Thursday, 30 August 2018

Fall IPO season heats up, tourism recovery accelerating

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

At long last, a shuffle of governors? At least nine new governors will reportedly be sworn in today for Cairo, Giza, Marsa Matrouh, Ismailia, and Aswan, among others sources close to the matter tell Al Masry Al Youm. The list of new governors includes youth, technocrats, as well as former police and military personnel, MP Mostafa Bakry tweeted last night. Sources also told Al Shorouk that six individuals from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s youth program will be appointed as deputy governors. We’re saying “at long last” not because we’re necessarily looking forward to having new faces to cover, but because the shuffle has been rumored and postponed multiple times in recent months.

The talking heads were naturally all over the rumors likes flies on…well, you know…(watch here, runtime: 1:25 and here, runtime: 10:09)

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is set to land in Bahrain today for a meeting with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

IFC agreement today? Investment Minister Sahar Nasr is expected to sign today an unspecified agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Regional Director Mouayed Makhlouf, according to an emailed statement.

Global equities market slip on Canada’s uncertainty over Nafta: Global markets eased yesterday on uncertainty over Canada’s position on a renegotiated North American Freetrade Agreement (Nafta) with the US and Mexico. The MSCI world equity index was down 0.1% yesterday after climbing to a near five-month high, according to Reuters. Markets had rallied earlier in the week after the US and Mexico came to terms about revamping the Nafta — signaling a de-escalation of months of rising trade tensions — and on expectations that Canada would cave by the end of the week. US President Donald Trump said he wanted to slap Ottawa with additional tariffs if it refused the agreement. Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both said late yesterday that an agreement by Friday may be possible./

Emerging markets are bracing for the impact of more problems out of Argentina, where “the International Monetary Fund has agreed to revise the terms of its USD 50 bn Argentina bailout package as the peso suffered its biggest tumble in almost three years, sending the currency to a record low,” the Financial Times reports.

Turkey is adding fuel to the fire: The Turkish lira dropped more than 3% against the USD yesterday, “leading losses across emerging markets,” Reuters says. The drop yesterday was driven by a warning from credit rating agency Moody’s that Ankara’s FX debt was growing as it downgraded 20 Turkish financial institutions, as well as by comments from Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak “saying he did not see a risk to the economy.”

The EGX shrugged off yesterday’s emerging markets slide, with the EGX advancing 1.5% in moderate trading. Nearly EGP 1 bn in shares changed hands, a bit above the trailing 90-day average as folks slowly trickle back to work.

(And speaking of Turkey: The Union of Egyptian Investors Associations renewed calls for the Sisi administration to scrap Cairo’s trade agreement with Ankara, which they claim harms local production and serves only Ankara’s interests, according to a press release picked up by Al Shorouk.)

In other news from across the pond, White House counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his post in the fall, Trump announced on Twitter. The announcement “comes after revelations that [McGahn] co-operated extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election,” according to the FT, which notes that McGahn’s “position in the White House has made him a key witness in Mr. Mueller’s inquiries into whether the president has attempted to obstruct the Russia probe.”

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has been available for a couple of days now in North America. In August. We have reached peak capitalism. Or peak retail. Or something that, when you squint at it the right way, is either completely ridiculous or a sign of the End Times.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a quiet night on the airwaves.

The Administrative Prosecution Authority (APA) proposed that Egypt make a full switch to electronically-operated railway networks. In a report yesterday, the APA said that the installation of train tracking radars, communication networks, and electronic signaling systems should boost safety and enhance the service’s efficiency. The APA’s Saeed Khalil told Masaa DMC that the report focused on identifying the network’s deficiencies and determine if negligence had been a cause in a train derailment in Giza last month (watch, runtime: 3:45).

Ten railway officials have been called in for questioning on charges of “negligence and failure to enforce supervision” related to the incident, Ahram Online reports.

Small business and the economy: German small business expert Christoph Hoffmann appeared on Masaa DMC to chat with host Osama Kamal about the importance of small businesses to the economy. He also talked about Egyptian-German relations, noting that both countries are working together on projects in fields such as education (watch, runtime: 17: 29).

Want to make someone happy? Build them a ministry: Egypt should consider establishing a ministry dedicated solely to African affairs as a way of demonstrating its commitment to the continent, State Information Services Africa expert Ramadan Oweiss suggested to Al Hayah fi Misr’s Kamal Mady. He said the move would put an end to accusations that Egypt has long neglected its African neighbors (watch, runtime: 26:00).

The Armed Forces anti-terror operations in North Sinai were the topic of discussion on Al Hayah fi Misr (watch, runtime: 6:21) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:00).

Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf Sultan also phoned into Al Hayah fi Misr to discuss the results of the ministers’ weekly meeting yesterday (watch, runtime: 6:20), which we have chapter and verse on in the Speed Round, below.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of Lamees Al Hadidi’s return to the screen on Saturday, Hona Al Asema replayed parts of previous episodes (watch, runtime: 00:30).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IPO WATCH- Rameda hires Baker Tilly-Wahid Abdel Ghaffar for fair value report ahead of IPO: Pharma manufacturer Rameda has tapped Baker Tilly International’s Cairo partner, Wahid Abdel Ghaffar & Co, to conduct a fair value study on Rameda shares ahead of a planned IPO, sources close to the matter said. The report is expected to be complete within two weeks, at which time Rameda will formally submit its listing documents to the Financial Regulatory Authority for approval. Sources had previously told Enterprise that the EGP 1.9-2.3 bn transaction will include both primary and secondary sales that will see 35-45% of the company in freefloat. The transaction will include both a domestic retail offering and an international institutional offering.

Advisers: CI Capital will be joint global coordinator and sole bookrunner, while Compass Capital will be joint global coordinator and lead manager. Zaki Hashem has been tapped to serve as counsel to the underwriters. Norton Rose Fulbright will be international counsel to the issuer, with Matouk Bassiouny as local counsel to the issuer. E&Y is Rameda’s auditor.

IPO WATCH- Hassan Allam eyeing October IPO Hassan Allam Holding’s planned IPO could go ahead as early as October and may include a global depository receipt program, the domestic press suggested yesterday, citing unnamed sources. The timeline for the transaction is contingent on approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority, which the sources said should come through in around two weeks’ time. Hassan Allam has yet to decide on the size of the offering. A senior company executive had previously told Enterprise that the transaction would include both existing shareholders offering equity for sale as well as the issuance of new shares in a capital increase.

Advisers: The company has tapped EFG Hermes and Renaissance Capital as joint global coordinators and bookrunners, and Arqaam Capital as bookrunner. Grant Thornton has been hired as independent financial adviser. White & Case is acting as international counsel and Matouk Bassiouny has been appointed local counsel to the issuer.

IPO WATCH- The state-owned Banque du Caire (BdC) is still on track to float up to 30% of its shares in an initial public offering in early 2019, a senior bank official told Enterprise yesterday. Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer had said in April to expect BdC’s IPO in late 2018 or early 2019 as part of the state’s privatization program, which is expected to kick off this fall with the sale of additional stakes from state-owned companies including Eastern Tobacco, Alexandria Minerals and Oils Company, and Abu Qir Fertilizers, among others. The IPO is part of BdC’s plan to raise EGP 10 bn from the sale of its stake in a number of companies.

Industry association lobbying to slash withholding tax on dividends: The Egyptian Capital Markets Association (ECMA) is lobbying the EGX and Finance Ministry to cut withholding tax on dividends by up to 50%, ECMA head Mohamed Maher tells Al Mal. As matters stand today, dividends paid by listed and privately held companies alike are subject to a 10% withholding tax that falls to 5% if the shareholder owns more than 25% of the company and has held its shares for at least two years (the good people at PricewaterhouseCoopers have more here and here and here). Maher is arguing that cutting the tax in half will make listings on the EGX more attractive.

Background: The Mehleb government had imposed the dividends tax back in 2014, and had been mulling a capital gains tax on stock market transactions. Under pressure from retail investors, the capital gains tax was scrapped, but the government decided to keep the dividends tax in place.

The recovery in tourism is accelerating: Tourism revenues increased 77% y-o-y to around USD 4.8 bn during 1H2018 from USD 2.71 bn in 1H2017, an unnamed government official told Reuters. Tourist arrivals for 1H2018 grew 41% to 5 mn visitors, compared to 3.5 mn visitors during the same period last year. The sector is expected to reach a target revenue of USD 9 bn by the end of 2018 with an increased traffic incoming from western Europe, Italy, Germany and Ukraine, the official said. The tourism industry is set to continue its rebound from the dog days post-2011, with recent forecasts by Colliers International expecting occupancy rates in Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada, and Sharm El Sheikh to average at 73% in 3Q2018, compared to 61% in 3Q2017.

Egypt is considering making travel insurance mandatory for all incoming visitors, Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) Deputy Head Reda Abdel Moaty said, according to International Travel and Health Insurance Journal. The FRA will reportedly launch a global tender to select an insurance provider once it completes a study that will be used to determine the value of premiums and collection methods,” which should be complete around mid-September. The winning company will be expected to provide tourists with coverage that extends to personal accidents, disability, death, as well as medical expenses. This comes days after the death of British couple John and Susan Cooper while on holiday in Hurghada last week.

Thomas Cook boss Peter Fankhauser arrived in Cairo yesterday to look further into the the case and is set to meet with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to discuss the ongoing investigation, BBC reports. The executive is also hoping company investigators will be granted access to the room in which the couple had been staying. Earlier reports had suggested that a gas leak might have been responsible, but Egyptian investigators had ruled that out and are testing food, water, and air conditioning systems at the hotel. Around 13 other holidaymakers had complained to Thomas Cook about being served “raw meat and drinks from unwashed glasses” at the same Hurghada hotel, the Steigenberger Aqua Magic — in other words, standard tourist complaints that shed absolutely no light on how an apparently otherwise healthy couple could have died.

A UK court had ordered Thomas Cook to pay a GBP 26,000 compensation to a British family that also fell ill at the same hotel, the Guardian says. “Five other customers have lodged legal claims against Thomas Cook for illnesses allegedly caused by stays at the hotel this year.” The operator has reportedly said that the number is “low for a hotel of its size.”

The story is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press and is being widely picked up by British media.

Hotels to pay real estate taxes based on their investment value? The ministries of finance and tourism reached an agreement yesterday on the assessment of real estate taxes for hotels, Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat told the press yesterday. Under the agreement, taxes for hotels will be calculated based on the project’s nominal investment value as determined by a property’s government-assigned star rating, according to Al Mashat. The minister explained that the Tourism Development Authority sets a standard investment value of EGP 50,000 for a single one-star hotel room. The move means to bring regulations in line with the 2008 real estate tax law, which stipulates that guidelines be set for the tax treatment of industrial properties in fields including tourism and oil and gas.

Background: The Finance Ministry is working on a new real estate tax formula as part of a larger overhaul that will affect both businesses and private landholdings, sources had told us in June. This new formula would set “clear and simplified” guidelines for the tax assessment of industrial properties, hotels, ports and airports. We had also learned that the ministry was also developing new provisions for taxing properties in the oil and gas industry. The move has been met with a backlash.

Tourism development strategy in the works: On a related note, the Tourism Ministry is expected to announce in October the details of a comprehensive plan to revamp and develop the sector, Al Mashat said, Youm7 reports.

EARNINGS WATCH- Orascom Construction (OC) reported net income attributable to shareholders in 2Q2018 (pdf) of USD 50.6 mn, up 113.5% y-o-y from USD 23.7 mn in the comparable period last year. Revenues came in 20.8% lower y-o-y at USD 750.1 mn compared to USD 947.2 mn in 2Q2017, which is “mainly attributable to the completion of two large chemical plants in the U.S.” The company’s consolidated backlog as of 30 June 2018 stood at USD 4.2 bn, with new awards standing at USD 997.9 mn. Infrastructure and commercial work made up the bulk of the backlog, accounting for 96% of the total. In Egypt, “the Group remains a key player across several segments including transportation, the New Administrative Capital and Alamein city, and is benefitting from its strong positioning in other growing sectors such as water treatment and desalination.” OC paid a USD 30 mn dividend to shareholders in July, CEO Osama Bishai noted.

OC-built Natgasoline passes key checkpoint: Natgasoline, the largest methanol production facility in the US, received provisional acceptance after passing licensor performance tests, Orascom Construction announced yesterday (pdf). OC had completed mechanical works at the facility, located in Beaumont, Texas, in April. The main contractor for the project was Orascom Engineering & Construction USA.

CABINET WATCH- Cabinet approves contracts with Russia’s Transmashholding, sets up unified rights committee: The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday the Egyptian National Railways’ agreement with Russia’s Transmashholding to supply 1,300 railway cars, according to an official statement. Egypt will pay around EGP 17 bn for the cars, with delivery expected to take place in six months to a year.

The ministers also approved establishing the Supreme Committee for Human Rights, which will be mandated with managing Egypt’s responses to all “allegations” made about our human rights record. The committee will also be in charge of studying issues pertaining to human rights in Egypt and suggesting ways to address the problems it identifies. It will also be required to issue periodical reports on the matter. The committee falls under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry.

Also given the greenlight yesterday:

  • The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company’s request to sign the contracts for the USD 4.4 bn Hamrawein coal plant next month;
  • A decree from the prime minister mandating the Housing Ministry with preparing a development strategy for the Sinai Peninsula;
  • Raising the minimum annual budget for the Supreme Council of Antiquities to EGP 20 mn, up from EGP 10 mn;
  • Direct order agreements with food companies that have met quality requirements to produce government-issued school meals.

MOVES- Wael Abou El Ela was named yesterday as Careem Egypt’s new general manager, Youm7 reports. Abou El Ela was most recently the chief marketing officer at Etisalat Misr.

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Up Next

El Sisi to hold meeting on GERD in China this Saturday? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is reportedly scheduled to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing this coming Saturday.

Contracts for the USD 4.4 bn Hamrawein coal-fired power plant to be inked while the president is in Beijing: The EEHC received cabinet approval yesterday to sign the contracts for the 6 GW facility, which is being built by a consortium that includes Shanghai Electric, Dong Fang and Hassan Allam.

Egypt is planning to invite China to invest in the construction of ten textile industrial zones in Upper Egypt, a member of the Egyptian-Chinese Business Council tells the domestic press. The first of the zones would apparently be in Minya.

The China-Africa summit runs 3-4 September. You can check out the website for the gathering or dive deeper into how China’s propaganda machine builds up its relationship with Africa.

Busy fall season for diplomacy: The China trip is the first big meeting of El Sisi in what looks set to be a busy fall on the diplomatic front, with both French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian PM Narendra Modi so far confirmed as due in town before year’s end. The president is also due to meet Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in October.

Government to receive report on shorter work weeks before the end of September: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly expects to receive in three weeks’ time a study from the Central Authority For Organization & Administration (CAOA) on the impact of shortening civil servants’ work week to four days, CAOA boss Saleh El Sheikh said yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reports. We had heard that CAOA was studying several proposals, including one that would see civil servants work longer hours in exchange for a shorter week.

Orange Egypt shareholders will vote on 25 September to delist the company’s shares from the EGX. Orange’s board of directors approved on Monday a decision to delist the company’s shares from the EGX as the company no longer meets listing requirements.

Image of the Day

An asteroid greater than the Great Pyramids of Giza zipped past Earth yesterday, according to Canada’s CTV News. Named 2016 NF23, the massive lump of rock was labelled “potentially hazardous” by NASA for having an estimated diameter of 160m, nearly 20m larger than Khufu.

Egypt in the News

The death of two UK tourists in a Hurghada hotel nearly a week ago continues to be the top story on Egypt in the international press, particularly in Britain. The Guardian is noting that tour operator Thomas Cook has previously been forced to pay GBP 26k to tourists who fell ill in the past at the same property, while the tabloids are blaring that an ambulance chaser is handling “16 claims relating to the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel.”

Would-be foreign policy wonk made uncomfortable by Egypt running a multipolar approach to international relations: Egypt has been reaching into China’s “deep pockets” in search of fresh investment part of its “balancing act” between Western and Eastern allies, David Wood writes in a hatchet job for the tabloid Foreign Policy. Recent tensions between Cairo and Washington, particularly under the administration of former US President Barack Obama, pushed Egypt to turn to Russia and China for military and infrastructure investment agreements, respectively. Despite Russia’s significance to Egypt, China is becoming more economically influential because it has the funds that Moscow lacks. “In 2016, Egyptian state figures ranked China as only the country’s 23rd most significant source of foreign direct investment since 1970. This trend has changed abruptly, with Chinese money now fueling a broad range of state-led mega-projects in Egypt.” Wood draws a parallel between these contemporary policies and those under Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s, which capitalized on the US-Soviet rift post-Cold War to further Egypt’s military and economic interests.

Rising sea levels are forcing many people near Alexandria’s lowlands, including El Max canal, out of their homes, the Guardian reports. Some residents of these areas have been suffering frequent flooding, but maintain that Alexandrian authorities have been relocating El Max’s residents into nearby subsidized housing units to clear out the city’s slums and claim the land for reconstruction, using the environmental conditions as an excuse. Climate expert Mohamed El Raey estimates that the government will be forced to move residents of all of Alexandria’s vulnerable areas within the next 10 years.

Other headlines worth noting in brief:

  • Egypt’s culture of failure? Mohamed Salah’s dispute with the EFA gives Egyptians chance to express disappointment over their “culture of failure” that true success can only be achieved abroad, Tamer El-Ghobashy writes in an analysis piece for the Washington Post. The NY Times’ has a similar story saying that Salah is "humbling his own bosses."
  • Home for a spell: Egyptian basketballer Anas Mohamed is returning home to start his professional career with Zamalek after failing to secure an NBA contract while studying in the US, says the Courier Journal.

On Deadline

Egypt is not aiming high enough when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment, Nashwa El Houfi argues in a piece for El Watan. The USD 11 bn FDI target the government has set for this year and even the USD 20 bn target for 2022 is not nearly high enough, according to El Houfi, who compares apples to lug nuts as she notes that the figures pale in comparison to the valuation of a company like Apple at USD 1 tn. She also urges the government to work to understand exactly why Egypt fell short of its FDI target last year in order to tackle each reason one at a time. Brilliant advice, no?

Worth Reading

Extended exposure to air pollution is destroying our cognition, not just our lungs: A study in China has found there is a probable link between long-term exposure to air pollution and impaired language and math skills, according to the New York Times. The researchers cross-referenced pollution levels in 162 Chinese counties with people’s performance on math and word-recognition tests four years apart, and concluded that exposure to a high concentration of pollutants had a particularly significant negative effect on verbal test scores among older, less-educated men. “The new study’s findings ‘imply that the indirect effect on social welfare could be much larger than previously thought,’ the authors wrote. ‘A narrow focus on the negative effect on health may underestimate the total cost of air pollution.’”

Food for thought: The study only zoned in on China, but the article briefly mentions that air pollution in Egypt shaves off around 1.9 years from our average life expectancies. This statistic and the findings of the Chinese study make us wonder how much of an impact air pollution is having on the cognition of everybody living here in Egypt — and particularly those who are unfortunate enough to live next door to a cement plant that spews toxic dust.

Worth Watching

Thailand’s tourism success story has an unlikely cause: The Vietnam War. The US military found the country to be a convenient location to base their personnel, and with over 50,000 soldiers stationed, America began to develop infrastructure and send aid as off-duty soldiers drove the growth of the leisure and entertainment sector, according to Bloomberg. As the soldiers’ demand for leisure increased, so did tourism infrastructure, creating the foundations for the country’s now-booming industry. Tourism revenues in Thailand are forecasted to register USD 63 bn by 2018’s end (watch, runtime: 2:50).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Shoukry meets Sudanese counterparts for talks on GERD, regional issues: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his Sudanese counterpart Al Dridiri Al Dhaheri in Cairo yesterday to discuss political issues of mutual interest, according to a ministry statement. Shoukry briefed Al Dhaheri on the latest developments in Egypt’s negotiations with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and the two also looked into regional issues such as the peace process in South Sudan. Yesterday’s meeting was also meant to lay the groundwork for an upcoming meeting between Egyptian and Sudanese presidents Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Omar Al Bashir in October, according to the statement. The two ministers’ meeting wrapped up a two-day visit by Sudanese officials, which saw discussions on 20 joint projects with Egypt, the Foreign Ministry said.

Sudan to look into lifting agri ban next month: Sudan’s trade and industry ministers have requested to postpone discussions on lifting Khartoum’s blanket ban on imports of Egyptian agricultural products until the Egyptian-Sudanese Trade Committee meets in Sudan next month, an unnamed Trade and Industry Ministry source said, according to Al Mal.

Shoukry says Ethiopia talks on GERD were “positive”: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed this week in Addis Ababa over the grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) had yielded positive results, Al Shorouk reports. The minister did not discuss any details, adding only that Ethiopia showed willingness to take steps that would benefit all the parties involved in the issue. Egypt and Ethiopia had agreed in June on adopting a “joint vision” on GERD’s construction, which would see Ethiopia catering its timeline of filling the dam to Egypt’s needs in exchange for economic cooperation. The two sides also looked into activating a joint investment fund that will be set up alongside Sudan to finance infrastructure projects.

Regeni, energy and trade were on the agenda when President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met Italy’s deputy PM in Cairo yesterday. The reaffirmed Egypt’s commitment to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Di Maio said Italy was hoping for a “breakthrough“ in the investigation.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed with Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas the latest developments in Egypt’s efforts to broker a national reconciliation with rival faction Fatah, during a phone call yesterday, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang met with members of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce in Cairo yesterday to discuss bilateral trade and cooperation, Vietnamese news outlet Saigon reports.

Energy

Electricity Ministry in talks with companies to develop 1800 MW of wind farms

The Electricity Ministry is working out agreements with local and foreign private sector companies to develop wind farms with a combined capacity of 1800 MW, sources told Al Mal. The farms are expected to cost up to EUR 2 bn and will be constructed under a build-own-operate framework (BOO). The projects include a 600 MW plant constructed by Elsewedy Electric under an independent power producer (IPP) framework, two 120 MW plants by Spain’s Gamesa and an unnamed Saudi company, and a 500 MW plant by an unnamed European company. The ministry is also looking at other local and international companies to establish plants with the remaining capacity of 460 MW. The ministry is discussing the details of the power purchase agreements for the projects, according to the sources.

EAEA to complete reviewing Dabaa nuclear plant studies by 1Q2019

The Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) is expected to complete its reviews of the technical studies and environmental impact reports on the Dabaa nuclear power plant by 1Q2019, according to an EAEA source. The EAEA will then review the plant’s site plans before issuing the commercial licenses for the plant. Construction on the USD 30 bn plant should officially start in 2020, once Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom obtains its permits from the EAEA, Electricity Ministry sources had previously said.

EETC to announce next month winning companies for tender to develop 600 MW solar plant in West Nile Delta

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company will reportedly announce next month the names of the companies who qualified for the tender to develop a 600 MW solar plant in the West Nile Delta, according to unnamed company officials. The contract for the project will likely be awarded to more than one company, all with a proven track record of similar projects, under a 25-year usufruct agreement and a BOO framework. Bidders include GCL New Energy, a consortium comprising Masdar and Jinko Solar, another comprised of KarmSolar, First Solar and Light Source, a third including Marubeni, EDF Energy and Elsewedy Electric.

Infrastructure

China Harbour starts construction of new terminal basin in Sokhna Port

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) began yesterday the construction of a new terminal basin at the Ain Sokhna Port, Xinhua reports. The project is slated for completion by 4Q2019, Chen Shuang, deputy director of CHEC’s marketing department said. The UAE’s DP World awarded the project to CHEC, which is using dry excavation in its construction in order to reduce the cost by more than 30%, Deputy Project Manager Ahmed Omar said, without disclosing the total investment value.

Egypt receives four offers from unnamed int’l companies to develop Nile Corniche

Egypt reportedly received offers from four unnamed international companies interested in developing the Nile Corniche in Cairo and surrounding tourist attractions, an unnamed governorate official said. The government will be studying the offers over the coming two months and determine whether the project will be developed under a PPP or usufruct framework. The first phase of the project should go into implementation by the end of the year, the official added, making no mention of of the projected cost.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Egypt cotton exports rise 6.9% y-o-y in 3Q2017-18

Egyptian cotton exports grew 6.9% y-o-y during 3Q2017-18 to 160.1k qintars, up from 149.7k qintars during the same period last year, according to CAPMAS figures cited by Youm7.

Automotive + Transportation

Rubex, Dershal sign MoU for electric car spare parts manufacturing

Plastics manufacturer Rubex has signed an MoU and non-disclosure agreement with Dershal — the local distributor of Dongfeng cars — that will see Rubex manufacture auto components and spare parts for electric cars, Rubex said in a disclosure to the bourse (pdf). Rubex has reportedly signed an agreement with another Chinese company to begin manufacturing electric cars in Egypt, and is waiting on the necessary licensing from the government.

Other Business News of Note

SCZone withdraws land allocated to eight companies for failing to complete projects

The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) has decided to withdraw 41 mn sqm of land allocated to eight companies back in 1998 for failing to complete their projects or complete their payments for the land, Al Mal reports. The land plots are worth a combined EGP 12 bn.

Egypt Politics + Economics

CAPMAS to begin nationwide census of gov’t employees in October

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) is planning to begin a nationwide census to determine the number of government employees in October, Youm7 reports. CAPMAS expects to release the data in a year’s time.

National Security

Security forces kill 20 militants in Western Desert, Sinai

Security forces have killed at least 20 militants in recent raids in the Western Desert and North and Central Sinai, according to a military statement. The statement does not clarify the timeline of these raids.

Sports

Aguirre announces 13 local-based players for Egypt

National football team coach Javier Aguirre announced yesterday the names of local players who will be playing against Niger in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on 8 September, Ahram Online reports. The new likes veterans such as Ahmed Fathy and Mahmoud Kahraba and includes Eslam Gaber and Baher El Mohamady. The list of players who are being called over from overseas is said to include Mo Salah and El Neny.

On Your Way Out

Egypt wants to make its own Sophia the Robot — just to answer citizens’ FAQs: The government is looking into creating an Egyptian version of ultra-creepy Saudi robot Sophia, Central Authority for Organization & Administration head Saleh El Sheikh told reporters yesterday, Al Mal reports. The robot would be tasked with responding to the multitude of questions and complaints citizens phone in with about the details of the Civil Service Act, according to El Sheikh. Might we suggest the cheaper and more realistic solution of building functional government websites?

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.84 | Sell 17.94
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Wednesday): 15,836 (+1.5%)
Turnover: EGP 907 mn (7% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.4%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 1.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 1.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Abu Qir Fertilizers up 7.5% Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 5.5%, and SODIC up 3.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were QNB Alahli down 1.7%, Qalaa Holdings down 1.4%, and Egyptian Iron & Steel down 1.4% The market turnover was EGP 907 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +0.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +4.2 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -4.8mn

Retail: 63.5% of total trades | 60.1% of buyers | 66.9% of sellers
Institutions: 36.5% of total trades | 39.9% of buyers | 33.1% of sellers

Foreign: 18.6% of total | 18.6% of buyers | 18.6% of sellers
Regional: 8.2% of total | 8.5% of buyers | 8.0% of sellers
Domestic: 73.2% of total | 72.9% of buyers | 73.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 69.64 (+0.19%)
Brent: USD 77.20 (+0.08%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.90 MMBtu, (+1.51%, October 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,211.80/ troy ounce (+0.02%)

TASI: 8,018.54 (-0.22%) (YTD: +10.96%)
ADX: 4,963.25 (+0.13%) (YTD: +12.84%)
DFM: 2,832.05 (+0.49%) (YTD: -15.96%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,256.17 (+0.06%)
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MSM: 4,431.24 (+0.48%) (YTD: -13.14%)
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Calendar

04 September (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for August released.

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

10-13 September (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 8th Annual London Conference, Emirates Arsenal Stadium, London.

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

17-19 September (Monday-Wednesday): INTERCEM Cairo to Cape Town cement industry conference, Dusit-Thani LakeView, Cairo.

18 September (Tuesday): Cairo Economic Court to issue ruling on EGP 5.6 bn antitrust case against pharma companies including Ibnsina.

20-23 September (Thursday-Sunday): 2018 Automech Formula car expo, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

22 September (Saturday): New academic year begins for public schools, universities.

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.

26 September (Wednesday): E-Commerce Summit, Nile-Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

October: The Madbouly cabinet has until the end of the month to come up with a plan for “the development and restructuring” of public companies” under a directive from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

October: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to meet Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir

03 October (Wednesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for September released.

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

23 October (Tuesday): First Conference on Sukuk (Sharia-compliant bonds), Cairo

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

25-27 October (Thursday-Saturday): 57th ACI World Congress & 43rd ICA Annual Conference 2018, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

05 November (Monday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for October released.

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.

03-05 December (Monday-Wednesday): First Egypt Defense Expo, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

04 December (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for November released.

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.

23 January 2019 (Wednesday) 50th Cairo International Book Fair.

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).

10-13 October 2019 (Tuesday-Sunday) Big Industrial Week Arabia 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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