Sunday, 25 March 2018

Tuktuk app closes in on USD 2 mn in fundraising

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a very busy news morning as the first quarter roars to a close, with a presidential election set to take place in Egypt this week, expectations that the central bank will cut interest rates on Thursday, and global markets looking at a potential sell-off when markets open tomorrow, sparked by the prospect of a trade war.

The Ismail Cabinet will present its draft FY2018-19 budget to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi this week for approval before shipping it to the House of Representatives at the end of the month, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy told Al Masry Al Youm on Saturday. The minister reiterated that the budget would have a GDP growth target of 5.8%, a aim for a budget deficit of 8.4% of GDP, and increase spending on social welfare, wages, and commodity subsidies.

Bloated public sector gets even bloat-ier: Spending on wages of state bureaucrats will increase to EGP 268 bn in next year’s budget, up from EGP 240 bn this fiscal year, said Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, according to AMAY. The wage increases will go into effect on 30 June, he added — assuming, of course, the House approves the budget on time.

As for the state IPO program, El Garhy said the government was meeting with investment banks to decide the first of the 23 state companies slated for a listing.

Our own central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is set to meet on Thursday to decide on interest rates. With annual urban inflation dropping to 14.4% — the lowest rate since October 2016 — the CBE has recently hinted at a possible rate cut by saying that inflation appears under control in the medium-term. Research houses have been unanimous in saying that the CBE might cut interest rates again this month, predicting a cut of 50-200 bps.

Our friends at Pharos Holding expect a 100 bps cut on Thursday. You can read Pharos’ full report here (pdf).

Presidential campaigns in pre-poll quiet period, polling stations open tomorrow with tighter security: Security at polling stations has been tightened after a terrorist bombing in Alexandria killed two policemen, according to state-owned Al Ahram. The two presidential campaigns are in a constitutionally mandated quiet period today, with voting due to begin tomorrow and end on Wednesday, 28 March. Companies are being asked to give staff sufficient time during the workday to make it to and from their polling station. Results are due to be announced on Monday, 2 April.

Wall Street closed deeply in the red on Friday, prompting fears of a fresh selloff in global markets this week. The S&P 500 fell 2.1% on Friday to close the week down 6% as China hit back at the US tariffs on some USD 60 bn worth of goods and services, sparking fears of a global trade war. All three primary US equity indices had their “worst weekly declines in more than two years,” the Financial Times notes. Beijing is urging the US to “pull back from the brink.” CEOs, including BlackRock’s Larry Fink and Apple’s Tim Cook, urged restraint.

Sound smart: Two pieces you want to read for context, both from the New York Times:Trump is “pushing the World Trade Organization toward irrelevance,” the paper writes, saying his move clearly stands as “another retreat from the postwar” liberal democratic capitalist world order and “back toward the 19th-century ways of nationalism, protectionism and great-power rivalry.”

Also worth noting as we get the week underway:

  • Goldman Sachs wants 1,000 more investment banking clients worldwide, Lloyd Blankfein says in his annual letter to shareholders.
  • The first commercial flight to Israel has crossed Saudi airspace to land in Tel Aviv on Thursday night, underscoring “the warming relations between Israel and the Saudi kingdom.”
  • The largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam era took place across the United States yesterday as students led rallies for gun control. Reuters has more on a story that is dominating front pages across the United States this morning.
  • US President Donald Trump has a new national security adviser, tapping former UN ambassador John Bolton as to replace H.R. McMaster, Bloomberg reports. Bolton is known for being “a fierce supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”
  • Elon Musk joined the #DeleteFacebook movement, taking down Tesla and SpaceX’s accounts, Reuters reports. The calls have heightened as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, though some experts believe deleting Facebook may not stop it from keeping tabs of your online data.

There’s a film and comic con taking place in Dubai from 5-7 April. The actor who plays Hodor on Game of Thrones is going, as is the actor who plays Nancy Wheeler on Stranger Things.

VACATION WATCH- It’s two weeks until the Easter and Sham El Neseem long weekend. The two holidays fall on 8 and 9 April, respectively.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Yesterday’s terrorist bombing, widely considered a failed assassination attempt on Alexandria’ security chief, was all the airwaves had to offer last night.

Experts and officials interviewed by the talking heads say that Daesh had nothing to do with it and that smaller groups were the culprits. National Terrorism Council member Khaled Okasha phoned in to Hona Al Asema to tell host Lamees Al Hadidi that the scope of the attack indicated the group was stretched for resources. The quantities of explosives used in the attack was lower than those in Daesh’ other attacks (watch, runtime: 28:16). Islamism researcher Ahmed Ban and political analyst Tharwat El Kharaby point to Hasm or Liwa Al Thawra as being the likely culprits (watch, runtime: 7:12). Guests on Masaa DMC also discussed the likelihood of an Ikhwan-affiliated organization being behind the attack (watch, runtime: 3:42).

Talking heads urged voters to remain undeterred by the attack, which they say was meant to discourage voting. Lamees and Kol Youm’s Amr Adib stressed the “stupidity” of the attack, as they would only galvanize people to come out and vote (watch, runtime: 5:16).

Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed made the rounds to confirm that two policemen were killed and five, including a student and four security personnel, were wounded in the explosion (watch, runtime: 3:13).

The talking heads also delved into the preparations for the election. Over 4,000 judges of the Administrative Prosecution Authority will supervise the presidential poll, a spokesman told Masaa DMC, adding that judges have started heading to the governorates to which they’ve been assigned, with the Armed Forces accompanying them for protection (watch, runtime: 4:21).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Apache is planning on drilling 50 new exploratory wells in Egypt in the coming fiscal year through its Qaroun and Khalda Petroleum subsidiaries, both JVs with EGPC, Apache CEO John Christmann said on Thursday, according to a report in state-owned Ahram Gate. Christmann said he expects the sector to “witness a boom” in FY2018-19. Apache’s Khalda had signed a USD 20 mn agreement with the EGPC back in December to begin exploration activities in the Western Desert’s Alam El Shawish concession. Apache and Merlon had also signed USD 79 mn-worth of Western Desert exploration agreements with the Oil Ministry in August last year.

Separately, EGAS and Eni are planning to bring production at Zohr to maximum capacity ahead of schedule. The two companies are working hard to have the supergiant East-Mediterranean gas field pumping out its full capacity of 2.7 bcf/d ahead of its slated end-2019 deadline, sources close to the matter tell Al Shorouk, adding that output from Zohr — which is expected to help Egypt reach natural gas self-sufficiency and become a net exporter of LNG — should also rise to 700 mcf/d, from a current 350 mcf/d, by May instead of June.

In other news from the natural resources industry: Wood Mackenzie has been tapped to conduct studies for government’s mineral resources development strategy. State-owned oil services outfit Enppi has tapped global energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie to conduct studies for Egypt’s mineral resources development strategy, according to a Oil Ministry statement. The studies should be complete by August and the strategy, which will include a list of projects, should be ready by the end of 2019. Legislation to govern activities related to the mining and use of mineral resources has been with the House of Representatives for months.

BP is hoping to raise USD 1 bn from “mature oil assets in Egypt” that it has recently put up for sale, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg. The move is part of the company’s strategy to “maintain capital discipline,” they add. This comes as BP “missed out on a chance to renew its partnership in oil concessions off the [UAE’s] shores, which expired this month,” which means that it will now need to focus its efforts on other regional gas assets, including Egypt’s Zohr and Oman’s Khazzan, in addition to its 2016 concessions.

EXCLUSIVE- Egypt’s “Uber for motorcycles” closes in on USD 2 mn pre-series ‘A’ fundraising round: Halan, the Cairo-based ride-sharing app targeting motorcycle and tuktuk owners that we first noted back in January, has already raised more than 75% of the USD 2 mn it is looking to land for its pre-series ‘A.’’ Existing investors have committed to the round, as have Western venture capital firms that follow the ride-sharing space globally, we’re told. Speaking this weekend, Halan CEO Mounir Nakhla declined to confirm the 75% figure or to name the investors with whom the startup is in talks, saying only, “Interest is really strong. We’re well on our way to our goal of closing a pre-series ‘A’ with both financial and potentially strategic investors participating.” The previously disclosed USD 2 mn seed round for the personal assistant service Elves currently stands as the largest pre-Series ‘A’ round raised in Egypt.

Who’s already in? Investors from Silicon Valley and Singapore, in addition to strategic investors, Nakhla says.

Halan, just three months from it’s first ride, is doing “four figures” worth of rides every day, says Chief Marketing Officer Dina Ghabbour. Halan has already rolled out a national advertising campaign (watch, runtime: 0:59 — we’re not responsible for damage to your eardrums) and outdoor ads in test zones in the Greater Cairo Area. The Halan app has been downloaded more than 100k times for Android since the company launched late November. Ghabbour says they’re launching an iOS app in April. The company is on Facebook here.

What’s a ride on the back of a motorcycle cost, anyway? The 7 km hop from Faisal to Moneeb costs EGP 13.50 and takes 20 minutes on a motorcycle compared with EGP 20 for an hour long taxi ride, according to figures made available by Halan. Two- and three-wheelers are also 2-4x more fuel efficient than cars over the same distance, with fuel efficiency and cost advantages generally going up with the distance traveled until you leave an urban or peri-urban area.

The ability to meet fast-rising user demand will be key for Halan as it looks to leapfrog potential competition from existing players Uber and Careem. The startup already has a head start: Love them or hate them, tuktuks are ubiquitous from the Mediterranean coast to the farthest reaches of Upper Egypt. Nakhla is the man readers can thank for That: As the co-founder of Mashroey, Egypt’s largest light-transport financing business, he runs more than 100 branches nationwide and has over 40k active customers, the vast majority of them having financed their purchase of motorcycles or three-wheelers through the firm. He also founded Tasaheel, a pure microfinance player that has more than 100 additional branches and more than 350k clients across the country.

LEGISLATION WATCH- The House of Representatives’ Transportation Committee is moving the Ride-hailing Apps Act to the top of its agenda. The committee intends to begin reviewing the bill as soon as it receives it from the Ismail Cabinet and intends to wrap up debate “as fast as possible,” chair Hisham Abdel Wahed tells Al Mal. The Ismail Cabinet said on Wednesday that it was referring the bill — which will reportedly require ride-sharing companies to ensure that half their fleet is made up of white taxis and impose licensing fees and fixed working hours — to the House for passage.

State lawyers appealing Uber, Careem shutdown verdict: This comes as the State Lawsuits Authority moved yesterday to appeal an Administrative Court ruling ordering the shutdown of ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem, Al Mal reports. A number of Cairo’s cab drivers had banded together to file a lawsuit against the two companies, claiming they are using their private cars as taxis illegally. Both companies continue to operate normally and are appealing the court ruling. Meanwhile, Cairo’s cab drivers are looking to set up their own ride-hailing app and union, according to Al Shorouk.

Competition authority vindicates cement producers in initial findings from market review: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has cleared cement producers of accusations of unjustified price increases leveled against them last week by Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) boss Atef Yakoub. In its preliminary findings from its 2013-17 survey of the industry, the ECA says that increases in cement price were a natural response to the changes that have taken place in the local market in recent years, explaining that producers have had to grapple with rising costs and compressed operating margins as thanks to the float of the EGP and the phaseout of energy subsidies.

The ECA attributes a drop in output from the industry in 2017 to a decision to reduce capacity, which certain producers (with a collective market share of no more than 17%) made in an effort to scale back on costs, particularly their energy bills. Energy constitutes around 60% of total operating costs for cement manufacturers, the report adds, noting that some producers are also raising their retail prices preemptively ahead of an expected hike in electricity prices at the start of the new fiscal year and in anticipation of the resumption of the energy subsidy phase-out program.

The local cement market actually enjoys a fair amount of competition. The number of players in the industry rose to 22 in 2017 from 13 in 2008. That number is set to grow: The government tendered 11 licenses in January. The ECA’s findings also show that major producers, such as Lafarge, have seen their market shares drop as new players, such as Elsewedy, Beni Suef, and South Valley cement companies, entered and established themselves in the market. Fierce competition and the fact that there are almost no alternatives to Grey Portland cement explain why different brands retail at really close prices, the ECA also said. Read the preliminary report here.

Meanwhile, the CPA’s Yakoub is sticking by statements he made last week that he lodged formal complaints against cement and steel manufacturers, which the ECA has since denied, explaining it was conducting a standard periodical review of both industries. The CPA boss told Al Masry Al Youm on Friday that he asked the ECA to investigate the surge in steel prices by EGP 3,000 per tonne in the last two months, which he believes could be the result of a deliberate decision to reduce the industry’s overall output in order to manipulate market prices. The ECA is expected to issue the results of its survey of the steel industry within the coming few days.

In related news, Egypt’s cement exports increased 79% y-o-y in January to USD 7 mn, up from USD 4 mn in the same month last year, according to a Building Materials Export Council statement picked up by Cemnet. Kenya was the largest importer of Egyptian cement with USD 1.9 mn-worth, up from USD 29k a year before.

Egypt welcomed 730k tourists in February 2018, marking a 36% y-o-y increase compared to the same period last year, according to Tourism Ministry data carried by Al Shorouk. Germany was our top inbound market with 115.5k arrivals in Egypt, followed by 87k from Ukraine and 35k from the UK. Group travel to EGypt was up 66.5% y-o-y in 2017 as Egyptian have found new cost competitiveness against other global competitors.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Government drafting legislation on organic farming: The Agriculture Ministry has started working on legislation to regulate organic farming and promote more exports of organic produce, Deputy Minister Ashraf Al Haddad said on Thursday, Al Mal reports. The proposed law would define the organic industry in Egypt and penalize producers who do not abide by the specifications, but label their products organic to inflate their price tags, Al Haddad added. There was no mention of when the draft law might be ready.

M&A WATCH- Incolease denies it is in play. The International Company For Leasing (Incolease) has denied a report that it is the subject of acquisition offers from both local and international players seeking a majority stake in the firm, according to a company statement to EGX (pdf). Al Mal had reported on Thursday that major shareholders including SAIB and Banque Misr were looking to sell their stakes in the company, which prompted the EGX to suspend trading of Incolease shares.

The Supreme Media Council thinks Egypt’s relations with the rest of Africa are too tense to withstand a (bad) joke: The Supreme Media Council has banned an advertisement from state-owned mobile network operator WE for harming Egypt’s relations with the rest of Africa, Al Mal reports. The ad in question attempts to show how dependable and friendly Egyptians are by portraying members of an African tribe as inhospitable and scary — and ready to eat Karim Abdel Aziz (watch, runtime 1:02).

INVESTMENT WATCH- IDA signs agreement with Saudi’s CPC to develop EGP 900 mn Sadat City industrial zone: The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) signed an agreement on Thursday with Saudi Arabia’s Construction Products Holding Company (CPC) to develop an industrial zone in Sadat City for EGP 900 mn, according to the State Information Service. Under the terms of their contract, CPC will establish the main infrastructure for the project and also handle the marketing and the allocation of land to investors under the IDA’s supervision, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The IDA will also sign off on contracts with investors, said deputy head Magdy Ghazy. The project is expected to draw in EGP 2 bn-worth of new businesses and 20% of available spaces will be earmarked for SMEs.

EARNINGS WATCH- Attijariwafa Bank reported a 68% y-o-y jump in net profit to EGP 1.1 bn in FY2017, marking a new record for the bank, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The rise in profit comes on the back of higher interest rates, increased lending, and increased deposits.

Two policemen were killed and five more were injured in a bomb attack in Alexandria targeting the governorate’s security director, Reuters reports. No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, but the state news agency said it was part of the Ikhwan’s efforts to “disrupt” the presidential elections that kick off tomorrow, according to the newswire. The bomb was planted under a car and detonated as the security director was passing in a separate car, according to an Interior Ministry statement. The director was unharmed in the blast. The attack is receiving widespread coverage in the foreign press, as typified by reports from the Associated Press notes and the Wall Street Journal.

Ezz Steel boss Ahmed Ezz and five others had their names removed from an EU Council blacklist on Wednesday, according to a statement from the council (pdf).

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Image of the Day

Can the Nile, and the agriculture that depends on it, survive? In a photo-essay for the Washington Post, Jonathan Rashad explores the toll overpopulation, despeciation, climate change, pollution, and dam construction have taken on the world’s longest river. The piece notes the woes of farmers of the Nile Delta, home to half of Egypt’s population of over 90 mn, and how these factors have diminished their livelihoods. The piece is haunting, filled with alarming statistics that suggest how insurmountable the obstacles are. The scariest part, however, are the images of the state of pollution on the farm, which really drive home the point.

Egypt in the News

The foreign media is still in a feeding frenzy over Egypt’s presidential elections, which are now only one day away. Reuters quotes President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s Friday remarks in defense of his “tough austerity measures,” while the Times notes that he said he would have liked to see more opponents in the race, and All Africa breaks down the voting process.

Bews outlets continued to address the elections in a sharp tone, criticizing the two-man race and noting that the result will unquestionable be in El Sisi’s favor. “The mystery, then, is why Mr. Sisi is acting like a man with something to lose,” muses the New York Times’ Declan Walsh. “While the vote is expected to be a stage-managed confirmation, along the lines of those in China and Russia last weekend, it has exposed a rumble of discontent inside the security establishment that appeared to rattle Mr. Sisi.” Meanwhile, the Associated Press says that “the bigger picture is that in the Middle East as a whole, democracy has largely failed to take hold.”

Egyptians’ use of “grim satire” on social media to poke fun at the abundance of posters supporting President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s re-election bid, the AP also notes, while a “bipartisan group of US foreign policy figures” are calling on the White House to abstain from praising the presidential elections in Egypt. Their requests will likely fall on deaf ears, the Washington Post opines.

Elsewhere this morning: Times reporter Bel Trew was detained and questioned for seven hours before being put on a plane out of Cairo, where she had lived and worked for seven years, according to The Times. No immediate official explanation was given for her detention and no charges were brought against her, she writes for the newspaper for which she has reported since 2013. The Guardian, Reuters, and WSJ also have coverage.

The move to partially privatize Egypt’s railways is a sign that the country may be over its fear of the dreaded “P” word, writes David Awad for Al Monitor. Involving the private sector in management is a way “to fight corruption, bureaucracy, ill-planned decisions and the lack of accountability for mistakes in the state’s administrative institutions,” says Cairo University economic law professor Ayman Abdul Mordi. However, there remains throwbacks who cling on to the problems privatization faced back in the 1990s. Some, including former Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies researcher Abdul Khalek Farouk believe the move could open the door to lost state revenues and the wholesale sacking of workers.

Also in the headlines this morning:

  • Transparency International Defense and Security is calling for Egypt to make clear its total defense spending in a report issued on Friday (pdf). In a statement that accompanied the report (pdf), Transparency International called on Western countries to make foreign military aid to Egypt conditional on greater transparency.
  • Ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi has been “forgotten by most in the international community,” his son writes in a piece for the Washington Post.
  • Rooftop gardens in Cairo could provide an alternative source of food for the city’s residents as rapid population growth, urbanization, and the degradation of agricultural land make green spaces rare, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
  • The fear of stigmatization keeping many Egyptians from testing for HIV due to its “association with immoral behavior” is allowing the disease to spread in Egypt, Al Monitor’s May El Habachi says.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a short visit to New Delhi last week for a joint Egyptian-Indian Committee meeting, according to a ministry statement. Discussions ranged from counterterrorism to investments, particularly in the areas of textiles, energy and technology, Shoukry told India Today in an exclusive interview. He also urged Indian industries to take advantage of Egypt’s geographical location as a gateway to the African market, according to KNN India.

Egypt is working to prevent Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from declaring Gaza a “rebel territory” if Hamas does not hand over the administration of the strip, sources tell Asharq Alawsat.

Egypt’s Trust Group and Ethiopia’s Alfoz PLC signed on Thursday a USD 80 mn, two-year contract to export a monthly 6,000 heads of livestock from Ethiopia, Al Shorouk reports. The agreement comes in line with efforts to boost trade and economic relations between the two countries, especially amid tensions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia agreed to hold a trilateral meeting over the dam on 4-5 April after talks reached a stalemate.

Energy

Four local companies win six contracts for EGP 1 bn electricity projects

The Upper Egypt Electricity Distribution Company (UEEDC) has awarded four local companies six contracts worth a collective EGP 1 bn, an Electricity Ministry source tells Al Mal. Kahromecha, Elsewedy Electric, Giza Cables Industries, and Arab Contractors, who will sign the contracts for their respective projects next month, will be asked to develop and expand low- and medium-voltage networks in Sohag, Qena, Luxor, and Aswan within a six-month timeframe.

Electricity Ministry to tender new solar projects in May, says Shaker

The Electricity Ministry is gearing up to tender solar power plants with a combined production capacity of 150 MW in May, Minister Mohamed Shaker tells Al Borsa. The tenders will be issued in several phases, according to Shaker.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Government to purchase over 4 mn tonnes of local wheat this year

The government is planning to purchase over 4 mn tonnes of wheat from local farmers this year, Supply Ministry spokesperson Mamdouh Ramadan tells Reuters’ Arabic service. The government is prepared to purchase however much farmers will be willing to sell, Ramadan said, adding that the Ismail Cabinet will announce the price of local wheat for this harvest season by the end of the month. Farmers Union head El Nouby Abul Loz told Al Mal that he expects the government to raise local wheat prices by EGP 100 per ardib to EGP 655 from EGP 555 per ardib. Government sources had told Reuters earlier this month, however, that the buying price of wheat would likely be based on average local and global prices, which would increase it by EGP 15-20 per ardib.

Turkey’s BIM to increase Egypt capital by USD 7.4 mn

Turkish discount supermarket operator BIM has decided to increase the share capital of Egypt-based unit BIM Stores by USD 7.4 mn, according to Reuters. The increase will be paid in cash, the newswire notes. No additional detail was provided. BIM had announced last July that it was planning to increase its number of retail outlets in Egypt to 300 from 256 in 2017.

Manufacturing

Eastern Company signs with Mansour Int’l to manufacture ‘West’ cigarettes

Eastern Company has signed a five-year agreement with Mansour International Distribution Co. to jointly manufacture “West” cigarettes in Egypt, according to a company statement to EGX.

Health + Education

Gov’t has spent EGP 3 bn on scientific research, says El Sisi

The government has spent nearly EGP 3 bn on supporting scientific research over the past four years, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said on Thursday, an Ittihadiya statement reads. El Sisi had announced earlier last week that he is planning to launch a 14-year program to overhaul the country’s educational system and raise its international ranking.

Tourism

EgyptAir offers up to 50% discount on first flight to Moscow in more than two years

EgyptAir is offering discounts on its first direct flight to Moscow in over two years next month, the company announced in a statement. The offer, which expires 29 March, includes a 50% discount on business class, and a 35% discount on economy class tickets. The national carrier had announced it would begin operating three weekly flights to Russia as of 12 April. It also said it would schedule additional flights to Russia in June to accommodate football fans heading to the World Cup.

Gov’t plans to issue special medical tourism visas

The government is working to begin issuing new visas specifically for medical tourism, Egypt Today reports. The visas, which the Civil Aviation and Foreign Affairs ministries are currently working on, would be available to citizens of 15 Arab and African countries in their first phase, according to Supreme Medical Tourism Committee Secretary General Ayman Abdel Aziz. Egypt has been working to promote its burgeoning medical tourism sector through the Tour n’ Cure hepatitis C medical tourism program and natural treatments at the Siwa Oasis.

Swansea Egyptologist discovers rare depiction of Hatshepsut

An Egyptian artwork that had remained in storage at Swansea University’s Egypt Centre for over forty years has been identified as an extremely rare depiction of Hatshepsut, one of just five women known to have ruled ancient Egypt, according to Science Daily. The sculpture was discovered by Egyptology lecturer Ken Griffin during a routine student handling session.

Automotive + Transportation

Four players to invest EGP 417 mn in new service centers and showrooms

Four auto players intend to invest a collective EGP 417 mn in new service centers and showrooms, Al Mal reports. Ezz El-Arab Automotive Group is planning to allocate EGP 100 mn this year to establishing new service centers in Cairo and Alexandria, the company’s chairman tells the newspaper, as he expects auto sales to climb 20% this year. Also investing in new service centers and showrooms are El Masria, with EGP 200 mn allocated to the plan, Arabiat (Ssangyong) with EGP 80 mn, and Abu Hetta — a Toyota, Kia, and Mitsubishi distributor — who will invest EGP 37 mn in new service centers and three new showrooms this year.

Banking + Finance

Hany Tawfik resigns as CEO of Union Capital, Misr Venture Capital

Hany Tawfik has stepped down as CEO of Union Capital and Misr Venture Capital — the EGP 150 mn bailout fund for idle small- and mid-sized factories — but will retain his position as a board member in both, he tells Al Borsa. Tawfik submitted his resignation after completing the framework for restructuring idle factories, explaining that he is stepping aside to make way for fresh faces.

Other Business News of Note

EGX approves Sinai Cement’s EGP 680.5 mn capital increase

The EGX approved on Thursday Sinai Cement’s request to increase its issued capital to EGP 1.3 bn from EGP 680.5 mn, according to an EGX filing. The 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 today.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Administrative Court overturns ruling against Mubarak, Nazif, Adly over 2011 telecom shutdown

The Supreme Administrative Court issued a decision yesterday to overturn a previous ruling to fine former president Hosni Mubarak along with former prime minister Ahmed Nazif and ex-interior minister Habib El Adly some EGP 540 mn for cutting electronic communications during the 25 January uprising, Al Ahram reports. The initial ruling was issued in 2011 and found the three guilty of damaging the economy as a result of the telecom shutdown. Yesterday’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

National Security

Egyptian, French navies conduct demining drill

Egyptian and French naval forces conducted a joint demining drill in the Red Sea on Friday, according to a statement from Egypt’s Naval Forces. This comes one month after the two countries concluded the Cleopatra 2018 joint naval exercise in the Red Sea.

Sports

Salah’s goal in the spotlight despite 2-1 loss to Portugal

Mohamed Salah’s goal against Portugal in a World Cup warm-up on Friday has topped local and international coverage despite Egypt’s 2-1 loss. Salah’s goal was “effortlessly brilliant”, says GMS’ Danny Ryan, putting “Egypt on the verge of a famous friendly win” over Portugal, according to Ahram Online. Reuters also has the story, while Sky Sports recounts some “fun facts” about Egypt ahead of the World Cup.

On Your Way Out

Egypt won 96 medals at the Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 in Abu Dhabi, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The hardware haul included 52 gold, 23 silver, and 21 bronze. The Egyptian team was the largest at the event, with 160 athletes.

King Farouk’s 18-carat gold watch is now the most expensive timepiece ever sold in the region: The late King Farouk’s 18-carat gold Patek Philippe watch was sold to anonymous buyer at a record-high price of USD 912.5k at Christie’s in Dubai on Friday, according to Bloomberg. The watch had been estimated to be worth USD 800k.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5861 | Sell 17.6828
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.65

EGX30 (Thursday): 17,065 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.5 bn (31% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.6%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian Resorts up 7.4%, Amer Group up 3.2%, and Porto Group up 2.9%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks Qalaa Holdings down 4.1%, Egyptian Aluminum down 2.8%, and Pioneers Holding down 2.6%. The market turnover was down EGP 1.5 bn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +50.8 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +2.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -53.0 mn

Retail: 69.0% of total trades | 71.1% of buyers | 66.8% of sellers
Institutions: 31.0% of total trades | 28.9% of buyers | 33.2% of sellers

Foreign: 17.1% of total | 18.8% of buyers | 15.4% of sellers
Regional: 7.1% of total | 7.1% of buyers | 7.0% of sellers
Domestic: 75.9% of total | 74.1% of buyers | 77.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 65.88 (+2.46%)
Brent: USD 70.45 (+2.23%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.59 MMBtu, (-0.99%, April 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,355.70 / troy ounce (+1.69%)

TASI: 7,840.94 (+1.02%) (YTD: +8.51%)
ADX: 4,577.84 (+0.24%) (YTD: +4.08%)
DFM: 3,149.53 (-1.78%) (YTD: -6.54%)
KSE Weighted Index: 409.71 (+0.11%) (YTD: +2.07%)
QE: 8,825.70 (-0.54%) (YTD: +3.55%)
MSM: 4,800.93 (+0.10%) (YTD: -5.85%)
BB: 1,333.91 (-0.19%) (YTD: +0.16%)

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Calendar

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. 11 April (Wednesday): The Game Sports Industry Conference, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo. 17-18 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Creative Industry Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel, Cairo. 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. 07 May (Monday): International Data Corporation’s CIO Summit, The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 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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