Thursday, 20 September 2018

Could EGP slip?


What We’re Tracking Today

**#2 The EGX fell yesterday to its lowest close this year, marking its sharpest one-day drop since mid-2016, according to Reuters. The EGX fell 3.8% on Wednesday only a few days after the benchmark EGX30 closed down 3.6%, at the time its lowest level since January 2017.

What’s going on? Local retail and institutional investors are selling — they’re spooked by fears of face another round of devaluation, lack of liquidity in the market, worries about interest rates and general “emerging market jitters,” Reuters said after speaking with analysts in Dubai and Cairo.

SANITY CHECK- Emerging markets whack-a-mole is a distraction. If the EM Zombie Apocalypse has you freaked out, read nothing else this morning until you digest Fidelity PM Paul Greer’s piece for the FT, which cogently argues that “The longer-term strategic case for EM is still very much in place. EM debt gives you access to a high growth, portfolio diversification and generous real yields. With 50 percent of global GDP now coming from EM, and healthy Sharpe ratios over the cycle, it is clear the asset class cannot be ignored over the long term.”

STAT OF THE MORNING: There are only 14 mn insurance policies in the market today. This in a nation of >100 mn people. Source: Financial Regulatory Authority deputy head Reda Abdel Moaty in a panel discussion last night moderated by Masaa DMC host Osama Kamal (watch, runtime: 4:11).

An IMF delegation will arrive in Cairo at the end of October for its fourth review of the Madbouly government’s economic reform program ahead of unlocking another tranche of the USD 12 bn extended fund facility, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said at a luncheon hosted by our friends at the American Chambers of Commerce. Maait spoke on a host of issues during the talk, including on the new tax code, which he said would not impact tax rates this year. The highlight of his talk, however, was Egypt’s plan to tap the global debt market next year and the impact on Egypt of the ongoing turmoil in EM. We have more in Speed Round, below.

AWB defendants out on bail today? Defendants including Alaa and Gamal Mubarak and former EFG Hermes co-CEO Yasser El Mallawany will be appearing in court today for a hearing that could determine if they will be released on bail pending a court review of an expert committee review that had suggested charges against them could be dropped. Word on the street is that a settlement agreement is in the works. The defendants have also filed a motion for the court’s judges to recuse themselves, according to Youm7.

The Electricity Ministry will sign today EGP 6.3 bn worth of contracts with Siemens to manage the three combined-cycle plants in Burullus, Beni Suef and the new capital, said ministry sources. Payment for the right-year operations and maintenance contract will be split into an EUR 176 mn foreign-currency tranche and a EGP 2.6 bn LCY-denominated component. Payment will begin in four years and will be disbursed over an eight year period. The contracts were initially to be signed back in July.

Goldman Sachs has a new co-head of investment banking. Dan Dees replaces John Waldron, who was last week promoted to president, Bloomberg reports. New York-based co-head Gregg Lemkau and London-based Marc Nachmann remain in place, the Financial Times adds. The shifting of execs around like pieces on a chessboard comes as Lloyd Blankfein prepares to hand over the reins of power at month’s end. The appointment came as Goldman “vaulted past Citigroup” to become the second-largest global investment bank by revenue. JPMorgan remains in the pole position.

In miscellany today:

  • If you’re lifting to failure, will just one set do? Yes, if you’re really lifting to failure, a new study suggests. (New York Times)
  • Canadian cannabis company’s shares pop 38% in a day, making it the most valuable company of its kind in the world amid a frenzy in the fast-emerging sector. (Globe & Mail)
  • Do you miss classic PlayStation games? Sony is hopping on the bandwagon that Nintendo created: The console maker is set to release in December its PlayStation Classic, complete with two controllers and 20 “genre-defining” games (among them Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, and Ridge Racer Type 4). (The Verge)
  • Apple is preparing to announce a new iPad Pro, according to code buried in the beta of iOS 12.1. (9to5Mac)

PSA- Is Evernote going the way of the dodo? If you, like us, rely on Evernote to store copies of your passport, random musings, meeting notes, your kid’s KG art, etc, you may want to have a look at rival offerings. The company’s obit has been written so often it’s virtually a meme in the tech press, but it (a) lost senior execs including its CFO, CTO, CPO and head of HR a few weeks back and (b) slashed this week 15% of its workforce.

Alternatives for the Mac heads among us are probably some combination of Apple Notes (learn how to import to Notes from Evernote) and Microsoft’s Onenote (Microsoft has built an importer). Both run on macOS and iOS. Yeah, Bear is cooler — but we’re willing to wager Onenote and Apple Notes will be around a little bit longer. And who the hell (among non-coders) needs markdown support, anyway?

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a boring night on the airwaves, with much brain-melting ensuing. The economy was largely ignored in favor of (very little) political news.

Elsewedy says goodbye to Support Egypt: House of Representatives Social Solidarity Committee chair Abdel Hady El Kassaby has taken over leadership of the Support Egypt Coalition, making it the topic of choice over on Masaa DMC, which interviewed outgoing leader Mohamed Elsewedy. He reiterated his previous statement that he was not seeking another term as head of the largest political bloc in parliament to ensure fresh leadership. Elsewedy noted that he would stand with El Kassaby, who apparently ran unopposed despite rumors circulating that multiple MPs were going after the bloc’s top job. Elsewedy also said that he was looking to focus more on his role as the head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (watch, runtime: 11:16).

The Education Ministry unveiled a new vocational secondary education program yesterday. The program would see the ministry offering vocational training programs at secondary schools that provide more hands on training at private sector factories, thereby increasing their chances of employment, Education Ministry adviser Habiba Ezz told Yahduth Masr. She touted the program’s benefits as a labor recruiting tool for the private sector (watch, runtime: 03:15).

Elsewedy, Talaat Moustafa Group and Al Araby Group are in talks with the Education Ministry to establish 65 vocational secondary schools across the country, Education Minister Tarek Shawki said yesterday, Al Mal reports. Al Araby has already invested EGP 30 mn in the project, with additional support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Education Ministry.

We love vocational training. Hats off to GB Auto and El Sewedy Electric, both of which have led by example on this front.

Also on education, Al Hayah fi Masr discussed the newly opened Japanese-curriculum schools (watch, runtime: 3:08).

Another day, another tirade against our defunct railway system: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Kamal Mady interviewed National Railway Authority head Ashraf Raslan about the Shebeen El Kom derailment last week. Raslan promised that people would start seeing the impact of the railway upgrade plan in two years (watch, runtime: 30:18).

LAMEES WATCH- The plot thickens, as not only is Lamees Al Hadidy still missing, but so is her show, Hona Al Asema. No episode aired last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

**#1 Egypt could tap global debt market with USD 5 bn bond issue in 2019: Is Egypt’s economy resilient enough in the face of the EM apocalypse to go back to the debt market? Yes, said Finance Minister Mohamed Maait at a luncheon yesterday hosted by AmCham. Egypt’s economy is proving “resilient” in the face of EM turbulence and there are additional sources of funding to draw on if needed, he said, according to Reuters. “We are going to sell bonds in the coming months in the market. It could be USD 5 bn, plus or minus,” Maait added.

When: The government will return to the international debt market “at the appropriate time,” he said, possibly in January-March 2019. He added that the country could currently depend on planned budget support from international lenders and “if we can’t, we will take (treasury sales) with a higher cost.” His statement comes after Egypt cancelled a third treasury bond auction earlier this week as rattled EM investors demanded higher yields.

Maait didn’t mince words on the impact of the EM selloff: Maait acknowledged that Egypt faced “steep debt repayments” and that higher oil prices and that a slip of EGP could “disturb” Egypt’s goal of reducing its budget deficit to 8.4% in FY2018-19, from 9.8% last year. But he remained optimistic: “Until now our economy is able to deal with the consequences of this negative effect,” Maait said. “I believe that our economy is resilient, I believe that our economy is well diversified … We hope that in the coming few months we see a different environment.”

Cue the state privatization program: The government would evaluate how to proceed with the second phase of the state privatization program in January, said Maait, according to Reuters. He reassured attendees that the state is pushing ahead with five stake sales on the EGX this year, two in October (AMOC and Eastern Tobacco), two in November and one in December. “The five companies we decided to work on, we decided to see how it would go,” he said, adding that Egypt would then see whether it could work with strategic investors for further sales.

No more gas imports after October? Egypt may not have to import gas after October as a number of Egypt’s concessions come online, Maait said, according to Al Shorouk. While he wasn’t specific, this could imply that a gas tender in October could be the last one.

NI Capital looking for bankers to lead ACCH stake sale: State-owned investment bank NI Capital issued a tender yesterday that will see it hire a manager for the sale of additional stake from the Alexandria Containers & Cargo Handling (ACCH) on the EGX this year, the bank’s CEO Ashraf Ghazaly said, Youm7 reports. He did not reveal the names of the banks who were invited to join the tender. The government had hired HSBC to manage the sale of shares from the Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC) and EFG Hermes to take on the Eastern Company transaction.

On a related note, Eastern Company announced yesterday that it will be executing a 5:1 stock split on 27 September, bringing its par value down to EGP 1 from EGP 5, according to an EGX filing (pdf). Eastern’s issued capital will remain the same at EGP 2.25 bn. The EGX’s board of directors had approved a decision in July that allows listed companies to split their stocks as many times a year as they want, as opposed to once previously. The decision — which means to facilitate the restructuring of government companies ahead of the start of the state’s privatization program — also exempts those with a lower turnover rate than the market average from seeking regulatory approval ahead of a share split transaction.

So, what’s the schedule for fall stake sales by state-owned companies? As it looks now:

  • October: Eastern and AMOC
  • November: ACCH
  • December: Heliopolis Housing and Abu Qir

A second wave of companies is due to market in 2019.

**#3 Food for thought: Could the central bank let the EGP slip a bit against the USD? Against the backdrop of the Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse, a research report this week from Shuaa Securities’ Egypt office sees two possible scenarios when the central bank’s monetary policy committee meets a week from today:

  1. Hike interest rates at least 100 bps in the short-term to keep Egyptian debt attractive to the carry trade amid rising competition from other EM and the generally chill running through a certain type of EM investor at the moment.
  2. Leave rates on hold and signal to the banks that they should allow the EGP weaken a bit. Shuaa notes that over the past six months or so, we’ve seen the USD gain 5.5% and EM currencies slide c. 7.8% — but the EGP has lost only 1.7% in the same period. Allowing the EGP to slide a bit, it writes, “could limit foreign outflows from Treasuries (as they would be losing on the FX side).”

Pros and cons: Shuaa figures the rate hike is the less likely of its scenarios, saying it would drive up state borrowing costs too much (at the same time, we note, that the Finance Ministry is putting on a full-court press to manage Egypt’s debt position) and would also be negative for equities. The firm likes its second scenario, but notes the knock-on effects on inflation could be ugly.

Why this matters to the fall IPO season: Shuaa suggests that with foreign appetite key to upcoming equity offerings, prospective issuers need to hope for continued EGP stability — and will need to think twice about pricing: “Valuation multiples these stock offerings will be sold at should imply an attractive discount to fair value.”

When do we find out? The Central Bank of Egypt’s MPC next meets a week from today (27 September) and then again on 15 November and 27 December. We still see it leaving rates unchanged, but…

**#4 M&A WATCH- B Investments acquires majority stake in Gourmet in EGP 125 mn transaction: Private equity firm B Investments announced yesterday that it has acquired a majority stake in Gourmet in an EGP 125 mn transaction that saw it acquire a 40% stake from Wadi Degla at a cost of EGP 65 mn and also fund an EGP 60 mn capital increase. The transaction, the company’s third since its IPO, brings B Investments’ total holding in Gourmet to c. 53%, the company said in a press release (pdf). Proceeds from the capital increase will be allocated to expanding Gourmet’s frozen meats and poultry plant in 6 October City as well as growing its prepped meal business line. “We are extremely excited to partner with Gourmet Group’s experienced management team and to continue its growth story to become Egypt’s leading fresh, high quality food prfrozen ovider,” said B Investments Chairman Hazem Barakat.

**#5 Compass has completed an EGP 380 mn capital increase for its portfolio company Bonyan for Development and Trade, bringing the real estate play’s capital to EGP 654 mn, according to a company press release (pdf). Compass subsidiary Sky Realty Holding, which had acquired Bonyan from Qalaa Holdings in July, subscribed to the full capital hike. The increase aims to “equip Bonyan with the necessary tools to transform the asset into an operational lifestyle destination within a year, including bringing on a capable management team, defining clear growth strategies, and building an efficient capital structure,” said Compass Founder and Chairman Shamel Aboul Fadl.

Compass was one of eight companies that applied yesterday for regulatory approval on capital increases worth a combined EGP 1.4 bn, the Investment Ministry said in a statement. The others include Medical Union Pharma, which is looking to raise capital to EGP 450 mn from EGP 50 mn, fertilizers producer Evergrow (EGP 200 mn from EGP 130 mn), Wadi Group (EGP 122 mn from EGP 53 mn), and Al Rahma for Hotels (EGP 75 mn from EGP 15 mn).

**#6 Vezeeta raises USD 12 mn in Series C funding: Online medical bookings platform Vezeeta announced yesterday that it closed a UAS 12 mn series ‘C’ fundraising round led by Saudi Telecom’s venture capital arm, STV, according to a company press release (pdf). Existing investors including the UAE’s BECO Capital, Vostok New Ventures, and Silicon Badia were joined by Crescent Enterprises’ CE Ventures in the round, the proceeds from which “will be used to fund Vezeeta’s continued regional expansion, primarily in Saudi Arabia, and for further investments in key new products.” The company raised USD 5 mn in a series ‘B’ round in 2016 and had announced last year its intention to grow its regional operations after it launched its platform in Lebanon.

Algebra Ventures is looking to raise USD 10 mn before the end of this year, founding partner Ziad Mokhtar said, according to Al Mal, suggesting that the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development may be interested. The firm would look to deploy the funding through 2020, investing in 20-25 companies in the tech and financial services sectors.

Court pushes reset button on Ibsina antitrust case: An Egyptian court decided yesterday to restart legal proceedings on Ibnsina’s appeal of antitrust sanctions in a case brought by the Egyptian Competition Authority. The case was booked for a hearing on 19 November, Ibnsina said in a disclosure yesterday (pdf). In March, the court had ruled against Ibnsina, United Pharma, Ramco Pharma, and Multipharma, for allegedly colluding to cut credit periods and slash discounts to small and medium pharmacies.

New capital talks stumble on stake split? The New Administrative Capital Company (NACC) and China Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) are deadlocked on how to go forward with a 14k-feddan city planned for Egypt’s new administrative capital. At the heart of the issue: The Chinese developer wants to a larger-than-initially-agreed stake, NACC Chairman Ahmed Zaki Abdeen said, according to Youm 7. CFLD wants more than 40% of the complex, which is expected to include commercial, industrial, residential and cultural districts, sources close to the matter said, according to the report. The Chinese company is now reviewing options offered to it by the NACC, which is why negotiations have stopped, said Abdeen. Yasser Hashem, managing partner at law firm Zaki Hashem & Partners, which represents CFLD, said in July the Chinese company was ironing out the final details of its contract for the project whose MoU was first signed in 2016.

**#7 Egypt, Cyprus sign agreement on USD 1 bn gas pipeline: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla signed an agreement yesterday with Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis that will see the two countries collaborate to establish a direct underwater pipeline connecting Cyprus’ Aphrodite natural gas field to liquefaction plants in Egypt, according to an Oil Ministry statement. The agreement sets the regulatory framework for the exchange of natural gas between the two countries, ensuring the “safe development, construction, and operation” of the pipeline, Lakkotrypis said yesterday, according to Cyprus Mail. The pipeline is expected to cost at least USD 1 bn to build. The story is getting positive mention from Bloomberg this morning.

The construction schedule is unclear, especially with Cypriot officials still in talks with the consortium holding the license for the Aphrodite field, after they requested amendments to their revenue-sharing agreement with the government. Cypriot officials had previously said that a stalemate or rejection of the request could risk delaying the project by up to a decade. Details on the cost and financing for the pipeline were also not disclosed.

Background: The new pipeline is a crucial milestone in Egypt’s goal of becoming the premier energy hub in the East Mediterranean. Egypt will re-export the LNG back to Europe after it satisfies local demand, calling on two liquefaction plants on the North Coast. Egypt will also be importing natural gas from Israel under a USD 15 bn pact.

Is the EU going to offer Egypt incentives for illegal migrant plan? It is now increasingly clear that a faction of the EU led by European Council President Donald Tusk and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz are pushing for some form of agreement with Egypt and other countries in North Africa to ensure there are incentives to continue stemming the flow of migrants into Europe. They once again revived this push at Wednesday’s informal meeting of 28 EU heads of state where the migration debate has taken front stage. The courtship is real, as Tusk and Kurz met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Sunday to discuss the issue, according to the Financial Times. The salmon-colored paper noted also that a number of EU diplomats have singing Egypt’s praises at the meeting.

At the heart of it are two factors: Europe’s failing disembarkation plan and Egypt’s success is keeping numbers of illegal migrants from its shores to Europe down. Tusk noted that the number of irregular departures from Egypt to Europe had fallen to none this year from almost 13,000 in 2016.

Adopting the Egypt model: Tusk also announced that the EU aims to hold a summit with Arab League states in February 2019 in Egypt, Reuters reports. While details of the summit were unavailable, the move will like see the EU negotiate with North African states for a Turkey-style aid for migrants agreement. The FT notes that EU officials have been visiting Morocco and Tunisia.

**#8 Egypt is the second-wealthiest country in Africa by total wealth, but a distant sixth in wealth per capita as measured in 2017, according to AfrAsia Bank’s Africa Wealth Report 2018 (pdf). South Africa led the list of the continent’s wealthiest countries. The report by the Mauritius-based bank drills into “wealth, luxury, prime property and wealth management trends in Africa.” The report estimates Africa’s luxury sector was worth USD 6 bn in 2017, including high-end cars, private jets, yachts, hotels, luxury clothing and accessories. Egypt’s luxury market is worth a paltry USD 0.3 bn compared with USD 2.2 bn for South Africa, it suggests. The Egyptian capital ranked the third richest African city with total wealth of USD 140 bn. Johannesburg and Cape Town top the list at USD 276 bn and USD 155 bn, respectively.

HNWI wealth management market: “Approximately USD 140 bn of African HNWI wealth is tied up with wealth managers and private banks,” the report estimates, saying, “we estimate the African wealth management market will grow by around 7% per annum over the next 10 years.”

Take it all with a heaping tablespoon of salt: The report, which also drills down into top luxury brands allegedly owned by the continent’s 1% (with absolutely no figures or market share) makes for fun reading. It is also entirely opaque about its data sources and methodology, citing almost invariably data provided by New World Wealth, which bills itself as a “global market research group” based in South Africa.

CORRECTION- Baker and Mckenzie acted as legal counsel to the African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank) in its USD 200 mn loan agreement with the EGPC to finance the expansion of state-owned MIDOR’s refinery, the law firm told us yesterday. Amwal Al Ghad had incorrectly reported that Shalakany Law Office had advised Afrexim. The story has been deleted from our website.


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Up Next

The E-Commerce Summit in Egypt takes place on Wednesday, 26 September.

The Egyptian-Sudanese ministerial committee will meet at the end of this month ahead of a presidential summit set to be held in Khartoum in October.

The Egypt-Romania business council will meet in Bucharest from 7-11 October, according to Al Mal.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be in New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations, which takes place in Washington DC according to Al Masry Al Youm. Expect the president to meet on the sidelines with US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. El Sisi will also meet with execs from 15-20 US companies, Al Shorouk reports.

AmCham and the Egypt-US Business Council will hold panel discussions in Cairo next month on project financing and renewable energy. Some 50 multinational organizations are due in town for the 23-25 October gathering, reports Al Mal. The IFC, EBRD, and AfreximBank will lead the first panel, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is set to attend the second one.

Egypt in the News

It is a blessedly quiet day for Egypt in the international press.

On Deadline

The real estate tax took another pummeling in the opinion pages yesterday, with Mahmoud Khalil calling it unnecessary, untimely and even a waste of effort. For one, he quotes Finance Ministry officials as saying that revenues from the new 2.5% tithe would only amount to EGP 5 bn. This is an insignificant number for the state budget, but makes all the difference to the people who are taxed. It is untimely as people are suffering from subsidy cuts and inflation, he writes for El Watan. Furthermore, the amount is also tiny compares to the EGP 400 bn in unsettled tax disputes, which should be a more pressing priority for the ministry, he added.

Briefly Noted

The second El Gouna Film Festival will kick off tonight at 6 pm C.L.T and run for eight days, according to the festival’s official guide (pdf). The festival will feature 50 short and long films from Egypt, Tunisia, Poland, Russia, the UK, South Africa, India, and Singapore, among others. Notable attendees include actors Patrick Dempsey as guest of honor, Sylvester Stallone, and Owen Wilson, according to Ahram Online.

Worth Watching

NASA launches new “laser” to study how much ice our home planet is losing: ICESat2 laser satellite took off this week to measure the height of ice on earth in order to determine how much of it was due to global warming. NASA will conduct tests four times a year to provide scientists with the rate ice is disappearing (watch, runtime 0:55). We, however, could not watch this without thinking back to our favorite laser-obsessed villain.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Investment Minister Sahar Nasr met with German officials this week to discuss strengthening cooperation across different sectors, including energy, environment and education, according to a ministry statement. The delegation, which included Claudia Warning from the Economics Ministry’s Development Cooperation department, stressed Germany’s commitment to supporting the Egyptian economy, praising recent economic reforms.

Egypt’s ceasefire negotiations with Israel stalled, leading to heated Palestinian border protests, reports the Associated Press. Egypt brokered ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas last Month, giving Palestinians living under the Gaza blockade renewed hopes of eased restrictions.


Oil Ministry sees 10% consumption increase in fuel and gas this year

The Oil Ministry expects domestic consumption of fuel to increase 10.2% y-o-y to 35.5 mn tonnes in FY2018-19, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Masrawy. Natural gas consumption is projected to increase 10.46% y-o-y this year. As Egypt’s concessions come online the ministry is looking to reducing its dependence on fuel in favor of natural gas by 4.87%, he added.


Venice port in talks with Alex customs to cooperate as part of One Belt, One Road

The port of Venice is expected to sign an MoU soon with the Alexandria Customs Authority which would help increase movement of ships between them, Port Authority President Pino Musolino said, Italy’s ANSAMed reports. The move is part of both authorties’ commitment to increase cooperation as part of the China-led One Belt, One Road initiative.

Basic Materials + Commodities

GASC purchases 475k tonnes of Russian, Ukrainian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 475k tonnes of wheat from seven international companies in a tender on Tuesday for delivery in November, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. 60,000 tonnes were bought from Ukraine, while the rest came from Russia. The lowest offer GASC received for the first batch was USD 243.10 per tonne FOB for 60k tonnes.

Health + Education

El Sisi inaugurates Japanese schools, renovated health facilities

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated on Tuesday a number of Japanese schools in Menoufia, Giza, and Shebin El Koum, according to an Ittihadiya statement. He also opened newly renovated public hospitals, which cost the state EGP 256 mn to upgrade.


Prosecutor General rules definitively that e-coli was the ultimate cause in holiday-gate deaths

The Prosecutor General released his report on the investigation into the sudden deaths of UK holidaymakers John and Susan Cooper following a stay at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada last month, according to a statement from the Tourism Ministry (pdf). The report puts John Cooper’s death down to a cardiac arrest and respiratory failure after a bout of acute intestinal dysentery as a result of e-coli. Cooper’s death was caused by an infection of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) that was likely caused by e-coli infection in the same room. You can catch the full report here.

Archaeologists unearth linen-wrapped mummy in stone coffin in Aswan

Archaeologists unearthed a sandstone sarcophagus that houses a mummy wrapped in linen in Aswan’s Aga Khan, according to an Antiquities Ministry statement. The items date back to the late period of Ancient Egypt.

Automotive + Transportation

New capital monorail derailed again?

It appears that some contractors bidding on the new capital-6 October monorail have lost their appetite for the project, with two “of the leading bidders” pulling out of the tender, sources tell Amwal Al Ghad. They added that the move has delayed announcing the winning bid until October. The tender project had been fraught with delays since 2015.

Banking + Finance

Samcrete asks NBE for bigger credit facility to finance growing projects

Samcrete Egypt Engineers and Contractors has asked to increase the size of a credit facility it’s negotiating with National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to nearly EGP 3.2 bn to finance the growing number of projects it’s handling, Al Mal reported. The company’s negotiations with NBE had begun in March over a EGP 2.5 bn loan.

Other Business News of Note

Arab Contractors wins USD 54 mn contract to upgrade road in Uganda

Arab Contractors announced yesterday winning a USD 54 mn contract to upgrade the Masaka- Bukakata road in Uganda, Chairman Mohamed Salah said. The project is funded through a loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development and the OPEC Fund for International Development to the Ugandan government, according to Chimp Reports.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Court upholds 3-month sentence against prominent rights lawyer

A court upheld on Wednesday a suspended three-month prison sentence against rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khalid Ali for making an obscene gesture during a 2017 protest against the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, Reuters’ Arabic service reports. Wednesday’s court decision can be appealed, the report said.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian-French actor Gamil Rateb passed away yesterday, Ahram Online reports. Rateb, who was 92, is well known for his many appearances in film and TV over the years, including in the 1962-Oscar winning historical movie Lawrence of Arabia. Rateb was eulogized on the airwaves last night, with Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer airing a previous interview (watch, runtime: 2:05). Masaa DMC also ran a special report on Rateb (watch, runtime: 4:49).

American rapper and five-time Grammy Award nominee Flo Rida visited Egypt’s Giza pyramids this week, Egypt Today reported.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.85 | Sell 17.95
Buy 17.86 | Sell 17.96
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,099 (-3.8%)
Turnover: EGP 967 mn (26% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -6.1%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 index ended Wednesday’s session down 3.8%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 2.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Egyptian Iron and Steel down 9.3%, Emaar Misr down 9.0%, and Arab Cotton Ginning down 8.6%. The market turnover was EGP 967 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +55.8 mn

Regional: Net Long | EGP +55.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -111.6 mn

Retail: 52.4% of total trades | 45.9% of buyers | 58.9% of sellers
Institutions: 47.6% of total trades | 54.1% of buyers | 41.1% of sellers

Foreign: 26.3% of total | 29.2% of buyers | 23.4% of sellers
Regional: 8.6% of total | 11.5% of buyers | 5.7% of sellers
Domestic: 65.1% of total | 59.3% of buyers | 70.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 71.12 (+1.82%)
Brent: USD 79.30 (+0.34%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.91 MMBtu, (-0.85%, Oct 2018)
Gold: USD 1,208.30 / troy ounce (+0.45%)

TASI: 7,729.65 (+1.13%) (YTD: +6.97%)
ADX: 4,884.06 (+0.16%) (YTD: +11.04%)
DFM: 2,740.68 (-0.08%) (YTD: -18.68%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,321.98 (-0.32%)
QE: 9,805.40 (-0.18%) (YTD: +15.04%)
MSM: 4,485.06 (-0.24%) (YTD: -12.05%)
BB: 1,340.06 (+0.08%) (YTD: +0.63%)

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

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.

25 September (Tuesday): President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in New York for UN General Assembly.

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.

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.

23-25 October (Tuesday-Thursday): AmCham and Egypt-US Business Council hosting panel discussions on project finance and renewable energy. IFC, EBRD and AfreximBank are slated to be among the participants.

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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