Monday, 24 September 2018

Hungry treasury eyes billboards, cell towers


What We’re Tracking Today

Yields on EGP-denominated short-term treasuries continue to rise, central bank data showed, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. An auction yesterday saw yields on 91-day bills rise to 19.62% from 19.43%, while yields at the nine-month auction rose to 19.84% from 19.75% previously. The Finance Ministry has called off three treasury bond auctions this month as a result of soaring yields amid a wider emerging market sell-off.

The higher yields have not put a damper on Egypt’s sale of debt instruments, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait tells Al Mal. The call-off of three auctions is an indication that the state is not being forced to accept investors’ demands for yields beyond “logical limits,” the minister said.

UK Trade Envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is in Cairo with a delegation of unnamed British companies eyeing investments in the finance, technology, education, health, and other “future-focused” sectors, according to a statement from the British Embassy in Cairo. It’s Donaldson’s eighth visit to Egypt in two years. Sir Jeffrey will meet with the ministers of finance, public enterprises, health, oil, planning, and electricity while in town.

El Sisi discusses EU migration pact? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, in New York for the UN General Assembly, met yesterday with European Council President Donald Tusk and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to discuss Egypt’s efforts to stem illegal migration, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The sit-down comes just days after Kurz nudged his EU counterparts to begin formal talks with Egypt on expanding cooperation on migration and potentially reaching a Turkey-style assistance pact, as we noted yesterday. El Sisi also met yesterday with the UAE’s foreign minister, according to an Ittihadiya statement.

The president is expected to meet with US President Donald Trump this week. The sit-down will be the first between the two presidents since El Sisi won a second term — and since the Trump administration normalized annual military aid to Egypt. El Sisi is also expected to meet with US business leaders and to hold talks on the sidelines with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as with the leaders of Israel, Britain, France, South Korea and Japan. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is also in New York and has met with UNDP administrator Achim Steiner as well as his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

**#3 You are forewarned: The House is due back in session next week. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi issued yesterday a decree calling the House of Representatives back into session for its fall term on Tuesday, 2 October at 10am, Ahram Gate reports. The House is looking at a stacked legislative agenda for its fourth session, but will prioritize the Local Administration Act, Criminal Procedures Act, and the new Social Security and Pensions Act, spokesman Salah Hasaballah said yesterday, according to Al Shorouk.

House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal is celebrating his final days of freedom with a jaunt to Ireland,where he will meet with Irish legislators, reports Ahram Gate.

**#2 Actis has apparently landed the right to manage Abraaj’s Africa funds, the Financial Times claims, citing an email sent to Abraaj staff that reportedly says liquidators chose the EM private equity specialist because of the “level of on the ground diligence undertaken, flexibility in their approach and immediate working capital support.” Colony Capital is apparently in line to take over Abraaj’s Latin American funds, while Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management could take the Turkish fund and Abu Dhabi Financial Group is still gunning for “legacy” Mideast assets. “The liquidators’ attempts to sell Abraaj Investment Management Limited, the group’s funds platform, have floundered amid resistance from investors,” the FT adds, noting that, “Actis could become a sub-manager for a broader range of Abraaj funds on behalf of investors pending the completion of due diligence, people aware of the matter said. Liquidators are finalising documentation before limited partners (LPs), the fund investors, are asked to approve the transfer of the management rights away from Abraaj.”

You know (of) Actis even if you’re not in PE. The company’s North African investments include LSE-traded, Cairo-headquartered consumer healthcare multinational IDH. Former portfolio companies include snackfoods giant Edita, fast-food chain Mo’men and halawa and tahina maker Rashidi El Mizan. You can explore Actis’ portfolio here.

“New” OPIC could have USD 60 bn lending ceiling to counter Chinese “economic warfare”: Readers will recall we have previously noted the Trump administration intends to beef up OPIC, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a development finance agency it now sees as crucial to a “commercial diplomacy” bid to outgun China. The Financial Times is now back on the story, quoting OPIC’s president and CEO as saying that the new agency will be able to “invest up to USD 60 bn in the developing world in an effort to counter what some in Washington describe as China’s use of debt to wage ‘economic warfare.’” Legislation to create the proposed International Development Finance Corporation has reportedly been “sold to the president.” Backers hope the so-called Build Act (Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development), which passed the US House of Representatives in August, will pass the Senate before midterm elections in November.

Should you care? Only if you run a bank or need to close and infrastructure project and could use a few extra bn in financing. OPIC has previously backed or proposed backing Qalaa Holdings (back in 2011), oil and gas player Apache, CIB, Carbon Holdings’ Tahrir Petrochemicals Corporation and microfinance players, among others.

Expect oil at around USD 80 for a while to come. Crude inched up again yesterday as Washington prepares to implement new sanctions on Iranian oil as early as next week, Reuters reports. “OPEC producers largely agree that oil prices above USD 80 a barrel would be too high. But there is widespread disagreement on how the cartel and its allies should contain crude prices,” the Wall Street Journal adds in its wrap-up of a meeting in Algiers yesterday between OPEC members and non-member producers. Producers were reportedly lukewarm to The Donald’s demand that they ramp up production to reduce prices.

It’s Domesday for US equities, and you have the tech sector to thank. There might just be hyperbole running through that statement, but it’s not ours: It’s the theme running through one end of the international business press, with both Business Insider and CNBC tipping suggestions that a “perfect storm” is brewing in stocks. What gives? An analyst’s report noting that “42% of the S&P 500’s gains since the stock market’s correction in early February” is accounted for by tech and tech-led shares such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft, Google, Visa, and Mastercard.

It’s only fitting that this kind of talk should surface on the second day of autumn — the Wall Street Journal reminds us that “Some of the worst days in Wall Street’s history have hit during September and October. But that’s no reason to panic.”

In miscellany this morning:

  • Of insurance and totalitarianism: A top US insurer will soon start to sell you only if you agree to track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones. (Reuters)
  • Do stoned lobsters feel pain? Do octopuses (octopi? octopodes?) really get happy on ecstasy?
  • Google’s fall event is coming up on 3 October, and there are plenty of leaks to ponder. We’re unabashed iSheep. We also like stock Android very much, having owned Nexus and Pixel devices and flashed ROMs onto both a Samsung S4 and an HTC One because the Google Play Edition was not available domestically.

Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco have a lower rate of criminal violence than counterpart cities in the West, according to a UN Office on Drugs and Crime report (pdf) picked up by the Wall Street Journal. Just sayin’.

PSA #1- Expect cloudy skies and, possibly, “somewhat heavy” rainfall in coastal cities for the balance this week, says Egyptian weather office boss Ahmed Abdel Aal, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

PSA #2- 60k gov’t schools are back in session. God grant us all patience on the roads this morning.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to New York for the UN General Assembly continued to dominate the conversation on the airwaves last night.

Journalists on the ground in New York called in to recap the president’s visits yesterday (we have the details in What We’re Tracking Today, above), but provided little by way of analysis (watch, runtime: 6:46 and runtime: 12:11). Former Assistant Foreign Minister Mohamed Hegazy noted that El Sisi’s time in the US should be positive for investment in Egypt, as he is due to meet with American businessmen and investors (watch, runtime: 9:15).

Also highly anticipated is El Sisi’s scheduled meeting with US President Donald Trump, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib said (watch, runtime: 1:51).

Masaa DMC had a chat with former US national security advisor Robert McFarlane, who had plenty of praise for Egypt’s efforts to fight terrorism, and stressed the importance of supporting Egypt’s economic recovery (watch, runtime: 37:33).

**#8 Welcome to amateur hour. (Or: Why you should never trust anyone other than Lamees El Hadidy to talk about the economy on the airwaves). Hona Al Asema featured last night one of the most insipid, ham-handed discussions of the economy we’ve sat through in ages — and that’s saying something.

On the subject of whether there’s a bubble forming in the real estate market, ARDIC CEO Ashraf Dowidar argued that that’s “not necessarily” the case, adding that he sees real estate prices continuing on an upwards trajectory as long as FX rates remain at their current levels. The head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ real estate division, Tarek Shokr, also sees the sector as “strong and stable,” as is evidenced by (wait for it) its sizeable contribution to the country’s GDP. Economist Abeer Rashdan, meanwhile, is concerned that the real estate sector is somehow growing faster than other sectors that “better serve” the economy (watch, runtime: 13:33 and runtime: 10:20).

(Not that the depth of reporting on the web is any better: The real estate sector is bouncing back from the challenges it faced post the float of the EGP and is poised for further growth, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Middle East Edition says. The sources? An Oxford Business Group analyst and a 1Q2018 Jones Lang LaSalle report that together declare that real estate has retained its position as one of Egypt’s fastest-growing industries despite the pains of fiscal and policy reforms. Caveat lector: The Middle East edition of Bloomberg Businessweek appears to be a licensed publication, written and edited by folks other than the good people who bring you the business information service’s terminals, websites and the principal edition of Bloomberg Businessweek.)

Meanwhile: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly visited Assiut yesterday, during which he visited several informal settlements, schools, and hospitals. The prime minister — who also remains the housing minister — spoke on access to clean water and sanitation, according to Hona Al Asema’s correspondent (watch, runtime: 6:45). Madbouly also ordered the relocation of an organic fertilizers plant away from residential areas, Assiut Governor Gamal Nour El Din told Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 6:42).

All of the woes attendant to the first day of school were hot topics for several talking heads, including Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim (watch, runtime: 48:21), El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 1:41), and Masaa DMC’s Eman Al Hosary (watch, runtime: 5:36).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

**#1 EXCLUSIVE- Hungry treasury looks to collect real estate taxes on billboards, cell phone towers: The government is looking to step up its collection of real estate taxes payable on sites used for billboards and mobile network towers, a government source tells Enterprise. The Tax Authority is currently conducting a sweep of the country’s towers and billboards, which will be treated as real estate and subjected to a tax equivalent to 10% of their rent value. The levy will be payable retroactively until 2013. The move comes as the Finance Ministry is working to meet its budget deficit target in part by ensuring “ensuring the state gets what it is owed,” a government source told us earlier this week. As we noted yesterday, the Finance Ministry is on track to revise its budget deficit target for FY2018-19 to 8.6%, up from an original forecast of 8.4%, thanks to high oil prices and rising US interest rates.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Hotels and factories to be exempt from changes to real estate tax system? On the subject of the real estate tax: Forthcoming amendments to the real estate tax will only apply to residential properties, sources familiar with the matter tell Al Mal. The tax treatment of industrial and commercial properties such as factories and hotels will remain the same after new legislation is passed, they said, adding that the change of heart came after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi intervened. The ministries of oil and tourism had recently signed agreements with the Finance Ministry on the calculation of real estate taxes for their respective sectors as part of a broader overhaul of the real estate tax formula, which has been met with backlash. The Finance Ministry had said it was planning to introduce new “clear and simplified” guidelines for the treatment of oil and gas sector properties, as well as others such as hotels and airports. Changes to the tax system are meant to widen the government’s tax base and increase inflows into state coffers.

**#4 M&A WATCH- Ezdehar is among several bidders looking to snag Spinney’s from Abraaj, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. The owners are expected to settle on a buyer and complete the transaction in a month’s time, they add. The newspaper did not name the other bidders. We had reported earlier this month that five unnamed PE firms were in very early stages of talks to acquire stake in Spinney’s from Egyptian shareholders looking to exit their investments, and that our friends at Pharos Holding were advising on the sale.

**#5 M&A WATCH- TE to acquire additional stake in EISCC for USD 15 mn, gaining full control over MENA Submarine Cable: Telecom Egypt (TE) announced yesterday that its board of directors approved the acquisition of an additional 50% stake in its subsidiary the Egyptian International Submarine Cable Company (EISCC) for USD 15 mn. The move should allow TE to consolidate fully revenues from MENA Cable, which EISCC recently acquired from Orascom Investment Holding in a USD 90 mn transaction, according to a company press release (pdf). “The completion of today’s transaction marks the second fully owned submarine cable by Telecom Egypt in addition to TE North,” said TE CEO Ahmed El Beheiry.

**#6 Naguib Sawiris’ Koryolink will reportedly be able to repatriate its profits from North Korea to Egypt now that it’s been cleared by the UN to continue operating in Pyongyang free of sanctions, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. Sawiris’ Orascom Investment Holding (OIH, previously known as OTMT), which owns 75% of Koryolink, had petitioned the UN Security Council through the Egyptian government almost a year ago asking for an exemption from sanctions put in place to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program. Sawiris broke the news via Twitter on Thursday that the company had been cleared for business.

The scope of the exemption, however, remains to be seen, OIH said in a filing to the EGX yesterday (pdf), with promises to update the public as soon as it receives written documents from the UN with the decision. OIH said it was notified of the UN’s decision on Thursday by the Egyptian embassy in Washington, DC. OIH’s shares shot up to their daily limit yesterday on news of the exemption, according to Reuters.

Naguib has a long, difficult history with Koryolink, where he effectively lost control of the asset in 2015. North Korean hackers are alleged to have taken down OTMT’s tech systems during a shareholder dispute earlier this year.

In other company news, OIH announced yesterday that its board of directors approved the acquisition of 100% of the Nile Sugar Company, according to an EGX filing (pdf). No further details about the transaction were disclosed.

**#7 The new elementary school curriculum came into effect yesterday on the first day of the new school year. The Sisi administration’s new primary education system officially came into effect yesterday as some 60k public schools opened their doors to students for the 2018-19 academic year, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The new system does away with primary-level education certificates to students after sixth grade and is meant to bolster Arabic-language education and move away from rote memorization. The second phase of the program, due to roll out in September 2019, will make it mandatory to teach subjects including science, technology, engineering, and math in English at the middle school level.

The Education Ministry has also received the first batch of educational tablets it intends to hand out to students, which will be used to administer final exams, Minister Tarek Shawki said yesterday, according to Al Mal. The first batch includes 100k tablets and another 100k devices are scheduled for delivery within the next few days. A total of 700k tablets should be supplied by the end of October, Shawki said. The ministry had contracted Samsung to supply 1 mn tablets for the 2018-19 academic year at a cost of USD 240 mn.

The Arab Monetary Fund sees the Egyptian economy growing at 5% clip in 2018 and accelerating to 5.5% next year, according to its latest Arab Economic Outlook report (pdf). The report praises economic reforms for driving higher export volumes and making Egypt a top recipient of FDI in the Arab world. On the flipside, high poverty and unemployment rates remain the country’s biggest challenge moving forward, and require the state to focus on creating jobs for young, educated citizens and women, the report says.

Have Qatari agents been hacking Egyptian officials’ emails? Egyptian officials were reportedly among “hundreds” of victims of cyber attacks by hackers linked to the Qatari government, US lobbyist Elliott Broidy claims, according to the National. Broidy, who has been vocal in advocating against Qatar’s policies, “has accused the Doha government of hacking his accounts, stealing his emails, and distributing them to US media and other outlets through lobbyists and PR firms that it hired.” Senior officials from the UAE, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain were also reportedly victims of the hackers.


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Up Next

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will reportedly disburse the third and final USD 500 mn tranche of a USD 1.5 bn loan to Egypt “within days.”

The E-Commerce Summit in Egypt takes place this Wednesday.

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.

Image of the Day

Yemen’s Aden port never recovered from the 1967 Egypt-Israel war: Before the war, the port of Aden was booming: “Restaurants were full, and the docks busy. Workers chewed khat, turning their mouths blood red as cargo ships anchored in port, some on their way to Europe. The ancient city had been a bustling hub for millennia,” says OZY. But as the Suez Canal remained blocked from the start of the war and until 1975, Aden lost its prominent position along the coastline. Competitors “from Djibouti to Dubai” swooped in to replace it as the long-distance port of choice for ships taking that route, preventing the once-bustling port from ever making a full recovery. “Today, Aden is in exceptionally dire straits,” with a civil war killing thousands as it rages on.

Egypt in the News

An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced former Ikhwan leader Mohammed Badie and 87 others to life in prison over violence in Minya in 2013, judicial sources told Reuters’ Arabic service. Dozens tried for the same case received sentences ranging from 2-15 years, while 463 others were acquitted, the sources said. Sunday’s verdict, which can be appealed, is the latest in a string of life sentences handed down to Badie since he was arrested following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Just last month, the 75-year-old was given a life sentence on charges related to the killing of seven people in 2013.

The story is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with the Associated Press and AFP among those taking note.

Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem sent a letter to The Donald pleading for release from an Egyptian prison, ABC news reports. Kassem is among those serving jail-time over the Rabaa Al Adawiya sit-in. He has been in detention since 2013 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison at this month’s court hearing. The story has also been picked up by The Hill.

Worth Watching

Women-led car wash service challenges social norms: The two Egyptian women who decided to breach the male-dominated market of car washes are not just earning their living, but also challenging social norms, according to Africa News. As the owners of Egypt’s first female-led car wash, Mona Kola and Dalia Sweillam, are hoping to grow their business in the future and plan to hire a full woman-only staff as they expand (watch, runtime: 3:10).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

An Egyptian security delegation has reportedly presented Hamas officials with new proposed measures for reconciliation with Fatah during a meeting in Gaza on Saturday, the London-based Al-Hayat reported yesterday. Among the suggestions was a public endorsement from Hamas for Palestinian President Mohamed Abbas ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting this week, which Hamas has refused to do. The delegation, which is said to include a number of high-ranking security and intelligence officials, heads to Ramallah next for meetings with Fatah. Egypt has been trying to mediate talks between both rivaling Palestinian factions, as well as between Hamas and Israel in an effort to de-escalate rising tensions and prepare for wider Arab-Israeli peace talks.

FBI Director Christopher Wray was in Egypt last week as part of a regional tour that also took him to Kuwait, Jordan, and Lebanon, according to a press statement by the FBI. Wray met with national security and law enforcement officials in each country to discuss bilateral security cooperation.

Malaysian trade delegation in town to talk increasing trade: A Malaysian trade delegation led by Deputy Minister of Primary Industries Shamsul Iskandar Md. Akin arrived in Cairo yesterday to meet with Egypt’s Supply Minister Ali Moselhy and other trade officials in an effort to promote bilateral trade, reports Al Mal. Malaysia is looking to increase its exports of palm oil and rubber products to Egypt.


Oil Ministry agrees with IOCs to expedite work on Zohr, 9B, North Alexandria fields

The Oil Ministry has reached an agreement with Eni, Shell, and BP to expedite their work on the Zohr, 9B, and North Alexandria fields and link them to the national grid ahead of schedule, an unnamed source tells Al Masdar. No further details were provided on when the companies expect to complete their work on the fields. The move comes as the ministry looks to plug Egypt’s natural gas supply gap as soon as possible as the country works towards becoming a net gas exporter. The three fields are expected to produce a combined 800 mcf/d during the current fiscal year.

Gov’t to finalize Ataqa power station agreement with Sinohydro in December

The Electricity Ministry is expected to sign in December the final contracts with China’s Sinohydro for the development of a USD 2.6 bn, 2.4 GW pumped-storage hydroelectricity power station in Ataqa, sources from the Hydro Power Plants Executive Authority tell Amwal Al Ghad. The power plant acquired the final environmental approvals earlier this month. Egypt and Sinohydro signed the initial contracts during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s recent visit to China.

Germany’s Voith to build EUR 30 mn 80 MW hydroelectric plants in Egypt

Voith Hydro, a subsidiary of Germany’s Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA, will build EUR 30 mn-worth of small scale hydroelectric plants with combined electricity generation capacities of up to 80 MW across Egypt’s Al Delta and Al Qanater, sources from the Hydro Power Plant Executive Authority said, according to Amwal Al Ghad. Voith Hydro is expected to submit feasibility studies for the plants within two weeks. German development bank KfW is planning to fund the plants’ construction.


Civil Aviation Ministry establishes airport construction JV with private sector

Minister of Civil Aviation Younis El Masry approved on Saturday the establishment of a construction joint venture with a focus on airports and air travel, according to a ministry statement. The company will be 60% owned by the public sector and 40% held by private companies. Shareholders will include The Egyptian Airports Company and Cairo Airport Company as well as Orascom Construction and Archirodon. The new company’s first project is renovation work at Cairo Airport’s Terminal 1 departure hall.

GAFI set to launch Minya textiles freezone before year’s end

The General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) is set to launch the Minya textiles freezone before year’s end, GAFI’s legal advisor to the CEO Amr Nour El Din told reporters yesterday, according to Al Mal. Investment Minister Sahar Nasr had announced last year plans to set up the freezone, which is ultimately aimed at becoming a textiles hub.


VGI breaks ground on second phase of EGP 2 bn waste recycling facility in Qena

US-based Vernbro Global Investment (VGI) has broken ground on the second phase of its EGP 2 bn agricultural waste recycling facility in Qena, Chairman Ashraf Dous told Amwal Al Ghad. The first phase of the factory, which VGI completed two months ago, extracts fibers from banana trees. The second phase, which is slated for completion in 2019, will use these fibers to produce sellable products, including paperboards and egg cartons.

Automotive + Transportation

NAT to sign Cairo Metro Line 3 management contracts with RATP end-October

The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) will reportedly sign at the end of October the management contracts for Cairo Metro Line 3 with France’s RATP, sources close to the matter tell Al Mal. The contracts, which are currently being drafted, are expected to set the exact share of the state’s profits from the line and determine a payment settlement system that also factors in RATP’s share of service and maintenance costs. The NAT had been in talks with the French public transport operator to establish a joint venture to operate Line 3 that would be split 80/20, with NAT being the majority owner. The NAT has been waiting on amendments to the law regulating its operations to finalize the agreements for the new company. Zaki Hashem & Partners are acting as legal advisors to RATP.

Transport Ministry studying new railway project linking Egypt with Saudi’s Madinah

The Transport Ministry is reportedly studying a new railway project that could link Egypt to Saudi Arabia, according to Egyptian Company for Pipe and Cement Products (Siegwart) Chairman Farouk Hendawy. The 1,254 km line should extend from Suez to Madinah in Saudi, he tells Al Mal, adding that it would require around EGP 2 bn worth of concrete flanks, which his company is already supplying to various Cairo Metro and railway upgrade projects, including the Alamein-Ain Sokhna line. No further details were provided.

EATC looks to supply Egypt with VW-branded ambulance vehicles

The Egyptian Automotive and Trading Company (EATC), the Audi and Volkswagen distributor in Egypt, is in talks with the Health Ministry to supply 800 Volkswagen-branded ambulances to upgrade the ministry’s fleet, product manager of VW at EATC Mohamed Murad tells Al Mal. Murad did not provide further details on the expected cost of the supply agreement. EATC had previously supplied the ministry with another 800 ambulances.

Banking + Finance

NBE increases exchange arm capital to EGP 125 mn from EGP 50 mn

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is raising the capital of its foreign exchange arm to EGP 125 mn from EGP 50 mn, Al-Ahly Exchange Company Chairman Abdel Meguid Mohie El Din tells Al Shorouk. The capital increase is in line with plans to increase the number of the company’s exchange bureaus across the country. Al-Ahly Exchange is looking to launch 13 new branches before the end of the year, bringing their total number up to 30. The number of branches is expected to reach 50 by 2020.

Other Business News of Note

IFC, Banque Misr sign agreement to expand financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs

Banque Misr signed yesterday an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to help increase the number of women-led businesses receiving financing from Banque Misr as part of its SME portfolio, according to an emailed statement (pdf). “IFC will work with Banque Misr to conduct market research on the needs of women in business; provide access to global best practice; and develop and implement a sustainable business model for its women banking program.” The agreement will also see the two institutions working to help informal micro enterprises, which the statement notes are often owned by women, go legit.

Egypt, Jordan sign cooperation agreement on e-commerce and money transfer

Egypt Post and Jordan Post Company signed an agreement to facilitate online shopping for Jordanians that will see shipments from online retailers in the UK, USA, and China processed at a logistics center at Cairo International Airport before being shipped to Jordan, Egypt Post head Essam El Saghir said, according to Al Shorouk. The agreement also entails launching a money transfer service for Egyptian expats in Jordan.

Panama’s Active Capital Reinsurance announces planned expansion into Egypt

Panama-based Active Capital Reinsurance Ltd. is planning to expand into Egypt through partnership agreements with Egyptian insurers, Executive Vice President Ramon Martinez said, Al Mal reports. Martinez did not provide further details.

Banque du Caire looking to set up a security firm

Banque du Caire is looking into potentially establishing a security company as part of its plan to expand its scope of activities, head of investments Mohamed Ragai tells Al Mal. The bank is also eyeing several other investment options, including acquiring already-established companies that offer services to complement the bank’s activities.

National Security

Egypt, India to boost military cooperation and hold bilateral wargames

Egypt and India have agreed to hold joint military drills more frequently in a bid to boost defense cooperation, reports the Times of India. The agreement came during a meeting between Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in Cairo, according to an Armed Forces statement.

On Your Way Out

The National rounded up its top picks from Red Carpet dresses at the Gouna Film Festival, which kicked off last Thursday and will run until 28 September at the Red Sea resort town. Check out the collection here.

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 (Sunday): 14,261 (+1.3%)
Turnover: EGP 501 mn (34% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -5.0%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 index ended Sunday’s session up 1.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended up 0.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Orascom Investment Holding up 9.9%, Ibnsina Pharma up 7.4%, and EFG Hermes up 6.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were AMOC down 0.7%, Egypt Aluminum down 0.4%, and Orascom Construction flat. The market turnover was EGP 501 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +6.5 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +50.6 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -57.1 mn

Retail: 57.9% of total trades | 58.6% of buyers | 57.3% of sellers
Institutions: 42.1% of total trades | 41.4% of buyers | 42.7% of sellers

Foreign: 17.3% of total | 17.9% of buyers | 16.6% of sellers
Regional: 11.0% of total | 16.0% of buyers | 6.0% of sellers
Domestic: 71.7% of total | 66.0% of buyers | 77.4% of sellers

WTI: USD 71.53 (+1.06%)
Brent: USD 79.71 (+1.15%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.96 MMBtu, (-0.67%, Oct 2018)
Gold: USD 1,201.00 / troy ounce (-0.02%)

TASI: 7,768.31 (+0.50%) (YTD: +7.50%)
ADX: 4,892.16 (+0.18%) (YTD: +11.22%)
DFM: 2,761.94 (-0.09%) (YTD: -18.05%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,288.75 (-1.38%)
QE: 9,768.91 (+0.03%) (YTD: +14.61%)
MSM: 4,486.42 (-0.20%) (YTD: -12.02%)
BB: 1,351.44 (+0.85%) (YTD: +1.48%)

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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.

23-24 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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