Raya Auto: The automotive arm of Raya Holding is investing LE200 million to produce small cars, including electric cars, in Egypt, in accordance with the government’s strategy to expand the use of electric cars in the country and to localise their manufacture and increase the local components used in the manufacturing process.
The Raya plant in 6 October City has a production capacity of 20,000 vehicles, including light sports cars as well as three-wheelers, securing it a significant market share. Current production volume is in the range of 5,000 vehicles. The company said in a statement that by the end of the 2021 it would be able to reach the 45 per cent local-component threshold decided by the Ministry of Industry.
While the shift to electric vehicles is growing worldwide, Egypt is still in the early stages, with the number of electric cars on Egypt’s streets not exceeding 200 vehicles. This is due to limited demand for these vehicles, whose price hovers at around LE1 million, the unavailability of charging stations, and the fact that the licensing of imported electric vehicles can be troublesome.
The customs duties on imported cars are generally determined according to the capacity of the engine in cubic centimetres — and electric vehicles do not have such engines.
Fawry: The electronic-payments firm has received the approval of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to set up bank-transfer services for Egyptians working abroad. It will offer the new services in collaboration with a still unnamed state-owned bank.
According to local media, Fawry has been discussing the new services with a number of local and regional banks, including the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and the Bank of Alexandria, in order to set up the remittances service for Egyptians living in the Gulf.
Observers believe the services would be initially offered in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The bulk of Egypt’s remittances from workers abroad come from the three Gulf countries. Increasing by $1.7 billion to $7.9 billion in the third quarter of 2019-20, the remittances have helped to limit Egypt’s current account deficit, as other foreign-currency earners have been hard hit by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ahli United Bank (AUB): the international Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank, is said to be selling the 10 per cent stake it owns in AUB Egypt to the parent bank in Bahrain.
The deal is part of a plan by the Bahraini AUB to acquire the 14.2 per cent stake it does not own in its Egyptian subsidiary. It comes as a preparatory step to selling the bank to the Kuwait Finance House, established in 1977 as the first Islamic bank in Kuwait. Sources speaking to the local media said the negotiations included applying for a license to offer Islamic banking services in Egypt.
The Bahraini bank together with Misr Strategia submitted an offer for the stake last week, and the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority is reviewing the sale, worth about LE1.29 billion. According to the financial outlet Enterprise, the Kuwait Finance House has been in the process of acquiring AUB since 2019, but the potential $8.8 billion transaction was postponed until December earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 September, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly