Monday, 5 March 2018

Egypt, Saudi announce SAR 60 bn fund as MbS kicks off visit

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, readers from Dubai, where we are attending the EFG Hermes One on One — which kicks off today — and then meeting with friends later in the week. More than 500 fund and portfolio managers with aggregate AUM north of USD 8 tn will meet face-to-face today with C-suite execs from 173 companies spanning 26 countries from Egypt (good morning, friends) to the Middle East and frontier emerging markets. Due on stage this morning is Minister of Public Enterprise Khaled Badawi along with a who’s-who of regional capital markets bosses. We’ll also be taking in a panel on disruption in frontier markets. Look for coverage of the world’s largest frontier and emerging markets investor conference starting tomorrow.

It’s PMI day: The Emirates NBD Egypt PMI reading for February comes out this morning. You’ll find it here once it lands. January’s reading came at 49.9, above the long-run average, and showing companies’ input buying growing at its fastest since August 2014.

Otherwise, it’s all diplomacy back in Egypt, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Egypt for the next two days for meetings with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and other state officials. Yesterday saw the two sides sign several MoUs, including one that would establish that long-awaited SAR 60 bn (USD 16 bn) joint investment fund. We have full details in the Speed Round, below.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also spoke with US counterpart Donald Trump, who expressed his country’s support for Egypt’s ongoing war on terror, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The two also discussed ways to boost Egypt-US relations and ways to reach political settlements for current regional crises.

This comes as the US says it will not be granting any country exemptions from the additional steel and aluminum import tariffs it plans to impose (including us, presumably), according to the head of the White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, the FT says (paywall). “While there could be exceptions for specific business uses there would be no carve-out for individual countries.” The EU has been threatening to take retaliatory measures against the move, which puts a levy of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports from all countries. The US Commerce Department had also proposed a 53% fee on imports from 12 countries, including Egypt.

Also on the diplomatic front, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim is expected to return to Cairo today, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told 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.

Asthma-sufferers, please pack your inhalers today: A sandstorm will hit Egypt on Monday, which could possibly cause disturbances in navigation in the western Mediterranean Sea, the Meteorological Authority warned in a statement carried by Ahram Online. Sandy winds will be active in the east and will reach storm level in the west, according to the statement.

Movie buffs won’t need us to remind them that it was the Oscars last night. The only major category winners as of dispatch time were for Best Supporting Actress / Actor. Allison Janney (anyone remember CJ on the West Wing?) won for her role for in I, Tonya, while Sam Rockwell won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Your kids would sure appreciate that Coco won Best Animated Feature. You can catch the full list of winners here courtesy of the Guardian, which has its live blog.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The 2018 international Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) International Conference is taking place in Egypt this year tomorrow 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.

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.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s talking heads had plenty to keep them busy last night, including the arrest of fellow presenter Khairy Ramadan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman three-day trip to Cairo, and legislation allowing private sector participation in railway development and management.

Kol Youm’s Amr Adib and Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi were the only two hosts to rise up in Khairy’s defense after prosecutors ordered his detention “for four days of questioning for allegedly defaming the police,” The charges were filed after Ramadan aired an episode of his show talking about police wages being too low. The host reportedly told prosecutors that he had not meant any insult to the police force with his content, sources tell Al Shorouk.

Adib called on the Interior Ministry to release Ramadan, while Lamees praised her coworker’s career and told audiences she is convinced he meant no insult or injury (watch, runtime: 4:00). Supreme Media Council head Makram Mohamed Ahmed also backed Ramadan and was critical of how authorities handled his case, saying that he should have been released from custody after he apologized for the incident (watch, runtime: 4:25).

MbS in town: Talks between MbS and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will center on regional issues, counterterrorism, economic cooperation, and the Qatar boycott, AUC political science professor Noha Bakr told Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. On the latter specifically, Al Masry Al Youm Chairman Abdel Moneim El Saeed also called to draw the connection between MbS’ visit, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s phone call with US President Donald Trump, and US Special Envoy Anthony Zinni’s meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo today, which should center around the Qatar issue (watch, runtime: 1:39).

The visit is a sign of deepening ties between both countries, Saudi political science professor Wahid Hamza told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin (watch, runtime: 5:45). While Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer discussed Saudi investments in Egypt (watch, runtime: 2:00).

Private sector participation in railway developments gets a nod: The talking heads appeared to be pleased with news that the House of Representatives has passed legislative amendments that will allow the private sector to participate in the railway industry, which received praise from Lamees (watch, runtime: 5:26), Adib (watch, runtime: 9:00), Amin (watch, runtime: 4:00), and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hossary (watch, runtime: 7:13).

Lamees was only one in the bunch to note the tariffs the US had decided to impose on steel and aluminum imports. She spoke to the Industry Ministry’s Ibrahim El Segini, who told her the decision would not really affect Egypt since it doesn’t export much steel to the US (watch, runtime: 4:28). She also hosted Housing Ministry officials to discuss the Unified Building Code the House is currently reviewing (watch, runtime: 39:03).

Meanwhile, National Cement Company workers are in their fifth day of strike after the company halted operations and faltered on payments of wages and incentives. The company’s losses have been severe, amounting to EGP 1.7 bn last year, company Chairman Mohamed Radwan told Lamees. He blamed the losses on several factors, including the company’s reliance on natural gas rather than renewable energy (watch, runtime: 5:42).

Sisi’s campaign spokesman Mohammed Abu Shuka also made an appearance on Al Hayah Al Youm to discuss the president’s program and plans (watch, runtime: 4:42).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Cairo and Riyadh to establish SAR 60 bn joint investment fund, sign three other MoUs on Sisi and MbS’ first day of meetings: Egypt’s Investment and International Cooperation Ministry and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund signed an MoU yesterday to activate a 2016 agreement to establish a SAR 60 bn (USD 16 bn) joint Egyptian-Saudi investment fund, Reuters’ Arabic service reports. A Saudi official told Reuters that Riyadh’s part of the new joint investment fund will be cash to help develop the Egyptian side of NEOM (robot utopia). Long time readers of Enterprise will remember that an initial agreement for the fund was signed during King Salman’s visit to Cairo in 2016, though nothing had come of it since.

Officials from both sides also signed MoUs yesterday covering cooperation between labor and freezone authorities, and another on cooperation on environmental protection, according to Al Ahram. The Washington Post is

The agreements were inked during a summit between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is in Cairo for the first leg of his first public foreign trip since he became heir to the throne. The two leaders agreed that there is a need for additional cooperation across the board “to reflect the depth of strategic ties,” particularly on the fronts of economy and investment, and especially in tourism along the Red Sea Coast, an Ittihadiya statement says.

MbS and his delegation will be accompanying El Sisi on a number of visits to ongoing project sites during their three-day stay, according to Ittihadiya spokesperson Bassam Rady, who did not elaborate on the schedule. Sources tell Al Mal, though, that Monday’s agenda includes a trip to Ismailia and the Suez Canal, as well as the inauguration of a new hotel. Other sources tell The National that the “prince will underscore his commitment to Egyptian youth by pledging to build a new university in the Sinai.”

Both leaders also said they would continue the close coordination of efforts to resolve ongoing regional disputes and challenges, agreeing to “work together to fend off attempts at regional intervention and division.” Counterterrorism and Saudi’s efforts against Houthi rebels in Yemen were among the topics discussed.

The story is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press, with pickups from Reuters, The Associated Press, AFP, Asharq Al-Awsat, and Xinhua, who seem mostly focused on the trip meaning to “deepen the alliance between two of the region’s powerhouses.”

The Saudi prince will fly to London on Wednesday before he heads across the pond to the US on 19 March. “He is trying to reach out to Western investors to let them know that what happened in the past few months is nothing to be worried about—in fact this is an opportunity,” Alef Advisory founder Hani Sabra tells the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The Center for American Progress’ Brian Katulis agrees, saying that “they are coming here to tell the story about how Saudi Arabia is reforming its economy and letting women drive.”

LEGISLATION WATCH- Parliament approves private sector participation in railway sector development: The House of Representatives approved yesterday amendments to the Railway Act that would allow private sector participation in developing, managing, and operating railway projects, Ahram Gate reports. Under the law, private companies will be required to compete in public tenders for projects, in accordance with the Auctions and Tenders Act, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Companies can be contracted for a maximum of 15 years. The legislation establishes a new regulating body, the Egyptian Railways Authority, with the jurisdiction to govern private involvement in the sector. The new body will also have the authority to establish joint stock companies, and the authority’s employees will be granted priority in purchasing up to 10% of each of the state company’s shares. The amendments also criminalize any acts of vandalism and tampering with equipment in a way that hampers the safety of railway lines. Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal had urged MPs to pass the bill to clear the path for an overhaul of the country’s rail system and avoid further accidents from occurring, Al Borsa reports.

The vote came after Transport Minister Hisham Arafat vowed that the country’s railways will see a marked improvement by mid-2019 on the back of constructing new lines, purchasing new locomotives, and installing electronic signaling systems, Al Shorouk reports. The ministry is also working to impose harsher penalties on railway employees found responsible for causing rail accidents, Arafat told Parliament in response to a summons over last week’s train collision in Beheira, which left 12 dead and 39 injured.

In other legislative news, unauthorized after-sales service centers should have a hard time operating once the Consumer Protection Act is issued, according to Consumer Protection Authority boss Atef Yakoub, who says that the bill will even penalize television channels that broadcast these business’ ads. The act sets strict rules and harsh penalties that could result in prison sentences of up to three years, he tells Al Borsa. The move is part of a series of auto industry-related provisions in the act that allows for possible price controls.

Separately, the decision to extend the mandate of the Tax Dispute Resolution Act for two years has been published in the Official Gazette, according to a Finance Ministry statement. The law resolved around 4,500 tax disputes and contributed EGP 15.1 bn to state coffers last year, the ministry said.

Reserves record their biggest jump since July: The central bank’s FX reserves recorded USD 42.5 bn in February from USD 38.2 bn in January — reaching another highest-ever mark. The USD 4.3 bn m-o-m increase is only dwarfed in recent years by the USD 4.7 bn recorded last July. The increase in February is mostly attributable to the successful USD 4 bn eurobond issue, which was 3x oversubscribed. “Net international reserves jumping to a new safe level will enhance investor confidence and minimize the funding gap even with the USD 12 bn of repayments outstanding for this year,” Hany Farahat, senior economist at CI Capital, told Reuters. He told Bloomberg “the surge in reserves ‘definitely facilitates the reduction in policy rates this year and minimizes the risk of currency outflows as rates decline.’” CBE Sub-Governor Rami Aboul Naga told Bloomberg the eurobond sale “was only one contributor to the increase. A marked improvement across a range of economic indicators had also provided a boost,” but did not elaborate further.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Ezdehar Egypt Mid-Cap fund is planning to invest USD 80 mn this year in Egypt’s export-heavy industrial sectors, non-banking financial services, and consumer sectors, Ezdehar Managing Partner Emad Barsoum tells Al Borsa. Ezdehar is also closing in on acquiring an industrial company in a USD 50 mn transaction, Barsoum said, without providing the company’s name or further details on the agreement.

Egypt is looking to raise output from the Zohr offshore gas field to 700 mcf/d in May, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla tells Reuters’ Arabic service. The field officially went live in December 2017, with production beginning at an initial rate of 350 mcf/d. El Molla had said at the time that output would rise to about 1 bcf/d by June, while Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in February that the goal is to reach output of 1.8-2 bcf/d by the end of 2018 and then ramp up to 2.9 bcf/d by mid-2019.

Dana Gas received USD 10.4 mn last month from the sale of Egyptian natural gas condensate as part of a plan to recover outstanding receivables, the company disclosed to the ADX. Dana Gas sold 157,200 bbl of El Wastani condensate at an average price of USD 66.5 per bbl. “The sale marks the fourth cargo of Egyptian condensate since the start of 2017. Last year, the Company sold three shipments for a total receipt of approximately USD 21 mn. The shipments are part of the Gas Production Enhancement Agreement signed with the Egyptian government as a mechanism to help pay down the overdue receivables.”

EARNINGS WATCH- GB Auto reported a consolidated net loss of EGP 666.9 mn in 2017, narrowing from EGP 865.7 mn the previous year, according to a company statement (pdf). Top line for the year rose 15.5% y-o-y to EGP 17.56 bn. Last year saw the group taking steps to return to profitability, CEO Raouf Ghabbour said. “We are confident that the increased appetite for our automotive products, will see us steadily regain our market share to our historical rate of 33% and improve our margins.” Ghabbour stressed the importance of passing the Automotive Directive to capitalize on the “positive sentiment finding its way back to the automotive market” and “the window of opportunity to become an automotive hub in the region.” Tap or click here for the full earnings release (pdf).

Cleopatra Hospitals Group’s consolidated net profit rose 32% y-o-y to EGP 118.2 mn in 2017, up from EGP 89.4 mn in 2016, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). Revenues came in 30% higher y-o-y at EGP 1.126 bn, with the rise “supported by improved case mix and pricing.” Cleopatra Hospital was the largest contributor to group revenues for the year with 44% of the total. “2017 was a milestone year for the Group which saw us deliver on several strategic fronts,” Group CEO Ahmed Ezzeldin said, pointing to business development initiatives, platform integration, investing in infrastructure and technology upgrades, and pushing ahead with its acquisition and expansion strategy. “We are heading into 2018 have reshaped our organization and positioned the Group for further growth and value creation for all our stakeholders.”

Ibnsina Pharma reported an 88.9% y-o-y jump in net profit to EGP 192.1 mn, up from EGP 101.7 mn a year before, according to an EGX filing. Revenue for the year came in at EGP 9.59 bn, up from EGP 7.21 bn in FY2016. On a Q4-basis, Ibnsina’s net profit more than doubled y-o-y to EGP 49.1 mn, up from EGP 20.1 mn. The company recorded its largest contribution to revenues from its retail pharmacies segment as it reported its maiden earnings as a publicly traded company. The earnings results came just one day after the Cairo Court of Appeals agreed to hear the company’s appeal of lower court verdict imposing a fine for allegedly colluding with industry rivals. The lower court verdict is now set aside pending; the first hearing in the case is due to take place in May 2018.

Oriental Weavers saw its consolidated net profit rise 40.2% y-o-y to EGP 742 mn in 2017, up from EGP 529 mn the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing (pdf). The rise in profits came on the back of a 50% y-o-y increase in sales revenues, which recorded EGP 10.174 bn in 2017.

The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is planning to break ground on a USD 350 mn multipurpose terminal in Nuweiba by the end of March, Red Sea Ports Authority chief Hashem Abu Senna tells Al Borsa. The terminal is one of three projects for which the Transport Ministry signed a USD 1.35 bn agreement with CRBC in December. The company will also construct and operate new multipurpose terminals at the ports of Safaga and Sharm El Sheikh. CRBC will also be responsible for supplying the equipment for the projects, which will be carried out under a build-operate-transfer framework.

In other Chinese construction projects, the China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC) will design and build three stadiums for USD 90 as Egypt prepares to host the 2021 World Men’s Handball Championship, according to a Cabinet statement. The three multipurpose indoor stadiums will be built in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Luxor’s New Thebes. The Sports Ministry and the New Urban Communities Authority will be responsible for feasibility and environment studies for the projects, while CSCEC will carry out design, engineering, and construction work.

Is Egypt really boycotting Turkish products? Efforts in Egypt to boycott Turkish products are gaining momentum, Ahval reports. Calls for a boycott against Turkey became Egyptian social media’s hottest trending topic last month, with 12,000 tweets including the hashtag “boycott Turkish products,” according to Youm7. Tweets with the hashtag included demands for the Egyptian government to take action against businessmen importing products from Turkey, and claims that buying the products would “contribute to the killing of Egyptians.” The newspaper also reported that the call for a boycott gained support from Arab countries. Saudi pan-Arab broadcaster MBC has received instructions to remove all Turkish programming from all of its channels until further notice, MBC Group spokesman Mazen Hayek tells The National.

Swvl, Egyptian Streets founders among several Egyptians on Forbes’ first Arab 30 Under 30 list: Egyptian Streets founders Mohamed Khairat and Mostafa Amin, and Swvl co-founders Mostafa Kandil, Mohmoud Nouh, and Ahmed Sabah were among several Egyptians who made it to Forbes’ first-ever Arab 30 Under 30 list. 23-year-old Ali Mohammed is also featured on the list for developing a technology that allows hearing-impaired individuals to visualize sound, while footballer Mohamed Salah was recognized for being the second-highest goal scorer in the English premier league. The list honors young innovators, many of whom “are scattered across the globe as they strive to prove their mettle in countries far from home.” Khairat and Amin, who live in Melbourne and Berlin, respectively, were also included in Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list in Europe.

CORRECTION- Arqaam Securities came in fourth on the brokerage league tables for February with a 5.6% market share. Pharos Securities came in fifth with 4.7%. We misstated the ranking in Sunday’s issue, but have corrected the entry on our website.

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Image of the Day

Bringing Disney characters to the most Egyptian settings: Egyptian graphic designer Muhammed Salah (no relation) designed a series of digital portraits inserting Disney characters in the most Egyptian settings. Cairo may be a ways away from Agrabah, but Salah helps Aladdin keep his promise to Jasmine by bringing them and their magic carpet to the capital city. The designer tries to “match the characters to the scenes they were in,” which explains why he chose to pair Rapunzel with the Cairo Tower, Farah Tawfeek writes for Egypt Independent.

Egypt in the News

Presidential candidate Moussa Moustafa Moussa attempted to organize a rally, “but no one showed up,” The Associated Press reports. “About a dozen workers from the campaign of Moussa Moustafa Moussa carried posters of him about 100 meters in downtown Cairo on Sunday, stopping well short of the end of their planned march. At least twice as many photographers and cameramen from state and private media documented the march…Moussa, the only other candidate on the ballot, is a little-known politician who supports [President Abdel Fattah] El Sisi. He did not attend the march and has largely avoided the media.”

Is the spat between Egypt and Qatar hindering Palestinian reconciliation efforts? That’s what The Times of Israel is suggesting when it says that the Egyptian and Qatari security delegations that visited the Gaza Strip at the same time last week fought over a hotel, as they attempted to restart stalled reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas. “The Egyptian delegation wanted to stay in the Movenpick Hotel, which is considered the most luxurious in Gaza. But when the Qataris found that out, they rented out all of the rooms on the hotel’s two bottom floors.” When the Egyptians stayed across the road, the Qataris “hung three enormous images of their rulers” outside their hotel, and so on.

“Driving is a good job and I love it”: The BBC profiles a woman named Om Abdullah, who is considered Egypt’s first woman minibus driver. Om Abdullah says she took up the profession after her husband passed away and she needed a source of income to raise her children. She operates a women’s-only microbus, which she says helps to curb incidents of [redacted] harassment in public transportation (runtime 1:49).

Also worth a quick skim:

  • The Telegraph took note of the reported UN study that could show Egypt’s role in North Korean weapons sales.
  • Iran’s Financial Tribune reports on Egypt’s 11% y-o-y drop in trade deficit in January.
  • Cairo is hosting the Women’s Africa Club Championship for volleyball slated for 4 to 16 March, Nigeria’s Vanguard reports.
  • Kuwaiti Customs officers have foiled an attempt to smuggle a 1.7 m Ancient Egyptian statue hidden inside a sofa that was shipped by air, according to the Kuwaiti Times.

On Deadline

A general culture of harassing tourists remains the main obstacle preventing the recovery of the ailing tourism sector, Soliman Gouda writes for Al Masry Al Youm. Tourists in Egypt, he says, are treated as an “easy prey”, struggling with endless chases and attempts to work them everywhere they go, forcing them to have second thoughts and regrets over why they chose to come to Egypt in the first place.

Worth Reading

Egypt has the potential to set a regional example as a leader in renewable energy, which would benefit the government and population alike, Dianne Sutherland writes for AUC’s Cairo Review of Global Affairs. Sutherland takes a trip down memory lane to recount the details of Egypt’s oil and gas history, culminating in the energy crunch that led the country to revert to being a net importer of gas. The crisis came hand in hand with a spiraling economy, but Sutherland sees a solution in the same combination. “The answer clearly lies in diversifying and properly monetizing Egypt’s energy mix,” Sutherland says, pointing to the country’s vast resource pool — including hydrocarbon deposits, offshore gas fields, solar and wind energy, and waste. “In addition to adding energy resource options to its portfolio, the renewable sector offers a significant avenue for job creation,” and could help Egypt “[clean] up its own backyard by reducing pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt has not received an official plan from Ethiopia on filling the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as talks have been on hold since Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as Ethiopia’s prime minister, an unnamed source told Al Masry Al Youm. Reports had emerged last week that Addis Ababa sent its plan to Cairo, which included several scenarios that Egypt can choose to adopt during that five-year period. Sources said at the time that Cairo did not sign off on the strategy as its violates the agreement signed with Sudan and Ethiopia about sharing the Nile water, which forbids Addis Ababa from filling the dam’s reservoir before reaching consensus on GERD’s environmental impact.

Desalegn’s resignation has also resulted in the indefinite postponement of Egypt’s plans to construct a USD 120 mn industrial zone in Addis Ababa, Elsewedy Electric CEO and head of the Egyptian-Ethiopian Business Council Ahmed El Sewedy tells Al Mal. The project, which Elsewedy had submitted an offer for, will remain paused until Ethiopia selects a new prime minister. Desalegn resigned two weeks ago amid anti-government protests.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has given Egypt preliminary approval to resume its Better Work Program until 2018’s end, according to a Trade and Industry Ministry statement. The extension is expected to pave the way for international companies to lift their bans on importing merchandise manufactured in Egypt, Minister Tarek Kabil said, noting that the Walt Disney Company had lifted its ban in July thanks to the ILO program. The ILO began implementing the program in Egypt last May to improve working conditions and boost business competitiveness.

A Belgian delegation of 25 companies arrived in Cairo yesterday for a five-day visit to look into investment openings and improving trade relations, Ahram Online reports.

Manufacturing

Corona to open new EGP 300 mn chocolate factory in 2H2019

The Alexandria Confectionery & Chocolate Company (Corona) is planning to open a new EGP 300 mn factory in Six October City in 2H2019, CMO Ahmed El Nadry tells Al Borsa. The new factory will increase the company’s production by four times, he says.

Health + Education

Speed to establish 43 new branches for EGP 67 mn by end of 2Q2019

Speed Medical Examination Services is planning to invest EGP 67 mn to open 43 new labs between now and the end of 2Q2019, CEO Mahmoud Lasheen tells Al Borsa. The company is looking to have 107 branches in its network in three years’ time. Speed is also planning to expand its overseas network from Khartoum to Libya, Morocco, Kenya, and Uganda, with up to EGP 125 mn in investments in the next five years.

Real Estate + Housing

MBG Development targets EGP 1 bn phase one sales of Pukka New Capital

Real estate developer MBG is targeting EGP 1 bn in sales revenues over the next three months from phase one of its Pukka New Capital project, Chairman Mahmoud El Adl tells Al Shorouk. The EGP 4 bn residential project is built over 50 feddans and will be completed in four years, according to El Adl.

Housing Ministry to announce results of PPP tenders soon

The Housing Ministry is getting ready to announce the results of tender for residential projects under public-private partnership that should draw in more than EGP 500 bn-worth of investments, Minister Mostafa Madbouly said yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. The ministry is also planning to tender more land for PPP projects in New Alamein, New Mansoura, West Qena, West Asyut, and parts of Six October and Sheikh Zayed. The government is also expected to announce soon the results of its tender for the development and management of 200 PPP schools.

Tourism

Tourism Minister planning to restructure the ministry

Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat is reportedly looking to restructure the ministry, according to Ahram Gate. The minister will put her team together by 30 March to begin drafting a comprehensive development plan for the sector that will likely see changes to both tourism authorities. The story comes after Tourism Promotions Authority head Hisham El Demery resigned suddenly over the weekend.

Celestyal schedules cruises to Egypt in 2019/2020

Cyprus-based Celestyal Cruises has announced launching seven-day ‘3 Continents’ cruises that include stops in the ports of Alexandria and Port Said, according to Seatrade Cruise News. The itinerary for 2019 and 2020 also includes stops at Ashdod, Israel; Kusadasi, Turkey; Limassol, Cyprus; and Rhodes, Greece.

Telecoms + ICT

MNOs begin restructuring distributor contracts to circumvent NTRA’s caps on SIM card sales

Vodafone Egypt, Orange Misr, and Etisalat Misr are looking into restructuring their contracts with distributors by the next month to give the latter legal capacity to act as franchises, Al Borsa reports. The move is meant to circumvent regulations the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) had set out in January to limit the sale of phone lines through third-party distributors and enforce know-your-customer regulations. The operators complied with the new requirements, and also stopped distributors from offering wireless phone line recharging services, as of last week. Meanwhile, the Cairo Chamber of Commerce’s ICT centers division are looking into several proposals to compensate the distributors for the losses incurred by the NTRA’s decision, division head Ihab Saeed tells Al Mal.

Banking + Finance

CIB looks into arranging EGP 2 bn loan for Egyptian Steel

CIB is looking into arranging a EGP 2 bn syndicated loan for Egyptian Steel, unnamed banking services tell Al Shorouk. The loan would finance expansions for the company’s USD 5.5 bn steel plant in Ain Sokhna, which Egyptian Steel had rezoned within the Suez Canal Economic Zone at the end of last year.

Other Business News of Note

Military Production Ministry signs with Dentsply Sirona to supply Health Ministry with dental anesthetics

The Military Production Ministry has signed a contract with US-based Dentsply Sirona to supply the Health Ministry with dental anesthetics, Al Borsa reports. The contract was signed on the sidelines of the Pharmacy Expo, which takes place from 3-5 March at the Fairmont Towers Heliopolis in Cairo.

Housing Ministry to launch an investment map of lands being tendered for projects

The Housing Ministry is working on an investment map of the lands being tendered for real estate and infrastructure projects, Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced yesterday, Al Mal reports. The map will include important information on each land plot, including its size and cost, and will be launched “soon,” according to Madbouly.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Supreme media council approves 36 media outlets for election coverage

The Supreme Council for Media Regulation has approved 36 out of 40 media outlets that requested to cover the March presidential election, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Procedures for media coverage of the upcoming election can be found on the National Election Authority’s website.

National Security

Four army personnel killed during Sinai fighting

Two officers and two soldiers were killed in the military’s anti-terror offensive in Sinai yesterday, according to an Armed Forces statement. One other officer and three soldiers were also injured in the operation, which killed 10 jihadists. AFP and Xinhua also have the story.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian director Marwan Hamed has won Best Director for his film "El Asleyeen” at the 38th edition of Portugal’s Fantasporto – Oporto International Film Festival, which concluded yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. This comes only days after the young director won an award for the same film at the Egyptian Catholic Film Center.

TV presenter Amr Abdel Hamid has offered Egyptian artist Shorouk Yehia USD 15,000 for her portrait of Will Smith that went viral on social media, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The artist declined the offer and said the portrait was not for sale. Will Smith himself was impressed with her work, posting the portrait on his Instagram account with the caption “WOW! @shrok_yahya_art! This is a beautiful illustration of the Fruits of Dedication & Self-Discipline. Thank You.”

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 17.56 | Sell 17.66
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.65

EGX30 (Sunday): 15,520 (+0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (6% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +3.3%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were SODIC up 7.2%, Egyptian Iron & Steel up 3.4%, and Emaar Misr up 2.6%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks Egypt Aluminum down 3.2%, Ezz Steel down 2.1%, and Juhayna down 1.2%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +16.0 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +11.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -27.9 mn

Retail: 51.1% of total trades | 49.6% of buyers | 52.5% of sellers
Institutions: 48.9% of total trades | 50.4% of buyers | 47.5% of sellers

Foreign: 22.2% of total | 22.9% of buyers | 21.5% of sellers
Regional: 16.6% of total | 17.1% of buyers | 16.1% of sellers
Domestic: 61.1% of total | 59.9% of buyers | 62.3% of sellers

WTI: USD 61.62 (+0.60%)
Brent: USD 64.75 (+0.59%)
Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.70 MMBtu, (+0.26%, April 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,325.00 / troy ounce (+0.12%)

TASI: 7,368.85 (-0.57%) (YTD: +1.97%)
ADX: 4,604.46 (+0.21%) (YTD: +4.68%)
DFM: 3,212.03 (+0.10%) (YTD: -4.69%)
KSE Weighted Index: 414.42 (+0.11%) (YTD: +3.24%)
QE: 8,730.06 (+0.89%) (YTD: +2.42%)
MSM: 5,003.19 (-0.17%) (YTD: -1.88%)
BB: 1,380.22 (+0.49%) (YTD: +3.64%)

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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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