Five months after the outbreak of the financial crisis, stock markets worldwide are still struggling through waves of uncertainty and fear that the worst may in fact yet to come. The local market is no exception, with short intervals of recovery. Among these were the past couple of days of the last trading week, which were quickly followed by new downward moves. Government announcements of new policies to help the economy and to help the repercussions of the crisis subside seem to be sending messages that the situation is in reality worse than the government said it was.
The CASE30 index ended Monday's transactions at 3,587 points, 22.14 per cent lower than its level at the beginning of the year. Selling pressure by locals was the main driver behind the slump.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry decided to lower diesel prices for industrial facilities by 50 per cent. Further it requested from the Ministries of Petroleum and Electricity the removal of paper and plastic industries from the list of energy-intensive industries, which are subject to higher energy prices. The demands are based on the fact that the consumption of energy in those companies is lower than other energy intensive industries such as glass, iron and paints.
On a darker note, Egypt's foreign reserves recorded a new decrease of $300 million in December 2008, bringing the decline in foreign reserves since the beginning of the crisis of around 3.4 percent, effectively $34.1 billion down from $35.31 billion in October 2008. The decrease is believed to be the natural result of transactions carried out by foreign investors to liquidate their positions in the stock exchange and treasury bills.
THE EGYPTIAN COMPANY FOR MOBILE SERVICES (MOBINIL): The company posted a 21 per cent increase in its sales revenues to reach LE10 billion through fiscal year 2008 with net profits coming at LE1.9 billion, slightly higher than the LE1.8 it made in 2007. The company's average return per user came at LE46 at the end of December 2008.
ORASCOM TELECOM HOLDING (OTH): The company experienced one of its hardest weeks in recent times after it announced that it did not buy any of the 23.6 million shares that it originally intended to purchase during the period from 2 November 2008 to 30 January 2009.
EASTERN TOBACCO: Egypt's sole cigarette producer released its results for the fiscal year 2008/2009, ending in December showing a 0.2 per cent decline in revenues to reach LE188.7 million versus LE189 million in the same period of the previous year. Net profit, however, increased by 9.4 per cent to reach LE404.6 million. The increase came on the back of two price increases in cigarettes.
BENI SWEIF CEMENT (BSC): The local cement producer, owned by Titan, has acquired a final approval from the Industrial Development Authority to go on with establishing its new production line, with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes at a total investment cost of LE1.077 billion. The company in October 2007 acquired a licence to expand its production capacity in the government-held auction, at a total fee of LE135 million. Legal problems surfaced, however, and expansion plans were frozen. The approval was granted after reaching an agreement entitling BSC to deposit a downpayment in a form of a letter of guarantee till a final court decision is reached.
ALEXANDRIA SPINNING AND WEAVING (SPINALEX): The company's board of directors approved the acquisition of the Egyptian Company for Spinning and Weaving, pending the approval of shareholders in the extraordinary general assembly meeting. Moreover, the board gave the go-ahead to the increase of the company's paid-in capital by a maximum of LE250 million from LE596.5 million, currently, at a price of LE2.03 per share.
NAEEM INVESTMENT HOLDING: The company did not complete its buyback programme for 9.84 million shares due to stock fall below target prices. The company's share price declined to $0.34 last week. The repurchase period, which ran from 28 December 2008 through 27 January 2009, the investment bank announced completing the purchase of around 4.823.507 shares, representing 49 per cent of its shares. Naeem is capitalised at $320 million, divided into 320 million shares at $1 par value each.
Compiled by Sherine Abdel-Razek