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Turkish mills mull Ramadan closure

Several Turkish mini-mills are deciding whether to stop production during the month of Ramadan and are evaluating their orderbooks for September rolling, market insiders said.

Some rebar producers are planning to close due to high ferrous scrap costs from Europe and the US and softening rebar demand from buyers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, MB was told. But others are yet to decide.

"I have spoken to several mills in Turkey and many of them are planning to stop production during Ramadan, including us," said a representative from a re-roller in southern Turkey.

Turkish rebar producers increased export prices to $490-500 per ton fob main Turkish port for September production, up by as much as $20 per ton from last week's price of $480-490.

Small parcels of rebar were booked by buyers in Syria, US and Iraq, market insiders said, but many exporters have struggled to secure orders at these levels.

"We're not planning to close because we have sufficient orders for September rolling but other mills may have to close if they can not secure orders for September," said a second representative from a Turkish longs producer. --Metal Bulletin

Travel operator launches Egypt campaign amid flu pandemic

Elaf Group, a Saudi Arabian travel, tourism and hospitality service provider, and a subsidiary of the Saudi Economic Development Company, said it recently discussed the operational effects of the H1N1 pandemic with its certified dealers in Egypt.

Elaf executives agreed to launch a LE 750,000 marketing campaign aimed at cushioning the local impact of the outbreak.

Elaf Group conducted a special workshop to direct its Egyptian partners towards opportunities being opened despite challenging market conditions.

The sessions focused on how to overcome the effects of the health scare, particularly by observing more stringent safety protocols for travelers.

"This substantial investment into Egypt reflects our confidence in the country as a vibrant travel and tourism venue. Right now we are more closely observing market trends and traveler attitudes, adopting necessary measures to better protect passengers, and projecting a positive image of our services to customers.

"Although these are difficult times, we want to emphasize among our local operators and agents that there are still several opportunities available," said Ziad Bin Mahfouz, president of Elaf Group. --AMEinfo

Suez Canal Bank to increase capital

Suez Canal Bank is planning to increase its capital by LE 1 million, the bank said in a statement on the stock exchange website.

Egypt's Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) approved the bank's request to call on existing shareholders to subscribe in the issued capital increase, which will bring total capital to LE 2 million.

The bank will issue 1 million shares at a nominal value of LE 10 per share in addition to LE 0.25 issuance fees per share.

Egypt's mobile penetration at 53 percent

The global financial crisis has had an impact on Egypt's telecoms sector in that it has led to the postponement of two major events: the licensing of a second fixed network operator, and the sale of a second tranche of shares in Telecom Egypt (TE), according to a recent report.

However, both of these processes have received strong interest from the capital markets and are expected to go ahead in 2009 or 2010, a study on Egypt's telecom market by Companies and Markets concluded.

The highly profitable TE is Egypt's incumbent fixed network operator and also holds a share in Vodafone Egypt, one of the country's three mobile networks. Its fixed network rollout, the fastest in the region, slowed in the first half of 2008 but reaccelerated in the second half of the year, while the rapid take-up of ADSL broadband services continued unabated.

Egypt has become one of the leading internet markets in Africa in terms of users, international bandwidth and services offered, the report said.

The sector is highly competitive with more than 200 internet and data service providers, which has led to some of the lowest prices for ADSL services on the continent and ADSL2+ services with up to 24Mb/s being widely available.

There will be a shift towards wireless technologies, following the first successful WiMAX deployments in the country. VoIP Internet telephony has been liberalized, and several companies are rolling out next-generation networks to provide converged IP-based voice and data services. --OfficialWire

Turkey says sticks to Nabucco gas pipeline

Turkey will stand by its commitments for the Nabucco pipeline project that will transport Caspian gas to central Europe despite alternative pipeline projects, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday.

Russia's South Stream and the European Union-backed Nabucco projects could delay each other but they would not obstruct their construction, Yildiz told Reuters in an interview.

Russian President Vladimir Putin won Ankara's approval on Thursday for the South Stream gas pipeline to cross

Turkish waters to Europe, countering the rival EU-sponsored plans, and signed deals to help make Turkey a key regional energy hub.

Moscow aims to build the South Stream pipeline ahead of the European Union-supported Nabucco link from the Caspian, a scheme meant to cut Europe's reliance on Russian gas.

Yildiz said Turkey could become a partner in the South Stream project, but it first preferred to wait for the results of feasibility studies.

"No matter which project is signed, including the South Stream, our determination for Nabucco will not be weakened and we stand by our commitments," said Yildiz.

"Nabucco and South Stream can delay each other but they will not obstruct each other," Yildiz said.

Russia, which supplies a quarter of Europe's natural gas, wants to build gas supply routes quickly to bypass Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states after disputes with Kiev over transit payments in recent years disrupted flows.

In July, Turkey and four EU countries signed a transit agreement for the Nabucco project, which Turkey has used to gain traction in its EU membership talks.

Turkey's support for the 63 billion-cubic-meter capacity, Kremlin-backed project should ensure the scheme is completed and that the pipeline will secure supplies of gas via Russia.

Yildiz said Ankara was negotiating price with Russia over a project to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant, and significant progress was expected to be achieved on the tender process by the end of this month.

The tender to construct the nuclear power plant was held last year, and a consortium of Russia's Inter RAO, Atomstroiexport and Turkey's Park Teknik submitted the sole bid.

Final approval of the bid has been delayed pending review of the price the consortium wants to charge for electricity from the planned power station. --Reuters

Daily NewsEgypt 2009

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Publication:Daily News Egypt (Egypt)
Date:Aug 7, 2009
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