Sunday,18 February, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)
Sunday,18 February, 2018
Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Limiting imports

PRESIDENT Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has urged the new cabinet to adopt measures to reduce the country’s imports bill, a request that backs up the Central Bank’s efforts to preserve the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Egypt’s imports increased by 15 per cent, compared to June 2014, through the month of June to reach LE40.7 billion.

A statement issued by the presidency after a meeting between Al-Sisi and the cabinet earlier this week noted that Egypt imports many unnecessary products that have domestic alternatives at competitive prices and higher quality. It added that imports should be rationalised to reduce the pressure on foreign currency reserves.

The reserves saw a severe decline following the 25 January Revolution, with the accompanying chaos sending investors and tourists away. The reserves fell from $36 billion at the end of 2010 to $18 billion in August this year, the equivalent of three months of imports. The figure would have been even lower had it not been for generous Gulf aid after the toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

The Central Bank tightly manages the exchange rate of the pound, which has been fixed at $7.83 since July. Restrictions on foreign currency bank deposits have reduced the ability of importers to use dollars acquired on the black market in transactions.

Kellogg buys Mass Food

THE KELLOGG Company, the American food industries firm, has acquired Egypt’s largest cereal producer, the Mass Food Group, in a $50 million deal. The American firm will also repay Mass Food’s debts.

“Kellogg had made a bigger offer for the acquisition, but it was reduced since it will repay the debts,” Alaa Al-Bahey, chairman of the Mass Food Group, told Aswat Masriya, describing the amount of the outstanding debts as “small”.

Established in 1996 as a family business, Mass Food produces Temmy’s cornflakes, one of the first cornflake brands to be introduced to the Egyptian market. Al-Bahey said the Al-Bahey family will take part in managing the company, along with Kellogg. The company’s director general will be from the Al-Bahey family, he added.

This is the second acquisition of an Egyptian company by Kellogg this year. Following fierce competition with Abraaj Capital, the American firm bought 85.9 per cent of Bisco Misr.

WhatsApp ‘unbanned’

THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) denied social media rumours on Monday that it plans to ban widely used free voice call applications like Viber and WhatsApp.

Vodafone, Egypt’s largest mobile operator, with regard to the number of subscribers, asked the NTRA in May to block WhatsApp as it negatively affects Vodafone’s revenues. The NTRA turned down the request as the legislation does not allow it to block sites or programmes.

Research conducted last year showed that free social-messaging applications like WhatsApp cost telephone providers around the world $32.5 billion in texting fees in 2013. This figure is projected to reach $54 billion by 2016.

Abraaj partners with Tiba

MARKING its second investment in the Egyptian education sector, the Abraaj Group, the Emirati emerging markets investor, has partnered with the local Tiba Group. Founded in 1990, Tiba is a leading education services provider that owns Thebes Schools, Thebes Academies and Nahda University.

The Thebes Schools Group offers national education as well as American and British educational curricula. The Thebes Academy consists of three academies in Cairo and Giza offering engineering, computer science, information technology, business management and financial markets studies. Nahda University was established in 2007 and is the first private university in Upper Egypt, with six faculties and approximately 4,000 enrolled students.

Abraaj first tapped the Egyptian education market last year by investing in CIRA, a large K-12 private schools group with more than 20 owned and operated schools under the Future Schools brand. Also this week, Abraaj announced the formation of an Education Management Company to provide management support services to educational institutions in Egypt.

Last month Abraaj acquired 100 per cent of the Nile Badrawi Hospital for LE750 million-800 million. Last year, the company acquired 100 per cent of Cairo’s Cleopatra Hospital and 51 per cent of the Cairo Medical Centre.

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