Monday, 23 April 2018

Egypt could attract European manufacturing jobs -RenCap


What We’re Tracking Today

Will Egypt be anointed as an energy export hub for the EU today? Egypt is expected to sign a new oil and gas cooperation agreement with the European Union this afternoon, a government source told us yesterday. The agreement comes as EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete arrived in Cairo on Sunday for energy cooperation talks with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, according to an Oil Ministry statement on Sunday. We’re taking "Strategic Cooperation in Energy" as euphemism for a long-awaited agreement which could see Egypt turn into the natural gas export hub to Europe for the East Mediterranean basin. Egypt and Cyprus are close to signing contracts for a pipeline to connect the latter’s gas fields to liquefaction plants in Egypt’s Idku or Damietta, according to statements by Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides earlier this month.

Egypt to receive funding from World Bank and EU for gas connection project: The EU, the World Bank and French Development Agency have provided Egypt with mns to fund the connection of more households to the natural gas grid. We have more in today’s Speed Round, below.

World Bank to raise capital by USD 13 bn: This came as the World Bank Group announced yesterday that its shareholders “endorsed an ambitious package of measures that include a USD 13 bn paid-in capital increase, a series of internal reforms, and a set of policy measures that greatly strengthen the [World Bank’s] ability to scale up its resources and deliver on its mission in areas of the world that need the most assistance.” This is good news for Egypt, which could be looking at a large funding package of up to USD 1 bn this year now that the World Bank is replenishing its resources. The World Bank has already pledged USD 500 mn this year to supporting Egypt’s educational reform.

Pharos-affiliated Pride Capital, Egypt’s first fintech-focused accelerator, is hosting a workshop titled “Financing Small Merchants” today at 5:30pm at the Greek Campus.

Our friends at Renaissance Capital are holding their third annual Egypt Investor Conference in Cape Town tomorrow and Wednesday. Senior management from leading Egyptian companies will meet one-on-one with South Africa-based investors at the gathering.

In the run-up to the conference, we have an exclusive op-ed from RenCap Global Chief Economist Charles Robertson, Extel’s top-ranked frontier markets analyst for 2017. Charles is a sought-after commentator for global business and finance publications including Bloomberg and the Financial Times. In today’s Spotlight, he writes about how he sees Egyptian manufacturing as one of the biggest emerging market beneficiaries of Europe’s economic recovery.

Also worth a moment of your time this morning:

  • Meet the Arab world’s “best-performing stock,” Abu Dhabi-based NMC Health, which closed up 1,650% last week since it started trading six years ago, “more than any other company based in the Arab world.” Bloomberg preorders it to DXB Entertainments, whose stock has lost more than 30% this year and “could be poised for a deeper slide starting next month.”
  • The Trump travel ban is still a thing: The US Supreme Court will hear a challenge on Wednesday to the lawfulness of the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting people from Muslim-majority countries. (Reuters)
  • Without comment: A gunman wearing no garments save a jacket shot dead four people at a Tennessee Waffle House in the middle of the night, was disarmed by a patron of the restaurant, and is still at large. (Reuters)

And to get you ready for Ramadan, some entertainment news:

New addition to our already-ballooning to-be-read pile: Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the new science of the human past, by the Harvard population geneticist David Reich. Jared Diamon, of Guns, Germs and Steel fame, has a review for the New York Times.

Season two of Westworld debuts tonight on OSN. We’re going to save up whatever airs between now and the start of Ramadan as a Holy Month binge / antidote to mosalsalat. The WSJ has a rundown on what you can expect as the “human characters are increasingly on the receiving end of android violence.”

Season three of Stranger Things starts filming today, and Collider writes that it will be an eight-episode season, among other gems.

The Financial Times wishes to explain millennials to Gen X and the Boomersin a new series. God help us all.

PSA- It’s a short work week. Banks and the EGX will be closed on Wednesday for Sinai Liberation Day. Enterprise is also taking the day off, and we’ll be back on Thursday at our usual time.

What We’re Tracking This Week

LEGISLATION WATCH: The Housing Committee is expected to begin “within days” hearings on amendments to the legislation governing rent control. The House Planning and Budgeting Committee is due to complete its review of the proposed Auctions and Tenders Act by Tuesday, 24 April.

On The Horizon

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due in Cairo before the end of the month.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is set to visit Cairo on Monday, 30 April. She’s expected to sign a number of cooperation agreements

Uber / Careem appeals scheduled: 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. The Administrative Court has scheduled a separate hearing for 15 May. The two companies continue to operate under a Court of Urgent Matters ruling suspending the initial suspension.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The biggest story on what was otherwise a boring night on the airwaves was news that the House of Representatives has signed off on a bill that will allow for private sector participation in running the Cairo Metro.

Private sector to get a piece of the Metro pie: The House gave preliminary nod yesterday to amendments to the laws governing the National Authority for Tunnels, which will allow the private sector to get in on operating and maintaining the Cairo Metro, according to Youm7. The amendments — which come nearly a month after similar amendments opened up the railway sector to the private sector — will allow companies to manage Metro lines under contracts of up to 15 years, MP Mohamed Badrawy told Kol Youm’s Amr Adib. He added that the private sector can help resolve some of the issues hindering the development of the service, primarily lack of funding (watch, runtime: 4:40). Adib seemed pleased with the progress, but of course had to note that he’s been calling for a similar move for years (watch, runtime: 2:14).

Will Egypt’s political parties merge to consolidate their power? The idea seems to be on the table for Parliament’s majority bloc, the Support Egypt Coalition. Leader MP Mohamed El Sewedy seems to believe that merging smaller political parties to establish broader, more-encompassing entities maybe a way to remedy the existing vacuum in Egypt’s political scene, he tells Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi. A committee from the coalition is currently studying whether parties within the bloc should become one and attempting to work out the legal aspects of such a move, El Sewedy said, reassuring Lamees that the coalition would never morph into a new National Democratic Party (watch, runtime: 6:17 and here, runtime: 2:17).

The move is unconstitutional, legal expert Shawki Al Sayed told Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr, who seemed unsettled by the coalition’s announcement (watch, runtime: 5:11). Parliament spokesman Salah Hasaballah told Abu Bakr, however, that MPs would never work against the constitution (watch, runtime: 6:22).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified yesterday a law that allows the state to seize assets belonging to members of terrorist groups, an important piece of legislation for Amr Adib, who seemed very annoyed by Mubarak-era parliament speaker and attorney Fathi Sorour for taking on the defense of various members of the Ikhwan (watch, runtime: 9:00).

Speaking of which, former presidential candidate and Ikhwan member Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh’s health was in the spotlight amid reports he has taken a turn for the worse while in custody. Lamees seemed unconvinced, discrediting the story as heresay (watch, runtime: 2:59).

Social housing and slum redevelopment were again the focal point of last night’s episode of Masaa DMC (watch here, runtime: 7:31 and here, runtime: 5:03).


Egypt: 100 mn and ready for take-off

In exclusive commentary for Enterprise, Charles Robertson, chief global economist at Renaissance Capital, argues that Egypt will become a destination for low- and medium-weight manufacturing plants that in the 1990s were built in Central Europe and Romania.

In two years, there will be 100 mn Egyptians, better educated than ever before, with competitive wages, able to access decent electricity supply and ready to industrialize. There are two theories that tell us Egypt is poised to industrialize and become one of the world’s long-term beneficiaries of Europe’s economic recovery. Egypt clearly crossed the 70% adult literacy level that we at Renaissance Capital believe is a precondition for industrialization in 2010; literacy reached 76% in 2015.

For the first time, the country is capable of sustaining a manufacturing sector that is above 20% of GDP and unlike many in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it has the electricity and infrastructure already in place to support that. Meanwhile, as central European wages soar due to economic recovery and a shrinking workforce, Egypt’s minimum wage is now one-eighth of the level in Turkey, one-quarter of that in Morocco and half of the level in Tunisia. Egypt is the only major economy on Europe’s periphery with both a fast-growing workforce and where fewer than 50% of adults have a job. We think Egypt can grow its workforce by over 50% through its increasingly educated female population (over 80% of 11-17-year-old females now attend secondary school), and because the overall workforce is set to rise by 9% (an extra 6mn adults) between 2015 and 2020.

Never before has Egypt been so well placed to benefit from growth in Europe. To our pleasant surprise, Vision 2030, the government’s plan for Egypt’s economic development, has some goals that are achievable. Growth at the bottom end of the 8-10% target range for 2020 is plausible in the 2020s if our theories on literacy and industrialization, and MENA vs. CE3 are correct.

To take advantage of this opportunity Egypt does not have much room to make mistakes. Government debt reached 103% of GDP in June 2017, the budget deficit is expected likely to be 9.2% of GDP, as of June 2018, there is double-digit inflation and the current account deficit is around 4-5% of GDP. However, the direction remains very positive. Inflation has already more than halved since the post-devaluation peak of 33% to 13% in March 2018. This is a considerably better record than Frontier favourite Argentina.

We agree with the IMF that inflation will fall to around 11-12% in June. The budget is expected to show a healthy primary surplus in 2018-2019 (perhaps already in 2017-2018), helped by growth accelerating towards 6%, a figure we, the IMF and the government all agree on. We think the currency at EGP 17-18 per USD is 15% cheap vs. long-term fair value (EGP 15 per USD) and still offers value to foreign portfolio investors buying five-year government bonds in Egyptian pounds at pre-tax yields of 14%. The IMF expects public debt to fall to 72% of GDP by June 2022, and we think Egypt will receive at least one sovereign rating upgrade this year (it deserves two).

Egypt is very committed to a reform effort, which via subsidy removals in fuel and electricity might keep inflation at around 11-12% from June 2018 to June 2020, and this fiscal effort should allow a re-allocation of government spending towards infrastructure and investment. We think maintaining a cheap or fairly valued currency would support industrialization.

What we expect to see in 2019 and beyond is a rise in manufacturing investment. Today, the focus of foreign direct investment is the revitalized oil and gas sector, where Egypt should soon become self-sufficient again. But once it is obvious that macro stability has been restored, and when demand in Europe has eroded southern Europe’s spare capacity, we think Egypt should start attracting the low- and mid-level manufacturing plants that in the 1990s were built in central Europe and Romania.

Security concerns, if they are recognized to be largely regional, need not prevent this. We think that maintaining a fairly valued or cheap currency, sticking to current fiscal plans, improving the business environment and focusing on long-term needs of education and investment will be the key requirements for Egypt to lift GDP growth from 5-6% to 6-8% in the 2020s.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

INVESTMENT WATCH- IFC on track to invest USD 1 bn in Egypt’s private sector this year: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced that it is on track to invest USD 1 bn in Egypt this fiscal year, the IFC said in a statement on Sunday (pdf), citing as a driver Egypt’s proven track record of economic reforms. Details on how the funds would be deployed was scarce. “Egypt has made strong economic reforms, which are bringing the country back to the attention of investors,” said IFC COO Stephanie von Friedeburg. “Reforms in the energy sector, in particular, have helped attract a number of first-time investors and financiers to the country. Continuing reforms will help open up more sectors to private investment, which is vital to boost economic growth,” she added. The announcement follows a meeting between von Friedeburg and Investment Minister Sahar Nasr during the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.

Also coming from the Spring Meetings — Sahar Nasr schooled CNN’s ever-annoying Richard Quest as the grating host tried to paint Egypt as an unstable investment destination: Nasr expertly fended off CNN host Richard Quest’s bid to play up controversy surrounding the presidential election and his hints that political instability would drive away investment. She pointed out during live coverage of the meetings on Friday that the stability of Egypt was underpinned by the economic reform program, which has been praised by the IMF and the World Bank and is reflected in their outlook on the Egyptian economy. She countered his point on the economic hardships faced as a result of the reforms by noting that a crucial pillar of the reforms is expanding the social safety net. Asked whether regional instability would scare others from investing in Egypt, Nasr responded that the result would be the contrary: As an island of stability in the Mideast, Egypt is becoming a hub for regional investors. You can watch an excerpt from the interview here (watch, runtime: 0:29) or read the transcript of the interview here.

Our take: FDI figures have not lived up to expectations, but we see this as a function of foreign investors sitting on the sidelines waiting for the signal that domestic businesses are investing. And with capex being financed at credit-card interest rates since the float of the EGP, that hasn’t happened. With expectations of another 200-300 bps in interest rate cuts this year, borrowing will become feasible for domestic businesses later this year and into 2019, and should trigger a wave of FDI in the second half in 2019 and beyond. In the meantime, the government has done the right thing passing pro-business legislation including the Bankruptcy Act and the new Investment Act. The challenge for the government is now to go beyond the ‘obvious’ headline stuff and dive deeply into industry-level legislation that will spur growth.

What the lobby groups are saying after the spring meetings: Some admit that regional instability and security issues in Egypt have delayed plans by foreign companies to invest. US companies had been anticipating the right business climate to take root before committing any investments, said former AmCham President Anis Aclimandos, who added that we are fast approaching a time where they will get over their skittishness. A number of them were put off by regional instability and the war on terrorism in Sinai, but there are now a number of large US energy, chemicals and transportation companies exploring new investments. Egypt-US Business Council Chairman Omar Mehanna concurs, suggesting that we should expect announcements by leading US firms drawn by the economic reforms. Egyptian-French Business Council head Fouad Younes suggests that French President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit in May is a harbinger of future investment. GCC investors, with experience traversing the region, are unfazed by the political risk, with Egyptian-Saudi Business Council member Hamdy Abdel Aziz noting that the GCC sees political risk in places like Turkey as far greater than that of Egypt.

And speaking of EastMed gas, Egypt is looking to attract as much as USD 10 bn in new foreign investment in the oil and gas sector in FY2018-19, thanks to new discoveries in the East Mediterranean, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said yesterday, Reuters reports. The minister said he expects foreign investment in the sector to stand somewhere close to that figure at the end of the current fiscal year, “marking a 25% y-o-y increase from the previous year.” A number of oil and gas majors — including Eni, Shell, Edison, and BP — had last week announced intentions to expand their existing activities in Egypt. Oilfield services outfit Schlumberger also said it was investing USD 60 mn in a new data center to make industry information more accessible.

International lenders teamed up to support Egypt’s USD 1.2 bn natural gas connection project: It looks like the World Bank, EU, and French Development Agency (AFD) have all contributed funding to the USD 1.2 bn project to connect more Egyptian households to the natural gas grid. Egypt received USD 300 mn from the World Bank, a EUR 70 mn grant from the AFD, and a EUR 68 mn grant from the EU, to connect around 1.2 mn households in 20 governorates to the grid in 2018, according to a video released by the EU’s Egypt delegation (watch here, runtime: 2:20). Collections from installation fees contributed USD 326 mn in financing to the project, while EGAS is covering the remaining USD 473 mn, according to a press release picked up by Al Mal. The Oil Ministry had said on Saturday that densely populated governorates, particularly in Upper Egypt, would receive funding priority.

Background: EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete is in town to sign an energy cooperation agreement that is widely expected to see Egypt begin exporting LNG to Europe but could also see additional funding expended to the project. Cañete will also hold talks with Egyptian officials, including Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and the heads of European IOCs operating in Egypt.

Tourism Minister Mashat tells Bloomberg that Egypt is set to drive development of tourism projects along coastlines: Egypt will be offering international investors the opportunity to develop sustainable cities along the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts, Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat told Bloomberg in an interview (watch, runtime: 5:25). The Tourism Development Authority has selected “previously untapped” locations around the country to establish “a very high-end type of project to bring in high-end tourists,” she tells the National, adding that the tenders will be announced once the list and plan were finalized. Al Mashat said that these sustainable cities, such as the New Alamein City that’s currently under development, are expected to help drive tourist traffic by adding to the number of places to visit in Egypt.

The cities are part of a larger plan to reform the tourism sector, which also includes structural and legislative amendments. Al Mashat said that the laws governing the industry have not been changed since the 1970s, including those on hotel building, she said without elaborating. A central component of the reform agenda is also a plan to launch a nationwide, “mega-scale” training program for staff and employees, according to the minister. Al Mashat had previously said that the ministry would also rework parts of its charter flight incentive programs to encourage more airlines to join. “We are trying to develop Egypt into a destination that has dynamism, diversity…building on the very strong momentum we saw in 2017,” she said, adding that she expects more than 8 mn tourists to visit the country in 2018.

That wish may very well come true as Thomas Cook says it has sold 89% more holidays packages to Egypt so far this year compared to 2017. 51% of the bookings are for families, according to the Thomas Cook Holiday Report 2018, which was carried by the Independent.

More hotel chains set eyes on Egypt: Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) signed contracts to build two new hotels in Giza, Hotel News reports. The Holiday Inn Giza Sun Capital and Staybridge Suites Giza Sun Capital are both scheduled to open in 2023 and make IHG the latest international hotelier to announce plans to expand in Egypt. Marriott, Hilton, and TIME Hotels have all previously announced their plans to add new hotel rooms in Egypt. The contracts were signed at the Dubai ATM 2018 travel expo, where Al Mashat has been meeting with tour operators, travel agents and airlines in bid to market the Egyptian tourism market in the GCC, according to Reuters.

BUDGET WATCH- Committee-level debate of the FY2018-19 budget resumed yesterday at the House of Representatives, according to Al Mal. The House is looking to complete discussions on the budget and vote on it before the summer recess in July (and the start of the new fiscal year). The deputy chair of the House Planning and Budget Committee, Yasser Omar, had supposedly told Youm7 last week that the committee discussions on the budget were postponed until 5 May on account of the key economic ministers attending the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, which ended yesterday.

The budget is priority number one in parliament, which has postponed discussions on other laws, including the Unified Building Codes, until committee budget discussions of the new spending bill are through, the deputy head of the House Housing Committee told the newspaper. He confirmed previously disclosed plans to follow up the Unified Building Codes with another temporary law that would settle building code violations. We noted last month that committee agreed to set the fee for building owners and developers to settle building code violations at 10% of the property’s market price.

M&A WATCH- Austria’s Mondi Paper Sales has reportedly acquired the National Paper Products Company for EGP 500 mn, sources said on Sunday. The transaction, which saw Mondi acquire full ownership of the company, closed last week, the sources added. The move comes as Mondi has been increasing its acquisitions in Egypt. The company applied for a mandatory tender offer to acquire the remaining 70.1% stake in Suez Bags back in February. Mondi values the Suez Bags transaction at EGP 199.4 mn.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Canada’s Second Cup Coffee Company is planning to invest USD 20 mn in Egypt over the coming five years as it rolls out a national footprint, said Yahya Ghamdan, who heads the company’s local franchisee, at the opening of its store in Cairo Festival City. The company is planning to open five stores in Egypt this year, with an eye to opening 50 stores nationwide by 2020, said Ghamdan. Second Cup CEO Jim Ragas attended the opening and said that its investment in Egypt was part of its plan to grow its presence internationally.

Abraaj’s challenges could push it to delay the IPO or sale of its North African hospitals business, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg on Sunday. The Dubai-based emerging markets private equity giant will delay the sale, which was originally planned for 1H2018, until October, sources added. Abraaj, which owns a dozen hospitals and clinics in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco worth a collective USD 500 mn, had tapped EFG Hermes and Citigroup back in January to manage the sale. Previous reports had suggested that the company was mulling a listing in either London or the New York.

Abraaj is also apparently in advanced talks to sell its 35% stake in Egyptian education company CIRA, the source added. The company reportedly plans to sell the school stake back to CIRA’s family shareholder, though no final decisions have been taken. Neither Abraaj nor CIRA commented on the news. CIRA holds majority stakes in 24 K-12 schools across Egypt. Abraaj bought into the firm back in 2014.

The news is the latest in a string of decisions to minimize blowback over the alleged misuse of funds from a separate USD 1 bn healthcare fund. Abraaj is considering replacing itself as manager of the fund, turning the fund into a company, or recasting it as a self-governing fund. The healthcare fund in question holds no investments in Egypt and North Africa.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Gov’t gets sharper teeth in clampdown on unsustainable agriculture practices: The House of Representatives voted to approve amendments to the Agriculture Act in a plenary session on Sunday, according to Al Shorouk. The law grants the Agriculture Ministry greater powers to regulate which crops can be grown and where with an eye towards water conservation, soil preservation, economic viability and ending unsustainable economic practices. Discussions on the law had proven contentious after a number of MPs pushed the agenda of rice growers (who we prefer to see as water exporters) demanding an expansion of growing rice. This prompted House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to educate them on the importance of limiting water-intensive crops while Egypt is in the midst of a water shortage. (Yes, Abdel Aal is on the side of goodness and right on this one.) Previous reports on the law had also said that it would impose harsher punishments on the construction of non-agriculture buildings on agricultural land of up to two years in prison and fines of up to EGP 50,000.

Also yesterday: The House of Representatives appears to have signed off on the Food Cart Act. The 17-clause bill, which governs permits, equipment, location, and food safety standards, imposes an annual fee on food cart owners of no more than EGP 5,000 for a three-year, renewable permit. Vendors would also be exempt from paying taxes in the first three-year period. Youm7 has a copy here.

In other legislative news, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ratified amendments to the Eminent Domain Act, AMAY reports. The law grants the president the right to seize privately-owned land under eminent domain and offer compensation that includes a 20% premium on the value of the land.

Did Sudan really promise to end its boycott of agriculture goods before Ramadan? Sudanese government officials reportedly promised that they would lift their ban on Egyptian agricultural imports before Ramadan, said Egyptian-Sudanese Business Council member Riad Armanious. Officials apparently promised the council that the ban on some 19 goods will be lifted before Ramadan following meetings between both country’s trade ministers. The Council, which held its inaugural meeting on Saturday, has formed a committee to look into ways to speed up the lifting of the blanket ban on agriculture goods, which Sudan imposed back in May 2017.

Beyond politics, importing goods from Egypt is now an economic imperative for our southern neighbor, suggests Armanious. Egyptian goods are very price-competitive and come amid a time where inflation in Sudan has reached a high of 55.6% in March. The ban, which has largely been seen as politically motivated, appears unsustainable, considering mass protests which erupted in January over the government partially lifting bread and fuel subsidies.

Peace through wider market integration: The Egyptian-Sudanese Business Council issued a series of recommendations to bolster trade between both countries. These include reviving plans to establish an Egyptian industrial zone in Khartoum, as well as building up transportation infrastructure and railway lines connecting both countries. Armanious, meanwhile, told Al Masry Al Youm that an unnamed Egyptian company is looking to build a USD 20 mn pharma plant in Khartoum.

The wild card is the firing of Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour over the weekend. Ghandour was a lynchpin in talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and Sudan’s territorial dispute with Egypt over Halayeb and Shalatin.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT- Al Mal’s print edition came out yesterday with what is purportedly an interview with CIB Chairman and Managing Director Hisham Ezz Al-Arab. We checked with our friends at CIB, who explained while a handful of points were drawn from publicly available sources including the bank’s 2017 annual report, Hisham had not in fact granted an interview to Al Mal. Caveat emptor.

CORRECTION- We had incorrectly said in yesterday’s issue that CI Capital had reeled in orders totaling EGP 3.17 bn (USD 179.0 mn). The figure was actually the market capitalization of the firm prior to the closed subscription. The firm generated orders worth EGP 9.9 bn (USD 560 mn) during the book-building process, which was c.6.1x oversubscribed. The error has been corrected on our website.


Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

Image of the Day

The mystery of an unknown Australian soldier who went missing in Egypt during the First World War has been solved, ABC reports. Gallipoli veteran Private Edward Attfield was considered a deserter from the Australian Army for over a century until Victorian researcher Martin Elliget helped identify his grave in Egypt. Attfield, whose body was discovered near Giza two years ago, had been fighting with the army’s 5th Battalion before going missing from the area where his body was found. His descendants have chosen to erect a headstone in his honor in the Old Cairo War Cemetery with the inscription: "I once was lost, but now am found."

Egypt in the News

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. It’s a wonderfully slow news day in Egypt.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt rejects UNESCO’s nomination of imprisoned photojournalist for press freedom award: The Foreign Ministry denounced in a statement yesterday UNESCO’s intention to award the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to imprisoned photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (aka Shawkan), who was arrested while covering anti-government protests in 2013.

Playing ball: Egypt said on Sunday it welcomed North Korea’s decision to suspend its nuclear missile tests, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The comments came ahead of an expected summit between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. The United States last year cut some aid and froze other payments to Egypt, reportedly because of Egypt’s military ties to North Korea. South Korea’s top news agency subsequently reported that the Egyptian and South Korean defense ministers signed an agreement “deepen the partnership between their countries on North Korea and arms development … Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi stressed that his country has already severed all military ties with North Korea.”


Algioshi Steel planning new SCZone plants, new production line

Algioshi Steel is planning to open two new production facilities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and invest EGP 250 mn in a new production line at its existing facility this year, Chairman Tarek Algioshi tells Al Shorouk. The company is in talks with local banks to finance its planned expansion. Output from its current facility and new production line will be used locally, but Algioshi plans to look towards exports by 2019, especially to African markets.

Automotive + Transportation

GE to begin delivering refurbished locomotives in November, new units in 2H2019

Egypt is due to start receiving its 100 new locomotives from General Electric as of 2H2019, a cabinet statement said yesterday. GE will also begin in November delivering the 81 locomotives it had been upgrading under its USD 575 mn agreement with the government. Sources said last month that the Transport Ministry plans to put the newly-refurbished locomotives into service before the end of 2018. The ministry has been working to overhaul the railway sector with help from the private sector, whose participation in the sector was made possible with the passing of the Railway Act earlier this month.

Four global companies bidding on Cairo Metro’s Line 2 supply contract

Mitsubishi, Rotem, Alstom, and an unnamed Chinese company are competing over a National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) tender to deliver six trains and two locomotives for the Cairo Metro’s Line 2, a source tells Al Mal. The purchase will be financed by a USD 100 mn loan signed back in December with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Cabinet could force state entities to transport portion of their cargo via river

The Ismail Cabinet is reportedly preparing to issue a decision that would mandate government entities to transport at least a portion of their cargo via river. The Transport Ministry is currently drafting the decree, which will set a minimum quota for river transport and determine the type and size of cargo that can be transported in the Nile, sources tell Al Mal. The decision aims to reduce reliance on road transport. The ministry is planning to issue tenders for the development of four ports along the Nile, beginning with the USD 50-100 mn Qena Port project. The Cabinet had also signed off last year on a bill to regulate river traffic and commercial river transport, which is currently with the House of Representatives.

Banking + Finance

Eight banks supposedly provide OCI with USD 476 mn loan

Eight banks are allegedly providing Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) with a USD 476 mn five-year syndicated loan, Al Shorouk reports in a poorly-written piece citing sources. All we can gather from the story is that loan will be doled out in both USD and EGP, and it has something to do with funding Egyptian Fertilizers Company plant in Ain Sokhna, which it fully acquired back in 2008. Banks participating in the loan include the National Bank of Egypt, Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.


Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah named PFA Player of the Year 2018

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah has been crowned Player of the Year by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Ahram Online reports. The Egyptian footballer is now embroiled in a dispute with his Egypt’s football federation over rights of use to his images ahead of the World Cup, according to Liverpool Echo.

Mohamed Elneny injured playing for Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny was carried off on a stretcher yesterday during a Premier League game following an ankle injury, TSN reports. It is too early to know whether Elneny’s injury will prevent him from playing at the World Cup, but Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves confirmed that the injury was not serious, according to King Fut.

On Your Way Out

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Aswan, the Associated Press reports. The head was discovered in the Temple of Kom Ombo during work to protect the site from groundwater, the Antiquities Ministry has said, adding that archaeologists have also found artifacts belonging to a shrine for the god Osiris-Ptah-Neb inside the ancient temple of Karnak in Luxor.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (Sunday): 17,898 (+0.7%)
Turnover: EGP 1.2 bn (5% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +19.2%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.7%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Qalaa Holdings up 8.5%, Orascom Telecom Media & Technology up 7.6%, and Porto Group up 5.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were SODIC down 2.0%, TMG Holding down 1.4%, and Madinet Nasr Housing down 0.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.2 bn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -30.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +65.0 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -34.6 mn

Retail: 80.2% of total trades | 81.8% of buyers | 78.7% of sellers
Institutions: 19.8% of total trades | 18.2% of buyers | 21.3% of sellers

Foreign: 4.9% of total | 3.7% of buyers | 6.2% of sellers
Regional: 10.7% of total | 13.4% of buyers | 8.0% of sellers
Domestic: 84.4% of total | 82.9% of buyers | 85.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 68.26 (-0.20%)
Brent: USD 73.95 (-0.15%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.74 MMBtu, (-0.04%, May 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,335.80 / troy ounce (-0.19%)

TASI: 8,256.60 (-0.25%) (YTD: +14.26%)
ADX: 4,682.47 (-0.51%) (YTD: +6.46%)
DFM: 3,079.51 (-0.08%) (YTD: -8.62%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,776.40 (+0.07%)
QE: 9,155.55 (-0.45%) (YTD: +7.42%)
MSM: 4,761.05 (+0.03%) (YTD: -6.63%)
BB: 1,301.08 (-0.02%) (YTD: -2.30%)

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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): High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission 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).

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.