Wealth tax to last three years

A new 5 percent surtax on the incomes of wealthy Egyptians would last for three years, Finance Minister Hany Dimian said on Saturday, less than three weeks before the country elects a new president. Dimian said the tax, approved by the cabinet last week, would apply to those earning more than 1 million Egyptian pounds (R1.46m) annually this year, next year and 2016. He said the first payment would be due in January next year. Those subject to the tax would be given the choice of whether their funds should go towards public projects in education, health, agriculture, housing or infrastructure. The temporary tax had been under discussion for several months, but its approval comes shortly before a May 26 and 27 presidential election that is widely expected to be won by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The measure still needs to be passed by interim President Adly Mansour before it can be implemented. – Reuters


Heineken to merge units

Heineken, the third-biggest brewer, planned to merge its two units in Nigeria, pooling the country’s industry leader with the third-largest beer maker, the Amsterdam-based firm said on Friday. Nigerian Breweries and Consolidated Breweries would combine to become more efficient, it said. Heineken holds 54.1 percent of the former, whose brands include Heineken and Star, and 53.8 percent of the latter, the maker of beers such as Turbo King. The combination was “based on a significant and compelling strategic rationale” and would allow the companies to tap growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest beer market, Heineken said. Benefits would come from economies of scale such as combined purchasing of raw materials. – Bloomberg