Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Bank Audi denies media reports it’s planning to exit Egypt

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Regional politics are continuing to hog the limelight this morning, as negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam enter their second day and Libya truce talks finished the day without a resolution.

Libya truce talks enter their second day in Moscow today, after eight hours of negotiations failed to produce a final agreement. Progress was made despite this, and both Russian and Turkey expressed optimism that a binding truce will be agreed ahead of the upcoming summit in Berlin on Sunday. The summit will bring together the foreign allies of both Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Russia, France, and the UAE, and Al Serraj, who is supported by Turkey, Italy, and Germany, meanwhile stand by Al Serraj. Reuters, Bloomberg and AP all have the story.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is in town today for a two-day visit, where he is due to meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, presumably to talk Libya, according to Al Shorouk. Conte met with Erdogan in Ankara prior to landing in Cairo.

Is the GERD row just a power play? Open Democracy seems to think so, suggesting that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute is just a competition for status between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It comes at a time when international businesses are looking to invest in Africa, and Ethiopia is taking the spotlight from Om El Donia, the piece says.

If so, they’re currently flexing in Washington: The US- and World Bank-brokered meetings began yesterday in an attempt to find a solution to the years-old dispute before tomorrow’s deadline.

EGP WATCH: The EGP rose another 3 piasters against the greenback on Monday, reaching EGP 15.86 per USD. The USD has lost 14 piasters to the EGP since Wednesday, driven by USD 1.7 bn in FX inflows, the central bank said, according to Masrawy.

The House will vote today on extending the state of emergency for another three months, Ahram Online reports.

enterprise

China’s currency boosts investor confidence as trade agreement nears: Investors are encouraged by the resurging strength and steadiness of the Chinese yuan as the highly anticipated Phase 1 of the US-China trade agreement is expected to be signed this week. Beijing is likely seeking to assure Trump with a firm and safe yuan, which has risen more than 2.5% against the USD since early December, and signal an end to the currency manipulation it has been accused of in past years, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that the renminbi rallied as much as 0.5% against the USD, crossing the Rmb 6.9 mark for the first time since August and rising nearly 1% in 2020.

Funds flowed generously into ETF providers’ portfolios as 2019 came to a close on record highs. Net inflows into ETFs stood at USD 570.5 bn by the end of 2019, an 11% increase from the previous year, with total assets in the industry exceeding a record USD 6.3 tn, signaling a growing demand for the fund on the back of a US stock market high, the Financial Times reports.


If you’re celebrating your 47th birthday soon, you’ll likely be the most unhappy you’ve ever been: Dartmouth College Professor David Blanchflower has reached the conclusion that people are at the “moment of peak unhappiness” at 47.2 years of age, according to Bloomberg. Blanchflower believes that there is a U-shaped “happiness curve” that holds true in all developed countries “where the median wage is high and where it is not and where people tend to live longer and where they don’t,” he said.

Congratulations, everyone: We survived the second-hottest year on record for the planet and the hottest year ever for Europe, the European Copernicus Climate Change Service said, according to New York Times. Average temps in 2019 were only slightly below 2016, which remains the hottest year on record.

Distractions to entertain the nerds among you on your commute this morning:

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Libya was once again topic du jour on the airwaves last night: Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi covered the ongoing ceasefire negotiations in Moscow between head of the internationally-recognized government Fayez Al-Sarraj and eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar. El Hadidi phoned Mazen Abbas, the head of the Alhadath Moscow bureau, who said that while Al Serraj signed the document the day had ended without an agreement because Haftar requested more time to consider it. El Hadidi also spoke to Haftar spokesman Khaled Al-Mahjoub, who poured cold water on the idea that Haftar-affiliated militia will cede any of the ground taken during the war (watch, runtime: 18:30). El Hekaya’s Amr Adib also took note of the story (watch, runtime: 3:04).

American citizen Moustafa Kassem dies in Egyptian prison: El Hekaya’s Amr Adib highlighted the news about Kassem’s death, who was serving a 15-year sentence in connection with the 2013 Raba’a protests (watch, runtime: 1:58). Adib noted that the Prosecutor General Hamada El Sawy ordered an autopsy for Kassem to determine the cause of death (watch, runtime: 1:56). The story is all over the US press this morning: We have more in Egypt in the News, below.

Cleaning fees struck from energy bills: El Hadidi phoned the head of the House energy committee, Talaat El-Seedy, who said that cleaning fees will no longer be collected through electricity bills as of July, but would be collected separately by local councils (watch, runtime: 3:27).

Speed Round

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M&A WATCH- Bank Audi yesterday denied media reports that it is planning to exit Egypt as it continues to grapple with tumult in its home market of Lebanon. An official at the bank’s investor relations department told the local press that its Egypt arm is one of its best performing assets and that nobody at the company has floated the idea of an asset sale.

Al Arabiya reported yesterday that Bank Audi was looking to shop its Egyptian operations as part of a restructuring plan due to the ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon. The news outlet did not source its report.

Audi has already received several offers for its Egyptian arm, a separate report from Al Mal claims, citing sources it said were familiar with the matter. The report stressed that the offers remain proposals and that the bank had not made a final decision to exit the market. Audi has assets in Egypt of close to USD 3.9 bn, nearly 8.2% of the bank’s total, according to its latest annual financials.

Bank hasn’t sought CBE approval to exit: The Central Bank of Egypt said yesterday that Bank Audi had not sought approval to sell its Egypt business, Reuters reported.

Audi remains in the news as it still looks to close its stalled acquisition of the National Bank of Greece’s Egypt arm. Yesterday’s news came just a day after local press reports hinted that Bank Audi was moving closer to acquiring NBG. Banking sources told Al Mal that the Lebanese bank had begun calling the shots over NBG’s transactions with large clients. This seemed to indicate progress on the acquisition in spite of NBG’s employee pay dispute preventing the banks from securing CBE approval by the 2 November deadline.

Lebanon’s financial system has been on the brink since anti-government protests broke out last October. Fears that the banking sector faced imminent collapse in November led to the effective imposition of capital controls to prevent money fleeing the country.

enterprise

M&A WATCH- Beltone to offload majority stake in Auerbach Grayson brokerage amid losses: Beltone Financial intends to sell its 60% stake in New York-based brokerage firm Auerbach Grayson before March in a bid to return the company to profitability, CEO Ibrahim Karam told Reuters. The board, which has authorized Karam to negotiate with prospective buyers, hopes the sale will reduce losses incurred since it bought the stake in 2016. “Although [Auerbach] helps us with a presence in more than 120 markets, the losses that come from it are big. We have a plan … that will be finalised before March,” he said. Beltone’s finances have sunk further into the red over the past three years, reporting a EGP 14.3 mn loss in 2017 and a EGP 82.4 mn loss in 2018. The company lost EGP 66.5 mn over the first three quarters of 2019.

Company targets Africa, Gulf expansion in 2020, eyes NBFS market: Beltone Financial is planning to set up shop in Gulf and African countries this year, Karam told the newswire without providing further details. The company wants to see non-banking financial services account for 30-40% of its revenues within three years, Karam added. The board has already approved setting up two new arms specialized in mortgage finance and financial leasing, in which the company will own a 98% stake, it said yesterday in an EGX disclosure (pdf). The Financial Regulatory Authority is currently looking into requests by Beltone to acquire licenses for the latter two activities, as well as for consumer finance, Hapi Journal reported last week.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Al Taisier Medical Holding Group plans EGP 700 mn expansion drive, which include a majority acquisition of an unnamed hospital in northern Egypt, Vice Chairman Mohamed Jazar tells Al Mal. The company will also invest EGP 200 mn to set up an extension to their Zagazig Hospital. Jazar added that the group is taking steps to expand out of Sharqiya Governorate and has recently bought land on the Banha-Mansoura road to build a EGP 150 mn hospital. How’re they going to pay for it all? The company raised EGP 150 mn in fresh capital last year, is lining up an EGP 200 mn bank facility, and says it is in talk with foreign private equity firms that are interested in investing.

M&A WATCH- Dragon Oil completes USD 500 mn acquisition of BP’s Gulf of Suez assets: Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) subsidiary Dragon Oil has wrapped up its acquisition of BP’s Gulf of Suez asset for USD 500 mn, the Oil Ministry said in a statement (pdf). A conflicting report by Al Arabiya puts the transaction value at USD 850 mn, although the source of the figure remains unclear. BP and Dragon Oil reached an agreement over the acquisition last summer, making the latter EGPC’s partner contractor in the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO), a JV that was set up by BP and EGPC to undertake exploration and production operations in the area. Dragon Oil said shortly after it’s planning to invest EGP 1 bn to ramp up GUPCO’s production.

Background: BP’s exit from the Gulf of Suez is part of the company’s strategy to clear off more than USD 10 bn in global assets over two years. The company will instead focus its work in Egypt on natural gas. The transaction that saw BP sell its stake to Dragon Oil was first estimated to be in the range of USD 600 mn.

Egypt’s debt service burden could be a significant headwind to our economic growth -Moody’s: The country’s economic growth agenda could be threatened by the government’s interest bill — estimated at 9% of GDP in FY2019-2020 — “which adds rigidity to the budget,” Moody’s said in its North Africa 2020 outlook report (paywall) last week. The ratings agency expects the debt servicing burden to soften in 2020, but sees debt affordability continuing to be exposed to “idiosyncratic shocks,” and the EGP’s continued appreciation as an obstacle to competitiveness. Bonds & Loans also has the story.

The ratings agency expects Egypt’s ratio of debt-to-GDP to fall to 82.3% this fiscal year, down from a peak of more than 103% in FY2016-2017, and continue to dip further to 76% in FY2021-2022. This is close to expectations announced by the Finance Ministry late last year, which sees Egypt’s public debt levels dropping to 80% of GDP by the end of June 2021. You can get a refresher on the government’s debt targets here.

BUDGET WATCH- Egypt recorded a primary surplus of 0.5% of GDP in 1H FY2019-2020, according to preliminary figures revealed by Finance Minister Mohamed Maait yesterday. The number represents a slight improvement from the previous fiscal year when the government generated a 0.4% surplus in the first six months. The state budget targets a primary surplus of 2% of GDP over the full year. Maait made no mention of the government’s overall fiscal performance (including interest payments) over the first six months of the fiscal year, but revealed that government spending increases had significantly outpaced revenue growth, with expenditure rising 8.2% y-o-y and revenues growing 0.5% y-o-y.

Israeli gas shipments pushed again? Natural gas will begin flowing into Egypt this quarter, beginning with amounts of between 1.5-3 bcm a year, and gradually increasing to 4-5 bcm in 2021 and 7 bcm in 2022, Al Mal reports, citing an unnamed government source. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in December that we would be seeing the first shipment by the middle of this month. This isn’t the first time since the purchase in November of the East Mediterranean Gas pipeline — thought to be the final obstacle to Israeli gas exports — that we’ve faced the prospect of further delays. A VP at Noble Energy, the operating company of Israel’s offshore fields, originally suggested that shipments would begin in December, before this was pushed back to January.

Either way, Egypt is ready after completing EGP 55 mn pipeline revamp: Preparations to repurpose the subsea pipeline connecting Arish to Israel's Ashkelon have already been completed at a cost of EGP 55 mn, and Egypt is ready for the gas to flow. The pipeline was previously used to transfer gas in the opposite direction, to Israel from Egypt. The source didn’t specify who paid for the change. It could have been the pipeline operator — East Mediterranean Gas — the companies party to the gas purchase agreement, or the government.

What will Egypt be doing with the gas? Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holding, which will be receiving the gas, plans to sell much of it to local private sector companies — who would either liquify it for export in the Damietta or Idku liquefaction plants or sell it to the domestic market, the source cited by Al Mal said. This is subject to whether those companies receive distribution licenses from the Natural Gas Regulatory Authority. Egypt has moved in recent years to deregulate the natural gas grid, opening it to use by the private sector.

Export councils seek fundamental changes to export subsidies framework: The export councils have called for fundamental changes to the new export subsidies framework during their meeting with new Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea, the local press quoted unnamed sources as saying. The changes include amending the foreign exhibition financing, which the Finance Ministry has set at EGP 225 mn in the current fiscal year, as well as restructuring the export councils and giving them new jurisdiction when they are reformed in March, and establishing a supreme export council.

Background: Exporters are owed bns of overdue subsidies under the old subsidies framework. Settlements of the overdue payments have reportedly been moving forward since last September, in tandem with the launch of a new EGP 6 bn framework the Madbouly government had approved in June. The executive regulations for the new program were out in December and prompted a backlash from industry, which had objections to the mechanism through which the annual allocations would be paid out. Exporters are also concerned about how the fund plans to settle away bns in back due subsidies.

LEGISLATION WATCH– House committee approves changes to income tax bands: The House Planning and Budget Committee yesterday approved changes to Article 8 of the Income Tax Act proposed by Rep. Mervat Alexan to raise the income tax brackets, according to Al Shorouk. The bill, which will be placed on the plenary’s agenda, almost doubles the income tax exemption threshold to EGP 14k per year up from EGP 8k. The committee amended the proposal to raise the upper limit for each bracket as follows:

  • Those earning between EGP 14-40k would be taxed 10%;
  • Those earning between EGP 40-60k would be taxed 15%;
  • Those earning between EGP 60-200k would be taxed 20%;
  • Those earning more than EGP 200k would be taxed at 22.5%.

No updates on the new Income Tax Act: The Finance Ministry has been reviewing the 2005 Income Tax Act, which has been amended piecemeal over the years and which is now likely to be scrapped altogether in favor of new legislation, as we reported in October.

Paper industry to get VAT boost: An amendment to the VAT Act will exempt production inputs and raw materials imported by local paper companies from VAT and impose the tax on imported paper, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said during a committee hearing yesterday, according to Mubasher. Paper manufacturers have been urging the government for assistance, saying they have been struggling amid high energy prices, high customs and tax rates, and the challenge posed by cheaper imported products. A number of paper companies tried to lobby for the introduction of a 30% import tariff and new restrictions that limit imported paper to newsprint.

Background: Maait said in July last year that the ministry is looking to amend the VAT Act, assuring that no changes will be made to the headline rate. The legislation’s executive regulations were amended in November to allow taxpayers to claim part of their VAT refunds in advance of the tax assessment.

No property tax on factories? Maait yesterday ruled out an increase in property tax over the next three years and pledged to exempt factories from paying the tax, according to Al Shorouk. The minister had said last year that manufacturers will be getting “preferential treatment” in the legislation after factory owners voiced concerns over the current system which imposes taxes on idle industrial land. The Finance Ministry had also been working out a new formula altogether for calculating property tax, where the new calculation should reduce the property taxes properties in the oil and gas sector, factories, and hotels would be required to pay.

Abdel Aal reminds gov’t switching to cash food subsidies needs House approval: The Supply Ministry’s plans must earn a stamp of approval from the House of Representatives, Ahram Online reported House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal as saying yesterday. Abdel Aal wagged his finger at Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy for making a “public statement” on the proposed switch, which the speaker said is “provocative” for citizens under economic pressure. El Moselhy hasn’t said when the government plans to make the switch, but Giza Chamber of Commerce board member Osama El Rifai told Al Shorouk it could happen within two months.

The new system would save 30-35% of the subsidies bill in its first year (EGP 26.5 bn), rising to 40% in the second year, the newspaper says, citing unnamed sources from the ministry and the chamber of commerce. The sources also say the government is mulling increasing each beneficiary’s monthly allowance to EGP 200, from EGP 140 currently.

Background: A number of entities are being consulted by authorities to study the feasibility of the move, and there’s a proposal on the table to launch the system on a trial basis in one of the country’s governorates. The supply and finance ministries were in talks last summer over the planned shift, which would result in a new system that would see subsidy recipients receiving cash handouts, rather than points on their ration cards with which to purchase bread.

The Cash Subsidies Act, under which this new system would be governed, was sent to the House of Representatives back in July 2019. Nivine Kabbag mentioned the legislation when she was sworn in as the new social solidarity minister as one of the items on her agenda.

Egypt to create investment wing for SCZone -Zaki: Egypt is looking into creating an investment and commercial arm for the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Chairman Yehia Zaki said according to Reuters. “We’d like to see a financial arm to this … It can go into partnership with developers. It will go to banks and lending banks and investment banks and so on,” he said at an AmCham meeting on Sunday. “We are now preparing its scope and incorporation. The intention is to create an investment and commercial arm.” Zaki’s statements were made on the same day that he revealed cabinet plans to introduce new tax incentives for investors in the zone.

Qatari Diar offers City Gate customers quid pro quo: Qatari Diar has offered amended contract terms to clients of its City Gate project in exchange for them dropping lawsuits against the company, according to Al Shorouk. A number of Qatari Diar’s customers began legal proceedings after the company — which has long looked for an exit from the New Cairo development — tried to terminate the contracts and return to customers their installments.

Under the amended contracts, Qatari Diar will need to begin constructing the units within the next three years and ensure that they take no longer than three years to be delivered. The company would be able to subcontract the construction work or sell the project to another company, provided the units are completed on time. Development in the City Gate project was halted back in 2016 when armed men took over the land plot.

Qatari Diar may be close to solving some of its problems: Local media reported last October that Naguib Sawiris’ Ora Developers was in “advanced talks” to acquire a 51% stake in the project for USD 800 mn, an acquisition that would help resolve Qatari Diar’s four-year legal row with the New Urban Communities Authority and dispute with the government — both caused by the Doha-based company’s failure to complete the project.

MENA businesses report performance slowdown, fueled by skill shortage and digitalization -PwC: Private businesses in the MENA region have been grappling with an economic slowdown over the past few months after saying they experienced years of “steady growth,” according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report (pdf). Out of 200 respondents across nine countries — including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and GCC members — less than 40% said that they had a good last quarter in 2019 and only half have a positive outlook on their profitability this year. “A cautious mood in the Middle East echoes global sentiment,” the report says, noting that economists have pointed to indicators that 2019 really did see a slowdown that is expected to persist this year on the back of trade tensions and declining growth in China.

Egypt and Jordan bucked the trend of businesses reporting a disappointing 3Q2019, with 80% of Egyptian businesses and 63% of those in Jordan saying they had “good” profits during the last three months of the year. Across the region, only 38% of survey respondents reported good profits during the period.

Egyptian businesses reported the highest rate of planned investment in digitalization among their regional peers, with 38% saying they’re planning on directing more than 5% of their investments towards digitalization. On a regional level, only 18% of businesses said the same, while the majority of respondents (40%) said that 1-3% of their total planned investments are earmarked for digitalization, suggesting that some businesses don’t necessarily see the full scope of how digital technology will be important. “Our findings suggest that many company leaders see digitalisation as a technical fix to solve specific issues; rather there may be much bigger benefits to viewing it as a holistic strategy to transform an entire company, especially at a time when the economic cycle suggests reinvention and renewal are important to prepare for the next era of growth.”

Businesses are reporting significant difficulties in finding and retaining employees with the skills and talents they need, particularly to help them advance their progress in digitalization, the report says. Nearly 40% said that a lack of personnel with the relevant digitalization skills have resulted in a loss of 5% or more of potential turnover, but the report notes that nearly half of respondents are still relying on in-house talents to “realize the full benefits of digital technologies.” PwC suggests that “private businesses may want to employ a digital strategy across the company to meet present and future needs” to stay ahead of increased competition for staff, accelerated digitalization, and a potential recession.

LEGISLATION WATCH- El Sisi ratifies temporary law for settling building code violations: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ratified a bill to extend a temporary law to settle building code violations, Mubasher reported, citing MENA. The bill received parliamentary approval in December.

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Egypt in the News

The death of American citizen Moustafa Kassem yesterday after a hunger strike in prison is dominating the conversation on Egypt in the international press this morning. Kassem, 54, was arrested in Downtown Cairo in August 2013 and insisted he had no political connections and had been wrongfully charged before being sentenced to 15 years in prison in September 2018. Reuters quotes US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Shenker as saying Kassem’s death was “needless, tragic and avoidable.” The story is getting wide pickup in the US press: CNN | New York Times | Washington Post | NPR | ABC News.

Other headlines to skim this morning:

  • Alexandria’s historic synagogue re-opened this past Friday after “a yearslong government renovation,” earning plenty of ink in the western press, of which this widely picked up report by the Associated Press is typical.
  • The “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery continues to be a hit, according to the Arab Weekly, which says the crowds are even detracting from other pieces on display.

Energy

GE, Siemens, Schneider qualify in tender for four control centers

General Electric, Siemens, and Schneider have qualified in a tender issued by the North Cairo and South Cairo electricity distribution companies to set up four control centers, Al Mal reports. The selected bid will be announced next month.

Siemens Gamesa wants windier land for its 500 MW Ras Ghareb wind farm

Siemens Gamesa is negotiating with the New and Renewable Energy Authority to acquire a new piece of land for its 500 MW Ras Ghareb wind farm after wind levels on its current plot only generated 180 MW of power, unnamed sources told the local press. The new contract, if approved, will be signed on the usufruct scheme. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company was set to sign a power purchase agreement with Siemens for two wind farms generating 180 MW and 320 MW in October 2019.

Manufacturing

Netherlands’ GEMCO signs contract to build steel foundry for Delta Steel

Dutch engineering and contracting firm GEMCO has signed the contract to construct a EUR 18.7 mn steel and cast iron foundry for state-owned Delta Steel, the cabinet said in a statement. GEMCO was awarded the contract last October.

Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority completes phase one of uranium compound

The first phase of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority's (EAEA) uranium compound plant, set to service the Dabaa nuclear power plant, is now complete, EAEA deputy head Khaled Sakr tells Al Mal. The second phase, which will set up production lines, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020.

Tourism

Egypt to combine cultural and recreational tourism in new program -minister

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry will roll out a new ‘Come to Egypt’ tourist program that combines cultural, beach and entertainment tourism, Al Mal quoted Tourism Khaled El Anany as saying. Flights linking Luxor to Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam would enable visitors to visit multiple sites across Egypt over the course of a week, creating new internal flight routes. The ministry aims to have the plan in place before the ITB Berlin Travel convention takes place in March, the minister said.

Automotive + Transportation

Transport Ministry to open six line 3 metro stations in April

The Transport Ministry plans to open six new stations on Metro Line 3 by 25 April 2020, it said in a statement. The fourth-phase stations will extend the third line from El Shams Club out to Adly Mansour station next to the Ismailia desert road.

Mitsubishi bids for Metro Line 4 train tender

Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi has submitted a EGP 300 mn bid for a tender to supply 23 metro train carriages for the first stage of Metro Line 4, the company’s country deputy director Hany El Leithy told Al Shorouk. The company has handed over the technical proposal, which will be reviewed next month. Mitsubishi is also working with Orascom Construction on the construction of the line, which is expected to begin this month. The government last month handed over to contractors the sites for the line, the first phase of which will include 17 stations and run for 18 km between Fustat and the outskirts of Sixth of October City.

Banking + Finance

EGPC borrows USD 500 mn from Afrexim, NBE to finance crude imports

The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) will borrow USD 500 mn from the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to finance imports of crude and petroleum products, banking sources told Al Shorouk. The state-owned energy company signed contracts with the two banks at the end of December, the sources said. EGPC is the largest borrower in the Egyptian market, having taken on more than EGP 20 bn in new loans during the past year to increase its total debt burden to around EGP 292 bn.

NUCA borrows EGP 10 bn for infrastructure projects

The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has borrowed EGP 10 bn from a consortium of banks to finance infrastructure projects, banking sources told Al Shorouk. This is the first tranche of a EGP 20 bn renegotiated loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the National Bank of Egypt. The loan is backed by a Finance Ministry guarantee and the Central Bank of Egypt is subsidizing the interest payments. The authority is also planning to issue EGP 10 bn in securitized bonds during the second half of the current fiscal year, with the first EGP 6 bn-tranche expected to get underway in 3Q.

Other Business News of Note

Sameem threatens legal action against Prime Holding over board shuffle

Sameem Capital is threatening legal action against Prime Capital for the changes to Prime’s board approved by the general assembly on Sunday, which reduced the number of Sameem Capital representatives to one, the local press reported. Sameem had previously lodged a complaint with the Financial Regulatory Authority over Prime’s removal of its CEO Khaled Rashed, but the complaint was rejected. Sameem holds a 27% stake in Prime.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Disabled people can now have two pensions

Persons with disabilities are now allowed to combine two pensions or receive a pension and full salary with no ceiling, the Social Solidarity Ministry announced in a statement. Eligible citizens will be able to collect the state pension along with their full salary or the pension they are entitled to from deceased family members or spouses.

On Your Way Out

Sharjah gives us some of our history back: Sharjah ruler Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi has returned a trove of 425 ancient artifacts to Egypt in recognition of the country's contribution to Arab culture, according to the National. The collection includes statues representing various Egyptian deities, wooden coffins, human and animal mummies, and jewelry, with some dating back as far as 6k years.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.86 | Sell 15.96
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.86 | Sell 15.96
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.88 | Sell 15.98

EGX30 (Monday): 13,698 (-0.75%)
Turnover: EGP 1.13 bn (67% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -1.88%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday’s session down 0.75%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 1.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Orascom Investment Holding up 1.1%, Qalaa Holding up 0.9%, and Eastern Company up 0.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Pioneers Holding down 4.8%, Ibnsina down 3.0% and Emaar Misr for Development down 2.8%. The market turnover was EGP 1.13 bn, and regional investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net short | EGP -75.6 mn
Regional: Net long | EGP +224.5 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -149.0 mn

Retail: 46.3% of total trades | 38.7% of buyers | 54.0% of sellers
Institutions: 53.7% of total trades | 61.3% of buyers | 46.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.02 (-0.1%)
Brent: USD 64.20 (-1.2%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.19 MMBtu, (+0.4%, February 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,549 / troy ounce (-0.1%)

TASI: 8,441 (+0.8%) (YTD: +0.6%)
ADX: 5,113 (+0.6%) (YTD: +0.8%)
DFM: 2,775 (+0.8%) (YTD: +0.4%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,929 (+1.9%)
QE: 10,567 (+0.6%) (YTD: +1.4%)
MSM: 3,977 (+0.8%) (YTD: -0.1%)
BB: 1,601 (+0.1%) (YTD: -0.5%)

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Calendar

January: 1,000 artifacts to be displayed when Hurghada Museum opens.

13 January (Monday): Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia move to Washington, DC, for a fourth (and final?) round of negotiations on GERD.

15 January (Wednesday): The Grievance Committee of the Financial Regulatory Authority will look into minority shareholder's complaints over Adeptio AD Investments' mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

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

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

21-24 January (Tuesday-Friday): World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

23 January 23 – February 4: Cairo International Book Fair 2020, New Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center, Egypt

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

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

27 January (Monday): Cairo Economic Court will look into minority shareholder's lawsuit against Fincorp Investment Holding as Adeptio AD Investments' financial advisor for its mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

27-29 January (Monday-Wednesday): African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s North African Fund Manager Masterclass, Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Galaa Square, Cairo.

28-29 January (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

February: A delegation of Swiss businesses will visit Egypt to discuss investment.

February: Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar will visit Minsk, Belarus.

1 February (Saturday): The administrative court will look into an appeal by Adeptio AD Investments against a Financial Regulatory Authority to submit a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

3-5 February: The Arab-African International Forum, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

4 February (Tuesday): Court hearing for PTT Energy Resources’ USD 1 bn lawsuit against Egyptian government.

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

9-10 February (Sunday-Monday): The the 33rd ordinary African Union (AU) Summit where Egypt will hand over the African Union presidency to South Africa

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

23 February (Sunday): Court session for Arabia Investments Holdings’ lawsuit against Peugeot. It was previously postponed to 24 November 2019 and then to 5 January 2020, and now 23 February.

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

March: 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.

1 March: A conference on “logistics and its impact on the movement of goods and industry,” venue TBD, Alexandria.

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

7 March (Saturday): International Conference for Investment organized by Suez Canal Economic Authority, Al Galala City, Egypt

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

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

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

12 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

20 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

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

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

25 April (Saturday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

28-29 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

9-10 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

17-20 June (Wednesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

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

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

28-29 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

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

15-16 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

29 October (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

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

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, national holiday.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2020 Enterprise Ventures LLC.