Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Egyptian securities see EGP 42 bn in net inflows in 2019

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

GERD talks kick off today: Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s foreign and irrigation ministers meet today in Washington, DC for the final round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The officials will be looking to hammer out a final agreement on a framework for filling and operating GERD. Technical meetings in Khartoum last week produced a draft agreement with some “convergence” between the three sides, Sudan’s irrigation minister said.

Cabinet to announce winner of Sixth of October dry port tender tomorrow: Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said yesterday that the winner of the Sixth of October dry port tender will be announced during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Al Masry Al Youm reports. A source in the ministry claimed yesterday that the Elsewedy Electric, Concorde and AE International consortium have been awarded the contract. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if this holds any water.

Stuff you can go to this week:

  • AmCham will host US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen for its monthly luncheon today. Cohen will discuss prospects for commercial ties between Egypt and the US. Members can register for the event here.
  • CI Capital’s annual three-day MENA Investors Conference gets underway tomorrow at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza.
  • The British Embassy and IFC’s StartEgypt Forum 2020 will pit 45 startups against each other in a pitch competition on Wednesday, 29 January at the Greek Campus.
  • This year’s Cairo International Book Fair runs through to Tuesday, 4 February at the New Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

News triggers to keep your eye on with the new month approaching:

  • The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is due out on Tuesday, 4 February at 6:15am CLT.
  • Foreign reserves figures for January will be released on Tuesday, 4 February.
  • Inflation figures for January are out Monday, 10 February.

Today we’ll finally find out what Trump has in store for the Palestinians: The Donald will finally release his Middle East peace plan today following meetings at the White House with Israel’s caretaker prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist rival Benny Gantz, the New York Times reports.

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The coronavirus is beginning to take its toll on the markets: Equities fell across the world yesterday as concerns about the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in China grew. The S&P 500 suffered its biggest drop in four months, the Dow Jones lost all of its 2020 gains, and the Nasdaq fell the most since August. Safe haven assets — US 10-years, the Swiss franc, the yen and gold — all saw gains as investors went in search of safety. Bloomberg has more.

We’re in market correction territory, says Morgan Stanley: The US stock market may be about to experience its first correction since October, Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist said yesterday.

Oil prices bombed yesterday: Brent fell 3% to reach USD 58.90/bbl while US crude was down 1.9%. Brent has fallen more than USD 10 (around 16%) over the past three weeks.

The latest from China: The death toll now stands at 106 people, with 4,193 confirmed cases in China alone. The good news is that the virus is yet to gain a foothold outside of China’s borders, with cases remaining limited. Nevertheless, it was detected yesterday for the first time in Germany, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, meaning 15 countries outside of China now have confirmed cases.

And Egyptian tourism companies are starting to bear the brunt of the outbreak following the cancellation of some 30k bookings by Chinese tourists this season. The 24 companies affected by the cancellation could suffer combined losses of USD 15 mn, Mohamed Fathi, a member of the committee for Promotion of Cultural Tourism, tells the local press.

enterpriseFrom 30 January to 6 February, Miss Germany returns to Somabay for the official Miss Germany Camp 2020. The candidates will enjoy all that Somabay has to offer – sea & beach, water sports, spa, golf and delicious culinary treats. The Miss Germany Camp is hosted at The Lodge by The Cascades Golf Resort, Spa & Thalasso introducing the candidates at a glittering evening event on 31 January.

European banking regulators are easing restrictions for mergers between the continent’s biggest banks in the hopes that large-scale transactions will revitalize a sector struggling with low rates, the Wall Street Journal reports. The regulator, an arm of the European Central Bank (ECB) that is known for imposing heavy restrictions on bank mergers, has shown more openness to the idea during merger talks between two Spanish banks Liberbank and Unicaja Banco, sources have said.

High-frequency traders earn nearly USD 5 bn on global stock markets a year using “latency arbitrage”: Latency arbitrage has become controversial due to it imposing a small but significant tax on investors, according to a new study by UK regulators picked up in The Wall Street Journal. These high-frequency traders react to market-moving information faster than others can by following things from corporate news to economic data to price fluctuations in other stocks or markets. Latency arbitrage amounts to 0.0042% of daily stock-trading volume which would have earned traders USD 4.8 bn on stock exchanges around the world in 2018.

Meet Chris Hohn, the bullish hedge fund manager using his combative tactics to fight climate change. Bloomberg profiles the British bn’aire who manages USD 30 bn in assets and known for getting litigious to get his way. He’s now threatening companies, demanding they dramatically reduce their emissions and disclose their carbon footprint or else he’ll oust their boards or dump their shares.


Governments in emerging states need to shift how they look at the impact of investment by looking beyond “jobs and USD,” Raymond Asfour writes for FDI Magazine. The current model of public administration and investment in most of these countries is outdated by fixating more on traditional number-based metrics of success, even though what their citizens need is actually social progress. That means countries are prone to see as “worthless” those investments that have significant social impact but would not generate jobs or revenues for the state. “A state’s pursuit of investment needs to be clearly seen as serving the needs of the citizen, not the tax authorities,” Asfour says.


The acquittal of Donald Trump may not be a foregone conclusion after all: A draft manuscript of ex-national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book is putting pressure on Senate Republicans to allow witnesses to give evidence in the impeachment trial. Bolton claims that Trump told him directly that he wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until they began investigating his rivals in the Democratic party, poking a hole in the president’s defense that claims the suspension of aid was not linked to the investigations. The New York Times has more.

Lebanon has to decide whether to dip into reserves to meet Eurobond payments or default: The new Lebanese government has a tough decision to make after lawmakers approved the 2020 budget that targets a 6% deficit only a few weeks before the country has to pay out USD 1.2 bn when its Eurobond matures, according to Bloomberg.

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The Salahosphere continues to expand: Pharaoh of forwards and Egyptian king Mohamed Salah was getting measured up on the weekend to be immortalized as a wax statue at Madame Tussauds’ London Museum. The sculpture will be displayed at the museum later this year, Madame Tussauds announced on social media.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The GERD talks once again stole the limelight on the talk shows last night: Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials are meeting in Washington today and tomorrow in a bid to finally reach an agreement on the filling and operating timetable for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Al Arabiya correspondent Pierre Ghanem told Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi that there was an “optimistic” atmosphere on the eve of the talks (watch, runtime: 7:23), while political scientist Moatezbella Abd El-Fattah stressed in an interview with Al Hayah Al Youm's Lobna Assal that sealing an agreement this week is essential, not only because it addresses the problems of GERD, but because it could serve as a model for future disagreements over Nile dams (watch, runtime: 6:03).

Will we see some last-minute concessions? El Hadidi phoned former irrigation minister Nasr El Din Allam who suggested that this week’s talks could see Egypt and Ethiopia finally make concessions over the remaining points of contention (watch, runtime: 7:30). El Hekaya’s Amr Adib also had coverage (watch, runtime: 5:21).

This week’s speculation regarding the future of Vodafone Egypt got a look-in on El Hekaya: Amr Adib, reporting on Telecom Egypt’s statements on Sunday that it would not sell its 42% stake in the company, argued that it was not the role of the state to own mobile companies, and suggested that it should offload its holdings and take the profit (watch, runtime: 13:47).

Speed Round

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Strong appetite for Egypt’s fixed-income assets meant that net foreign purchases of Egyptian securities came in at EGP 42.3 bn last year, despite equities seeing EGP 1.7 bn in net outflows, EGX boss Mohamed Farid said in an interview yesterday. This trend isn’t exclusive to Egypt Farid says. Foreign investors are becoming increasingly drawn towards fixed-income investments across emerging markets due to last year’s trade volatility, he adds.

The bourse will try to bring back foreigners by launching new trading platforms and making the EGX a one-stop shop, Farid says. The EGX is expected to launch a derivatives exchange during the first half of the year, and a secondary bond market. An Egyptian Commodity Exchange is also slated to begin trading in September.

The cost of launching a company specialized in clearing derivatives contracts should be around EGP 57-60 mn, Farid added. This company will be set up with Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry (MCDR) in time for launching the new market, we noted last year.

Background on the new instruments: Amendments to the Capital Markets Act in 2018 opened the door for new financial instruments such as short-selling, futures, sukuk, and green bonds.

IPO WATCH- An unnamed company valued at less than EGP 1 bn will sell shares in an initial public offering on the EGX this quarter, Farid said, without giving any details. The company made the decision as a result of the exchange’s recent efforts to market for and incentivize new listings, he said. The EGX has so far tried to lure 235 companies to list on the exchange. Of the 235, 14 companies are seriously considering listing, 24 see listing as a likely possibility, 46 are studying it, 67 are willing but not now, and 81 have no intention whatsoever, Farid said.

The outlook for this year is looking slightly more favorable than 2019. Last year, only three companies — state-owned Eastern Company, e-payments platform Fawry, and pharma player Rameda — listed new shares on the EGX, despite healthy macro indicators and the CBE lowering interest rates by 450 bps. This year the state privatization program is expected to pick up, with Banque du Caire and E-Finance both IPOing in the first half of the year, and Heliopolis Housing lined up to sell a secondary stake before May. Qalaa Holdings is also planning to sell 30% of subsidiary TAQA Arabia’s shares in an IPO this year. Other private companies, which Farid did not name, are also slated to sell shares in 2020.

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Here’s where international organizations see the Egyptian economy heading — and how it can improve: The local press was out with a series of interviews with international organizations and finance institutions on their outlook for Egypt’s economy and where they see the country’s reform priorities should be moving forward. Highlights from the interviews:

GDP growth will likely come in at 6% in FY2020-2021, and will register an average of 5-6% in the following nine fiscal years, Renaissance Capital Global Chief Economist Charles Robertson says. Robertson sees potential for annual GDP growth to hit 7% during that period, but stresses that this would be contingent on the enactment of structural reforms to spur growth. International Finance Corporation (IFC) regional manager for Egypt, Libya, and Yemen Walid Labadi also expects Egypt’s GDP to grow at a 6% clip next fiscal year.

Egypt has plenty of attractive market qualities that could put it at a competitive advantage if the correct policies are put in place. Egypt’s comparatively low wage levels, for example, could be a strong selling point for investors to bring their businesses here rather than peers such as Ukraine, Poland, Romania, or the Philippines, all of which have much higher wages, Robertson says. Egypt can also capitalize better on its strategic geographical location by increasing trade, and enjoys a large labor force, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Lead Economist for the SEMED region Bassem Kamar says.

As the country’s overall economic health improves, FDI could pick up to USD 12-18 bn per year by the end of 2030, Robertson predicts. Egypt’s FDI inflows rose 5% y-o-y in 2019 to USD 8.5 bn, according to UNCTAD figures. Robertson had said at RenCap’s annual MENA Investors Conference that Egypt could be on the cusp of a manufacturing FDI boom, thanks to its geographical proximity to Europe and comparatively low wage levels.

Investors will increasingly gravitate away from debt instruments and towards FDI as global interest rates are on the decline, Deutsche Bank regional head Ahmed Shehab says. Egypt could be well-positioned to get a piece of that pie if it does a better job of marketing the success of its reform program and pushes ahead with the next phase of reforms, which would make it an attractive destination for foreign investments.

Right now, it’s all about creating a clear, sizeable role for the private sector: Without exception, all the officials and organizations the press spoke with stressed on the importance of clearing the way for private sector investors to contribute to economic growth. Kamar, the World Bank, and UNCTAD also said that it is also pivotal for the government to give investors more clarity on where there are investment prospects, and what the state’s long-term vision for specific projects or industries as a whole looks like.

Which sectors are looking the most attractive? Infrastructure projects could be a major attraction for investors, deputy head of the EBRD’s Egypt office Khalid Hamza says, particularly as the government is pushing ahead with large-scale national projects that the private sector could get in on. However, the World Bank says that infrastructure projects in the country are lacking transparency and adequate competition, which pushes investors away. Hamza also sees strong prospects in manufacturing and tourism development projects. Investors are also keen on Egypt’s healthcare, renewable energy, logistics services, and ICT sectors, Labadi says.

Egypt has come a long way with its reforms, but needs to double down on improving the investment climate. A key priority for the country should be improving governance policies and transparency at state institutions, which will be key in attracting investors, IMF Mission Chief to Egypt Uma Ramakrishnan says. The World Bank also urged the government to push through key pieces of legislation such as the Competition Act, which would increase regulation against monopolistic practices and give the Egyptian Competition Authority wider jurisdiction to help protect competition in the country. The Madbouly Cabinet had signed off in January last year on proposed amendments to the legislation.

We also need to work on cutting red tape and simplifying procedures for investors. Chief among those is the process of allocating land and receiving industrial permits, which IMF Executive Director Hazem Beblawi says has actually become more complicated in recent years. Several international organizations have previously lauded the Industrial Permits Act, which was passed in April 2017, for setting a limit of 30 days for the Industrial Development Authority to respond to an investor request for a license. However, Beblawi says the Fund sees that Egypt is structurally ill-prepared for the legislation to be effective.

Abu Dhabi Development Holding to invest in four NIB companies: The Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADDH) and unnamed Emirati investors have agreed to invest in four companies held by the National Investment Bank (NIB), bank CEO Mahmoud Montasser told Masrawy. The investors could buy stakes in the companies or purchase them outright, Montasser said, without disclosing the companies or the sectors they operate in. The four companies were among seven NIB-owned companies offered to Emirati investors last month by the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), which was put in charge of attracting international and domestic interest in the NIB’s companies back in November.

Background: There has been a pick-up in trade and investment activity between Egypt and the UAE in recent months. The SFE signed a USD 20 bn agreement in November with ADDH to establish a joint investment fund, and in December a high-level delegation from the fund returned to Egypt for meetings with the SFE to discuss joint investment projects. The UAE International Investors Council Secretary-General Jamal Al-Jarwan said in December that the UAE aims to double its investments in Egypt to USD 14 bn over the next five years.

Investors call for an end to real estate tax on factories: The Investors Union has petitioned the government to abolish the real estate tax on the factories, less than a week after the cabinet decided to introduce new tax exemptions, the local press reports. Samir Aref, head of the Tenth of Ramadan Investors Association, said he submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly this week calling for the permanent abolition of the tax to assist factories in paying off “accumulated debt from the high cost of production.”

This comes on the heels of the Madbouly Cabinet approving draft amendments to the Real Estate Tax Act last week that exempt unused land and strategic sectors from the tax.

Investors Union to demand taxes are reimbursed: The Investor Union’s secretary-general Mohamed Khamis Shaaban said that these changes will have little impact on factories and investors. The union will hold a meeting with the Finance Ministry in early February to demand the government refund taxes paid under the old version of the law, Shaaban said.

DISPUTE WATCH- Court hands Medhat Khalil the largest fine in Egyptian capital market history: The Cairo Economic Court yesterday ruled in the Financial Regulatory Authority’s (FRA) favor in its long-running dispute with Raya Holding’s Chairman Medhat Khalil, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Khalil allegedly failed to pay an EGP 11 mn fine to the FRA after he was found to have exceeded the maximum ownership limit in Raya without making a mandatory tender offer (MTO). The court yesterday fined Khalil and his associates EGP 200k each and ordered them to pay back the value of shares gained as a result of failing to make the MTO (around EGP 110 mn). This has set a record for the highest fine in the history of the Egyptian capital markets.

Background: The FRA ordered Khalil at the end of 2018 to submit a MTO for Raya or sell down his stake arguing he and related parties controlled a combined 42% of the company — a level that triggers an MTO under securities regulations. The FRA then sued Khalil after he failed to pay a fine. Khalil, who was seeking to reduce or overturn the fine, had requested that the dispute resolution committee act as the mediator, to which the FRA insisted that its own committee should mediate the dispute, and a new dispute arose back in July.

This still isn’t over yet: The group's legal advisor Hany Khalil said he will appeal the verdict immediately, and accused FRA chief Mohamed Omran of abuse of power, according to the local press.

Taxi association refuses to cooperate with Uber as it launches new white taxi hailing service: The head of Egypt’s association for white taxi drivers has refused to cooperate with ride-hailing apps as Uber launches a new service allowing users to hail white taxis in Egypt. Mahmoud Abdel Hamid told Al Mal that the association would not accept working with an intermediary company, and reiterated that the body is developing a mobile app of its own to compete in the ride-hailing market. He did not give a specific date for the launch of the app — which we first heard about last August — but said that unlike other ride-hailing companies it would not charge commissions from its drivers.

The new Uber service got off the ground several days ago. An Uber source said the fare for the new service is comprised of a base price of EGP 7.25, plus EGP 2.5 per km (rising to EGP 3/km after travelling 30 km). Customers will be charged EGP 0.35 per minute of waiting time. Uber will take 19% commission, including the 2% VAT.

Egypt’s first fintech fund slated to open 2Q2020: The Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) EGP 1 bn fund to support fintech startups will be launched in the second quarter of this year, Al Mal reported, quoting a CBE report. The fund, which was initially expected to be up and running at the beginning of this year, will focus on providing finance to fintech venture capitalist funds, and startup incubators and accelerators. The size of the fund is projected to increase to around USD 500 mn within five years of launch.

The central bank’s fintech Hub will be inaugurated this quarter: The hub will be headquartered at the central bank in Downtown Cairo, and will serve as a center for the country’s fintech industry, bringing business leaders, entrepreneurs, regulators, financial institutions and investors together in one place. Both the fund and fintech hub are part of the CBE’s plans to increase fintech innovation in Egypt.

Egypt the fastest-growing market for Mercedes as sales hit record in 2019: Mercedes-Benz Egypt hit record sales levels in 2019, selling 5,050 vehicles throughout the year, according to a company statement (pdf). The German auto manufacturer’s strong sales performance in Egypt was mirrored in its global performance, with global sales volumes also hitting a new record in 2019 “in a challenging environment for the automotive industry.” Egypt is currently the company’s fastest-growing market, the statement says. Mercedes-Benz is set to return to local assembly in Egypt this year, following a four-year hiatus after it shut down its Egyptian assembly line in mid-2015 amid FX shortages.

FDI figures up after CBE adopts new methodology: The Central Bank of Egypt has updated its record of FY2018-2019 foreign direct investment (FDI) figures to reflect a new method it is using to calculate FDI, the local press reported citing a CBE source. The new calculation, which boosts last year’s FDI figure to USD 8.3 bn (up from USD 5.9 bn), includes some capital that were not previously taken into account. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) — which helped the central bank adopt the new methodology — said that it improves the survey response rate of foreign companies operating in Egypt and revises upwards FDI inflows into the oil and gas sector.

LEGISLATION WATCH- House committee approves Railway Act amendments: A House joint committee yesterday approved government amendments to the Railway Act that would hand more powers to regulate the national railway system to the Transport Minister, according to Al Shorouk. The bill would give the minister jurisdiction over the land used by the railway, and powers to transfer privately-owned land adjacent to the railway network into the hands of the state. The bill will now be sent to the Council of State for review.

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Egypt in the News

Leading the conversation in the foreign press this morning: The Associated Press picks up the news that an Egyptian court handed out life sentences to eight defendants for forming a local ISIS cell between 2015 and 2018, according to AP. Twenty-nine others received jail terms ranging between 1 and 15 years, while seven were acquitted. Reuters and Xinhua also have the story.

Other headlines worth a skim:

  • Egypt’s traditional dye workshops keep a centuries-old craft alive, but increased competition from cheaper overseas imports has made it harder to produce the homegrown textiles, AFP reports.
  • Court upholds university niqab ban: The Daily Mail is running a piece on the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision yesterday to uphold a 2015 decision to ban academic staff at Cairo University from wearing niqabs.

Worth Listening

There is another safe haven asset you might have missed: During Egypt's devaluation, it wasn't just stocks that were getting more popular for foreign investors. Art was also in their sights as it became cheaper to purchase contemporary Egyptian art. TAM Gallery was one of the platforms that allowed foreign audiences to see what Egypt has to offer. Over time TAM Gallery grew to be a success and its founder, Lina Mowafy, was able to open a physical gallery in Sixth of October City in 2014. TAM sells art first and foremost, but they also sell awareness of what art has the potential to be.

You can listen to the Making it episode with TAM Gallery Founder Lina Mowafy (runtime: 29:21) on: Our Website | Apple Podcast | Google Podcast

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Mohamed Zaki, Mohamed Farid hold talks with CentCom boss: Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki held talks with the Commander of the US Central Command (CentCom) Kenneth F. McKenzie in Cairo yesterday, according to a statement by the Armed Forces. The statement was light on detail, but said the two officials discussed counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East and “several files of common interest.” McKenzie also met the Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid and talked about “topics of mutual interest” and the joint Operation Bright Star exercises to take place later this year.

Energy

Electricity Ministry to launch tender for five control centers across the country

The Electricity Ministry will launch a tender for five power control centers in the Alexandria, Upper Egypt, Suez Canal and Greater Cairo areas 1Q2020, unnamed sources told Al Mal. Competing companies include General Electric, Siemens, ABB, Schneider Electric and China’s State Grid Corporation. The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company will finance the projects using a portion of a EGP 19 bn loan it acquired in 2017 from a banking consortium led by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr. The winning company will implement the control system, develop communication networks, and improve electrical transmission.

Empower in talks with Saudi company to build USD 28 mn waste-to-energy plant

Egyptian renewable energy group Empower is in talks with an unnamed Saudi Arabian company to build a USD 28 mn 4 MW waste-to-energy plant, CEO Hatem El Gamal told the local press. Negotiations are at advanced stages and an agreement is expected to be completed “within weeks,” he said. Undisclosed Saudi banks will finance 70% of the project’s cost and the remainder will be split equally between Empower and the Saudi company. El Gamal previously said that Empower had decided to scrap plans to set up wastewater power plants in Egypt, and instead focus on establishing plants powered by municipal solid waste.

Infrastructure

Unnamed Korean company makes USD 400 mn offer to establish terminal in Safaga Port

An unnamed Korean company has submitted an offer to the Red Sea Ports Authority to establish a multi-purpose terminal in Safaga Port with USD 400 mn in initial investments, a source told Al Shorouk. The authority asked the company to arrange a loan to finance the project, which would increase the volume of container handling at the port.

Manufacturing

CID, Germany’s Gelita to set up EGP 1 bn gelatin factory in Egypt’s Roubiki City

Cairo for Investment and Development (CID) has signed a contract with Germany’s Gelita AG to set up a EGP 1 bn gelatin factory in the CID-managed Roubiki Leather City, CID finance and administrative department head Hosny Zayed said. The factory will manufacture gelatin, both as a food additive and medical product, by extracting it from leather tanning waste. The facility will be 75% owned by Gelita, with the remaining 25% ownership split between CID and five other local investors. Zayed gave no details on the planned project’s timeline. The project made headlines in 2018 after then-Trade Minister Tarek Kabil held talks with a delegation from the German company to discuss building Egypt’s first gelatin factory.

Egypt to increase grain silo storage capacity by 330k tonnes this year

Egypt is preparing to add 330k tonnes of storage capacity to its grain silos after increasing it by 5.9% last year, according to a cabinet statement. The government increased silo capacity to 3.6 mn tonnes by the end of 2019, up from 3.4 mn tonnes in 2018, the statement said. Five additional silos with a total capacity of 330k will be opened this year, it added.

Lorenz Snack-World looking to expand in Egypt, launch more products

German snack company Lorenz Snack-World is seeking to expand its presence in Egypt and has applied for a 10k sqm plot alongside its factory in the Port Said industrial zone to increase production capacity and launch more products, Al Mal reports.

Health + Education

ICMI plans to invest EGP 24 mn in 2020

Healthcare company International Company for Medical Industries (ICMI) plans to invest EGP 24 mn in 2020 through its New Alpha and United Group subsidiaries, Managing Director Hisham Saber told Al Mal. The company will use bank loans to finance the new investment, Saber said, adding that negotiations with several local banks are ongoing. The company recently spent EGP 30 mn to purchase two factories to manufacture medical products.

Tourism

Marriott to open St. Regis branch in new administrative capital in 2Q2020

The Marriott-owned luxury hotel chain St. Regis is set to open a branch in the new administrative capital’s Almasa Royal Palace in 2Q2020, Ahram Online reports. The development will contain 270 rooms, 90 suites, 60 apartments and 14 villas among other luxury facilities, Marriott International’s MENA Chief Development Officer Jermoe Briet said in a statement.

Automotive + Transportation

Careem launches Cairo-Delta bus routes

Careem has announced the launch of a number of new bus services connecting Cairo with several cities in the Delta, reports Al Mal. The company is launching three new lines through its Careem Bus app, providing transport links between multiple neighborhoods within Greater Cairo and Alexandria, Tanta and Mansoura. Ticket prices will start at between EGP 75 and EGP 100 per person.

Other Business News of Note

EFG Hermes advises on Al Ezz Dekheila Steel restructure

EFG Hermes has successfully advised Al Ezz Dekheila Steel on its restructuring plan, the investment bank said in an emailed statement. The restructure involved the EGP 2 bn acquisition of Ezz Rolling Mills and the USD 424 mn acquisition of Ezz Flat Steel. Al Ezz Dekheila made two mandatory tender offers to fully acquire Ezz Rolling Mills for EGP 23.07/share, and purchase the remaining 56% stake in Ezz Flat Steel for USD 10.09/share. The transaction was initially greenlit by the Financial Regulatory Authority back in November and was implemented in December.

El Sewedy, two French and Chinese companies win tender to supply smart meters for new capital

El Sewedy Electric and two unnamed Chinese and French companies have won a tender to supply 200k smart meters for part of the first phase of the new administrative capital, according to Hapi Journal. Telecom Egypt was the main bidder in the tender, which will see smart meters installed across the government district and some of the first-phase residential areas by the end of June. Contracts will be signed before the end of next week and the names of the foreign companies will be announced. The New Administrative Capital Company for Urban Development has also awarded a solid waste management contract to the UAE’s Bee'ah, Hapi Journal reported separately.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Cairo court sentences three death for failed plot to kill Alexandria’s security director

A Cairo criminal court has handed down preliminary death sentences to three defendants for the failed assassination attempt on Alexandria’s head of security Mostafa El Nemr in March 2018, Ahram Online reports. The court referred the sentences to the Grand Mufti, and will issue its final ruling on 21 March. El Nemr escaped unscathed but two police officers were killed in the attack, which took place in the run-up to the 2018 presidential elections.

Sports

Egypt crowned African handball champions after defeating Tunisia 27-23

Egypt won the Handball African Cup of Nations for the seventh time on Sunday after defeating Tunisia 27-23 in the final, Ahram Online reports. The victory sees Egypt qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On Your Way Out

Cairo’s Bassatine Jewish Cemetery is getting a make-over thanks to the US Embassy: The US Embassy in Cairo will fund the restoration of the Bassatine Jewish Cemetery in Cairo, one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world, it announced in a statement. The American Research Center in Egypt and the Drop of Milk Foundation will undertake the project, which will conserve the graveyards and architecture. The cemetery dates back to the ninth century, and is the burial place for some of Egypt’s most famous Jewish figures.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.73 | Sell 15.83
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.73 | Sell 15.83
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.75 | Sell 15.85

EGX30 (Monday): 13,640 (-0.6%)
Turnover: EGP 410 mn (36% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -2.3%

THE MARKET ON MONDAY: The EGX30 ended Monday session down 0.6%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.1%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Pioneers Holding up 0.2%, Juhayna up 0.1%, and Ibnsina Pharma up 0.1%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were SODIC down 3.5%, Orascom Development down 3.4% and Kima down 3.1%. The market turnover was EGP 410 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +40.3 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -2.7 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -37.5 mn

Retail: 53.6% of total trades | 49.4% of buyers | 57.8% of sellers
Institutions: 46.4% of total trades | 50.6% of buyers | 42.2% of sellers

WTI: USD 53.14 (-1.9%)
Brent: USD 58.90 (-3.0%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.90 MMBtu, (+0.5%, February 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,583.70 / troy ounce (+0.4%)

TASI: 8,178 (-1.8%) (YTD: -2.5%)
ADX: 5,167 (-1.2%) (YTD: +1.8%)
DFM: 2,788 (-1.2%) (YTD: +0.9%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,999 (-1.0%)
QE: 10,489 (-0.9%) (YTD: +0.6%)
MSM: 4,070 (-0.3%) (YTD: +2.3%)
BB: 1,646 (-0.1%) (YTD: +2.3%)

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Calendar

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

23 January-4 February: Cairo International Book Fair 2020, New Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center, 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 January (Tuesday): AmCham to host US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen for monthly luncheon.

28-30 January (Tuesday-Thursday): CI Capital’s annual MENA Investors Conference, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, Cairo.

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

28-29 January (Tuesday-Wednesday): Egypt and Ethiopia to meet again in Washington, DC, for mediation on GERD.

29 January (Wednesday): StartEgypt Forum 2020, the Greek Campus, Downtown, Cairo

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.

2 February (Sunday): Cairo Economic Court will issue its verdict on two Americana Egypt lawsuits, one looking into minority shareholder's lawsuit against Fincorp Investment Holding as Adeptio AD Investments' financial advisor for its mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt and the other is concerned with 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.

14-16 February (Friday-Sunday): A Euro-Mediterranean Organization for Economic and Development Cooperation delegation will visit Egypt to discuss cooperating in the field of organic cotton and home textiles

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

20 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.

3 March (Tuesday): Business Today’s bt100 awards ceremony, Cairo.

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.

7 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).

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.

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

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

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.

25 June (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.

12 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.

24 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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