Thursday, 4 October 2018

CBE is managing EGP “quite closely,” Credit Suisse claims

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

<rant>It’s anyone’s guess whether your business will be open on Sunday. Government employees are off on Sunday, 7 October in observance of Armed Forces Day, Youm7 reports, citing an announcement by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday, 6 October, so Sunday is a replacement day for government employees.

That said, we have yet to see anything from the central bank or stock exchange suggesting it will be a day off for the private sector.

Now that they’re back from summer vacation, perhaps our elected representatives could pass a law simply stating that as a matter of policy, all holidays that fall on a weekend result in a compensatory day off the following workday. Or that they don’t. Or that “these holidays work that way, but those holidays don’t — in perpetuity.” At this point, it’s not about the lost productivity from the ‘extra’ holidays, but about the lost productivity from managers constantly debating whether (a) Sunday is a holiday and (b) accordingly, whether or not to schedule deliverables / meetings / whatever that day.

At the risk of being Scrooge: We take too many holidays. Seventeen of them in 2017, when reader Davide C. calculated that only one holiday fell on a Friday or Saturday that was not replaced with a compensatory weekday off. We have the fifth-highest number of holidays in the world, according to Davide’s research. Italy, which he (correctly) figures is our nearest European sibling (culturally, to say nothing of proximity) observes 12 days off: 11 national holidays and one local holiday unique to each city. But when an Italian national holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday? You just lose the day or receive extra pay, depending on your employer.

What did that mean for 2017 when all was said and done? Egypt took 17 national holidays — and Italy an average of 9.4. </rant>

Next week will be all about the outlook for the global economy in 2019 as the IMF and World Bank hold their annual meetings 8-14 October in Jakarta, Indonesia. Expect the durability of the “ongoing recovery” and prospects for the “next crisis” to be high on the minds of the Grand Wizards of the Global Financial System as they convene. The landing page for the meetings is here.

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook is set to be released in the wee hours of Tuesday, 9 October. That’s when the fund gives its view on the growth outlook for the global economy, emerging markets, MENA and Egypt. As is customary, two chapters are already out:

Also worth reading on the IMF blog: A decade after Lehman, the financial system is safer. Now we must avoid reform fatigue. Preachy? Yup. Relevant? Absolutely.

The domestic press is confused. Shocking, we know.Many outlets have mistaken a World Bank report yesterday on digital transformation in MENA to be the IMF’s World Economic Outlook update. We have more on that in the Speed Round.

EM Zombie Apocalypse to taper off this year, says IIF: Despite a sharp drop in portfolio flows, inflows to emerging markets are expected to stabilize this year, with FDI and other investment flows (mainly banking) holding up well, according to a report from the Institute of International Finance (IIF) (pdf). Inflows to emerging markets will slip to USD 1.14 tn in 2018 from USD 1.26 tn in 2017 and remain broadly stable at USD 1.13 tn in 2019. “This pullback will reduce flows to 3.7% of EM GDP this year—still higher than the 2014-2017 average of 3.4%,” the report said.

The night is darkest before the dawn: “After a notable decline in asset prices and widespread currency depreciation, EM valuations and fund allocations—particularly for equities—have reached levels that should trigger some rebalancing in favor of EM,” the report says.

Downside risks: “While further Fed tightening seems largely priced in, rising U.S.-China trade tensions and China-related policy uncertainty may keep investor sentiment cautious towards emerging markets.”

New GERD manager hired: The Ethiopian government appointed engineer Kifle Horo as the new manager of the USD 4.8 bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Anadolu reports. Horo replaces Simegnew Bekele who 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. Police later said Bekele committed suicide, ending speculation that Egypt — whose relationship with Ethiopia has been strained by the prospect of GERD choking off our access to Nile water — may have been involved.

Some miscellany for your morning commute or if you have the luxury of time for a second cup of coffee before hitting the road / starting your first meeting / signing into that conference call:

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who “harnessed the power of evolution” in their work, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced yesterday (pdf). America’s Frances Arnold was awarded half the prize for the “directed evolution of enzymes,” while the UK’s Sir Gregory Winter and the US’ George Smith share the second half for developing a method known as phage display. The Nobel peace prize will be announced tomorrow, while the prize for economic sciences is to be unveiled on Monday.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The airwaves served up another batch of randomly-assorted topics last night, ranging from Egypt’s economic growth targets, to a parliamentary Eurotrip and the rehabilitation of state-owned companies.

Egypt is expected to hit the economic growth targets set by the World Bank in its most recent report on digital transformation in the region, economics professor Yomn El Hamaky told Al Hayah fi Misr (we have more on that in the Speed Round, below). Egypt’s economy is recovering and on the right track and has a host of opportunities to offer to investors, she said, adding that one thing the government needs to focus its efforts on in the coming period should be an export development strategy (watch, runtime: 7: 47).

House reps are planning a Eurotrip? The new head of the House of Representatives’ Human Rights Committee, Alaa Abed, told Masaa DMC that he was planning a tour of European cities soon to meet with various officials to address their concerns over human rights conditions in Egypt and explain what the situation is actually like. Industry Committee chair Farag Amer also told host Osama Kamal that he would be working on a new strategy to spur industrial development (watch, runtime: 16:17).

Meanwhile, the Social Solidarity Committee will be reviewing laws on labor, social welfare, personal status, committee member Mohamed Abo Hamed told Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 5:48).

Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik met with German and Italian business delegations yesterday, he told Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer. The ministry is looking for partners to either consult on or collaborate in the development of state-owned companies, he added noting that talks with the Italian delegation focused mostly on opportunities in spinning and weaving. Tawfik also said that the government is working on steering some 25 companies out of loss territory (watch, runtime: 7:05).

Hona Al Asema did not air last night.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IN THEIR OWN WORDS- Credit Suisse claims the central bank is “quite closely” managing the EGP. Asked during an appearance yesterday on Bloomberg’s morning show whether high oil prices mean the EGP could come under pressure, Credit Suisse’s head of Middle East research Fahd Iqbal said: “It must definitely be coming under pressure. We’re seeing that across the emerging markets space. But it is quite closely managed. There is, I think, a great deal of concern in Egypt that there would be a currency weakness coming around. We feel the currency would actually be stabilized as we head into year-end because there’s been such a great negative impact [from] devaluation already. We think further devaluation would weigh considerably on the population, which has already suffered from, you know, in some cases a tripling of the cost of basic necessities.

“…Once you have a small devaluation, it really would open the doors for a much more concerted speculative attack against the EGP. If such a small devaluation could occur, there’s obviously more room for more to go through. And it might actually work against the central bank’s best interest if that were to be allowed. So we think it would actually serve Egypt’s interests a lot better to maintain stability and to withstand the impact of further weakness. And given that we have that central bank mechanism, which acts as a buffer, then you already have useful mechanism in place to support the EGP.” Watch for yourself (runtime: 4:01); the Egypt segment starts at about 2:30.

EXCLUSIVE- Fuel subsidy bill could overshoot to EGP 100 bn in FY2018-19: Higher-than-forecast oil prices will could see Egypt’s fuel subsidy bill FY2018-19 jump to EGP 100 bn, up from USD 89 bn now in the budget, a government source told Enterprise yesterday. Compounding the issue: The potential for strain on the EGP from a strong USD, the source added. Every USD 10 increase in oil prices over the USD 67/bbl set in the FY2018-19 budget adds USD 1-1.2 bn to Egypt’s current account deficit, EFG Hermes’ Mohamed Abu Basha told Bloomberg earlier this week. Earlier this month, a government source had told us that Egypt is likely to miss its deficit reduction target this year, with the gap set to come in at something closer to 8.6% rather than the 8.4% originally forecast.

What about the fuel hedging strategy? The source told us that the Finance Ministry is yet to decide on whether to go for a hedging strategy it has put together. Officials had shelved the plan last week, Minister Mohamed Maait said. Our source tells us that for now, the ministry is effectively taking a watchful waiting approach and will look to maximize tax collection in the meantime.

Egypt growth momentum to continue in 2018-19, says IIF: Egypt’s growth momentum looks set to continue into 2019, with GDP growth projected to accelerate to 5.6% next year from 5.2% in 2018, according to a MENA report from the International Institute of Finance (IIF) (pdf). This growth will largely be supported by higher tourism receipts and rising natural gas production, with expectations that gas exports will begin in 2019. The IIF is a global trade group for the financial industry, with more than 400 members in 70 countries.

Debt dynamics in Egypt to improve: “The gradual fiscal consolidation underway combined with further pickup in real GDP growth underlie our projected steady decline in the public debt-to-GDP ratio,” the IIF said. While interest payments and debt service has increased, these are likely to be offset by continued reforms such as cutting subsidies and lowering the budget deficit. The IIF sees the deficit narrowing to 8.4% of GDP in FY2018-19, with a primary surplus of 2.1% of GDP.

Limited risk of contagion from EM sell-off: The report notes that contagion from Turkey and other emerging markets has been limited. This is a far cry from another report earlier in September, which put Egypt as one of the MENA countries most at risk of EM contagion on the basis that it is a net oil importer. That report did not appear to factor in gas exports, which this report does.

More needs to be done for the private sector: The report’s most glaring criticism is that Egypt has still much to do to bolster the private sector. It says that Egypt’s economy “remains shackled by a public sector that is bloated, inefficient and unresponsive to market signals. …Egypt needs to make the economy more responsive to market forces and empower the private sector. Laws and regulations governing business and investment need to be overhauled and brought in line with best practices in successful emerging economies.”

And on the EGP, the IIF sees that while the FX rate has held steady at around EGP 18 per USD 1, the “real effective exchange rate is undervalued,” adding that, “Improved competitiveness from the sharp depreciation in November 2016 and structural reforms continues to boost exports of goods and services, particularly tourism, and restrain imports, leading to narrower current account deficits, which we expect to narrow further to 2.6% of GDP in 2019.”

As for the overall MENA assessment, the IIF repeated projections that GCC countries will drive regional growth on the back of higher fuel prices.

“Marginal deterioration” in operating conditions at non-oil private sector companies -PMI: Business conditions for the private sector deteriorated slightly in September after posting gains in both July and August, according to the latest Emirates NBD purchasing managers index reading (pdf). The gauge slipped to 48.7, down from 50.5 in August and its first decline in three months, due to declines in new businesses, orders and exports amid weak demand.

Dip follows record high, but sentiment improves: The monthly survey showed sentiment on the 12 months ahead actually improved from an August low “but remained below the series average.”

Weak, but not pre-IMF weak: MENA Economist at Emirates NBD Daniel Richards said September’s reading indicates that Egypt’s economic recovery is not devoid of challenges. “The 48.7 PMI figure for September represents a return to contractionary territory for the non-oil private sector in Egypt, indicating that despite the two months of consecutive 50-plus readings in July and August, there remains some weakness in the recovery. That being said, it remains higher than the average reading since the IMF reform program began in November 2016 (47.9).”

Proposed amendments to the Real Estate Tax Act have leaked: Proposed amendments to the Real Estate Tax Act were leaked yesterday morning by Akhbar Al Youm. The proposed changes are extensive, covering everything from the new real estate tax formula to how rented properties will be taxed, how properties are to be appraised, and avenues for appeals. The amendments were discussed at a meeting of the Madbouly Cabinet yesterday, with sources telling us that it would be presented to the House of Representatives sometime next week.

The new formula sets the annual tax on a property at 10% of its annual rental value, after excluding maintenance expenses from the total — which are set at 30% for residential properties and 32% for non-residential properties. The first EGP 24,000 in rental value is tax exempt. The rental value will be equal to 1.8% of a property’s market value, which will be determined by the Tax Authority during appraisals.

Appraisals: The government property census, which will be used to determine the market value of assets on which their annual rental value will be calculated, will now take place once every seven years, instead of five. The last census was conducted in 2013. A new census was to have been carried out this year under the old law, but was pushed back. Local committees of the Tax Authority will be in charge of appraising properties. A higher committee, which will include the head of the Tax Authority and representatives from the Housing Ministry, will have final say on the appraisals.

Unused industrial land won’t be taxed: It appears that demands from business associations that unused land not be subject to the real estate tax have been answered. Article 9B of the law was amended to say that only land in use will be subject to a real estate tax. The amendment had been the biggest sticking point in the bill for manufacturers.

Who owns what? Managers of tourism properties and residential compounds are to inform the Tax Authority of who owns what at properties under their jurisdiction. Utilities providers must also provide the authority with relevant information on property owners.

Punishment: Penalties for tax evasion would also be amended if the bill passes, with those who do not file “proper and accurate” real estate tax returns being subject to fines of up to EGP 5,000 and 10% of the tax amount.

Some state holding companies exempt: The amendments also exempt state electricity, water, and gas holding companies from paying real estate taxes.

IPO WATCH- Sarwa institutional offering more than 10x oversubscribed, priced at EGP 7.36: Consumer and structured finance player Sarwa Capital announced yesterday that it has successfully completed the book-building process for its initial public offering, which has been priced in at EGP 7.36 per share, according to a company statement (pdf). The company had originally guided on a range of EGP 7.04 to EGP 8.00 per share. The institutional offering was 10.38x oversubscribed, with strong demand “coming from over 280 institutional and HNW investors.” Subscription for the retail offering, which opened yesterday, will close on 10 October, with trading on Sarwa’s shares set to kick off on 15 October under the ticker SRWA.CA. The company’s post-money market cap will stand at EGP 5.3 bn.

Advisers: Beltone Investment Banking is acting as sole global coordinator and bookrunner for the transaction, and Matouk Bassiouny has been tapped as legal counsel.

IPO WATCH- EFG Hermes signs contracts for Eastern Company mandate: EFG Hermes signed contracts yesterday with the Chemical Industries Holding Company officially giving it the mandate to lead the 4.5% stake sale of Eastern Company, which is expected to take place in the second half of this month, according to Al Mal. EFG Hermes had won the mandate earlier last month.

Foreign shareholders of Nile Cotton Ginning to launch arbitration proceedings soon: Foreign shareholders in Nile Cotton Ginning are planning to bring up an arbitration case in London soon over an eight-year dispute with parent company the Holding Company for Construction and Development (HCCD), Nile Cotton Chairman El Sayed El Saify tells Al Mal. The foreign shareholders’ are looking to claim damages as their 20% stakes were effectively frozen following a 2011 court decision overturning the privatization of the company. The group of shareholders had threatened to file an international arbitration case back in 2016, and had reportedly hired a UAE-based financial adviser.

House reps elect new committee heads: The House of Representatives elected yesterday new heads for its 25 committees. Members of the pro-government Support Egypt Coalition, the largest political bloc in parliament, will run a number of key committees, according to Youm7’s Parlmany. The coalition’s Rep. Ahmed Samir was announced as chairman of the House Economic Committee after running unopposed. Samir will be taking point on key pieces of legislation including the showdown between the Real Estate Tax Act and the Returns Act, as well as the customs, SMEs and insurance acts.

Among the committee chairs appointed yesterday:

  • Economics — Ahmed Samir (Support Egypt);
  • Budget and Planning — Hussein Eissa (Support Egypt);
  • Legislative — Bahaa Abo Shoka (Wafd Party head);
  • Industry — Farag Amer (Support Egypt);
  • SMEs — Mohamed Kamal Marei (Support Egypt);
  • Energy and Environment — Talaat El Sewedy (Wafd Party);
  • Transport — Hisham Abdel Wahed (Mostakbal Watan Party);
  • Tourism and Civil Aviation — Amr Sedky (independent);
  • Housing — Alaa Waly (Support Egypt);
  • Education — Samy Hashem (Support Egypt);
  • Healthcare — Mohamed El Ammary (independent);
  • Agriculture — Hesham El-Shiini (Free Egyptians Party);
  • Housing and Public Utilities — Alaa Waly (independent);
  • Manpower — Gebaly El Maraghy (Egyptian Trade Union Federation chairman)
  • Telecoms and IT — Ahmed Badawy (Future of the Homeland);
  • Media, Culture and Antiquities — Osama Heikal (Support Egypt);
  • Social Solidarity — Abdel Hady El Kassaby (Support Egypt head);
  • Defense — Kamal Amer (Homeland Defenders Party);
  • Foreign Affairs — Karim Darwish (Support Egypt).

You can view the full list here, courtesy of Youm7.

Noble Energy sells its entire stake in Tamar Petroleum following EMG stake purchase: Houston-based oil and gas company Noble Energy has sold its entire 43.5% stake in Israel’s Tamar Petroleum — through which Noble and Delek operate the Tamar gas field, Reuters reports, citing Israeli newspaper TheMarker. The sale of 40 mn shares saw Noble reeling in around USD 170.4 mn, and was reportedly carried out on the Tel Aviv Exchange last week, according to TheMarker. The sale comes after Noble, Delek, and their Egyptian partner East Gas signed a USD 518 mn agreement to acquire a 39% stake in East Mediterranean Gas, paving the way for the gas field operators to export natural gas to Egypt under a USD 15 bn agreement signed in February with Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings.

The story is topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press, with news outlets including Interfax and Haaretz noting that the agreements are bringing Egypt closer to its goals of becoming a regional gas hub.

Meanwhile, the Cypriot government has invited Eni, Total, and ExxonMobil to compete for exploration rights at new offshore blocks in the East Mediterranean, according to the Daily Star. Egypt signed a preliminary agreement with Cyprus last month that could see the two countries build a USD 1 bn underwater pipeline to transport natural gas from the Aphrodite field to liquefaction facilities in Egypt for processing. Official talks between both countries are set to continue this week.

Egypt and other countries in the MENA region have what it takes to “leapfrog into the digital future,” according to a recent report from the World Bank. Apart from having large populations of educated youth “that have already adopted new digital and mobile technologies on a wide scale,” there is a lot of room for growth in MENA countries. In countries like Egypt — where GDP is seen growing by 5.3% this fiscal year, 5.6% in FY2019-2020, and 5.8% the year after — work is already in progress to introduce new policies and regulations to govern mobile payment systems. Egypt, however, still lacks “regulatory clarification on permissible activities…which will continue to stifle market innovation,” according to the report, which suggests as well that more focused and responsible investment in digital payments and financial tech platforms can help accelerate the growth of the region’s wider digital economy. The full report, “A New Economy for the Middle East and North Africa,” can be found here (pdf).

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Up Next

Melania Trump is coming to Egypt this week as part of a trip to Africa to “promote child welfare and education.” Melania will reportedly bring up tourism opportunities while in town, the Brookings Institute’s Landry Signé said. Her visit will also take her to Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi.

Want to build a fintech business in Egypt? Pride Capital is running an event featuring our friend Simon-Kucher Egypt MD Martin Janzen and MENA Startup Bootcamp’s Todd OBrien looking at how to build a successful monetization strategy for a fintech business. Simon-Kucher works with global tech outfits including Paypal, Stripe, Uber and Evernote. The event takes place on Tuesday, 9 October at 5:30pm on the Greek Campus.

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

Expect more news on the energy-hub front when the foreign ministers of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece meet in Crete on Wednesday, 10 October.

Fourth IMF review scheduled for mid-October: An IMF delegation is due in town mid-October for a review of Egypt’s progress on its reform program ahead of the disbursal of the fifth USD 2 bn tranche of the country’s extended fund facility, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. The IMF should complete its review by the following month, Maait said.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will fly to Moscow sometime this month, Russian Presidential aide Yury Ushakov said yesterday, Youm7 reports. No further details were provided, but Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov had also said as much last month.

The 2018 Narrative PR Summit will take place at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza on Sunday, 28 October with participants including friends ranging from the World Bank’s Mahmoud Mohieldin to US embassy spokesman Sam Werberg. The event’s website is here and its Facebook page here.

An Egyptian-Sudanese presidential summit is set to take place in Khartoum this month. A ministerial committee was expected to meet at the end of September to prepare for the summit.

Image of the Day

EgyptAir’s surreal “interview” with Drew Barrymore goes viral. National flag carrier EgyptAir ran what the Hollywood trade press says is a “fake interview” with American actress Drew Barrymore in its in-flight magazine, Horus. The piece, which is all kinds of demeaning, became a viral sensation after political analyst Adam Baron posted pictures of it on Twitter. The author of the piece, Aida Takla O’Reilly, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), alleges that Barrymore has daddy issues: “It is known that Barrymore has had over 17 relationships, engagements and marriages; psychologists believe that her behavior is only natural since she lacked the male role model in her life after her parents’ divorce when she was only 9 years old.” The reporter also criticized Barrymore’s weight, claiming that the actress was “depressed” until she lost the baby weight from her second pregnancy.

EgyptAir naturally defended itself. The airliner responded in a tweet of their own, denying allegations that the interview is fake. Yahduth fi Masr’ Sherif Amer also claimed that Horus boss Amal Fawzy also confirmed the interview’s authenticity, even saying it was held on the sidelines of a press conference (watch, runtime: 3:19).

Barrymore’s people are “working with” EgyptAir to set things straight. Per Digg, channeling the Huffington Post: “A spokesperson for Drew Barrymore told HuffPost that Barrymore did not participate in an interview with the magazine and that her representatives are ‘working with the airline PR team.’”

Egypt in the News

It is another quiet morning for Egypt in the international press, with only a few headlines worth a brief moment of your time this morning:

  • The Benban Solar Developers Association (BSDA) has helped clear logistical and regulatory hurdles for the 1.8 GW Benban solar complex, BSDA member Assem Korayem told PVA magazine in an interview.
  • Egyptian police killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout in northern Sinai where the state has been fighting an affiliate of Daesh, the AP reports, citing the Interior Ministry, which did not say when the shootout took place.
  • Egyptians ordered by the government to vacate their homes for reconstruction projects should have the right to remain, if they so choose, said UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Leilani Farha, according to Reuters.
  • Human Rights Watch issued a statement claiming that Egypt ‘forcibly disappeared’ rights lawyer Ezzat Ghonim after a court ordered his release last month.

Worth Watching

Ancient rulers wanted to bring every book in the world under one roof when they built the Great Library of Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. Over time, the library amassed a vast number of manuscripts, with the city being a hub for commerce and scholars alike. It remained the most significant center for science until its destruction around 500 BC (watch, runtime: 4:52).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

GIZ increases investment budget for Egypt projects in 2019 to EUR 45 mn: German development agency GIZ has decided to raise its 2019 investment budget for projects in Egypt 15% to EUR 45 mn, up from EUR 39 mn this year, said GIZ General Manager Andreas Cook. The agency is focusing on supporting water and wastewater projects, as well as agribusiness, according to Cook.

EBRD launches 2019-2023 agribusiness investment strategy: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced yesterday (pdf) the launch of its agribusiness strategy for 2019-2023, which will see it providing financing, technical cooperation, and policy engagement to the economies it invests in. The strategy will aim “to efficiently increase food production and preserve natural resources while reducing the environmental and social impact of agribusiness.” The announcement makes no mention of the funding allocated to the strategy. The bank invested a total EUR 6.7 bn between 2010-2017 in 447 agribusiness projects in different countries, according to the statement. Egypt had signed a joint declaration with the EBRD, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the World Bank to promote investment in efficient and sustainable agriculture last December.

Real Estate + Housing

Naguib Sawiris’ Ora Developers to complete projects worth USD 2 bn in 5 years

Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini Global Development, which has been relaunched and rebranded as Ora Developers, plans to develop USD 2 bn of real estate across the Middle East over the next five years, CEO Haitham Mohamed tells the National. The rebranded vehicle is meant to consolidate the shares and investments of several companies owned by Sawiris under one brand, according to Arabian Business. “Ora Developers’ planned USD 2 bn of projects in the Middle East are likely to include a mix of holiday resorts, residences, villas and marinas built in locations of ‘natural beauty,’” the company said, without offering further details.

Tourism

Lufthansa adds 100k seats to Egypt market as demand jumps 70%

German national carrier Lufthansa added 100k seats to Egypt flights this year to cope with a rise in demand, which jumped by 70% y-o-y, Egypt sales manager Sadiq Mohamed said. Egypt’s tourism industry has been gradually recovering recently from the hit it took in 2011. Tourism receipts recorded a surplus of USD 7.4 bn this year, up from USD 1.6 bn the previous year, official data showed earlier this week.

Automotive + Transportation

Transport Minister meets with EIB, AFD to discuss funding for transport projects

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat met yesterday with a delegation from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) to discuss additional funding packages for Egypt’s transport projects, according to Al Mal. The two institutions, along with the European Bank for Reconstruction (EBRD), have already committed to offering a EUR 600 mn loan for the infrastructure of Cairo Metro Line 1 as well as a separate EUR 237 mn loan agreement to finance the Alexandria tram project.

French and Greek companies competing for management of Cairo Metro Line 3?

French and Greek companies are competing for the management of the Cairo Metro Line 3, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said yesterday, according to Al Mal. Arafat did not name the companies or provide further details, but to our knowledge, the government had reportedly accepted last week a bid from France’s RATP to run the line. The French Development Agency and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are financing the construction of the third line, for which Egypt received USD 300 mn earlier this year.

Other Business News of Note

New Valley signs MoU with PDG to begin feasibility studies on new development projects worth EGP 23 bn

New Valley Governor Mohamed El Zamalot signed an agreement on Tuesday with PDG Group’s local affiliate to begin feasibility studies for a number of new development projects in the area, Al Shorouk reports. In addition to building a new sustainable city, the governorate is also hoping to establish as much as 10,000 new residential units, as well as a solar power plant and a cement factory for a total estimated cost of EGP 23 bn. No further details were provided.

On Your Way Out

Our friends at Flat6Labs are reportedly planning to increase the size of their seed funding packages to EGP 750k per startup from EGP 500k, sources close to the matter said yesterday. The company’s 11th cycle began late last month and includes eight new companies.

Team of doctors from DHA conduct 100 free heart surgeries in Kafr El Sheikh: A team of doctors from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) performed free surgeries at Kafr El Sheikh University Hospital on 100 children born with heart abnormalities, Gulf News reports. The program was organized by the UAE government’s Nabadat initiative, which aims to provide free treatment to children in low-income countries.

The Market Yesterday

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

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,313 (-0.5%)
Turnover: EGP 779 mn (6% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -4.7%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 index ended Wednesday’s session down 0.5%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Qalaa Holdings up 4.0%, Pioneers Holding up 3.8%, and AMOC up 2.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Heliopolis Housing down 2.9%, Eastern Company down 2.8%, and TMG Holding down 2.3%. The market turnover was EGP 779 mn, and local investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +5.0 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +66.9 mn
Domestic: Net Short | EGP -71.9 mn

Retail: 64.8% of total trades | 61.3% of buyers | 68.3% of sellers
Institutions: 35.2% of total trades | 38.7% of buyers | 31.7% of sellers

Foreign: 18.9% of total | 19.3% of buyers | 18.6% of sellers
Regional: 7.9% of total | 12.2% of buyers | 3.6% of sellers
Domestic: 73.2% of total | 68.5% of buyers | 77.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 76.19 (+1.28%)
Brent: USD 85.97 (+1.38%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 3.24 MMBtu, (+2.31%, Nov 2018)
Gold: USD 1,200.50 / troy ounce (-0.54%)

TASI: 8,008.55 (+0.34%) (YTD: +10.82%)
ADX: 5,001.33 (+0.15%) (YTD: +13.71%)
DFM: 2,814.97 (-0.84%) (YTD: -16.47%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,328.93 (+0.1%)
QE: 9,889.47 (+0.74%) (YTD: +16.03%)
MSM: 4,515.67 (-0.43%) (YTD: -11.44%)
BB: 1,330.41 (+0.03%) (YTD: -0.10%)

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Calendar

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

October (dates TBD): President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to meet Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir in Khartoum.

October (dates TBD): President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to visit Moscow.

03-10 October (Wednesday-Wednesday): Subscription period for Sarwa Capital’s IPO.

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

07-11 October (Sunday-Thursday): Egypt-Romania Business Council to meet in Bucharest.

09 October ( Tuesday): Monetizing Innovation: How to build a smart fintech business model, The GREEK CAMPUS, Room 109, Cairo

09-11 October (Tuesday-Thursday) Egypt Renewable Energy Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

10 October (Wednesday): Foreign ministers of Egypt, Cyprus, Greece to meet in Crete.

Second week of October: NI Capital expected to select winning bid in its tender for the management of Alexandria Containers & Cargo Handling’s stake sale.

12 October (Friday) Egypt plays its third 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Swaziland

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

Mid-October: IMF delegation due in town for its fourth review of Egypt’s economic reform program.

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.

28 October (Sunday): 2018 Narrative PR Summit, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

03-06 November (Saturday-Tuesday): World Youth Forum 2018, Maritim Jolie Ville Golf Course, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

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

06-07 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): 2018 IIF MENA Financial Summit, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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.

13-15 December (Thursday-Saturday): Forum on “ The Role of Digital Financial Communication and Solutions in Enhancing Financial Inclusion,” Sharm El Sheik, 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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