Thursday, 18 January 2018

You’re very optimistic about 2018, our reader poll shows

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The results are in: 2017 was a really good year in which to do business in Egypt — and 2018 is going to be even better, the results of our 4Q2017 survey showed. 63.2% of our readers report that 2017 was good for business. Execs are more optimistic about the prospects for their businesses in 2018 as well, with 83.0% expecting conditions to improve, up from 63.5% in our 3Q2017 survey. Almost two thirds of respondents to what we immodestly see as the largest survey of business confidence in Egypt expect their sectors to see inflows of foreign investment this year. You’re also putting your money where your sentiment is, with only 9.1% of respondents saying their businesses will not be increasing their investments in 2018. With the overwhelming majority of you set to grow your businesses’ investments this year, 67.5% expect 2018 to be a year in which you crush the competition.

You’re also expecting to add to your payrolls, with 57.9% agreeing or strongly agreeing that they will be hiring for new positions.

What problems do we all face, then? The usual suspects: 30.7% have inflation as their chief concern, which we expect feeds into the second most cited concern we heard: Retaining and finding quality staff. 17.7% are still concerned with the high-interest rate environment we’re living through, with 66.4% saying current interest rates are negatively affecting their investment plans. Only 10.2% of the respondents continue to cite FX concerns, but your answers give us an idea of what the exchange rate will be by mid-year — but don’t expect a major appreciation.

Want an exact rate? EGP 17.10 per USD 1 on 1 July — that is the implied exchange rate we expect to see at the end of the first half of the year, calculated from your answers. Despite that, we’re all still budgeting conservatively. Most of you used a rate of around EGP 16.50-18.50 per USD for your companies’ 1H2018 budgets, with an implied average of EGP 17.80 per USD 1.

Let’s talk raises: Here’s another number for you: 13.1%. That’s the calculated average raise those of you who had their raises announced before the end of the year got for 2018, and it’s surprisingly not far from where you’d be getting if you were the one who made that decision. The implied average annual raise increment you would’ve received for 2018 if the decision was made by our readers is 15.1%, with 47.7% of the respondents saying it should fall somewhere between 11% to 20%.

Who gets low(ish) marks? The government — sorta. The 4Q2017 survey saw the highest percentage of respondents disagreeing with the notion that members of the cabinet’s economic committee understand the needs of business since 4Q2016. 36.8% disagreed with the statement, up from the 34.7% recorded in 3Q2017, and compared to the 39.5% recorded in 4Q2016. 12.5% cited bureaucracy and government regulation as the biggest issue facing their businesses at the moment and a few of you left us comments regarding payment from government entities and encroachment of state-owned businesses on the private sector. That said, confidence has improved: Only 27.5% of you want to move your wealth abroad, compared to 43.0% in 4Q2016.

We were really humbled by all the kind messages of support so many of you left us in your comments. The really made our year. And we really love you. We also enjoyed reading all of your expectations, concerns, and comments regarding the progress of the Egyptian economy as well as the suggestions on how to improve our service.

…Oh and some of you really want to get a set of mugs and try our specialty coffee. We’re now preparing the giveaways and drawing the names of those who’ll be getting them — we’ll be in touch, soon, and we’ll run the full list of winners in a future edition of Enterprise.

The full survey results are below — enjoy and, as always, let us know if you have any questions.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will sign cooperation agreements with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn today after the two leaders hold talks that are expected to cover, in part, the impasse over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Trade ties are also on the agenda, and the two leaders are scheduled to attend the day’s meeting of the Egyptian-Ethiopian Joint Commission. (We have more in the Speed Round, below).

The Saudi ban on Egyptian guava imports comes into effect today and will continue until Egypt proves its produce is safe for consumption, the Saudi Gazette reports. Saudi Arabia had imposed a temporary ban on guava imports from Egypt, citing concerns about pesticide residue. The move has prompted the Agriculture Ministry to issue tighter quality regulations.

Egypt will issue its USD 3-4 bn eurbond in the first half of February, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said yesterday, according to Reuters. HSBC, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi will be managing the issuance, with Linklater LLP and Zaki Hashem & Partners as legal advisors to the banks, and Al Tamimi & Co. and Dechert LLP advising the government.

PSA- Water service will be disrupted for any in Giza starting midnight on Saturday until 6am on Sunday as a result of maintenance work at the area’s main water station, according to Al Mal.

On The Horizon

US Vice President Mike Pence will stop in Egypt this coming Saturday, 20 January, to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi as part of a regional tour that will also take him to Jordan and Israel.

Pence’s visit comes a few short days after Al Azhar’s two-day conference on Jerusalem. At a separate conference in Ramallah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Central Council called on President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend the Oslo agreement and withdraw Palestine’s recognition of Israel as a state, Bloomberg reports. The council also wants to end security cooperation with Israel and work again to seek full statehood recognition at the UN.

Arab League member states are scheduled to meet less than two weeks after Pence’s visit to discuss how best to counter US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail could be returning to work some time next week. The PM is said to be already easing back into things by working from home.

Arqaam Capital will hold its Egypt Investors Conference 2018 this coming Monday, 22 January, in Cape Town, South Africa.

CI Capital is holding its MENA Investor Conference on 30 January.

The 49th Cairo International Book Fair will run from 26 January until 10 February, featuring 848 publishers from 27 countries.

The IMF will issue a report on the results of its second review of Egypt’s economic reform program in the next few weeks. We’re expecting to hear good things from the IMF, which agreed last month to disburse the third trance of its USD 12 bn extended fund facility to Egypt, lauding reform measures for “yielding encouraging results.” The USD 2.03 bn tranche would bring the total amount disbursed up to c. USD 6.08 bn.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to inaugurate the combined-cycle mega-power plant at Beni Suef sometime in mid-February, an unnamed Electricity Ministry source tells Al Shorouk. The plant will be operating at full capacity three months ahead of schedule by the time of the inauguration.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads were mostly preoccupied last night with the “Story of a Nation” conference that kicked off yesterday, where President Abdel Fattah El Sisi gave his state of the nation address (more on that in the Speed Round below).

El Sisi’s address at the conference paid homage to the steps the Egyptian populace has taken since the 2011 uprising, Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady told Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal. This train of thought was a segue to the Ismail government’s economic reform program, which El Sisi stressed yielded positive results thanks to Egyptians’ patience with the difficulties (watch, runtime: 13:56).

The president’s speech also touched on the role the country’s youth played in growing the economy through SMEs, and he told viewers that the state listened to its youth through regular conferences, Cairo University political science professor Tarek Fahmy told Hona Al Asema’s stand-in host Reham Ibrahim (watch, runtime: 10:58).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib said he was particularly impressed with El Sisi’s train of thought in the speech, which he said was clear and consistent (watch, runtime: 3:01).

Adib also praised Egypt and Ethiopia’s planned establishment of a joint investment council, which he said will both improve investments and nudge along stalled negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, since it will bridge the gap between the two countries’ interests (watch, runtime: 6:32).

Back on Masaa DMC, Agriculture Export Council head Abdel Hamid El Demerdash said that Saudi Arabia’s ban on Egyptian guava imports is part of the ripple effect from the hepatitis A scare caused by Egyptian strawberries back in 2016. GCC countries have since moved to tighten inspection and testing procedures on their imports of Egypt’s agricultural products, El Demerdash said. The Agriculture Ministry is currently working alongside the council to implement more stringent regulations on domestic farms to avoid getting into such situations (watch, runtime: 9:00).

Public Enterprises Minister Khaled Badawy also phoned in to tell Kamal that some public sector companies need to undergo significant reforms to become profitable again, while others are beyond hope and would only drain state resources. He said that the currently healthy rate of economic growth is a good way to decipher the future of these companies, and that a company that cannot improve its performance in the current economic environment is unlikely to improve at any other point in time (watch, runtime: 6:32).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tamer Amin hosted Consumer Protection Agency head Atef Yacoub for yet another segment of praising the Supply Ministry’s price-printing policy. Yacoub also said that his agency is working on new regulations that will whip the market into shape (watch, runtime: 30:06).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

INVESTMENT WATCH- Marubeni teams up with Masdar, Elsewedy to invest USD 900 mn in Egyptian wind parks: Japan’s Marubeni Corp. signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. (Masdar) and Egypt’s Elsewedy Electric that will see it invest USD 900 mn in wind parks in Egypt, Bloomberg reports. The projects are expected to cost USD 1.2 mn per megawatt and add a total 700 MW in generation capacity to the national grid, according to Elsewedy Electric Vice President Wael Hamdy. “Marubeni is leading the financing part, so we hope to achieve financial closure as soon as possible,” Hamdy said. “Most probably we will leverage on Japanese finance. The lead arrangers and the syndication is something we are working on currently.” One of the projects, representing 30% of total capacity, is nearing financial close, according to Hamdy. We had noted earlier this week that Masdar was eyeing new power projects in Egypt under a plan that should see it invest around USD 1 bn in energy projects in countries including China, India, and Argentina.

Elsewedy Electric CEO Ahmed Elsewedy spoke on opportunities in renewables in an interview with African Business that ran yesterday. “By undertaking solar projects, Elsewedy demonstrates its ability to capitalise on market opportunities by aligning strategy to government vision, for which renewable energy takes increasing precedence,” he said. “Furthermore, as the government aims to overcome a large budget deficit by reducing energy subsidies, Elsewedy can offer its energy saving solutions to companies battling increased operational costs,” he added.

The company’s other growth factor is to use Egypt as a launch pad for key new projects abroad, particularly in Africa, said Elsewedy. “Africa’s electrification [rate] is less than 10%, so there’s a lot of space in the continent, either in the energy sector or the transmission sector. I really believe Africa is one of our main interests, for us as a company in Egypt,” he added.

M&A WATCH- Cleopatra submits MTO for 100% of Nozha International Hospital: Cleopatra Hospitals Group has filed for Financial Regulatory Authority approval of a mandatory tender offer to acquire 100% of Heliopolis’ 110-bed Nozha International Hospital, according to an FRA statement posted by the bourse (pdf). Cleopatra has offered to pay EGP 90 per share for a total 7.2 mn shares, valuing El Nozha at north of EGP 648 mn by our calculations. The company, Egypt’s largest private-sector hospital operator, already has high profile hospitals within El Nozha’s catchment area. You can view here (pdf) the minutes of the board meeting that authorized the Nozha offer.

IPO WATCH- Careem is in early talks with investment banks about a potential IPO, said people familiar with the matter. While an IPO is a“natural milestone” for Careem, the company is currently focused on expanding its operations to more markets, CEO Mudassir Sheikha tells Bloomberg. An IPO of Uber’s biggest rival in the Middle East is likely to take place by early 2019. Banks haven’t been appointed and the company may decide not to pursue the listing, the people said. It is also likely that the firm could be valued at about USD 1.5 bn.

El Sisi delivers state of the nation address: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi gave his state of the nation address yesterday, outlining the accomplishments of his administration over the past four years, Ahram Online reports. The president has said that he would use reactions to the address to decide whether to run for reelection in March. A decision is expected to be announced by next week as the deadline for candidates to apply with the National Elections Committee expires at the end of the month. We have highlights below, or you can watch the full address here (watch, runtime: 1:06:31).

On the economic reforms, El Sisi, speaking at a conference headlined “Story of the Nation,” said his administration’s reforms have already started bearing fruit in improved economic indicators. He thanked the people for their patience while these long-overdue reforms were enacted. El Sisi singled out for particular praise his administration’s work on national megaprojects, which have numbered 11,000 since he took office, he said, and have cost c. EGP 2 tn, Al Mal reports.

On the political front, El Sisi notes how Egypt managed to avoid the civil wars which have plagued other regional countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. He praised the people’s efforts to hold a unified front against terrorism and “laying the foundation for building a modern, democratic society.” The president paid special tribute to the role of women in society, saying the Egyptian woman remains the backbone of the nation.

As for regional affairs, El Sisi spoke of Egypt’s reemerging regional role, saying that “Egypt is once again at the heart of defending the security, unity and interests of its Arab brethren.” He added that Egypt has regained its rightful international position, but maintains its sovereign, independent positions on all issues.

El Sisi sends clear message on investment: Separately, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told the investors this week that Egypt is now more than ever committed to sweeping away obstacles to investment, EFG Hermes said in a statement (pdf) wrapping its three-day Egypt Day conference in Cairo. Fund and portfolio managers with aggregate AUM north of USD 10 tn met with state officials and senior executives over the last several days. In addition to El Sisi, some 39 fund and portfolio managers from the US, UK, Germany, South Africa, and the GCC also met with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer, and other members of cabinet. Investors also held sit-downs with CEOs from a number of the nation’s leading companies in sectors including banking, real estate, construction, manufacturing, and food.

Egypt and Ethiopia are expected to ink a number of “bilateral legal instruments” today at a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ad Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Cairo, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said yesterday, according to an official statement. The two leaders are expected to meet one-on-one before they inaugurate an Egyptian-Ethiopian Joint Commission session. The spat over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to feature strongly in the talks, possibly with a view to ending a stalemate reached late last year after Ethiopia and Sudan — a member of the GERD tripartite committee — failed to ratify the results of environmental impact studies proving the dam would severely cut into Egypt’s Nile water supply. The World Bank is considering an Egyptian proposal to help mediate talks between the three countries.

GERD came up in a meeting between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Ethiopian counterpartWorkneh Gebeyehu yesterday. While details have yet to emerge, “Egypt said it was committed to an earlier agreement to share the Nile with Ethiopia and Sudan during the filling of a reservoir behind the new dam.” Gebeyehu also noted that “partnership between Ethiopia and Egypt is longstanding, which is beyond the Nile River that the two countries share.”

What else should you expect? The two sides are talking cooperation in industries ranging from agriculture to manufacturing, and Egypt is apparently looking to build a a USD 120 mn industrial zone in Ethiopia and deepen cooperation on customs. The foreign minister is also nudging Ethiopia to ratify a 2014 trade agreement. The two sides also agreed yesterday to set up a joint investment council.

Meanwhile: Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir has instructed Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo to resolve “the pending issues” with Egypt, according to Sudan News Agency. Al Bashir had recalled Ambassador Abdel Halim Abdel Mahmoud earlier this month “for consultations.”

LEGISLATION WATCH- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law amendments to the Companies Act that tweaks how sole proprietorships are handled under the law The law, which was published on the Official Gazette on Wednesday, also contains corporate governance regulations that will give boards of directors the right to suspend a member who divulges corporate secrets. Also signed into law yesterday was the legislation establishing Egypt’s space agency, Ahram Gate reports.

The Health Ministry has raised prices of a “limited number” of meds that were in short supply, Central Administration of Pharmaceutical Affairs President Rasha Ziada tells El Watan. A pricing committee at the ministry imposed a 10-50% increase on 30 products at the request of pharma companies, Ziada says. Prices will rise on critical products including oncology, blood pressure, cardiology, neurology, and diabetes treatments. Ziada stressed that the increases are not a precursor to another major wave of price hikes, according to Al Borsa. Pharma companies have been lobbying for several months to raise med prices, saying that manufacturers have been incurring losses due to changing economic conditions. Companies also proposed several alternatives to raising prices across the board, including reducing the retail cost of certain medications and increasing others to balance things out. The Health Ministry had raised the prices of 3,010 medications by 30-50% last January and promised to look into another hike in August if FX rates were to change significantly.

The board of directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved disbursing the third USD 500 mn tranche of the USD 1.5 bn loan to Egypt on Wednesday, the AfDB announced in a statement. “The Egyptian authorities have demonstrated sustained commitment to the implementation of reforms supported under the program, including supporting business, investment and industrial growth, improving energy sustainability and security. The reforms underpin Egypt’s economic turnaround with a clear focus on helping support the poorest via improved targeting of social spending on health, education, and job creation,” the statement read.

The AfDB also projects that Egypt’s GDP will grow 4.8% in FY2017-18 and 5.5% in FY2018-19, “boosted by restored investor confidence but partially diluted by high inflation,” according to the bank’s African Economic Outlook 2018 report. The report notes that inflation is projected to decline to 21.2% in this fiscal year and 13.7% in FY2018-19. “Currency depreciation boosted foreign direct investment, the economy is considered more competitive, and business confidence has improved. Public investment, through a series of megaprojects, boosted growth in FY2016-17. Better markets conditions have been a main factor in the return to growth, particularly benefitting exports, led by mining products, especially gold and oil (mostly crude petroleum),” read the report. You can read the full heavy 201 page report (pdf), or skip ahead to the Egypt Economic Outlook.

Egypt has reportedly received the EU’s blessing to postpone a measure that would have seen customs on cars imported from the EU slashed by 10% as of the start of 2018, Trade and Industry Ministry official Said Abd Allah tells Al Mal. The tariff cut will be delayed until next year. Egypt is obliged to lower customs on cars imported from the EU by an annual rate of 10% under a freetrade agreement.

Egyptian National Railways is planning to hike ticket 15-150% depending on the type of train and the distance traveled, ENR sources tell Al Shorouk. Transport Minister Hisham Arafat had said last week that ticket prices would rise 20-25%. ENR has finalized drafting a pricing scheme and sent it to Arafat for review, after which Cabinet will be required to approve the new pricing.

Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) announced yesterday that sales in 2017 grew 87.5% y-o-y to EGP 1.46 bn, up from EGP 781 mn a year before, according to a company release (pdf). The increase was “driven by the strong sales momentum in El Gouna.” The release says that “the new hotel management strategy introduced in January 2017, coupled with the renovation of six hotels triggered a boost in operational efficiency, leading to higher occupancy and room rates.” The company flagged that it will be announcing FY2017 earnings in March.

The Ismail Cabinet approved yesterday the establishment of a furniture division in the Federation of Egyptian Industries, according to an official statement. Cabinet also signed off on a USD 200 mn loan the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is extending to the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to improve natural gas infrastructure, as well as a EUR 400k loan from the European Investment Bank for sanitation and wastewater projects in Alexandria. The ministers also agreed to disburse exceptional financial payments and pensions to the families of those killed or injured in the Helwan church bombing last month.

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Image of the Day

Sometimes, a change in perspective helps you appreciate something you have seen a mn times. The folks at Egyptian Streets show us just that with a collection of famous spots in Egypt taken from high above. Even from above, Cairo maintains the chaos that gives it its charm.

Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press this morning are tensions between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn visits Egypt. While Cairo has shown relative flexibility in negotiating the terms of the dam — which it has been opposed to since the start — talks have yet to bear fruit, Abdi Latif Dahir writes for Quartz. What little progress has been made might unravel altogether due to geopolitical rivalries between Sudan, Egypt, and Eritrea. “The current tensions are also being exacerbated by what Cairo sees as Turkish meddling in the region … Cairo also accuses both Khartoum and Ankara of supporting the [Ikhwan],” Dahir notes.

The GERD is a major cause for concern for farmers in Egypt, who worry that the dam will reduce their already limited access to irrigation, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The WSJ tells the story of farmers in Arab El Raml through a photo essay documenting the impact of water scarcity.

Egypt must work to give Christians “rightful equality” and hold accountable individuals who attack Christians with relative impunity, Congressman James French Hill writes for The Hill. “Copts live in constant fear for their future, as they have been targets of societal aggression resulting in loss of life, property and destruction of churches. They face severe discrimination in both public and private employment.” Hill says he put forth a resolution in Congress calling on Egypt to reform education to teach religions impartially and enact political reforms that would improve human rights, freedoms, and the rule of law.

Also worth noting in brief:

  • Two of the Egyptian mummies in Britain could be at the center of a “family scandal,” Sarah Knapton writes for The Telegraph. DNA tests showed the two mummies, who were presumed to be brothers, having had the same mummy (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), but different fathers.
  • Tourism portal TTG profiled Egypt’s new Tourism Minister, Rania El Mashat.
  • “Egypt is facing challenges in the agricultural sector, such as: rapidly growing population; land fragmentation; urban encroachment on agricultural lands; limited water resources; and the need for more health nutritious food,” a food security forum in Egypt suggests, according to UkrAgroConsult.
  • Cambridge University rejected suggestions “that one of its tutors might have been implicated in the death of graduate student Giulio Regeni,” Reuters reports.
  • A church in Minya celebrated getting its official permit to open last week. It was built in 2015, World Watch Monitor reports.

On Deadline

The Health Ministry’s decision to raise the prices of some medications last year failed to prevent future shortages of key meds, Mohamed Mostafa writes for Al Borsa. The ministry had promised that it would allow another wave of price increases later in the year to encourage manufacturers to stick it out and continue producing. Since the second phase never came, pharma companies are incurring losses, while citizens have consistently been told that certain medications are in short supply or completely missing from the market.

Worth Watching

Right here in our beloved Maadi’s Bardo Clubhouse is the “Vanished Library” run by Omar Amin, according to Cairo Scene. His personal project started with a humble single shelf in Bardo with the simple concept of taking a book but leaving a replacement has grown into a shop that is equal parts bookstore, library, antique book restoration and charity house. Amin clearly has a passion for literature neurone that of your average bookworm, and his project not only ensures that vital literary history survives, but that the right books reach the right people. The shop continues to run on the trade-in system and Amin offers his book hunting skills to people looking for that one special read (watch, runtime 0:59).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

A delegation from the UK’s CDC Group and subsidiary Globeleq discussed potential investments with a number of state officials in Cairo yesterday, including the ministers of transport and electricity, as well as Suez Canal Authority head Mohab Mamish. UK ambassador John Cassin, who attended the meeting, said that 2018 would usher in a series of new investments by UK companies in Egypt.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held talks with Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo yesterday that centered mostly around the fallout from US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. El Sisi confirmed Egypt’s disapproval of the decision and determination to move the Middle East peace process forward and aid in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, an Ittihadiya statement said.

El Sisi also met with Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al Ghanim to discuss increased cooperation on investment and security and strengthening parliamentary relations.

Energy

EEHC to receive bids for operation and maintenance tender for Siemens power plants

The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) is set to receive today bids in its open tender for the operation and maintenance of the three Siemens combined-cycle power plants, Al Borsa reports. 10 companies, including Siemens, an Orascom-ADERA Energy consortium, an Elsewedy-EDF consortium, Germany’s STEAG GmbH, Hassan Allam, a Triangle-GD France consortium, Korea’s Doosan, and Japan’s Mitsubishi are taking part in the tender, Electricity Ministry sources say. The EEHC had issued the tender in November with plans to come to a final agreement with the winning company or consortium by 2017’s end. Picking a company to manage the three plants is an important step prior to the establishing three state-owned companies which will list as part of the state IPO program.

Finance Ministry issues letters of guarantee for 15 solar power projects

The Finance Ministry has issued letters of guarantee for 15 of 30 solar power companies for their projects under Phase 2 of the feed-in tariff (FiT) program, unidentified government sources tell Al Borsa. The ministry will issue the remaining 15 letters before the end of next week. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company has accepted the financial offers presented by ACWA Power, Acciona, Swicorp, Shapoorji, TAQA Arabia, Infinity, IB Vogt, Orascom, Elswedy, and IDF, among others, according to the sources.

Infrastructure

Government receives offers for 6 October City dry port

The Finance Ministry has reportedly received “dozens of offers” from local and international firms in a tender issued by the Transport Ministry for the development of a dry port in Six October City, a ministry official tells Al Mal. The results of the tender will be announced after the bidding window closes on 7 March, he adds. The project, which will be developed under a PPP framework, will require an initial investment of around USD 100 mn, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat had said. Mather Group has been tapped as financial consultant, with Sarie – Eldin & Partners and Allen & Overy will as legal counsel, and Randall Environmental as technical advisor.

Tourism

SLCC to discuss Giza Plateau development plan with Orascom next week

The Sound and Light Cinema Company (SLCC) will meet next week with executives from Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) to discuss the details of the Giza Plateau development project now that it has received preliminary approval, Al Shorouk reports. OTMT is meant to help develop and run the sound and light show, in partnership with Prism Entertainment, under a 20-year agreement that will see it invest USD 10 mn.

Automotive + Transportation

White Walker Automotive reviewing four global offers to restart operations

The Nasserist zombie car company, El Nasr Automotive Company, is reviewing partnership offers from four global firms in order to restart manufacturing and assembly operations, CEO Ibrahim Aglan tells Al Mal. The Public Enterprises Ministry had announced in December that the national car manufacturer was reviving talks with potential foreign partners after negotiations stalled in 2016.

Hashem Bus to meet with General Motors on Sunday

Executives from the International Automotive Manufacturing Co, Hashem Bus, will meet with counterparts from General Motors (GM) on 21 January to negotiate their supply agreement, Hashem Bus General Manager Sayed Morsi tells Al Mal. Hashem Bus is hoping to buy more bus chassis from GE in order to increase its production levels to 150 buses a month from 100.

Banking + Finance

CBE to launch QR code-based payment system

The central bank is planning to launch a QR code-based payment system in the next few days, Governor Tarek Amer said yesterday, Al Mal reports. Amer said the technology comes at a much cheaper price than other PoS equipment and can be easily integrated into the local banking network. The move comes as part of the CBE’s financial inclusion strategy.

Other Business News of Note

Dice to open 48 new branches in 2018

Dice Sport and Casual Wear is planning to open 48 new branches in 2018 under an expansion that seeks to boost its market share to 20% from 10%, CFO Victor Fakhry tells Al Boursa. The company, which began trading on the EGX last November, recently reached an agreement with Levi’s that will see it export children’s wear to the US market in 2018.

Legislation + Policy

House Planning Committee to complete its review of Auctions and Tenders Act in February

The House of Representatives’ Planning and Budgeting Committee will likely complete its review of the Auctions and Tenders Act around mid-February, committee deputy head Yasser Omar tells Al Mal. The committee has finished reviewing the majority of the legislation, and is prioritizing it over the coming few weeks due to its importance, Omar says. The committee will also begin reviewing the Unified Planning Act and Tax Dispute Resolution Act this month.

Egypt Politics + Economics

NEC approves four NGOs’ requests to monitor presidential elections

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has approved four NGOs’ requests to monitor this year’s presidential elections, Ahram Gate reports. The approved organizations include MAAT for Peace, Development, and Human Rights; the Egypt Peace Foundation for Peace, Development, and Human Rights; Partners for Transparency; and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. Organizations are required to apply for observer status at the election’s online portal of www.elections.eg by tomorrow.

Khaled Ali says supporters are being intimidated by gov’t bureaucrats, police

Bureaucrats at real estate registration offices are attempting to block citizens from signing endorsement forms, Khaled Ali alleged at a press conference yesterday, The Associated Press reports. “Several campaign officials who spoke to The Associated Press said Ali supporters were intimidated and threatened by undercover policemen and [President Abdel Fattah] El-Sissi supporters crowding the government offices. They expressed fears that the process of gathering and certifying signatures would allow authorities to target supporters after the vote.” Ali’s allegations suggest he is falling behind on gathering the required 25k signatures to qualify for the presidential race, the newswire says.

Sports

Egypt defeats Morocco in Africa’s Handball Championship opening match

Egypt’s handball national team won 33-28 against Morocco in the opening match of the African Championship in Gabon, KingFut reports. The Egyptian team plays against Nigeria today at 6pm CLT and faces Angola on Sunday.

On Your Way Out

Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman tomb in the city of Alamein that’s believed to date back to the first or second century AD, Ahram Gate reports. In related news, the Supreme Antiquities Council announced plans to convert the catacombs in Alexandria’s Kom El Shoqafa to an open-air museum.

Brazilian footballing wizard Ronaldinho officially retired on Tuesday, according to ESPN. The announcement came from his brother Roberto Assis in a column penned for a Brazilian media outlet. Ronaldinho hasn’t played for a professional club since he left Fluminense in 2015, but hadn’t officially retired. Ronaldinho is the first footballer to find fame on YouTube with his near-mythical skill level and chicanery on the football field finding him in the first video on the platform to hit the mn-view mark. Truly one of the all time greats (watch, runtime 2:46).

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6580 | Sell 17.7580
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75

EGX30 (Wednesday): 15,199 (+0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.4 bn (xx% BELOW / ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +1.2%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.7%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Ezz Steel up 4.6%; Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 3.7%; and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 3.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Global Telecom down 1.4%; Telecom Egypt down 1.2%; and Oriental Weavers down 1.1%. The market turnover was EGP 1.4 bn and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +181 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -55.7 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -125.3 mn

Retail: 64.0% of total trades | 58.8% of buyers | 69.2% of sellers
Institutions: 36.0% of total trades | 41.2% of buyers | 30.8% of sellers

Foreign: 18.7% of total | 25.2% of buyers | 12.0% of sellers
Regional: 12.2% of total | 10.2% of buyers | 14.3% of sellers
Domestic: 69.1% of total | 64.6% of buyers | 73.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 63.93 (+0.31%)
Brent: USD 69.35 (+0.29%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.27 MMBtu, (+4.35%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,328.4 / troy ounce (-0.65%)

TASI: 7,539.74 (+0.11%) (YTD: +4.34%)
ADX: 4,634.91 (+0.42%) (YTD: +5.38%)
DFM: 3,542.44 (+0.48) (YTD: +5.11%)
KSE Weighted Index: 418.47 (-0.25%) (YTD: +4.25%)
QE: 9,158.77 (-0.21%) (YTD: +7.45%)
MSM: 5,031.73 (-0.16%) (YTD: -1.32%)
BB: 1,331.73 (+0.78%) (YTD: 0.00%)

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Calendar

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. © 2020 Enterprise Ventures LLC.