Egypt’s Sissi eyes $1 billion trade with Vietnam on two-day visit

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi reviews the guard of honor with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam September 6, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 September 2017

Egypt’s Sissi eyes $1 billion trade with Vietnam on two-day visit

HANOI: Vietnam and Egypt agreed Wednesday to nearly triple trade to $1 billion including with ship-building and IT contracts, as Egypt seeks to kickstart its sputtering economy and forge ties with fast-growing Asian nations.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is in Hanoi for a two-day visit — the first ever by an Egyptian leader — aimed at drumming up business ties with the country.
“We discussed means to reinforce bilateral ties in many areas, in particular in economics, especially in light of Vietnam’s achievements in the fields of industry and commerce,” Sissi told reporters.
Egypt’s economy tanked after a 2011 revolution that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak, and though growth has steadily recovered, reaching 4.3 percent last year from 1.8 percent in 2011, it is still hampered by high inflation.
Last year the International Monetary Fund approved a $12 billion loan to prop up the ailing economy.
Cairo has also sought new trade partners after relations with Washington soured when Sissi overthrew Islamist president Muhammad Mursi four years ago.
Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang called for more trade with Egypt after officials signed nine agreements Wednesday, including in the areas of transport, fisheries and investment.
“We are determined to bring bilateral trade volume to $1 billion in the future,” Quang said, adding they would focus on ship-building, IT, seaports, manufacturing and agro-processing.
Egypt is Vietnam’s second biggest trading partner in Africa, though trade has faltered in recent years, hitting $316 million last year from $395 million in 2014.
Sissi’s visit comes as Vietnam courts international investment from new allies in Africa and the Middle East.
Analysts say Hanoi is looking to drum up trade deals after the US pulled out of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership in January, a major blow to Vietnam which was set to gain enormously from the 12-nation pact.
Communist Vietnam is one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, clocking more than five percent annual growth over the past five years.
Sissi will attend a business forum Thursday before departing.


Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

Updated 14 October 2019

Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

TOKYO: Under-pressure start-up WeWork is considering two huge bailout plans including a cash injection that could see Japanese investment titan SoftBank take control of the firm, according to reports.
The office-sharing giant had been on course for a massive initial public offering until last month when questions began to be asked over its governance and profit outlook.
The firm’s valuation plunged from $47 billion in January to less than $20 billion in September and the listing plans have been dropped, while co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as chief executive.
With New York-based parent company We Co. not expected to push for the IPO this year, the cash-strapped firm is looking for a financial lifeline.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg News cited unnamed sources close to the talks as saying SoftBank — the US firm’s biggest shareholder — had drawn up a proposal that gives it full control of WeWork.
The move would dilute the voting power of Neumann, who remains as chairman of the company he started in 2010 and also currently maintains control a majority of voting shares.
They also reported that WeWork is looking at a deal with Wall Street giant JP Morgan to raise $5 billion in debt, with the Times saying directors of We would be meeting as soon as Monday afternoon to discuss that.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange financing,” the Journal reported a company spokesman as saying.
“Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week.”
The New York-based startup that launched in 2010 has touted itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.
However, the company, which lost $1.9 billion last year, has faced skepticism over its ability to make money, especially if the global economy slows significantly.