suggested back in early 2016. Under the new policy, change less than EGP 1 will be collected from cheques or money transfers worth up to EGP 1 mn, while anything less than EGP 10 will be collected from transfers and cheques worth more than EGP 1 mn. These donations will not occur automatically, and must be approved in writing by the client, Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby says. The funds will be redirected to the Tahya Misr Fund at the end of each month. The move has been met with praise from figures in the banking sector who believe it will help gather significant funds to finance development projects, according to the newspaper.

EBRD to offer Beyti USD 44 mn loan to finance planned expansion

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved a long-term loan of USD 44 mn to Beyti Food Industries, Al Borsa reports. Beyti will use the loan to refinance some of its existing short-term loans used for capital expenditures and finance planned expansions to Beyti’s dairy and juice production capacities.

Other Business News of Note

SCA offers fee exemptions for container ships passing through Damietta Port

Container ships with the capacity of 100 units or less passing through the Damietta Port will be exempt from paying the additional port fees, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) decreed last Thursday, according to Al Borsa. The decision comes as part of a wider plan to attract more traffic to Egyptian ports, which saw the SCA offer discounts ranging from 45-75% for oil tankers traveling between the US and Asia via Suez Canal. Dry bulk carriers traveling from South Africa to Mediterranean ports or vice versa will also see their tolls slashed by 40-50%.

Egypt Politics + Economics

The City of a Thousand Minarets down to one voice…thanks, Endowments Ministry

Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Gomaa announced that the call to prayer will be unified across all mosques, according to the Egypt Independent. The debate over unifying the call to prayer has been ongoing years, with politicians and members of the House of Representatives continuing to denounce the move in recent months. In other words: Don’t hold your collective breath.

Mahienour El Massry acquitted of illegal protest

An Alexandria court has acquitted prominent Egyptian activist and rights lawyer Mahienour El Masry of taking part in an illegal protest. El Massry was sentenced to two years in prison last month over participating in a demonstration last year against the government’s decision to transfer sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

National Security

Christian man killed in Northern Sinai

Gunmen reportedly shot and killed a Christian man in North Sinai, anonymous security officials told the AP. No group has claimed the attack so far.

On Your Way Out

Late president Gamal Abdel Nasser would have celebrated his centennial birthday yesterday. The occasion was mostly remembered by outlets from developing nations with anti-colonial history, including India’s The Tribune, which describes Abdel Nasser as “a hugely charismatic and genuinely popular ruler (despite coming to power by revolution) who inspired hope and dignity in his own countrymen and the region—but was reviled and undermined by the West.” Gulf News also commemorated the occasion with a brief timeline of the most memorable moments of the late ruler’s life.

Innoventures has opened applications for the fifth edition of its six-month Startup Reactor accelerator program, Disrupt Africa reports. “Innoventures will select 40 startups to take part in its Ignition bootcamp stage, and receive mentorship and training, before up to 15 startups proceed to the Plasma stage.”

Archaeologists working a site in San Al Hagar in Al Sharqia discovered a stela depicting Ramses II, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri told Ahram Online. Work was ongoing to turn the site into an open air museum when archaeologists accidentally stumbled on the find. The stone slab is carved out of red granite and depicts Ramses II making offerings to an unidentified Ancient Egyptian god. Several international teams had previously worked the site without discovering the stela.

Novelty watch maker Jerome Romain unveiled a new Batman-themed watch last Monday, according to the FT (paywall). The Batman symbol glows blue in the dark and the watch’s crystal sapphire back features a map of the Dark Knight’s beloved Gotham City. The must-have for geeks will cost you a steep USD 19,400. It’s not the first time a high-end watch brand takes a punt at the Dark Knight, with Jaeger LeCoultre making an edition in 2012 that was actually worn by Christian Bale in the Dark Knight Rises.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6588 | Sell 17.7588
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75

EGX30 (Sunday): 15,255 (+0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 1.1 bn (0.1% BELOW / ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +1.6%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.1%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 1.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Madinet Nasr Housing up 4.4%; Amer Group up 3.0%; and Ezz Steel up 2.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were CIB down 1.2%; Oriental Weavers down 1.1%; and Palm Hills down 0.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.1 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +75.4 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +11.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -86.9 mn

Retail: 72.0% of total trades | 69.7% of buyers | 74.2% of sellers
Institutions: 28.0% of total trades | 30.3% of buyers | 25.8% of sellers

Foreign: 10.9% of total | 14.4% of buyers | 7.4% of sellers
Regional: 15.2% of total | 15.8% of buyers | 14.7% of sellers
Domestic: 73.9% of total | 69.8% of buyers | 77.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 64.3 (+0.78%)
Brent: USD 69.87 (+0.88%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.2 MMBtu, (+3.76%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,334.9 / troy ounce (+0.94%)

TASI: 7,439.64 (+1.38%) (YTD: +2.95%)
ADX: 4,585.1 (-0.13%) (YTD: +4.24%)
DFM: 3,512.98 (+0.53%) (YTD: +4.24%)
KSE Weighted Index: 418.49 (+0.65%) (YTD: +4.25%)
QE: 9,174.66 (+0.42%) (YTD: +7.64%)
MSM: 5,089.48 (+0.04%) (YTD: -0.19%)
BB: 1,319.41 (+0.19%) (YTD: -0.92%)

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15-17 January (Monday – Wednesday): EFG Hermes Annual Egypt Day Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo

15 January (Monday): EFG Hermes Annual Egypt CEOs Dinner, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo

22-23 January (Monday-Tuesday): Arqaam Capital Egypt Investors Conference 2018, The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 January (Thursday): 25 January revolution / Police Day, national holiday.

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

30 January-01 February (Tuesday-Thursday): CI Capital’s MENA Investor Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

05 February (Monday): Egypt’s Emirates NBI PMI reading for January announced.

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.

05-07 March (Monday-Wednesday): EFG Hermes’ One on One Conference 2018, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE.

28-31 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo

08 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

09 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Wednesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Tuesday): Labour Day, national holiday.

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

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan begins (TBC).

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday. (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday.)

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC)

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC)

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.