Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Egypt is about to go full gas hub


What We’re Tracking Today

It’s a big news day, ladies and gentlemen:

  • Our ambitions to become the premier regional energy hub became real yesterday as Israeli gas started flowing across our border for the first time. The news comes ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the East Med Gas Forum. The new group, which includes Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt, first convened in January 2019 to accelerate the creation of a regional gas market.
  • Bank Audi may be leaving Egypt after all, weighed down more by tumult in its home market of Lebanon than by its slow-to-close acquisition of the National Bank of Greece’s assets in Egypt;
  • Endeavour’s big bid for Centamin ended yesterday as the Toronto-listed gold miner backed by anchor shareholder Naguib Sawiris walked away from the fight.

We have all of that and more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The central bank’s new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets tomorrow to decide on interest rates. Analysts are almost evenly split, with four out of seven we polled earlier this week calling rate cuts of between 50-100 bps, and three expecting the MPC to hold. A similar survey by Reuters out yesterday has eight out of 11 analysts calling a cut. The MPC cut rates by 100 bps when it last met in November, capping a year of accelerated easing that saw 450 bps in cuts.

D-Day for GERD talks: It’s deadline day for the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials still haggling in Washington over the filling and operating timetable of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The countries pledged back in November to have put all their differences aside by 15 January, but recent statements have suggested that differences are still very much in play.

Germany confirms Libya peace conference to take place in Berlin on Sunday: Ceasefire talks in Moscow went nowhere yesterday after eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar refused to sign the document with the UN-recognized Fayez Al Serraj. We have more in Last night’s talk shows, below.


BlackRock’s Larry Fink tells investors to choose the right side in the climate fight: The BlackRock boss’s face is all over the financial press this morning after he announced that his firm would take climate risk into consideration when making investment decisions. The CEO of the USD 7-tn fund wrote that climate awareness will cause a “fundamental reshaping of finance” and pledged to increase its sustainable funds and increase transparency over its voting and relationships with its companies. FT | Bloomberg | CNBC | NYT

Is Google about to get a little bit less creepy? That notion is front-page news today in the global tech and business press as the search giant said it would phase-out support for so-called “third-party cookies” — the creepy tool that for 25 years has allowed the global advertising industry to track you from one site to the next and serve you targeted ads as you go. See coverage in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal or The Verge.

Carlos Ghosn and his wife are making waves with a long-form text and video interview with Reuters that’s getting wide pickup — and is the subject of yesterday’s The Daily podcast from the New York Times.

US banks post huge fourth-quarter profits: JPMorgan Chase broke its annual profit record in 2019 after it posted USD 8.5 bn in 4Q profits. The investment bank made a record USD 36.4 bn in net income due to surging investment-banking revenues in the final quarter. Meanwhile, Citigroup saw its profit rise 15% to USD 4.98 bn in the final three months of 2019, mainly due to its investment-banking operations. The Wall Street Journal has more.

Saudi Arabia’s next IPO to test the post-Aramco waters: Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest private healthcare operators, is planning an IPO next month to sell a stake of 15% of its share capital, according to Bloomberg. The listing should be a good indicator of investor appetite after Aramco raised more than USD 29 bn last December in the world’s biggest ever IPO.

Anghami mulls sale to OSN, raising capital with JPMorgan Chase to finance expansion plans: The streaming service could be acquired by Dubai’s Orbit Showtime Network and see its valuation reach USD 400 mn as it continues to grow in popularity in the region, according to Bloomberg, which cites sources close to the matter. It’s also considering hiring JPMorgan Chase to raise capital to fund an expansion, the sources added.


Trump impeachment trial begins next Tuesday: The US Senate will name the democrat lawmakers to argue for the removal of President Trump on Wednesday, which will be followed by an impeachment trial next Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal quoted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying. The US president will name a team to defend him, including the White House counsel and Trump’s personal lawyer.

The US Treasury Department is no longer designating China a currency manipulator after Beijing made an “enforceable commitment” to stop competitively devaluing its currency, the Wall Street Journal reports. The agreement comes two days before the countries sign the first phase of last month’s trade pact. Fresh Chinese data reported yesterday showed exports rising 7.6% y-o-y in December, signalling a jump in global demand since last month’s rapprochement.

KUDOS- Zooba’s branch in New York’s Nolita district — their first location in the US — was named among the Infatuation’s list of the city’s best new restaurants. Our friends at the Egyptian street food chain opened the doors of the branch, for which they raised USD 4 mn, last September. The Infatuation’s Hannah Albertine also sang Zooba’s praises in an individual review, raving in particular about the cheese hawawshi (which is also a favorite of many of us here at Enterprise).

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Libya in the spotlight again as truce talks end without agreement: Libyan ceasefire talks in Moscow collapsed yesterday after Egypt-backed eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar refused to sign a truce agreement with the head of the UN-recognized government Fayez Al Serraj, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal said. She talked to an expert on European affairs who claimed that the Turks and Al Serraj are conspiring against Haftar, referring to comments made by Turkish President Recep Erdogan yesterday that it will “teach a lesson” to his Libyan National Army if they keep attacking Al Serraj’s forces (watch, runtime: 11:22). Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer also took note of the developments (watch, runtime: 1:21).

This places more pressure on Sunday’s Berlin conference to seal a peace agreement: Min Masr’s Reham Ibrahim noted the German government’s confirmation yesterday that a peace conference will take place in Berlin on Sunday. Al Serraj, Haftar, and representatives from the US, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, China, Italy, UK, UN and EU will attend the summit (watch, runtime: 0:35), Ibrahim and co-host Amr Khalil phoned the former assistant foreign minister Mohamed Hegazy, who predicted that the conference will back a ceasefire but warned that this will be final chance for the international community to back a political solution (watch, runtime: 6:48).

Italian PM talks Libya with El Sisi: The events in Moscow came as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte affirmed their commitment to a political settlement in Libya during talks in Cairo, Assal noted (watch, runtime: 4:09). Conte also discussed the latest developments related to the ongoing investigations into the 2016 murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni, Min Masr’s Amr Khalil (watch, runtime: 3:13).

Nothing new on the GERD front: Officials are continuing to remain tight-lipped on the status of the ongoing US/World Bank-sponsored GERD talks in Washington. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal noted that Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese ministers gathered for the second day yesterday, but provided nothing in the way of new information (watch, runtime: 1:43). The talks, which enter their final day today, were organized by the US and the World Bank last year in an attempt to forge an agreement between the countries over the timeline for filling and operating the dam.Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 2:01).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Big news for our regional gas hub ambitions: Israel began pumping the first natural gas destined for Egypt yesterday, almost two years after the countries signed the landmark USD 15 bn agreement, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and his Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz said in a joint statement yesterday (pdf). The agreement, which was signed in February 2018 and upgraded this year, will see Israel ship more than 85 bcm of gas to Egypt over the next 15 years. The statement calls the first shipment “an important development that serves the economic interests of both countries.”

How much is Egypt currently receiving? The brief statement did not provide further details on the quantities that Israel exporting, but sources previously said that Noble Energy and Delek Drilling will initially pump 1.5-3 bcm a year before gradually increasing the supply to 4-5 bcm in 2021 and 7 bcm in 2022.

What happens when the gas gets here? Private sector companies will buy the gas shipments from Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus before deciding whether to liquify and export it via the Damietta and Idku liquefaction plants, or sell it to the domestic market.

Official announcement coming this week: Egypt and Israel will officially announce the beginning of shipments during the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, which is scheduled to be held on Thursday in Cairo. The two ministers will be joined by the Cypriot, Greek, Italian, Jordanian, and Palestinian energy ministers, who together make up the regional organization.

Domestic gas production is also ramping up: Egypt plans to increase gas production to 8 bcf/d by FY2020-2021, up from 7 bcf/day currently. Output is projected to rise to 7.5 bcf/d by the end of the current fiscal year in June, raising surplus production to 1.5 bcf/d from 1.3 bcf/d currently. All of the surplus gas is currently being exported to Jordan and through the Idku LNG plant.

Cyprus takes step towards Egypt gas pipeline: Cyprus has started negotiating with foreign partners involved in the development of the Aphrodite gas field to set a date for implementing a gas pipeline linking the field to Egypt, Al Mal quoted government sources as saying. Noble Energy, Shell and Delek Drilling will be financing and building the project, but the source did not rule out the Egyptian or the Cypriot governments becoming involved.

Background: Egypt signed an agreement with Cyprus to build a natural gas pipeline in 2018. The pipeline will allow natural gas from the Aphrodite gas field to be transported to Egypt’s liquefaction facilities at Idku and Damietta, and re-exported as liquefied natural gas.


M&A WATCH- Bank Audi could actually be exiting Egypt: Lebanon’s Bank Audi is “considering” selling its Egypt arm if it receives a suitable offer, CFO Tamer Ghazaleh tells Reuters in an about-face from its statement on Monday denying media reports that it is planning to exit the country. Confirming original reports in local media, Ghazaleh said that investors have expressed significant interest in its Egypt operations as the bank mulls a potential offloading of some of its foreign assets.

The ongoing banking crisis in Lebanon is forcing the bank’s hand, Ghazaleh said. “For us, we would not have considered thinking of it if the situation was different in Lebanon. We have our own ambition and expansion plan in Egypt,” he said, in a nod to the bank’s attempt to acquire the National Bank of Greece’s Egypt arm. Bank Audi was among three Lebanese banks downgraded by S&P Global in November. The ratings agency cut its rating to CCC from B-, maintaining a negative outlook due to the potential for a liquidity crisis at the bank. It is also trying to meet the Lebanese central bank’s new capital requirements, which call for banks to increase capital reserves by 10% in an effort to shore up the country’s fragile financial system.

Lebanese banks could be “forced to close”: Banks are reportedly under threat of closure if the country’s political paralysis continues, Lebanon’s union of banking employees said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. “The situation is dangerous and cannot continue as such without an executive authority, and we might reach a point where we are forced to close,” MTV television reported yesterday. Lebanon has been without a functioning government since Saad Hariri and his government resigned at the beginning of November.

Meanwhile, the political crisis continues: Protesters went back to the streets yesterday and rallied outside the Lebanese central bank chanting against the lack of a functioning government and the worsening financial crisis, Bloomberg reports.

M&A WATCH- Endeavour walks away from Centamin takeover bid: Canada’s Endeavour Mining has decided not to renew its failed USD 1.9 bn takeover offer for Egypt-focused Centamin, saying it hadn’t received enough information during an assessment period “to be confident,” according to a company statement. Endeavour CEO Sebastien de Montessus said, however, that his company still sees strategic merit to a move that would “create a diversified gold producer with a high-quality portfolio of assets.” The Financial Times and Reuters also have the story.

Undervalued prospects: Centamin said in a statement (pdf) that both companies had completed thorough due diligence, but that Endeavour’s proposal continued to undervalue the company and its prospects. Centamin also noted that it saw no reason to extend the offer deadline, adding that Endeavour had withdrawn its offer.

Centamin’s shares fell more than 4% on the news, but have gained some 10% since talks about the merger started on 3 December. Toronto-listed Endeavour’s share price has, meanwhile, dropped to CAD 23.66 from CAD 24.89 over the period.

Yesterday was the deadline for Endeavour to lodge a second offer for Centamin, after the latter’s board unanimously rejected the original bid. The deadline was initially set for 31 December, but Centamin sought an extension from UK regulators amid shareholder pressure in both companies. Local press reports we picked up last week indicated that any new offer submitted by Endeavour would have been higher as the previous offer was rejected on the grounds that it would disproportionately benefit the target shareholders.

What now? Endeavour has to wait at least six months if it plans to renew its offer. This restriction could be lifted if the UK’s Panel on Takeovers and Mergers determines there has been a “material” change in circumstances, if Centamin’s board agrees or announces a reverse takeover bid, or if a third party makes a rival bid.

The EGP is expected to appreciate 3.7% by the end of the year to trade at EGP 15.35 per USD, according to a forecast by Societe Generale cited by Bloomberg. The EGP has added appeal amid a narrowing current account deficit and growing tourism revenues, the news information service cited EFG Hermes analysts Mohamed Abu Basha and Moustafa El Bakly as saying in a research note. “This supports a favorable view for the EGP, which is still gaining foreign-investor traction, thanks to high real yields,” Abu Basha and Bakly said.

Where do we stand on the rally: The EGP has been one of the world’s best performing currencies of 2019. It has extended a year-long rally, breaking the EGP 16 to the USD mark at the end of the year for the first time since February 2017. The rally picked up further steam earlier this week, gaining up to 14 piasters against the greenback since Wednesday. The average buy exchange rate posted by the CBE stood at 15.81 / USD on Tuesday evening, driven by USD 1.7 bn in FX inflows since last week.

What this means for monetary policy: Given that Egypt is an import-reliant economy, a strong EGP bodes well for inflation, but the currency’s steep gains against the USD could force policymakers to cut rates perhaps more aggressively than they should.

More easing could be good for the EGX: UAE-based asset management arm ADIM, which has avoided Egyptian equities since it was established, is now recommending investors rethink their positions. Yazan Abdeen, head of equities at ADIM’s parent company, told Bloomberg Daybreak yesterday that the central bank’s efforts to channel inflows away from treasuries and toward the EGX through monetary easing bodes well for the bourse (watch, runtime: 4:21).

But channeling funds to the EGX could prove challenging if the EGP keeps appreciating. Investors that have mostly been attracted to treasuries would not be prompted to increase their exposure to stocks if they continue to benefit more from high real interest rates, now coupled with profitable currency arbitrage.

All eyes will be on the CBE tomorrow: This all comes as the CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee is due to decide on rates tomorrow. Analysts we polled ahead of the meeting are mixed, with four out of seven calling rate cuts and three expecting the MPC to hold. A Bloomberg survey of economics, meanwhile, showed higher consensus in favor of a cut.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- BdC IPO appears to be moving forward as gov’t kicks off roadshow: The government has begun its roadshow for Banque du Caire’s (BdC) upcoming IPO this year, Banque Misr Chairman Mohamed El Etreby tells Masrawy. Banque Misr is BdC’s majority shareholder. BdC has also embarked on an early look mission in the UK, US, and Dubai to gauge investors’ demand, Hapi Journal quoted sources as saying. BdC Chairman Tarek Fayed had previously said that the bank could sell as much as 49% of its shares in its EGX debut. It remains unclear whether that figure still stands or will be adjusted.

Background: Banque du Caire, along with payments platform e-Finance, is first in line to IPO under the state privatization program. The program, which the government first announced back in 2018, includes eight companies expected to IPO. BdC’s IPO is expected to include a primary offering and to see the state simultaneously offload part of its equity stake in a secondary sale. The transaction is expected to attract investors from beyond the region.

M&A WATCH- Pioneers Holding submits MTO for five of its subsidiaries: Pioneers Holding has submitted its mandatory tender offer (MTO) for a 90% stake in five of its subsidiaries, according to a Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) statement to the EGX (pdf).

The subsidiaries are El Giza General Co. For Contracting & Real Estate, El Motaheda For Housing & Reconstruction, El Saeed For Contracting & Real Estate Investment, Cairo Housing and Development, and Electro Cable Egypt. The statement did not disclose the company’s fair value assessment.

Background: Pioneers’ MTO deadline was initially pushed back by the FRA late December 2019 while Fincorp was working on the fair value assessment and the agreement to make non-cash mandatory tender offers was reached in October by the company’s board.

M&A WATCH- Regional PE outfit AfricInvest acquires 40% in Masria Cards: Private equity firm AfricInvest has closed a transaction acquiring a 40% stake in smart card supplier Masria Card, according to the local press, citing sources close to the matter. The transaction will be concluded in two phases: first by selling a small stake from businessman Ahmed Nafea’s 100% share, and then via a capital increase by the fund.

Advisors: EFG Hermes is acting as sell-side financial advisor, while Al Tamimi & Company served as a legal consultant. White & Case is the buy-side legal advisor.

This will be AfricInvest’s second investment in the country after recently acquiring a stake in Carbon Holdings, we reported earlier. Masria Cards, meanwhile, was a Nilex-listed company until it decided to voluntarily delist its shares in 2015. When it last made a bourse filing in that year, it had EGP 10.8 mn in capital and c.EGP 10.5 mn in half-yearly earnings.

M&A WATCH- Al Ahly Capital is planning a c. EGP 20 mn bid for Pharos Holding’s asset management and investment banking arms, Al Mal reports, citing sources familiar with the bid. The sources said that the acquisition could be completed within the coming two months. Al Ahly Capital, a National Bank of Egypt-owned investment bank, signed an agreement with Pharos last month to acquire 100% of the latter’s brokerage arm. The former said in a statement at the time that it will move soon to do the same with Pharos’ asset management and investment banking arms. This comes as Pharos is pivoting to non-banking financial services, and looking to grow its micro-financing business, Pharos CEO Elwy Taymour told us previously.

Regulator suspends Fincorp for three months over fair value assessment of Americana for Adeptio MTO: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has suspended Fincorp Investment Holding from carrying out valuation studies for a period of three months, according to a statement to the EGX (pdf). The suspension comes after the market regulator rejected as “unfair” Fincorp’s fair value assessment of the Egyptian International Tourism Projects Company (Americana) for a mandatory tender offer (MTO) Adeptio was required to submit for Americana.

Fincorp to file a grievance: Fincorp "respects the FRA decision" but will still challenge it via appeal, Chairman Mohamed Hamdy told Al Mal. He added that the company will also look into the possible legal paths to follow after its grievance is addressed.

Background: FRA ordered Adeptio to submit an MTO to buy shares in Americana Egypt in early 2019, after they gained indirect ownership of the majority of the company due to acquiring 67% in Kuwait Food Company (Americana) in June 2016. Adeptio claimed that did not require an MTO submission, but after a few denied appeals, they submitted an initial offer price of EGP 3.9 per share, based on Fincorp’s study. Americana’s minority shareholders signaled they would only be satisfied with an offer in the range of EGP 24 per share. The shareholders demanded that Adeptio revalue the company, but Adeptio stood by Fincorp’s share price, previously saying they hired a financial consultant “endorsed by the FRA.”

Orascom Construction added USD 770 mn to its backlog in 4Q2019, growing the value of current projects under construction to USD 5.2 bn, up from USD 4.3 bn at the same time last year, according to a company statement.

Projects in Egypt account for the lion’s share of the backlog: Some 70% of the new projects underway in Egypt cut across infrastructure, healthcare and logistics. Other projects undertaken by the group are US awards including student housing and data centers.

CABINET WATCH- Public Contracts Act amendments get nod from cabinet: The Madbouly cabinet has signed off on changes to the Public Contracts Act that allow the government to make payments it owes to contractors through FRA-licensed non-banking financial service providers, alongside the existing option of paying through banks, according to a cabinet statement. Prior to the amendments, the law only allowed contractors to request banks to pay subcontractors for parts or all of their contractual obligations. Contractors are not permitted to request that the government make these payments.

What is the Public Contracts Act? The Public Contracts Act (previously known as Auctions and Tenders Act) was passed in 2018, and recently had its executive regulations published. The act outlines the general framework which governs any contract to which a government entity is party. You can find the full text of the 2018 law here.

Cabinet also approved during its weekly meeting:

  • Amendments introducing harsher penalties for those violating a 2015 law regulating electricity use;
  • A cabinet decree to regulate the new Planning and Economic Development Ministry;
  • Licensing the major shareholders to move ahead with setting up a company to manage the Egyptian Commodity Exchange;
  • Licensing the ICT Ministry’s ITIDA to set up a new company that will invest in digital infrastructure on behalf of the government.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House approves Organic Farming Act: The House of Representatives approved a government bill on Organic Farming, which would impose stricter control over organic produce, according to Al Shorouk. A final approval will be granted in a later session. The Egyptian Food Safety Authority and the Organic Farming Administration will be the main bodies supervising all matters related to organic products and would introduce a logo to be used on all organic products and set new controls over the import and export of organic produce.

What comes next: All entities addressed by the law have six months to adjust their status and comply with the act and its executive regulations that will be issued in three months from the date of its passage. Violators will be fined EGP 5k-500k.

Have no fear, your favorite podcast is here: Making It is back for its first episode in 2020, featuring a FMCG manufacturer that is always present at your local koushk. And you know how the saying goes: Behind every good snack food, there’s a good story. He describes himself as the captain of the ship who had to steer his business through tumultuous times: the revolution, the devaluation, increasing competition, a late export subsidy, and shifting interest rates.

If you want to refresh your memory a bit, these are the guests whose episodes are already out:


Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

The Macro Picture

Foreign debt pushes EM debt to record USD 72.5 tn in 3Q2019: Total emerging market debt — including that of EM governments, households, non-financial corporates, and the financial sector — has hit a new record high of USD 72.5 tn in 3Q2019, according to the Institute of International Finance’s (IIF) Global Debt Monitor. The increase has been driven largely by debt in the non-financial corporate bond market and a sharp increase in FX debt. Over the past decade, FX debt has nearly doubled to USD 8.3 tn from USD 4.3 tn — 85% of which is USD-denominated, the report says.

It was much the same story the world over, with global debt also reaching a new record of nearly USD 253 tn in 3Q2019, according to the report. These rising figures come despite last year’s economic slowdown, which saw the global economy growing at the slowest pace in a decade.

And 2020 doesn’t look like it will be reversing the trend: The IIF says total global debt will break USD 257 tn during the first quarter of the year, “spurred by low interest rates and loose financial conditions.” The non-financial sector is expected to continue to account for the largest chunk of the rising debt levels. This also comes as some USD 19 tn of syndicated loans and bonds are set to mature in 2020, with EMs accounting for around a third of that figure.

The IIF voices concerns that the global debt landscape will make it difficult for countries to meet their sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly since many of the countries that have a long way to go in achieving their SDGs are also already grappling with their debt burdens. These countries, including Lebanon and Malaysia, will have limited room to borrow even further to finance projects for the SDG agenda.

On a brighter note, Egypt, Turkey, and Argentina’s debt-to-GDP ratio fell y-o-y during the quarter. Egyptian government debt as a portion of GDP accounted for the largest portion of the decline, followed by non-financial corporates. However, the household debt-to-GDP ratio rose in 3Q2019 to 7.3% from 7.0% during the same quarter in 2018.

Egypt in the News

The death of imprisoned American-Egyptian Moustafa Kassem and the resulting hunger strike by 300 more prisoners is still making headlines in the foreign press, with this piece in the Wall Street Journal representative of the coverage. Aya Hijazi, an American citizen previously jailed in Egypt for three years, told the Associated Press that Kassem was the fifth person to have died in prison in the last month alone. Reuters has also picked up the story, as has the UK press.

Cairo is getting good press that could translate into a spike in visitors this year, courtesy of the BBC. Quoting resident expats, they cite the “energetic pulse” and heady mix of the modern, old and rural as irresistible and compelling. The food scene, laid back atmosphere and affordability of getting around also get favorable mention, as does the soon-to-open Grand Egyptian Museum which will be a huge draw for tourists.

Egyptian fighter jet crash during exercises: AFP has picked up an Armed Forces statement announcing that an aircraft pilot died yesterday after a fighter jet crashed during training.


Egypt’s Infinity Power partners with UAE Masdar

Infinity Power and the UAE renewable energy company Masdar will establish a joint venture under the name of Infinity Power to work in renewable energy projects in Egypt and Africa, according to the local press. The new company is aiming to produce 1 GW of power from renewable projects within five years.

Health + Education

Education Ministry to set up technology unit to oversee schools

The Education Ministry plans to set up a special unit to oversee a program to build 89 technology schools by 2030, which will focus on food industrialization, auto maintenance, electricity technology and manufacturing marble, according to MENA (paywall).

Real Estate + Housing

NACCUD to increase land prices by up to 20% this year

The New Administrative Capital Company for Urban Development (NACCUD) will raise land prices in the new capital by up to 20% this year, NACCUD spokesman Khaled El Husseini tells Al Masry Al Youm. The land price increase will be determined by specialized pricing committees. NACCUD intends to sell the remaining 6k acres of the new capital’s 40k-acre first phase during the year.


EgyptAir year-round directs flights from Cairo to Dublin

EgyptAir will begin operating four weekly direct flights from Dublin to Cairo, starting from 5 June, according to a Dublin Airport statement.

Banking + Finance

FRA approves Beltone’s new financial leasing, mortgage finance arms

The Financial Regulatory Authority has approved Beltone Financial’s plans to establish financial leasing and mortgage finance subsidiaries, Beltone’s Director of Investor Relations Osama Rashad, the local press reports. Beltone will hold a 98% stake in the two companies. The company will disclose the value of the two new arms once they’re launched, Rashad said, without providing a timeframe for the launch.

Misr Financial Investments to launch brokerage firm in coming months

Banque Misr’s investment arm, Misr Financial Investments, will launch a brokerage firm in the coming months, co-CEO and managing director Khalil Al Bawab said at a press conference, according to Masrawy. Details on the new firm will be announced within the next month, he said.

Other Business News of Note

Hassan Allam awarded Cairo airport travelator contract

Hassan Allam Construction won a contract to establish a travelator linking Cairo Airport’s Terminal 2 with a multi storey garage, according to Construction Week Online. The travelator, which will be implemented on a fast track basis, will facilitate the access of passengers to the airport.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Parliament signs off on extending Egypt’s state of emergency

The House of Representatives approved yesterday a presidential decree imposing a new three-month extension to the state of emergency by a two-thirds majority, reports the local press. The new term comes into effect on 27 January.

On Your Way Out

Egyptians might need a crash course on current events: Less than a quarter of the population was aware of the latest cabinet reshuffle in December, according to a poll by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera). Of the 1,534 people asked when the last shuffle took place, only 24% answered correctly, 68% didn’t know, and 8% cited an earlier date. Male respondents fared somewhat better than the women among those who answered correctly, though the margin narrowed among university graduates.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.81 | Sell 15.94
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.83 | Sell 15.93
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.85 | Sell 15.95

EGX30 (Tuesday): 13,756 (+0.4%)
Turnover: EGP 763 mn (14% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -1.5%

THE MARKET ON TUESDAY: The EGX30 ended Tuesday’s session up 0.4%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Egyptian Resorts up 3.5%, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 3.3%, and Credit Agricole up 1.9%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Pioneers Holding down 4.0%, Sidi Kerir down 0.9% and SODIC down 0.8%. The market turnover was EGP 763 mn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +68.5 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -121.9 mn
Domestic: Net long| EGP +53.3 mn

Retail: 46.6% of total trades | 43.8% of buyers | 49.3% of sellers
Institutions: 53.4% of total trades | 56.2% of buyers | 50.7% of sellers

WTI: USD 58.14 (+0.1%)
Brent: USD 64.44 (+0.4%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.18 MMBtu, (-0.1%, February 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,546 / troy ounce (-0.3%)

TASI: 8,474 (+0.4%) (YTD: +1.0%)
ADX: 5,168 (+1.1%) (YTD: +1.8%)
DFM: 2,802 (+1.0%) (YTD: +1.4%)
KSE Premier Market: 7,061 (+1.9%)
QE: 10,636 (+0.7%) (YTD: +2.0%)
MSM: 3,977 (+0.8%) (YTD: -0.1%)
BB: 1,620 (+1.2%) (YTD: +0.6%)

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

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.

19 January (Sunday): International peace talks between Libya’s warring leaders, Berlin, Germany (Berlin Conference on Libya).

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.

23 February (Sunday): Court session for Amer Group, Porto Group compensation claim against Antaradous

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.

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