Sunday, 22 April 2018

Egypt, EU cozy up as Cairo looks to cement position as regional energy hub


What We’re Tracking Today

Deepening ties with the European Union is the theme of the week, it seems: EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete is in Cairo from today through Tuesday to sign an MoU on energy cooperation with Egypt, announce a funding package from the EU and French Development Agency to support the connection of more households to the natural gas grid, and meetings with state officials and energy company heads to discuss ways to boost energy cooperation.

Also in town soon: EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who is set to visit Cairo on Monday, 30 April, to sign a number of cooperation agreements. We have the details on both visits in Speed Round, below.

Finance Minister Amr El Garhy and Planning Minister Hala El Said will be discussing today the details of the state IPO program with the House Economic Committee, MP Medhat El Sherif said. The committee is apparently looking to gain some clarity on the program’s specifics, including the projected size of each listing and the planned use of the proceeds.

Egypt appears is on trend with its recent decision to establish a sovereign wealth fund. Estimates seem to suggest that total assets managed by 78 global sovereign wealth funds could reach USD 15 tn “as early as 2020,” the Financial Times says. Total assets managed by global sovereign wealth funds grew 13% y-o-y in March 2018 to USD 7.45 tn, according to data from Preqin. “A recovery in oil prices and strong gains for equity markets drove the increase in assets…[The] scrutiny of these funds’ policies and performance is only likely to grow.” The Ismail Cabinet signed off earlier this month on legislation establishing a EGP 200 bn sovereign wealth fund, which should see the light in about six-months’ time, once it receives Parliament’s approval.

Look for the prospect of a US-North Korea summit to dominate headlines this week after the DPRK pledged to stop nuclear weapons tests and missile launches effective yesterday. It also promised to shutdown a nuclear test center, but made clear it is hanging onto its existing weapons. The announcement is front page news in the global business press. No summit date has yet to be announced, and if you’re a diplo-nerd, the Washington Post has a good rundown on the five locations that could be tapped to host the sit-down, with the leading candidate apparently being the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Brokers, beware: More buysiders are poaching staff to build or expand their own corporate access programs lest they run afoul of Mifid II, the Financial Times says, noting that fund managers are “less inclined to pay for corporate access” and that BlackRock, Fidelity and Schroders (“three of the biggest fund houses) and Norges Bank Investment Management (“the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund”) are all recruiting staff to their corporate access teams, while smaller investors have “decided they will no longer pay brokers for corporate access and will deal with companies themselves.”

Tech stocks will be back in the spotlight as the western trading week gets underway tomorrow after Apple shares shed 7% in two days on fears that its smartphone sales will fall short of consensus, the Financial Times reports. The jitters dragged the Dow down 0.9% on Friday and saw the Nasdaq off 1.3%, according to CNBC.

Do you secretly hate PowerPoint? Jeff Bezos does. That’s why meetings at Amazon begin with “well-crafted, six-page memos that the whole room sits and reads” before getting underway. Business Insider has more on why PPTX files are banned at Amazon. Bezos dove into the topic during an on-stage interview on Friday.

Season two of HBO’s Westworld kicks off today in the United States. Here at home, you can catch it tomorrow (23 April) at 11pm CLT on OSN First HD. The New York Times has a critical look at what you can expect.

It’s not quite summer yet, at least where the weather is concerned. The national weather service is warning that dust storms and rain will continue to hit cities in the Delta and North Coast today and into tomorrow. The outlook for Cairo is a mix of sun and cloud today with a high of 27°C. Longer term, look for a chance of scattered showers on Wednesday and the possibility of scattered thunderstorms on Thursday, according to our favourite weather app.

There are three weekends left before the start of Ramadan, which the head of the National Astronomy and Geophysics Research Institute says will begin on Thursday, 17 May. Consider that “TBC” — day one of the holy month depends on the sighting of the moon on 15 or 16 May.

What We’re Tracking This Week

Pride Capital workshop on financing small merchants to run tomorrow: Pharos-affiliated Pride Capital, Egypt’s first fintech-focused accelerator, is hosting a workshop titled “Financing Small Merchants” tomorrow at the Greek Campus.

Our friends at Renaissance Capital are holding their third annual Egypt Investor Conference in Cape Town on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On The Horizon

You can expect the French foreign minister in town before month’s end. French President Emmanuel Macron has instructed Jean-Yves Le Drian to visit Egypt by the end of April, Macron told President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in a phone call yesterday, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

The International Monetary Fund and Central Bank of Egypt are co-hosting a high-level conference on economic growth and job creation in Egypt, according to an IMF press release. Speakers at the 5-6 May event in Cairo will include Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Finance Minister Amr El Garhy.

Uber, Careem appeal hearing postponed to 28 April: The Supreme Administrative Court has postponed to Saturday, 28 April a hearing on an appeal by Uber and Careem of a lower court decision that ordered the two companies to suspend operations, Youm 7 reports. Meanwhile, the Administrative Court (which we mistook for the Higher Administrative Court in previous coverage) has scheduled a separate hearing for 15 May. The Court of Urgent Matters had suspended the initial ruling earlier this month, giving both companies legal breathing room to operate until a final ruling is reached.

The House Planning and Budgeting Committee is going to be busy. The committee will complete its review of the Auctions and Tenders Act by 24 April. The legislation would decentralize tender procedures and streamline the selection process for winning bids as well as set new quotas for domestic components and SME contractors. It then moves into headings on the 2018-19 state budget on 5 May,with sessions that include representatives from the ministries of finance, planning, education, health, and transport.

The Housing Committee is also expected to begin “within days” talks on amendments to the legislation governing rent control, MP Ismail Nasser Al Din tells Al Shorouk.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

A number of topics kept our nation’s talking heads busy last night, including the regs for the Universal Healthcare Act, the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, and efforts to block the game known as “blue whale” from Egypt’s internet.

The Ismail Cabinet is expected to sign off on the executive regulations to the Universal Healthcare Act by week’s end, Health Minister Ahmed Rady told Lamees. The minister had said last week the Cabinet would complete its review of the regs in two weeks’ time. Rady told Lamees that the healthcare scheme will have covered the Suez Canal governorates and both parts of the Sinai in 2-2.5 years (watch, runtime: 10:00). Adib, who seemed very impressed with the new system (watch, runtime: 1:00), also spoke to Rady about the ministry’s efforts to promote medical tourism (watch, runtime: 29: 32).

Social protection measures for the middle-class were the order of the day, as both Lamees Al Hadidi and hubby Amr Adib used the IMF / World Bank spring meetings as an opportunity to repeat IMF boss Christine Lagarde’s concerns on the erosion of the middle-class. On Hona Al Asema, Lamees said the government should unveil its new social protection plan before announcing any fuel subsidy cuts (watch, runtime: 4:21); while on Kol Youm, Adib urged the government to double the amount allocated to the Takaful and Karama programs (watch, runtime: 3:47).

Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ in spotlight: Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to block access to websites that host the “blue whale” game, which has recently been linked to a number of suicide cases in Egypt and abroad. IT expert Mostafa Abu Gamra said that efforts to block the game would be futile since it is not limited to a specific software or platform. (watch here, runtime: 4:32 and here, runtime: 3:24). Nevertheless, the NTRA said it would take all the steps necessary to block the game, Al Mal reports.

Meanwhile, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr spoke to some people about social housing projects. We’ll spare you the details (watch here, runtime: 1:58 and here, runtime: 2:34).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt and the World Bank signed yesterday a USD 500 mn loan agreement aimed at supporting the state’s K-12 educational reform strategy. “The five-year project aims to expand access to quality kindergarten for around 500k children, train 500k teachers and education officials, while providing 1.5 mn students and teachers with digital learning resources. In addition, more than 2 mn students will benefit from the new student assessment and examinations system,” the WB said in a statement.

The skills business is looking for: “Fostering skills such as critical thinking, managerial skills and working collaboratively, will usher in a new economy, where learning, innovation, and technology are front and center,” said WB MENA Vice President Hafez Ghanem.

Background: The new system will be implemented as of the new academic year starting in September for kindergarten and students in the first years of primary and secondary education. It’s expected to cost a total USD 2 bn when all is said and done. Education Minister Tarek Shawky had said last week that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had instructed government officials to open talks with the World Bank for a larger USD 1 bn funding package for the reform program. Read our Spotlight on the educational reform plan for a refresher.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, which wrapped up on Friday and saw Nasr, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy, and CBE Governor Tarek Amer meet with various state officials and leading figures from the international business community

IMF boss Christine Lagarde showered Egypt with praiseat the gatherings,commending the economic reforms of the last two years, among them the float of the EGP, rebuilding the country’s FX reserves and expansion of the social safety net, which she said have already made an impact, as evident by the levels of increased investment in the country — both foreign and local. The reform program also received praise from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and the IMF’s Middle East & Central Asia Department Director Jihad Azour.

Nasr and El Garhy also met with a number of US investors to discuss ongoing reforms in Egypt. El Garhy sat down with executives from Merrill Lynch, officials from the Council of Foreign Relations, as well as representatives of rating agencies Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch, according to a Finance Ministry release, with whom he discussed the state IPO program, as well as plans to increase revenues from tax collections and gradually reduce the budget deficit and Egypt’s sovereign debt as a percentage of GDP. Companies such as Mirasco expressed interest in entering the Egyptian market.

Egypt, EU to sign energy cooperation agreement this week: Egypt and the EU are expected to sign an MoU on "Strategic Cooperation in Energy" this week during EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s three-day visit to Cairo, which begins today. It’s unclear when exactly the signing will take place and what the agreement will entail. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had said last week that the agreement is part of a larger plan to turn Egypt into an export hub for East Mediterranean gas, a topic that is expected to feature strongly in Cañete’s talks with Egyptian officials this week, according to a ministry statement picked up by Al Masry Al Youm. “Egypt can lead the way of the clean energy transition in the Eastern Mediterranean and thus contribute to the Paris climate goals and the worldwide decarbonisation effort,” Cañete said. “The EU stands ready to support Egypt in its energy market reforms and to boost sustainable energy investment.”

Background: Cañete and El Molla had agreed, when they met in Brussels last December, to increase energy cooperation, after Cairo reached a preliminary agreement with Cyprus on establishing a pipeline connecting fields in the Cypriot Economic Zone with liquefaction plants in Egypt’s Idku or Damietta, which would pave the way for EastMed gas exports to Europe. Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides had said earlier this month that the contracts would be signed soon, once ongoing negotiations over terms and purchase agreements have concluded. Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings has also signed a USD 15 bn agreement that will also see it import gas from Israel.

Funding packages to connect households to natural gas grid: Cañete is also expected to hold a press conference to announce the details of the EU and French Development Agency’s support packages for the government’s drive to connect households to the natural gas grid. The funding will be directed primarily towards densely populated governorates, with Upper Egypt topping the priority list.

Also on the agenda: In addition to El Molla, Cañete will also meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker, and the heads of European oil and gas companies operating in Egypt to discuss ways the EU can boost its support for Egypt’s energy sectors. The EU official will also inaugurate the Egypt-EU Sustainable Energy Business Forum and pay a visit to the Zohr gas field.

Egypt, EU to sign cooperation agreements at the end of the month during Mogherini visit: Egypt is set to sign a number of agreements with the European Union at the end of the month, during EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s visit to Cairo on 30 April, which should see both sides cooperate on various projects under the 2017-2022 cooperation framework. Nasr discussed ways to boost cooperation under the framework, in fields including energy, transport, sanitation, health, education, and the empowerment of women, with the EU with Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn ahead of Mogherini visit, the Investment Ministry said in a statement. Nasr, who also discussed progress on the Sinai development strategy with Saudi Fund for Development VP Yousef Albassam, said that the EU is Egypt’s largest lender with a portfolio of c. EUR 11 bn in grants and loans.

IPO WATCH- CI Capital IPO’s institutional offering 6.1x oversubscribed, share priced in at EGP 7.70, trading to begin on 30 April: CI Capital announced yesterday (pdf) that it has successfully concluded the bookbuilding process for its initial public offering, which it is pricing at EGP 7.70 per share. The company — which is hoping to raise as much as USD 100 mn (EGP 1.8 bn) from the sale of c. 41.5% of its shares — said that the institutional offering to international investors was c.6.1x oversubscribed. The market capitalization of the group prior to the closed subscription was EGP 3.17 bn (USD 179.0 mn). CI Capital also set aside 22,563,728 shares to Egyptian retail investors and said that some selling shareholders have agreed to subscribe to 132,727,813 of newly-issued shares worth EGP 1 bn. The subscription period for the retail offering will close on Tuesday, 24 April. Shares are expected to begin trading on 30 April. The company had previously said that shareholders could re-inject as much as EGP 1 bn from the proceeds of the IPO into the firm through a follow-on capital increase.

Advisors: Jefferies International Limited and CI Capital Investment Banking are acting as joint global coordinators and bookrunners on the IPO. Norton Rose Fulbright was tapped as international counsel to the issuer, while White & Case is the underwriters’ counsel. Matouk Bassiouny will serve as local counsel; Pharos Securities Brokerage and HC Brokerage are acting as placements agents.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Carbon Holdings aims to reach financial close on its USD 10.6 bn Tahrir petrochemicals complex by year’s end, CEO Basil El Baz says. Carbon Holdings is covering 26% of the project’s cost, with the remainder set to be funded by development finance institutions from the US, Germany, and the UK. Tahrir Petrochemicals will be built in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and will produce petrochemicals used to make a wide range of consumer and industrial goods.

M&A WATCH- Bloomberg was out on Thursday with a piece suggesting that SODIC and MNHD have “reached an initial understanding on a tie-up that would create one of the biggest private property developers in the country,” adding that, “we reached out to both companies and were told there’s nothing new. EFG Hermes is advising MNHD, while SODIC has yet to hire an advisor.

M&A WATCH- New York-based private equity firm Yorktown Partners is planning to sell its Egypt-focused oil and gas producer Merlon International to raise USD 400 mn, banking sources tell Reuters. Citigroup is managing the process, which is expected to be finalized by July. All of Merlon’s oil and gas assets are located within the Fayoum concession in the Western Desert, where it produced 7,900 bbl/d of oil equivalent last year from more than 50 wells.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Canada-based Amel Group is planning to set up a USD 250 mn glass production facility using silica sand in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Al Shorouk reports. The company is looking for partners for the project and is in talks with SCZone officials to hammer out a timeline. The facility is expected to have a production output of 1,000 tonnes, all of which would be exported.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Pioneers Holdings is planning to invest EGP 2.9 bn “in a variety of sectors” this year, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The investments will be financed partially through EGP 1.8 bn in divestments, including a partial exit from Rooya Real Estate Investment Company and other ventures. Pioneers had previously announced its intention to list 40% of Rooya on the EGX in 1H2018. The remaining EGP 1.1 bn of its investments will be financed through its 30% capital increase.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Florida-based iQ Power is planning to invest USD 300 mn in solar energy projects in Egypt, CEO and Global Business Director Sharif Al Haj tells Daily News Egypt.

Sudan’s Ghandour fired — look for strain in Cairo-Khartoum relationship. Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir fired Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Thursday, according to Sudan News Agency. The statement does not provide an explanation, but the AP notes that it comes just days after Ghandour told reporters that the Sudanese government is seven months behind on paying diplomats’ salaries.

What does this mean for GERD and Halayeb? Al Bashir has yet to appoint a new minister to replace Ghandour, who was a lynchpin in talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and Sudan’s territorial dispute with Egypt over Halayeb and Shalatin. One of Ghandour’s last moves as foreign minister was filing a complaint to the UN against Egypt for allowing Halayeb residents to vote in the March presidential election and for undertaking development projects in the disputed regions.

As for GERD, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to respond to Egypt’s invitation to hold another round of talks in Cairo on Friday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said during a televised interview, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Shoukry warned against further delays in holding the talks, adding that Egypt would wait until Ethiopia and Sudan show “the same level” of commitment to resolving the issues before moving ahead with negotiations. Ethiopia is reportedly pushing to host the next round of talks in Addis Ababa next month, Sudanese sources close to the matter tell Al Shorouk. Sudan has largely sided with Ethiopia, which it hopes “would fulfill promises of free electricity generated from the dam.” Sudan’s position on GERD has helped sour ties between Cairo and Khartoum, but Ghandour and Shoukry had been working to slowly mend relations. Former Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation in February had also left Egypt concerned that progress made with Addis Ababa on the dam issue would be undone.

Egypt was ranked 167th out of 190 nations in Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ 2018 Paying Taxes report (pdf). “Using the perspective of a medium sized domestic manufacturer, [the report] … assesses not just the amount of tax paid, but how long it takes the company to meet its tax compliance obligations. This includes the time to prepare file and pay the main taxes, as well as the time taken to claim a VAT refund and to [handle] a correction to a corporate income tax return.” Labor taxes account for 27.3% of Egypt’s total tax contributions, while profit and other taxes account for 13.6% and 4.4%, respectively. Corporate income tax takes an average of 69 hours to comply, labor taxes 165 hours, and consumption taxes 158 hours, placing Egypt among the 11 slowest countries in Africa in terms of tax compliance. The report notes that high income economies were more likely to be ranked higher on the post-filing index, possibly “because these economies have better technology and more mature tax systems along with better fiscal resources to make refunds.”

MOVES- Jean-Marc Harion has resigned as Orange Egypt’s CEO, the company announced in a statement to the EGX (pdf). Orange Egypt’s board of directors will approve Harion’s resignation and select a replacement at its next meeting on Tuesday, according to the statement. Harion, who was previously the CEO of Orange Belgium, had led Orange Egypt since July 2016.

MOVES- German software giant SAP has appointed Hoda Mansour (LinkedIn) as its Managing Director in Egypt, Al Mal reports. Mansour was most recently SAP’s COO for the UAE and Oman.

CORRECTION- Amendments to the capital market law gives the Financial Regulatory Authority the power to suspend trading on the EGX by specific investors without a court ruling, not brokerage houses as we reported on Thursday. The confusion arose from the interpretation of the word “المتداول” by the English-language report we cited. H/t Mohamed E. and Abdel Wahab M. The story has been updated on our website.

CORRECTION- Schlumberger will invest USD 60 mn in a new data center in Egypt, not USD 60 bn as we noted in passing in Thursday’s issue — our apologies for the typo. H/t Sam W. The story has been updated on our website.

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Egypt in the News

Russian businesses apparently don’t see much economic benefit arising from the USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ), Al Monitor says. Russia was “dragged into” signing on for the project for political, rather than economic purposes, and many business figures don’t think that setting up projects in the RIZ is certain to yield significant returns, a Russian trade and industry official says. “This is just flag-waving. Russia’s internal market alone devours anything we produce and is also profitable,” according to the official. Egyptian officials also tell Al Monitor that Moscow and Cairo’s ties are more grounded in a common political outlook than potential economic benefit, and the two see each other as “predictable” partners.

Volatility in international markets such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria have contributed to Procter & Gamble’s “weak” sales growth last quarter, the Wall Street Journal says. The company is also one of several of the world’s biggest consumer product makers that are facing difficulties in raising their prices in these markets, some of which are becoming less accepting of price increases, according to the newspaper.

Otherwise worth noting in brief:

  • The Arab Quartet should end its boycott of Qatar since the ongoing spat is “another crisis that the Middle East does not need,” the FT suggests.
  • Egypt is using xenophobia to discredit the Nubian minority’s attempt at peaceful dissent, Amy Austin Holmes writes for the Washington Post.
  • The Egyptian Museum will display 300 artifacts from the Ptolemaic period for the first time, the AP reports.
  • South Sudan’s military chief died in Egypt on Friday, the Associated Press reports.

On Deadline

The “killer virus” of tuk-tuks is bringing along a culture of chaos and a total collapse of order as it spreads into Egypt, Emad El Din Hussein writes for Al Shorouk. He makes it clear that he is not criticizing tuk-tuk drivers, who he considers “victims,” but condemns the “conspirators” who allowed the auto rickshaw to spread into the country in the first place, wreaking havoc and overflowing into the streets of major cities, despite being initially intended for remote villages. Tuk-tuks are unlicensed vehicle, and thus impossible to track or penalize, he adds.

Worth Watching

Could eye drops replace glasses or contact lenses? A group of scientists at Bar-Ilan University have formulated eye drops that temporarily corrects eyesight by filling ridges on the surface of the cornea to adjust the trajectory of light passing through, according to the World Economic Forum. These “nano drops” are still in their early phases of testing and have yet to be tested on humans, but early results are “promising,” according to the researchers (watch, runtime: 0:55).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt’s exports rose 14% y-o-y in 1Q2018, according to a Trade and Industry Ministry statement. Non-oil exports during the quarter reached USD 5.55 bn, according to the General Organization for Export and Import Control’s reports for January, February, and March’s export figures. Meanwhile, Egypt’s exports to the EU rose 21% y-o-y during 2017 to reach EUR 1.8 bn, according to the ministry.

Egypt has “failed” in easing tensions between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, and is refusing to facilitate further reconciliation talks between the rival Palestinian factions, a PA official said, according to Middle East Monitor. Arab Weekly has a similar story.

Rahul Kulshreshtha has been appointed as India’s new ambassador to Egypt, according to the Indian Foreign Ministry. Kulshreshtha replaces Sanjay Bhattacharya.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has renewed a travel warning advising citizens against visiting Egypt during the state of emergency, which was recently extended for another three months,Russia Today reports.


EEHC to select winning bids in management, maintenance tender for Siemens plants in May

The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) is expected to select the winning bid in the tender for the day-to-day management and maintenance of the three Siemens combined-cycle power plants next month, EEHC sources said. The EEHC has shortlisted four out of seven companies and consortia, including Siemens, an Orascom-ADERA Energy consortium, an Elsewedy-EDF consortium, a STEAG GmbH-PGESCo consortium, a Triangle-GD France consortium, Korea’s Doosan, and Japan’s Mitsubishi. The sources did not disclose which four have been shortlisted. The three fully-commissioned plants are also expected to be inaugurated next month with a combined production output of 14.4 GW, as we noted last week.


MAF, Elsewedy sign agreement to construct Supply Ministry’s logistics zones

Majid Al Futtaim and Elsewedy Electric signed on Thursday an agreement with the Supply Ministry to establish several logistics zones, Al Mal reports. No details were provided on the value of the agreement or the expected construction timeline. The zones are at the heart of the ministry’s internal trade strategy, which Minister Ali El Moselhy unveiled last year.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Supply Ministry extends meat supply agreement with Sudan’s Al Ategahat

The Supply Ministry has decided to extend Egypt’s meat supply agreement with Sudan’s Al Ategahat until next year, Al Mal reports. The Sudanese company will be supplying 225k live cattle. The cost of the agreement was not disclosed.

Chinese delegation in town to inspect Egyptian grape, citrus fruit exports

A delegation of China’s agricultural importers and three Chinese MPs are visiting Egypt today to inspect Egyptian grapes and citrus fruits set for exporting, Al Masry Al Youm reports.


TIME Hotels to open beach resort in Ras Sudr this year

International hotelier TIME Hotels is planning to open a 56-room beach resort in Ras Sudr this year, CEO Mohamed Awadallah tells Al Shorouk. The project comes as part of the company’s regional expansion plans, which also sees it expanding in Dubai, Sharjah, and Saudi Arabia by 2020.

Direct flights from Astana and Shymkent to Hurghada to launch in May and June

Direct charter flights from Kazakh capital Astana to Hurghada are set to launch in May, while another route from Shymkent will launch in June, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

Telecoms + ICT

Orange Egypt to appeal overturned EGP 500 mn arbitration award from Etisalat Misr

Orange Egypt is planning to file an appeal against a court ruling last week that overturned an earlier verdict compelling Etisalat Misr to pay EGP 500 mn in arbitration, due to a dispute between the MNOs over interconnection fees, Deputy CEO Ashraf Halim told Al Mal.

Automotive + Transportation

ENR taps Thales to install automated railway signaling system on Cairo-Alexandria rail line

Egypt National Railways (ENR) has awarded France’s Thales a contract to supply an automated railway signaling system for the 48 km Cairo-Banha stretch of the Cairo-Alexandria rail line, Thales announced on Thursday. The new system will allow trains to travel at 160 km/hr, up from 120 km/hr currently, and is expected to double current traffic volumes, according to the release. No details were provided on the value of the agreement.

Khatib & Alami tapped as consultants for new capital monorail

The Transport and Housing ministries have selected architectural and engineering consulting firm Khatib & Alami to consult on the 35 km new capital-6 October City monorail project, an unidentified source tells Al Mal. The Lebanese firm will prepare the conditions booklet for the project and consult on the selection process for the winning company to establish the monorail, which is set to be complete by 2020.

On Your Way Out

The 2018 African Mountain Bike Championship wraps up today in Cairo. The two-day event brought 62 bikers from 16 African countries together at the Wadi Degla protectorate on the outskirts of Maadi, Ahram Gate reports. The Youth Ministry was a sponsor.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.65 | Sell 17.75
Buy 17.63 | Sell 17.73
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (Thursday): 17,781 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 1.4 bn (22% BELOW / ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +18.4%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.4%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egypt Aluminum up 5.8%, Qalaa Holdings up 3.4%, and Abu Qir Fertilizers up 2.4%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Pioneers Holding down 6.6%, Amer Group down 2.6%, and Global Telecom down 2.3%. The market turnover was EGP 1.4 bn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -67.7 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +122.8 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -55.1 mn

Retail: 67.8% of total trades | 67.6% of buyers | 68.0% of sellers
Institutions: 32.2% of total trades | 32.4% of buyers | 32.0% of sellers

Foreign: 14.7% of total | 12.3% of buyers | 17.1% of sellers
Regional: 13.7% of total | 18.1% of buyers | 9.4% of sellers
Domestic: 71.6% of total | 69.6% of buyers | 73.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 68.40 (+0.10%)
Brent: USD 74.06 (+0.38%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.74 MMBtu, (+2.979%, May 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,338.30 / troy ounce (-0.78%)

TASI: 8,277.14 (+1.61%) (YTD: +14.54%)
ADX: 4,706.56 (+0.52%) (YTD: +7.01%)
DFM: 3,082.09 (-0.18%) (YTD: -8.55%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,773.19 (-0.09%)
QE: 9,196.62 (+1.56%) (YTD: +7.90%)
MSM: 4,759.65 (+0.16%) (YTD: -6.66%)
BB: 1,301.40 (-0.04%) (YTD: -2.28%)

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20-27 April (Friday-Friday): Seventh edition of El Gouna International Squash Open, El Gouna.

23 April (Monday): Pride Capital’s “Financing Small Merchants” workshop, the Greek Campus, 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.

30 April (Monday): EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini visits Cairo.

01 May (Tuesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

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

03 May (Thursday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI reading for April released.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

05-06 May (Saturday-Sunday): Inclusive Growth and Job Creation Conference, venue TBD, Cairo.

07 May (Monday): International Data Corporation’s CIO Summit, The Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

07-08 May (Monday-Tuesday): Fourth annual Egypt CSR Forum, InterContinental Semiramis Hotel, Cairo.

17 May (Thursday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan.

17 May (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday).

28 June (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

16 August (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

04-05 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt Conference 2018, Cairo.

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

24-25 September (Monday-Tuesday): Egypt Water Desalination Forum, venue TBD.

27 September (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

23-24 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference 2018, Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, Cairo.

15 November (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25-28 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 22nd Cairo ICT, Cairo Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

27 December (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

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).

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