Daesh claims to have downed Flight 9268 with a bomb in a Schweppes soda can
Daesh claims to have downed Flight 9268 with a bomb in a Schweppes’s soda can; El Sisi speaks with Putin and holds SCAF meeting (Speed Round)
MENA M&A activity down 13% YTD, but regional + Egypt economic confidence is up since April –EY report (Speed Round)
Qalaa’s Misr Glass Manufacturing calls of sale talks with Middle East Glass (Speed Round)
Borg El Arab factories are losing EGP 300 mn a day on saline water shutdown (Speed Round)
Financial services are exempt from VAT, tourism companies could be, Tax Authority chief says (Speed Round)
Vodafone Egypt gearing-up to offer 4G data services (Speed Round)
Refuse-derived fuel pricing gets cabinet approval (Speed Round)
CBE announces new board, confirms Gamal Negm and Lobna Helal as deputy governors (Speed Round)
WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
The 37th Cairo International Film Festival will conclude on Saturday with a screening of the winning films.
ON THE HORIZON
21-23 November (Saturday-Monday): The second stage of parliamentary elections is set to take place for the districts of Cairo, Qalyubiyah, Daqahliya, Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sharqiya, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai, and South Sinai. Egyptians abroad will vote from 21-22 November; those in Egypt will vote from 22-23 November. Find your polling station here and navigate the drop-down menus here to find the list of candidates in your voting district. About 28.2 mn citizens are eligible to cast ballots in this phase.
PwC and N Gage Consulting will host an open discussion on the impact of potential changes in monetary policy. The Monetary Policy and Foreign Exchange Challenges Workshop (agenda in pdf) will take place at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, at 9:00 am CLT on Monday, 23 November. Register here.
21-23 November (Saturday-Monday): The tenth GERD tripartite summit is set to meet in Khartoum.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Hani Sarieldin (Twitter), legal adviser to the Suez Canal development project, labeled the CBE’s decision to appreciate the EGP to the USD an “artificial process.” Speaking with Mahmoud Saad on Al-Nahar TV, Sarieldin said, “We’re so fixated on the CBE redressing the deficit. However, the EGP and the USD are a result, not a cause of this. We have problems with trade deficits, foreign debts, and exports.” Sarieldin also discussed the Special Economic Zones Law as a template for the regulation of other projects in zones including Marsa Matrouh and provided an update on the state of the Suez Canal development zone.
On Al Qahera Al Youm, Rania Badawi opened with coverage of the president’s meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. “What is the purpose of this meeting?” asked Badawi. “Will Egypt be entering a war? Could Egypt be part of a coalition of nations that fights Daesh?” (We would note that Egypt is already nominally part of the coalition against Daesh, and with the exception of the airstrikes in Libya following the beheading of Christian Egyptians there, Egypt has largely confined its own war against Daesh within its borders.)
Ibrahim Eissa on Al Kahera Wel Nas discussed Egypt’s role in resolving the war in Syria. The host called on the country’s leadership to support Russian mediation efforts and attacked Saudi Arabia for its financing of militant groups.
“Egypt must play a more proactive role in finding a solution to the Syrian civil war… Saudi Arabia is financing terrorist organizations, and is demanding Bashar El Assad resign. We shouldn’t stand on the sidelines and applaud them. Egypt must assume a leadership role… Let the Syrian people choose their leader, do not simply support Assad’s removal simply because Saudi Arabia has demanded this.”
Amr Khalil filled in for Khairy Ramadan on Wednesday night’s episode of Momkin. Midway through, Khalil introduced viewers to his only in-studio guest for the night: Ibrahim Negm, advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt. For the better part of an hour, Negm expounded on his initiative to stop the spread of negative views of Islam in the non-Arabic speaking world. “I will travel to the United States tomorrow… I will speak at conferences and meet with members of the media to send my message that Islam is a religion of tolerance.”
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Daesh claims it smuggled a bomb onto Metrojet Flight 9268 in a Schweppes soda can, according to the latest issue of their magazine ‘Dabiq’ released yesterday. “And so after having discovered a way to compromise the security at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport and resolving to bring down a plane belonging to a nation in the American-led Western coalition against the Islamic State, the target was changed to a Russian plane. A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane,” the terrorist propaganda rag declares. The magazine featured a photograph of what it alleges is the IED used to bring down the plane, along with photographs of Russian passports allegedly belonging to passengers who died in the crash. The images are available here (pdf) in Dabiq hosted by Aaron Y. Zelin’s Jihadology, and an image of the alleged IED is also available here via The Independent.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone regarding strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism, according to a statement from Ittihadiya on Wednesday. The two leaders “reiterated the steadfast and solid relations between Egypt and Russia at all levels and in all areas,” the statement read. With regard to the crash, the readout simply stated that El Sisi “highlighted the Egyptian authorities’ cooperation with the relevant Russian authorities throughout all stages of the investigation to uncover the circumstances and details surrounding the crash.” However, the statement from the Kremlin regarding the phone call reads: “The two presidents agreed that the Russian and Egyptian security and intelligence services would work closely together on the effort to track down the criminals responsible for the terrorist attack that caused the crash of the Russian plane.”
Strengthening international cooperation as a component of the war against terror was a focal point of Wednesday’s meeting of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi presided over the SCAF meeting, which reviewed domestic security developments, particularly in the Sinai, in addition to exploring ways to enhance security along Egypt’s western borders, according to a statement from Ittihadiya.
Borg El Arab factories are losing c. EGP 300 mn a day due to shutdowns, says Faragalla Chairman Farag Amer, as quoted by Al Shorouk. The government is still “ignoring the crisis,” said Mohsen Bateesha, the head of the industrial area’s investor association, as water continues to have a salt concentration of over 1,200 ppm (technically “slightly saline“) rendering it unusable for food manufacturing process that usually require a concentration of under 400 ppm. Factories that are bound by contractual obligations have resorted to buying water on the open market at EGP 3,000 per tank — an unsustainable option, Bateesha says. Amer, an MP-elect, said he submitted a number of complaints to the Trade and Industry Minister, but claims to have received no response.
Qalaa’s Misr Glass Manufacturing has reportedly broken-off sale talks with Middle East Glass Manufacturing. MGM had inked an agreement in principle earlier this year to sell itself to Middle East Glass as part of Qalaa’s ongoing divestment program. Al Borsa now reports MGM has pulled out of the transaction after Middle East Glass cut its offer price to EGP 730 mn for about 90% of the company’s share, having earlier offered EGP 850 mn for 100%. The newspaper claims MGM is retaining EGP 23 mn in breakup fees.
Financial services, franchises, and livestock and animal production will not be subject to the value-added tax (VAT), said Tax Authority head Abdel Moneim Mattar at a forum hosted by the authority and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt on Wednesday. Asked by a representative of Allianz-Egypt to specify whether the insurance sector would be exempt, Mattar responded that the entire financial services industry was exempt, Al Mal reports. His response to questions on the construction and housing sector was that all sectors not specifically exempted would be included in the VAT, not so vaguely hinting that the sector was subject to the tax. Responding to calls that tourism companies should be considered as exports, and hence exempt, Mattar said it “is worth consideration”, according to AMAY. Mattar also explained that the rate for the VAT has yet to be determined, and reiterated that the timing of its implementation was a “political matter”. (You can catch an audio recording of his speech here in Arabic, running time: 13:15)
…Mattar will meet with the Federation of Egyptian Banks on Monday to resolve an impasse between the Tax Authority and banks over the stamp tax, Youm7 reports. Banks have been forced to pay the stamp tax on assets seized from defaulters.
80% of Vodafone’s network ready to provide 4G LTE services: Vodafone Egypt has prepared 80% of its network to provide super-high-speed 4G LTE data services, CEO Ahmed Essam said. LTE service is expected to be launched next year, the CIT Ministry said, but Vodafone Egypt said it requires more developed infrastructure. On an unrelated issue, Essam said demand for roaming service has decreased by 25% as incoming tourism has cratered, Al Mal reports.
A number of supermarket chains have agreed to abide by Supply Minister Khaled Hanafy’s initiative to reduce the prices of select items — and hold their prices for 1-6 months. Hanafy said chains including Carrefour, Kheir Zaman, Seoudi, and Spinneys are participating, and Al Ahram has a list of the reduced prices.
The Ismail cabinet held its weekly meeting on Tuesday in Sharm El Sheikh, but some details of the meeting weren’t released to the press until Wednesday. As we noted yesterday the meeting focused on the tourism industry and issued a number of decision to support it. Otherwise, the most notable outcome was approval of feed-in tariffs for RDF (refuse-derived fuel) and electricity generated from solid waste at a preliminary price of EGP 0.92 per kilowatt hour. On a related note, the government will issue grants to governorates to help subsidize recycling efforts that feed into the program. Cabinet has also committed to facilitating land concessions for companies seeking to develop waste-to-energy power plants. The Environment Ministry has already received four offers from recycling companies interested in participating, Al Borsa reports. Other decisions taken include:
- Amending the Antiquities Protection Law to allow a committee made up of the Antiquities, Housing, and Endowments Ministries to issue tenders for maintenance of historical sites;
- Appointing the Finance Ministry as the guarantor for an EGP 3 bn loan to the Social Housing Fund to finance low-income housing;
- Contracting the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to build 1,210 km of 500 KV transmission lines (Read in Arabic);
- Approving land sales to Egyptians living abroad (the Beit El Watan program) in Badr city, New Aswan, 6 October, New Cairo, New Assiut, New Damietta, and New Qena. Egyptians abroad must pay for these via wire transfers in USD (Read in Arabic).
The Central Bank of Egypt has directed banks to prioritize FX reserves for smaller-scale importers, granting them a maximum of USD 100K per importer, in a decision reportedly backed by governor-designate Tarek Amer. Banks have already begun issuing these since the beginning of this week, according to banking sector sources speaking to Al Borsa last night. The CBE will look into how to accommodate large scale importers once the smaller players have had their turn.
The CBE announced the composition of its new board of directors: As per a presidential decree on Wednesday, Governor-designate Tarek Amer will have two deputies and chair a board composed of six members. Amer’s deputy governors will be Gamal Negm and Lobna Helal. Helal had left the CBE’s board three years ago following the appointment of Hisham Ramez as governor. In addition to Amer, the board will include Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority Chairman Sherif Samy as well as five external members, Al Masry Al Youm reported.
Eni is leading the world in oil and gas exploration using one of the world’s fastest supercomputers and it is ready to cash in now, Bloomberg says. Since 2005, Eni discovered the equivalent of 18 bn bbl of oil, more than double the tally of Statoil, the second best performer. Zohr’s potential future: Cashing in on its discoveries, Eni usually sells a portion of its discoveries, opting retain 30-50% and maintain its right as the operator. “That way we profit from monetization of the exploration success, we reduce our capital expenditure, and we get capital to inject in the developing of the assets,” CEO Claudio Descalzi says. Eni still retains 100% of Zohr, the biggest find ever in the Mediterranean Sea.
The MENA region saw a 13% y-o-y drop in the number of M&A deals in FY2015 YTD to 91 with transaction value also dropping by 37% y-o-y to a total of USD 5.4 bn, EY’s latest bi-annual MENA Capital Confidence Barometer (CCB) noted. The report “infers quiet confidence in the regional and global economic outlook, despite the continued pressure on oil price through 2015. Optimism about economy prospects in MENA appears to have firmed since April 2015. The CCB survey finds that 18% of MENA respondents believe that the regional economy is on a strong recovery path, up from the 6% who believed so in April 2015. There is an underlying sense that executives believe that the hydrocarbon-dependent economies have been able to weather the storm.” Egypt, in particular, gets a shout out after Kellogg’s USD 200 mn spending spree left it buying Bisco Misr and Mass Food Group. The acquisitions underline “a greater readiness among foreign companies to conceive of inorganic growth as the best approach in getting a foothold in an important growth market with favorable demographics,” the report says noting that 75% of Egyptian companies are expecting an increase of their deal pipeline. Also notable: Nearly twice as many respondents as in April see Egypt’s economy “modestly improving.” You can find the landing page of the report here, or download the MENA CCB in full (PDF).
Dubai’s banks are preparing for a round of “skips,” where number of small and medium-sized business owners “quietly leave the country to avoid punishment for defaulting on loans,” Bloomberg reports. “While so far limited in scope — Emirates NBD says it’s seeing the phenomenon in areas such as commodities financing — the ‘skips’ recall the 2009 financial crisis when thousands of expatriates fled the country to avoid a local legal system which lacks a bankruptcy law and criminalizes bounced checks.’ The situation could get worse before it improves: the central bank’s credit sentiment survey showed that liquidity conditions are expected to tighten.
Meanwhile, across the pond: The U.S. Federal Reserve feels that conditions for an increase in short-term interest rates “could well be met” by the time it next meets on 16 December, according to minutes of its 27-28 October meeting released yesterday. The Financial Times has the best coverage this morning (paywall), with other coverage from CNBC, Reuters and WSJ (paywall on the latter).
As noted by the New York Times: “French police raided an apartment early Wednesday in the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis, a few miles from the suicide bomb attacks at the stadium, in a search for the man suspected of being the chief planner of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least two people died in the raid, including a woman who detonated an explosive vest. Eight others were arrested.” As of Thursday morning, the two surviving terrorists of the Paris attacks are still at large: the suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and Salah Abdeslam.
Turkey football fans boo moment of silence for victims of Paris attacks: Turkish football fans booed during the moment of silence observed for the victims of the Paris attacks in Turkey on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The match was a friendly between Turkey and Greece, with prime ministers of both countries in attendance. Some of the fans also chanted “Allahu Akbar,” Turkish daily Zaman reports. In October, during a match between Turkey and Iceland in the Turkish city of Konya, Turkish football fans also booed during the minute of silence for the largely Kurdish victims of Turkey’s worst terror incident in its modern history — the Ankara bombing, the Washington Post reported.
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Charles Tiefer argues in Forbes: ‘Egypt Should Get Over Its Irrational Denial That An ISIS Bomb Blew Up The Russian Airliner.’ “Egypt, irrationally, has remained in denial on this [that a bomb caused the crash of Flight 9268] … In other words, to the Egyptians, the problem is not that ISIS blew up the plane in a devastating act of terrorism … Egypt’s paranoid stance, on just how the plane was downed, is amazing … But at some point, Egypt has to get real. Its position will empower its blame-ducking officials to be non-transparent about investigating the attack.” (Read)
Fox News ties the Egyptian government’s handling of the crash investigation to its management of the incident in the Western Desert involving the accidental killing of eight Mexican tourists. “The government’s bungled handling of that episode, initially blaming the incident on the tourists and the Egyptian company escorting them, was widely criticized. When the company claimed it had a permit for the trip, Cairo had to express regret for assaulting the tourists whom it had mistaken for terrorists.” (Read, embedded video on autoplay)
Jenny Gross for The Wall Street Journal quotes former US Assistant Secretary of Defense as saying the plane crash and the Egyptian investigation “bring to the surface the challenge we’ve had with Egypt’s handling of its security situation.” (Read, paywall)
The Atlantic Council’s EgyptSource blog offers a primer on Egyptian monetary policy in “What’s Wrong with the Egyptian Pound?“
David Graeber of the Guardian asks: ‘Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?’ “In the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, we can expect western heads of state to do what they always do in such circumstances: declare total and unremitting war on those who brought it about. They don’t actually mean it. They’ve had the means to uproot and destroy Islamic State within their hands for over a year now. They’ve simply refused to make use of it. In fact, as the world watched leaders making statements of implacable resolve at the G20 summit in Antalaya [sic], these same leaders are hobnobbing with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a man whose tacit political, economic, and even military support contributed to Isis’s ability to perpetrate the atrocities in Paris, not to mention an endless stream of atrocities inside the Middle East.” (Read)
The man who changed the game forever: Jonah Lomu, rugby’s first and biggest ever global superstar, passed away yesterday at the age of 40. The New Zealander scored 37 tries in 63 matches for the All Blacks between 1994 and 2002. He was diagnosed with a rare and serious kidney condition by 1996 that required him to get a transplant in 2004, but the organ stopped functioning in 2011, the BBC says. Describing Lomu, BBC Radio 5 live’s rugby union reporter Chris Jones said: “No-one transcended the sport of rugby union quite like Jonah Lomu. Bursting onto the scene of the 1995 World Cup, Lomu was a force of nature, the player of the tournament by some distance. His blend of pace, power and size never before seen.” You can watch Jonah Lomu’s career highlights here (running time 07:21).
DIPLOMACY + FOREIGN TRADE
UK national security advisor’s meeting with FM Shoukry cancelled: A meeting that had been scheduled to take place yesterday between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and retired British diplomat and national security advisor Sir John Jenkins on Wednesday was cancelled, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahram Online reported. Neither side gave a reason for the cancellation, and no information is available on when it might be rescheduled.
Apprehension remains regarding Ethiopian Renaissance Dam -PM Ismail: During Tuesday’s press conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail reiterated Egypt’s main concerns regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD): That the dam will not adversely affect Egypt’s historical share of the Nile’s water, and that the dam’s construction is not used “for any political purpose other than generating electricity,” according to Ahram Online. Minister of Irrigation Hossam Moghazi said that the next meeting of the tripartite committee, the tenth of its kind, is set to take place next week in Khartoum, aims to settle remaining disputes. We’re not holding our breath.
EGPC asking Aramco to extend energy supply agreement
EGPC has asked Saudi Arabia’s Aramco to extend its contract supplying Egypt with petroleum product, a source told Al Shorouk. EGPC is looking either to renew the current contract or enter into a new one, the source added. Aramco supplied Egypt with petroleum products in a USD 1.4 bn deal for three months from September, which was extended to a fourth month following the oil price drop, as we reported last month.
BASIC MATERIALS + COMMODITIES
Mansour Trading studies establishing EGP 200 mn logistics zone
The Mansour Company for Trading and Distribution is studying partnering with the Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) to build an EGP 200 mn logistics zone in Tanta over an area of 20k sqm, according to Tamer Gouda, Director of Administration at Mansour. The company is now waiting for the allocation of land as part of an ongoing process to allocate plots to businesses in Upper Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
** Further reading in Basic Materials + Commodities: Eric Knecht writes for Reuters on Egypt’s recent decision to cut wheat subsidies for farmers, and the potential for a number of undesirable unintended consequences. Chief among these is the potential that a great number of farmers will choose to stop growing wheat for the next season, as “it’s too late for farmers to change the crop for the coming year’s harvest, they are already talking about other crops for next season,” Knecht notes. The decline in output could drive up global prices, resulting in an even higher import bill, according to former advisor to the ministry of supplies Nader Nour El Din. (Read Egypt’s new wheat subsidy could cut future wheat harvests)
47x subscription rate in second phase of Cairo Oil & Soap capital increase
Cairo Oil & Soap Company announced a 47x subscription rate in the second phase of its EGP 120 mn capital increase, which would see the company’s capital jump to EGP 200 mn. The first phase was 99.4% covered. Cairo Oil & Soap was privatized in 2001, and was acquired by Consukorra in 2005. (Read in Arabic)
HEALTH + EDUCATION
EMC to provide training on IT services in Egyptian universities
EMC signed a cooperation agreement with the Supreme Council of Universities to bring “several Egyptian universities and colleges to the EMC Academic Alliance Program so as to educate students in IT services and key considerations in the transfer of applications and business technologies to the cloud, and to conduct an in-depth exploration of the benefits of virtualization technology.” EMC will provide training courses in 50 Egyptian universities by December 2015. This should enable “employment in firms which need skilled workers in virtualization and cloud computing.” (Read)
REAL ESTATE + HOUSING
Rooya Holding to build an EGP 350 mn residential project in Sixth of October
Real estate developer Rooya Group is building an EGP 350 mn housing project in Sixth of October, Chairman Hisham Shokry said. The project, called Hadaba, is now finishing licensing procedures. Marketing for Hadaba is expected to begin early next year, with first deliveries expected in 2019. The project’s land came out of Rooya’s unused assets portfolio. As we had previously reported, Pioneers Holding acquired 60% of Rooya in March. (Read in Arabic)
Al Shams to develop a EGP 1 bn services complex
Real estate developer Al Shams for Housing and Development plans to begin development of a EGP 1 bn services complex in 6 October City in 2016, said its Chairman Mahmoud Maghawy. Al Shams—which is currently drawing up plans for the 30 feddan development—holds a 12% stake in the project, as it has partnered with the companies planning on establishing outlets in the complex. These include a mall, a sporting club, educational and recreational centers, and a medical center. The company also obtained a 44 feddan land adjacent to its EGP 2 bn Gardenia Al Shams development to build the fifth phase of the project which is slated to cost EGP 400 mn. (Read in Arabic)
**Further Reading in Real Estate + Housing: Egyptian builders are using discarded materials and plastic objects to create an eco-friendly home in a Cairo suburb, according to a Reuters Videos report. One property that is already complete is a two bedroom house, built using 3,000 plastic bottles and driftwood, and cement to reinforce the structure (watching time 01:28).
‘Tourism in Sharm is over, 12 resorts shut down,’ Jaz’s GM says
Tourism in Sharm El Sheikh is “over,” Alaa Akel, the General Manager of Travco’s Jaz Hotels, told Al Mal. Jaz already shut down 12 resorts of the 14 it operates in the Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. The one ray of sunshine: Demand in Marsa Alam and Hurghada remains buoyant as British and German tourists have not left the destination. Akl hopes the crisis does not extend to the Christmas Holiday season. (Read in Arabic)
60% drop in foreign tourists visiting archaeological sites last week
Foreign tourists visiting archaeological sites have decreased by 60% through out last week, said Adel Aziz, head of Foreign Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry’s revenues will drop by no less than 50% as a result, he added. Visitors to the Egyptian Museum have gone down from 5,000 a day to barely 2,000 a day in the last week, he added. (Read in Arabic)
Evacuation of British tourists from Sharm El Sheikh completed
The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated their travel advice to Egypt on Wednesday, reporting that “special security measures to allow travellers in Sharm el Sheikh to return to the UK by air safely ended on Tuesday 17 November; UK airlines are no longer operating flights from Sharm el Sheikh to the UK.” The Guardian had previously reported that the total number of British tourists set to be evacuated was 20K, while Lonely Planet put the figure at 16,656 tourists, all of whom the travel publication says have now been evacuated.
Maria Sharapova to visit Sharm to promote tourism -Shobeir
Tennis star Maria Sharapova will visit Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday as a show of support for the resort town’s tourism industry, announced TV presenter and sports figure Ahmed Shobeir. It is unconfirmed whether this is part of the Tourism Ministry’s USD 5 mn plan to promote tourism, in part, through the use of international celebrities. Shobeir added that she should be treated like a queen, according to Russian media outlet Sputnik Arabic. Shobeir is known for embellishment and exaggeration, so we take this news with a grain of salt as there has been no confirmation from the tennis champion. (Read in Arabic)
TELECOMS + ICT
GTH sells stake at Zimbabwean subsidiary
Global Telecom Holding (GTH) announced that it sold its stake in its Zimbabwean subsidiary Telecel International Limited to ZARNet for USD 40 mn. “Telecel International owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. Transfer of ownership to ZARNet will occur after customary conditions are satisfied. ZARNet is wholly owned by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services,” the press release noted. (Read)
Raya completes new call center in Hurghada
IT and communications firm Raya has completed a 800-person call center in Hurghada that will create 2,000 new jobs, according to company chairman Medhat Khalil. The official inauguration will be held this month. Raya recently launched Raya East Africa in Tanzania to meet rising tech solution demands in the East African market. (Read in Arabic)
Cisco eying business opportunities in Egypt
Cisco Egypt are studying new business opportunities in 2016, including the Ministry of Electricity’s tender to install 3 mn smart meters in the first phase of a program to put in place 30 mn of the devices, according to General Manager Ayman El Gohary. Cisco expects its head count to rise by 7% in 2016. (Read in Arabic)
AUTOMOTIVE + TRANSPORTATION
Cairo Metro speeds up air-conditioned train development to raise prices
The tenth air-conditioned train for the Metro Line 1 will be operational in December, said the spokesperson for the Cairo Metro. The Egyptian Company for Metro Management & Operations is racing to complete 20 air-conditioned trains, as a precondition to raising Metro prices. As we noted on Monday, raising the prices on the metro is becoming an imperative, as the Metro’s monthly losses amount to nearly EGP 20.5 mn due to solely to the heavily subsidized ticket fare, Youm7 reports. However, Transportation Minister Saad El Geyoushi had stated that the ministry will not increase ticket prices unless people are satisfied, hence the air-conditioned trains. (Read in Arabic)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
Court orders Alexandria’s wastewater drainage company to pay EGP 94.4 to NIB
The Economic Court ordered the Alexandria Sanitary Drainage Company to pay the National Investment Bank (NIB) EGP 94.4 mn, Al Borsa reported. NIB had filed the court case claiming EGP 63.9 mn plus interest after the company refused to repay amounts borrowed. We reported yesterday that the Finance Ministry said the company had requested a sum of money in order to meet some financial obligations.
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Egypt will receive a USD 31.5 mn grant from China as part of an economic cooperation agreement inked by International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr and China’s deputy commerce minister, according to Nasr. The two parties also signed agreements for the development of a USD 22.9 mn satellite assembly center in Egypt, and a feasibility study on the third phase of a distance education program between the two countries, AMAY reports. These agreements come on the back of a number of cooperation projects between China and Egypt in developing the Gulf of Suez region, and knowledge sharing in fishery developments, waste-derived energy, and desertification reduction, said Nasr.
An investment conference for the Suez Canal Development Axis will be held in February, said the head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish. The conference will showcase on the projects available to investors in the Suez Canal Development Axis, which will primarily consist of textiles, auto assembly, and electronics factories, according to AMAY. 36 investors from the EU and East Asia have received approvals for their projects in the Axis, said Mamish in an interview with Al Sharq Al Awsat at a German-Arab Chamber Of Commerce forum on Wednesday. Mamish praised government efforts to encourage investment in the area such as passing the Special Economic Zones Law, and ensuring the availability of energy, labor, and land—while skirting the issue of FX reserves.
Israel warns against trimming MFO peacekeepers in Sinai, argues it would embolden terrorists: Egypt, Israel and the United States began talks on Wednesday in Rome to review the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai. Six MFO peacekeepers were wounded by a roadside bomb in September, a bomb which unnamed MFO staff say they believe was intended for Egyptian troops. In response to reports that the 12 contributing member states of the force are reviewing their continued participation, an unnamed Israeli military officer told Reuters, with regards to militants in the Sinai: “They are not interested in attacking the MFO. If they were interested, they could be killing them every day … [a drawdown of MFO forces] would reward terrorism. The fact that they would look and see that the ‘Crusaders’ there are afraid — this would be powerful for the terrorists.” An unnamed Egyptian diplomat said that Egypt’s position was against any reduction in MFO forces. The United States sent an additional 75 troops in September to bolster the MFO, Reuters reported.
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Egypt is on the verge of economic take-off, El Sisi tells OBG: Al Masry Al Youm is running a translation of the President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s interview with the Oxford Business Group from their 2014 Egypt report. “Egypt’s ultimate objective is to establish the foundations of a modern, civil, democratic state built on effective institutions and the rule of law,” El Sisi told OBG in the interview. Explaining the transitional process, El Sisi says “The conclusion of the elections will also usher in a cabinet reshuffle, as any new cabinet would have to be approved by the Council of Representatives.” The country is on the verge of “economic take-off,” El Sisi said, and the government will “accelerate this process through immediate economic stimulus, infrastructure spending and mega-projects.”
The China Jushi Company said it will boost its Egypt unit’s registered capital by USD 95 mn. It will also increase the capital of two Chinese units’ registered capital by USD 263.18 mn, according to a brief statement carried by Reuters. According to its website, Jushi Group is “the world’s largest fiberglass manufacturer” and has attained the leadership position in the global fiberglass industry in terms of output, technology, market and profit. The company has a direct manufacturing presence in Egypt.
This year’s G20 Summit produced nothing but comedy: RT published a video taken from the sidelines of the G20 Summit, which shows what the Russian state-owned channel suggests is a man attempting to eavesdrop on a conversation between Russian president Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama, set to the theme from Pink Panther. The handbag that the man in question is carrying, along with his facial expressions, can’t help but remind us of Tony Hale’s body man character on Veep. (Watch, running time: 1:46)
QUICK FACT: When a company issues bonus shares, it converts its retained earnings or reserves into paid-in capital. Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development, which is currently launching an advertising campaign for its Taj City project in New Cairo, is in the process of re-investing EGP 125 mn in retained earnings by adding them to paid-in capital and issuing 125 mn shares to existing shareholders. In their case, every eligible shareholder will receive one extra share without charge for every two shares held.
USD CBE auction (Wednesday, 18 November): 7.7301 (unchanged since Wednesday, 11 November)
USD parallel market (Wednesday, 18 November): 8.57 (+0.05 since Monday, 16 November, Reuters)
EGX30 (Wednesday): 6,413.9 (0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 432.8 mn (1% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -28.14%
THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: After a sharp fall at the opening bell, the EGX30 rebounded to close the session marginally in the green. The real estate sector was among the best performing yesterday, with Madinet Nasr Housing, Heliopolis Housing and Palm Hills posting sharp gains. With the total market turning over EGP 432.8m, foreign investors were the sole net sellers of the day. Regionally, sentiment in GCC markets was supported by the rebound in oil prices on Wednesday, helping Saudi’s Tadawul close the day up 0.5%.
Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -44.8 mn
Regional: Net Long | EGP +10.9 mn
Local: Net Long | EGP +33.9 mn
Retail: 62.5% of total trades | 63.3% of buyers | 61.7% of sellers
Institutions: 37.5% of total trades | 36.7% of buyers | 38.3% of sellers
Foreign: 24.9% of total | 19.7% of buyers | 30.1% of sellers
Regional: 5.7% of total | 6.9% of buyers | 4.4% of sellers
Domestic: 69.4% of total | 73.4% of buyers | 65.5% of sellers
WTI: USD 40.75 (+0.20%)
Brent: USD 44.28 (+1.63%)
Gold: USD 1,069.50 / troy ounce (+0.07%)
TASI: 6,953.5 (+0.5%)
ADX: 4,196.9 (flat)
DFM: 3,180.8 (-0.3%)
KSE Weighted Index: 387.9 (-0.5%)
QE: 10,827.7 (+0.2%)
MSM: 5,797.7 (-0.3%)