Sunday, 9 September 2018

FinMin downplays EM crisis’ impact on EGP

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

**#1 AAIB boss Hassan Abdalla is out after more than a decade as the Egyptian-Kuwaiti joint venture’s vice-chairman and managing director. Abdalla, who was one of the most high-profile bank leaders facing the term limits the central bank has repeatedly mulled imposing, will reportedly serve as an advisor to Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer. Accounts differ as to the position Abdalla is taking at the CBE, with AMAY and Al Shorouk saying he will be “first assistant governor,” a title that so far as we can tell does not presently exist at the central bank. (The term used in the press does not equate to the “deputy governor” ranks held by Gamal Negm and Lobna Helal.) The Arab African International Bank is a joint venture between the CBE and the Kuwait Investment Authority.

Sherif Elwy will apparently step in to run AAIB, according to domestic press reports. Elwy was previously deputy chairman at the National Bank of Egypt and country manager for Egypt at Arab Bank.

GERD project manager committed suicide: Ethiopian police have concluded that the project manager of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Simegnew Bekele, committed suicide, Reuters reports. Bekele was found dead in his car in Addis Ababa in July with a gunshot wound under his ear, raising suspicion that the case was a homicide. According to police, the “investigation had shown that the victim had been under pressure from delays in the construction of the dam.” There was widespread speculation in some quarters that Egypt could have been responsible for Bekele’s death.

The EFG Hermes London conference, the fall’s top gathering of frontier and emerging markets fund managers, kicks off tomorrow at Emirates Arsenal Stadium. The conference website is here.

It’s the 10-year anniversary of the global financial crisis this week. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on 15 September, 2008. Look for plenty of “Where are we now?” and “The world really is going to send soon” stories in the days to come. Start with these:

“The financial crisis made us afraid of risk — for a while” is the headline atop a heavy-hitting piece from the Wall Street Journal this weekend. “The world has retreated from risk. That retreat has reshaped institutions, regulations and attitudes, and in the process the economy: It’s why economic growth has been so durable yet so muted, with less of the risk-taking that both drives booms and busts and raises long-run growth.” But risk is increasingly back on the menu, and “what remains unclear is whether it paves the way for years more of stable, crisis-free growth, or yet another bust.”

Confession of a crisis-era journalist: The FT’s John Authers admits that he knew there was a bank run taking place in 2008, and he neither said nor wrote anything about it. If he had, it might have precipitated a complete collapse of the US banking system.

Speaking of the end of the world: Where are we on the Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse? The global business press gave EM something a respite this weekend after currencies including the TRY and the ZAR gained against the USD, “helping the wider EM currency index to snap a three day losing streak to eke out small gains,” Reuters said.

The selloff is just another wave in the cycle: Developing economies are not facing a “systemic crisis,” the Financial Times said in one piece. Despite a recent drop into bear market status, EMs are set for a rebound, with expectations this year seeing aggregate GDP recording a 5% growth rate, despite the situations in Turkey and Argentina.

Can investors tell dogs from angels? The salmon-colored paper’s editorial board notes in another piece that “there are, happily, clear signs that investors are distinguishing between countries that have serious — and largely homegrown — problems, and those that have sounder fundamentals.

Either way, the EM Zombie Apocalypse still hasn’t reached 1997-2002 crisis levels, BlueBay Asset Management’s Timothy Ash also writes for the FT. For starters, most large EMs have freed their currency exchange regimes, which should in time help narrow current account deficits. Unlike in the past, EM debt levels have not reached alarming levels, oil prices are fairly stable, and “despite concerns about trade wars, both global trade and real GDP growth are holding up well” across most EMs. Now as well, foreign investors own a significant portion of EM government debt. “Such holdings tend to be heavily concentrated in favoured EM stories, including Argentina, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and Nigeria.”

Lex also thinks that the EM sell-off is overdone, with the influential page calling the Zombie Apocalypse “uncontagious” and noting that while selloffs in Argentina and Turkey may make sense, there’s “less logic to falls in stocks and bonds from countries with low levels of foreign currency debt and stronger balance sheets.”

Other headlines worth noting in brief:

  • The Donald is ready to slap China with another USD 267 bn in tariffs. (Reuters)
  • Former US President Barack Obama slapped The Donald (rhetorically) as he joined the fall election fray. (Politico)
  • Farewell, Smokey: If you’re of a certain age, you can’t help by have the feels knowing that Burt Reynolds (Cannonball Run, Smokey & The Bandit) died this weekend at age 82. The NYT has a great obit. Esquire looks at where you can stream / download his best movies, re-runs his iconic What I’ve Learned feature, and has a collection of him looking “cool as hell.”

New Apple gear this week: Apple fans will get their first look at what will likely be called the iPhone XS and Apple Watch 4 on Wednesday, 12 September sometime around 7pm CLT when the company’s fall product event kicks off. Also in the pipeline, tech journalists think, are MacBooks and redesigned iPads. You can stream the event here or click / tap here to add it to your calendar. Expect this to be prominent in the global business press all week — the Financial Times is already on it.

**PSA- Tuesday is officially a day off: The private sector will get a day off this Tuesday, 11 September in observance of Islamic New Year, Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan confirmed in a statement picked up by Al Shorouk. Tuesday will be the first day of Muharram in the Hijri year 1440.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

We’re taking a break from our daily rundown of last night’s talk shows and will be back in full swing on Sunday, 16 September. That being said, we couldn’t ignore the latest episode of the “Where’s Lamees?” saga.

**#5 Lamees is still MIA: Lamees Al Hadidi is still not back hosting Hona Al Asema, marking the beginning of week two since the host was due to resume her post. Unidentified sources told Al Mal early yesterday that Lamees had not been axed from CBC’s roster and will resume hosting Hona Al Asema every week from Saturday-Tuesday. The source attributed a change in schedule as having been behind the host’s disappearance. The new schedule reduces the show’s airtime by one day and will reportedly nudge her away from politics. Rumors circulating widely in the business community hold that the Egyptian Media Group (EMG), the new owner of CBC, is not keen on Lamees’ “focus” on politics. The high-profile host — the only talking head who knows squat about business and the economy — is said to have turned down an offer to jump ship to another broadcaster.

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**#2 Foreign investors exited some EGP 29.9 bn worth of Egyptian treasuries in June as the Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse deepened, according to central bank data (pdf). Foreign holdings of treasuries stood at EGP 269.1 bn at the end of FY2017-18, down EGP 29.9 bn from the previous month. International fund managers’ appetite for Egyptian T-bills has eased since April, impacted by the wider emerging markets sell-off, the CBE’s data also shows, falling from a high of EGP 380.0 bn in March.

Don’t be confused by the two sets of figures out there: The Finance Ministry shows foreign holdings today at about USD 17.1 to USD 17.5 bn, compared with the USD 15.06 bn (EGP 269.1 bn) figure recorded by the central bank. As we understand it, the CBE figure includes only short-term instruments, while the Finance Ministry tracks short- and longer-term maturities. The Finance Ministry was out with a statement, carried by Al Mal, deferring to the central bank on this to mitigate any confusion.

FinMin downplays impact of EM crisis on EGP: Egypt’s currency is handling the emerging markets sell-off much better than other EM currencies, with the EGP having slid just 0.5% since January 2018, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk said in an interview with Al Masdar. Compare that with a 41% drop in the TRY, the 36% slide in the ARS, and the 15% drop in the RUB. The results show that Egypt has lowest risk of market contagion as its economic reforms and fundamentals have largely shielded it from the impact of the EM Zombie Apocalypse, Kouchouk said.

But is the central bank propping up the currency? Capital Economics has a report out last week alleging that the EGP’s stability can only have come from the CBE propping up the currency, despite previous pledges by CBE Governor Tarek Amer that those days were over. The report warns that the impact of the EM crisis, including stock and bond outflows, would force the CBE to abandon the policy, projecting that the EGP could lose up to 10% of its value against the USD by 2020 — still, a fairly modest dip.

**#3 Eastern Company to pilot government’s privatization program, EFG to manage sale: EFG Hermes was tapped to manage the first transaction in the state’s reborn privation program, which will see the sale of additional 4.5% stake in cigarette maker Eastern Company on the EGX, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement on Thursday. State-owned investment bank NI Capital said EFG presented the best financial and technical offer for the transaction, which is expected to yield around EGP 2 bn in proceeds. Pharos Holding, Beltone, and HSBC were among the bidders.

When is the share sale taking place? The short answer: The Finance Ministry is saying one thing, the Public Enterprises Ministry another. Maait said in the statement that EFG is looking into timing of the sale, while Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik is adamant that the transaction will take place in October, according to statements he made to Masrawy. Maait had previously said that the program was on track to kick off in October.

Look for the sale to be an accelerated book build. EFG has a rock-solid track record in quickly placing stakes with quality domestic and international investors (cf: the USD 226 mn Humansoft sale this past summer). Our friend Mohamed Ebeid, co-CEO of the investment bank at EFG, told us earlier this year that this was the route the government would take: “They’ve chosen the best route, which is is an accelerated book building program for some of the government stakes in listed equities and trim down the ownership, rather than owning it through multiple vehicles. These state companies are known by investors and covered by research, which is facilitating an accelerated book-building program over a 24-hour window. That would bring a lot of volume to the market.”

Other firms on track for share sale in 4Q2018: Tawfik was also adamant that a share sale in Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling (ACCH) would take place in October, joining Eastern and Heliopolis Housing and Development. ACCH’s share sale was originally slated to take place in November. Other state-owned companies are still on track to sell more shares on the EGX in 4Q2018,according to Maait. NI Capital is reportedly set to review this week offers from investment banks looking to manage the sale of shares from the Alexandria Minerals and Oils Company, sources close to the matter told Al Mal. EFG is also in the running for the tender, alongside Pharos, HC Securities, and four other investment banks.

On a related note, Abu Qir Fertilizers, which is also in line to sell shares this year, is after an EUR 80 mn loan to upgrade its production lines, said Managing Director Saad Abou El Maaty. The company has already secured a preliminary approval for the loan from a consortium that includes the National Bank of Egypt and QNB-Egypt, he said.

**#4 EXCLUSIVE- Enppi IPO “likely” to take place in 1Q2019: As for the second phase of the program, it appears that the IPO of state energy contractor Enppi is “likely” to take place in 1Q2019, a Finance Ministry source told Enterprise. While Enppi is also likely to be the first state company to IPO under the privatization program, the source was quick to stress that no final decision on the IPO has been taken. Enppi’s fate will largely be determined by the success of the first wave of share sales, with the shot being called early in the new year. We’re also told that a decision on the size of the listing, initially set at 24%, has yet to made. The source expects that a maximum two state companies will list shares in FY2018-19.

Egypt signs agreement to unlock USD 3 bn of financing from Islamic Trade Finance Corp. for essential commodities: Egypt signed on Thursday two agreements to unlock a total of USD 3 bn in financing from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank. The financing includes USD 1 bn to finance the purchase of basic goods and foodstuffs, according to an Investment Ministry statement (pdf), and another USD 2 bn tranche for the purchase of petroleum and other energy commodities, the ministry said (pdf). The USD 1 bn tranche is expected to support the purchase of food commodities for some 67 mn citizens. Egypt and the ITFC had reached a provisional agreement on the funding back in January. To date, the ITFC has provided a total USD 9.2 bn in financing to Egypt over the years, according to the ministry statement, which Reuters notes does not include details on the financing terms.

**#6 GB Auto is planning to start building a motorcycle plant in Ain Sokhna next year, Chairman and CEO Raouf Ghabbour told Bloomberg in an interview. Production from the new plant is expected to start in 2020, with much of the output earmarked for export, according to Ghabbour, who adds that East Africa will be a key market. The project’s investment value was not disclosed, but the company had announced in December 2016 that it was investing USD 60 mn in a new motorcycle factory in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and was in the final stages of acquiring land permits for it.

A turnaround in the cards for the auto market in 2019: GB Auto will also be resuming sales of the Chinese Geely vehicle this month, a move that is expected to push sales up by 40% this year to 140k units, and up to 180k units by 2019, Ghabbour said. GB Auto had incurred losses in 2016 and 2017 but began to recover in the first half of 2018, posting a 45.8% y-o-y growth in its top line in 2Q2018 to EGP 6.1 bn. The company expects auto sales to double in 2019 compared to 2017 — when the car market shrunk to nearly half its average size as inflation levels soared following the EGP float — as demand recovers and the market adjusts to new realities.

**#7 M&A WATCH- Pharos said to be advising on Spinney’s sale: Our friends at Pharos Holdings are reportedly the advisers on the sale of Spinney’s by majority owner Abraaj, according to Al Mal. Al Mal’s piece suggests that Pharos is the sell-side adviser on the sale. Spinney’s CEO Mohanad Adly confirmed on Saturday that it had received expressions of interest from five private equity firms looking to buy the company, but gave no further detail.

This came as global private equity firm Actis reportedly made a USD 1 offer to acquire some of Abraaj’s assets, sources close to the matter told Bloomberg last week. We had heard earlier this month that Actis made a bid to acquire “the bulk” of Abraaj Group’s emerging market funds. Actis is up against Abu Dhabi Financial Group as well as a consortium formed by Kuwait’s Agility and New York-based Centerbridge Partners. Rohatyn Group and the Chicago-based middle-market PE firm Vistria Group are also in the running, alongside Colony Capital, which is now looking to acquire Abraaj’s Latin American assets (after its initial offer to acquire all of the firm’s assets was rejected). Helios Capital has reportedly made an offer for the company’s African assets.

INVESTMENT WATCH- UAE’s Alcazar Energy looking to snag USD 500 mn in wind projects: UAE-based renewables energy firm Alcazar Energy is currently bidding on USD 500 mn-worth of wind projects with a combined generating capacity of 500 MW, Electricity Ministry sources tell Al Masdar. According to the offer presented to the ministry, the wind farms appear to be exclusively in the Gulf of Suez region. The projects would all be under a build-own-operate (BOO) framework, the source added.

This comes as the Madbouly Cabinet’s economic group has signed off on an offer by ACWA Power to build wind projects with a combined generation capacity of 500 MW, the source said. He added that the contracts for the offer are expected to be signed at the end of the year, without revealing the size of the investments involved. As for its solar projects, ACWA Power intends to begin operating its three solar power plants with a combined capacity of 120 MW at the Benban Solar Park sometime during 1H2019, regional director Hassan Amin told the local press. ACWA reached financial close for the plants earlier this year after signing off an agreement with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. The plants were supposed to be operational by 4Q2018. Amin did not give reasons for the delay.

**#8 REGULATION WATCH- GAFI issues new guidelines for voluntary liquidation of companies: The General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) issued on Thursday new guidelines for companies looking to voluntarily liquidate, Al Mal reports. Companies looking to liquidate must present GAFI with an official memo indicating the liquidation has been approved by its owner, partners, or EGM in order to receive GAFI’s legal approval. Government bodies, including the tax and customs authorities will be required to indicate whether the company has any outstanding dues within 120 days of receiving its paperwork. Liquidating companies will also be required to publish in a “widely circulated” newspaper an announcement of its plans and timeline for the process and liquidating distribution within a week of receiving approval to begin the process. Liquidated companies will be required to submit a report on their final balance sheet at the end of the process. The Bankruptcy Act, which the House of Representatives had approved in January, aims to cut the liquidation period for companies to nine months, instead of a previous average of more than two years.

LEGISLATION WATCH- CBE completes draft of new e-payments act: The CBE has completed a draft of a new e-payments act and presented it at a meeting of the National Payments Council on Saturday, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. No details were provided on the specifics of the bill. The Council will send the draft to the Madbouly Cabinet for review before introducing the law in the House of Representatives when it convenes next month for its fall legislative term.

**#9 US signs off on USD 1.2 bn military assistance package to Egypt: US State Secretary Mike Pompeo signed off on the release of a USD 1.2 bn military aid package to Egypt on Friday, the Associated Press reports. Pompeo signed “national security waivers allowing the money known as foreign military financing, or FMF, to be spent.” USD 1 bn will are meant to be allocated to the 2018 budget and USD 195 mn are from 2017. Congress has 15 days to make a decision about the waivers, which were signed last month but only made public on Friday. The reason for the delay remains unclear, the newswire notes.

War games: News of the military assistance package came as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday with US Central Command boss Gen. Joseph Votel. The two met as Egyptian, US and allied military personnel kicked off Bright Star wargames for the second year in a row, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The exercices, set to wrap up on 20 September, also see forces from Saudi Arabia, Greece, Britain, Jordan, the UAE, Italy and France participating, according to Al Arabiya.

Background: Pompeo’s promise last month to disburse aid that was withheld from Egypt last year over human rights concerns was met backlash from rights groups and activists, as it had also come weeks after the US unfroze another USD 195 mn in military aid to Egypt. The State Department said it still had “serious concerns about the human rights situation in Egypt” — an issue it will continue to monitor closely, but noted as well that “strengthened security cooperation with Egypt is important to US national security.” VOA also has the story.

Egypt is region’s fastest-growing tourism destination –UN World Tourism Organization. Tourist arrivals to Egypt rose 51.1% y-o-y in 2017 reaching 8.5 mn, up from 5.2 mn a year earlier to make Omm El Donia the Middle East’s fastest-growing tourist destination, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2018 Tourism Highlights Report. “Visitor numbers rebounded from both traditional markets in Western Europe and emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Promotional efforts and a return of confidence contributed to this recovery,” the reports says.

EARNINGS WATCH- Oil services outfit Maridive Group reported a net profit of USD 17.09 mn in 1H2018, up from USD 11.02 mn in 1H2017, according to a filing to the EGX.

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Image of the Day

Mercedes will begin producing its EQC electric car in 1H2019, according to Bloomberg. The company invested north of EUR 10 bn (USD 12 bn) to come up with the vehicle, which is set to be first in Mercedes’ new electric-powered EQ Series. Porsche, Audi, and Jaguar all plan to roll out electric SUVs and crossovers to rival Tesla’s as the luxury car makers believe that “there’s no alternative to [moving toward] electric cars.”

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning is a court handing down death sentences to 75 people and prison sentences to hundreds more over the 2013 Rabaa Al Adawiya sit-in. More than 600 were sentenced to prison in a mass trial of some 739 people. Many in the foreign press, including the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal, are running an Amnesty International statement, which calls the ruling a “grotesque parody of justice.”

Attacking US aid to Egypt: Meanwhile, ABC News is taking note that Egyptian-born US citizen Moustafa Kassem was among those sentenced. It called into question the aid the US State Department unfroze aid to Egypt “despite Egypt taking no noticeable steps to address human rights issues.”

On a related note, photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, was sentenced to five years in prison in the same trial — and could now be released “within days” as he has been in detention since his 2013 arrest, Ahram Online reports.

Mo Salah seems to have won his EFA battle, but he should “tread lightly”: National football icon Mo Salah seems to have won his latest fight with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), in which the Liverpool forward demanded better treatment of the national team’s players, Gerald Imray writes for the Associated Press. The spat was likely resolved to improve team morale as it fights to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. As Egypt’s “most valuable international asset,” the EFA has every reason to keep Salah happy, and his star power will keep him in favor with the powers that be, says the newswire’s Hamza Hendawi. “But Salah must tread carefully if he intends to be an instrument of change,” Hendawi says, suggesting that Salah should stay away from ruffling too many feathers.

Meanwhile, Salah scored two goals during the national team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier game against Niger, which ended with a 6-0 lopsided victory for the Pharaohs, according to the BBC.

On Deadline

Egypt needs to study the root causes of religious strife in Upper Egypt, Mona Makram-Ebeid writes for Al Masry Al Youm. A scholar and former member of the predecessor to today’s House of Representatives, Makram-Ebeid says extremism and disrespect for the rule of law are expressing themselves in religious strife that undermines the government’s work on developing a modern society based on the principles of equality and citizenship.

In the same newspaper, opinion writer Mohamed Nour Farahat turns the clock back to Al Khanka in 1972, when a Coptic church and the properties of a number of prominent Christians were attacked in one of the most high-profile incidents of sectarian violence after the 1952 Revolution. Sectarianism, he writes, is too complicated to be addressed only be religious and security institutions and must be rooted in constitutional protections of equality.

Worth Reading

**#10 Global warming could hit us in our wallets as rival shipping routes threaten the Suez Canal. The Venta Maersk sailed through the Bering Strait this past week ahead of navigating a route through the Arctic, which could cut shipping times significantly compared to Suez Canal route, write William Booth and Amie Ferris-Rotman for the Washington Post. Thanks to global warming, the Arctic route is now navigable between July and October, as opposed to the Suez Canal, which is open all year long. The route, however, is 7,200 nautical miles, compared with the 10,500 miles ships from Asia take to get to Europe through Suez. Shipping times are cut down to 23 days, compared to 34 days in the Suez route.

China, Russia say full steam ahead: The new toute has garnered widespread interest and promotion from Russian and Chinese shipping companies. Rosatom, which runs the largest nuclear-powered ice-breaking fleet in the world, boasts that the route has “no queues and no pirates,” an allusion to the threat posed by African buccaneers in the Gulf of Aden in recent years.

The good news for us? Disputes over territory in the Arctic and its shipping routes could keep Arctic zone countries preoccupied for some time.

Energy

Zohr production output reaches 2 bcf/d

Production from the supergiant Zohr gas field has now reached 2 bcf/d, Eni said in a release yesterday (pdf). Eni, EGAS, and their JV Petrobel expect to reach a production plateau of more than 2.7 bcf/d in 2019, according to the release. Egypt’s total natural gas output reached 6.6 bcf/d after the most recent ramp up in production from Zohr, an unnamed energy official tells Reuters.

Basic Materials + Commodities

No sugar imports this year -Supply Minister

Egypt will not import sugar this year as the market due to excess supply in the local market thanks to a steady stream of output, Supply Minister Aly El Moselhy said on Thursday, according to Al Mal.

Infrastructure

Transport Ministry sets up holding company for multipurpose platforms

The Transport Ministry has set up a holding company owned by the Suez Canal Authority, the Alexandria Port Authority, and the Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport to design, construct, operate, and maintain multipurpose platforms, according to a Thursday statement. The company, named the Egyptian Group for Multipurpose Platforms, will have an authorized capital of EGP 500 mn.

Real Estate + Housing

Naguib Sawiris launches Ayia Napa Marina project next summer

Ayia Napa Marina, Naguib Sawiris’ EUR 220 mn luxury residential development in Cyprus, is expected to open its doors by next year’s summer, Sawiris said in a tweet. Sawiris had began marketing his project with his Cypriot business partner Stavros Caramondanis to UAE investors earlier this year.

Tourism

Tui will continue sending tourists to Steigenberger Aqua Magic despite e-coli reports

Global travel operator Tui will continue making bookings to Egypt’s Steigenberger Aqua Magic despite a report from Thomas Cook that high levels of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria was found at the hotel, according to The Sun. Tui said the decision was made after having conducted independent surveys and finding they hygiene standards at the hotel where a UK couple died last month “acceptable.”

Automotive + Transportation

Military Production Ministry looking to partner up with ABC for locomotive engines

Military Production Minister Mohamed El Assar met with executives from Belgian train engine maker Anglo Belgian Corporation (ABC) to discuss a potential collaboration, according to Al Shorouk. The two sides could potentially sign an agreement under which the ministry would manufacture engines for railway locomotives in Egypt using ABC’s technology.

Banking + Finance

Banque Misr, Banque du Caire tap Moody’s to provide services for implementation of IFRS 9

Banque Misr and Banque du Caire have reached an agreement with Moody’s that will see the credit agency provide the two banks with the software and advise them on the technical and financial aspects of implementing IFRS 9 accounting standards, unidentified sources tell Al Mal. Moody’s reportedly beat out six other institutions for the contract, including Standard & Poor’s. The banks are expected to sign the final contracts this week or next week at the latest, according to the sources. The central bank had announced in January that banks in Egypt will be required to begin presenting their financial statements in accordance with the standards as of FY2019.

EKH looking for loan to help fund EGP 2.1 bn fiberboard factory

Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH) is looking for a loan to partially fund the EGP 2.1 bn medium-density fiberboard (MDF) factory in Beni Suef, Investor Relations Director Haitham Abdel Moneim tells Al Mal. EKH is in talks with foreign and local lenders for the loan. A financing structure for the project is currently being worked out, with the company not ruling out the possibility of bringing on a foreign lender as a partner in the project, he added.

Other Business News of Note

Gov’t to put National Cement Company out of its misery

It appears that the government is leaning towards pulling the plug on the floundering National Cement Company, which has been racking up annual losses of around EGP 900 mn, according to sources from the Public Enterprises Ministry. While Minister Hisham Tawfik had said that the results independent auditors report would determine the outcome, preliminary findings suggest that the company be liquidated, according to Masrawy. The firm’s general assembly is expected to vote to kill the company this week, when the report is presented. Fears now turn to the reaction of workers, who have been striking on and off for many months.

Law

National Security

Egypt to launch MisrSat A, a satellite to assist military and urban planners

The Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS) is planning to launch a USD 100 mn monitoring satellite to assist the military with border security on 22 November, reports Satelliteprome.com. MisrSat A, which was built by Russian spacecraft manufacturer Energia, will launch from Kazakhstan to start producing images of the border and surrounding land in January 2019. It will also be used to help the government build new cities. NARSS had also signed last month a USD 45 mn loan with China to launch phase two of MisrSat 2, a previous version of MisrSat A that was lost in 2015 due to a computer failure.

First-ever Egyptian-built small navy warship unveiled in Alexandria

Alexandria Shipyard (ASY) launched the first Egyptian-built Gowind 2500 corvette from its facilities on Friday, IHS Jane’s 360 reports. The small coastal patrol warship Port Said is equipped with French military technology, which ASY acquired from France’s Naval Group (formerly DCNS). Egypt had ordered four corvettes in 2015 from Naval Group as part of a USD 1 bn contract, which also included a tech transfer agreement and provisions on material procurement for three corvettes that ASY would manufacture in Egypt. The first vessel, which was manufactured in France, launched in March 2017.

Roadside explosion kills army colonel in central Sinai

An army colonel was killed on Friday near Al Halal mountain in Central Sinai while inspecting an unmanned vehicle which detonated, anonymous security officials said, according to the Associated Press. A separate explosion wounded an army conscript in North Sinai.

Sports

No, Zlatan is not moving to an FC in Egypt

Newly-founded Egyptian football club Pyramids denied rumors that Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be joining its roster, Goal.com reports. Pyramids’ director Ahmed Hassan dismissed the information as “fake news” that was “absolutely baseless.” A number of news outlets had reported over the weekend that Ibrahimovic’s current club LA Galaxy had already accepted Pyramid’s offer, such as 101 Great Goals and the Sun.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian fashion designer Maha Abdul Rasheed appeared on the FT’s list of noteworthy Middle Eastern designers for her ‘Bambah’ branded collection. “Her decadent jacquard evening gowns that riff on classic 1950s silhouettes are stocked at Harvey Nichols in Dubai, and have been worn by Amal Clooney,” the Financial Times says.

Egyptian comedy ‘Talq Senaee’ (induced labor) will be screened at the opening of Malmö Arab Film Festival this year, which kicks off 5 October in Sweden, according to the festival’s official website.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.85 | Sell 17.95
EGP / USD at CIB:
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EGX30 (Thursday): 15,803 (+0.3%)
Turnover: EGP 645 mn (21% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.2%

THE MARKET ON THURSDAY: The EGX30 ended Thursday’s session up 0.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian Resorts up 4.9%, Qalaa Holding up 3.0%, and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 2.5%. Thursday’s worst performing stocks were Telecom Egypt down 0.9%, EFG Hermes down 0.8%, and Madinet Nasr Housing down 0.8%. The market turnover was EGP 645 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -36.8 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +14.1 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +22.7 mn

Retail: 57.7% of total trades | 56.9% of buyers | 58.5% of sellers
Institutions: 42.3% of total trades | 43.1% of buyers | 41.5% of sellers

Foreign: 24.5% of total | 21.6% of buyers | 27.3% of sellers
Regional: 11.7% of total | 12.8% of buyers | 10.6% of sellers
Domestic: 63.8% of total | 65.6% of buyers | 62.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 67.75 (-0.03%)
Brent: USD 76.83 (+0.43%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.78 MMBtu, (+0.14%, October 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,200.40/ troy ounce (-0.32%)

TASI: 7,687.76 (-0.41%) (YTD: +6.39%)
ADX: 4,918.32 (-0.19%) (YTD: +11.82%)
DFM: 2,826.60 (+0.29%) (YTD: -16.13%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,305.33 (+0.22%)
QE: 9,826.84 (-0.04%) (YTD: +15.29%)
MSM: 4,432.56 (+0.07%) (YTD: -13.07%)
BB: 1,339.88 (+0.35%) (YTD: +0.61%)

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Calendar

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

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

16 September (Sunday): Creative Industry Summit 2018, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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

18-21 September (Tuesday-Friday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

23-24 September (Sunday-Monday): Arab Security Conference on cyber security, Nile-Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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 (Wedne sday): 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.

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

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

12-14 October (Friday-Sunday): 2018 annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Bali, Indonesia.

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.

24-25 October (Wednesday- Thursday) 9th Arab-German Energy Forum, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

05-07 November (Monday- Wednesday) World Travel Market London exhibition, London, England, UK.

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.

08-09 December (Saturday-Sunday): Business for Africa and the World: The Africa 2018 Forum, Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Center, Sharm El Sheikh.

12 December (Wednesday): Banking and Finance Congress 2018, Cairo, venue TBD.

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.

22-25 January 2019 (Tuesday-Friday): World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

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

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

20-22 April 2019 (Friday-Sunday): Spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.

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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