Egypt’s business digest Oct. 17: Vodafone Egypt to pay half of 4G license fee in dollars; CBE’s foreign reserves to reach $20.6 bn by the end of November
Sign for a Vodafone store - AFP/Carl Court
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Vodafone Egypt to pay half of 4G license fee in dollars -official

(Reuters) Vodafone Egypt will pay half of the fee for its 4G mobile license in dollars, a company official told Reuters on Wednesday, one day after the company signed a license agreement with Egypt’s telecoms regulator.

The company paid 1.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($168.92 million) for the license on October 15 and will be paying the remaining fee within days in coordination with its parent company, the official, who declined to be identified, said.

Vodafone Egypt agreed to pay $335 million for the license on Sunday. ($1 = 8.8799 Egyptian pounds)

 

Egypt completes long-delayed 4G mobile license deals

(Reuters) – Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr signed licensing agreements on Sunday for the operation of 4G mobile broadband networks in Egypt in deals that will allow the country to introduce long-delayed high speed telecoms services.

Egypt is selling four 4G licenses as part of a long-awaited plan to reform the telecoms sector and raise much-needed dollars for depleted government coffers.

Its three existing mobile network operators – Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat – had initially all turned down the 4G licenses saying the amount of radio spectrum on offer was inadequate.

The Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr agreements come after Orange signed a deal last week, agreeing to pay $484 million after the regulator amended conditions for buying additional spectrum.

“The terms and conditions we signed last night are different from three weeks ago, we consider the terms now completely satisfactory to launch top quality 4G services,” Stefano Gastaut, CEO of Vodafone Egypt told a news conference announcing the deal.

The change in terms was related to the frequencies offered by the telecom regulator, Gastaut said, adding that this new acquisition makes Vodafone Egypt the biggest holder of spectrum in the country.

The regulator said previously that it would consider running an international auction for the remaining 4G licenses if the country’s existing mobile carriers refused to do a deal.

Telecom Egypt, the state’s fixed-line monopoly, was the only company to take up the state’s original offer, buying a 4G license in August for 7.08 billion Egyptian pounds ($797 million) to enter the mobile market directly for the first time.

“Now that the four companies have signed the 4G license, the telecom sector has raised $1.1 billion, in addition to 10 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.13 billion) for the state budget,” Telecom Minister Yasser al-Qadi said.

Companies had originally objected to a requirement that half the license fee be paid in dollars. Orange Egypt agreed last week to the provision. Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr did not disclose what portion they would pay in foreign currency.

The regulator announced last week that operators that paid for a license entirely in U.S. dollars would be given priority in buying additional spectrum.

Vodafone Egypt agreed to pay $335 million in a deal signed in the early hours of Sunday morning, the regulator said.

Etisalat Misr, the Egyptian unit of Etisalat agreed to pay $535.5 million and plans to purchase 10 megahertz (MHz) of additional spectrum after the deal, a company official said.

Telecoms regulator head Mostafa Abdel Wahed said all payments will be made in full, without installments, and the companies will have one month to complete any foreign currency transfers.

Both Etisalat Misr and Vodafone also agreed to buy fixed line phone service licenses for $11.26 million each, the regulator said.

($1 = 8.8799 Egyptian pounds)

 

Egypt’s GASC gets offers from three suppliers at sugar tender

(Reuters) – Egypt’s state buyer Gasc received offers from three suppliers for its white sugar tender on Saturday, Cairo-based traders said.

The lowest offer was for 34,000 tons at $634.60 a ton cost, insurance and freight.

A fourth supplier Union was barred from participating in the tender.

Traders said the following offers were made on a CIF basis in dollars a ton:

-Sucden: 25,000 tons any origin at $652.50

-Louis Dreyfus: 25,000 tons Indian origin at $680 or 25,000 tons Indian origin at $685

-ED&F Man: 34,000 tons any origin at $634.60

-Union: offer rejected

 

Egypt’s foreign reserves to reach $20.6 bn by the end of November: official

The Central Bank of Egypt’s (CEB) foreign reserve will reach $20.6 billion by the end of November 2016 after the three mobile service companies (Etisalat, Vodafone, and Orange) will pay $1.1 billion, the first installment of payment for the 4G license, an official told Youm7 on Sunday on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief the media.

The CBE has announced several days ago that the foreign reserve has reached $19.5 billion by the end of December 2015, compared with $16.5 billion in August 2015, with an increase of $3 billion.

 

Government borrows 11 bn EGP in T-bonds on Monday

The Egyptian Ministry of Finance will put forward, via the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), a total of 2 billion EGP in treasury bonds (T-bonds) on Sunday, according to the CBE data.

The auction is divided into two installments; it will auction 1.5 billion EGP in three-year-term treasury bonds, 0.5 billion EGP will be offered in 7-year-term T-bonds.

It is expected that the state’s general budget deficit could reach 322 billion EGP by the end of Fiscal year of 2016/2017. Auctioning the treasury bills and bonds are the government’s financial tools of borrowing.

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