Monday, 26 March 2018

It’s Election Day in Egypt

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The only thing to watch out for today: Polling kicks off this morning in the 2018 Presidential election. Under heavy military and police presence following a terrorist bombing in Alexandria on Saturday, voters will cast their ballots today through Wednesday at more than 11,000 polling stations nationwide. Polling stations are open 9:00 am to 9:00 pm in a contest that hinges on voter turnout. Leading political and business figures are pushing a “get out and vote” drive. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal and Support Egypt Coalition head Mohamed Elsewedy have announced their respective polling stations. Union of Investors Associations head Mohamed Farid Khamis is taking things further, announcing that he’ll pay EGP 1 mn to two villages around Bilbeis with the highest voter turnout, Ahram Gate reports.

The questions on everyone’s mind: What will turnout ultimately be? And will Thursday be declared a national holiday to drive additional turnout, as has happened in polls past?

The National Elections Authority is urging all voters to visit its website to figure out the precinct in which they’re to cast their ballots. NEA deputy head Mahmoud Sherif noted that anyone who has not filed to change their polling station with the Real Estate Registry or the courts must vote in their assigned polling station, Ahram Gate reports. Companies have been asked to allocate times in their day to allow workers to vote.

Nonstop media coverage: All Egyptian television channels, and Egypt-focused foreign satellite channels, will be running around-the-clock coverage of the voting today, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Expect little in the way of meaningful color commentary.

The election is all the foreign media can talk about this morning. As we predicted a few months back, coverage is largely critical and divided between the importance of voter turnout and nostalgia for the January 2011 uprisings.

Foreign press, embassies watching for turnout: Media outlets and wires from Reuters and Associated Press to the Financial Times are saying that turnout — the poll’s “only element of suspense” — will be a gauge of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s support. With rival Moussa Moustafa Moussa effectively not campaigning, “the only indication that the vote is taking place is the huge Sisi posters lining the streets, many paid for by businesses keen to display their loyalty to the president.” Reuters notes the effort the government and supporters of El Sisi have taken to bolster turnout numbers, while the Wall Street Journal suggests that they have their work cut out for them.

Bloomberg is among the few to have taken a look at the economic implications of the poll. Despite economic progress, El Sisi risks “breaking Egyptians” if he pushes them any harder, Ahmed Feteha and Tarek El Tablawy write for the business information service. “Steep subsidy cuts and currency liberalization kept inflation above 30% for much of the past year and El-Sisi’s mega-projects seem a world away from teeming neighborhoods where many still struggle to find well-paid jobs.” The pair suggest that while reforms are producing results, El Sisi faces numerous challenges as he approaches his second term in office and as economic conditions tighten for lower-income citizens. Former finance minister Samir Radwan tells Bloomberg that “Egypt should learn from the pre-2011 experience and aim to limit inequalities that may lead to public anger,” which is arguably happening as the Ismail government expands spending on the social safety new in the upcoming budget.

Nostalgia for January 2011 in the foreign press is showing just how divergent their priorities are from Egypt’s. The AP notes that Tahrir Square, once “filled with tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding change [is now] plastered with portraits of the president, vowing continuity.” It even has a timeline of political events since the uprisings seven years ago. An opinion piece in the FT, however, says that the elections have turned “Arab spring to winter.”

Negative coverage also honed in on the contender: El Sisi’s sole challenger Moussa Moustafa Moussa was at the center of coverage by the AP and the Guardian, neither of whom had much to say beyond calling him a “dummy candidate.” Moussa, who arguably did the nation a solid by agreeing to run, is not doing himself any favors by telling Russia’s Sputnik that he believes the US triggered the Arab Spring in 2011 and destabilized the Middle East. “This huge US project was implemented by the team [of former US Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice. Its aim was to overthrow the leadership of all the Arab countries and to divide the states into smaller countries.”

So wait a moment — Moussa gets his geostrategic insights from our family’s Friday afternoon lunches, circa 2012?

Also: Can we please ask that that be the last time any of you use the words “Arab Spring”? Please? No? Fine, whatever…

HAT TIP- Longtime readers know that in the pantheon of things that irritate the hell out of us, little [redacts] us off more than copycats, particularly in media. So it is a pleasure to celebrate originality on one of those rare occasions when it raises its head. With that: Kudos to our good friends at GB Auto and Tarek Nour Advertising, who have — in the coolest way possible — turned Italy’s World Cup ‘tragedy’ into a national campaign that is both funny and beautiful. The TNA gang celebrated the launch of the campaign at its new “The Lab” outpost in El Gouna this weekend.

What We’re Tracking This Week

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.

Pharos Holdings will be holding a two-day investor conference headlined In Search of Egypt Alpha on Friday 2, April. The event, which will be attended by several senior government officials, and is expected to host around 40 companies a range of industries with the aim of providing a platform for dialogue to help explore the long-term prospects for investment in the EGX, Chairman and CEO Elwy Teymour said in a statement (pdf). “In Search for Egypt Alpha Conference aims to support the companies whose stories are not generally visible or known to the market,” said COO Angus Blair. The opening day will see panel discussions on the energy and petrochemicals sectors in light of Egypt’s emergence as an energy hub, while the second day will see meetings between fund managers and corporate representatives.

On The Horizon

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

Arab leaders will gather in Riyadh on 15 April for a summit, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit announced yesterday. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had said that Qatar would be allowed to attend.

The Game Sports Industry Conference— Egypt’s first-ever platform dedicated to the sports industry — kicks off in Cairo on 11 April. The conference, which will bring together industry professionals, leaders, and enthusiasts, will feature discussions on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in the sports industry, leveraging sports as a marketing channel, and the digital transformation in sports, among others. Register here.

The Creative Industry Summit will take place in Cairo from 17-18 April at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza. Some of the issues on the agenda include sports marketing and “how to ride the world cup wave,” and engagement through content marketing.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

On the off chance you spent the last few weeks at sea returning from Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific, the talking heads want you to know that today is election day.

With voter turnout being paramount in this poll, the narrative on the airwaves is that voting isn’t a democratic choice, but a duty to the state. Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi urged viewers to vote, not for the president, but to back the stability of the state, ensure continued reforms, and prevent the Ikhwan from staging a return. She added that asking for greater political freedoms and more democracy was something they should worry about after the elections (watch, runtime: 9:07). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib believes a turnout of 15-20% is not bad, while 20-25% would be good. A turnout of over 25% would be outstanding (watch, runtime: 7:23).

National Election Authority head Lasheen Ibrahim made the rounds to explain plans to ensure the election goes smoothly. He named some of the biggest electoral districts, telling Lamees that some 7.4 mn citizens from Cairo were eligible to vote, while Giza and Shariqiya are home to 5.2 mn and 4.1 mn eligible voters, respectively (watch, runtime: 9:38). An elections “expert” told Adib the authority has it set up so that voters will take 3-5 minutes to cast their ballots, eliminating long queues (watch, runtime: 9:20).

Already have election fatigue? Thank Lamees for devoting a chunk of her episode to a debate on the Ride-hailing Apps Act (videos of the debate were not online by dispatch time). Khaled Gamal, the ambulance-chaser (well, taxi-chaser) behind the lawsuit in the Administrative Court, said that he informed the government that it must comply with the verdict to suspend the licenses of ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem. The government had said it would comply only if it receives an official notice from the Administrative Court. Taxi drivers are heartbroken that the government isn’t moving fast enough to stop thousands of people from supplementing their income as drivers, according to statements from the head of their union Mahmoud Abdel Hamid.

A House divided on the Ride-hailing Act: The few MPs that showed up to the debate demonstrated the ambivalence that could prolong the debate on the bill to regulate the burgeoning sector. One MP, who agreed to the law in principle, aired conspiracy theories that these companies do not pay taxes in Egypt, while another — a member of the ICT Committee — defended the sharing economy the drive to regulate it in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Careem’s PR director Dalia El Nasr urges swift action in light of the over 100k drivers the firm employs. She noted that the company has yet to make a profit in Egypt (cry for her, friends). El Nasr had taken part in a national dialogue on the law on Sunday, the highlights of which are covered in the Speed Round.

The debate on cement price gouging continues in Yahduth fi Masr, where cement division head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Medhat Istaphanos said that the operating costs of cement companies have fallen to “zero” due to inflation. The debate had been kicked off by Consumer Protection Agency head Atef Yakoub, who acts like he has never taken an econ course in his life (watch, runtime: 4:31).

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Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

LEGISLATION WATCH- One thing we learned from the ‘national dialogue’ on the Ride-Hailing Apps Act: Only the government is really happy with it. The Support Egypt Coalition led what it calls a national dialogue on the Ride-Hailing Apps Act on Sunday, bringing together MPs, government officials and representatives from the companies. The general consensus of the meeting appears to be that while the law is a good start, much more needs to be done. The event came as the government rushes to legalize ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Careem, whose licenses were put at risk by a ruling from the Administrative Court favoring taxi drivers.

The government line: The Ride-Hailing Apps Act is key, if only because it’s the state’s first to attempt to regulate the sharing economy, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, according to Al Shorouk. Passing the bill is in the public interest: It helps create jobs and complements the government’s development strategy, she added. The government is developing new cities and is keen to develop reliable public transportation systems in cooperation with the private sector, Nasr noted.

Nasr also may have thrown a dig at grandstanding MPs when she says that the law has been through a number of committees in the House and the government and their input has been taken into consideration.

The companies get their say: Careem’s public relations director, Dalia El Nasr, showed the flag for the private sector, according to the newspaper. She called for moderate pricing of licenses under the act, a justifiable complaint considering reports that permits to drive for a ride-sharing service could cost 125% more than taxi licenses do (which, frankly, is just insane). Ride-sharing apps should also be exempted from having to prove to regulators that all of their divers are insured, a requirement El Nasr says would be logistically difficult for a multinational with some 100k drivers. (On this: Give us a break. Proof of insurance should be a basic, as it is in every jurisdiction in the world that we can think of). Overall, El Nasr is pushing for a looser, more lenient regulatory framework

The House wants to appease taxis—and collect your data: MPs positively slobbered as they looked to score points with taxi drivers, criticizing a bill they themselves helped draft. “[Ride-hailing] companies have harmed regular taxi drivers who pay taxes and license fees to the state,” said House Transport Committee deputy chair Mohamed Zain, according to Al Masry Al Youm. (Find us a taxi driver who pays taxes on his earnings driving a cab and we’ll find you the sole living saint in Egypt.) Zain also pushed for the law to guarantee that companies open user data to the government and store that data in Egypt — a feature of the law first revealed by the NYT’s Declan Walsh last year. The head of the House ICT Committee, Nidal El Saeed, supported those articles, but called for them to be slightly loosened. He did, however, double down on support for taxi drivers, calling for a referendum on the law be put to them, Al Shorouk reports.

Brilliant. Let’s pass the democratic process to a group whose interests are in no way threatened by this bill. That’s the mature way to do it…

INVESTMENT WATCH- Universal Healthcare Act drums up interest in Egypt’s healthcare industry? The issuance of the Universal Healthcare Act, which was signed into law and January and is up for implementation in July, is drumming up investor interest in Egypt’s healthcare sector and medical industry.

The Saudi German Hospitals Group is planning to inaugurate its USD 500 mn medical city in Alexandria next year, SGH Cairo CEO Mohamed Hablas tells Al Shorouk. The company is nearing the end of construction on its medical city complex in Alex West, which will house eight hospitals, a 220-clinic medical center, and an EGP 700 mn science and technology college. SGH is also planning to open two new hospitals in Egypt under its Andalusia brand at an investment cost of EGP 750 mn, one each in Six October City and New Cairo, in addition to its plans to build a hospital in Asyut and another in the new administrative capital.

Medical group Speed is also planning to invest EGP 500 mn over the next three years, Chairman Mahmoud Lasheen says. Speed intends to open a EGP 200-220 mn hospital in Obour City by the end of this year and simultaneously work on another EGP 280 mn facility in New Cairo, which it expects to inaugurate in the second half of 2019. Speed Medical Examination Services had announced earlier this month that it was planning to invest EGP 67 mn in 43 new labs between now and the end of 2Q2019, in addition to expanding its network to Libya, Morocco, Kenya, and Uganda.

Recently,Mena Health Partners’ recent announced it would be investing EGP 3 bn over the coming three years in its portfolio of four hospitals, and Saudi Arabia’s Elaj has been on an acquisition spree says its expansion plans include a EGP 500 mn oncology hospital in Cairo.

IPO WATCH- The retail tranche of B Investment’s initial public offering was 84.4x oversubscribed when bookbuilding concluded at the close of yesterday’s session, Youm7 reports. BPE Holding for Financial Investments (better known as B Investments) is hoping to raise EGP 460 mn from the sale of 43 mn shares, good for a free float of about 27% (retail offering of 5,000,000 shares and private placement of 38,131,554 shares). The company will use the proceeds to fund investments in renewable energy and non-banking financial services. B Investments is expected to begin trading on the EGX on 29 March. Sigma Capital is the sole coordinator and bookrunner, while Zaki Hashem & Partners are acting as legal counsel to the issuer.

Naguib Sawiris, Yassin Mansour offer to buy Qatari Diar out of Egypt? Businessmen Naguib Sawiris and Yassin Mansour are reportedly looking to buy real estate developer Qatari Diar’s Egyptian investments, sources claimed to Al Shorouk. Naguib was said to have made Diar a EGP 35 bn offer to acquire all of its local assets, while Palm Hills Development Chairman Mansour made an offer for the company’s New Cairo City Gate development, which has been the subject of an ongoing legal dispute with the New and Urban Communities Authority, which had set an estimate of EGP 13 bn for Diar’s total fines. Diar has completed only one of several projects it had planned for Egypt, for which it had acquired land in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and other spots along the Red Sea Coast. A state-owned company is also interested in Diar’s assets, the sources added without elaborating.

INVESTMENT WATCH- EK Holding could invest as much as EGP 250-300 mn in subsidiary Kahraba to increase its generation capacity to 100 MW from a current 70 MW, our friend Haitham Abdel Moneim, IR Director at EKH, tells Al Mal. The planned increase would take place over 18 months, he adds. EKH had increased Kahraba’s production capacity to 70 MW from 40 MW in 2017 at a total investment cost of EGP 450 mn.

Naeem Holdings shares begin trading on DFM: Naeem Holdings’ shares officially began trading on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) yesterday under the ticker NAHO, making it the first Egyptian company to be dually listed on the EGX and DFM, according to a DFM statement (pdf). “There are many leading companies listed on the DFM or the Egyptian Exchange that actively operate in both countries and represent potential candidates for dual listing,” DFM Chairman Essa Kazim said.

The rally in Abou Kir Fertilizers and Chemical Industries’ shares may soon come to an end, Tamim Elyan and Filipe Pacheco write for Bloomberg. Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that the company’s shares “traded at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of about 17, versus about 12 for Egypt’s main index as well as for chemical companies in emerging markets,” thanks largely to its overseas expansion. This year, however, “easing urea prices abroad and a factory shutdown for maintenance may dent sales,” leading analysts to believe the stock may be overvalued. Plans to float more of Abou Kir’s shares on the EGX are also expected to further pressure the stock, analysts say.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House aims to pass Local Administration Act, Press and Media Act part 2 this legislative session: The House of Representatives is aiming to pass the second part of the Press and Media Act during the current legislative session, Parliamentary Speaker Ali Abdel Aal tells state-owned Al Ahram. The Press and Media Act, now before the House Culture Committee, may be pushed to the beginning of the next legislative session if need be. The legislation was split into two sections, the first of which was passed in 2016. The second part will establish the regulations and guidelines for those working in the media. The Local Administration Act, which aims to decentralize local councils and organize district elections, has faced delays at nearly every step of the way. House majority leader Mohamed Elsewedy had previously said the act would take 3-5 years to implement once passed.

The FY2018-19 state budget will be parliament’s top priority when it returns from recess after the presidential election, Abdel Aal said. The Ismail Cabinet is expected to present the draft budget to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi this week for approval before shipping it to the House at the end of the month. The budget includes a GDP growth target of 5.8%, aims to reduce the budget deficit to 8.4% of GDP, and will increase spending on social welfare, wages, and commodity subsidies.

The Agriculture Ministry is expected to launch a new smart card system for farmers in a bid to tighten controls over exported produce, Deputy Minister Safwat Al Haddad tells Al Borsa. The new system will aim to keep better track of shipments earmarked for exports. Exporting farmers will be required to register for a number that will serve as an identifier for their products. The move is the latest in a series of regulations the Agriculture Ministry has issued in its efforts to enforce stricter quality control measures on exports, after a number of Arab countries, including KSA, Kuwait, and the UAE to impose temporary blanket bans on imports of Egyptian agricultural products on grounds of them containing high levels of residual pesticides. Most recently, Russian authorities flagged two Egyptian potato shipments alleging they were contaminated.

CBE ends EGP 10 bn medium-sized business initiative: The central bank has instructed banks to stop giving out new short-term loans to medium-sized enterprises under a EGP 10 bn finance initiative launched in March 2017. The initiative has fulfilled its objectives and the loans allocated have been fully utilized, the CBE said in a statement on Sunday (pdf).

The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new board has been ratified, according to Youm7. The seven-member board got sign off from Prime Minister Sherif Ismail yesterday. Members include Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Mait and a deputy central bank governor that CBE chief Tarek Amer will select. The board is expected to get to work on executive regulations for the Capital Markets Act, completing the Insurance Act, and drafting legislation that would grant FRA new autonomy.

EARNINGS WATCH- Cheese maker Domty recorded a 140% y-o-y increase in consolidated net profit after tax to EGP 61.52 mn in FY2017, up from EGP 25.5 mn the previous year, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The company’s sales for the year came in at EGP 2.25 bn, up from EGP 1.7 bn in 2016.

Are the big investment banks going to adopt a platform which could kill their sales teams? JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citi are developing a new platform to overhaul the disjointed bond issuance process, the Financial Times reports. The three, who made nearly USD 5 bn from arranging bond sales for clients in 2017, are considering an online-based application that can be installed on investors’ computers or one that is integrated through an application into existing asset manager order management systems. As we noted back in January, the move, which is meant to solidify their hold on bond issuances and cut costs, could spell the end of sales teams in corporate bond issuances.

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Image of the Day

Cairo-based fashion and portrait photographer Bassam Allam snagged a Sony 2018 World Photography Awards, the 29-year-old announced on his Instagram account. Allam’s photo ‘Portrait of Adima’ won first place for the Egypt National Award and was commended in the Open Competition portrait category. Allam’s work will be exhibited at the world-famous Somerset House in London from 20 April-6 May.

On Deadline

To make tourists want to come back, we have to make sure they have great experiences while visiting Egypt, Amina Khairy writes for Ahram Gate. Khairy admits that security is an important factor to attract visitors, but stresses that there are several downsides to the Egyptian experience — including Egyptians ourselves. She calls for a cultural revolution of sorts to get rid of pervasive behaviors such as [redacted] harassment and maniacal driving, as well as a solution for the garbage piling up in the streets, in hopes of improving tourists’ visits.

Worth Reading

The way we perceive our economic standing often often has a bigger effect on our behavior than the reality of the situation. Psychologists have found that people often derive their perception of their affluence through comparison with others — and are likely to change their behavior based on the subjective experience of feeling poor. This perception is usually not an actual reflection of reality; we are likely to see others as better-off than us, and therefore feel deprived, even if we are actually economically comfortable. “If affluence is in the eye of the beholder, then even the super-rich, when they compare their situation with that of the ultra-rich, can feel sorry for themselves,” Elizabeth Kolbert writes for the New Yorker. “In a society where economic gains are concentrated at the top … there are no real winners and a multitude of losers.”

Worth Watching

What did Earth look like 200, 300, or 600 mn years ago? We’ve all studied the various theories about how the planet has morphed over the course of millennia, but few science classes have been as succinct or engaging as The Ancient Earth Globe. The site offers a visual representation of the globe at various stages in its history, with small explainers on the main features of each era — reaching as far back as when the first multicellular life appeared.

Considering it took around 600 mn years for the earth to reach its current form, it’s worth wondering how long it would take to erase the human race’s effect on the planet. According to National Geographic, the various types of damage humans have inflicted on the environment — including the extra carbon dioxide we produce and the deforestation we are responsible for — would slowly be reversed over the course of 500 years, save for nuclear waste, which would remain “the only vestige of human life” 25,000 years later (watch, runtime: 1:57).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation has warned national media against “targeting” Sudan in news reports, Youm7 reports. His statement comes as relations with Khartoum continue to improve following flaring tensions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and disputes over border territories, which both countries blamed on media coverage. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir last week during his first visit to Cairo since 2016.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi awarded the outgoing Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Kattan The Nile Sash, according to an Ittihadiya statement on Sunday. Kattan is finishing off a 14-year tenure as Riyadh ambassador to Cairo and its permanent envoy to the Arab League. The Nile Sash is Egypt’s third-highest honor.

Energy

Schneider Electric wins EUR 7 mn contract for Zohr control systems

Schneider Electric won a EUR 7 mn contract to supply state-owned Belayim Petroleum (Petrobel) with control systems for the Zohr gas field,company sources tell Al Borsa. Schneider is expected to complete installation work by December this year and is “weeks away” from signing a EUR 25 mn contract with Petrobel that will see it supply electrical equipment for the development of phase two of the East-Med gas field. Schneider Electric’s Energy VP Khaled Kamel says the company has already supplied phase one of the gas field with EUR 60 mn-worth of equipment for the wells.

Fas Energy to complete work on its Benban solar power plant in August

Fas Energy, a subsidiary of Saudi’s Al Hokair Group, is planning to complete work on its 50 MW solar power plant in the USD 2.8 bn Benban park by August this year, a company source tells Al Borsa. The project is being implemented under phase one of the feed in-tariff (FiT) program, which will see Fas sell power to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company at a FiT rate of USD 0.14 per kWh for 25 years. GE will be supplying the project with inverter skids, solar panels, and cables, the sources add.

Infrastructure

Gov’t breaks ground on EGP 1.3 bn multipurpose platform in Damietta port

The government broke ground yesterday on the EGP 1.3 bn multipurpose platform at Damietta Port, Ahram Gate reports. The project, which is expected to increase cargo handling by 4 mn tonnes and generate an annual EGP 160 mn in revenues, is set to be completed within 18 months. Meanwhile, the Damietta Container and Cargo Handling (DCCH) has received four offers from local and international companies to develop the ports piers for EGP 650 mn, company chief Saad Zaghloul tells Al Shorouk. The DCCH will be vetting offers from Orascom Construction, Petrojet, China Harbour, and an Armed Forces company, and should make a decision within the next two months.

Phase 3 of road development project to cost EGP 11.355 bn, says Arafat

The government launched the third phase of the road development project, which is expected to cost state coffers EGP 11.4 bn, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat tells Al Shorouk. The phase will include building and developing six highways, including the Cairo-Assiut highway, spanning a total of 896 km.

Manufacturing

IDA to release 2018 map of industrial land tenders in April

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will be issuing its map of land tenders for 2018 next month, authority chief Ahmed Abdel Razek tells Al Shorouk. The government is planning to tender nearly 5 mn sqm to industrial investors this year, he adds.

Real Estate + Housing

Housing Ministry to launch PPP land tenders phase three in April

The Housing Ministry is preparing to launch the third phase of land tenders for public-private partnership (PPP) projects once it announces the results of the second phase of tenders in April, ministry sources tell Al Borsa. Phase two saw 21 companies make 36 offers for 12 land plots in four cities, with more than EGP 500 bn-worth of investments, while phase three will include 10-12 land plots over 10,000 feddans.

Automotive + Transportation

China’s SAIC Motors follows up on plans to begin manufacturing cars in Egypt

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil met yesterday with a delegation from China’s SAIC Motors to discuss the company’s plans to establish an auto manufacturing factory in Egypt, according to a ministry statement. Kabil had met with SIAC’s vice chairman in China last year to look into finding a local partner in Egypt to begin manufacturing cars.

Banking + Finance

Electricity Ministry in talks over USD 90 mn loan for UEEPC upgrade

The Electricity Ministry is in talks with fivel local banks over a USD 90 mn loan to finance grid maintenance work by the Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company (UEEPC), company chief Ibrahim El Shahat tells Al Borsa. The negotiations comes after an 11-year loan agreement with a local bank was cancelled. UEEPC is trying to pay the companies maintaining and upgrading its power stations, including Siemens, General Electric, and Sumitomo Corporation, El Shahat adds. The ministry has been trying to scale costs back by upgrading existing stations to increase their fuel efficiency rather than building new ones.

Egypt Politics + Economics

State Information Service says Times’ Bel Trew had expired press credentials

The Times reporter Bel Trew was expelled from Egypt for not having valid accreditation and for filming without the necessary permits, the State Information Service said in a statement yesterday. According to the SIS, the Times correspondent had been accredited with the Egyptian Press Center for five years, during which her “erroneous” coverage of Egyptian affairs had been left without reproach. However, Trew reportedly failed to apply for a temporary press card at the beginning of the year but continued to practice journalism, which led to her expulsion from the country. Trew, who was deported last month had said that she was not given an explanation when she was detained three weeks ago.

National Security

Security forces kill six militants alleged to have been involved in Alex bombing

Security forces killed six militants belonging to terrorist group Hasm during a raid in Beheira yesterday. Investigators believe the group was behind the Saturday bombing in Alexandria, according to an Interior Ministry statement. The ministry identified three of those were killed in yesterday’s shoot-out, but it remains unclear whether any of them carried out Saturday’s attack. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack, but state news agency MENA said it was orchestrated by the Ikhwan to disrupt the presidential elections.

On Your Way Out

Christie’s is auctioning off 27 Ancient Egyptian artefacts in New York on 18 April, according to their website. The pieces on display include a rare statue of Sekhem-ankh-Ptah, an ancient Egyptian high official who lived during the Old Kingdom period (2389-2255 B.C.), as well as mummy masks from the Roman period.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.5853 | Sell 17.6828
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.58 | Sell 17.68
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.55 | Sell 17.65

EGX30 (Sunday): 16,985 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 1.4 bn (22% below / above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.0%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Porto Group up 5.6%, Global Telecom up 5.2%, and Amer Group up 3.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks ACC down 3.3%, EFG Hermes down 2.6%, and Eastern Co. down 2.6%. The market turnover was EGP 1.4 bn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +380.0 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -364.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -15.8 mn

Retail: 53.5% of total trades | 53.2% of buyers | 53.8% of sellers
Institutions: 46.5% of total trades | 46.8% of buyers | 46.2% of sellers

Foreign: 20.5% of total | 34.1% of buyers | 6.8% of sellers
Regional: 20.3% of total | 7.3% of buyers | 33.4% of sellers
Domestic: 59.2% of total | 58.6% of buyers | 59.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 66.04 (+0.24%)
Brent: USD 70.46 (+0.01%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.58 MMBtu, (-0.42%, April 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,352.80 / troy ounce (-0.21%)

TASI: 7,842.63 (+0.02%) (YTD: +8.53%)
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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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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