Thursday, 28 March 2019

It’s interest rate day. Plus: Credit Suisse loves Egypt

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

It’s interest rate day and the consensus seems to be that the central bank will cut rates today ahead of Ramadan, subsidy cuts, vacation season, and back-to-school season, all of which are likely to drive inflation upward for the next several months. We have seven of 11 polled calling a rate cut of up to 100 bps. Bloomberg reports that “most economists” it surveyed predict a rate cut, while Reuters has eight of 12 saying the central bank’s monetary policy committee will leave interest rates unchanged.

It’s the last day of public hearings on amendments to the constitution. The final vote will be on Sunday, 14 April, Ahram Online reports, citing sources in the know. The amendments would extend presidential terms and bring back the upper house of parliament, among other things. A two-thirds majority of MPs is required for the amendments to pass and be sent to a referendum.

The government is launching a consumer protection campaign today. It’s not going to help much with gridlock as they drive vehicles around the Greater Cairo Area to collect the many and sundry gripes of the lumpenproletariat. (We have more in Last Night’s Talk Shows, below.)


You may now be tense: “The global bond market rally accelerated on Wednesday, as New Zealand’s central bank became the latest to sound a gloomy note on economic growth and traders ratcheted up bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates this year,” the Financial Times writes, warning that “global investors are piling into bonds as growth fears mount.”

You may now relax: The Financial Times would like to reassure you that the reasons to invest in emerging market equities “appear to stack up.” Snark aside, go read “Emerging market equities justify their existence” by FT EM specialist Steve Johnson, and then read the piece he was springboarding off: “Time to scrap ‘emerging markets’”? in the Wall Street Journal.

Also worth a read this morning in the salmon-colored paper: “Investors in EM currencies walk a tightrope between risk and return,” an opinion piece whose conclusion bodes well for us here in Egypt: “There isn’t much yield, so anything you can find is good.”


In a last-ditch attempt to push her Brexit agreement through parliament, UK PM Theresa May has promised her fellow conservative MPs that she will resign if they vote in favor of the pact. Key Brexiteer Boris Johnson — who has been measuring the drapes of No.10 for most of his political career — has agreed to support the agreement on the condition that May resigns after. The BBC has more.

In regional news worth knowing this morning:

  • The Middle East’s biggest transaction ever? Aramco is to buy a 70% stake in Saudi chemical company Sabic from the country’s sovereign wealth fund for USD 69.1 bn, Bloomberg says.
  • What’s going on in Turkey? Moves in Turkey to clamp down on short-selling have more than tripled the cost of borrowing TRY overnight to 1,200%, according to the FT.

In miscellany this morning:

  • Workers don’t want their employers to scan their fingerprints or their retinas, the Wall Street Journal writes.
  • Here’s how to prove yourself on Day One as a new CEO, courtesy Bloomberg Businessweek, which argues (in part) that you need to hit the ground running and show immediate results. So much for long-term thinking. Still, the five tips at the end of the piece on how to manage expectations is worth a skim.
  • Learning to love renewables: Their families grew up working in (and / or made their fortunes on) hydrocarbons. The next generation is all-in on renewables, writes the New York Times: “It’s not ideology. It’s just math.”

PSA- You may be looking at unsettled weather this weekend. Expect a high in the capital city of 27°C today, according to the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, with the mercury dropping 5-6 degrees tomorrow as wind,rain and the chance of a blowing sand moves in.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Cabinet approved yesterday a draft of the state’s FY2019-20 budget, putting GDP growth at 6% by June 2020 and the budget deficit at 7.2%, down from its current 8.4%, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr highlighted (watch, runtime: 01:40). The new budget allocates EGP 3.9 bn for public housing initiatives and plans to increase the salaries of civil servants, Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad said (watch, runtime: 08:09). We have a detailed rundown of the cabinet meeting, including key budget highlights, in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Expect the government to launch a nationwide campaign today aimed at protecting consumers, Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer said (watch, runtime: 01:02). Consumer Protection Agency boss Rady Abdel Moeti said that as part of the initiative, 15 cars will drive around Cairo and Giza to collect complaints from consumers (watch, runtime: 03:08).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

CABINET WATCH- Council of Ministers signs off on FY2019-20 state budget: Cabinet approved yesterday the draft FY2019-20 state budget, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, and Planning Minister Hala El Said told reporters yesterday, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The ministers said spending priorities include improving the quality of public services, shoring up the social safety net, and creating jobs. The total size of the budget was not disclosed, but a senior government official had previously told Enterprise that the draft budget sees spending at EGP 1.5 tn. Other confirmed projections:

  • GDP growth registering 6% by June 2020;
  • Budget deficit of 7.2% of GDP, down from 8.4% in the current fiscal year;
  • Primary budget surplus of 2%;
  • Reducing public debt to 89% of GDP, with an eye to bringing that figure down to 80% by FY2021-22;
  • Unemployment falling to 9.1% and population growth slowing to 2.3%.

Egypt also aims to cut spending on petroleum products by 42% to EGP 52 bn, government sources told the local press. Fuel hedging should begin with the coming fiscal year with plans for other basic commodities to eventually follow suit.

SMART POLICY- The Madbouly Cabinet also signed off on the SMEs Act, which outlines tax and non-tax incentives for SMEs and other companies or bodies that support them, according to a statement. The statement does not provide further details on the incentives, which are designed to encourage SMEs to go legit and join the formal economy. Sources previously told us that the government was mulling tax incentives to convince businesses to go legit, including offering an 85% exemption from their tax burden for three years after registering and exempting them from 50% of taxes owed retroactively from the date of registration.

Credit Suisse is bullish on Egypt, sees it as “top pick across the Middle East”: Egypt is Credit Suisse’s “top pick” in the Middle East as the firm continues to be bullish on Egypt, Credit Suisse Group’s head of MENA research Fadh Iqbal told Bloomberg TV (watch, runtime: 3:26). Although liquidity on the equity side remains an obstacle for some investors, “the upside there is still substantial,” while liquidity is easier on the fixed income side, making it a more attractive option for many portfolio managers. “For those who are concerned about growth risks in Egypt, having that coupon return is a more attractive opportunity.”

CS also sees the EGP’s recent rally against the USD as “not sustainable” in the short term, particularly as the import-heavy month of Ramadan is fast approaching, Iqbal says. For the time being, the EGP is unlikely to appreciate enough for the USD to change hands at below EGP 17.

Expect a rate cut today: Iqbal also echoed the consensus that today’s meeting of the Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee will see an interest rate cut. Last month’s surprise 100 bps cut came despite slightly accelerating inflation, indicating that the CBE is not shying away from positioning itself on “the aggressive side,” he says.

INVESTMENT WATCH- SPE Capital Partners takes stake in Future Pharm. Industries: SPE Capital Partners made an equity investment in Egyptian pharma company Future Pharm. Industries (FPI) through its SPE AIF I fund, according to a company statement (pdf). The size of the investment was not disclosed. The agreement is a result of talks that have been ongoing for the past year. FPI positions itself as one of the fastest-growing manufacturers of generics in Egypt, according to the statement. SPE Capital’s SPE AIF I is PE fund that targets small and lower-mid cap companies valued at between USD 30 and USD 80 mn. SPE, previously known as Swicorp Capital, already has a stake in Egypt’s Orchidia.

INVESTMENT WATCH- EFG-managed Vortex Energy completes divestment from pan-European wind farm portfolio: Vortex Energy, an EU-based renewables company managed by EFG Hermes’ private equity arm, has completed the divestiture of its 49% stake in a portfolio of 56 wind farms across Spain, France, Portugal, and Belgium, according to an emailed statement (pdf). Institutional investors advised by JP Morgan purchased the company’s stake in the 998 MW-worth of wind projects. The statement made no mention of the value of the transaction.

IPO WATCH- Hassan Allam Holding puts IPO on the shelf for now: Leading construction and engineering group Hassan Allam has suspended its plans for an initial public offering on the EGX, sources with knowledge of the matter told Al Mal. The company had been testing the waters for a possible 1H2019 offering in what some expected to be Egypt’s largest IPO since the end of 2016. Hassan Allam’s decision to shelve its IPO plans for now is a result of “external factors,” the newspaper said, and doesn’t reflect concerns about the health of Egypt’s capital market.

Hassan Allam is still pushing ahead with growth and expansion plans, the company tells us, including its drive to build a high-growth utilities play.

IPO WATCH- Speed Medical is planning to IPO on the EGX within six months of listing of 25% of its shares on NileX, Chairman Mahmoud Lasheen tells Al Mal. The listing plans come as the company looks to raise funding to complete its EGP 180 mn hospital in Obour City on the Ismailia Desert Road, for which EGP 120-130 mn is still needed. The company has already received regulatory approvals to list on NileX and on the EGX. Ostoul Financial Consultancies will manage the EGX listing, Lasheen previously said.

REGULATION WATCH- EGX, Misr Clearing working on regulations for derivatives trading: Misr for Central Clearing, Depository & Registry (MCDR) and the EGX are finalizing the regulations and infrastructure needed to launch derivatives trading in Egypt, MCDR Chairman Mohamed Abdel Salam tells Al Mal. Derivatives trades will be settled through a new electronic platform, according to Abdel Salam. EGX boss Mohamed Farid had previously said derivatives would be part of a string of new products and instruments the bourse is planning to launch, including margin trading on ETFs (which were rolled out last year) and short-selling (which should be introduced soon).

Amer Group minority shareholders say no to delisting decision: Minority shareholders of developer Amer Group shareholders have said no to a plan driven by the company’s board of directors to voluntarily delist from the EGX, Al Mal reported. The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) had decided that only minority shareholders would be able to vote at the meeting. Shareholders had filed a complaint to the FRA, asking it to take action against company founder and chairman Mansour Amer and lead shareholder Mohamed El Amin for alleged market manipulation. They allege that Amer and Amin intentionally caused the company’s share price to tank when they sold some 73 mn shares over the last six months. The complainants want the FRA to unwind the trades and to order an independent fair value study to set the price at which the company will buy out their shares during a planned delisting process.

REGULATION WATCH- FRA agrees to membership requirements for planned sukuk supervisory committee: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s (FRA) board of directors has agreed to the requirements needed to sit on the planned sukuk supervisory committee, it said in a statement. The central supervisory committee would be made up of nine top shari’a experts as well as legal and financial advisors that would ensure sukuks are compliant with Islamic law. Anyone who has been a main shareholder or board member of any of the companies regulated by the Capital Markets Act in the past two years will be prohibited from sitting on the committee to avoid conflicts of interest.

EARNINGS WATCH- Orascom Construction (OC) reported net income attributable to shareholders in 4Q2018 of USD 33.1 mn, up 635.6% y-o-y from USD 4.4 mn in the comparable period last year. Full-year net income came in at USD 144.7 mn in 2018, up 84.3% y-o-y from USD 78.5 mn in 2017. Revenues for the year came in 18.1% lower y-o-y at USD 3.01 bn compared to USD 3.68 bn in 2017, which is “mainly attributable to the completion of the two large chemical plants in Iowa and Texas.” Revenues for 4Q2018 also declined 9.6% y-o-y to USD 777.8 mn. The company’s consolidated backlog as of 30 December 2018 stood at USD 7.0 bn, with new awards standing at USD 2.3 mn. Infrastructure and commercial work made up the bulk of the backlog, accounting for 96.3% of the total. “We continue to play a leadership role in the development of Egypt’s infrastructure across all major segments of the industry. Mirroring our success in power, we have also built a strong backlog of water-related projects ranging from desalination to wastewater treatment to infrastructure,” CEO Osama Bishai noted. Tap or click here for OC’s results presentation (pdf) and here for its annual report (pdf).

MOVES- Mohamed Abbas Fayed (bio) has resigned as CEO and managing director of Bank Audi, effective end-April, Al Mal reports. The former Banque Misr top executive joined Audi in 2014 as vice chairman and managing director. His resignation comes as the bank is finalizing its bid to acquire the Egyptian unit of the National Bank of Greece (NBG).

MOVES- Yasser Ismail Hassan will step down as managing director of the National Bank of Kuwait effective from mid-May, Hassan told the local press. He will now head to London to become the CEO of the National Bank of Egypt’s UK branch, according to sources. Hassan joined the bank in 2001 as senior general manager, then became managing director in 2004.

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Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation in the international press this morning: Actors Khaled Abol Naga and Amr Waked were expelled from the Egyptian film union, which effectively accused them of treason on Tuesday after they took part in a public panel discussion in Washington where they were critical of proposed amendments to the Egyptian constitution, AP reports. A statement from the syndicate said their membership had been revoked for “perpetuating a false picture of Egypt to the detriment of the nation.” The Washington Post, ABC News and The Sun also picked up the story.

Other headlines worth a skim:

  • The package of constitutional amendments now before the House face limited opposition, the Associated Press reports.
  • Ancient Egypt made headlines in CNN and the BBC.
  • Oil and gas: OilPrice.com is out with a refresher piece that takes note of all the latest developments in the Egyptian natural gas sector.

On The Front Pages

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s summit with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed topped the front pages of all three state-owned newspapers this morning (Al Ahram | Al Gomhuria | Al Akhbar). During the meeting, which took place in Alexandria yesterday, the two state leaders discussed cooperation across a wide range of fields and stressed their opposition to external interference in Arab affairs.

Worth Watching

Think online dating is a recent invention, a scourge of the youth of today? Think again. The multi-bn USD online dating industry (which is now the source of one in five dating relationships) has its roots in a 1959 Stanford project called the Happy Families Planning Service. Two electrical engineering students fed a survey through a massive IBM to match up 49 male and female students. No long term-relationships resulted, but thus was born the kernel of online dating. While data-driven matchmaking in the 60s saw users waiting weeks to be linked up through home telephone numbers, the advent of the internet has opened up the field for a spectrum of approaches to online dating, from the visual (Tinder) to the verbose (Eharmony).

Little known fact: YouTube got its start as an online dating site of sorts. Users uploaded videos of themselves with the tagline ‘Tune in, hook up.’ In case you were unsure, it didn’t catch on (watch, runtime 03:59).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Shoukry talks Golan Heights, national and regional security with Pompeo, Rubio: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Marco Rubio in Washington yesterday, according to ministry statements (here and here). Shoukry reiterated to Pompeo that Egypt recognizes the Golan Heights as Syrian territory, after US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation earlier this week recognizing Israeli possession of the territory.

El Sisi, bin Zayed meet in Alex: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met yesterday in Alexandria with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a statement from Ittihadiya. The two signed bilateral agreements on housing, irrigation, trade and manufacturing. No further details of the agreements were made public.

A delegation of Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in Gaza yesterday for further peace talks between Hamas and Israel in advance of mass protests scheduled to take place in Gaza on Saturday, reports The Jerusalem Post. The visit comes after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire failed to prevent renewed violence on the Gaza border on Tuesday.

Energy

Infinity Solar to complete four plants at Benban park by mid-April

Infinity Solar has completed the construction of three solar plants in Benban solar power park and expects to complete the fourth by mid-April, Al Mal reports. Two of the completed plants have a production capacity of 50 MW apiece, while the third has a production capacity of 30 MW. The four plants will bring the total energy produced by Infinity’s plants in Benban to 180 MW.

Infrastructure

ITDA contracts Egyptian, foreign investors to develop EGP 30 bn logistics centers

The Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) has awarded contracts to Egyptian and foreign investors to develop six logistics and commercial centers in Fayoum, Menoufia, Sharkia, Luxor, Beheira and Dakahlia worth a combined EGP 30 bn, the Supply Ministry said in a statement (pdf). The authority had previously awarded similar projects in five different governorates, bringing its total reach to 11, from the 27 governorates targeted in its trade development program.

Manufacturing

Kima to commence trial operations on new facility starting June

Egyptian chemicals company Kima announced its intention to run trial operations in its new manufacturing facility “Kima 2” between June and August of this year, with expected revenues of EGP 24.7 mn for the prescribed operational testing period, according to Al Mal. The total project cost was EGP 11.6 bn, with 62% of the financing coming from a consortium of six banks.

Health + Education

Egypt, US higher education officials sign USD 200 mn grant agreements

Egyptian and US higher education officials signed yesterday an agreement which will see the American side provide grants of up to USD 200 mn through to 2022, according to an Investment Ministry statement. The grants will go toward academic scholarships targeting women and faculty members of American universities based in Egypt. They will also set up three USD 90 mn research-focused centers of excellence in energy, agricultural, and water sciences. The centers will be set up through partnerships between Egyptian universities including Ain Shams, Cairo University, and the American University in Cairo, as well as the likes of MIT, Cornell, Purdue, and Michigan State. MIT has confirmed that it has been awarded USD 30 mn from USAID for the project.

Orchidia Pharma to invest EGP 200 mn to establish new eyedrops factory

Orchidia Pharma aims to invest EGP 200 mn to establish a new eyedrops factory in Obour City, Production Manager Mohamed Etman told the local press. The company has agreed to import three production lines, including two of whose production capacity is at 30 mn eye drops per year. The EUR 500k third production line is expected to begin producing about 12 mn eye ointments annually next year, Etman said, adding that the company also plans to set up a fourth line in the future.

Real Estate + Housing

CPG in talks with Egypt’s NUCA to acquire 500 feddans in Sheikh Zayed

Capital Group Properties (CPG) is in talks with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) to purchase 500 feddans in Sheikh Zayed for a “residential touristic project,” Chief Projects Officer Amgad Hassanein told the local press. The project could be developed under a private-public partnership agreement, Hassanein said. This comes as NUCA plans to tender land plots ranging from 20-150 feddans in new cities to private sector developers, Ragaa Fouad, NUCA vice president for project planning tells Al Mal. Fouad didn’t mention the timeline for the tenders or the specific locations of the land.

Telecoms + ICT

Vodafone Egypt request additional data frequency bands from NTRA

Vodafone Egypt has sent a request to the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to make additional frequencies available to cope with the growing number of mobile data users, Director of Legal and External Affairs at Vodafone Ayman Essam said.

Banking + Finance

CIB, AAIB to arrange EGP 1.7 bn for Wadi Degla Holdings

Wadi Degla Holdings has reached an agreement with CIB and the Arab African International Bank to arrange a EGP 1.7 bn loan to finance Wadi Degla’s Neopolis residential project in New Cairo’s Mostakbal City, CEO Maged Helmy told the domestic press.

Correction: 29 March, 2019

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the value of the loan is EGP 1.7 mn. The loan is EGP 1.7 bn.

Other Business News of Note

Global Telecom unable to pay EGP 5 bn in due taxes amid company losses

Global Telecom Holding (GTH)’s general assembly yesterday voted to continue operations despite losses that have surpassed 50% of shareholders’ total equity as the company recorded losses of USD 64.7 mn last year. Earlier this week GTH’s board of directors approved a three-month extension on the maturity of a USD 100 mn revolving credit facility from majority shareholder Veon Holdings. Al Mal separately reoorts that a company official told it GTH is in talks on a settlement to an ongoing tax dispute.

My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions because we simply can’t help ourselves. Extracts from our conversation this week with Karim Nour, CEO of Tarek Nour Communications and our friend and partner here at Enterprise.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the CEO of Tarek Nour Communications, the Middle East’s home grown marketing-communications rainmakers. That’s the job title, but what I do is manage an organization of highly talented people and teams that exercise influence for clients with big dreams.

What does that mean in concrete terms?

That manifests itself in several ways — from 30-second ads to 30-minute TV programs. From pure-play digital comms to on ground events and exhibitions that engage our clients’ customers face-to-face. So that means running ad agencies, media companies, original content outfits, and broadcast networks. We offer influence across all mass mediums, centrally coordinated, and with us being ultimately responsible for the entire process, its output, and its effect on the partners we work for. The company is 40-years young and holds a great portion of the region’s advertising heritage.

What’s your morning routine?

At 4:30am, my eyes open. I read in bed for 30 minutes.

5am: I make a pot of coffee and head to my desk to write / learn / plan. I try to write a letter a day to someone — physical or digital. I always admired ‘men of letters.’

7 am: I call my “Friends at Enterprise” who are winding down their day after dispatch at 6 am. We discuss the stuff that makes us go, ‘Hmmm.’ Things like, “Are we as a country creating sustainable jobs or just day jobs?” Or “How does one not get paid like a dentist?” Or “Why is Mohamed El Erian such a rockstar?” Or how I hope my kids turn out to be nerds. Afterward, I often reflect: How cool is it that I know people who wake up at 3am and wind down at 7am?

8:00 am: I’m working out. Running, lifting, bear-crawling on non-concrete surfaces anywhere I can. It sets the day up right.

9:30 am: First meeting in the office either at our HQ in Cairo or our offsite facility in El Gouna, which we use for multi-day creative and strategy sessions.

What does the rest of your day look like?

The rest of my day is spent with different members of our leadership team, in strategy sessions with our partners, or in long-form content development meetings.

What’s the best thing you’ve watched / read lately?

Too many to mention, but Yuval Harari's 21 Questions for the 21st Century is a keeper. With gems like “Being black in Baltimore does not mean you understand lesbians in China” — how can you not marvel at the mind that wrote that? There is also a crazy-dark South Korean movie called The Handmaiden that I came across while looking for a chick flick with my wife. It ended up being anything but boring — very multi-layered.

What’s the origin story of Tarek Nour Communications?

Tarek Nour was a DJ at a radio station. The station needed money. He did not know anything about advertising at the time, but because he was a keyboardist and lead singer in a band called “The Mass,” he could write and sing songs. So he wrote a jingle for EGP 20 for a clothing store in Zamalek We saved the piano he wrote it on — it is in our company museum, a testament to Egyptian entrepreneurship and our shrine to how modern advertising started in the Middle East.

[Editor’s note: The shop above was named after a men’s magazine brand with an icon derived from a rabbit. The name will trigger the algorithms that govern our deliverability to inboxes.]

What’s TNs’ niche?

We serve large and medium-sized companies who have big business objectives locally and regionally. We excel at holistically tackling business challenges through insightful mass communication.

What do people not understand about your business and your company?

About our business? I think people genuinely underestimate the power of proactively isolating, articulating, and communicating their business “difference” consistently and creatively to their future customers (not the ones they already have). It is a mindset that is anchored in short-term utilitarian concepts like “a good product sells itself.” In this hyper-fragmented digital and traditional media landscape? While constantly being bombarded with noise? If it were only that simple. This underestimation leaves a lot of value on the table. We have seen that bold promotion and real brand building is one of the single most game-changing forces in business in this part of the world, but it requires decisiveness, real goals, and of course an influential communications company to be responsible for both comms and process.

About our company?

Although we have four decades of collective experience and heritage, we are run by the most energetic group of young “doers” you will ever meet. That we think very differently about communications. That our culture is deep, absolutely unique, and produces meaningful and memorable business results for our clients.

How is the industry — communications and broadcast — changing?

The conduit is changing rapidly. We are witnessing fragmentation and this makes real brand building more important than ever. Advertising will look less and less like 30 seconds on TV only. Successful communicators will have to manage multi-channel communication programs that are content driven, insight led, that are long-term, and that make use of appropriate media. With information overload a real thing, there is a desperate need for experienced communicators with focused and powerful capabilities, in digital and traditional mediums, that can create meaning for brands.

So the robots won't take over the advertising jobs?

When we ourselves become robots, they probably will. But as it stands, we don’t understand human consciousness well enough to teach a computer to eventually do it better than us. Making meaning is still the privy of humans. Creative industries are probably safer than most.

What one internal or external force will create the most change in your industry?

There are many forces at play in our industry. The one that stands out for me is the increasing abundance is information and choice. People can choose what they consume, they can choose their world view (and the algorithms on social media will echo and reinforce that). The concept of captive audience is being actively deconstructed, although there are still opportunities of mass viewership aggregation (like Ramadan) that other markets would kill for. Choice and media fragmentation is both a challenge and an opportunity for marketing communication. ‘Spray and pray’ will no longer work. You must really understand your business goals, what role communication plays in those business goals and move with purpose.

What Is something recent you are really proud of?

We produce Al Abakera, the region's only edutainment show, in partnership with one of our oldest clients, the National Bank of Egypt. It does a lot of good for education in Egypt. Scholarships, grants to rebuild schools, the whole nine yards.

What do you do in your free time?

I write on walls, make paper airplanes with my daughters. I read and write. I move my body. I’m a pilot and try to fly whenever I can.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given and by whom?

“Don’t go cheap on the faucets — they’ll leak then you’ll have to replace the floor.” I think I read it in a fortune cookie. Also something I heard for a pilot from Barbados — we were both training in flight school in Florida. He said, “Speak it, and it will be man.” You have to imagine it in a Barbadian accent. It was deep.

How do you stay organized?

I wake up early —I would never trade the day for the night — and then write my intentions in pen and everything else in pencil. We run organized short “start on time, finish on time meetings” in the office —and sometimes use standing desks to make meetings quicker. I do not use messaging for any “meaningful communication.” It is only good for coordination. I consciously stay away from my phone when in scheduled meetings, and I keep a calendar and not a to do list.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.26 | Sell 17.36
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.28 | Sell 17.38
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.26 | Sell 17.36

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,555 (-0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 747 mn (19% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +11.7%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down -0.6%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 0.9%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Orascom Investment Holding up 2.1%, Orascom Development Egypt up 1.2%, and Arabia Investments up 0.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Elsewedy Electric down 2.7%, Global Telecom down 1.7% and Madinet Nasr Housing down 1.5%. The market turnover was EGP 747 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -83.1 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +35.3 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +47.8 mn

Retail: 46.8% of total trades | 49.3% of buyers | 44.2% of sellers
Institutions: 53.2% of total trades | 50.7% of buyers | 55.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 59.23 (-0.03%)
Brent: USD 67.69 (-0.21%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.71 MMBtu, (-0.99%, Apr 2019)
Gold: USD 1,315.80 / troy ounce (-0.08%)

TASI: 8,766.33 (+1.01%) (YTD: +12.01%)
ADX: 5,109.42 (-0.34%) (YTD: +3.95%)
DFM: 2,614.35 (-0.03%) (YTD: +3.34%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,951.22 (+0.87%)
QE: 10,105.06 (+1.71%) (YTD: -1.88%)
MSM: 4,047.32 (-0.05%) (YTD: -6.39%)
BB: 1,413.21 (+0.37%) (YTD: +5.68%)

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Calendar

28 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

28-30 March (Thursday-Saturday): International Conference on Advanced Machine Learning Technologies and Applications, Venue TBD, Cairo, Egypt.

30 March (Saturday): Traders Fair, Nile Ritz Carlton, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.

30-31 March (Saturday-Sunday): International Conference on Architecture Engineering and Technologies, Grand Nile Tower Hotel, Cairo, Egypt.

April: The African Tripartite Trade Area (TFTA) agreement is set to take effect in April after a majority from the participating governments ratified it, COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe said.

April: A World Bank delegation will be in town to review current investment legislation, economic policies and administrative reforms as part of the preparations for next year’s Ease of Doing Business Report. Egypt jumped eight spots to rank 120th out of 190 countries in the 2019 Doing Business report.

April: Russian companies will receive the first 1 square-km plot in the 5.2 square-km Russian Industrial Zone within the Suez Canal Economic Zone

April: The EUR 250k first phase of Egypt’s national waste management program will kick off.

1-3 April (Monday-Wednesday): Infra Africa & Middle East Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

2-5 April: APPO Cape VII petroleum and energy conference, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

4 April: Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for March released.

4-6 April: LafargeHolcim Forum for sustainable Construction, American University in Cairo.

10 April: Egyptian Retail Summit (ERS 2019), Nile Ritz Carlton, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt.

9-11 April (Tuesday-Thursday): International Conference on Aerospace Sciences & Aviation Technology, Military Technical College, Cairo.

9-12 April (Tuesday-Friday): International Conference on Network Technology, The British University in Egypt, Cairo.

9-12 April (Tuesday-Friday): International Conference on Software and Information Engineering, The British University in Egypt, Cairo.

16-17 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Iron and Steel Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

17-18 April (Wednesday-Thursday): OPEC+ meeting, Vienna, Austria.

21 April (Sunday): A court will look into a lawsuit by a subsidiary of Arabian Investments, Development and Financial Investment Holding Co. (AIND) against Peugeot Citroen. The lawsuit, seeking EUR 150 mn in damages, was postponed from 17 March.

21 April (Sunday): RT Imaging Summit & Expo-EMEA, InterContinental City Stars, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

21-22 April (Sunday-Monday): Egypt CSR Summit, InterContinental City Stars, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.

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

25 April (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

30 April-1 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

May: 50 Egyptian companies are set to visit Libya to discuss trade, investment and reconstruction.

01 May (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

1H2019 (date TBD): Investment Minister Sahar Nasr will head a delegation of businessmen into Mexico City to explore cooperation avenues with the Latin American country.

June: International Forum for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

04-05 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Global Entrepreneurship Summit, The Hague, the Netherlands

05-06 June (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

11-12 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Offshore Congress MENA, InterContinental Semiramis, Cairo.

16-17 June (Sunday-Monday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

16-18 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Middle East & Africa Rail Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

17-18 June (Monday-Tuesday): Seamless North Africa, Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo.

17-19 June (Monday-Wednesday): Cairo Technology Week, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

18-19 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

23 June (Sunday): Cairo Arbitration Court hearing for Amer Group vs. Antaradous for Touristic Development

28-29 June (Friday-Saturday): G20 Global Economic Summit, Osaka, Japan.

30 June (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

11 July (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

19-21 July (Friday-Sunday): LED Middle East Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23 July (Tuesday): 23 July revolution anniversary, national holiday.

30-31 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

7-11 August (Wednesday-Sunday) Eid El Adha (TBC).

22 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

29 August (Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

2-4 September (Monday-Wednesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

8-11 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

17-18 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

26 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

6 October (Sunday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

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

23-24 October (Wednesday-Thursday): Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

23 October-1 November (Wednesday-Friday): CIB PSA Women’s World Championship, Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo.

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

3-5 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9 November (Saturday): Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, national holiday.

10-14 November (Sunday-Thursday): GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition, Marriott, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Machtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Transpotech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Airtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

December: Egypt will host for the first time the Pack Process trade expo for the Middle East and African region.

3-6 December (Tuesday-Friday): Cairo WoodShow, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Pacprocess Middle East Africa, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2019 Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

10-11 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

26 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

9-12 January 2020 (Tuesday-Sunday): PLASTEX, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day, national holiday.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International

Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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