Monday, 7 May 2018

Finance Ministry to make it even easier for SMEs to go legit

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s the accidental legislation issue of Enterprise, as yesterday saw a flurry of updates on key business and econ laws, including the Banking Act, the Ride-hailing Apps Act, plans to bring SMEs into the tax system, and a harebrained scheme to turn Egypt’s parliament into a two-party system. We have more in the Speed Round, below.

Our friends at AmCham will be holding their fifth annual HR Day today. The gathering will discuss new ways of attracting talent, developing culture, implementing leadership practices and diversity and inclusion, in addition to raising questions on the value of a company’s culture. You can register for the event here.

The central bank will auction off USD 1.1 bn in one-year USD-denominated treasury bills today, according to Reuters.

Khaled Mohieldin, the last surviving member of the Revolutionary Command Council that ruled Egypt after the 1952 military coup, passed away yesterday at the age of 95, Reuters reports. The council, which included 14 members, had been “set up to run Egypt until 1956 when its head, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was elected president.” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail were among the many who released statements yesterday mourning Mohieldin’s passing. Khaled Mohieldin was the uncle of former Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will meet today with his Ugandan counterpart Sam Kutesa in Cairo, Youm7 reports. The meeting will be followed by the closing session of the Egyptian-Ugandan joint committee and a press conference. An Egypt-Uganda business forum will follow tomorrow, Al Dostor reports. The two countries recently signed the pan-African Continental Freetrade Zone (CFTZ), which hopes to reduce and eventually eliminate customs duties between the zone’s member states.

Bloomberg thinks Naguib’s gold strategy is a rookie mistake: Last week, Naguib Sawiris said he’s investing nearly half of his USD 5.7 bn net worth in gold, which he believes will reach USD 1,800 per ounce from just above USD 1,300 now. Bloomberg’s Barry Ritholz schools him on the ABCs of investing. For one thing, it’s never wise to concentrate investments into one asset class, particularly if it is based on some kind of forecast — whether that be his prediction of a higher gold price or a potential stock market crash. “[The strategy] also reflects a misunderstanding one’s own abilities to time the market based on valuations.” Game, set, match in a long piece worth reading.

The next US bear market is going to be choppy and “rolling,” hammering one industry at a time—and it is starting to take hold. That’s the argument at Morgan Stanley, which sees earnings growth slowing in the second half of 2018 after a “temporary and unsustainable earnings boost” from tax reforms, Business Insider reports. “We expect both a deterioration in earnings quality and a peak in organic growth in 2018,” Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist wrote clients. “The bear market in valuations has already begun and supports our overall view that the next cyclical bear market in the US may have already begun.” The next bear market will “lack the large 20-40% pullbacks” that characterized the last three bear markets dating back to 1987. Instead, the bank says, “we are likely to see a rolling bear market across individual stocks and sectors that results in a choppy, range-trading index for years.”

Already, investors are parsing every word execs say on earnings calls “searching for signs of how long the good times are going to last” some 10 years into a bull run, the Financial Times adds. Cases in point: Caterpillar, AIG and Tesla, the salmon-coloured paper says, adding, “the nervousness among investors is particularly noteworthy because of the strength of earnings.”

The FT really, really wants there to be some turbulence in EM, noting again that “Emerging markets investors are braced for turbulence in the coming days following last week’s sharp currencies sell-off that led to drastic measures by Argentina’s central bank to stop a slide in the peso,” as we explained yesterday.

Over in the Wall Street Journal, the question of the day is how Wall Street analysts missed the surge in oil prices to USD 75. If you’re into oil or predictions, you’ll want to give this one a read on your morning commute / as you settle into the office this morning.

**An Aussie financial advice firm has moved to a five-hour workday—and thrived, the Financial Times reports, writing that it all began when the firm’s boss moved to a five-hour day as his wife began treatment for cancer. “At the start of last year, the 30-odd staff at his firm, Collins SBA, began a trial of a five-hour day, with no cut in their pay. They had to start between 8am and 9am and get their work done by 1pm or 2pm. After that, most were free to hit the golf course, play with their children or whatever else they felt like. The reception desk stayed open all day and urgent client needs were met. Despite fears the move could blow up the business, it has worked so well to date that there are no plans to end it.”

The result of the experiment: “Sick days have plunged. Talented recruits have been hired. Some advisers have done record levels of new business. Clients did not mind waiting a few hours to see an adviser. The firm’s bottom line seems unaffected.” Read: The case for a five-hour working day.

Our friends at Tarek Nour Advertising took home eight nods at this year’s African Cristal Festival in Marrakesh, the agency announced. The categories are Advertisers’ Grand Prix, Leaders’ Grand Prix, African Culture, Film, and Film Craft. Three of the awards were for TNA’s spot for Hyundai Egypt FIFA World Cup 2018, an Enterprise favourite for its skewering of Italy’s national team for failing to make the World Cup. Also taking home hardware were spots for Fabrika, B-Tech, and the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation.

PSA #1- Zamalek residents could face a widespread water outage today lasting from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm as the Cairo Water Company cuts off pipes for work on Cairo Metro Line 3, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

PSA #2- We’re looking at three day of mixed cloud, rain and blowing dust, the national weather service warns. Unsettled conditions nationwide will see temperatures in the 30-32°C range today through Wednesday in the capital city before rising to 39°C Thursday and 37°C Friday.

What We’re Tracking This Week

The Egyptian embassy in London will be hosting a “Made in Egypt” gala tomorrow. The event, which will exhibit the work of leading Egyptian designers, is sponsored by Mr & Mrs Samih Sawiris, CIB, Edita, EgyptAir, Palm Hills, Ramsco and SODIC.

Inflation numbers should come out on or about this Thursday, 10 May. This month is all the more significant as the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet on 17 May to set interest rates.

On The Horizon

EETC to issue tender for electricity grid interconnection with Sudan “within days”: The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) will issue a local and global tender for power lines and transformers for the electricity grid interconnection project with Sudan “within days,” according to sources. Ten companies, including General Electric, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Elsewedy, will be invited to bid for the project, the sources say, adding that talks are underway with regional and international finance institutions to fund the USD 500 mn project. Egypt is pursuing parallel agreements to tie its electricity grid to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and, potentially, Cyprus.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves last night focused on one of the busiest days in parliament we’ve seen in a very long time. Debates on the Ride-hailing Apps Act and the new education system moved from the floor of the House of Representatives to the airwaves without any dilution of the drama. The highlight of the night, however, was Hona Al Asema’s interview with IMF Deputy Managing Director David Lipton, who’s in town for the IMF and CBE’s “Inclusive Growth and Job Creation” conference.

Want to kill unemployment? Open up further to the private sector: Lipton’s message in the interview reflected his speech on day one of the conference, which is that embarking on policies friendly to the private sector and a more liberalized economy would do wonders for inclusive growth in Egypt. He also called for the government to continue to focus on exports-centric policies.

Speaking on the reform agenda, Lipton naturally sung the praises of the program, saying that Egypt would have been far worse if it had not adopted the tough measures. He said that the conference itself took place to highlight and recognize these accomplishments. He reassured host Lamees Al Hadidi that the impact of the reforms would trickle down if the government continues on the path of fiscal restructuring.

Long-term, Lipton sees it very possible for Egypt’s GDP grow at a sustained 6-8%.

On Egypt’s unemployment rate, Lipton says that the country has managed to bring that figure down to the emerging markets average. He credits the government’s financial inclusion policies with absorbing some of the informal economy’s work force.

As for the USD 12 bn IMF Extended Fund Facility, he made sure to tell Lamees that the first payment is due in 2021.

You can catch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 51:55)

Back to the House drama, and with it, the debate on controversial articles of the Ride-Hailing Apps Act. MP Ahmed Al Sharqawy was on Hona Al Asema to call out the articles that require Uber and Careem to store user data in Egypt and open it to the government, describing the requirements as unconstitutional (watch, runtime: 3:56). On the flipside, MP Mohamed Zein Aldin argued in favour of making the data accessible to authorities, claiming that foreign governments have access to user’s social media data (watch, runtime: 5:50). The man appears to not have heard of Snowden or Cambridge Analytica… Kol Youm’s Amr Adib, being the consummate intellectual on modern topics, appears to back Zein Aldin up. He did play devil’s advocate by calling for a balance between protecting people’s privacy and ensuring national security to be reached (watch, runtime: 2:18).

Next up, MPs really went off on Education Minister Tarek Shawky and his plan to reform the education system. Their main gripe appears to be that they were not consulted on the strategy and no “national dialogue” was made. Lamees jumped in to the minister’s defence and urged parliament to give him a chance and to hear him out instead of attacking him (watch, runtime: 3:22). Kol Youm’s Amr Adib also defended the new strategy as better than system currently in place, voicing frustration with the tumultuous way in which the discussions were held (watch, runtime: 10:26). Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer backed up Adib’s comments on the conduct of MPs (watch, runtime: 3:30).

Shawky himself called in on Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 9:17) and Yahduth fi Masr (watch, runtime: 9:59) to tell his side after the battering, blaming the whole fiasco on a lack of understanding by MPs.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

EXCLUSIVE – Hassan Allam Holding taps advisors for potential IPO: Leading construction company Hassan Allam Holding has mandated three investment banks to run a potential IPO, including EFG Hermes and Renaissance Capital as joint global coordinators and Arqaam Capital as bookrunner, sources with knowledge of the transaction tell us. EFG Hermes and Rencap would also serve as bookrunners if an IPO goes forward. Cairo-based law firm Matouk Bassiouny is said have been appointed local counsel to the issuer, the same sources tell us. The domicile and size of the offering have yet to be determined and international counsel has yet to be appointed. Our friends at Hassan Allam Holding have in the past mentioned an intention to take the group public, but yesterday declined to comment, saying they would only have something to say once their shareholders have made a decision that could be disclosed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The group has recently grown to include a new utilities platform alongside its engineering & construction and building materials units.

IPO WATCH- Carbon Holdings eyes dual listing by end of 1H2019: Carbon Holdings is looking to raise as much as USD 250 mn from a dual listing on the EGX and London Stock Exchange by the end of 1H2019, our friend Managing Director of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations Karim Helal tells Al Masry Al Youm. Carbon had previously announced its intention to IPO in Egypt by December. While the ultimate size of the listing has yet to be determined, the Basil El Baz-led company will offer no less than 20% of its shares, according to Helal. Sources previously told us that the stake sale could be the largest in Egypt since 2011 and could value the company north of USD 1 bn.

Advisors: EFG Hermes is acting as advisor and global coordinator for the IPO, Baker & McKenzie is local legal counsel, and White & Case is international counsel.

IPO WATCH- Rooya Holding Investments is working on completing the regulatory requirements to move ahead with its planned IPO on the EGX, parent company Pioneers Holding said in a statement to the EGX yesterday (pdf). Reports had emerged last July that Rooya had filed to list 30% of its shares on the bourse. Pioneers CEO Walid Zaki then announced in December that Pioneers plans to list 40% of its subsidiary in 1H2018. Rooya had reportedly tapped Baker & McKenzie’s Cairo partner, Helmy, Hamza & Partners, as legal advisor for the potential transaction.

EXCLUSIVE- FRA looking to marginally lower regulatory fees on stock market trades as stamp tax increases next fiscal year: A Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) committee has approved in principle lowering fees on stock market transactions, sources from the committee told Enterprise. The FRA’s consultative committee, which helps set policy for FRA, wants to lower fees to 0.04% from a present 0.05%. We’re told the change, if implemented, would aim to curb some of the burden imposed by annual rises in the stamp tax on EGX trades,which is set to rise to 0.15% on 1 July 2018 from 0.125% today. Proceeds from the regulatory fee are typically used to fund the operations of the FRA, the EGX and Misr Central Clearing, Depository and Registry (MCDR) as well as the investor bailout fund. A portion of the fee will no longer follow into the bailout fund, which we’re told has grown to EGP 2.5 bn.

EXCLUSIVE- Has the Finance Ministry further simplified its plan to bring SMEs into the ranks of taxpayers? Speaking of inclusion, the Finance Ministry may be modifying previously outlined plans to offer SMEs of a certain size full or partial tax exemptions to enter the formal economy as part of the SME Act. Instead, the ministry is looking at requiring SMEs of a certain size a flat tax based on the size of their top line, Tax Authority sources tell Enterprise. The move makes a lot of sense.

Grow the tax base by making it easy to go legit: Businesses with an annual revenue of up to EGP 250k or less would face a fixed tax bill of EGP 2,000 per year under the proposal. Those making between EGP 251-500k will pay EGP 5,000 a year, while enterprises making EGP 501k-1 mn will be taxed EGP 10,000. Further incentives will be granted if these business register with the Tax Authority, the source said, stopping short of getting into specifics.

Small business owners can forget about utilities if they don’t register with the tax man: The Tax Authority is looking at how to coordinate with state utility providers to monitor spending by SMEs and ensure they are registered. Sources tell us that obtaining access to water and electricity will be conditional on a business registering with the Tax Authority.

The ministry hopes to net EGP 3-4 bn from provisions of the SME Act in year one alone, our source added.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Banking Act will expand the CBE’s oversight of bank management, boards: The Banking Act will grant the central bank greater oversight of the banking sector and boards,CBE Governor Tarek Amer announced yesterday, according to Al Mal. The law will establishes new procedures that expand the CBE’s oversight of bank management, said Amer, without offering specifics. The governor remained tight-lipped on the details of the proposed law, but had said last week that the amended legislation would not set term limits for bank managing directors — a key issue that had stirred up controversy last year when an early draft showed that the CBE would be given wider powers to set term limits. He also noted that the law seeks to strengthen governance regulations for the sector.

The new law would also strengthen governance and independent oversight of the central bank’s own board as part of efforts to ensure transparency, said Amer. He noted that the law, which was reviewed by the CBE’s board recently, has the support of international finance institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Final House vote on Ride-Hailing Apps Act postponed amid backlash against data-sharing clauses: The Ride-Hailing Apps Act failed to breeze through a final vote in the House of Representatives yesterday, drawing heavy criticism for some of its most controversial clauses, which appear to not have been amended at all. Articles 9 and 10 of the legislation, which mandate that ride-hailing companies store user data on their servers abroad for a period of 180 days and make information accessible to government agencies, appear to still be in the bill, according to a leaked copy released by Al Shorouk. MPs voted to study the two articles, which raised the most stink from Uber and Careem, and postpone the vote on them. Earlier reports had indicated that a House subcommittee charged with reviewing the act had agreed to do away with these clauses, which the Egyptian Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) itself had ruled were unconstitutional.

The House also postponed a vote on Article 5 of the law, which sets a cap on licensing fees for ride-hailing companies. Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat had requested that licensing fees for companies in the law be capped at EGP 10 mn.

A law less than ideal for ride-hailing companies: Based on our reading of the law, multiple provisions that came under fire from Uber and Careem remain in place. Among the most glaring:

  • Forcing ride-hailing companies to develop a system to integrate white taxis into their fleets, something which the Council of State had deemed unconstitutional.
  • Special licensing fees for drivers that are likely to be more expensive than those for taxi drivers.
  • Forcing drivers to have stickers marking their association with a particular company.
  • Setting a fine of between EGP 200k and EGP 5 mn for violators of the act.
  • Ride-hailing companies have only six months to comply with the law.

Are tuk-tuks covered by the law? House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal reportedly said that the law would not govern tuk-tuks. But the act clearly says that the law would apply to “land vehicles and mass transit.” While seemingly a simple discussion, this point could potentially impact numerous new services that do not use traditional passenger cars. Halan, a new ride-hailing app targeting motorcycle and tuktuk owners, had launched in January and has already raised more than 75% of the USD 2 mn it is looking to land for its pre-series A. Uber already runs its Uber Scooter service.

Tic toc: The Supreme Administrative Court is scheduled to hear on Saturday, 12 May an appeal by Uber and Careem of a lower court decision that ordered the two companies to suspend operations, Al Mal reports. The two companies continue to operate under a Court of Urgent Matters ruling that stayed the initial suspension.

Uber, Careem to update Google Maps’ GPS? On a related note, the House Transport and ICT committees reportedly reached an agreement with Uber and Careem that will see the two ride-hailing companies provide Google with an updated and more detailed map of the Cairo governorate once the Ride-Hailing Apps Act is signed into law, unidentified sources tell Al Mal. The two companies will connect the data with Google’s GPS service, which MPs say currently lack many streets’ names. The process should not take longer than one year, the sources say, and the details of the partnership will be announced at the end of the month. It remains unclear whether Google had any role in the “agreement” — or, indeed, is even aware of it.

The Finance Ministry is working on a medium-term plan to trim Egypt’s public debt to 80% of GDP by 2020, down from 107-108% during FY2016-17, Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said yesterday, according to a ministry statement. Speaking during the second day of the IMF and Central Bank of Egypt’s “Inclusive Growth and Job Creation” conference, El Garhy said that the state would be able to achieve this target by reducing the budget deficit, achieving a 2% primary surplus, and raising per capita income. The IMF said in January that it expects public debt to reach 87% of GDP in FY2018-19, while next year’s state budget expects it to stand at 91-92% of GDP.

El Garhy also predicted that next year will bring significant improvements to citizens’ living standards and stressed that the state is working on further reducing unemployment figures by achieving annual growth levels of 5-6%. Boosting exports is also at the top of the government’s priorities, El Garhy also said. Next year’s budget estimates that unemployment will fall to below 11%.

CBE lays out its inclusive growth plan: CBE Governor Tarek Amer surmised the CBE’s two-fold inclusive growth strategy at the conference. First, the CBE has removed FX restrictions, and opened the FX market, which in turn has drawn in foreign investment and contributed to a drop in unemployment, he said according to Al Shorouk. Meanwhile, the CBE has a strategy to increase the funding available for SMEs as part of the government’s overall financial inclusion drive, CBE Governor Tarek Amer said, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Is the House looking to bring about a two-party system? It indeed was a busy day at the House of Representatives, which also looked at amendments the House of Representatives Act, which govern election guidelines and coalition and party formations. Very little in the way of detail is out on the amendments themselves, but Support Egypt Coalition’s Hisham Emara tells Al Mal that the amendments aim, in principle, to turn the House into a two-party majority system. The new law would set 75% of parliamentary seats to party-affiliated MPs, with only 25% seats being allocated for independent MPs, he added. The newspaper notes that the next parliamentary elections are due to take place in 2021.

Meanwhile, the House Culture and Media Committee is expecting to complete its review of the second part of the Press and Media Act by week’s end, committee head MP Osama Heikal said, Ahram Gate reports. 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.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Amendments to State Lawsuits Authority Act could impact int’l arbitration cases: The Justice Ministry is currently drafting amendments to the State Lawsuits Authority Act, which would help “improve procedures to reach quick resolutions on Egypt’s international and domestic cases,” sources said. They did not provide details on the legislation save that these would presumably include international arbitration cases. The government hopes to get the law approved by parliament in the current legislative cycle.

BUDGET WATCH- House Budget Committee wants more spending on health and education in the budget: The House of Representatives’ Budget Committee plans to make an official request to the government to raise its allocation for health and education in the FY2018-19 budget, the committee’s deputy chair Yasser Omar said. The government has yet to inform the committee whether the increases in health and education spending meet the constitutionally mandated 10% of GDP spending requirement, he added. The budget for healthcare will grow 12.5% y-o-y to EGP 61.81 bn, while spending on education will grow 8% to EGP 115.66 bn in FY2018-19, according to leaked documents. The committee will wait until hearings with the education and higher education ministers have concluded before making the request, he added.

MOVES- Kuwait-based KAMCO Investment Company has appointed Sherif Abdel Aal (LinkedIn) as managing director and head of mergers and acquisitions. Abdel Aal was most recently managing director and head of investment banking at Pharos. Noha Ghazaly was announced yesterday as Abdel Aal’s successor at Pharos.

Saudi King Salman has issued a decree protecting employees who report financial and administrative corruption, Reuters reports, citing Al Arabiya TV. The decree to shield whistleblowers comes as part of a massive anti-graft campaign that included the detention of dozens of royals and top businessmen last year, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

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Image of the Day

America’s most iconic symbol was originally meant to be a Muslim woman guarding the newly-opened Suez Canal. The first sketch of New York’s Statue of Liberty by architect Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was first intended to represent an “Egyptian peasant in Muslim garments.” In his early designs, Bartholdi called the sculpture “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.” However, Egyptian officials rejected the statue as too expensive, leading the architect to take his plans to America. He had to drop her Islamic robe and transform her into a Roman Goddess, renaming her “Liberty Enlightening the World.” The statue has guarded New York’s harbour since 1886. Watch a brief on the history of this very American story here (watch, runtime: 1:10).

Egypt in the News

It’s all Tut, all the time this morning after the Antiquities Ministry’s announcement yesterday that studies have concluded there are no hidden chambers in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. A series of tests conducted by a scientific team from the Polytechnic University of Turin “concluded, with a very high degree of confidence,” that there are no voids in the boy king’s burial chamber, according to the ministry. The announcement “brings to a disappointing end an investigation that began three years ago” when Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves announced his theory that Queen Nefertiti’s tomb (which has yet to be found) could be hidden in a secret chamber in Tut’s tomb, National Geographic says.

KSA will get its own Ibrahim Eissa-free version of a Ramadan mosalsal: Producers of the upcoming Ramadan mosalsal “Ard Al Nefaq” have agreed to make a “special version” of the comedy series for Saudi consumption after officials in the kingdom reportedly objected to Ibrahim Eissa’s appearance in the show, Gulf News reports. Eissa, who is an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia, plays a character that is “central” to the show, prompting producer Jamal Al Adly to create another version of the series with another actor filling Eissa’s place.

Other stories worth noting in brief:

  • An Egyptian divorcée has launched a radio program to help other divorced women with legal advice and some old-fashioned talk therapy, Africa News reports.
  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s bid to encourage a new religious discourse are being blocked by Al Azhar, Zvi Bar’el writes for Haaretz.

On Deadline

Investment in agriculture could kickstart real economic growth in Egypt, says Adel El Zanaty. He explains that the 1.5 mn feddans project initiated by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is the seed of a real economy, as it would not only cover local consumption of wheat, but will also leave enough to export. However, the lack of transparency in the implementation of the project could lead to opposite results, further burderning the state budget, he adds.

Worth Watching

The World Food Programme (WFP) is starting to use blockchain in refugee camps to provide food stipends without using physical money, according to the World Economic Forum. The system dramatically cuts down on banking processing costs worth mns of USD and eliminates the need for bank accounts. Instead, aid recipients can go to a grocery store and pay using their “digital identity,” which connects directly to their WFP accounts. These digital identities also go much further than just financing refugees’ food needs. Since official documents such as passports and education certificates are often destroyed during times of conflict, blockchain will act as a virtual documentation system that would allow them to find jobs and otherwise lead more regular lives (watch, runtime: 1:01).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil issued yesterday new guidelines that allow importing plastic and rubber waste , according to a ministry statement. The decision, made in coordination with the Environment Ministry, removes plastic and rubber waste from a list of banned hazardous waste, allowing their import for recycling, provided they come with a certificate from an accredited lab stating active contaminants above the legal limit. Only factories licensed by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) are allowed to import the materials, and only for recycling purposes. Other facilities approved by environmental and industrial authorities can use the imported materials as alternative fuel.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Gov’t purchased 1.8 mn tonnes of local wheat for EGP 6 bn

The government has purchased 1.8 mn tonnes of local wheat from local farmers since the wheat harvest season kicked off last month, paying out EGP 6 bn so far, says Supply Minister Aly El Mosely. The ministry has reached almost half of its target of 4 mn tonnes for this season, El Moselhy added. The government is planning to increase its reliance on imported, rather than locally produced, wheat for subsidized bread production, with plans to import 7 mn tonnes of wheat at an average cost of USD 220 mn per tonne during FY2018-19.

Health + Education

Higher Education Minister discusses Arizona State University opening a campus in Egypt

Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar met on Sunday with Arizona State University’s (ASU) Deputy Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie Lindquist to discuss the possibility of the university opening a campus in the new capital, according to a ministry statement.

Tourism

Sonesta ends management contracts for Sharm hotels due to tourism downturn

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation ended its management contracts for hotels in Sharm El Sheikh, Al Shorouk reports. The decision comes as tourist arrivals to the Red Sea resort town have been declining for the past seven years, and particularly after the downing of a Russian plane in 2015.

Telecoms + ICT

Vodafone Egypt in talks with NTRA to invest in extending fiber optics infrastructure

Vodafone Egypt is in talks with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to allow the company to grow its landline and fiber optics infrastructure, CEO Alexandre Froment said, Al Masry Al Youm reports. State-owned landline monopoly Telecom Egypt is currently carrying out this infrastructure development alone, the newspaper notes.

Automotive + Transportation

EMD bids for Transport Ministry’s tender to maintain 100 locomotives, overhaul 41

US-based diesel-electric locomotives manufacturer EMD is bidding on the Transport Ministry’s tender to maintain 100 locomotives and overhaul another 41, a source from Egypt National Railways (ENR) tells Al Shorouk. ENR has so far managed to raise USD 13 mn out of USD 80 mn needed to purchase spare parts for the locomotives, the source adds. The government had signed a USD 575 mn agreement with General Electric to provide 100 new locomotives, which Egypt is due to start receiving as of 2H2019.

AutoCool Egypt plans to invest EGP 45 mn to manufacture new parts for car ACs

Auto parts manufacturer AutoCool Egypt is planning to invest EGP 45 mn in new production lines for car air conditioning units, Chairman Hamdy Abdel Aziz tells Al Mal. The company will factor in the new domestic components quota set by Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Kabil last month as a precursor to issuing the Automotive Directive, he added.

National Security

South Africa’s Paramount Groups in talks with Egypt’s to expand domestic arms industry

South African defence company Paramount Group is in talks with the Egyptian government to boost the country’s defence manufacturing capabilities and arms exports to Africa, the National reports. The company wants to establish “a modernised defence industrial complex to produce advanced land, air and naval equipment,” says Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz. “Egypt has the potential to become one of our major export hubs to the rest of Africa,” he adds.

On Your Way Out

IFC, Daltex sign MoU to incorporate more women employees in agribusiness: The International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed yesterday an MoU with agribusiness producer Daltex to incorporate and retain more women employees in the latter’s operations, according to an emailed statement (pdf).

From cave paintings to epic poems engraved on ancient tablets, storytelling seems to have been central to human life for thousands of years, David Robson writes for BBC. Studies have shown that the average adult is thought to spend at least 6% of the waking day engrossed in fictional stories. So why do humans need stories this much? According to psychologists and literary theorists, potential benefits to this “fiction addiction” include the idea is that storytelling hones our minds and allows us to imagine different strategies, particularly in social situations.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.62 | Sell 17.72
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.61 | Sell 17.71
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.57 | Sell 17.67

EGX30 (Sunday): 17,611 (-1.2%)
Turnover: EGP 938 mn (18% BELOW the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +17.3%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session down 1.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 2.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were GB Auto up 7.0%, AMOC up 2.2%, and Pioneers Holding up 2.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Emaar Misr down 3.5%, Global Telecom down 3.3%, and Qalaa Holdings down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 938 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +0.9 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +7.1 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -8.0 mn

Retail: 73.0% of total trades | 75.9% of buyers | 70.1% of sellers
Institutions: 27.0% of total trades | 24.1% of buyers | 29.9% of sellers

Foreign: 10.3% of total | 10.4% of buyers | 10.3% of sellers
Regional: 10.3% of total | 10.7% of buyers | 9.9% of sellers
Domestic: 79.4% of total | 79.0% of buyers | 79.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 69.78 (+0.09%)
Brent: USD 74.97 (+0.13%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.72 MMBtu, (+0.22%, June 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,315.60 / troy ounce (+0.07%)

TASI: 8,113.87 (+0.08%) (YTD: +12.28%)
ADX: 4,560.38 (+0.08%) (YTD: +3.68%)
DFM: 2,972.41 (+0.83%) (YTD: -11.80%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,784.06 (-0.16%)
QE: 8,908.03 (+1.16%) (YTD: +4.51%)
MSM: 4,718.48 (-0.15%) (YTD: -7.47%)
BB: 1,275.79 (+0.97%) (YTD: -4.20%)

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Calendar

07 May (Monday): American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) will be holding its fifth annual HR Day at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Plaza Ballroom.

08 May (Tuesday): The Egyptian embassy in London will be hosting a “Made in Egypt” gala exhibit event.

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.

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