Wednesday, 30 May 2018

UK pledges USD 1.6 bn for Carbon Holdings, but no word on Sharm flights

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

UK Investment Minister Graham Stuart is in town today for the second day of meetings with stump for opportunities in financial services, tech and education. We had an exclusive sit-down with Stuart yesterday, during which he told us the UK is committing c. USD 1.6 bn in financing to a more than USD 10 bn petrochemical complex being developed by Basil El Baz’s Carbon Holdings. We have chapter and verse on the financing for Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation and other announcements in today’s speed round.

In our chat yesterday, Stuart stressed the UK’s interest in boosting economic ties as Egypt grows into a regional economic power. The minister is meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sahar Nasr, as well as Trade Minister Tarek Kabil and Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar and held talks yesterday with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla.

Is it is just us, or do people seem to _need_ to worry right now? While the Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse continues to simmer in the background, the global financial community has something else to worry about this morning, the pundits tell us: The prospect of a political and financial meltdown in Europe, our largest trade partner, thanks to political turbulence in Italy.

Italian politics sparked a global equities selloff yesterday that is the lead story in every international business publication we track this morning. Asian shares extended the rout today, Reuters notes.

So, what happened in Italy yesterday? A political crisis over who forms the next government “spooked international markets on Tuesday,” the Financial Times reports, “after its central bank chief warned that Rome was on the cusp of losing investors’ hard-won trust, sending European and US bank shares lower as traders gauged which lenders could weather a new eurozone storm.”

Bank shares in Italy, the US and the UK really took it on the chin. Citi, JPMorgan, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley were all down 4% or more yesterday. Investors flocked to the greenback, the yen and US treasuries, where the 10-year yield declined 15 bps to 2.78%.

Where does it go from here? CNBC quotes analysts who it says think Italy could be “the next Greece — only much worse,” with one noting that “Italy’s economy is 10 times larger than that of Greece.” The best (and most balanced) explainer we’ve read so far is Patti Domm’s Market Insider piece for CNBC. The hand-wringing suggests we are looking at consequences as far reaching as Italy dumping the euro, another Greece-style crisis or even Brexit, Mark II. It’s the apocalypse — run.

Where did this Italian political crisis come from, anyway? The country’s president, Sergio Mattarella, decided on Sunday to block the formation of a eurosceptic government, the WSJ said, reviving “longstanding worries about the broader stability of the eurozone” amid the specter of a “fresh round of elections that could strengthen the hand of antieuro forces.” It all has George Soros worrying about “another major financial crisis,” the FT and Bloomberg add.

Do we all have financial PTSD? Much of the global financial press (and a certain type of investor) really seem to need, deep in their bones, for there to be another global financial crisis. It feels a bit like those of us who had trouble re-adapting to a 9am-5pm work day, five days a week, after years post-2011 that were punctuated nearly every week by, “Oh no, ‘X’ road is closed because of protests ahead of the Latest Friday of Idiocy, let’s send the staff home.”

Abraaj has lost two more senior executives, the Wall Street Journal reports, saying that the CFO and COO of the embattled outfit’s private equity unit have followed out the door our friend Mustafa Abdel Wadood (former managing partner) and the firm’s head of impact investing. Now-former COO Matthew McGuire reportedly said in an email to staff that he was stepping down because of “recent developments” after just three months in his role. The Dubai-based emerging markets private equity firm has been under fire since high-profile investors forced an audit of how funds in a USD 1 bn healthcare fund were used. (The fund in question is not the one through which Abraaj invested in Egyptian healthcare opportunities.)

Okay, is there an antidote to all the negativity out there? Not so much this morning. People, globally, are in a reasonably grumpy mood. That said, we can offer you this:

Cairo is the cheapest big city in the UBS Global Cities Ranking 2018. The study, which ranks cities by purchasing power and earnings, saw Cairo fall to the bottom of the 77 cities named in the report. Just to give you a sense as to how cheap we are, a haircut (one of the 128 goods and services measured) in Cairo costs on average USD 7.50, while in Zurich (which topped the list) a standard haircut for women costs USD 94.30. To get the perspective on the earnings side, Egyptian bus drivers make USD 860 per annum, while those lucky enough to drive in Luxembourg make USD 99,241 a year. You can checkout the list and run your own price analysis at the UBS microsite when it comes back online, as it was down as of dispatch.

Sleeping in on the weekend could save your life. Don’t get enough sleep on weekdays? You have 65% higher mortality rate than your peers if you get five hours’ sleep a night or less. Scary, right? But there may be a remedy: Researchers have found that people who sleep too little during the week had no increase in mortality risk as long as they slept longer on weekends, the Guardian reports.

Global green banking principles to go live in November? Our friends at CIB were one of 26 global financial institutions that helped draft new global banking principles that “align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.” The UN Environmental Programme Finance Initiative will look to drive change worldwide by capitalizing on “the influence banks have on other industries.” The green banking principles will launch in November at a global event in France, CIB notes in a statement.

Your Ramadan rundown for today:

Bank hours run 09:30 am to 01:30 pm for customers and from 09:00 am to 02:00 pm for employees, CBE announced.

The EGX is running shorter trading hours. The trading session kicks off at 10:00 am, but closes at 1:30 pm. Tap or click here for the full schedule.

We’re looking at reasonably good weather for the rest of the week, with the mercury set to hover between 32°C and 34°C all the way through Friday. A spell of warmer weather is on the horizon starting Saturday, according to the long-range forecast on our favorite weather app.

So, when do we eat? For those of us observing, Maghrib is at 6:50 pm CLT today. You’ll have until 3:11 am tomorrow to finish your sohour.

What We’re Tracking This Week

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be sworn in for his second presidential term on Saturday, 2 June, at the House of Representatives, Ahram Gate reports.

Afreximbank is hosting a conference on deepening Egypt-Africa Trade tomorrow. The event is a precursor to the Afreximbank-backed Intra-African Trade Fair, set to run in Cairo from 11-18 December. To attend Thursday’s conference, check the event’s Facebook page here.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The talking heads are still on hiatus. Is it too early to admit we kinda miss them?

Speed Round

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EXCLUSIVE- The UK will be providing Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation with “an unprecedented” USD 1.6 bn financing package through UK Export Finance, the country’s export credit agency, UK Minister of Investment Graham Stuart told us in an interview in Cairo yesterday.

TPC could help double Egypt’s total exports, catalyze industrial growth: “We are excited about Egypt developing its downstream capabilities and supportive of the aspiration that the plant could help double total Egyptian exports,” he said, adding that the project will not only create jobs, but could also serve as a “catalyst for the development of more manufacturing and other labor intensive activities.” The UK government is in the “closing stages” for the financing, he also said. Carbon Holdings had said last month it was planning to reach financial close on the nearly USD 11 bn project by year’s end. The outfit is covering 26% of the plant’s cost with equity commitments, with the remainder of the finding package taking the form of loans backed by development finance institutions from countries including the UK, United States and Germany, the company said at the time.

Show of confidence in Egypt: The financing package for TPC is a “show of confidence” in Egypt and its reform program from its “top foreign direct investor,” Stuart said, adding that UK investments round off to 41% of Egypt’s total FDI inflows.

UK investors see opportunity across a wide range of sectors in Egypt, including tech and education, which hold a lot of untapped potential,the minister said.

Prosthetics maker Blatchford is planning to establish a major “state-of-the-art microprocessor limb manufacturing plant” in Egypt that is expected to “help develop that kind of technological capacity in the country.”

Investing in K-12, post-secondary education: Education and the development of human capital also offer opportunities, he added, pointing to a 2017 agreement between the government and personal learning platform Kortext to ensure the availability of Education Ministry-issued textbooks to school students. The British government is also trying to support the establishment of British university campuses in Egypt, with Liverpool University already in advanced talks to open a local branch.

On oil and gas, a traditional strength for the UK in Egypt, companies including Shell and BP are already well established in the local market, Stuart said. The minister met with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. El Molla directed UK investors to new tenders out for oil and gas exploration and plans underway to turn Egypt into a hub for natural gas exports, particularly to Europe.

“Double-down” on reforms: The British government is looking to “explore ways that we can support the government’s reform program,” which has already delivered results such as lower inflation and unemployment rates, Stuart also told us. “We want to be partners in helping them strengthen that.” The UK, through the London Stock Exchange, has already helped Egypt raise USD 11 bn in sovereign bonds and is ready to help private sector companies looking to join the financial market. “It’s a constant battle to work to get your fundamentals right and the government’s made great progress over the last two years,” he said. “Our recommendation would be to double-down on that and say that you got to keep working to improve the ease of doing business and to give investors confidence and create the best possible environment to attract and retain investors.”

Does that mean flights to Sharm will be back soon? Don’t get ahead of yourself, Bubba. Talks on that front are ongoing, Stuart said: “We’re pointing out that we have 47 flights a week from the UK to Egypt as we stand,” including trips to Marsa Alam, Luxor, and Hurghada, he said, noting that UK tourist arrivals to Egypt nearly doubled last year, “and we’re expecting the same again to happen this year.”

Post-Brexit trade relations are also secure, the minister said. The UK government is working hard to ensure that its exit from the European Union will not impact its freetrade agreements with all its trade partners, Egypt included. While both governments are keen on the continuity of trade ties, talks over new bilateral agreements will have to wait until the UK is both out of the EU and the implementation period that will follow, he told us.

Is gov’t hinting fuel prices could rise more than previously expected? The Ismail Cabinet has reportedly been importing fuel at a price of USD 75/bbl, according to documents, which state-owned Ahram Online claims to have obtained. As a result, the government is expected to pay EGP 103.8 bn for fuel imports. Vice Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait had told Enterprise that the Cabinet will be deciding in the coming few days whether to raise the overdraft on the FY2017-18 on account of higher oil prices, which the government assumed would average EGP 55/bbl. Oil prices have been trading at levels not seen since 2014, with Brent crude prices breaching the USD 80/bbl mark.

If the document is genuine, the Ismail government may be prompted to raise fuel prices at a steeper rate than it would like if it is going to meet the targeted budget deficit of 8.4% of GDP. While it has not said how much the hikes will be, the government did announce that it was planning on cutting fuel subsidies 19.1% to EGP 89.08 bn in the FY2018-19 budget. That plan, however, assumes an oil price of USD 67/bbl. We noted last week that analysts, including from Capital Economists, see fuel prices rise 60% next fiscal year.

Rosneft looking to get in on deregulated natural gas market by selling gas to industrial customers: Russia’s Rosneft signed an MoU with Dubai-based Fleet Energy earlier last week to potentially import and sell gas in Egypt to industrial consumers, the company said in a press release. The agreement will see both parties “explore the possibilities of establishing a joint venture in order to develop a supply chain for further gas supplies to industrial consumers in Egypt.” Fleet Energy was notably one of the three energy companies which reportedly received preliminary approvals from EGAS for a license to import gas (the other two being BB Energy, and Qalaa Holding’s TAQA Arabia) back in August 2017. The final sign-off had reportedly been awaiting the Natural Gas Act, which deregulates the market, to be implemented.

Pharos helps SICO land financing from Banque Misr for New Assiut smartphone plant: Our friends at Pharos Holdings announced yesterday (pdf) that they successfully closed out their mandate to help Egyptian Silicon Industries Company (SICO) obtain a facility from Banque Misr to finance the Egyptian smartphone maker’s new 4,500 sqm phone and tablet device factory in the New Assiut tech park. Pharos acted as the exclusive financial advisor for SICO, whose flagship device, the Nile X, became the first locally-made smartphone to hit the market back in February. The transaction, the size of which was undisclosed, “enabled the company to secure the required financing for its production lines and raw materials,” Pharos’ head of investment banking, Noha El Ghazaly, said. SICO Chairman Mohamed Salem had said earlier this month that the company was beginning to export the Nile X to the UAE and had plans to expand into other Arab and African markets.

Corruption watchdog arrests Food Industries Holding Company head, Supply Ministry officials in graft probe: The Administrative Control Authority (ACA) arrested yesterday the chairman of the state-owned Food Industries Holding Company and three Supply Ministry officials on charges of corruption and graft, MENA reported, according to Reuters. The four are accused of taking bribes of some EGP 2 mn from unnamed commodities trading firms in exchange for “facilitating ‘purchase orders’ and ‘payment of dues,’” the newswire says. “The arrests are the latest shake-up in the market, which has faced supply disruptions, trader boycotts and allegations of smuggling and fraud in the past few years,” Salma El Wardany writes for Bloomberg.

FRA to compile a “naughty list” of companies in Egypt’s capital market: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) is looking into compiling a database of companies that have violated capital market regulations and making it available to investors and brokerage firms, FRA Vice Chairman Khaled El Nashar tells Youm7. The database would give insight into companies’ histories by listing the number of violations committed and warnings received, according to El Nashar. FRA is set to meet with the Egyptian Credit Bureau (iScore) soon to look into the logistics and details of the database, which will likely be ready to launch by 3Q2018, El Nashar said.

CLARIFICATION- EFG, GEMS acquire four schools in EGP 1 bn transaction from TMG: EFG Hermes and GEMS Education’s joint K-12 education platform in Egypt acquired four schools in Madinaty and Al Rehab from the Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) for EGP 1 bn. The schools, two of which run the British system and two of which follow the national curriculum, are already up and running, with around 5,000 students already enrolled, and will be managed and operated entirely by GEMS. We had incorrectly implied in our coverage yesterday that the schools were still under development. The story has been updated on our website.

TMG tells us that the company has already received the proceeds from the transaction, adding that it “falls in line with the company’s strategy to optimise management of non-core and non-residential assets … this will be achieved by bringing seasoned operators like GEMS Education onboard and entrust them with operatorships and management of assets, which fall beyond the scope of TMG Holding’s core competencies.” TMG has also issued a release on the acquisition (pdf).

The transaction is EFG’s first investment in the Egyptian educational sector. “We will capitalize on the top-tier facilities developed by TMG in the four schools alongside our exclusive partnership with GEMS Education to offer the residents of Madinaty and Al Rehab a world-class educational service,” EFG Hermes Asset Management and Private Equity boss Kareem Moussa said in a joint release yesterday (pdf). EFG and GEMS had announced last week that they were forming a 50/50 JV to invest in education in Egypt. The JV could invest as much as USD 300 mn in Egyptian education opportunities over the next five years, Moussa told the National, a UAE daily, last week.

In other company news, Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) is planning to break ground on its new USD 350 mn Four Seasons hotel in Madinaty in the coming days, CEO Hisham Talaat Moustafa told the press on Monday, according to Al Mal. Moustafa also said TMG would complete the expansion of its USD 380 mn Four Seasons hotel in Sharm El Sheikh in 2H2019.

Cotton Textiles Holding Co, NIB ink EGP 8.7 bn debt settlement agreement: The Cotton & Textiles Industries Holding Company signed yesterday an agreement to settle EGP 8.7 bn in debt owed to the state National Investment Bank (NIB), Ahram Gate reports. The company’s debt to NIB had peaked at EGP 10.5 bn, Public Enterprises Minister Khaled Badawy told reporters following the signing of the agreement. Part of the settled debt will be repaid in kind, Badawy said without providing further details, according to Al Shorouk. Company CEO Ahmed Moustafa had told us that the agreement could be a prelude to an asset sale to the private sector, and that the company will also shed some assets to pay off EGP 2 bn in late electricity and gas bills owed to the government.

NAT wants another EUR 500 mn for Cairo Metro’s Line 3: The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is reportedly in talks with international lenders for EUR 500 mn in fresh financing for the final stretch of the Cairo Metro’s third line, an unnamed official tells Al Mal. The French Development Agency (AFD), which is already providing the project with some EUR 300 mn in loans, is at the top of the list, according to the source. The line will connect Heliopolis to Cairo International Airport. The European Investment Bank is lending Egypt around EUR 600 mn for Line 3, where Orascom Construction and a JV comprised of VINCI, Bouygues, and Arab Contractors broke ground on last week. We’ve been hearing that Transport Minister Hisham Arafat has been meeting with the AFD over the last several months to discuss additional funding for the Cairo Metro and Alex tramway.

House eyes complicated tax formula for Uber, Careem? The House of Representatives’ Transportation Committee is proposing that the state scrap the idea of a standard base tax for ride-hailing company drivers, such as Uber and Careem, and implement instead a variable tax based on the number of days and hours worked, Rep. Abdallah Zein tells Al Mal. Consider this smoke, not fire: The jumbled story speaks of taxing the companies, but describes a tax system that could only apply to drivers. We’re flagging this as “watch this space” and not as the definitive word on how the House feels the ride-sharing companies or its drivers should be taxed. The Tax Authority had said last week that it was looking into how best to impose the value-added tax (VAT) on ride-hailing companies once they official register their businesses under the Ride-hailing Apps Act.

Five companies win tender for phase one development of 200 PPP schools: The Education Ministry has chosen five companies to develop the first of 200 schools under a public-private partnership framework and has sent the list of winning companies to the Ismail Cabinet for approval, according to Education Ministry advisor Sherine Matar says. Matar did not name names, but government sources had said earlier this month that El Gazeera, the Middle East Education Services Group, and CIRA were among seven shortlisted bidders. Work on developing the 21 schools is expected to begin as soon as Cabinet signs off on the result of the tender; the schools should open their doors to students by next year, according to Matar. The government is also gearing up to issue tenders for the second phase of the PPP schools program.

The education ministry is pushing ahead with plans to do away with the public education system currently in place by 2026, minister Tarek Shawki said at AmCham’s annual general meeting and iftar yesterday, according to Youm7. The ministry will push ahead with its plans for a major overhaul of primary and middle school education despite public resistance to the new system, which will be implemented gradually as of the 2018-19 academic year. Shawki also said the ministry is planning on installing high-speed WiFi in all schools across the country by August, Al Mal reports.

Teachers’ salaries are the biggest drain on the Education Ministry’s budget, says Shawki: Paying teachers’ salaries and covering the costs of printing textbooks and providing school meals leave the Education Ministry with virtually no money to finance the improvement of the education system, Al Masry Al Youm reports the minister as having said. According to Shawki, salaries and bonuses handed out to teachers alone account for EGP 68 bn of the ministry’s total EGP 80 bn budget, while the remaining EGP 12 bn are split among other annual expenses such as school meals and building new schools. Shawki said he does not expect the Finance Ministry to loosen its purse strings for education spending. Parliament’s Education Committee has recommended earmarking an additional EGP 60 bn to spending on education in the FY2018-19 state budget, as we noted last week.

Separately, Shawki announced that the government’s new Japanese-style schools will begin accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year in mid-June, according to Al Shorouk.

Four Egyptian universities make it to world’s top 1,000 list: Cairo University, Ain Shams University, Mansoura University, and Alexandria University were the only Egyptian universities to make the cut for the list of the world’s top 1,000 universities this year, according to the Center for World University Rankings. Cairo University received the top ranking for Egypt at 452, followed by Ain Shams at 715. The ranking is based on an assessment of the institution’s quality of education, alumni employment, research output, and citations, without relying on surveys and university data submissions.

Egypt’s favorite footballer Mohamed Salah will stay in Spain to receive treatment for his shoulder injury from which he (and 100 mn others) hopes to recover in time for Egypt’s first World Cup match in two weeks’ time, according to the Egyptian Football Association (EFA). The Liverpool striker will go through an intensive rehabilitation program after he sustained an injury at the hands of Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final on Saturday. Egypt’s national team doctor had said he was “optimistic” Salah would bounce back in time for the championship in Moscow.

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Image of the Day

Sufi Dervishes performing the Egyptian folkloric Tanoura dance are a centerpiece in one of the BBC’s latest photo series. Dancing at Cairo’s El Ghuri Culture Palace, the dervishes are captured in their essence, swirling to music and chanting.

Egypt in the News

Affordably priced meds and a politically committed government has allowed Egypt to treat Hepatitis C patients “at an unprecedented pace,” Ted Alcorn writes for the Atlantic. Pharmaceuticals manufacturers were willing to make the treatment available at affordable prices once they recognized that the country would not be able to afford the initially high price at which they were being sold. “In poorer countries like Egypt, pharmaceutical companies have been more willing to offer drugs at or near the cost of manufacturing, to reflect the countries’ ability to pay.” Egypt’s ability to drive down the meds’ retail price, coupled with its aggressive screening and treatment disbursal campaigns, has set an example for countries working towards Hepatitis C elimination, Alcorn says. “Egypt has shown that dramatic improvements in public health are possible when drugs are priced affordably — and a government makes an effort to systematically deploy them.”

Other stories that caught our eye in an otherwise slow news day for Egypt in the international press:

  • Squash power duo of Mohamed El Shorbagy and Nour El Sherbini sat down for an interview with Gulf News.
  • The cartoon character Bakkar is helping bridge the gap between what it means to be Nubian and what it means to be Egyptian, writes Marlies Van Coillie for Thomson Reuters’ My Salaam.
  • Egypt is working to mediate a ceasefire in the latest flare up between Israel and Gaza by urging Hamas to halt military attacks on Israel, the Times of Israel reports.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Sudan, Egypt see eye-to-eye on GERD (until the next minor gaffe sends them backwards): Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his Sudanese counterpart Al Dridiri Al Dhikheri in Cairo yesterday to discuss the latest developments related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to a ministry statement. Egypt and Sudan share similar viewpoints on the GERD issue, Shoukry told reporters after the closed-door meeting, according to Al Shorouk. Al Dhikheri also said that Khartoum is committed to overcoming the remaining sticking points over the dam, Ahram Gate reports. The statements come after Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reached a breakthrough in negotiations over the dam during a meeting in Addis Ababa earlier this month, after months of souring ties.

Shoukry and Al Dhikheri also discussed Sudan’s blanket ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products, which the ministers said “needs additional coordination and cooperation” to resolve. Reports had emerged last month that Sudan would lift the ban, which it had imposed back in May 2017, before Ramadan.

Egypt and Sudan’s planned electricity grid interconnection project also came up during the meeting yesterday. We could be signing the contracts for the USD 60-70 mn project in around a week’s time, Egyptian Electricity Holding Company head Gaber El Desouky had told us previously.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir will meet in Khartoum in October to further discuss “pending issues” between the two countries, Al Dhikheri said, Al Shorouk reports. Al Dhikheri had met with El Sisi yesterday before his sit-down with Shoukry, according to Ittihadiya.

Libya’s rival factions agreed yesterday to hold elections by the end of the year, when they met in Paris for talks mediated by a number of countries that included Egypt. The parties signed a declaration that should see them hold parliamentary and presidential elections on 10 December this year, after having set electoral laws and processes in place by 16 September, Reuters reports.

Energy

Electricity Minister, AFD discuss potential funding for renewable energy projects

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker met yesterday with French Development Agency (AFD) Country Director Stephanie Lanfranchi to discuss potential funding packages for renewable energy projects in Egypt, Al Mal reports. The agency is particularly interesting in providing financial and technical support for wind energy projects, Lanfranchi said.

Infrastructure

Samcrete, Toyota, Arab Contractors among those interested in Ras Sudr Airport tender

As many as eight domestic and international companies are reportedly eyeing a tender to develop Ras Sudr Airport and an adjacent touristic resort, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. The list of potential bidders includes the Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Samcrete, as well as Arab Contractors and RW Armstrong & Associates, who are allegedly considering joining forces. The government will begin accepting offers on 2 June and expects to announce the winner a month after that. The government had re-issued its tender for the project back in March with amended stipulations, after failing to drum up investor interest last year.

Housing Minister, China’s CGCOC agree to establish New Alamein industrial zone

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) signed an MoU yesterday with Chinese construction firm CGCOC Group that will see them establish an industrial zone in New Alamein City, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the project, whose investment value was not disclosed, would follow environmentally-friendly standards and rely on renewable energy sources.

Mexico’s CEMEX to supply cement, concrete for Suez Canal construction work

Mexican building materials company CEMEX has been tapped to provide 0.76 mn tonnes of cement, as well as 0.5 mn cbm of concrete, to the tunnels currently being developed under the Suez Canal, World Cement reports, with no reference to costs.

Real Estate + Housing

Stella Di Mare to break ground on Dubai hotel this year

Remco Tourism Villages Construction Company (RTVC) subsidiary Stella Di Mare Hotels & Resorts is planning to break ground on its first hotel outside Egypt in Dubai this year, Zawya reports. The 380-room five-star hotel, being built as a joint venture with a UAE-based tourism investment firm, will be located in the Dubai Marina area. The cost of the project was not revealed.

Tourism

TPA, Luxor governorate sign MoU with Shanghai to promote tourism

The Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) and Luxor governorate signed an MoU yesterday with Shanghai authorities to promote mutual tourism, according to Al Shorouk. Under the terms of the agreement, a promotional video on Luxor will screen 10 times each day on television sets and iconic skyscrapers in Shanghai’s Huangpu and Bund districts.

Telecoms + ICT

ICT Ministry signs MoU with Schneider Electric to design, construct new capital’s knowledge city

The ICT Ministry signed an MoU with Schneider Electric that will see them collaborate on the design and construction of smart cities and tech zones around the new administrative capital, according to a ministry statement. The so-called “knowledge city” is set to be built on 301 feddans, with initial investments valued at EGP 6 bn. We had earlier noted that Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Schneider’s Regional Head of North East Africa and Levant met to discuss possible collaborations in landing new contracts in Egypt.

Other Business News of Note

Gov’t to allocate another 100k feddans of the 1.5 mn feddans project for farmers in June

The government is planning to allocate another 100k feddans to individual farmers in late June as part of the 1.5 mn feddan desert reclamation project, Al Shorouk reports. The land plots will be located in West Minya, Farafra Oasis, and Maghara. The Egyptian Countryside Development Company announced last month that it was planning to tender 800k feddans this year under the 1.5 mn feddan project, of which 116k feddans were cultivated in FY2017-18, according to a recent CAPMAS release.

On Your Way Out

Egyptians appear to be gaming away their fasting hours. According to a recent study by AdColony EMEA, Egyptians are using their cell phones to play around 20-40 minutes of games everyday, Forbes reports, noting that USD 50 bn mobile gaming industry’s revenues are set to grow 52% by 2022.

Egyptian actress Madiha Yousri passed away yesterday at age 96, Youm7 reports. Yousri, who was born to a Turkish father and a Sudanese mother, is best known for her roles in Wafaa (1954), Inni Rahela (1955), Shahr El Assal (1946), and Al Khataya (1962), as well as the television series Hawanem Garden City.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.87 | Sell 17.97
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.87 | Sell 17.97
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.80 | Sell 17.90

EGX30 (Tuesday): 17,006 (+1.3%)
Turnover: EGP 814 mn (29% BELOW the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +13.2%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 1.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 2.5%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Palm Hills up 2.7%, CIB up 2.5% and TMG Holding up 2.0%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Orascom Telecom Media & Technology down 1.2%, Ezz Steel down 1.1%, and Egyptian Resorts down 0.9%. The market turnover was EGP 814 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +18.2 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +43.5 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -61.7 mn

Retail: 50.4% of total trades | 56.0% of buyers | 44.8% of sellers
Institutions: 49.6% of total trades | 44.0% of buyers | 55.2% of sellers

Foreign: 25.2% of total | 26.3% of buyers | 24.1% of sellers
Regional: 11.0% of total | 13.7% of buyers | 8.4% of sellers
Domestic: 63.8% of total | 60.0% of buyers | 67.6% of sellers

WTI: USD 66.48 (-0.37%)
Brent: USD 74.98 (-0.54%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.90 MMBtu, (-0.10%, July 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,303.80 / troy ounce (-0.2%)

TASI: 7,999.59 (+0.46%) (YTD: +10.70%)
ADX: 4,575.16 (+0.61%) (YTD: +4.02%)
DFM: 2,924.94 (-0.17%) (YTD: -13.21%)
KSE Premier Market: 4,712.14 (+0.43%)
QE: 9,126.40 (+0.01%) (YTD: +7.07%)
MSM: 4,598.13 (+0.15%) (YTD: -9.83%)
BB: 1,262.89 (+0.19%) (YTD: -5.17%)

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Calendar

14 June (Thursday): 2018 World Cup kickoff match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Moscow, Russia.

15 June (Friday): Egypt’s first 2018 World Cup match against Uruguay, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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

19 June (Tuesday): Egypt plays against Russia at 2018 World Cup, St. Petersburg, Russia.

25 June (Monday): Egypt plays against Saudi Arabia at 2018 World Cup, Volgograd, Russia.

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

1 July (Sunday): Application deadline for the DigitalAG4Egypt Challenge.

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): Arqaam Capital MENA Investors Conference 2018, Four Seasons Resorts, Dubai.

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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