Monday, 29 January 2018

Big news day: No 5% levy on bank profits + bankruptcy act passes the House

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Yesterday was a huge day on the legislative front with the passage of the long-awaited Bankruptcy Act and MPs sending a clear signal that their agenda through summer recess is packed with business- and economy-related work. We have an extensive rundown in at the head of today’s Speed Round that you’ll want to make certain to read, particularly if you’re C-suite, a banker, a PM, or a risk analyst.

Also big news today: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has confirmed it has no plans to levy a 5% charge on banks’ annual profits to contribute to an industry development fund, according to a research note by EFG Hermes that puts to rest a suggestion that had left investor eyebrows raised. “In a meeting held on 15 January with institutional investors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, Mr Tarek Amer, confirmed that the CBE is not planning to introduce a levy on banks’ annual profits,” according to a note by Elena Sanchez-Cabezudo.

The background: A leaked draft of the Central Bank and Banking Act had suggested last July that the CBE was looking at tithing bank profits to the tune of 5% as a mandatory contribution to an industry development fund. The move was poorly welcomed by investors, who also looked askance at the central bank’s plan to impose term limits on bank managing directors. You can see past coverage here and here and here.

The law is still in the pipeline, EFG Hermes notes, writing: “The CBE is working on a comprehensive new Banking Sector Law, which, amongst other things, plans to enhance corporate governance at the banks and increase supervision of the sector.”

*** PSA FOR ENTERPRISE READERS: The anchor points in TL;DR that have allowed readers on Android phones to tap a story name and zip down in the email edition of Enterprise to read it have stopped working. We’ve dig deep, and it appears to be due to a change in how a recent update of Google’s Android OS treats anchor points. You can always use the anchor points in our web edition (which is updated at the same time as the email edition is sent each morning, Sunday-Thursday). And we’re looking for alternatives in the meantime. H/t Ahmed K. for bringing this to our attention.

Also in banking: Interbank messaging system Swift is still cajoling more than 1,000 of its members to show they are setting up necessary cyber defenses a year after a USD 100 mn cyber heist, Bloomberg’s Yalman Onaran reports. CIB took voluntary steps, focusing first on self-assessment and is now implementing both the mandatory and suggested controls, Chief Security Officer Shattsy Hassan tells Onaran. COO Mohamed Sultan says some banks in the region have been slow to comply because they don’t consider Swift a crucial component of their business, but that CIB “might refuse to do transactions with banks that don’t meet the standards.” Sultan explains that CIB is not “as worried about them getting hacked, but if it opens me up to being hacked, then I won’t do business with that counterparty.”

The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan are meeting today to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Reuters reports. “The aim is to agree on the resumption of the consultations,” said a diplomat attending an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had met yesterday with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al Bashir The two agreed to set up a joint ministerial committee mandated with resolving “outstanding issues” between Cairo and Khartoum, according to the Sudan Tribune.

Today is the last day for candidates to file papers to run in this year’s presidential election. So far, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi remains the only candidate to have submitted his nomination papers to the National Elections Commission, but MP Mostafa Bakry claimed in a tweet yesterday that a “surprise” candidate from an unidentified political party will enter the race. The cutoff to file papers is 14:00.

El Sisi to unveil policy platform for campaign today: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s campaign spokesperson Mohamed Abu Shoka will take the lid off the president’s policy platform at a press conference today, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Further afield today:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Stocks around the world are off to one of their best-ever starts to a year, making some investors all the more wary and “intensifying analysts’ concerns about the rising price of buying into a bull market almost nine years old. The rallies have also drawn comparisons to the 2000 Nasdaq peak, when a mania for technology stocks drove the index to a level that it wouldn’t recapture for more than a dozen years.” (Wall Street Journal)

M&A boom? “Global dealmaking has made its strongest start since the turn of the century, reflecting boardroom confidence from US tax reform, a strengthening international economy and surging equity markets. … A total of USD 273 bn in mergers and acquisitions so far this year marks the busiest January since the peak of the dotcom boom in 2000. (Financial Times)

Industry players including Fidelity, TD Ameritrade are trying to box-in Vanguard, the low-cost mutual fund manager. (Wall Street Journal)

Corruption crackdown dents optimism on KSA: “Insiders warned that the future for [Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding], alongside the businesses of other magnates released over the weekend from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital, remains far from clear.” (Financial Times)

The Financial Times has released its 2018 Global MBA ranking, and Stanford is back at the top, dethroning Insead, which slips to number two. Wharton, London Business School, and Harvard round out the top five. Start your reading here with the overview to the package.

Finally: The Grammys were underway at dispatch time, with artists wearing white roses in solidarity with victims of [redacted] harassment. Rapper Kendrick Lamar scored big wins in the Best Rap Album and two Best Rap Performance so far. Foo Fighters’ Run won best Rock Song, while Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker won best Rock Performance. You can check out the Guardians Live Blog of the Grammy’s for updates or check out the full list of winners here.

_StoryHed_! Ikea founder passes away at 91

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad passed away in his home in Sweden on Saturday, according to Bloomberg. The eccentric 91-year-old former fascist was worth USD 58.7 bn, making him the eighth richest man on the planet, but was known for his frugality. While Kamprad stopped serving actively in the company in the 80s he maintained a senior advisory role and influenced crucial decisions. The New York Times also has a strong obit.

What We’re Tracking This Week

CI Capital will hold its MENA Investor Conference tomorrow at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.

The Egypt Investment Forum, which is being heavily promoted by the Investment Ministry, will kick off on Saturday at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel.

On The Horizon

A delegation of 22 British companies led by UK trade envoy Jeffrey Donaldson is visiting Egypt on 10 February to form a tripartite trade agreement between the UK, Egypt and China to target exporting to African markets.

Egypt’s Emirates NBI PMI reading for January will be announced on Monday, 5 February.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

With the deadline for presidential candidates to officially enter the race just hours away, the walking dead continued to be largely preoccupied with the election process, with only a couple of business-relevant topics breaking the monotony.

For that, we turn to Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi, who spoke on the passing of the Bankruptcy Act with Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Secretary-General Alaa Ezz (we have a full wrap-up of legislative developments in Speed Round, below). Ezz said that the act is probably more important than the Investment Act because it provides a safety net for investors if their companies flop, which will help to spur investment. He noted that the legislation was necessary due to Egypt’s lackluster performance in global indices measuring the ease with which an investor can exit the market.

Separately, Ezz told Lamees that more than 500 investors will be flocking to Egypt at the end of the week for the Egypt Investment Forum (watch, runtime 1:30).

Lamees spent the remainder of her evening fixated on the possibility of a last-minute entry to the presidential race. Al Ghad Party deputy head Mahmoud Moussa said that the party is still deliberating whether or not to field party head Moussa Mahmoud Moussa as its candidate, but reassured Lamees that Moussa has all the necessary paperwork including the medical check-up ready for submission (watch, runtime 2:09).

Democratic Peace Party head Ahmed El Fadaly, meanwhile, said his party is pushing him into the race and is in the process of preparing the documents for submission, but has yet to reach a final decision. The party managed to scrape together endorsements from the 51 independent MPs in hopes of ensuring the elections are not a one-man show (watch, runtime 6:30).

Spurred by Lamees’ rare criticism of the government the night before for silencing the opposition, parliament spokesperson Salah Hasaballah phoned in specifically to reaffirm that all citizens are welcome to run for the top job provided they meet constitutional and legal requirements. Hasaballah also denied that MPs were directed to sign endorsements for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi (watch, runtime 3:43).

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib lambasted the statement from political figures calling for a boycott of the presidential poll, claiming that doing so would be tantamount to destroying the country. Never one to be moderate with his rhetoric, he likened the consequences of a boycott to the chaos that ensued after the 2011 uprising (watch, runtime 8:55).

The Dostour Party is forming a political bloc along with seven other parties that will be dubbed “the democratic current,” party head Khaled Dawood told Adib. The bloc will hold a presser tomorrow to announce its position on the elections, which Dawood said will be worse than those under former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule if they are not pluralistic (watch, runtime 7:27).

Conservative Party head Akmal Kortam also phoned in to deny that he will be contesting the elections, dashing Adib’s hopes that he had found a last-minute candidate to run against El Sisi (watch, runtime 5:16).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Tamer Amin sat down with Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby to talk about lending for SMEs and yout-led companies, which we’re very sick and tired of hearing referred to as “projects” in either language. El Etreby recounted the main perks of the CBE’s SMEs lending initiative, including lower interest rates geared towards supporting local projects (watch, runtime 29:00).

Amin also spoke to Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady about President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meeting with Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir on Saturday, which he described as “brotherly” and “fruitful.” Rady stressed that Cairo and Khartoum continue to enjoy strong ties despite their differences (watch, runtime 4:30).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives voted yesterday to approve the long-awaited Bankruptcy Act in a plenary session, Youm7 reports. The Act effectively decriminalizes bankruptcy by abolishing prison sentences and allows companies more time and options for restructuring by introducing mechanisms to help settle commercial disputes outside the courtroom and simplify bankruptcy proceedings. The law also mandates the formation of special bankruptcy courts within the Economic Courts system, which would mediate and arbitrate cases. Under the law, a restructuring plan must be completed within 60 days of filing for a standstill, and bankruptcy court judges will have the right to extend that period at their discretion. The bankruptcy law also reduces the liquidation period for companies to nine months, instead of the current average of more than two years.

You can catch a copy of the act here (pdf).

Passage of the act is a victory for the Ismail cabinet and its economic reform agenda that has been a long time coming. Speaking on the vote, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, “The Investment Act would help investors enter Egypt, while the Bankruptcy Act will help investors exit it,” she added.

The law has so far been well received outside the nation’s borders. The new bankruptcy law should be a welcome development for banks, writes Samuel Wendell for Forbes Middle East. Wendel goes on to note how the act ends a dysfunctional system that hurt both the lender and creditors. “Creditors in Egypt recover an average of USD 0.26 for every USD 1 lent, compared with USD 0.712 in countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Bankruptcy proceedings can take an average of 2.5 years, although anecdotal evidence points to longer actual time periods. By comparison, the bankruptcy duration is 1.7 years on average in OECD countries,” he writes. Most other outlets, including Reuters, are taking particular note of the banishing of prison sentences. As we noted yesterday, the act has been labelled as “credit positive for Egypt’s banks” by ratings agency Moody’s.

In other key economic legislation news, the House Economics Committee signed off on the new Consumer Protection Act, Ahram Gate reports. The law would force retailers to print prices on products as well as imposing harsher fines and criminal penalties on violators.

This has freed the committee to get the ball rolling on that other key economic legislation: The Capital Markets Act. The committee issued a call to industry representatives and financial regulators to attend hearings on the amendments to the act tomorrow, according to Al Mal. The securities division of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce will recommend that the law be further amended to include protections for managing directors for any violations committed by employees, said the division’s head Awni Abdel Aziz. As it stands, the amended act is expected to pave the way for a basket of new financial instruments to be introduced, including futures trading and a commodities exchange, in addition to introducing penalties for financial crimes and new rules governing taxes for the sector.

The House’s economic agenda before the summer recess appears stacked. Upcoming legislation still being discussed by varying committees includes amendments to the Unified Building Code, which aim to facilitate licensing, tightening safety codes, and enforcement. The committee will also look at amendments to the Auctions and Tenders Act, which would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids as well as setting new quotas for domestic components and SME contractors.

No new taxes, right? Deputy chair of the Planning and Budget Committee Yasser Omar surprised us with the announcement that the parliament is expecting new tax legislation from the government, but offered no further details, Al Mal reports. Don’t expect new taxes, though: Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and his team have made policy and tax rate stability hallmarks of their term in office and haven’t telegraphed imminent changes in rates.

Other laws passed in the House yesterday include:

Economist expect interest rates to drop by 500 bps in 2018: Economist interviewed by Al Mal see the central bank adopting a very cautious and tight monetary policy this year, with most seeing interest rates falling by up to 500 bps in 2018. The consensus appears to be that while inflation has been declining, the CBE would need to weigh that against a possible spike in inflation once the government further cuts subsidies in FY2018-19, which begins in July. Pharos Holding’s Head of Research Radwa El Swaify expects interest rate cuts to come gradually, seeing them to drop 200-500 bps this year. She sees the bulk of the interest rate cuts to come in mid-2018, once the CBE gets a better picture on inflation levels following the subsidy cuts. She added that adopting wide interest rate cuts early on in the year could send the wrong signal to the market that the CBE is turning completely towards growth. CI Capital’s Hany Farahat expects the first of the interest rate cuts to come during 1Q2018, and will drop 5% for the whole year.

When could it start? The CBE Monetary Policy Committee will hold its next meeting on 15 February.

The Finance Ministry will tap the market with a USD 4 bn eurobond issuance in the second week of February, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy tol d Al Mal. The bonds will be issued on the London and Luxembourg stock exchanges, he says. HSBC, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi will be managing the issuance. Al Tamimi & Co. and Dechert LLP were chosen as legal advisors to the government and Linklater LLP and Zaki Hashem & Partners are advising the banking consortium.

In case you needed a reminder: Your electricity bills are going up again in July: Under orders from the Electricity Ministry, the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Agency (Egyptera) has begun drawing up figures for the upcoming hike in electricity prices, which is due to hit our bills in July, ministry sources tell Al Shorouk. They tell the newspaper that the hikes for the lowest tier of consumers will be limited to 15%, after it had initially been planned to increase 25%. They say the reduction comes as the government pushed back eliminated subsidies on electricity to 2020, instead of 2019. Other sources tell Al Borsa that Egyptera plans to recommend raising prices 2-10% for residential use, while businesses could see an increase of up to 20%.

Are government housing projects beyond the means of most Egyptians? New houses being built by the government are “are priced way beyond the means of most Egyptians and a good share of them will remain unsold,” analysts tell Patrick Werr. It is not clear how easily the country will be able to absorb the influx of new houses, Werr writes for Reuters. Real estate agencies tell Werr that the typical high-end buyer has been hurt by economic slowdowns since 2011.

INVESTMENT WATCH: International confectionery producer Mars will inaugurate two new production lines by the end of February, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil said, according to Al Mal. The two lines come with a EGP 750 mn investment and help drive exports from its facilities in Egypt to USD 100 mn annually. Kabil says Mars’ investments following the new expansion are estimated to be EGP 2 bn and create 10k jobs directly and indirectly.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Emisal Salts to establish EGP 6 bn salts production complex: The Egyptian Salts and Minerals Company (Emisal Salts) is planning to establish a EGP 6 bn salts production complex north of Matrouh’s Lake Qaroun, Chairman and Managing Director Abdel Latif El Kordy said, Al Masry Al Youm reports. According to El Kordy, Emisal is currently conducting trial operations in the area, and expects to complete the trials within two-three months’ time. The complex has an expected production capacity of 600k tonnes of salts per year in its first phase. The company will cooperate with the National Service Projects Organization and the Matrouh governorate to complete the project.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Saudi Arabia’s Elaj Group is planning to build a EGP 500 mn oncology hospital in Cairo, sources close to the matter say, Al Mal reports. They added that Elaj plans to complete construction by year’s end and begin operations in 2019. The Saudi group will finance the project themselves, which will be constructed on a 1,300 sqm plot in Mohandiseen. Elaj Group went on an acquisition spree at the end of last year that saw it acquire Alexandria International Hospital and Ibn Sina Specialized Hospital, as well as 74% of clinical laboratory group Cairo Labs and a 15% stake in the International Eye Hospital.

EARNINGS WATCH- Consumer recovery continuing? Cheese maker Domty said yesterday it is reporting a net profit of EGP 30.6 mn in its unaudited statements for 4Q2017, up from a net loss of EGP 29 mn in the same quarter the previous year. The company’s revenues for the quarter came at EGP 615 mn from EGP 463 mn a year earlier. Domty is planning to increase its white cheese exports to African markets this year, Al Mal reports.

Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr signed the agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the third USD 500 mn tranche of the USD 1.5 bn loan yesterday, according to a ministry statement. Disbursing the tranche was approved two weeks ago. AfDB Country Manager for Egypt, Malinne Blomberg, says the funding is structured to provide strong and sustainable development in Egypt. Blomberg added that AfDB is currently running 30 projects in Egypt worth USD 2.4 bn.

CI Capital topped multiple categories in the Egyptian Investment Management Association’s (EIMA) 2017 fund performance report, according to an emailed statement (pdf). Its CIB Istithmar equity fund was ranked as the best-performing equity fund in the report, and the group also landed in the top spot for the performance of its fixed income, money market, and Sharia-compliant equity funds.

Five leading opposition figures issued a joint statement yesterday calling for a boycott of Egypt’s upcoming presidential election, Al Mal reports. The statement denounced what it said was the clearing of the field by the state of any competitors to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in his bid for a second term.

Who signed? Chief among them are the Islamist former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, former Central Auditing Organization head Hisham Genena (who was a top official in former Chief of Staff Sami Anan’s brief election bid), and Mohamed Anwar Sadat, who withdrew from the presidential race this month.

Meanwhile, Cairo prosecutors ordered the arrest of three people yesterday suspected of assaulting Genena, who was attacked and badly injured on Saturday after he left his residence in the suburbs of Cairo, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The detainees include Genena’s doorman. Police also seized cars belonging to Genena and the suspects, as well as weapons allegedly found in the suspects’ car.

Eight rights groups issued a statement yesterday condemning the attack on Genena as part of “revenge acts” against would-be presidential candidates, The Associated Press reports. The groups include the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms and the anti-torture Nadim Center.

In other election-related news, the Salafist Nour party said yesterday it is backing President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for a second term, Ahram Online reports. The party had backed Sisi in his first presidential bid in 2014.

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Image of the Day

Ahmed Essam took to sketching the faces he sees on the metro on to his tickets to pass the time on his commute and the results are pretty cool, Egypt Today reports. Essam started out sketching faces in his notepad, and a new hobby was born when he forgot it one day. Although a business graduate, Essam does refine his skills studying with friends at the Faculty of Fine Arts. His portraits show the faces and expressions of the daily commute in Egypt’s underground and he hopes to combine his efforts into a mosaic to hang in one of the metro stations one day.

Egypt in the News

The upcoming presidential elections are “increasingly taking on the character of the one-candidate referendums held for decades” in Egypt, Bureau Chief Hamza Hendawi writes for The Associated Press. “The overwhelmingly pro-[President Abdel Fattah El Sisi] media depict him as the only figure able to solve Egypt’s problems, and the president himself often says the need to rebuild the country outweighs concerns over democracy and rights. A significant sector of the population likely agrees with the argument — though how much is unknown, since authorities prevent most polling and have outlawed all unauthorized protests,” Hendawi writes.

Chatham House’s MENA Deputy Head Jane Kinninmont also gave her two cents on the upcoming poll, adding that attention now will turn to whether El Sisi “will seek to overturn the term limits, or groom a pliable successor… Regionally, Sisi is likely to be focused on the issues closest to Egypt’s own security: the situation in neighbouring Libya and in Gaza, where Egypt has been an important broker between Fatah and Hamas.”

…Elsewhere, Sawsan Gad says the military is controlling which “personnel can exercise their constitutional right to political participation,” in the Carnegie Endowment for National Peace.

Egypt has an advantage over Israel and Cyprus in exporting natural gas to Europe because its export plan may be more commercially viable, and not because of reduced political risk, industry insider Charles Ellinas writes for Cyprus Mail. Israel’s hopes of exporting gas from its Leviathan field are unlikely to materialize, since “adding the cost of pipelines, liquefaction, and transport to Europe would always take the price above the European price range … Similar problems apply to Cyprus and export of Aphrodite gas. The primary challenge is still commercial viability. That’s why so far Noble [Energy’s] efforts to secure gas sales have not succeeded, including through the Egyptian route despite the political good-will.” Egypt, on the other hand, is well on its way to self-sufficiency and would be able to export its surplus gas through existing infrastructure.

Also worth a quick skim today:

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has pardoned British citizen Laura Plummer, who was jailed for smuggling meds into Egypt, The National reports.

On Deadline

The House Religious Affairs Committee must respect the division of church and state, and stop trying to outlaw specific practices and beliefs that it thinks contradict mainstream Islam, Hamdy Rizk writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Rizk bluntly points out committee head Omar Hamroush for proposing to outlaw atheism. He points out that the House’s efforts would be better spent understanding the reasons behind the increased prevalence of atheism to nip it in the bud, rather than persecuting them and not changing their beliefs.

Worth Watching

A dog-friendly cafe has opened in Alexandria at which pet owners can hang out with their best friends, according to BBC. The cafe provides food for the canines as well as some basic veterinary and grooming services and has so far proved a hit with Alexandrians. (watch, runtime 1:13)

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt elected to chair African Union in 2019: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi participated yesterday in a closed session of African Union (AU) heads of state at the 30th summit in Addis Ababa, during which Egypt was elected to chair the AU in 2019 for one year, according to an Ittihadiya statement (pdf). The session also included a discussion of planned reforms to the institution, including implementing a checks-and-balances system for decisions passed through the AU.

US President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding to the Palestinians unless they agree to resume peace talks with Israel, Bloomberg reports. Speaking ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump said Palestinians had disrespected the US by not agreeing to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his trip to the region last week.

Energy

Yokogawa MEA to replace gas pipeline management system of the national grid

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced this morning that its subsidiary, Yokogawa Middle East & Africa, received an order from the state-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO) — operator of the country’s national gas grid — to supply a gas pipeline management and control system, according to a company press release.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Food export council aiming to increase exports by 10% this year

The Food Export Council (FEC) is looking to increase exports by 10% in 2018, up from 3% last year, council chairman Hani Berzi tells Al Borsa. He expects these targets to increase as Egyptian food manufacturers continue to build up production capacities.

JTI launches Camel cigarettes in Egypt

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) announced it is launching two variations of Camel-branded cigarettes in Egypt. JTI says it aims to increase its market share in all price segments.

Manufacturing

El Araby breaks ground on USD 500 mn oven factory with Bertazzoni

El Araby Group has broken ground on a EGP 500 mn stove factory in partnership with Italy’s Bertazzoni, according to AMAY. The 27k sqm factory is in Qalyubia has the capacity to produce 500k units per year. Bertazzoni had announced that it was investing EUR 55 mn in the factory back in the summer of 2016.

Health + Education

FEI warns Health Ministry against arbitrary closure of private hospitals

The Federation of Industries’ healthcare division issued yesterday a warning to the Health Ministry against the arbitrary closure of private hospitals, Al Borsa reports. Unjustified closures negatively affect private sector hospitals’ reputation and investment in the sector, the division said in a statement. It adds that the ministry is legally required to grant hospitals a 30-day grace period to address any violations before being shut down, and could face legal action for failing to comply with these requirements. The ministry had shut down and re-opened As-Salam International Hospital earlier this month following a complaint by an emergency patient’s family.

Real Estate + Housing

NACCUD to issue tender for Phase 1 residential development in March

The New Administrative Capital Company for Urban Development (NACCUD) will issue a tender for Phase 1 development of residential blocks in the new capital in March, company chairman Ahmed Zaki Abdeen tells Al Borsa. The New Urban Communities Authority will decide then, which of the 25,000 homes in the first phase will be included in the tender, according to Abdeen. On a related note, the Saudi Egyptian Construction Company (Secon) is planning on starting work on its EGP 3 bn project in the new administrative capital in 2Q2018, CEO Darwish Hassanein tells Al Shorouk. He added that the company is waiting for government clearance before starting work on the 70 feddan residential project. 60% of the homes in the project are villas with delivery expected in about three years.

Tourism

Local tourism operators want protection from the ECA from foreign companies

Local tourism operators are apparently planning on pushing for protections from competition from foreign operators after the government abandoned plans to set minimum prices on hotels. A number of them complained at a meeting with the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) last week that foreign companies receive benefits which they do not, going so far as to suggest that they are not charged a VAT on their sales, according to Al Borsa. They also complain that foreign operators have been undercutting them on prices. Local businesses plan to send a memo to the ECA urging it to step in. Earlier this month, outgoing ECA boss Mona El Garf said that the ECA will meet with Tourism Ministry officials to discuss antitrust strategies and policies which will implemented sector-wide.

Public Enterprises Ministry planning to develop historic hotels with private sector

Public Enterprises Minister Khaled Badawy has met with the head of the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) Mirvat Hataba to discuss the development of the country’s historic hotels in cooperation with the private sector, Ahram Gate reports.

Greco Roman museum renovations underway

Renovation work resumed on the Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria on Saturday after being halted in 2011, Assistant Antiquities Minister Hesham Samir Ibrahim told AMAY. The renovation is part of a broader government mandate that allocated EGP 1.25 bn towards upgrading eight national archaeological projects.

Telecoms + ICT

MNOs begin phasing out sales of new lines through distributors

Vodafone Egypt, Orange Misr, and Etisalat Mist have begun limiting the number of new phone lines sold through third-party distributors as per regulations set out this month by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), sources tell Al Borsa. The NTRA had limited sales through distributors to around 50 new lines per distributor until March, after which all new lines will be sold through official branches of mobile network operators. The move, which MNOs complain has severely disrupted sales operations, is meant to strengthen know-your-customer procedures. MNOs have been in talks with regulators to find alternative means to include third-party sellers, including setting up franchises, but there is no word as of yet on progress on the talks.

Banking + Finance

EgyptAir in talks with international banks for USD 800 mn loan

EgyptAir is in talks with international banks to borrow USD 800 mn for the purchase of new aircrafts to upgrade their fleet, banking sources told Al Shorouk. The sources disclosed that amongst the institutions involved in the conversation are Citigroup and JP Morgan. EgyptAir is planning on spending a total of USD 5 bn to purchase 45 aircraft over the next period and has been speaking to both local and international banks to finance the fleet upgrade.

Banque du Caire to launch mobile and internet banking this year

Banque du Caire is planning to launch mobile and internet banking services some time this year, bank sources tell Al Masry Al Youm. The bank is also looking to expand into retail banking, particularly personal and car loans, as well as credit cards, the sources add.

Other Business News of Note

UAE-based luxury items online boutique eyes Egypt market

Dubai-based start-up The Luxury Closet is is looking to expand into the Egyptian market, founder and CEO Kunal Kapoor tells Mubasher. The leading online boutique, which focuses on the GCC region, did not have Egypt in its original plans, but realised its potential after collaborating with some high-profile Egyptian “influencers,” he adds. The Luxury Closet connects sellers and buyers of luxury brand items like handbags, clothes, watches and jewelry.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6464 | Sell 17.7464
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73

EGX30 (Sunday): 15,311 (+0.9%)
Turnover: EGP 1.0 bn (11% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +1.9%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.9%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 2.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Heliopolis Housing up 2.7%; Orascom Telecom Media & Technology up 2.7%; and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 2.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Ezz Steel down 3.6%; ACC down 1.2%; and Palm Hills down 1.0%. The market turnover was EGP 1.0 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +102.7 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -1.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -101.3 mn

Retail: 60.2% of total trades | 59.7% of buyers | 60.8% of sellers
Institutions: 39.8% of total trades | 40.3% of buyers | 39.2% of sellers

Foreign: 15.2% of total | 20.2% of buyers | 10.2% of sellers
Regional: 11.4% of total | 11.4% of buyers | 11.5% of sellers
Domestic: 73.4% of total | 68.4% of buyers | 78.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 66.14 (+0.96%)
Brent: USD 70.52 (+0.14%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.51 MMBtu, (+1.68%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,357.2 / troy ounce (-0.79%)

TASI: 7,538.38 (+0.22%) (YTD: +4.32%)
ADX: 4,631.86 (-0.25%) (YTD: +5.31%)
DFM: 4,464.14 (-0.13%) (YTD: +2.79%)
KSE Weighted Index: 415.79 (-0.64%) (YTD: +3.58%)
QE: 9,411.53 (-0.51%) (YTD: +10.42%)
MSM: 4,991.38 (-0.33%) (YTD: -2.12%)
BB: 1,342.32 (+0.04%) (YTD: +0.8%)

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Calendar

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.

3-4 February (Saturday-Sunday): Egypt Investment Forum, Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel, Cairo.

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

08-11 February (Thursday-Sunday): Furnex & the Home international trade fair, Cairo International Convention Center.

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.

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