Monday, 4 November 2019

Egypt just cleared a major hurdle to its dream of becoming the premier East Med energy hub

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The two big stories of the day are whoppers: Aramco’s IPO looks like a “go” as the Saudi oil giant ITF’ed yesterday, and Egypt took a huge step toward becoming the premier energy hub of the eastern Med yesterday as ownership of the East Mediterranean Gas subsea pipeline that runs between Egypt and Israel was transferred to Israel’s Delek Drilling, Texas-based Noble Energy and Egypt’s East Gas. We have chapter and verse on both stories in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Washington today for talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The meetings kick off on Wednesday, according to a ministry statement. World Bank officials will also sit in on the discussions. Ethiopia confirmed on Thursday that it had accepted the Trump administration’s invitation for talks, an offer that Egypt had two weeks ago before President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmedagreed at the Russia-Africa summit to resume technical talks. Ethiopia had repeatedly refused mediation by third parties and underlined that the meetings would not involve direct negotiations, but discussions only.

Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus will hold a three-way defense meeting in Athens tomorrow, according to the Cyprus Mail. The next day will see the three ministers flying to Crete to watch part of the trilateral “Medusa 9” military drill that started on Friday and wraps up on 8 November.

You can expect the Central Bank of Egypt to announce foreign reserve levels today covering the status as of 31 October. Foreign reserves stood at USD 45.11 bn at the end of September, up fractionally from USD 44.97 at the end of the previous month.

The Narrative PR Summit, part of the Arab League’s Arab Sustainable Development week, kicked off yesterday, and will run all week.

PSA #1- We’re getting that long weekend after all: The public sector will have Sunday, 10 November off for the Prophet’s birthday, which actually falls on Saturday, according to a cabinet statement. The central bank subsequently declared Sunday to be a bank holiday, the EGX will follow suit. Until it does, we think it safe to assume we’re all going to be off on Sunday. Enterprise will also be taking the day to rest, and we’ll be back in your inboxes as usual on Monday, 11 November.

PSA #2- It’s that time of year where our friends in the US and UK have their body clocks scrambled, and no one’s quite sure why. Clocks fell back one hour in the US yesterday and in the UK a week ago. Egypt did away with the entire concept of daylight savings a few years ago.

Key dates on which to keep your eye:

  • Tomorrow is PMI day, with October’s reading of the IHS / Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index expected at about 6:15am CLT;
  • Sunday, 10 November is inflation day, with the CBE and state statistics agency CAPMAS releasing figures for headline and core inflation;
  • Thursday, 14 November is interest rate day, when the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meets to seat interest rates. The committee has cut rates at its last two meetings.

Among the international headlines worth knowing this morning:

  • Algerians will have five nominees to choose from when they head to the polls in December to elect a new president after Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s almost 20-year reign, Reuters reports. Protests against the planned elections are still ongoing, as opponents say they will be unfair as long as members of Bouteflika’s regime remain in government.
  • Google has reached an agreement to acquire Fitbit for USD 2.1 bn, seemingly unperturbed by the current regulatory focus on anti-competitive practices and the push to break up Big Tech. The two will join forces to challenge Apple’s rapidly-growing wearable-tech business, the Financial Times reports, but tech insiders are skeptical that the Google-Fitbit merger will give it the chops it needs. See more in Wired and the Verge.
  • McDonald’s has fired its CEOSteve Easterbrook over a consensual relationship with an employee that breached company policy. The WSJ and Bloomberg have more.

Morning must-read, whether you’re a finance nerd or a wannabe entrepreneur: The WSJ has an awesome profile of Jim Simmons, the “wry, chain-smoking teacher” who early in the summer of 1978 at the age of 40 binned a distinguished career in math “try his hand at trading currencies.” Today, he’s built a firm that stands as “the most successful money maker in the history of modern finance,” the Journal writes noting that his flagship fund has generated average annual returns of 66% (before his very hefty fee) since 1988. “No one in the investment world comes close. Warren Buffett, George Soros, Peter Lynch, Steve Cohen and Ray Dalio all fall short.”

Meet the man whose Renaissance Technologies effectively created quants and who is now suddenly getting ink in the Journal, the Financial Times (by former Middle East hand Robin Wigglesworth) and Bloomberg. Our favourite piece is in the journal this time around: The making of the world’s greatest investor.

Why the sudden hoopla about Mr. Simmons? He’s the subject of a new book: The man who solved the market, by Gregory Zuckerman, which is available for preorder (delivering tomorrow to Kindle, if you’re so inclined). Zukerman is also the author of The greatest trade ever, the inside story of hedgie John Paulson’s epic trade on the housing bubble in the United States.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was a packed night on the airwaves yesterday, with our favorite talk show host Lamees El Hadidi returning to our screens for the first of two episodes this week (the second of which airs tonight). Among the highlights: Egypt’s regional gas hub ambitions, GERD talks in Washington between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, and the Aramco IPO.

Egypt takes a leap toward its toward gas hub dream: Shares in East Mediterranean Gas, which owns the Arish-Ashkelon pipeline running between Egypt and Israel, have been transferred to Israel’s Delek Drilling, Texas-based Noble Energy and Egypt’s East Gas Company. The story drove the conversation in the region yesterday and got a fair amount of coverage on our airwaves. We have chapter and verse in Speed Round, below.

Al Kahera Alaan’s El Hadidi was among those who picked up the story (watch, runtime: 7:26). El Hadidi phoned former Oil Minister Osama Kamal, who spoke of the importance of the Israel agreement to Egypt’s plan to emerge as the region’s key energy hub.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry taking off to Washington for talks with Ethiopia and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam gained some airtime on Hona Al Asema (watch, runtime: 6:35). We recap the story in What We’re Tracking Today, above.

Lamees took it a step further and got in touch with Hani Raslan, head of the Sudan and Nile Basin research center at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, (watch, runtime: 18:48). Raslan pointed to the failure of the recent Russian-African summit in Sochi to produce a breakthrough in the deadlocked GERD negotiations and said the US is likely to steer the talks to a constructive outcome.

Adib talks Turkey with Palestine’s Dahlan: El Hekaya’s Amr Adib spoke to prominent Palestinian politician and Fatah politician Mohammad Dahlan about Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s destabilizing activities in the region. You can watch several parts of the interview here (runtime: 0:54), here (runtime: 2:13), and here (runtime: 1:52).

Aramco IPO: El Hekaya devoted a decent segment to a phone call with Saudi business leader Hussein Shobokshi for a comment on the imminent Aramco IPO, which officially got underway yesterday (watch, runtime: 8:27). We have the full story in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

El Sisi, Madbouly meet with health, finance ministers to follow up on universal health care system: El Sisi and Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly reviewed progress in national healthcare in a meeting with Health Minister Hala Zayed and Administrative Control Authority boss Sherif Seif El Deen, Ittihadiya said in a statement. The officials briefed the president on the implementation of the universal health insurance scheme — which piloted in Port Said governorate in July — and on the‘100 mn healthy lives’ initiative to end surgical waiting lists, which has so far spent EGP 1.9 bn on surgeries.

The meeting was widely talked about on the airwaves. Hona Al Asema’s Reham Ibrahim (watch runtime: 0:44 and runtime: 2:05) and Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary (watch, runtime: 0:54) were among those taking note. Adib, meanwhile, phoned Health Minister Hala Zayed for her two cents (watch, runtime: 6:16).

Speed Round

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EMG ownership transferred to Delek, Noble and East Gas: Ownership of the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) subsea pipeline that runs between Egypt and Israel has been transferred to Israel’s Delek Drilling, Texas-based Noble Energy and Egypt’s East Gas, Bloomberg reports. The move brings us one (very significant) step closer to receiving natural gas from Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields under a landmark agreement with Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings in 2018. A 39% share in the pipeline were transferred to the three companies, who have partnered in a venture known as EMED, according to a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday.

About EMED: The EMED joint venture has bought a 39% stake in the EMG pipeline for USD 520 mn. Egypt’s East Gas holds a controlling 50% stake in the venture, while Delek and Noble both hold 25%.

There are no remaining preconditions to be fulfilled for the purchase of the rights to operate the gas pipeline to be completed, said Delek, and the transaction should be finalized within days. In October, we reported that EMED had already made 70% of the payment to acquire a controlling stake in EMG.

When will Israeli gas start flowing? The latest ETA for Israeli gas exports to reach the Egyptian market is early 2020, Delek and Noble have said. Some reports have suggested that the gas will start to flow as early as 1 January 2020.

Egypt has avoided paying a fine in a USD 288 mn lawsuit brought by EMG at the International Chamber of Commerce, according to the local press. The pipeline owner pulled out of the case after Delek, Noble and Egypt Gas took ownership.

Egypt has worked hard to resolve arbitration cases throughout process, with multiple cases being launched against the country for breaching supply agreements in the wake of the events of 2011. Egypt was forced to pay a USD 500 mn settlement to Israel in June for cutting gas shipments in 2012. Thailand’s PTT Energy Resources brought a USD 1 bn suit against the Egyptian government in May, alleging that Egypt failed to meet gas deliveries after 2011 and caused EMG — in which it held a 25% stake — to fail to meet its contractual obligations to its customers.

Capacity and regulatory issues also forced delays: Trial gas shipments were originally supposed to begin in March, with commercial sales beginning by the end of June, but capacity restrictions of Israel’s domestic pipeline network caused delays. A series of Delek-led tests on the EMG pipeline in July removed any doubts about its integrity, however, confirming that it is fit to transport up to 7 bcm of natural gas per year. Israeli regulators caused further delays before antitrust lawyers eventually agreed in August Delek and Noble to buy in to the pipeline.

It’s official: Saudi Aramco’s IPO is now underway, with the Saudi Capital Market Authority officially approving the share sale yesterday. Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan said at a presser yesterday that Aramco’s valuation would be determined during the investor roadshow and bookbuilding process, Bloomberg reports — par for the course. The listing will be limited to Tadawul for now, with plans for a listing in New York or London shelved for the time being, Al-Rumayyan said. Aramco will release an IPO prospectus on 9 November, added CEO Amin Nasser.

As far as we know, this is still the working time frame:

  • Sunday, 17 November: Offering is priced.
  • Wednesday, 4 December: Subscription period opens.
  • Wednesday, 11 December: First day of trading.

You can check out Aramco’s intention to float (pdf)here on the oil giant’s website, which makes clear the number of shares on offer (widely expected to be a stake of 1-2%) won’t be made clear until the end of the bookbuilding process.

Aramco is about two Apples big. It turned in a bottom line of USD 111 bn in 2018 — i-device maker Apple, by comparison, turned in just under USD 60 bn in net income the same year.

MbS isn’t going to get his USD 2 tn valuation: The kingdom is ready to accept a USD 1.6-1.8 tn valuation to ensure the IPO is a success, people briefed on the matter have said. Valuation has been the big sticking point since the idea of the IPO was first raised three years ago, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman targeting a USD 2 tn valuation, to which international investors responded with skepticism.

But some think it should be even lower: Some banks working on the IPO have suggested that the company may be valued even at below USD 1.6 tn, according to Bloomberg. Bank of America said its valuation reached as low as USD 1.22 tn and as high at USD 2.27 tn. HSBC, meanwhile, put the valuation at between USD 1.59 tn and USD 2.1 tn, while BNP Paribas said the company was worth exactly USD 1.42 tn.

There’s a raft of incentives designed to entice investors: Aramco will pay a tax rate of 20% on its domestic downstream business starting next year — a significant drop from current rates of 50-80%. The move is, however, contingent on consolidating the business under a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary by the end of 2024. Aramco’s board has also confirmed that it will pay USD 75 bn in dividends next year, as well as any potential special dividends — and could even raise this to USD 80 bn. If the company is valued at USD 1.8 tn this would mean a yield of 4.4%, which is high, but still lower than the 5% Exxon investors get.

Saudi retail investors will be able to receive one bonus share for every 10 allotted if they hold their shares for 180 days continuously from the first day of trading and listing on the Tadawul. (Though that generosity will apparently be capped at a maximum of 100 bonus shares.) Saudi banks are also reportedly being nudged to give extra leverage to retail investors who want to load up on Aramco shares.

Saudi stocks plummeted in response to the news that Aramco is coming to market, with the Tadawul All Share Index falling as much as 2.4% as investors rolled up their sleeves in preparation for the oil giant’s listing. “As Aramco will become the main constituent in indexes, the other names will definitely witness a sell-off somehow,” said Monsef Morsy, head of financial analysis at CI Capital in Cairo, Bloomberg reports.

Advisors: JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group, Credit Suisse Group, Citigroup, HSBC, Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank, and Saudi Arabia’s Samba Financial Group, were all given the mandate for the IPO. Our friends at EFG Hermes are doing joint bookrunner duties.

The World Bank sees Egypt’s economy growing 5.5% this year, outpacing the MENA average of 1.5%, according to the World Bank’s annual report (pdf). The report singles out Egypt’s “strong reforms on the fiscal and energy fronts” as a key driver of higher growth than its regional peers. Egypt’s GDP expanded at a 5.6% clip in 1Q2019-2020 on the back of growth in the retail, agriculture, industrial, real estate, and telecom sectors, Planning Minister Hala El Said noted last week. The government is targeting GDP growth of 6% in FY2019-2020.

Egypt is one of the world’s largest recipients of loans from the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The bank has provided Egypt with loans worth a total of USD 1.5 bn in 2019, making it the fourth biggest borrower from the bank, behind India, Indonesia, and Jordan. The financing includes USD 1 bn directed towards a program to spur private sector growth and another USD 200 mn to improve the business environment for entrepreneurship.

M&A WATCH- EDF to invest USD 25 mn in KarmSolar this year: French energy company EDF Renewables is reportedly in advanced talks to invest as much as USD 25 mn in KarmSolar before the end of the year, sources familiar with the matter told the press. An agreement is expected to be officially announced “in days,” the sources said.

The press was a little short on details: A previous version of the story claimed the agreement would see EDF acquiring a 45% stake, with KarmSolar’s current shareholders retaining 55% of the company’s equity. The move is part of the of the French government-owned company’s plans to expand its presence in Egypt.

KarmSolar has been looking to raise money for its solar projects. The company inked a EGP 230 mn loan agreement with Banque Misr last month to fund a number of 24 MW solar power plants. CEO Ahmed Zahran said at the time they’re in talks with five local and international banks for a EGP 1 bn loan to finance additional plants.

Advisors: El Kamel Law is acting as legal advisor to KarmSolar and Shahid Law Firm for EDF, sources close to the transaction told us.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- NBE to divest in 5-6 companies by year end, create opening for private sector investors: The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is planning to sell up to EGP 1 bn in stakes from five or six companies by the end of the year, including Emisal Salts and Arco Steel, Co-Deputy Chairman Yehia Abu El Fotouh said. The bank is working with Banque Misr on the sales.

Positioning the divestments as the government ceding space to the private sector is good policy, particularly as the just-announced IPO of Aramco could pull oxygen out of regional markets (stymying stake sales of already-listed government companies) and as no IPO of a state-owned company is likely in the next three or more months from where we sit.

Deloitte to appraise NIB assets ahead of restructuring: The Madbouly government has contracted Deloitte to value the National Investment Bank’s (NIB) assets as a precursor to a wider restructuring, NIB deputy head Mahmoud Montasser tells Al Mal. The valuation process is set to be complete within three months’ time, according to Montasser. The IMF highlighted in its fifth and final review (pdf) of Egypt’s extended fund facility that the appraisal of NIB’s assets had yet to take place. The restructuring plan for the NIB — which has been in the works for more than two years now — includes swapping debt owed to it by government authorities for unused land. The NIB was just recently tapped to be a main contributor in Egypt's Sovereign Wealth Fund through the assets it holds.

Speaking of the sovereign wealth fund: Egypt’s SWF will see its initial capital rise fivefold to EGP 1 tn from EGP 200 bn after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi directed officials to raise its authorized capital, Planning Minister Hala El Said recently said. Assets are currently being transferred to the fund — which will focus on renewable energy, manufacturing, logistics, food security, healthcare, and transport, newly-appointed CEO Ayman Soliman was quoted by Al Mal as saying.

Samih Sawiris announced he is looking to partner with the SWF to develop Bab El Azab area in Islamic Cairo. Downtown Cairo-focused Al Ismaelia For Real Estate Investment will take on the project’s implementation, the b'naire told Hapi Journal, adding that he will be acting individually and not as part of Orascom Development Egypt (ODE). Al Ismaelia’s chairman Karim Shafei said the project is still in a “very early stage.”

The SWF’s PPP mandate: The planning minister said over the weekend that both ODE and Al Ismaelia expressed interest in investing in or alongside the SWF. Her remarks came after El Sisi directed top officials last week to focus the fund on partnerships with the private sector, whether in Egypt or abroad.

FinMin gives exporters EGP 600 mn in tax breaks to settle overdue subsidies: The Finance Ministry has settled EGP 600 mn in overdue export subsidies in the past three months via providing tax breaks, Vice Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk said. The ministry received some 60 requests from companies looking to write off the overdue amounts against their taxes, 37 of which have already been processed.

Background: Exporters are owed bns of overdue subsidies under promises made by the Export Subsidy Fund since 2012. The government began settling these payments under its new EGP 6 bn export subsidy framework in September, under which it promised to speed up the payments for larger companies that commit to new investments.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House committee agrees to exclude central bank, market regulator from Data Protection Act: The House ICT Committee has agreed to exempt the Central Bank of Egypt and the Financial Regulatory Authority from the stipulations laid out in the Data Protection Act, according to Al Mal. The committee had initially rejected a request from the CBE, but backtracked on its rejection due to "national security concerns."

One thing that hasn’t changed: The controversial minimum six-month prison term and fines ranging between EGP 100k and EGP 1 mn for anyone who illegally collects, trades, or discloses users’ personal data. Despite efforts from global tech companies that have been lobbying the House to replace prison terms with fines on the grounds that severe punishment could scare investors, the House appears to be adamant on leaving the measures in place.

Background: The 54-article bill lays out the ground rules for how businesses use personal information collected online. The bill, which was initially expected to be presented to parliament last year, enshrines users’ right to access their private data at any time as well as give them the right to take legal action against parties responsible for data breaches and misuses of private information. The legislation also stipulates that a unit to protect personal data be established under the Information Technology Industry Development Agency whose members shall be selected by the Justice Minister and given powers of arrest. Check out our comprehensive breakdown of the legislation and how it may affect your and your business.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House committee gives final nod to Water Act amendments: The House Agriculture Committee has given its final approval to proposed amendments to the Water Act which have been with the House since the 2017-2018 legislative session, reports Al Masry Al Youm. The proposed changes have been discussed at 27 previous committee meetings, and sub-level committees were formed to resolve some of its contentious articles, committee head Hisham El Hosary said. The long-awaited amendments will now be up for a final general assembly vote.

Why is this important? The changes are expected to address a number of challenges the current 33-year-old law has been increasingly unable to tackle. The challenges include high pollution levels, dwindling water resources, and issues stemming from climate change. The amendments are also expected to introduce new, stricter penalties for wasting water.

Possible elements of the draft changes: We’re not sure how much has changed since the amendments were introduced two years ago. But according to statements attributed by the press earlier this year to then ministry spokesperson Yousry Khafagi, the draft changes will come in the form of a 131-bill that would, among other things, bring together the disparate laws on water within a single piece of legislation. This is meant to ensure streamlined procedures for different types of water users, lower water wastage levels, and promote better flood and rain water management. The bill will also restate clear provisions for protecting the country’s water resources. There are also five specific brand new provisions the amended act would introduce if it passes in this older form, that cover:

  • Groundwater management and storage facility monitoring, as well as regulating inland waterways;
  • The protection of valleys, heavy rain drainage and protection systems from flash floods caused by heavy rains;
  • Allowing water beneficiaries to work with the state in managing, operating and maintaining irrigation and drainage systems;
  • Provisions against the vandalism of Egypt’s coasts;
  • Upgrading Egypt’s irrigation and drainage systems.

STARTUP WATCH- Swvl plans to invest USD 25 mn in Pakistan to fund pre-seed startups, Pakistani outlet Samaa reports. The mass transit company now intends to launch an incubator that will create 10k jobs a year and impact half a mn Pakistanis by 2023. The announcement was made at a Pakistani entrepreneurship conference, 021Disrupt.

This is part of Swvl’s rapid expansion plans: Swvl’s expansion within Pakistan is part of an ambitious growth strategy that has seen it target and raise record amounts of funding, and eye several new markets this year. The company launched in Lahore in August, and quickly expanded to the capital, Islamabad, and Karachi. In June, Swvl announced its plans to launch 50 buses in Lagos by mid-July, and entered Kenya earlier this year in what now may become an ill-fated venture. As of mid-September, it was also eyeing expansion into Manila in 1H2020, and some 10 or 20 new cities next year, with Dar es Salaam and Abidjan being of particular interest, as well as markets in South East Asia.

EARNINGS WATCH- Real estate company Heliopolis Housing’s net profit was up 42% in FY2018-2019 to EGP 376.4 mn from EGP 265.4 mn last year, it said in a statement on the EGX (pdf). The company’s revenues rose to EGP 1.1 bn during the year. Heliopolis is presently looking to sell a 10% stake in the company (with management rights) as part of an ongoing process.

Cheesemaker Obour Land recorded a net profit of EGP 113.3 mn in 3Q2019, up 73% y-o-y from EGP 65.6 mn during the same period last year, according to its earnings release (pdf). Revenues for the quarter rose to EGP 733.0 mn, up 15% y-o-y from 3Q2018. The company’s profits also rose 33% y-o-y during the first nine months of the year to EGP 240.6 mn, while 9M2019 revenues rose 9% y-o-y to EGP 1.9 bn.

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Egypt in the News

In the foreign press this morning: The UAE’s The National has a story that questions President Abdelfattah El Sisi’s suggestion on Thursday to list military-owned businesses on the EGX. It argues that any publicly-traded business would be required to comply with bourse regulations and adopt a level of transparency that many military-owned firms could find challenging, it suggests. Expect the process to last years, the story suggests.

Other stories to note in brief:

  • Al Mawlid Al Nabawi: France24 is out with a piece looking at the sweets filling the streets as the country gears up for Mawlid.
  • Ancient Egypt: Zahi Hawass has written an opera script based on Tutankhamun’s life for the Grand Egyptian Museum’s opening late next year, the National notes.
  • Sport: Competitive swimming is a growing sport among elderly Egyptians, Xinhua reports.
  • Agriculture: The Arab Weekly gives a shout out to the farmers of Shubra Blula, a town that has gained international acclaim for its jasmine grandiflorum

Worth Watching

Can the global M&A upswing continue? The last five years has seen a record global M&A boom, with over USD 20 tn-worth of agreements signed as a result of over 250k transactions, this Financial Times video shows (watch, runtime: 02:12). But how long can it last and what might bring it to an end? Big picture reasons for the proliferation of M&A include low interest rates — which allow for cheaper borrowing — rising stock prices, and economic growth that hasn’t necessarily translated into earnings growth. A stable geopolitical backdrop also helps, but considering M&A volumes have withstood the chaos of Brexit, Donald Trump and the US-China trade war, it by no means seems a prerequisite. But one global development that could be enough to bring the spate of M&A agreements to an end? A recession, and the ensuing collapse in valuations, the video says.

Energy

EGAS increases Idku nat gas exports to 300 mcf/d

Egypt has increased its natural gas exports from the Idku liquefaction plant to 300 mcf/d per month, up from 100 mcf/d last month, an EGAS source tells the local press. The higher exports come as prices have stabilized after previously taking a dip when there was oversupply in the market.

Manufacturing

Toshiba, Elaraby Group sign EGP 4 bn partnership contract to export televisions

Japanese electronics producer Toshiba and Elaraby Group signed a EGP 4 bn partnership agreement to assemble and export television sets to 60 countries in the Middle East and Africa from Egypt, Deputy Chairman Ibrahim Elaraby told Al Mal. Elaraby did not provide further information about the partnership. Toshiba had been planning to increase the value of products manufactured by its JV with Elaraby Group, Toshiba El Araby Visual & Appliances Marketing Company (TEVA), to USD 100 mn in 2019.

Tourism

Accor signs renovation and management contract for Sharm El Sheikh resort

Hospitality company Accor signed a renovation and management contract for the Promenade beach resort in Sharm El Sheikh, according to the local press. The resort will be rebranded as Pullman Hotel and Resorts, a subsidiary of Accor, in 2021. The renovations will be completed by January 2023. Accor Hotels has been planning to open more than 30 hotels in Egypt over the next two years as the country’s tourism industry recovers.

Automotive + Transportation

Egypt to establish EGP 6 bn company to manage monorail project

Egypt will set up a new EGP 6 bn company to manage the monorail project, Planning Minister Hala El Said told Al Mal. Shareholders of the new company include the National Investment Bank, the New Urban Communities Authority, the National Authority for Tunnels, and the New Administrative Capital Company. A source told the newspaper that the final details of the company will be revealed this month, after receiving cabinet approval.

Winner of Sixth of October dry port tender to be announced in November

The government will announce the winning consortium for the Sixth of October dry port tender in three weeks’ time, two months sooner than expected, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said, according to the press. Authorities have already selected the winning bid, but El Wazir didn’t disclose the information. Hassan Allam and Elsewedy are each in a consortium with a number of international companies including Concord, Malaysia’s PSA, Schenker Egypt and 3A International. These two consortiums are the only two competing for the tender.

Egypt purchases 70 new locomotives from Progress Rail Locomotive

The government has reached an agreement with the US’ Progress Rail Locomotive (PRL) to supply 70 locomotives by the end of June 2020, Transport Ministry Kamel El Wazir said on the sidelines of a conference. The minister said that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reached an agreement with the company chairman on Saturday to reduce the price by USD 45 mn to USD 405 mn for 141 locomotives. The Transport Ministry said last month that it will sign a USD 430 mn agreement with PRL to purchase 50 new locomotives and repair 50 existing ones.

Chinese delegation to finalize El Nasr Auto partnership next month

A delegation from an unnamed Chinese automotive company will visit Egypt next month as it nears an agreement with state-owned El Nasr Automotive, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said, according to Al Mal. A preliminary agreement was reportedly reached in August with an unnamed Chinese automotive company to set up an electric vehicles factory in partnership with El Nasr. The company was said to be one of the largest in China.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Egyptian Electricity Holding Company could begin installing prepaid meters in illegal buildings again

The Electricity Ministry is seeking cabinet approval to install prepaid meters for illegal buildings, Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) Chairman Gaber El Desouki said, according to Al Mal. The ministry stopped installing prepaid meters in June 2018 but is now revising that decision in a bid to reduce the illegal consumption of electricity. Buildings lacking construction permits are legally unable to be connected to the electricity grid, forcing the owners either to live without power or steal electricity.

On Your Way Out

Pope Shenouda’s life story is making it to the small screen: The Coptic Orthodox Church is producing a 34-episode TV series telling the life and death of Pope Shenouda III, according to Arab Weekly. The USD 5 mn series will mark the entry of the Coptic church into the TV production field. Egyptian actor Maged El Kedwany has been cast in the role of Shenouda, who passed away in 2012.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.06 | Sell 16.19
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 16.07 | Sell 16.17
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.09 | Sell 16.19

EGX30 (Sunday): 14,622 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 563 mn (22% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +12.2%

THE MARKET ON SUNDAY: The EGX30 ended Sunday’s session up 0.4%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 10.1%, Alexandria Mineral Oils Company up 5.4%, and Kima up 5.3%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Emaar Misr down 1.0%, Orascom Construction down 0.9% and Juhayna down 0.5%. The market turnover was EGP 563 mn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +27.5 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -30.7 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +3.2 mn

Retail: 78.1% of total trades | 73.3% of buyers | 82.9% of sellers
Institutions: 21.9% of total trades | 26.7% of buyers | 17.1% of sellers

WTI: USD 56.20 (+3.70%)

Brent: USD 61.69 (+3.5%)

Natural Gas: (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.71 MMBtu, (+3.10%, December 2019 contract)

Gold: USD 1,511.40 / troy ounce (-0.2%)

TASI: 7,590 (-2.0%) (YTD: -3.0%)
ADX: 5,113 (+0.1%) (YTD: +4.0%)
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MSM: 4,007 (+0.2%) (YTD: -7.3%)
BB: 1,520 (-0.2%) (YTD: +13.7%)

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Calendar

November: Suez Canal Conference for Investment, organized in cooperation with the European Union

November: The government will host the Egypt Economic Summit with 40 speakers and experts across all economic fields to discuss the country’s vision post the IMF program.

November: British Egyptian Business Association’s Annual door knock mission, United Kingdom.

November: ITIDA to announce the winning bid in a tender to manage three new innovation centers.

3 November (Sunday): Real Estate Debate 2019 Conference – Catalysts for Growth in 2020, Cairo Marriott Hotel.

4 November (Sunday): Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority is set to announce the start of the IPO process (expected).

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

3-7 November (Sunday- Thursday): Employment Creation in The Arab Countries, Cairo, Egypt

4 November (Monday): Narrative PR Summit, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

4-6 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt’s Chamber of Tourism Establishments will participate in the UK’s World Travel Market (WTM) event in London.

7 November (Thursday): AmCham will hold the Prosper Africa Event.

7-9 November (Thursday-Saturday): BiznEx Egypt 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

8-9 November (Friday-Saturday): Startups Without Borders Summit, The American University in Cairo Downtown, Tahrir, Egypt

8-22 November: Egypt will host Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations 2019.

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

9-11 November (Saturday-Monday): Vested Summit, Sahl Hasheesh, Red Sea.

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

11-13 November (Monday-Wednesday): Africa Investment Forum, Gauteng, South Africa.

12 November (Tuesday): Egypt Economic Summit, venue TBA.

13-15 November (Wednesday-Friday): Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, Cape Town, South Africa.

14 November (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

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.

17 November (Sunday): The share price for the Aramco IPO will be announced (expected).

18 November (Monday): AmCham’s US-Egypt Proposer Forum in Cairo. US trade delegation visits Cairo to discuss investments in health, energy and information technology as part of the gathering.

20-29 November (Wednesday-Friday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo Opera House, Egypt, Cairo, Egypt.

20 November (Wednesday): The Investment Ministry and the Islamic Development Bank will organize the “leaders for change” startup competition as part of the Fekretak Sherketak initiative, location TBD, Cairo, Egypt.

22-23 November (Friday-Saturday): Invest in Africa 2019 conference, New Administrative Capital.

23 November (Saturday): HHD extraordinary general assembly to approve the 10% stake + management request for proposal

24 November (Sunday): Arabia Investments lawsuit against French Peugeot (after being postponed)

25 November (Monday): Global Trade Matters international dialogue on climate neutrality, Marriott, Cairo.

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

December: A Chinese automotive company delegation will visit Egypt to sign an agreement with El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company

December: Indian automotive delegation to visit Egypt

1-4 December (Sunday-Wednesday): E-payment and Innovative Financial Inclusion Expo and Forum (PAFIX), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

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

4 December (Wednesday): Subscription to the Aramco IPO will begin (expected).

5-7 December (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, American University in Cairo, New Cairo Campus

8 December (Sunday): Pitch by the Pyramids, Giza Pyramids

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 December (Tuesday): Egypt Automotive summit, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

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

11 December (Wednesday): First day of trading on the Aramco IPO (expected)

12-14 December (Thursday-Saturday): 16 Egyptian real estate development companies will showcase their products at IPS Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

14-17 December (Saturday-Tuesday): World Youth Forum 2019, Sharm El Sheikh.

17-21 December (Tuesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

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

January 2020: 2019 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards, Albatros Citadel Resort, Hurghada, Egypt.

January 2020: UK-Africa Investment summit, London, United Kingdom.

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.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break for public schools and universities. Also known as: Two weeks of good commute.

February 2020: An Italian business delegation will visit Egypt to discuss investments in the Port Said industrial zone.

8 February 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break ends. Traffic in Cairo stinks once more.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

March 2020: The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) will visit Egypt to assess the progress of actions taken to combat money laundering and terrorist sponsoring activities.

4-5 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Women Economic Forum, Cairo.

25-26 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23 April 2020 (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23-26 May 2020 (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

5-7 May 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): AFSIC – Investing in Africa, London, United Kingdom.

30 June 2020 (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

November 2020: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

30 July 2020-3 August 2020 (Thursday-Monday): Eid El Adha (TBC), national holiday.

19-20 August 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

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