Monday, 24 August 2015

A stock market meltdown and the VAT is coming. But hey, we got an income tax cut…



You know it’s a bad day when closing 3% down means you’ve not just outperformed your peer group, but the market at large: The EGX30 closed down 5.4% at a 19-month low — the sharpest selloff since the restive days of November 2012 — as traders hit the panic button following the sell-off in the United States, Europe and China on Friday. Dubai and KSA markets fell about 7% each, while the ADX and QSE each fell about 5%. Making matters worse is the plunge in oil prices: the black stuff is trading well below what the budget break-even point for pretty much every GCC producer (see estimates from the IMF and the WSJ, both of which we initially carried last fall). Among the worst-hit yesterday: Shares in perennial safety blankets including real estate (PHD was down 10.0%, the daily max; Amer was off 9.9% and Emaar 8.2%). Blue-chip winners included snack maker Edita, which closed the day down “just” 3%. Worth reading and heeding: Words of wisdom from EFG Hermes’ Simon Kitchen in the WSJ: “The U.A.E. is better placed for the fall in oil prices, since it has made reforms [cutting energy subsidies] and has a relatively well-diversified economy…[Regional] governments need to make serious reforms, particularly to taxation and subsidies, to put growth on a surer footing—progress on this would help markets.”

No, it’s not another Ikhwan conspiracy by the Ikhwan, it’s a global sell-off, EFSA’s head Sherif Samy commented on yesterday’s sharp EGX drop. Samy added that decisions to freeze some listed company’s executives’ assets also played a role in the market’s plunge.

Still a bit freaked out? The WSJ is offering you some nice, warm pabulum in “5 Things Investors Shouldn’t Do Now,” including such nuggets of wisdom as “don’t panic” and “don’t fixate on the news” (ahem…). Think of it less as advice and more as a mantra, and you’ll be just fine. A much better read in the same paper: “Don’t dive into oil yet: Prices dipping below USD 40 a barrel don’t mean it is a great time to buy.”

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is due to arrive in Cairo today for what her ministry described as talks with “one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent.” Swaraj is due to meet President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and Arab League boss Nabil Elaraby. She will also speak at the Diplomatic Club at the invitation of the Egyptian Council on Foreign Affairs. The Times of India takes a look at the visit.

Something is brewing in Beirut, and it’s not beer: Starting next month, Lebanon “will not be able to pay a large proportion of public sector employees’ wages,” Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam said. Salam warned that Lebanon is on the verge of becoming a failed state and said he refuses to be part of the attempts to collapse Lebanon noting that he still has the option to submit his resignation. His remarks followed a wave of protests in Beirut over the weekend. You can watch Salam’s ominous speech in full here, (running time 18:15).

Meanwhile: Lebanese authorities cut off internet access in the early evening of 23 August in the central Beirut area of Reyad AlSalh amid protests, according to a Sky News Arabia broadcast reportedby Al Bawaba. ONTV Egypt confirmed the news on its broadcast as well. Lebanese Minister of Communications Botros Harb, however, denied that Lebanese authorities deliberately cut off internet access, claiming that it resulted from a technical malfunction. On the other hand, the Lebanese Red Cross announcedthat 230 are injured in clashes with police in central Beirut. Al-Ahram can barely contain its glee as it runs on the front page with the declaration that the “You Stink” protests could see Lebanon “become a failed state.”

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As we said, this is shaping up to be a busy news week, with highlights including:

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi begins a three-day visit to Russia on tomorrow;
  • We await the appointment of a new prosecutor-general amid persistent reports a replacement for slain prosecutor Hisham Barakat will be named any day now.
  • The fourth phase of the national emergency electricity program wraps this week, with 410 MW in additional capacity coming online.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City will host its annual three-day symposium.


The nomination period for the upcoming elections to the House of Representatives opens on 13 September, according to Youm7’s front page story on Sunday. Voting will take place in two phases: the first on 25 October and the second on 21 November, according to sources speaking to Youm7. Meanwhile, the High Elections Committee says it will officially announce the dates for voting later this month, Ahram Onlinereports.


Magdy El Galad led the way on Sunday night’s episode of Hona El-Assema. The program focused primarily on the the deteriorating state of the global economy and its anticipated impact on Egypt. The night’s guests were Osama Mourad, chairman of Acumen Securities, and Rania Yacoub, vice chair of City Trade Holding.

The host began by asking his guests a series of questions on the lackluster performance of global capital markets.

Mourad: “China’s economic slowdown has had a detrimental impact on the performance of global financial markets. Their efforts to manipulate exchange rates has only exacerbated the situation. … We are on the precipice of a global recession, akin to the one we witnessed in 2008.”

Murad then called on the Egyptian government to take preemptive measures to protect its citizens from the anticipated global economic slowdown: “Decisions must be taken by the government to reinvigorate the Egyptian economy,” added Mourad.

Rania Yacoub, on the other hand, attributed EGX’s poor performance to a number of irresponsible actions taken by the government. “The EGX has been bleeding ever since the government announced its intention to implement a capital gains tax,” said the evidently irked Yacoub.

El Galad appeared to share her sentiments, as the host chided the government on its lack of vision. “Coordination between members of Cabinet’s Economic Committee is weak. We do not have clear-cut fiscal and monetary policies that can attract foreign investors,” said El Galad.

Meanwhile, Diaa Rashwan, played lead host at Al Qahera Al Youm, filling in for Amr Adeeb, who appears to be in the midst of a summer-long hibernation. Rashwan touched upon a wide range of issues during the two-hour long program. Chief among them: The impact of a strike b rank-and-file members of the police service in Sharqiya. General Aboubakr Abdelkarim, the Interior Minister’s Media Advisor, called in to provide his insight.

“By striking, police officers are failing to undertake the duties the pledged to carry out to citizens,” said Abdelkarim. “Fortunately, our activities, have not been disrupted by these officers,” he added.


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The tax man cometh: Egypt will impose a value-added tax “within weeks,” Finance Minister Hany Dimian said on Sunday, speaking with Reuters’ Arabic service. The draft law is currently being reviewed and discussed with stakeholders, after which it will be submitted to the Cabinet. According to a statement by Tax Authority Chairman Abdel Moneim Matar, the government estimates that VAT may increase tax revenue in the current fiscal year by EGP 30 bn year-on-year. Ahram Online has a brief take in English.

As if to make the medicine that is the VAT go down a bit easier, a late edition of the Official Gazette issued last night carried a presidential decree that enacts a tax cut for companies and top wage earners reducing the maximum rate to 22.5% from 25%, fulfilling a promise by the Mahlab government to do so in March. The three-year 5% wealth surtax will only temporarily be imposed for the current fiscal year, the Gazette claims. The two-year suspension of the capital gains tax has now been enshrined in law, with date of suspension being 17 May 2015. The breakdown of taxes by annual income bracket is as follows:

  • Less than EGP 6500: Exempt
  • EGP 6,500-30K: 10%
  • EGP 30K-45K: 15%
  • EGP 45K-200K: 20%
  • Over EGP 200K: 22.5%

Cabinet has finally decreed that natural gas consumers in energy-intensive industries will be charged for their actual use amid supply constraints and not amounts contracted under ‘take or pay’ agreements. The decision is retroactive to 1 January 2011, according to a Sunday evening edition of the Official Gazette, and comes just hours after EGAS said it would begin taking action to collect receivables from clients in energy-intensive industries. A source said the industrial sector in total owes EGP 4 bn (excluding penalties), with 60% of the dues payable by government-related entities. EGAS will not hesitate to cut off gas supplies to business that do not comply, the source said, adding that there is room to negotiate the penalty charges. but that EGAS will not budge when it comes to payments due for actual gas consumption. Forgive us for wondering, but with utilization rates in the basement: What ‘actual consumption’?

President El-Sisi issued amendments to the Illicit Gains Law, which were published in the Gazette on Sunday. The gist includes the appointment of a state body in charge of investigating corruption cases involving illicit gains. The body will also actively manage assets frozen in connection with illicit gains investigations, taking a 10% management fee in return. The body can call on the prosecutor general’s office to issue travel bans. The amendments authorize settlement agreements pretrial, during the trial or during the appeals process, so long as the illicit funds are returned. The aforementioned state body will administer the terms of the settlements.

LG Egypt operating at 60% capacity as FX constraints ease LG’s 10 Ramadan City electronics factory is now operating at 50-60% capacity as currency constraints ease, allowing the company to bring in production inputs thanks to improved liquidity at domestic banks. The facility was running at 10-15% of its nominal capacity back in March, said LG Egypt Chairman Ashraf Hamdi.

Here we go again? After we thought Cabinet took a firm stand last week on the Civil Service Act, the tune it’s singing this week is one of compromise, echoing Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s promise to look into the demands of protesting state employees. The Supply Ministry (of all entities) will now apparently propose amendments the executive regulations of the law to maintain the salaries and benefits of state employees, said Supreme Administrative Reform Committee member Khaled Amin. He added that these amendments will not affect those ordered by the President.

Striking members of the police service tried to storm the Sharqiya Police headquarters yesterday, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Security forces at the headquarters responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd of low-ranking service members, of whom four have been reported injured. The NCOs have been calling for amendments to their pension plans and were also calling for the firing of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. Youm7 has some footage from the march towards the headquarters. The Ikhwan allegedly instigated the ongoing strike, according to an unnamed security source speaking with state-run news agency MENA, as reported by Ahram Online.

It’s all but over: a source at the housing ministry told Al Mal that the government is already in process of breaking up and redistributing land that was allocated to Arabtec’s one mn homes project. Abu Dhabi-based Alfahim has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring some land plots after Arabtec backed away. Alfahim looks likely to build 30k houses in Obour and Badr cities on land that was previously allocated to the foundering Emirati company.

The antiquities minister is urging Egyptian businessmen to raise USD 25 mn to buy back the 4.5k-year-old Sekhemka statue that was sold by the English Northampton Museum to a private party, theAP reports. In an effort to give Egypt a chance to buy back the statue, the British government extended a ban on exports but the ban expires this Friday. The statue was sold for GBP 15.7 mn in July 2014 in a sale that met with criticism from both British and Egyptian parties, Ahram Online reports.

200 projects submitted to Upper Egypt Development Conference: Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said 200 governorate projects were received carrying a total investment cost of EGP 800 bn, Al-Ahram reported from the preparatory meeting for the UEDC. The ministry is currently studying the submitted projects and sorting them according to priority in each governorate. Looking back through our files: It seems the conference is set for 11-12 September in Hurghada, but we would be hard pressed to recall any discussion of the gathering in recent months other than an update in July that claimed 100 projects had been pitched for consideration.

DBK Pharma SAE has postponed the listing of its shares on the EGX, reports Al Borsa. The decision comes in light of the lackluster performance of capital markets at home and abroad. The company will consider a listing again when market conditions improve.

God help us all: Or at least those of us flying the national flag carrier. Getting to the airport an hour before your domestic flight may be a relic of the past now that EgyptAir is officially requiring its passengers to be at the airport three hours before departure for international flights and two hours before domestic hops, Amwal Al Ghad reports.

ICYMI- “LNG Vessel Owners Form First Ship Pool as Spot Trade Expands“. We remember barely a decade ago that it was pretty much common wisdom there was no such thing as a spot market for LNG — nor, the pundits told us at the time, would there ever be. The infrastructure costs were simply too high. That’s now changing, Bloomberg says, even as oil prices tank, with three major players agreeing to “jointly market their liquefied natural gas tankers for spot charters as trading of flexible cargoes widens. The Cool Pool, the first-ever LNG carrier pool, will open in September with 14 ships… LNG spot trading is expanding as new Australian supply adds to output and the U.S. prepares to start exporting the fuel from its Gulf Coast this year. New importers including Egypt are driving demand as buyers under long-term deals such as Japan and South Korea curb purchases amid lower usage.”

CORRECTION: In yesterday’s issue, the link for the NYT article Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace pointed instead to another Times article about the Amazon exposé, which however had the link to the original article in the second paragraph. We regret the error.


Guess what? The bears are among us.
As global markets witnessed a sharp decline on Thursday and Friday — Dow Jones (down 5.25%), S&P500 (off 5.5%) and NASDAQ Composite (contracting 6.25%) — we remind readers that Pharos Research had earlier predicted this downward trend given mounting technical evidence. In our report titled “Global Technical Outlook – Reality Bites 2”, momentum indicators and oscillators clearly pointed that buyers were losing momentum and becoming less aggressive. This created several negative divergences on the monthly and weekly charts and hinted for an imminent decline.
Meanwhile, despite the EGX30 hitting the 7,000 points target and showing minor strength during Thursday’s session, the events on global markets present the EGX with an uphill battle even for the short-term. To read more about trading strategies and defensive actions, click here.


Coverage of Egypt in the international press was relatively light overnight Sunday and into this morning, with a smattering of coverage addressing the arrest of three people under the new anti-terror law for spreading Daesh propaganda online (AP) and a confrontation between Central Security Forces and protesting low-ranking members of the police service in Sharqiya (pickup of a piece by Al Jazeera). Otherwise noteworthy:

Lebanon-based publication An-Nahar published an op-ed by columnist Rageh Al Khouri on what he deemed to be a Zionist campaign by US media to create an image of a disorderly Egypt, exemplified most recently by CNN’s report on the slaughter of the Croatian hostage, which was slammed by the Foreign Ministry. He also attacks the US’s criticism of the antiterrorism laws in particular by saying “as if those who slaughtered the Croatian hostage… want to express their opinion.” He reasons that this negative campaign comes as a result of Obama’s failed attempt to spread “political Islam” in the region. (Read in Arabic)
Bloomberg View columnist Noah Feldman tries to find out just how dangerous is Daesh affiliate Sinai Province to Egypt. He reckons they are part of a “conscious strategy” to recruit repressed Ikhwan members, eventually driving Egypt into civil war. They attack the kind of targets that Ikhwan would likely attack, if they chose violence, so that they would be further suppressed. He adds, “El-Sisi should be very careful about attempting to associate Islamic State terror with the Brotherhood: He may find himself saddled with exactly the threat he’s claiming already exists — but on a scale he won’t be able to handle without disastrous long-term consequences for Egypt.” (Read)


‘The persistence of history: Islamic State’s revival of slavery, extreme though it is, finds disquieting echoes across the Arab world,’ by The Economist. “All this [slavery in the Islamic world] ended because of abolition in the West. After severing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, Western abolitionists turned on the Islamic world’s, and within decades had brought down a system that had administered not just the Ottoman empire but the Sherifian empire of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman with its colonies on the Swahili-speaking coast and West Africa’s Sokoto Caliphate … Some tried to resist, including Morocco’s sultan and the cotton merchants of Egypt, who had imported African slaves to make up the shortages left by the ravages of America’s civil war. But colonial pressure proved unstoppable. Under Britain’s consul-general, Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer, Egypt’s legislative assembly dutifully abolished slavery at the end of the 19th century … But though slavery per se may be condemned, observers point to the persistence of servitude.” (Read)


Slavery in modern-day Mauritania, AFP. (Watch, running time: 2:11)


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a new blog, as noted by Egypt Independent, hosted The MoFA has chosen to dedicate its first blog post ever to a critique of Sarah Carr’s recent piece in FP. “Carr’s sarcasm and air of moral and cultural superiority is disappointing; it smacks of racism and contempt for the Egyptian people’s chosen form of cultural expression,” according to the post’s author. The criticism suggests that either the author is unaware that Carr herself is half-Egyptian, or is otherwise an implicit criticism of Carr as being a “self-hating Egyptian,” in which case, the MoFA is apparently well on its path of singling out No True Scotsman in Egypt.

SIS provided a slightly clearer statement on the denouement of the 8th tripartite summit on the GERD — clearer relative to what has been distributed to the press thus far. The statement reads that the tripartite “panel agreed to send suggestions and instructions to the Dutch and French consultant firms to wrap up their joint study on the dam.” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday said that the negotiations should remain in line with the preliminary agreements outlined in the Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.


PhPC pumps USD 260 mn to develop a gas plant
Al Mal | 20 Aug 2015
Pharaonic Petroleum Company (PhPC) is investing USD 260 mn in developing a gas processing plant in West Port Said, Al Mal reported. The project aims to increases the plant’s capacity to 625 mcf per day. The project is set to begin operations in 3Q2015 while also expanding its E&P operation until the end of the year with the aim to drill eight new wells adding 200-250 mcf of gas. PhPC is a subsidiary of BP and Eni in Egypt. (Read in Arabic)

Qatar to back up Trafigura in Jordan LNG cargoes
Platts | 21 Aug 2015
Qatargas reached an agreement with Trafigura to provide Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) with LNG cargoes, Platts reported. Qatar is backing up Trafigura, which is delivering one cargo to NEPCO in October, a source said. A second cargo that will be delivered in October will be provided by BG. Sources added that “Trafigura was also the seller of some of the Qatari volumes that have been delivered to Egypt.” (Read)

Ismail meets with sector leaders, calls for improved personnel training
Al Borsa | 23 Aug 2015
Oil companies have to stick to delivery times for projects and maintain the cost and quality standards, Oil Minister Sherif Ismail said at a meeting with industry leaders. Ismail called on increasing the training provided to the industry personnel and focus on maintaining maintenance schedules. The Oil Minister also reviewed the preparedness to secure and deliver butane gas cylinders in preparation for the winter season. (Read in Arabic)

President El Sisi calls for maintenance of existing power plants, contracts to build new ones
Al Borsa | 22 Aug 2015
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called for maintaining existing power plants and stressed the need for contracts to build new ones. El Sisi’s remarks were made during a meeting with Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker, according to Ittihadiya’s spokesperson. The President also praised the electricity sector’s efforts to provide uninterrupted service to Egyptians, despite the increased consumption during the ongoing heatwave. (Read in Arabic)


Arab Contractors complete USD 90 mn road project in Congo in 2017
Amwal Al Ghad | 23 Aug 2015
The Arab Contractors company is aiming to complete a USD 90 mn road project in Congo by 2017. The project is considered one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken by the Arab Contractors in Africa, says Ibrahim Mabrouk, Head of North and West Africa at the Arab Contractors company. (Read in Arabic)


Sugar producers call for tariffs on sugar imports, subsidies for beetroot farmers
Al-Ahram | 23 Aug 2015
Abdel Hamid Salama, president of Delta Sugar, has called for imposing tariffs on sugar imports, as well as offering subsidies to beetroot farmers, to save the industry from collapsing due to a reserve from last season of over 900k tons. Banks are refusing to offer any new loans to the company due to estimated losses of up EGP 100 mn this year. The losses are due to recent policies from the Ministries of Supply and Trade, and due to importers flooding the market with 1.6 mn tons of sugar, while the market only needs 500k tons of sugar. (Read in Arabic)

Supermarkets and consumer complexes face down meat boycott campaign with offers of discounts
Al Borsa | 23 Aug 2015
In the face of the social media campaign to boycott meat starting this week, supermarkets are offering discounts on meat products. Atef Yaqob, president of the Consumer Protection Agency, said that the agency supports meat boycotts to counter unjustified price increase and will offer more affordable meat at Ministry of Agriculture outlets. The story includes an overview of meat prices at high-, mid- and low-end chains around Cairo and notes in passing that poultry prices have risen. (Read in Arabic)


Delays in clearing chemical inputs harms domestic industry, producers say
Amwal Al Ghad | 23 Aug 2015
Security agencies are withholding chemical inputs at Egyptian ports and refusing to clear them, the head of the chemicals’ export council complained to Amwal Al Ghad. A decision to ban the clearance of any white powder originating from China is being imposed by the customs authority. Chemicals producers have incurred significant losses as their inputs remain held in ports awaiting inspection by the authorities. A representative from P&G said the delays in clearing their inputs could cost the company around USD 10 mn in losses as the inspection process usually takes from one week to a whole month. (Read in Arabic)

IDA presents land holdings to GAFI
Al Borsa | 22 Aug 2015
The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) presented the maps of its land holdings in 14 industrial zones to GAFI. The new investment law stipulates that all economic authorities should notify GAFI about their available land holdings available for industrial investment. The law also connects the economic authorities with GAFI electronically as part of the one-stop shop mechanism. IDA will be responsible setting the land areas available as well as the types of activities that could be established on them, according to Authority’s head who also added that IDA will submit a memorandum to the Cabinet to allow it to price the land plots itself. (Read in Arabic)


Hotels lacking investment, quality drop worrying
Al Shorouk | 23 Aug 2015
A “disaster” awaits the Egyptian tourism sector as funding for tourism projects is halted, warns Hisham Aly, the head of the South Sinai tourism investors association. Aly said maintenance and repairs operations have ceased for almost five years as funding dried up. Hotel quality dropped significantly, he added, to the point where a five-star hotel in Egypt now is similar to a four-star hotel anywhere else in the world. Aly called on the CBE to finance tourism projects, citing their importance to the economy. (Read in Arabic)

TDA achieves record revenues of EGP 604 mn
Al Borsa | 23 August 2015
The Tourism Development Authority achieved record revenues of EGP 604 mn in 2014, adding EGP 495 mn in surplus revenue to the state treasury, said Authority head Siraj El Din Saad. 60% of revenues were the result back pay owed to the Authority while 40% was generated through new contracts. The Authority’s investment plan is expected to help it attain revenues of EGP 580 mn this fiscal year. The plan includes tenders for developing 27 mn m2 of land in Sharm El Sheikh, Ras Sedr, Ain Sokhna and Ras El Hekma. The Authority is also concluding 4 projects spanning a total of 18 mn sqm this year. (Read in Arabic)


Oracle set to bid for commercial registry digitization project
Amwal Al Ghad | 22 Aug 2015
Oracle is reportedly going to bid for the government’s EGP 1.9 bn projects to digitize the commercial and authentication registry, Amwal Al Ghad reported. The projects were approved by the CIT Ministry’s PPP unit and will be tendered officially next week. The projects include redesigning and automating 400 notary offices nationwide as well digitizing the commercial registry. (Read in Arabic)

90% of TE Data’s clients switch to new offers, Labib says
Al Masry Al Youm | 23 Aug 2015
90% of TE Data’s clients have switched to their new plans, Mohamed Labib, the acting head of the ISP told Al Masry Al Youm. 55k new customers joined TE Data since the new offers were unfolded. Labib says the number of new customers is significantly below the CIT Minister’s expectations because a large number are away on summer holidays and says the slowdown is an expected part of an annual trend. (Read in Arabic)

MCIT issues 50 automated government services projects
Al Mal | 23 Aug 2015
The Ministry of Communications (MCIT) will hold a press conference on Monday to announce 50 new projects within the program to take citizen services online. CIT Minister Khaled Negm had previously stated that a committee from the Ministries of Communication and Planning, as well as the General Intelligence Authority, has been formed to tackle e-government issues. (Read in Arabic)

NTRA studies issuing ADSL licenses
Al Mal | 23 Aug 2015
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) is studying the possibility of issuing new ADSL licenses in the coming period, according to sources within the MCIT. The move is meant to increase competitiveness and ultimately offering cheaper and faster internet, the source added. CIT Minister Khaled Negm had stated last May that a Malaysian company has expressed interest in the ADSL services. (Read in Arabic)

ICT Ministry will not compensate telcos for scrapping of telecoms infrastructure company
Al Borsa | 23 Aug 2015
The ICT Ministry will not compensate telecom companies for its decision to back out of forming a national telecommunications infrastructure company, despite the losses the decision may cause the sector. The ministry decided it will go ahead and restructure contracts and arrangements these companies have with Telecom Egypt for use of its infrastructure. (Read in Arabic)


First of new air-conditioned trains leaves Cairo to Alexandria today
Amwal Al Ghad | 23 Aug 2015
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Transportation Minister Hani Dahy will witness what media are mistakenly calling the “the first air conditioned train leaving the Cairo train station for Alexandria today.” The train is the first of 23 and was built by the Arab Organization for Industrialization with up to 50% of local components. The train also includes services including Wi-Fi, a medic, and security cameras. Air-conditioned trains have run from Cairo to Alexandria for a number of years. (Read in Arabic)

23.4 mn river transportation users in 2014, CAPMAS says
Youm7 | 23 Aug 2015
The number of passengers that used river transportation reached a total of 23.4 mn in 2014, according to CAPMAS’ annual report on river transportation. According to the report, 9.1 mn passengers used public river transportation, while 15.2 mn passengers used private river transportation sector. The report added that a total of 3,022 employees work in the river transport sector and that the total number of river transporting units reached 968 in 2014, 57.2% of which operated in the public river transportation sector and 42.8% in the private river transportation sector. (Read in Arabic)

Nile Corniche Project to commence next week, Cairo Governor says, Clearance of Nile boats already underway
Al Masry Al Youm, Ahram Online | 23 Aug 2015
The 2 km-long Nile Corniche renovations, in coordination with the Ministries of Irrigation, Water Resources, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, will launch by the start of next week, according to Cairo Governor Galal Saeed. Renovation plans for the Nile Corniche, an area that witnesses the gathering of many people, including tourists, incorporates the redevelopment of sidewalks, facilities, landscaping, lighting, and new pedestrian paths with the goal of changing the aesthetics of the area. Meanwhile, Ahram Online reports that the police have already begun to clear feluccas from the Nile banks on the Corniche near the old NDP headquarters on Sunday. “The move comes as part of Cairo governorate’s plan to renovate the Nile Corniche, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.” (Read in Arabic in AMAY or Ahram Online)


Court orders JAC Motors to pay Banque Misr EGP 92.98 mn plus interest
Ahram Gate | 22 Aug 2015
JAC Motors is to pay Banque Misr EGP 92.98 mn topped by a 5% annual interest from November, the Cairo Economic Court ordered. The payments comes after JAC failed to repay credit facilities obtained from the bank. JAC owed Banque Misr EGP 107.22 mn, of which only EGP 14.25 mn were repaid. (Read in Arabic)

Rasmala to launch a EGP 100 mn fund for Banque du Caire this year
Amwal Al Ghad | 23 Aug 2015
Rasmala will launch an investment fund for Banque du Caire before the end of the year, Rasmala’s CEO said. The fund will have a capital of EGP 100 mn and will be Banque du Caire’s fifth. Rasmala says the fund will be balanced between fixed income assets and equities. (Read in Arabic)


Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has ordered the formation of a council to administer and operate the Electronic Egyptian Trading Network “Egy Trader”, which would provide an electronic portal governing the import and export bureaucracy, linking trade hubs, processing import and export documents, and “improving Egypt’s standing among foreign trade indices, such as the World Bank’s Cross-Border Trade Index”. The council will be headed by the Industry & Trade Minister and will include the Ministers of Finance, Transportation, Investment, the Deputy CBE Chairman, the head of the Chamber of Commerce Associations, and FEI head. The announcement was made on the Official Gazette’s Sunday edition.


44 news organizations, 768 foreign correspondents approved to cover elections
Al Mal | 23 Aug 2015
The High Elections Committee approved the paperwork of 44 news organizations, 13 news websites, and 768 foreign correspondents, to cover the upcoming parliamentary elections. Additionally, 18 new domestic NGOs were approved to monitor the electoral process, bringing the total to 81, said Amr Marwan, the official spokesperson for the High Elections Committee. (Read in Arabic)

Minister of Environmental Affairs refers four public sector companies to public prosecution
Al Masry Al Youm | 23 Aug 2015
Four state-owned companies have been referred to public prosecution on charges they dumped waste in the polluted Kitchener Canal in Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, announced the minister of environmental affairs Khaled Fahmi during a press conference on Sunday. (Read in Arabic)

Dostour Party spokesperson Khaled Dawoud resigns, party accepts Hala Shukrallah’s resignation
Ahram Online | 23 Aug 2015
Al Dostour Party spokesperson Khaled Dawoud resigned on Saturday, a day which also witnessed the party leadership accept former party head Hala Shukrallah’s resignation. Dawoud cited his reasons for leaving tied to that of Shukrallah’s resignation and the delay of internal party elections. (Read)

** Further reading in Egypt Politics + Economics: Weeks before his resignation, now-former Dostour Party spokesperson Khaled Dawoud wrote on the strife and fragmentation being experience by Egypt’s political parties in ‘Egypt’s Parties Face Marginalization Once Again.’


Egypt arrests 3 under new terrorism law for pro-Daesh social media posts: Security forces arrested three individuals in Sohag for promoting Daesh ideology through their Facebook accounts, according to Sohag security directorate, Ahram Online reports. Under the new anti-terrorism law, anyone convicted for using social media or other communication methods to disseminate incitement to terrorist acts can be sent to prison for five years.

Al-Azhar professor: ‘Intellectuals’ should be excluded from religious reform debates: Azhari scholar and professor of Islamic law Ahmed Karima said that intellectuals should not be involved in debating the reformation of religious discourse, according to Al Shorouk and Egypt Independent. “If we want to handle extremism and terrorism, then we need a team of scholars rather than a new discourse,” according to Karima on satellite channel ONTV Saturday evening. “We have requested many times to redraw the Islamic culture.”


Tehran took a significant step back in from the cold yesterday, reopening its embassy in London as the U.K. did the same in the Iranian capital, the Guardian reports.


Arabian Cement Company reported 1H15 results on Thursday, posting a net profit of EGP 124 mn, up from a net profit of EGP 107 mn in the same period last year.

The Planning Ministry is launching a competition for government employees to innovate and come up with solutions improving the administrative sections of government, Al Ahram reported. Planning Minister Ashraf El Araby said employees can apply to the competition directly through the Ministry’s website.

The Cairo Criminal Court has postponed its verdict in the trial of former Information Minister and Shura Council speaker Safwat El-Sherif verdict to 27 October. El-Sherif is accused of illegal earnings and exploitation of a position of power for personal gains, Amwal Al Ghad reported.


USD CBE auction (Sunday, 23 August): 7.7301 (unchanged since Sunday, 05 July)
USD parallel market (Sunday, 23 August): 7.95 (+0.02 from Thursday, 20 August, Reuters)

EGX30 (Sunday): 6,784.09 (-5.42%)

WTI: USD 40.23 (-0.54%)
Brent: USD 45.46 (0.00%)

TASI: 7,463.32 (-6.86%)
ADI: 4,286.49 (-5.01%)
DFM: 3,451.48 (-6.96%)
KSE Weighted Index: 393.96 (-2.19%)
QE: 10,750.00 (-5.25%)
MSM: 5,910.74 (-2.94%)

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.