Tuesday, 30 January 2018

It’s a two-horse race for the presidency

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

As is often the case, we begin this morning grateful. Grateful for the privilege of writing you folks each day, and grateful for another day with our loved ones. Our apologies for being a few minutes late this morning.

It’s a busy news day today, so we’ll get straight to the point:

Attention brokers: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued a directive yesterday that sets a security deposit minimum on intraday trading of 25% of the transaction value, of at least EGP 1 mn or its equivalent in USD, FRA said in a statement.

Egypt is targeting economic growth of 5.8% in FY2018-19, Planning Minister Hala El Saeed said on Monday, according to Reuters. The government appears to have lowered slightly its projections, first disclosed earlier this month, which had set a 6% for the next fiscal year. El Saeed had estimated that growth in FY2017-18 would reach 5.3-5.5%.

CI Capital’s MENA Investor Conference gets underway this morning at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.

The conference gets underway amid market chatter that CI is actively preparing to go public. The firm has tapped Jefferies International as global coordinator for its planned share issuance on the EGX, sources told Al Mal. The issuance is set to be managed between Jefferies and CI Capital Investment Banking, the sources noted. CEO Mahmoud Attallah had said last November that CI Capital was expecting to list by 2H2018. Matouk Bassiouny is said to be the legal counsel on the transaction.

The US Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday plans to implement new security protocols to the US refugee admissions program to prevent it from being “exploited by terrorists, criminals and fraudsters” from “high-risk” countries, Reuters reports. The protocol covers refugees from at least 11 countries, including Egypt.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Railway ticket prices will rise before the week is out, not at the end of June as was previously announced, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat told Al Shorouk. The Transport Ministry has approved the pricing scheme the Egyptian National Railways prepared earlier this month, according to Arafat and the only steps left to take are for the National Railway Authority to complete updating the prices on its online booking system and for the ministry to print tickets with the new prices.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to visit the Zohr gas field sometime this week, Al Shorouk reports.

A trifecta of moons will occur on 31 January: That night, the moon will simultaneously be a larger than usual full moon due to closer orbit; the second full moon to appear in January (literally what’s mean when we refer to a “blue moon”; and a total lunar eclipse should give the moon a reddish tint known as “blood moon” that night. Best viewed at moonrise Wednesday evening in our neck of the woods, according to NASA.

Also on our radars in the coming days:

  • The Egypt Investment Forum, which is being heavily promoted by the Investment Ministry, will kick off on Saturday at the Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel.
  • A British business delegation 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.
  • The purchasing managers’ index for January will be announced on Monday, 5 February

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The presidential elections continued to be the most popular topic of discussion on the airwaves last night.

Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi spoke to presidential candidate Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who told the host that he had actually decided to run a while back, but reconsidered his decision when former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was still a contender, since he felt like “it wouldn’t look right” to compete with Shafik and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. He then postponed his announcement that he wouldn’t run when Shafik withdrew because he had yet to collect the required citizen or MP endorsements (watch, runtime: 3:16).

Moussa’s lawyer, Samir Elewa, phoned in to reassure Lamees that Moussa has a university degree — as is legally required of a presidential candidate — in architecture from a French university. He then acted as Moussa’s verbal LinkedIn profile, telling Lamees that he is a businessman with several major companies under his belt (watch, runtime: 3:36).

In non-election coverage, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat gave Lamees the rundown on new railway ticket prices, which are coming into effect. Tickets for short-distance trains that travel between Cairo’s suburbs rise 80%, which could come to EGP 2-3. VIP train tickets with be hiked 25%, while those for the French and Spanish air-conditioned trains will see a 40% jump (watch, runtime: 20:50).

In sharp about-face, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib tried to convince his viewers that a single-candidate election would be nothing of which to be ashamed, after calling a one-candidate election a “political disaster” for the better part of a few months now, pointing to the Dostour Party’s 2017 internal elections, which saw party head Khaled Dawood winning in an uncontested run (watch, runtime: 5:50).

Journalist Abdel Halim Kandil told Adib that El Sisi was guaranteed to win regardless how many candidates ran against him, saying the president still enjoys wide popularity despite his approval ratings dipping on the back of the economic reform program (watch, runtime: 1:30).

Adib also discussed El Sisi’s meeting with Sudan and Ethiopia’s leaders yesterday on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, saying it offered a ray of hope that the gridlock will be resolved (we have details on the meeting in Speed Round, below) (watch, runtime: 7:38).

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin echoed Adib’s sentiments, concluding that the construction of the dam is not an act of hostility from Ethiopia and that any kinks between the three countries on the matter will soon be ironed out (watch, runtime: 7:41).

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid also said El Sisi’s statements following the meeting indicate that the three countries are determined to work together in resolving the issue and cooperating in other areas (watch, runtime: 3:25).

Direct Moscow-Cairo flights to resume next week? Meanwhile on Masaa DMC, Atef Aglan, a member of the government committee working to get Russian flights back into the air to Egypt, told host Eman El Hosary that direct flights between Moscow and Cairo will resume on 6 February. (Last we heard from the Ruskies, Aeroflot will not be operating any flights between the two capitals until late February). Aglan also said that flights to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada could see a comeback in April, once Russia’s presidential elections are through. Once Russian tourists return to Egypt, they could generate between USD 4 and 5 bn in tourism revenues for the country, Aglan said (watch, runtime: 7:32). Based on statements from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, which we note in the speed round, we will take Aglan’s comments with a grain of salt.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

We officially have a two-horse race for the presidency: Al Ghad Party head Moussa Mostafa Moussa submitted yesterday his papers to enter the presidential race as the sole competitor to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Ahram Gate reports. Although his name had only surfaced on Sunday as a potential contender, Moussa apparently collected 47,000 citizen endorsements and 26 signatures from MPs, he told AFP Arabic. El Sisi, who submitted his documents last week, has collected signatures from over 500 MPs and nearly 1 mn citizens.

The window for would-be candidates to submit their documents to the National Elections Commission closed at 14:00 yesterday, and the NEC will announce the two-person list on Wednesday after validating their paperwork, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

El Sisi will release the details of his campaign strategy and presidential program once the NEC releases the final list of candidates, campaign spox Mohamed Abu Shoka said at a presser yesterday. Abu Shoka had previously said he would present El Sisi’s plans for his second presidential term at the press conference.

You can catch Abu Shoka presser in full here (runtime 2:01:16).

Moussa’s eleventh-hour entry is raising eyebrows over whether he will pose any real competition to El Sisi or whether he was drafted to ensure the elections are pluralistic after lawyer Khaled Ali dropped out and former military chief of staff Sami Anan was arrested. Al Ghad had previously endorsed El Sisi’s bid for a second presidential term “and even organised events to help nominate the former military commander as recently as last week,” Reuters notes. Moussa also had a photo on his personal Facebook page declaring his support for El Sisi as Egypt’s president, but has since removed it, according to the newswire. However, Moussa maintains that his bid is serious, and told Ahram Gate that he plans to support youth’s economic empowerment by offering them high-paying employment options and extending loans to finance their SMEs. Other main features of his presidential program include reopening idle factories, spurring investment in Egypt, and encouraging Egyptians to invest in Africa.

The global business press tore into Moussa’s presidential bid, which the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Malsin says is “a move that poses a token challenge to the incumbent [president] in an election campaign opponents are calling a sham.” His entry in the race came as the authorities “have appeared to be scrambling for a contender to run against Mr Sisi” and prevent “an embarrassing one-horse race,” Heba Saleh writes for the Financial Times. Moussa being viewed that way could be just what the doctor ordered for the government, which wants to ensure that El Sisi is re-elected but must take into account “a public that wants to believe Egypt is a democracy, after all the political costs they have paid since [the Arab Spring revolution of] 2011, analysts tell Edward Yeranian tells VOA’s Edward Yeranian. The Guardian and The New York Times also have coverage.

Supply Ministry to launch opening salvo in price-printing directive: The Supply Ministry will launch a “sweeping inspection campaign” this Thursday to monitor whether retailers are complying with a requirement that they printing prices on their wares, sources from the ministry tell Al Shorouk. Retailers who have not yet complied with the regulations could be fined and may see their goods seized by the government, the sources added.

What’s going on here? Food producers are required to issue manufacturer-suggested retail prices (MSRP) on their goods, factoring in costs of inputs, when they sell goods to retailers. Food retailers must print prices on those goods based on the MSRP. The Supply Ministry had issued a snap decision back in October that forced food manufacturers to print retail prices directly on packaging, threatening violators with prison sentences of up to five years and fines ranging from EGP 300-1,000. Industry players were up at arms about the decision, and rightfully so, since the supply ministry appeared to have missed the memo 30 years ago that the Soviet Union had collapsed. The ministry backed away in December from forcing manufacturers to print MSRPs on their packaging, moving the war on price gouging to retailers.

Could someone please go make sure Nasser’s tomb remains undisturbed?

ECA warns of predatory pricing practices in tourism industry: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has found evidence of predatory pricing in the tourism industry, outgoing ECA boss Mona El Garf said in a statement on Monday (sorry folks, no link: the page in question is down at dispatch time). These practices include setting prices for hotel rooms that are below the costs of operation, the statement added. In light of these practices, the ECA is working with the Tourism Ministry to help set about antitrust regulations for the industry, said El Garf. However, she added that moving to set a minimum charge for hotel rooms would violate the Competition Protection Act. She did acknowledge, however, that it is within the purview of the Prime Minister to set a price for a “strategic” and basic good for a limited period of time, though she did not mention whether tourism would fall under that category. El Garf did not name a particular company or industry segment that had perpetrated the alleged violations. Local tourism operators, who had been lobbying for setting minimum prices at hotels, have complained to the ECA that foreign companies had been undercutting them and plan to file a formal complaint sometime next week.

Must Egypt and Russia sign aviation security agreement before restoring flights? An aviation security agreement between Russia and Egypt has been prepared, and Moscow expects Cairo to sign it, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told TASS. "Initially, we said that there should be a security agreement," he said. "It has been prepared. I believe that Egypt is ready to sign it, otherwise the discussion would not have resumed," Dvorkovich added. The agreement could be another attempt by the Russians to sneak in preferential and special security protocols for their citizens (including their own security terminal), a sticking point which had hindered talks to get Russian flights back on. It is unclear whether these procedures will be included in the agreement. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said earlier that regular flights between Moscow and Cairo could resume in mid-February.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Tourism investment company Madar will invest in a EGP 10 bn tourism development in Matrouh, according to a statement from the Investment Ministry. Company Chairman Mohamed Beshtah signed for a 2.1 mn sqm plot of land for the project on Monday, with development set to begin in six months time. The project, which will be developed over three phases, is the largest investment by an Egyptian company since the Investment Act was ratified, said Investment Minister Sahar Nasr.

Egypt can export as much as 20 bn cubic meters of gas a year to Europe in a few years: Egypt could be shipping as much as 20 bn cubic metres of gas annually to Europe in a few years, said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, according to Reuters. He also said Eni wanted to expand in Algeria, including offshore fields, while field development terms needed to improve in Iran for the company to be lured back.

EGAS to buy five LNG shipments for 2Q2018 through direct order: EGAS is planning to import five LNG shipments for 2Q2018, traders tell Reuters Arabic. These shipments will not come through a tender as is the norm, but a direct order, the traders added. It is not yet clear whether this will be the final round of shipments to be imported, as Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said that Egypt will cease to import LNG by July.

The IMF isn’t overly concerned about the impact of higher oil prices on Egypt’s fiscal reforms, according to IMF’s Middle East & Central Asia Department Director Jihad Azour. In an interview with Al Shorouk on the sidelines of the IMF’s economic conference in Morocco, Azour said fiscal imbalances which could arise from higher oil prices can be counteracted by implementing an efficient tax system and combating corruption. He added that it is too soon to tell what, if any, the impact higher oil prices would have on Egypt’s budget deficit.

Brent crude continues to hover just cents below USD 60 a barrel this morning after talk in recent weeks from Saudi Arabia and Russia signaling that their production cuts could continue into 2019. Bloomberg and OilPrice have more on that front.

Speaking on unemployment, Azour said that MENA region’s unemployment rate stands at 10.6%, which is worrisome considering that 27 mn people will enter the workforce by 2023, and 60% of the region’s inhabitants will be under the age of 30. GDP growth by improving the business climate coupled with increase spending on health and education is the only way to combat this rising unemployment, he added.

Azour also spoke on the dangers of civil unrest during transitional periods in economic reforms in light of the protests in Tunisia. He defended Tunisia’s adoption of economic reforms, saying that it was heading in the right direction. “Any reform has its transition phase. During the transition phase what is important (is) to make sure they have the right mitigators, the right social programmes,” Azour said, according to Reuters.

EGX30 rebalancing: Who’s in: Egyptalum, Abu Qir Fertilizers, GB Auto, Orascom Construction, and Juhayna. Who’s out: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, Oriental Weavers, Domty, the Financial & Industrial Egyptian Co., and Cairo Oil & Soap. Source: EGX statement (pdf). The EGX’s semi-annual review of indices also saw seven companies delisted from the EGX50 EWI, 16 from the EGX70, and 11 from the EGX100.

SODIC is targeting EGP 8.76 bn in contract sales this year, according to a company disclosure to EGX. The company is also eyeing sales of EGP 57.8 bn in the next 10 years from its SODIC East project. The first phase of SODIC East has already sold out with EGP 1.8 bn in contracted sales, CEO Magued El Sherif said last month.

HC inks partnership agreement with Chicago-based outfit: Chicago-based Cabrera Capital Markets has inked a partnership agreement with HC Securities and Investment that will see the Cairo-based firm provide Cabrera with research, corporate access and execution services for US institutional investors looking to tap local opportunities. “This arrangement will also broaden the scope of investment options outside of the U.S. for Cabrera’s institutional clients,” according to a press release from Cabrera. “Additionally, Cabrera’s services provide us with the availability and flexibility of using our own HC Brokerage brand to speak, trade and settle directly with the US buy-side. It’s an ideal alliance for non-US brokers looking to access US institutional investors,” said HC Brokerage managing director Hassan Shoukry.

Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia set yesterday a one-month deadline for each country to present solutions for “pending technical issues” over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to an Ittihadiya statement (pdf). President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, held a trilateral meeting in Addis Ababa yesterday on the sidelines of the African Union summit, during which they agreed to hold a meeting in one month’s time with the foreign and irrigation ministers of each country to discuss the proposals. The three leaders also decided to exchange their countries’ studies and technical information on the dam “so as to ensure the full implementation of the terms of the Declaration of Principles and to not negatively affect Egypt’s and Sudan’s water interests.” Negotiations over the dam hit gridlock late last year after Ethiopia and Sudan refused to ratify the results of the environmental impact studies on the dam, which had been conducted by French consultancy firms. Desalegn reassured El Sisi and Al Bashir yesterday that neither of their countries will be negatively affected by the GERD.

Separately, El Sisi, Al-Bashir, and Desalegn also agreed to set up a joint investment fund between their three countries to finance infrastructure projects.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives gave preliminary approval to extending the mandate of the Tax Dispute Resolution Act for an additional year, Ahram Gate reports. The House Planning and Budgeting Committee had agreed last week to extend the act for only one year, as opposed to the two years Cabinet had approved back in November. The final vote on the legislation was postponed due to lack of quorum, Al Shorouk reports.

Shares in Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding quickly recovered to their position prior to Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown began in November, Bloomberg reports. “Kingdom Holding rose 2.5 percent to 10.29 riyals on Monday, exceeding the level it was trading at before Saudi Arabia shocked investors with the arrest of dozens of high-profile businessmen and princes last year. About 3 mn shares were exchanged, the most since February 2016.” Alwaleed was released from his detention on Saturday after reaching a settlement with Saudi authorities.

Them Bones: School-bus-sized dinosaur fossil unearthed in Egypt’s Western Desert. Egyptian paleontologists from Mansoura University have unearthed in Egypt’s Dakhla Oasis fossils of a long-necked, school bus-sized dinosaur that lived roughly 80 mn years ago, Reuters reports. The team recovered parts of the Mansourasaurus shahinae’s skull, lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, shoulder and forelimb, back foot and osteoderms. They named the 5.5-tonne herbivore after the town where the university is located, as well as Mona Shahin, who helped develop the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology project. The discovery sheds light on a mysterious time period in the history of dinosaurs in Africa.

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Egypt in the News

The only story of note on Egypt in the international press is global reaction to Moussa Mostafa Moussa’s bid. Otherwise worth noting in brief:

  • Egyptian Kung Fu champion Moataz “Mizo” Radi competes successfully with China’s top kung fu fighters in international championships, but craves recognition at home, according to The AFP.
  • Underprivileged desert communities are getting affordable sustainable housing from startup Hand Over, according to Forbes. The company was founded by 30-year-old engineer Radwa Rostom.
  • Laura Plummer has apparently had her presidential pardon withdrawn and faces another six months before appeal, according to The Sun.

On Deadline

Cabinet-table politics at economic group spilling over into the local press? Did GAFI Managing Director Mona Zobaa resign because Investment Minister Sahar Nasr was too difficult to work with? Al Masry Al Youm’s Sabry Ghoneim thinks so, saying that Zobaa’s resignation last week — along with several other Investment Ministry officials — is a clear sign that working with Nasr became challenging. Ghoneim says Nasr was initially one of his favourite cabinet members and blames other ministers for trying to sideline her. He points specifically to Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil, who he says stole Nasr’s thunder by releasing his ministry’s industrial investment map right around the same time Nasr was gearing up to launch her own investment map.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The SMEs Development Authority has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to fund SME projects for youths in an effort to combat illegal immigration, Al Mal reports. The new initiative, which comes as part of Egypt’s Vision 2030, will be based in Assiut, known to be one of the main exporters of illegal migrants. Details on the size of the funding has yet to be revealed.

President El Sisi’s advisor for national projects Ibrahim Mahlab led a delegation to Baghdad to discuss Egypt’s role in reconstruction efforts there, Al Mal reports. The delegation includes the ministers of ICT, health, and manpower, as well as businessmen, senior officials, and CEOs.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is flying to Brussels today to take part in meetings with the EU to discuss Palestinian funding, Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement carried by Ahram Online.

Energy

Egypt, Saudi delay selecting winning company on grid interconnection project until June

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have delayed selecting winning bids for the Saudi-Egyptian electricity grid interconnection project until June, Electricity Ministry sources tell Al Borsa. The committee which is reviewing offers needs to more time to sift through the technical specs of the companies bidding, the sources added. Alstom, ABB, and Siemens have submitted bids for the USD 1.6 bn, three-phase project.

Three companies qualify to submit financial offers for USD 8 bn Hamrawein coal plant

Three companies and consortiums — General Electric, Mitsubishi-Hitachi, and Shanghai Electric-Dong Fang — have qualified to submit their financial offers for the USD 8 bn, 6 GW “clean coal” plant, an unnamed Electricity Ministry source said, according to Al Mal. The three will be required to submit financial offers to the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) by 5 February. The selection process is expected to take three months.

Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals signs gas, electricity supply contracts with GASCO, ETHYDCO

Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (SIDPEC) signed yesterday a contract with the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO) to supply propane gas and another contract with the Egyptian Ethylene & Derivatives Company (ETHYDCO) to supply electricity for SIDPEC’s propylene and polypropylene factory, according to a statement to the EGX.

UEEPC issues tender to upgrade transmission networks in Upper Egypt

The Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company (UEEPC) has issued a local tender to upgrade the transmission grid in the governorates of Sohag, Qena, Luxor, and Aswan, a company source tells Al Mal.

Basic Materials + Commodities

A glut in the rice market?

The Food Industries Holding Company will hold an auction on the 7 February for the sale of 22,000 tonnes of India rice after failing to distribute them through the ration card system, Supply Ministry sources told Al Borsa. The sources added that ration card holders were willing to purchase rice on the regular market due to prices stabilizing.

Agriculture Ministry, NBE to provide animal farms with EGP 2 bn in loans

The Agriculture Ministry and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) have agreed to provide animal farms with EGP 2 bn in loans at a 5% interest rate, Deputy Agriculture Minister Mona Mehreztells Al Borsa. The agreement comes as part of initiatives launched by the Agriculture Ministry and the CBE to finance SMEs.

Egypt buys 14% of Ukrainian soybean exports

Egypt is one of the principal buyers of Ukrainian soybeans after taking up 14% of the country’s exports, according to Black Sea Grain.

Manufacturing

Al Safa to establish EUR 30 mn packaging plant in Mali

Al Safa for Printing and Packaging is establishing EUR 30 mn packing plant in Mali in partnership with Sadolim Financial Group, chairman of the board of directors Samir Al Baily told Al Borsa. Al Safa’s share in the project is 51% of which EUR 5 mn will come from the company itself and EUR 10 mn through financing from banks. The raw materials, building materials and machinery needed for the plant will be imported from Egypt.

Health + Education

Health Ministry to meet with FE to discuss procedures for shutting down hospitals

The Health Ministry is meeting today with representatives from private hospitals and the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ (FEI) healthcare division to discuss procedures for the punitive closures, Al Borsa reports. The discussion will focus on hospitals found to be in violation of a government decision requiring hospitals to offer medical treatment to emergency cases for 48 hours without charge. The meeting comes after the FEI’s healthcare division issued on Sunday a sharp warning to the Health Ministry against the arbitrary closure of hospitals without granting a legally-required 30-day grace period to address any violations.

Daewoong Pharma signs USD 5 mn botulinum toxin supply agreement with Egypt

South Korea’s Daewoong Pharma signed a five-year, USD 5 mn agreement with the Egyptian International Medical Services to distribute its self-developed Botox product in Egypt, which is the region’s second-largest Botox market, The Investors reports. The Korean company’s product, Nabota, has yet to receive market authorization in Egypt.

BBC International announces closure at the end of the school year

BBC International School caused an uproar with parents after announcing it would be shutting down at the end of the school year, according to AMAY. The school, which has been around for 32 years, claims their decision not to raise school fees over the last few years resulted in them incurring heavy losses. Parents have called for the Education Ministry to get involved claiming that there is no way for the 600 or so kids in the school to find another educational home.

Tourism

Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada occupancy rates expected to rise significantly in 1Q2018, Colliers says

Hotel occupancy rates in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are expected to rise to 47% and 55%, respectively, during 1Q2018, Colliers International said in its latest MENA Hotels Forecast report (pdf). The market in Sharm El Sheikh is forecasted to grow “from the low base of Q1 last year, in which the demand was adversely impacted due to security reasons.” The market in the two resort towns is now rebounding “due to better security perception,” the report says.

Bristol Airport re-introduces direct flights to Egypt, excluding Sharm El Sheikh

Bristol Airport has re-introduced direct flights to Egypt with Thomas Cook for the first time since the Foreign Office issued a travel warning against the country last year, Bristol Post reports. The flights include new summer routes to Hurghada, but not to Sharm El Sheikh. Many airlines suspended direct flights to the Red Sea resort town in December 2015, after the bombing of a Russian passenger plane killed 224 people.

Automotive + Transportation

New company to introduce Electric Vehicles to the Egyptian market

A new company called Revolta Egypt is planning to import electric vehicles and install supporting infrastructure, CEO Mohamed Badawy tells Daily News Egypt. With initial investments of EGP 100 mn in infrastructure, the company set 11 February as the launch date for the first phase, which he said will see it build c. 65 charging points in seven governorates including Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez.

Banking + Finance

Bank consortium waiting on Finance Ministry to lend the SCA c. USD 602 mn; SCA will likely look abroad for financing of dredgers

A banking consortium is waiting on the Finance Ministry to issue a guarantee for a USD 602 mn loan for the Suez Canal Authority (SCA). The facility will finance several of the authority’s planned construction projects, unnamed industry sources tell Al Shorouk. Consortium members include CIB, Banque Misr, NBE, AAIB, Banque du Caire, and the Suez Canal Bank. A separate CIB-NBE-Banque Misr-AAIB consortium had also offered to provide the SCA with a EUR 300 mn loan to finance its agreement with Dutch Royal IHC to purchase two dredgers, according to the sources. The SCA has yet to respond to the offers, however, and will likely borrow from international institutions that have offered better rates and repayment conditions, the newspaper says.

SANAD loans Banque Du Caire USD 10 mn for MSMEs

The Sanad Fund for MSMEs announced on Monday that it will finance USD 10 mn in loans for Banque du Caire’s lending capabilities for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), according to a press statement picked up by Al Mal. This is the second USD 10 mn financing package SANAD gives to a local bank with the Export Development Bank of Egypt receiving a handout last week.

AICC subsidiary obtaining factoring license

Arab Investment & Development Holding Company (AICC) announced that its subsidiary Upper Egypt Leasing is applying for and has made headway in obtaining a factoring license, according to Al Borsa.

Customs rate remains unchanged for another month

The Finance Ministry will keep the exchange rate for customs pinned at EGP 16 per USD 1 for February 2018, the ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Other Business News of Note

Raya Holding looking to acquire minority stake in USD 70 mn agricultural products factory in Uganda

Raya Holding is looking to acquire a minority stake of no more than 25% in a USD 70 mn agricultural products factory in Uganda, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The factory’s capital is USD 24 mn, and Raya’s potential stake will be valued at a maximum of USD 5.8 mn.

EBRD issues procurement notice for consultancy on Oil Ministry’s plan to reform oil and gas sector

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) issued yesterday a procurement notice for a consultancy firm to advise Egypt’s Oil Ministry on its plans to modernize the country’s oil and gas sector. The winning firm would be tasked with facilitating the ministry’s implementation of its seven-pronged modernization strategy and advising on “workflow/business process requirements aimed at increasing integration, governance, transparency, and accountability,” according to an EBRD statement. The bank set EUR 450,000 as the maximum budget for the contract.

Sports

Cairo Economic Court fines beIN Sports EGP 400 mn for monopolistic practices

The Cairo Economic Court has fined beIN Media Group officials, including Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, EGP 400 mn for anti-competitive practices, Al Shorouk reports. The Egyptian Competition Authority had referred beIN to prosecutors last January for monopolizing the distribution of world sports leagues by forcing viewers to subscribe to its entire basic package for a year as a condition of accessing the 2016 La Liga football tournament.

Ali Gabr to West Brom on loan

Egypt centerback Ali Gabr is joining West Bromwich Albion on loan until the end of the season, according to the Washington Post. Gabr moves over from Zamalek with an option for a permanent transfer at the end of the season. The transfer pairs him with his international teammate and defensive partner Ahmed Hegazi; the defensive duo are expected to be mainstays in Egypt’s World Cup efforts this summer.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian virtual assistant platform Elves is targeting millennials around the world after raising USD 2 mn in seed funding last year from investors including Emaar, CMO Mohammed Sabry tells Disrupt Africa. The app allows users to talk to a “super human assistant” to do anything, anywhere in the world, at no cost, according to Sabry. “From booking dinner reservations, picking up your groceries, paying your bills, to booking all your travel; if its legal and doable by you or a personal assistant, we can do it, usually faster and better,” he said.

The village of Al Samaha’s population consists exclusively of single and widowed women, according to Al Arabiya. The 303 women who live there subsist on a government program that has existed since 1998 and aims to help women who suddenly became breadwinners for their families due to divorce or the death of a partner by providing them with plots of agricultural land and fertilizers. Each family is also provided with a home and loans to get their farms up and running. The program is open only to single women; government support is withdrawn if they remarry.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.6278 | Sell 17.7278
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.60 | Sell 17.70
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73

EGX30 (Monday): 15,369 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.6 bn (42% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +2.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session up 0.4% up. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 1.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Emaar Misr up 2.9%; Heliopolis Housing up 1.8%; and Madinet Nasr Housing up 2.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Egyptian Financial & Industrial down 2.4%; Ezz Steel down 1.7%; and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals down 1.5%. The market turnover was EGP 1.6 bin, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +48.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +19.0 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -67.1 mn

Retail: 53.3% of total trades | 50.8% of buyers | 55.8% of sellers
Institutions: 46.7% of total trades | 49.2% of buyers | 44.2% of sellers

Foreign: 23.4% of total | 24.9% of buyers | 21.9% of sellers
Regional: 11.4% of total | 11.9% of buyers | 10.8% of sellers
Domestic: 65.2% of total | 63.2% of buyers | 67.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 65.56 (-0.88%)
Brent: USD 69.44 (-1.53%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.63 MMBtu, (+3.59%, February 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,346.5 / troy ounce (-0.79%)

TASI: 7,568.36 (+0.4%) (YTD: +4.73%)
ADX: 4,626.42 (-0.12%) (YTD: +5.18%)
DFM: 3,455.24 (-0.26%) (YTD: +2.53%)
KSE Weighted Index: 415.68 (-0.03%) (YTD: +3.55%)
QE: 9,450.07 (+0.41%) (YTD: +10.87%)
MSM: 5,002.69 (+0.23%) (YTD: +1.89%)
BB: 1,344.54 (+0.17%) (YTD: +0.96%)

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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.

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; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.