Sunday, 4 March 2018

Egypt could join OPEC after 2019 -El Molla

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Cairo today for a three-day visit, during which he will meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Ittihadiya spokesman Bassam Rady confirmed over the weekend. Talks are expected to extend to the US’ stance on Jerusalem, the Qatar boycott, and developments in Yemen and Syria, sources tell Egypt Today.

Just in time for the meeting, the Supreme Constitutional Court dismissed yesterday all legal challenges to Egypt’s transfer of two Red Sea islands to KSA, Reuters notes. MPs had signed off on the agreement to transfer Tiran and Sanafir last June, a week before it was ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. The story is being widely picked up by the foreign press, with coverage on the Associated Press and US News, among others.

This will be MbS’ first public foreign trip since he became crown prince in 2017, Reuters notes. MbS is scheduled to fly to London on Wednesday and will then head across the pond to the US on 19 March, unnamed Egyptian officials tell the newswire.

The central bank is expected to announce foreign reserve figures “within days,” a banking official told Youm7. 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.

A strike so quiet, not even workers knew they were on the picket line: A good friend of ours has let us know that contrary to a report last week from Al Shorouk, Helwan Cement factory workers did not walk out on strike. “If they were out on strike, it was the quietest strike in history. None of us here at the company knew there was a strike—not even the striking workers of Helwan Cement.”

Investment map of 1,270 projects finally launched: The Investment Ministry released its long-awaited investment map on Friday, compiling an interactive directory of 1,270 projects up for grabs across the country’s 27 governorates. Each governorate has at least one available project but the New Valley dominates the list with 202 openings. The map covers a wide range of sectors, including agribusiness, automotive, real estate and infrastructure, tourism, transportation, energy, and engineering industries, among others. The investment map has been a long time coming: Minister Sahar Nasr had initially said it would be ready for public viewing as early as July of last year, at which time the directory was expected to include around 600 projects.

A handful of us will be in Dubai today attending the EFG Hermes One on One — which kicks off tomorrow — and then meeting with friends later in the week. We may have a few meeting slots free in the second half of the week. Email editorial@enterprise.press if you’d like to talk about having coffee.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim will return to Cairo tomorrow, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour tells Reuters. Abdel Halim had been recalled “for consultations” in January amid souring ties between the two countries over disputes in sovereignty over the Halayeb Triangle and “Egyptian suspicions of a Sudan-Turkey naval agreement,” the newswire notes. Sudan Tribune also has the story.

The 2018 international Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) International Conference is taking place in Egypt this year on Tuesday at the Nile Ritz Carlton. The gathering is being held under the auspices of the Trade and Industry Ministry in partnership between the East Port Said Development Company. More than 400 delegates are now registered to attend, c. 100 of whom will be arriving from outside Egypt.

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.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The official launch of insurance policies to cover non-government workers was one of several topics on the brains of the nation’s talking heads last night (We have full coverage in Speed Round, below), who were also preoccupied with the media crackdown and the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday upholding Egypt’s agreement with Saudi Arabia over the sovereignty of two Red Sea Islands.

The success of the certificates will determine whether they’re extended beyond their original tenures, National Bank of Egypt (NBE) Deputy Head Yehia Aboul Fotouh told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. He confirmed that all bank branches will process requests as of today and reassured Lamees that interest rate fluctuations will not affect the payment scheme in cases of death (watch, runtime: 49:33). Misr Insurance Company will be in charge of handing out the payments, deputy head Ahmed Fouad Selim explained to Lamees (watch, runtime: 4:21).

The Labor Ministry will attempt to create a tally of seasonal, private-sector workers, who will be able to register through the ministry’s 467 outlets across the country, the ministry’s Mohamed Abdel Rahman said. He placed the figure of seasonal workers across the sectors at 12-13 mn (watch, runtime: 6:30).

Surprisingly enough, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib was once again the voice of reason, preaching against the crackdown on the press. He argued that the arrest of two journalists reporting on Alexandria tramway and recent investigation into charges of spreading false news levelled against talk show host Khairy Ramadan are detrimental to Egypt’s global image. Adib urged authorities to drop the case and dedicate their time fighting those really plotting against the state (read: terrorists) (watch, runtime: 4:08).

On the Supreme Court’s ruling on the islands of Tiran and Sanafir (watch, runtime: 2:16), Lamees urged the authorities to release those detained for protesting the agreement since the verdict sealed the debate and invalidated any previous legal challenges to its validity (watch, runtime: 2:18). Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin agreed, saying the ruling has “closed the door on any further talk about the case (watch, runtime: 7:05).

As for concerns over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Lamees urged the Foreign Ministry to clarify rumors suggesting that Cairo has received Addis Ababa’s plan to fill the reservoir behind the dam over five years (watch, runtime: 2:19). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib hosted Irrigation Minister Mohammed Abdel Ati to discuss GERD’s impact on Egypt’s Nile water supply (watch, runtime: 4:26).

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is expected to discuss cooperation, economy, and counterterrorism with Saudi Crown Prince MbS during their meeting today, Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hossary (watch, runtime: 2:49)
  • North Sinai Governor Abdel Fattah Harhour reassured Adib on Kol Youm that North Sinai residents have access to commodities and amenities (watch, runtime: 7:21).
  • Presidential candidate Moussa Moustafa Moussa is holding a conference on 23 March to discuss his electoral program, he told El Hosary (watch, runtime: 5:18), who also spoke to El Sisi’s campaign spokesman Mohammed Abu Shuka about the president’s plans for the coming weeks (watch, runtime: 7:18).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

With gas secured, Oil Ministry takes aim at fuel: Egypt plans to close the supply deficit for fuel and petroleum products within three years, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said in an interview with Mehwar TV’s Akher El Osboo’ program (watch, runtime: 2:19). The ministry plans to close this 35% deficit by building up refining capacity, a cheaper alternative than importing petroleum products, he added.

This comes as El Molla announced that Saudi Aramco agreed to supply Egyptian refineries with crude oil for six months beginning from January 2018. “Aramco will supply 500k barrels per month of crude oil to Egyptian refineries, El Molla told Reuters on Thursday.

Have we already begun exporting fuel to Europe? State-owned EGPC has begun exporting bunker fuel to Europe as Egypt’s generation needs are now being met by domestic natural gas supply from Zohr and the West Nile Delta, traders tell S&P Global’s Platts. The EGPC offered 25,000 tonnes of bunker fuel in international tenders over the last few weeks. “Egypt used to import much more fuel oil than now,” a trader said. Egypt’s last import tender was for three shipments of 30,000-45,000 tonnes of fuel oil back in October.

Egypt could be a member of OPEC at some point in the future, El Molla told Bloomberg TV in a separate interview. El Molla said Egypt was not in a place to join OPEC members in output cuts because it remains a net-importer, but “we were supporting,” he says. The minimum Egypt would do is cooperate with OPEC, the maximum would be becoming a member of the cartel, he explained. El Molla does not think it would happen as soon as this year and thinks it would be an option after Egypt completes its “reform journey” from 2019 and on. The Oil Minister added that the current oil price of USD 60-70 per bbl is “good” for Egypt and encouraging of investment in the sector (runtime 05:01).

With that long-term goal in mind, the Oil Ministry plans to hold an oil exploration tender in 2H2018, El Molla said, without adding any details, Ahram Gate reports. EGAS had announced that it too plans to hold an international gas exploration tender for nine blocks before the end of 1H2018.

Court accepts Ibnsina’s appeal in antitrust case: The Cairo Court of Appeals has agreed to hear Ibnsina Pharma’s appeal against an Economic Court ruling that fined the company, alongside three other pharma manufacturers, a combined EGP 5.6 bn fine for alleged antitrust violations, Al Borsa reports. A Cairo Economic Court on Wednesday had found that Ibnsina along with competitors United Co. for Pharmacists, Ramco Pharm, and Multipharma had colluded to cut credit periods and slash discounts to small and medium sized pharmacies. Some 13 executives from the companies, including United Co. Chairman Hussam Hussein, had been ordered to pay a combined EGP 1.2 bn, according to Akhbar El Youm (Al Borsa places the figure at EGP 520 mn).

The Cairo Economic Court verdict has been set aside pending the appeal, where the first hearing is scheduled for 19 May 2018.

The Background: The investigation, which the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) conducted back in 2015, was brought to court by the Prosecutor General in August of last year. The ECA said that the companies’ alleged actions had done harm to pharmacies, shrinking their profit margins and causing reduced supply of meds to the market.

The Economic Court also found 12 poultry companies guilty of market manipulation and anti-competitive practices as part of an ECA investigation back in 2013, Al Borsa reports. The companies, which have been collectively fined EGP 4.5 mn, had been accused by the ECA of conspiring to keep chicken prices artificially low, driving out smaller producers out of the market and restricting future supply. It was reported at the time that the companies included Al Daqahliyah Poultry, Cairo Poultry, Al Arabiya for Mother Chicken, and Al Watania Poultry.

Is LafargeHolcim divesting some (or all) of its Egyptian assets? Cement giant LafargeHolcim could see some of its assets in Egypt sold as part of a new cost-cutting and asset sale strategy announced by new CEO Jan Jenisch on Friday, Reuters reports. The company is planning to shed CHF 3.8 bn (USD 4.1 bn) in assets and could also leave two or three countries. Two thirds of the impairments were concentrated in Algeria, Malaysia, Iraq, Brazil, Indonesia and Egypt, Jenisch said. A Bloomberg examination of the respective capacities of the former Holcim and Lafarge prior to their merger in 2014 shows that the majority of the production capacity in those countries belonged to the latter. The move comes as the company looks to move past the scandal, which brought down its former CEO Eric Olsen, over the company’s Syria factory. The plant, which was bought from Orascom Cement in 2007, is accused of having paid protection to militant factions.

EMRA threatens to revoke Matz Holding’s gold license: The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) has granted Cyprus’ Matz Holding a one-week grace period to present a financial and technical strategy to restart operations at the Hamash mine before revoking the company’s gold license, Youm7 reports, citing an unidentified source. EMRA had deemed that the Hamash Company, a JV between the government and the Cypriot company, has capped its spending on the mine to USD 2 mn. EMRA had been looking for CAPEX spending to reach USD 200-300 mn to resume operations at the stalled mine.

IPO WATCH- EBRD wants to buy IPO of state-owned banks: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is looking to acquire stakes in national banks that will list as part of the state IPO program, EBRD Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Janet Heckman tells Egypt Today in an interview. The investments would help spur interest in the IPO program, Heckman says. She noted that the EBRD doesn’t usually acquire stakes over 25%. Heckman also confirmed prior statements by bank officials that the EBRD is planning to invest upwards of EUR 1 bn this year. As we noted last week, the IPO of Banque du Caire — the first state bank to list — won’t take place before 4Q2018.

We eagerly await the timeline for the program, which is expected to be announced this week, based on previous statements by Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk. Officials are nearing the end of their preparations for listing up to 24% of state energy firm Enppi, which is meant to kick off the program, according to Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. Enppi’s IPO has been slated for the end of 2018 after several postponements.

M&A WATCH- EAEF looks to acquire majority stake in Misr Hytech Seed Int’l: Our friends at the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund (EAEF) are reportedly looking to acquire a controlling stake in seed-focused biotech firm Misr Hytech Seed International, sources close to the transaction told Al Borsa. EAEF, which is hoping to partner on the sale with two unnamed UK-based firms, has reportedly begun due diligence on the company after signing a preliminary agreement for the sale with the Misr Hytech. Sources added that the transaction is expected to close in 1Q2018.

M&A WATCH- Nahw Development (again, never heard of them) has purchased a 29.1% stake in Cairo Development Investment Company (CDICO) for EGP 57.5 mn, CDICO said in an EGX disclosure (pdf). Nahw bought 13.69 mn shares at an average price of EGP 4.2 per share. CDIC announced the completion of a mandatory tender offer by Nahw last week. The transaction was brokered by Arab Finance Company for Securities Trade.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Saudi-Egyptian consortium to invest EGP 600 mn in new int’l schools: A consortium of Saudi and Egyptian investors is planning to construct two new international schools in Egypt worth a combined EGP 600 mn through its newly-established company, Egypt Learning Group (ELG), founding partner Ayman Badr tells Al Mal. ELG has reached an agreement with an unidentified real estate developer to establish the schools in two of the developer’s compounds in Six October City and the Fifth Settlement, according to Badr. ELG also plans to list on the EGX and establish two more schools by 2023, Badr said. He did not disclose the identities of the company’s shareholders.

Egyptian strawberries, peppers were compliant with food safety regs in 2H2017, says EU: Egyptian strawberries and peppers improved in quality and began meeting European food safety regulations in 2H2017, the EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner reportedly said in a letter to the Agriculture Ministry. The commissioner noted that residual pesticide levels on strawberries dropped to 0.62% from 7.18% during 1H2017, Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna said, according to Al Borsa. Egyptian pepper exports also improved in quality, leading to a drop in rejected shipments to 5.2% of total shipments, down from 14.5% in the first half of the year. Imports of Egypt’s strawberries and peppers have been banned by several countries — including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait — over high levels of residual pesticides. The Agriculture Ministry has since moved to impose more stringent inspection measures on agricultural product exports.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The executive regulations of the new Customs Act have been drafted and are ready to be issued as soon as the law passed, Customs Authority head Magdy Abdel Aziz said, Youm7 reports. The law, which received approval from the Ismail Cabinet in early February, would slash customs duties on capital goods to 2% from a current 5% and expand temporary exemptions for production inputs and packaging equipment.

In other legislative news, the House of Representatives is expected to vote today on amendments to the Railway Act that would allow the private sector to participate in the development and management of the sector. The bill, which had received a preliminary nod earlier this month, will also establish a new regulator to govern the private sector’s involvement.

Also on the docket for today’s general assembly session are amendments to the Eminent Domain Act, which had also received preliminary sign off but delayed due to lack of quorum. The amendments would allow the president rights to seize privately-owned land under eminent domain and offer compensation that includes a premium of at least 20% on land value. Al Mal has the story.

February brokerage league table: EFG Hermes topped the EGX’s brokerage league table for February with a 23.3% market share, according to figures released by the Egyptian Exchange (pdf). CI Capital placed second with a market share of 11.5%, followed by Beltone Financial (5.8%), Pharos Holding (4.7%) and Pioneers Holdings (4.3%).

MOVES- Hisham El Demery has resigned as head of the Tourism Promotion Authority. El Demery will remain on the job until the end of March. El Demery had been looking to resign since last November “for personal reasons,” according to the resignation letter which ran in Youm7.

EARNINGS WATCH- SODIC reported a 39% y-o-y jump in net profit to EGP 597 mn in 2017, the company said in a statement (pdf). Revenues increased 11% y-o-y to EGP 2.3 bn during the year, driven mainly by on-schedule deliveries in the company’s various projects. Eastown Residences made up the bulk of the year’s deliveries at 55% of the total, and the company also began delivering units in its Courtyards developments, which comprised 12% of the total deliveries. SODIC’s earnings growth “was driven by our strong operating profitability, attesting to our disciplined approach to construction and prudent control of our expenses in this remarkably inflationary environment,” said Managing Director Magued Sherif. The company also launched its New Cairo project SODIC East in 4Q2017, adding EGP 57 bn in inventory to its sales pipeline. “We view 2018 with confidence, backed by positive outlooks for all our markets. The eminent drop in interest rate will act as another strong catalyst for growth.” Backed by “revenue visibility and an improved economic backdrop,” the company has also “set ambitious growth targets” for 2018 including eyeing EGP 8.7 bn in contracted sales.

Talaat Moustafa Group Holdings grew its bottom line 67% y-o-y in 2017 to EGP 1.38 bn, up from EGP 828.98 mn in 2016, according to an EGX filing (pdf). The company’s revenues also increased to EGP 8.53 bn in 2017, marking a 30% y-o-y rise from EGP 6.58 bn.

Naeem Holding saw its consolidated net profit drop 52% y-o-y to USD 1.25 mn in 2017, down from USD 2.59 mn the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing (pdf). Consolidated net revenues also slipped to USD 13.2 mn, a 38% y-o-y drop from in 2016.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi launched on Thursday the much-talked about insurance policy for non-government workers. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced that the initiative, which would target 15 mn part-time, seasonal, informal and self-employed workers, would see banks issue “Safety certificates of deposits,” Ahram Online reports.

How they work: The new CDs, worth EGP 500-2,500, provides insurance coverage and monthly pensions for these informal workers at 16% interest. The policy includes coverage for natural and accidental death and pays one-time benefits of EGP 10,000-250,000 or monthly pensions of EGP 200-1,000 over five years or EGP 120-600 over 10 years. The certificates can be issued to seasonal and temporary laborers between 18 and 59 years of age. El Sisi ordered that all companies and contractors working on government projects deposit their laborers premiums for the Safety CDs within two weeks, according to an Ittihadiya statement. State banks will start selling the Safety CDs today, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

Speaking on our dilapidated railways, the President said that EGP 200-250 bn would be needed to overhaul the nation’s railway network. His statements come one day after a train collision in Beheira Governorate led to the death of 12 people.

El Sisi also had a stern warning to media outlets: “I want to tell the media … if someone insults the army or police they’re defaming all Egyptians and that’s not freedom of opinion,” El Sisi said. “Honestly speaking, defaming (the army and police), legally, for me now equals treason,” he added. His statements come a day after Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek issued orders to crackdown on what he called “fake news.”

His comments came during the inauguration of the first phase development of New Alamein City in Marsa Matrouh, Ahram Online reports.

Tourist arrivals from Germany, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia have topped the list for 2017, according to CAPMAS statistics carried by Al Mal. A total of 1.23 mn German tourists arrived in Egypt last year, 797.3k from Ukraine, and 669.6k from Saudi Arabia, the report has found. The numbers, along with a 66.5% y-o-y rise in group travel to Egypt in 2017, comes as the country’s ailing tourism sector continues to recover.

US President Donald Trump will sign this week an order to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports from all countries and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports, the president announced at a meeting with steel industry figures on Thursday. The move came on the recommendation of the US Commerce Department last month, which also proposed an alternative 53% tariff on steel imports for 12 countries, including Egypt. In a series of tweets the following morning, Trump welcomed the prospect of a global trade war over the new policy, saying that reciprocal taxes are necessary “to protect our country.” Presidential aides have been pushing to exempt certain allies, while the EU and China are vowing retaliation to the measure, The Financial Times says. EU officials are expected to present tomorrow a “EUR 2.8 bn list of more than 100 US goods targeted for retaliation.” Trump responded by vowing to implement tariffs on European cars.

From the department of missing the point: “Investors nervous about whether the bull case for emerging-market assets can weather a more hawkish Federal Reserve can take solace in the outlook for consumer prices,” Yumi Teso and Masaki Kondo write for Bloomberg. Despite listing EMs as a good investment overall, by their token, the inflation rates in Egypt make it a poor investment as they return negative yields. Bloomberg got its results for the real yields by subtracting average inflation of the most recent three-month readings from the average 10-year government bond yield in February. While the general sentiment surrounding EM investment is sound, Teso and Kondo are missing the point: EM investors looking for exposure to Egyptian debt through the carry trade pay little to no attention to inflation and the “real” return. Inflation plays no direct part in your returns from trading — what dictate returns are the nominal yields on the instruments, the financing costs, and the exchange rates. The negative real yields are bad news for domestic banks and savers, but not for foreign funds.

Want a primer on what a carry trade is? Bloomberg’s Natasha Doff and Marton Eder got you covered, but it doesn’t look like they shared the note with all their colleagues.

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Image of the Day

Over the past 200 years, Egypt has had a total of seven flags on its masts, with a new flag for every phase of its history during the past two centuries, Sarah Ahmed Shawky writes for Stepfeed. From the three crescents designed in 1517 when Egypt was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, each flag “symbolized — with each color and icon used — nationalism, political alliances, and struggles to reach full independence.”

Egypt in the News

Media issues in Egypt continue to dominate the conversation in the foreign press, especially following Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek ordering on Friday the detention of the woman who spoke to the BBC about her daughter alleged forced disappearance for spreading false news, Reuters reports. Mahmoud was at the center of Orla Guerin’s controversial report on disappearances in Egypt, which prompted Sadek to issue an order last week to monitor and penalize media believed to be publishing “false news.” Pakistan Today and NPR (listen here, runtime: 2:56) also zero in on the topic.

Separately, prosecutors are investigating TV presenter Khairy Ramadan over allegations of spreading false news and insulting the police, Al Shorouk reports.

The prosecutor’s remarks blaming media outlets for negative coverage on Egypt were the latest escalation of a draconian crackdown on civil liberties before the presidential elections, Declan Walsh writes for The New York Times. Walsh also points to the rules imposed by the National Election Commission on covering the poll, which include banning journalists “from using photographs or headlines ‘not related to the topic’ and forbids them from making ‘any observations about the voting process.’”

Other outlets are following in the BBC’s footsteps and noting journalists and others they allege have been forcibly disappeared. Amnesty International issued a statement claiming that rights lawyer Ezzat Ghonim may have been forcibly disappeared. Two journalists were also arrested in Alexandria on Wednesday and are under investigation for allegedly filming without a license for a story about the tramway “that would spread false news,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Al Monitor is alleging that journalists Hassan Al Banna and Mostafa Al Aasar were reportedly abducted last month.

It would appear that Egypt has extended the three-month deadline to eradicate terrorism in Sinai, which expired on Thursday, writes Jared Malsin for the Wall Street Journal. El Sisi’s deadline has been prominent, “but it wouldn’t be the first self-imposed deadline for victory that comes and goes,” said Zack Gold, an analyst on Sinai with the American research institute CNA. Malsin takes note of the Armed Forces request last week to extend the Sinai deadline.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is doubling down on its claims that a video released by the Egyptian Armed Forces shows that it used banned cluster bombs in North Sinai.

UN report to prove Egypt bought North Korean arms? The UN will release a report this month that identifies a subsidiary of the Arab Organization for Industrialization as the customer for a shipment of North Korean weapons that was intercepted off the coast of Egypt in 2016, Declan Walsh writes for the New York Times. Egypt has not only been buying arms from Pyongyang, but allegedly been allowing North Korean officials to use their embassy in Cairo “as a base for military sales across the region,” according to unnamed US and UN officials. The US had suspended USD 291 mn-worth of aid to Egypt last year, reportedly to pressure Cairo to cut ties with Pyongyang. “Washington worries that North Korea, a longtime supplier of ballistic missile technology to Egypt, is still supplying missile parts,” the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Andrea Berger says.

Egypt has warned Hamas against escalating tensions with Israel, sources told Hebrew media yesterday, the Times of Israel reports. This came as Hamas refused an Egyptian request to disclose the location of IDF soldiers who went missing while fighting in Gaza more than three years ago, the newspaper says. An Egyptian security delegation was in Gaza last week attempting to restart stalled reconciliation talks between rival factions Fath and Hamas.

A new analysis of two 5,000-year old Egyptian mummies shows the pair had some of the world’s oldest tattoos, according to National Geographic.

Also worth noting in brief:

  • Egypt’s natural gas sector “is on a roll,” according to Arab News, which says that Zohr has been “a game changer” for the country.
  • Two prominent human rights lawyers in Egypt are facing misconduct allegations as part of the global #MeToo campaign, The Associated Press reports.
  • Egyptian MPs are urging the House of Representatives to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Public Radio of Armenia reports.
  • “The fact that few seem to care about the outcome” of the presidential elections reflects the transformation in the region after the Arab Spring, Yaroslav Trofimov writes for The WSJ.
  • A recent study by Truecaller has found that Egypt ranks among the top 20 countries plagued by unwanted spam calls, according to Naija247 News.
  • Mohamed Salah is getting a lot of ink in the foreign press for reaching out to a young cancer patient. The Daily Record, Liverpool Echo, and Arab News have the story.

Worth Watching

A solar and wind-powered complex of apartments, shops and offices called The Gate is under construction in Cairo’s Heliopolis, Business Insider reports. Designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, the green complex will feature nine cylindrical structures covered in plants, which the designers call "mega-trees”. Construction began in 2014 and will be complete by 2019 (watch, runtime: 00:40).

Energy

Al Kharafi-Taikai-NHVS consortium wins contract for EGP 653 mn transformer substation

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company signed a EGP 653 mn contract with an Al Kharafi-Taikai-NHVS consortium to construct a substation in East Sohag, Al Mal reported. The substation will be constructed on a turnkey basis and should be complete within 12 months.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Suez Cement to delist from LSE, to cancel GDRs

Suez Cement Company is planning to delist from the London Stock Exchange and cancel the company’s global depository receipts by month’s end, Reuters reports. The move seeks to optimize “the company’s internal procedures and costs,” the company said explaining that the LSE listing is “inconsistent with the company’s strategy and funding plans.”

Manufacturing

IDA to auction 2 mn sqm of industrial land to private investors in Sadat City in March

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is preparing to auction 2 mn sqm of industrial land for investors and businessmen in Sadat City in the second week of March, sources tell Youm 7. A second auction in an unknown location is scheduled for May.

Egypt’s Fipco to open USD 10 mn medical supplies factory in Mauritania

El Fath for Pharma & Cosmetics Industries (Fipco) is partnering up with Mauritania’s state buyer of medical equipment and supplies CAMEC to establish a USD 10 mn medical supplies factory in Mauritania, Al Mal reports. The agreement, which will be signed during a visit by a Mauritanian business delegation to Cairo, will see Fipco provide equipment and labor, while CAMEC handles land and permits.

Health + Education

Alameda’s Dar Al Fouad plans new administrative capital, New Alamein City expansions

Alameda Healthcare-owned Dar Al Fouad Hospital is planning to expand in the new administrative capital and New Alamein City, Al Borsa reports. The company plans to construct a new hospital and adjacent hotel to lodge patients during their recovery in the new capital, and a rehabilitation medical center in New Alamein. The projects will be part of Alameda’s strategic partnership agreement with UAE-based Emirates Healthcare Group, according to the newspaper. The investment value for the projects has yet to be determined, sources added. Dar Al Fouad has received approval from the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) for both projects.

Taafy Group studies new EGP 50 mn radiology hospital

Taafy International Healthcare Group is conducting feasibility studies to establish a EGP 50 mn specialized hospital for interventional radiology, the group’s Medical Consulting CEO Mohamed Ibrahim tells Al Mal. The new 50-bed hospital in New Cairo is set to be complete by year’s end.

Tourism

Air Arabia sees biggest growth from European tourists returning to Morocco, Egypt

European tourists visiting Morocco were the main driving forces of Air Arabia’s growth in 2017, while Egypt’s performance “was good,” Air Arabia CEO Adel Ali said on Thursday, CAPA Centre for Aviation reported. Ali noted that European travelers have begun returning to North Africa in general.

Banking + Finance

AT Lease targets EGP 1.2 bn contracts this year

Al Tawfeek Leasing (AT Lease) is targeting new financial leasing agreements worth EGP 1.2 bn in 2018, CEO Tarek Fahmy tells Al Masry Al Youm.

Other Business News of Note

Luxor governor signs EGP 600 mn project to grow medicinal plants and herbs

The governor of Luxor signed off yesterday on a plan to establish a EGP 600 mn project to grow plants and herbs that would be used in the pharma industry over 50,000 feddans, Ahram Gate reports. Phase one will be established over 11,000 feddans.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Tensions rise in Al Wafd Party over suggested changes to party bylaws

Al Wafd Party Chairman Al Sayed Al Badawi has called for a meeting later this month to discuss amending the party’s bylaws before his term ends in June, leading to tension within the party, Ahram Online reports. The majority of the party’s Supreme Committee voted last month to postpone the discussions until a new chairman is elected, and many party leaders have also objected to discussing bylaw amendments in the “tense climate” of electing Al Badawi’s successor.

Sports

Egypt’s Tayeb, Shorbagy crowned Windy City Open champions

Egyptian Squash champions Nour El Tayeb and Mohamed El Shorbagy have claimed the top titles in Chicago’s Windy City Open, Egypt Independent reports.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian student Mariam Mostafa has been hospitalized in London after 10 British girls attacked her on the street, Egypt Independent reports. The Foreign Ministry is following up on the incident to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, according to a statement.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5903 | Sell 17.6903
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.56 | Sell 17.66

EGX30 (Thursday): 15,443 (-0.2%)

Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (32% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +2.8%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The Egyptian benchmark index ended Thursday’s session 0.2% down. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended 0.3% down. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Ezz Steel 3.9% up, Porto Group 3.0% up, and SODIC 2.4% up. Today’s worst performing stocks Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank 3.9% down, Abu Qir Fertilizers 3.4% down, and Amer Group 3.1% down. The market turnover was EGP 1.5 billion, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -5.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +2.6 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +2.5 mn

Retail: 40.3% of total trades | 39.3% of buyers | 41.3% of sellers
Institutions: 59.7% of total trades | 60.7% of buyers | 58.7% of sellers

Foreign: 30.5% of total | 30.3% of buyers | 30.6% of sellers
Regional: 20.9% of total | 21.0% of buyers | 20.8% of sellers
Domestic: 48.6% of total | 48.7% of buyers | 48.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 61.25 (+0.43%)
Brent: USD 64.37 (+0.85%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.70 MMBtu, (-0.11%, April 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,323.40 / troy ounce (+1.39%)

TASI: 7,411.16 (-0.10%) (YTD: 2.56%)
ADX: 4,594.98 (-0.06%) (YTD: 4.47%)
DFM: 3,208.98 (-1.08%) (YTD: -4.78%)
KSE Weighted Index: 414.42 (+0.11%) (YTD: 3.24%)
QE: 8,730.06 (+0.89%) (YTD: 2.42%)
MSM: 5,011.79 (+0.17%) (YTD: -1.72%)
BB: 1,373.45 (+0.26%) (YTD: 3.13%)

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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. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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