Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Mars to double investment in Egypt, setting country up as an export hub

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

You can now file your tax returns online via this Tax Authority website, the Finance Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy noted that filing tax returns online is optional “for now,” which hints at the possibility that this might become mandatory, making us rather happy campers this morning.

The Ismail cabinet has approved amendments to the Income Tax Act that would allow individuals and companies to submit supplemental documentation for their tax returns two months after the filing deadline. Late filers will also get a break under the proposed changes, which still require sign off from the House of Representatives.

Don’t be a late filer: The deadline for individuals to file returns covering income outside of their primary place of employment is 31 March. The deadline for companies is 30 April.

It’s looking more and more like the US might impose heavy tariffs on steel imports from Egypt and 11 other countries. President Donald Trump said on Monday that “he wants to bring the steel industry back to America even if it means applying tariffs to imports from other countries,” according to Reuters. The US Commerce Department had nodded to the move last week, recommending the US set a levy of at least 53% on steel imports from 12 countries, among them Egypt, China, Brazil, Vietnam, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, and Thailand, while imposing a quota on other countries to limit their tariff-free access to a volume equal to their 2017 exports.

EU trade ministers threatened to “respond with countermeasures” if the White House moves ahead with the tariffs, saying that they are “incompatible with World Trade Organization rules and unjustifiable on national security grounds,” the newswire says.

Sound smart: Consensus in the Egyptian business community appears to be that so little of our steel is exported to the US that there’s unlikely to be a direct impact here. What’s more, Egypt has already imposed anti-dumping duties on countries that would otherwise look to dump surplus production here in the event the US goes ahead with the Trump tariffs.

Powell hints that US Fed rate increases could come faster: New US Federal Reserve Chairman Jaw Powell “gave a markedly bullish assessment of the US economic outlook” yesterday as he addressed Congress for the first time since taking the top job at the US central bank. That prompted speculation that he could push for a quicker pace of rate increases as the economy grows. The Financial Times and CNBC have coverage. Powell also said the Fed will be vigilant about risks to financial stability and explained he didn’t think ETFs played an outsized role in the recent market correction.

If JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon thinks how shareholder meetings are a “complete waste of time,” he’s never been to one in our neck of the woods. Master James is reportedly upset that retail investors ask him difficult questions about topics he’d rather not discuss, though the bit about (political) activist shareholders is something with which we suppose we could sympathize (the meetings, he said, have often been “hijacked by people who have only political interests and don’t have any interest in the future health of the company.”) At least he’s not dealing with people who steal the silverware, pack their purses with croissants and sandwiches, bring their kids to the outing, and try to physically shake-down CEOs for cab fare and other ‘donations’ to make up for lagging share prices… The Financial Times has a rundown on Dimon’s complaints, which it notes “are likely to stir debate over gathering usefulness of shareholder meetings, which tend to be the only opportunity for retail investors to connect with top managers.”

Goldman Sachs is taking a leaf out of the Egyptian financial industry’s playbook: “Goldman Sachs, advisor to the elite, wants to be your local bank,” the Wall Street Journal reports, noting that “under its Marcus brand, the Wall Street powerhouse is planning to sell insurance, mortgages and car loans, consumer businesses it once disdained.” Sound familiar to anyone here at home who witnessed a certain big, green investment bank push into leasing and microfinance — and prompt an industry scramble to do the same?

Russia could be dethroned as the world’s biggest oil producer, overtaken by the US as the end of this year, Reuters reports, citing figures from the International Energy Agency. The IEA sees grow in the shale industry allowing the US to overtake Russia by the end of 2019 at the latest. “U.S. oil is also increasingly being exported, including to the world’s biggest and fastest growing markets in Asia, eating away at OPEC and Russian market share,” the newswire notes.

Saudi’s shakeup of its military and security leadership is getting wide international coverage. Ben Hubbard’s piece for the New York Times is typical, noting that the changes elevate “younger officials at a time of increased military engagement abroad and sharp economic and social change at home.”

PSA- Ramses Street near the Downtown area will be partially closed off on Thursday and Friday nights from midnight until 06:00 as crews dig up cables to repair faults, according to Al Shorouk.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The Central Bank is expected to announce foreign reserve figures “within days”, a banking official tells Youm 7. Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said last week that proceeds from the recent USD 4 bn eurobond sale had already hit Egypt, bringing the country’s net FX reserves to around USD 41 bn.

Government to announce winners of PPP schools tender this week: The Ismail government plans to announce this week the winners of its tender for the development and management of 200 schools under public-private partnership contracts.

Meet me there: Hind El Hafez, our friend and the noted jewelry designer and artist, is helping organized the Cairo Artists Collective’s group exhibition “Meet Me There,” running through Friday, 2 March 2018 in Zamalek. The event features her latest collection of contemporary art jewelry and has as its special guest Spain’s Estela Saez Vilanova. Want to attend? Pop an email over to info@cairoartistscollective.com for the details.

On The Horizon

Verdict coming in anti-Uber, Careem lawsuit: The Administrative Court will issue a verdict on 20 March in the case filed by 42 taxi drivers demanding that local operations for ride-hailing services Uber and Careem be shut down, Al Borsa reports. The lawsuit was filed last year on grounds that the the apps violate the law by using a private vehicle, which allows them to evade an annual EGP 800 fee that taxi drivers have to pay. An act to regulate the work of ride-hailing apps is in the works.

Our friends at EFG Hermes are hosting their 14th annual One on One Conference in Dubai on Monday, 5 March. The three-day event is the largest investor conference globally focused on frontier and emerging markets and will bring together some 175 companies for discussions on what a year of shifting benchmarks — including oil production cuts and the prospect of US interest rate hikes — mean for emerging frontier markets.

The 2018 international Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) International Conference is taking place in Egypt this year on Tuesday, 6 March at the Nile Ritz Carlton. This year’s iteration looks at investment promotion, SME development and the creation of meaningful job opportunities as a means to sustainably grow Egypt’s industrial areas. The gathering is being held under the auspices of the Trade and Industry Ministry in partnership between the East Port Said Development Company.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s talking heads acted as one last night as they piled on the hate for the BBC. Kol Youm’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 7:45), Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal and Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 1:41) all took runs at the British broadcaster after the State Information Service (SIS) called for a boycott yesterday, asking the organization to make a formal apology for a report by Orla Guerin on forced disappearances in Egypt.

What’s the story? The SIS has denounced the reporting false. It’s also demanding the BBC publish its six-page rebuttal, outlining what it calls “violations” in Guerin’s piece, according to a statement yesterday. The SIS’ Arabic statement points to Amr Adib’s interview on Monday evening with a woman he said was Zubaida — one of three individuals the BBC said was forcibly disappeared — as evidence that the entirety of the report is false.

The National Press Authority (NPA) also said it would suspend all contact and cooperation with the BBC, including any and all existing agreements, “until further notice.” The BBC has lost all respect, NPA head Karam Gabr told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin (watch, runtime: 6:10). While MP Ahmed El Komy suggested that the House of Representatives sue the organization (watch, runtime: 2:46).

The talking heads weren’t the only ones: Emad El Din Adib took to the pages of El Watan to criticize the BBC for what he called a “deliberate attack” on Egypt, while Ahram Gate’s Amina Khairy described it as a “vicious media war” against the country. Joining them was Al Masry Al Youm’s Hamdy Rizk, who demanded a formal apology.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also slammed the report during a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva yesterday.

On a separate plane of existence, Amr Adib was delighted to share with all of us that his prayers for the development of the local edible oils industry have been answered with Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill’s new JV. We noted yesterday that the two were partnering up on a soybean crushing facility that Adib says will help plug the gap in edible oil demand (watch, runtime: 6:31).

Meanwhile, Egypt will have a completely new sanitation and waste management system in five-years’ time, Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy told Lamees Al Hadidi on Hona Al Asema. The new system, which will focus heavily on recycling, will reduce the state’s role to a market regulator and allow the private sector instead to provide services, such as garbage collection and processing, through tendering processes, he said.

The system will be implemented in three phases, the first of which will cover three governorates, he added (watch, runtime: 7:29). Fahmy also explained that around 85% of the population will not be charged additional sanitation fees, which will be imposed only on bills on the higher end of the consumption spectrum (watch, runtime: 1:56).

The Sinai development strategy earned significant airtime on Masaa DMC, where the secretary general of the Federation of Egyptian Investors, Mohamed Khamis Shaaban, told host Kamal that there is a plan to build a EGP 135 mn industrial complex to house 128 small factories (watch, runtime: 7:05). The private sector should also invest in the area, National Authority for Sinai Development member, Salah Al Balk, also said (watch, runtime: 6:10).

Egypt has the second strongest military force in the Middle East after Turkey, according to a Forbes report that Lamees spent some time analyzing with the former head of the army’s Moral Affairs department, Samir Farag. He said that Turkey’s outranks Egypt due to its military production’s high capacity (watch, runtime: 9:49)

Also from last night’s talk shows:

  • Relations with Sudan and Ethiopia have been growing warmer compared to a few months ago, Adib mused on Kol Youm while he discussed the latest on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (watch, runtime: 9:49).
  • Lamees (watch, runtime: 3:17) and Tamer Amin (watch, runtime: 1:11) both bid Saudi’s now-former ambassador to Cairo, Ahmed Al Qattan, farewell.
  • Public Enterprises Minister Khaled El Badawy appeared on TV for the third time this month to talk about more of the same, this time with Sherif Amer on Yahduth fi Masr (watch, runtime: 3:50).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

INVESTMENT WATCH- Mars to double investment in Egypt to EGP 2 bn this year: Mars Wrigley Confectionery plans on doubling its investments in Egypt to EGP 2 bn by year’s end, which “reflect[s] Mars’ confidence in the Egyptian economy,” said Mars Wrigley Confectionery Global President Martin Radvan. The announcement came at the inauguration yesterday of the first phase of its EGP 750 mn expansion of its 6 October City factory, which will include the commissioning of two new production lines, the company said in a statement (pdf). Mars expects these latest expansions will grow its exports out of Egypt to USD 100 mn by the end of 2018, Regional President for the Asia-Australia, Middle East & Africa Region Ehab Abou Oaf said. Around 80-90% of the factory’s output is earmarked for export to 20 markets in the region. The new production lines will add 79 new products to its lineup once the second phase of the expansion is complete in six months’ time, said the factory’s director, Ahmed Al Hiraky. The expansion will see total capacity rise to 70k tons per year at the end of 2018, up from 50k tons now.

The move shows that “American companies want to be part of the growing momentum in the Egyptian economy,” US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger said in a statement from the US embassy (pdf). Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil lauded the expansions as a “message” to foreign investors that Egypt is an attractive market.

Domestic chocolate manufacturers are looking to follow in Mars’ footsteps. Sima Food Industries plans to add two new production lines to its chocolate factory, while the Alexandria Confectionery & Chocolate Company — which produces Corona chocolate — will begin constructing a new 6 October City factory this year, Al Borsa reports.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Fine Hygienic Holding plans to invest EGP 120 mn this year to add new tissue and diaper production lines, Egypt Head of Sales and Marketing Ahmed Kattan tells Al Mal. Part of the investment has also been earmarked for expanding its fleet of distribution trucks and opening new sales points. The company also intends to increase its exports over the coming period by tapping into new African markets.

M&A WATCH- Saudi Arabia’s Marei bin Mahfouz Group has reportedly bought a 25% stake in DBK Pharma, signaling that the firm might have once and for all abandoned plans to relist on the EGX, according to Al Mal. The group acquired the shares for EGP 38.7 mn, and these were bought from family members of chairman Hamdy El Debeky, said Madani Law Firm’s Zahra El Madani, legal adviser on the transaction. Al Mal suggests a share sale was called off because it had not generated enough buzz. El Debeky had said last September that the firm’s IPO would take place in 4Q2017. Sources close to the transaction also said that the company is in talks with other investors to sell another 20% of the company.

Egypt’s banking laws need to be “completely revamped,” says Amer: What is the most pressing concern for the central bank these days? A “complete revamp” of its banking laws to introduce “sharp and crisp” governance for the sector, CBE Governor Tarek Amer told Bloomberg on Tuesday. “We don’t want people to feel relaxed in the banking system. Our objective in regulation isn’t just to defend financial stability,” he said. Amer is of course referencing the Central Bank and Banking Act, amendments to which the CBE has been cooking for about a year now. “The objective is to be able to achieve financial stability by bringing financial intermediation to the market in a real way.” Authorities will first have to win broad support in parliament and society for the overhaul, he said. Amer’s Bloomberg interview is part of a package of coverage of regional central bank governors that the business information service has put together. You can check out the full thing here.

“Egypt’s first interest rate cut since exchange rate liberalization has been made possible by an improvement in macro-economic stability, underpinned by more orthodox policy settings under the country’s IMF program,” Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday. The CBE’s 100 bps rate cut earlier this month came on the back of annual headline inflation dropping to 17.1% in January, Fitch said while noting that inflation in Egypt is well above peers and remains a sovereign rating weakness. The ratings firm believes that inflation will fall further this year but remain in double digits, averaging at around 13%, assuming further subsidy reform in July leads to energy price increases, especially given higher oil prices. “Even so, we expect the CBE to cut rates further this year (another 200-300 bps) even as global rates rise, while maintaining positive real interest rates. These factors were reflected in our revision of the Outlook on Egypt’s ‘B’ sovereign rating to Positive last month.”

However, “relatively weak governance, security and political risks continue to weigh on the rating,” read the statement. These risks appear to be balanced out by the fact that reforms have not led to a visible social backlash. Fitch notes that “the authorities have minimized the potential for opposition figures to build political momentum ahead of next month’s presidential elections.”

Renaissance Capital MENA CEO Ahmed Badr squarely disagrees with the political risk argument. Instead, he sees a potential growth in inflation as the biggest risk facing the reform agenda. “Egypt has never been as politically stable as it is today … So I don’t think the presidential elections actually represents any risk and the security situation is completely fine,” Badr told Bloomberg TV. “I’m more worried about the potential for inflation to rise again in July, simply because of the subsidy cuts,” he added. It is with that mindset that he feels the CBE will approach the monetary easing cycle. “I expect the CBE to keep interest rates as high as possible for as long as possible.” Badr notes how the CBE has traditionally beaten expectations by general being more conservative on monetary policy.

As for the positive macro outlook, you’ll get no arguments from Badr on that. With signs including USD being available for investors, market sentiment across all asset classes for Egypt is positive, a far cry from the hesitant approach investors took just one year ago, says Badr.

You can catch the full interview here and cycling forward to minute 40:00 (watch, runtime: 47:59)

Saudi follows in the footsteps of Egypt: Badr also see parallels between the rise in inflation in Saudi Arabia and the spike in Egypt’s inflation a year earlier. He also drew parallels between the skittish reactions of the markets to both country’s inflation figures. Likewise, Badr expects to see a pickup in investor interest in Saudi Arabia as it goes through its own economic reforms (watch, runtime: 2:16).

FIRST LOOK- Import companies can how have a non-Egyptian manager -Shahid Law Firm. Our friends at Shahid Law Firm tell us that they have obtained official confirmation from the General Organization for Export and Import Control (GOEIC) that “the day-to-day management and financial control of import companies can now be handled by non-Egyptians, provided that the requirement of appointment of an Egyptian import administrator is at all times satisfied.” The news, which Shahid will be sending in a note to clients today, comes pursuant to recent amendments to the Importer Registry Act (law 121 of 1982), which for the first time allows non-Egyptians to own up to 49% of the share capital of an import company. “While the amendments clearly stipulated that only the import administrator must be Egyptian, neither the amendments nor the executive regulations of the Law determined whether this nationality requirement extends to the company’s management; hence the pressing need for clarity,” the firm said.

The Electricity Ministry has reportedly drawn up a list of 10 contractors it will recommend to Russia’s Rosatom to work on the USD 30 bn Dabaa nuclear power plant, ministry sources told Al Mal on Tuesday. Among the leading names included in the list are Elsewedy Electric, Orascom Construction, Arab Contractors, Hassan Allam, and Petrojet, the source added. The ministry had compiled the list along with the ministries of housing and public enterprises. 20% of construction work on the power plant has been slated for Egyptian companies, amounting to USD 4 bn in contracts, according to the newspaper.

Elsewedy Electric has already begun talks to establish a consortium to bid on contract work for the power plant, CEO Ahmed Elsewedy tells the newspaper. The company plans to secure a large portion of the work on the power plants, he added without providing details.

DP World, SCZone launch phase one of Ain Sokhna multi-use zone: DP World and the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) signed contracts to start development work on the 30 sq km first phrase of their integrated industrial and residential zone in Ain Sokhna, according to a joint statement (pdf). They plan to begin signing contracts with companies to begin operating out of the zone in March, SCZone Chairman Mohab Mamish said. “We are pleased to move ahead with the development of this promising new project, which has the potential to substantially increase foreign investment into Egypt’s economy,” said DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem at the signing yesterday.

What is it? The 75k sqm zone will be managed by DP World, which holds a 49% stake in the project. It will also include a 20,000 sqm residential development. The agreement for the project was signed during November’s World Youth Conference.

What industries are being targeted? Phase one will prioritize auto parts, food processing, petrochemicals, electronics, building materials, textiles, and medical equipment projects, Mamish added.

New natgas regulator board meets for the first time, no word on when first import license will be issued: The new natural gas market regulator’s board of directors met for the first time yesterday after the Ismail Cabinet signed off on the full formation, Al Ahram reports. Appointees to the board include GASCO head Hisham Radwan, EGAS deputy head Magdy Galal, Competition Authority boss Mona El Garf, and MP Mohamed El Sewedy. Chaired by Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, the board discussed their plans to bring the new regulator online now that the executive regulations to the Natural Gas Act have been issued, allowing private sector players to enter the market.

No word on the first import permit: Sources had said earlier this month that the board would issue the first LNG import license to the private sector before the end of February, when it convened for the first time. El Molla made no reference to the claims, but said that all entities working in the industry would have to request regulator approval. The minister also said that the board was still in the process of setting the fees and terms for the state’s agreements with natural gas companies to allow them to use its infrastructure for the transportation and distribution of LNG. Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings has already signed a USD 15 bn natural gas import agreement with Israel and Egypt is also close to finalizing a similar pact with Cyprus.

LEGISLATION WATCH- We’re starting to see a trickle of news on the next wave of economic legislation.

First off, the new Insurance Act, which the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is drafting with an eye to tighten regulation of the sector, will include amendments that govern pension and private social welfare funds, said FRA deputy head Reda Abdel Moty. These changes include raising a fund’s minimum capitalization to EGP 100k from a current EGP 1,000. The law will also put a cap on the number of subscribers to the fund, he added. Abdel Moty appears to frame this as part of a wider crackdown on the number of unregistered welfare funds, which will be subject to asset freezes in a forthcoming enforcement drive, according to Al Mal.

Amendments to the Economic Courts Act are stalled. The Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) has reportedly raised objections to what it says the lack of input from ministries and government agencies impacted by the law. In its review of the law, the Council says that the CBE, the Financial Regulatory Authority, and the Finance Ministry should have been consulted as per the constitution, AMAY reports. The amendments, which are meant to expedite the dispute resolution process, also grants Economic Courts jurisdiction over criminal violations of the Capital Markets Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Collateralized Assets Act, and the Civil Aviation Act, according to Youm7. The law will presumably undergo a rewrite by the Ismail cabinet before being introduced to the House of Representatives.

It also looks like plenary discussions in the House on the Consumer Protection Act will take place next Sunday, Consumer Protection Authority chief Atef Yacoub said, according to AMAY.

In other legislative news, the Universal Healthcare Act will cover overseas medical treatment in some cases, Health Minister Ahmed Rady said yesterday, without elaborating. The law’s executive regulations are currently with the Council of State for review and should before the new scheme is implemented in July.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved EUR 148 mn in loans to Egypt for the Kafr El Sheikh Kitchener Drain depollution project. The first EUR 69 mn loan will be directed towards rehabilitating the drainage system. The bank is also providing a EUR 79 mn facility to finance the purchase of containers and tractors to collect municipal solid waste and construct up to six treatment facilities, and five sanitary landfills. A third component of the depollution project will likely be financed by the European Investment Bank, according to the EBRD.

It looks like Abdul Latif Jameel might be back after all: It appears that Abdul Latif Jameel is indeed returning to renewable energy in Egypt by participating in the Electricity Holding Company’s tender for a 600 MW solar power plant in the West Nile area. The firm will be bidding on the project through its subsidiary Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), which will partner with Infinity Solar, senior Infinity Solar exec Taymour Aboulkheir tells Al Borsa. FRV is listed among the 18 companies and consortiums (pdf) competing for the project.

It looks as if the delay in the return of Russian flights is unrelated to ground handling services, as Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov suggested on Monday. Egyptian officials signed an agreement covering ground handling services with Aeroflot’s general manager during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt last year, the head of the Egyptian Aviation Services company, Mohamed Kamel, tells Al Ahram. All the required paperwork for the resumption of direct air travel between Cairo and Moscow was completed during Putin’s stay, he adds, noting that Russian officials appeared more concerned with security measures at the time. Kamel confirmed that Cairo Airport was ready to receive Russian flights. EgyptAir Chairman Safwat Musallam had said that flights with Moscow, which had been hoped would begin about two weeks ago, were postponed until April to ensure significant demand.

** SHARE ENTERPRISE WITH A FRIEND **

Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

Image of the Day

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il used illicitly obtained Brazilian passports for travel to Western countries in the 1990s, European security sources revealed to Reuters. Brazilian authorities are currently looking into how the pair obtained what appear to be legitimate documents (although Reuters only saw photocopies) carrying the aliases Josef Pwag and Ijong Tchoi.

Egypt in the News

Egyptian pop singer Sherine Abdel Wahab made top headlines on Egypt in the foreign press this morning after a court sentenced her to six months in prison on charges of spreading false news. Abdel Wahab’s joke last year about falling ill from drinking Nile water had been deemed offensive, leading to a lawsuit against her. AFP, Xinhua, and BBC all have the story.

In related news, singer Leila Amer was sentenced to a two-year prison term yesterday for “inciting debauchery” with a racy music video.

A “purge” of potential rivals ahead of the presidential elections has watchers “puzzled,” Jacob Wirtschafter and Mina Nader write for The Washington Times. Wirtschafter and Nader say Egypt is “sidelining opponents and fueling a boycott of the vote while polls say [President Abdel Fattah El Sisi] has deep popular support and would win a free and fair election in a walk… Large blocs of voters remain devoted to the president, motivated more by the government’s promises of stability and security over the prospect of political freedoms and civil liberties.”

An English museum exhibition created a visual representation of the long history of stolen Egyptian wealth during colonial times. The exhibition showcases around 1,000 pieces, putting the owner of the trove — Anne Goodison — “within the broad, complicated history of collecting Egyptian objects under British imperialism,” Claire Voon writes for Hyperallergic. Goodison managed to amass her trove during just two visits to Egypt in the late 19th century, while it was under British colonial rule.

Also worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Bassem Youssef is navigating the American systems of education, entertainment, and politics and participating in a number of college campus visits, Valley News reports.
  • Chloe Imus gives Alexandria a glowing review based on its street eateries and history for Roads & Kingdoms.
  • Stalled talks over the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam continue to create worries for Egypt, Edward Yeranian writes for VOA.

Worth Watching

“Quantum computing isn’t just your classical computer on steroids. It is a completely different computing model,” says Goldman Sachs lead analyst on semiconductors, Toshiya Hari. Quantum computers are now on Goldman Sachs Research’s “Outsiders” list of emerging ecosystems to watch. Hari suggests that quantum computers could be used in logistics and with new developments like autonomous vehicles. In pharmaceuticals, quantum computers can simulate models to determine how a human being would react to a certain medication. We could expect having quantum computers about five to ten years from now, Hari says. By 2021 quantum computing could potentially be a USD 29 bn industry, Goldman Sachs suggests (watch, runtime 02:18).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The US State Department added two individuals and seven organizations linked to Daesh to its list of recognized terrorists, according to an official statement. The list includes Daesh’s various branches and offshoots in Egypt, Bangladesh, Somalia, Nigeria, Tunisia, and the Philippines, in addition to Nigeria’s Abu Musab Al Barnawi and Somalia’s Mahad Moalim.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called yesterday on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to a ministry statement. Speaking at a UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Shoukry said that eliminating weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East is “at the forefront of steps to preserve the region’s security.” Israel is one of five countries who are non-parties to the treaty.

Energy

Electricity Minister inaugurates EU-funded EUR 22 mn solar power plant in Borg El Arab

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker inaugurated a EUR 22 mn Multipurpose Applications by Thermodynamic Solar (MATS) plant in Borg El Arab yesterday, Ahram Gate reports. The project, to which the EU contributed EUR 12 mn, is expected to produce over 3,000 MW of electricity and about 8,900 MW of thermal energy a year once its fully online, according to the European Commission.

Infrastructure

Gov’t launches EGP 300 mn development plan for Abu Ramad, Shalatin

The Red Sea Ports Authority and Military Productions Ministry signed yesterday a cooperation protocol to begin work on EGP 300 mn worth of development projects in Abu Ramad and Shalatin, Al Mal reports. The projects include a EGP 120 mn port in Abu Ramad and a EGP 150 port in Shalatin, in addition to two water treatment plants and two waste treatment facilities to service the two ports at a cost of EGP 30 mn. The announcement comes as Egypt and Sudan appear to be de-escalating tensions over sovereignty of the Halayeb and Shalatin triangle. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim El Ghandour had said over the weekend that the two sides suggested transforming the triangle into an integrated Sudanese-Egyptian area.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt’s food exports reached USD 2.8 bn in 2017 -Kabil

Egypt’s food exports from registered USD 2.8 bn in 2017, Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil announced yesterday, according to Al Shorouk. With an eye to growing that the number, Kabil says the government has redoubled its quality control measures, such as establishing the Food Safety Authority. These measures have helped grow investments in the sector to EGP 500 mn in 2017, a figure which Kabil sees as growing 8-10% by the end of 2018.

Manufacturing

Kabil inaugurates three factories in Six October with EGP 1.8 bn investments

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil inaugurated yesterday three factories in Six October City with total investments of EGP 1.8 bn, Al Borsa reports. The first is a EGP 200 mn resins and polymers plant, the second a USD 30 mn cast iron brake discs factory, and the third a EUR 50 mn food additives factory.

Real Estate + Housing

MNHD targets contracted sales of up to EGP 6 bn in 2018

Madinet Nasr Housing and Development (MNHD) is targeting contracted sales of EGP 5.5-6 bn during 2018, the company said in a bourse statement (pdf). MNHD sees new phases of the Taj City reeling in EGP 2.5-3 bn, while contracted sales for its Sarai projects are projected to reach EGP 2-3 bn.

PHD launching West Cairo project in April, Alexandria project 2H2018

Palm Hills Development (PHD) is preparing for the April launch of the first phase of a new residential project it’s developing in Six October in partnership with the New and Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), CEO Yassin Mansour tells Al Mal. PHD will also launch a new residential development in Alexandria in 2H2018, Mansour added, without revealing additional detail.

Tourism

Ramses II statue discovered in Kom Ombo

Archaeologists discovered parts of a Ramses II statue in Aswan’s Temple of Kom Ombo, the Antiquities Ministry announced yesterday, The Associated Press reports. The statue’s head and chest were found during work to shield the site from groundwater. WCBI and Asharq Al-Awsat also carried the story.

Telecoms + ICT

EGX approves Orange’s EGP 15.4 capital increase

The EGX listing committee approved yesterday Orange’s request to increase its issued capital to EGP 16.4 bn from EGP 1 bn, according to an EGX filing. The EGP 15.4 bn capital increase will be by financed through a rights issue to existing shareholders. The new shares will be added to the EGX database as of 5 March. The company received regulatory approval in December, a month after the board of directors signed off on the move — which also brings authorized capital up to EGP 20 bn from EGP 3 bn.

Automotive + Transportation

ENR’s 1,300 new locomotives expected to cost EGP 19 bn -Arafat

The purchase of 1,300 new locomotives for the Egyptian National Railways (ENR) is expected to cost EGP 19 bn, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat told reporters yesterday, according to Al Shorouk. Arafat had said back in November — when the tender had been for 1,000 cars — that the locomotives would cost c. EGP 16 bn. The Transport Ministry has assessed three out of seven offers on the table for the supply contract and expects to announce its final decision in one month. The minister had said earlier this month that the ENR received 13 bids in the tender.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Potential governor reshuffle to follow presidential elections

The Local Development Ministry is contemplating a governor reshuffle after the March presidential election, sources tell Al Shorouk. Officials are currently evaluating governors’ performance to assess whether they have been meeting their targets and expectations.

Former Helwan governor sentenced to five years, fined EGP 50,000 over bribery

Former Helwan Governor Hazem El Qowaidi was sentenced to five years in prison and fined EGP 50,000 yesterday on charges of bribery, Al Shorouk reports. He was arrested last year on allegations that he received a Mercedes-Benz in exchange for illegally transferring ownership of a government-owned land plot in Maadi to a private company. In related news, the Cairo Misdemeanor Court renewed the detention of Menoufia Governor Hisham Abdel Basset for 45 days pending investigation into charges of corruption and graft, the newspaper adds.

Genena remanded for another 45 days

Military prosecutors extended former top auditor Hisham Genena’s detainment for 45 days pending further investigation into charges of him spreading false news,according to Al Shorouk. Genena was released on bail last week and had been detained after claiming he held incriminating evidence against top military officials.

On Your Way Out

NASA snapped some dazzling pictures of Jupiter’s swirling clouds via its Juno spacecraft earlier this month when it did a close flyby, Global Times reports. The spacecraft was roughly 8,000 km above the clouds when it grabbed the color-enhanced shots of Jupiter’s northern temperate belt.

The Market Yesterday

Share This Section

Powered by
Pharos Holding - http://www.pharosholding.com/

EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.56 | Sell 17.66

EGX30 (Tuesday): 15,523 (+0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (6% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +3.4%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed down 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Eastern Co up 3.5%; Egyptian Iron & Steel up 3.3%; and Amer Group up 3.2%. Today’s worst performing stocks Qalaa Holdings down 1.4%; GB Auto down 1.4%; and ACC down 1.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +10.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +10.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -20.3 mn

Retail: 54.8% of total trades | 53.1% of buyers | 56.6% of sellers
Institutions: 45.2% of total trades | 46.9% of buyers | 43.4% of sellers

Foreign: 22.6% of total | 23.0% of buyers | 22.2% of sellers
Regional: 16.7% of total | 17.2% of buyers | 16.3% of sellers
Domestic: 60.7% of total | 59.8% of buyers | 61.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 62.83 (-0.29%)
Brent: USD 66.63 (-1.29%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.69 MMBtu, (+0.34%, APR 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,319.4 / troy ounce (+0.06%)

TASI: 7,465.47 (-0.09%) (YTD: +3.31%)
ADX: 4,599.22 (+0.13%) (YTD: +4.56%)
DFM: 3,286.58 (-0.61%) (YTD: -2.48%)
KSE Weighted Index: 412.89 (+0.67%) (YTD: +2.86%)
QE: 8,929.5 (-0.7%) (YTD: +4.76%)
MSM: 4,993.16 (+0.16%) (YTD: -2.08%)
BB: 1,365.81 (-0.36%) (YTD: +2.56%)

Share This Section

Calendar

05 March (Monday): Egypt’s PMI reading for February released.

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

06-07 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Sustainable Industrial Areas International Conference 2018, The Nile Ritz Carlton hotel, Cairo.

07-11 March (Wednesday-Sunday): ITB Berlin Convention, Berlin, Germany.

12-16 March (Sunday-Saturday): AmCham’s 40th Doorknock mission, Washington D.C., USA.

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

02-03 April (Monday-Tuesday): Pharos Holding’s investor conference: In Search for Egypt Alpha, 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): Labor Day, national holiday.

02-03 May (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2018, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

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 (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. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.