Egypt Independent: Economy-Main news en Egyptian Exchange says to approve 10 listings by end-year <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The Egyptian Exchange expects to have approved the listings of 10 companies by the end of this year as confidence in the local economy grows, the exchange&#39;s chairman Mohamed Omran said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The stock market was hit hard by the political and economic instability which followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, but many investors now feel stability is returning. The main stock index .EGX30 and trading volumes have both rebounded above the levels seen in 2010.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Arabian Cement Co (ARCC.CA) listed in Cairo in May this year after raising $110 million in its initial public offer, the first major one on the bourse for about three years.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Omran, in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit, said the exchange had approved the listing of four companies so far this year and expected that number to rise to ten by the end of 2014.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Growing activity in the stock market &quot;is a very positive indicator that the Egyptian economy has started to recover,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Companies are able to acquire, expand and invest to a greater extent in order to achieve profitability and growth. This will reflect on per-share earnings and in turn on prices in the market. The exchange and the economy can never be separated.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He added: &quot;We have an economy that hungers for investments. The major economic projects that Egypt is currently working on will lift the dust off its economy.&rdquo;</div><div><br /><strong>Regulatory Reforms</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-size: 14px;">Stock prices have tumbled in the past two weeks as global markets have been hit by concern about economic growth; the Egyptian index is down about 13 percent from last month&#39;s six-year peak.</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Omran said the pull-back was not related to fundamental conditions in Egypt. &ldquo;The nature of global markets is to rise and fall. These are normal circumstances that do not worry me, especially as the correction occurred within the framework of global markets in general and not the Egyptian market only.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;What worries me is any diminishing of liquidity and the market&rsquo;s inability to fund companies&rsquo; capital increases.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>To make it easier for companies to raise capital, Omran said the exchange would reassess listing rules with a view toward implementing changes by the end of this year.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Listing rules will not be totally rewritten, but there are five sections &quot;that practical application has shown need to be changed&rdquo;, he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One such section covers the freezing of 65 percent of key shareholders&rsquo; stakes during public offers; that may be reduced to 51 percent, Omran said. While 10 percent of major shareholders&rsquo; stakes are currently counted as part of free floats, that percentage may be reduced.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Another article stipulates a company must have 300 shareholders at the time of listing; that may be adjusted as some companies have found it difficult to comply. Also, companies may be allowed to list without having completed certain administrative requirements such as annual general meetings, as long as they commit to completing them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In April, the exchange granted Beltone Financial (BTFH.CA) the country&#39;s first license for exchange traded funds (ETF), a step towards deepening trade in the stock market.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Omran said he had expected ETF certificates to be offered earlier this year but the project was still on track.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Now I can confirm that this will be completed before the end of the year. There are some administrative procedures. Beltone has not yet finalised its offering circular.&rdquo;</div> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:29:00 +0000 Reuters 2439060 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/06/05/484151/201460_0.jpg Egypt planning minister calls for legal review, 'economic revolution' <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt needs an &quot;economic revolution&quot; to recover from damage caused by political instability as it seeks to attract billions of dollars in foreign investment and repair its state finances, planning minister Ashraf al-Arabi said.</p><p>The Arab world&#39;s most populous nation has struggled since a popular uprising toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Last year, then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule.</p><p>The ensuing security crackdown on the Brotherhood, pro-Mursi street protests and attacks by Islamist militants based in the Sinai Peninsula have hammered tourism, a pillar of the economy&nbsp;and kept most foreign investors away.</p><p>To compensate for those losses and eventually compete globally, Egypt&nbsp;must overhaul an economy&nbsp;which has been dominated by the state for decades and show investors it is committed to safeguarding their money, Arabi said.</p><p>&quot;I totally agree that in Egypt we need to have an economic revolution, and a socio-economic revolution, an administrative revolution just to cope with the political revolution that we achieved in June last year,&quot; he told Reuters in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Investment Law&nbsp;</span></strong></p><p>&quot;The laws need to be revisited &ndash; the investment laws, the business laws.&nbsp;It is extremely important to understand that global competitiveness is a very challenging environment nowadays everywhere in the world.&nbsp;If we look at competitiveness indicators Egypt unfortunately is moving down in the rankings.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Arabi said a new investment law, currently in draft form, would tackle issues including land use, the energy sector and infrastructure. &quot;I believe we will have a very advanced law that tackles all the problems we are facing nowadays in Egypt.&quot;</p><p>Authorities are working hard to make it easier for the private sector to operate in Egypt, Arabi said; a stifling bureaucracy and legal disputes have discouraged investment. In April, the cabinet approved a law preventing third parties from challenging contracts between the government and investors.</p><p>Before Mubarak&#39;s exit, new foreign direct investment in Egypt was about $8 billion a year. It subsequently tumbled to some $3 billion, before recovering to $6 billion in the last fiscal year, which ended in June.</p><p>The economic growth rate over the last three years was around 2 percent.</p><p>&quot;It is very important to have a growth rate at least three times the growth rate of the population.&nbsp;Nowadays we have a population growth rate in Egypt of more than 2.5 percent.&quot;</p><p>Egypt aims for economic growth of at least 4 percent in the coming year and hopes to boost this gradually to at least 7 percent on average for the next decade, said Arabi.</p><p>&quot;To do so we need at least, for the coming fiscal year, 500 billion Egyptian pounds ($70 billion) total investments,&quot; he said in his office at the sprawling planning ministry in Cairo.</p><p>Arabi and other ministers appear to be taking a more realistic view of the economy than past officials, and so is Sisi, who was elected president this year and has since taken the politically bold step of raising fuel prices.</p><p>Previous governments tended to paint a rosy picture of Egypt&#39;s circumstances; an overwhelming population of 85 million&nbsp;lives on a small area of land amid high unemployment, widespread poverty, corruption and red tape.&nbsp;</p><p>Gulf Arab allies&nbsp;<a data-ls-seen="1" href="">Saudi Arabia</a>&nbsp;and the United Arab Emirates, which fiercely oppose the Muslim Brotherhood, showered Egypt with billions of dollars in aid after Sisi ousted the group. Arabi said it was now time to push for Gulf investments in Egypt, not more aid or donated petroleum products.</p><p><strong>Military&#39;s Role&nbsp;</strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">If foreign investment does increase, one question asked by companies is likely to be: who will handle the cash?</span></p><p>Asked if it was important to assure investors that ventures would not be dominated by Egypt&#39;s powerful military, Arabi said:</p><p>&quot;I believe this is the wrong message that is repeatedly delivered. As I mentioned many times, the scope and the size of the investments that Egypt needs is extremely huge.&quot;</p><p>He added, &quot;Again, it&rsquo;s much above the capability of the military and the private sector and the public sector and even the foreign investors.&nbsp;That is why we need them all together.&quot;</p><p>Arabi said Egypt was scrambling to sign deals with companies before holding an economic summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh next February to attract investment.</p><p>&quot;Energy - I believe this is the top priority for us, for the country. Housing. Infrastructure. Agriculture. Manufacturing. Of course tourism,&quot; said Arabi, adding that a committee including&nbsp;<a data-ls-seen="1" href="">Saudi Arabia</a>&nbsp;and the UAE was reviewing investment opportunities.</p><p>He said Egypt was focused on pushing through the new investment law before the conference, so that the event would effectively be a signing ceremony for investment deals. &nbsp;</p><p>Some economists think a successful conference might enable the government to push through reforms needed to reach agreement on a loan package with the International Monetary Fund. Since 2011, the country has considered such a loan and even held talks with the IMF, but political sensitivities have blocked a deal.</p><p>Arabi, who took part in past negotiations with the IMF, expressed serious doubt that Egypt&#39;s current government at least would pursue that path. Parliamentary elections are expected sometime in coming months.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s better to leave this to the coming government. What is really more important is to start and to accelerate the reform plan, the economic reform plan that we started,&quot; Arabi said.</p><p>&quot;I believe what this&nbsp;government has already done is much more than what the IMF requested from us before. It is very important to have a national and homegrown economic reform program and to implement this reform program.&quot;</p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:59:00 +0000 Reuters 2439055 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/03/12/156431/ashraf_al-araby.jpg Minister: Agreement on free trade between Egypt and EEC to be discussed in Astana <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Egypt&rsquo;s Minister of Trade and Industry Fakhry Abdel Nour on Monday announced the possibility of signing an agreement on free trade between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;During the meeting the parties discussed the development of bilateral cooperation in trade and economic sphere,&quot; Abdel Nour said in a statement. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Egypt seeks to open new horizons for export like the Eurasian Customs Union countries, which is a promising market and has many opportunities.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Eurasian Customs Union includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.</div> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:15:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2439039 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/20/484151/sisi_and_putin.jpg EGX30 ends Monday on green, up 0.13% gaining LE1.1 billion <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><span style="line-height: 1.4;">The Egyptian stock exchange rebounded backed by buying activities that occurred in Monday&rsquo;s session.</span></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The benchmark index EGX30 rose a sight 0.13&nbsp;percent to record 8,534.89 points on a total turnover of LE649 million, stock market data showed. The broad index EGX70 jumped 1.32 percent to 575.95 points.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Moody&#39;s changes earlier on Monday Egypt&#39;s outlook to stable from negative, on political stability, improved growth but kept the rating at Caa1 saying government finances are still too weak.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egyptian retail investors closed as net buyers recording LE31.54 million while Arab and foreign retail investors were net sellers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On the other hand, local and Arab institutions were net sellers at LE26.79 million and LE14.34 million respectively as opposed to foreign institutions that are net buyers at LE13.37 million.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The market capitalization gained LE1.1 billion to close &nbsp;at LE485,7 billion compared to LE484.6 billion&nbsp;</div> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:58:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2439036 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/06/05/484151/201460_0.jpg