Egypt’s first smartphone maker to export to Germany next month

Egypt’s first smartphone maker SICO aims to export 50 percent of its products by the end of next year. (AFP)
Updated 29 October 2019

Egypt’s first smartphone maker to export to Germany next month

  • SICO signed an agreement in October with a company operating in Europe to market its products
  • Egypt’s first smartphone maker currently exports around 25 percent of its capacity

CAIRO: Egypt’s first smartphone maker, SICO, said it will begin exporting its devices to Germany in November as part of its expansion plan to sell its products in Europe and Africa, its chairman told Reuters.
Silicon Industries Corporation (SICO), which already exports to the Gulf and aims to start selling phones in other European countries, said it signed an agreement in October with a company operating in Europe to market its products.
“We will begin exporting from Upper Egypt to Germany, Holland, Austria, and then Sweden, Norway and Finland,” its chairman Mohamed Salem said.
SICO, which was set up in December 2017 and has 200 million Egyptian pounds ($12.43 million) in paid-up capital, sells phones under the brand name Nile X and has said it uses a Chinese design of 3G/4G US technology.
Its plant in Assiut, Upper Egypt, has a production capacity of 2 million devices annually.
“We signed agreements with three Chinese companies to manufacture phones for them for export to Africa and to offer on the Egyptian market,” Salem said.
“We started manufacturing them a month ago and the first of these products will be distributed inside the Egyptian market next week.”
Private investors own 80 percent of the company and the remaining 20 percent is held by Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
SICO currently exports around 25 percent of its capacity, Salem said. It aims to export 50 percent of its products by the end of next year.


Sharjah sells $1bn sukuk

Updated 03 June 2020

Sharjah sells $1bn sukuk

  • Gulf states seek to bolster finances hit by pandemic and historic slide in oil prices

DUBAI: Sharjah, the third-largest emirate of the UAE, sold $1 billion in seven-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds, on Tuesday, according to a document from one of the banks arranging the deal.

The debt sale comes as several governments in the Gulf seek to bolster their finances to face the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a historic slide in oil prices.

Sharjah set the final spread at 245 basis points (bps) over midswaps for the sukuk, which are Islamic sharia-compliant bonds, according to the document seen by Reuters.

It tightened the spread by 30 bps from where it began marketing the notes earlier on Tuesday.

Sharjah, rated Baa2 by Moody’s ratings agency and BBB by S&P, is a relatively frequent issuer of US dollar Islamic bonds.

HSBC was hired as global coordinator for the transaction. Other banks on the deal were Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, Mashreqbank and Sharjah Islamic Bank.

In May, the emirate raised 2 billion dirhams ($545 million) in privately placed one-year sukuk to support its economy during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement by Bank of Sharjah, which arranged that deal.

“Issued as 12 month dirham-denominated paper in several tranches, the Sharjah Liquidity Support Mechanism (SLSM) sukuk represents the first rated short term local currency tradeable instrument in the UAE, which can be used for liquidity management by banks,” the Sharjah Finance Department said in a statement on Tuesday, confirming that deal. It said that it was a first tranche and that further tranches with one or more other banks were expected to expand the SLSM to 4 billion dirhams.

S&P Global Ratings in April revised its outlook on the emirate to negative from stable due to lower oil prices and the impact of the new coronavirus.

“Although we expect GDP growth to recover in 2021, lower-for-longer oil prices and a protracted lockdown period could pressure the emirate’s fiscal position,” the agency said.