Egypt Aluminium: The company reported a 30 per cent increase in sales in the first quarter of 2020-21 compared to the previous quarter to reach LE2.19 billion. The noticeable improvement is attributed to strong production growth that recorded 72,000 tons, an almost 30 per cent increase, during the quarter, as well as slightly improved average selling prices, noted economic consultancy Pharos in a comment on the company’s financial results.
Pharos expects average revenue per ton to rise in the second quarter of the year after the company raised the prices of most of its products in early November to benefit from higher global aluminium prices.
The company was able to trim its losses to LE236 million versus LE588 million in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. “The improvement in margins resulted from the LE0.1 KWh electricity tariff cut enacted at the end of March 2020 and the better economies of scale from higher production and an uptick in prices,” Pharos commented.
Blom Bank Egypt: The Cairo-based bank seems to be about to be sold to Bahrain’s ABC, with the latter saying last week that it was in exclusive talks to acquire Blom Bank’s 99.42 per cent stake in Blom Bank Egypt. ABC has been competing with the Emirates National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBA) to acquire the stake. NBA confirmed its interest in the bank in the third week of November after it finished the due diligence process, but there has been no news since then.
Blom Bank announced in August that it was considering the sale of its unit in Egypt. Observers attributed the step to Blom Bank’s desire to increase its capital by $240 million to comply with higher capital requirements the Lebanese Central Bank has recently introduced for the country’s banking sector.
A number of Lebanese banks, including Audi, are trying to exit foreign markets to cut their expenses during the current political crisis in Lebanon. The Emirati First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is in the final stages of its due diligence on Bank Audi Egypt, and it plans to make an offer for the bank whose assets are valued at $700 million.
Talaat Mostafa Group (TMG): The real-estate developer’s joint venture with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) and Banque Misr is being eyed by two local banks. EG Bank and the Suez Canal Bank are trying to acquire a 10 per cent stake in the company that was formed in August with capital of LE200 million to develop residential land owned by Banque Misr and NBE near TMG’s Rehab and Madinaty compounds.
The group reported a 20 per cent increase in net profits during the first nine months of 2020 compared to the corresponding period of 2019.
EFG-Hermes: The investment bank’s brokerage arm Hermes Securities Brokerage has announced it will be returning to the debt market.
The brokerage acquired the approval of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority last year on its first tranche of bonds, offered in the local market at a value of LE400 million. The second offering will see the EFG Hermes subsidiary selling LE400 million of one-year corporate bonds. Several institutional investors have expressed an interest in the planned offering. Observers believe that due to the company’s plan to expand its funding base, it will target non-banking financial investors.
More tranches are yet to come, as the company plans to sell LE1.2 billion worth of bonds by December 2021. According to the Enterprise news outlet, this is the first corporate bonds issue since 2010, when both Orascom Construction Industries and GB Auto made two offers of LE1.65 billion and LE1 billion, respectively.
Speed Medical (SPMD): The medical laboratories group is to start trading on the Egyptian Stock Exchange on Sunday. The news came after the company increased its capital by LE221 million, qualifying it to be moved from the smaller-capitalisation Nilex bourse. SPMD, which joined the Nilex in April 2019, acquired City Labs and Misr Laboratories this year as part of expansionary plans aiming at increasing its branches to 100.
Eastern Company: Egypt’s sole cigarettes and tobacco producer plans to invest LE1.1 billion during the current fiscal year. The investments will be channelled into upgrading cigarette machinery and aim at increasing the company’s sales by 10 per cent over the LE14.5 billion it realised in 2019-2020.
The company’s product portfolio includes cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and molasses tobacco, as well as related products such as cigarette filters and homogenised tobacco. The Eastern Company reported net profits of LE1.2 billion in the third quarter of the year, 10 per cent higher than a year ago.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.