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It’s still step by step for Team Abu Dhabi driver after extending his championship lead in Norway

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi has put himself in a powerful position to claim the UIM F2 World Championship for the second time in three years after a composed performance as some of his rivals faltered in the Grand Prix of Norway.

While Germany’s Stefan Hagin took the honours with his first F2 victory, the major outcome from a dramatic Tønsberg race weekend is that Al Qemzi has increased his championship lead from five to 14 points and carries great momentum forward to Italy later this month.

The third round of the series in Brindisi on August 24-25 is followed by the Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro on September 14-15, and on current form Al Qemzi could have the F2 world title wrapped up before the final round on home waters in Abu Dhabi on December 6-7.

There will be no diversion, however, from Team Abu Dhabi’s methodical approach to Grand Prix competition, which is not only to take races one at a time but also to focus step by step on all the elements making up each individual championship weekend.

“The team works hard and prepares hard for every race,” said Al Qemzi. “When we arrived in Norway our aim was to be at the highest level in everything we did, and it’s the same with every Grand Prix. We work as a team to get the best results one step at a time.”

Al Qemzi’s championship position was strengthened in Tønsberg by the disqualification of two of his main rivals, Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark and Norway’s Tobias Munthe-Kaas, for infringements after missing turn marks.

Team Abu Dhabi initially had both drivers on the podium in Tønsberg after Rashed Al Tayer, who had qualified in seventh place, rose to third at the finish.

This followed his strong performance in winning the traditional Speed Run which launched race activities in Tønsberg, but disappointingly Al Tayer later dropped to fifth after being penalised for a lane infringement at the start.

Al Qemzi, the first round winner in Lithuania, secured his second successive pole position in impressive style but then had his own problems at the start of the Grand Prix as his engine spluttered, briefly dropping him behind most of the other 17 boats. But by the end of the first lap he had climbed to second position and over the next 44 laps made sure Hagin had to fight all the way to secure his maiden victory.

Grand Prix of Norway leading positions

  1. Stefan Hagin (GER) 00:36:27:43
  2. Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 00:36:28:74
  3. Duarte Benavente (POR) 00:37:00:33
  4. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL) 00:37:09:71
  5. Rashed Al Tayer (UAE) 00:36:57:99
  6. Héctor Sanz (SPA) 00:36:37:61

UIM F2 World Championship standings

  1. Rashed Al Qemzi (UAE) 35pts
  2. Ferdinand Zandbergen (NL)            21pts
  3. Stefan Hagin (GER)                        20pts
  4. Duarte Benavente (POR)            16pts
  5. Daniel Segenmark (SWE)                        15pts
  6. Brent Dillard (USA) 9pts
  7. Owen Jelf (GB)                         8pts
  8. Rashed Al Tayer (UAE)                         7pts
  9. Ola Pettersson (SWE)                        7pts
  10. Héctor Sanz (SPA) 5pts
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Hagin wins Grand Prix of Norway but second place boosts Emirati’s championship bid as team-mate Al Tayer joins him on podium

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi extended his lead in the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship with a second place finish in today’s Grand Prix of Norway which brought a first series victory for German Stefan Hagin.

The result gives Al Qemzi a 13-point advantage in the race for the F2 title which he won in 2017, and he was joined on the podium by Abu Dhabi team-mate Rashed Al Tayer thanks to a battling performance to finish third in Tønsberg.

After his opening round victory in Lithuania and his second successive pole position, Al Qemzi had high hopes of another win, although he will be content to have grown his lead from
Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark who finished fifth in Norway.

Al Qemzi’s victory hopes might have been over even before a lap had been completed as an apparent mechanical issue left him struggling to leave the start, with the majority of the other 17 boats surging away from him.

But the Emirati driver made a superb recovery, rapidly climbing to second behind Hagin on the first lap and he was piling the pressure on the German when American Brent Dillard crashed to bring a yellow flag on lap 14.

Dillard’s exit saw Al Tayer, who had started in seventh place, move into third, and after the restart, despite Al Qemzi’s efforts to catch Hagin, the top three remain unchanged all the way to the finish.

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Keynote address at ‘Emaar Speaker Series’ puts spotlight on customer excellence

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  • Renowned global expert George Blankenship shares his experience with Emaar executives on delivering innovative customer experience

‘Emaar Speaker Series’ is a monthly series of guest lectures by prominent business leaders, experts and futurists. The series, organised by Emaar Properties, is an integral part of Emaar’s transformational journey focused on enhancing customer excellence, delivering innovation with a customer-first mindset and achieving sustained value creation for its shareholders and all stakeholders.

To date, Emaar has hosted high profile speakers including Salim Ismail the best-selling author of Exponential Organizations, Jimmy Allen the co-leader of Bain & Company’s strategy practice, Dr. Parag Khanna a leading international relations expert and global strategist and Tunc Cerrahoglu, a former senior executive from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Emaar marked its fifth ‘Emaar Speaker Series’ event with a keynote speech by George Blankenship. Blankenship is a former Tesla, Apple and GAP Inc. executive, who has worked alongside the world’s most innovative business leaders like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs to deliver retail stores and experiences that delight the customer and generate customer loyalty.

Blankenship’s keynote speech focused on the key success factors in customer service, that are demonstrated by the world’s most successful and customer-obsessed companies. During his keynote, Blankenship highlighted real-world case studies of how customer innovation, digital transformation and employee empowerment can enhance customer experience and generate shareholder value.

Having formulated and executed retail growth strategies as a senior real estate executive, Blankenship shared insights which underlined customer focus as a key imperative for Emaar.

The event was attended by over 100 Emaar executives, who gained invaluable insights on taking Emaar’s customer service standards to the next level.

The Speaker Series is an investment by Emaar in its executives and reflects the management’s commitment to nurture its talents and develop the knowledge and skills of its employees. Emaar plans to further broaden the platform of learning for its executives and to engage broader audiences through its social platforms.

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HP Reinvents How Artists Bring Their Visions to Life with Game-changing new DreamColor Displays

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  • Cinema 4K resolution and award-winning DreamColor technology sets the gold standard for color accuracy

“From the purest black to the most vivid rainbow of colors, our new DreamColor display for Cinema sets the gold standard for color accuracy and ease-of-use at a disruptive price point to outshine the competition,” said Gwen Coble, director, Workstations, Thin Clients, Retail Solutions and Immersive Computing, EMEA, HP. “The new DreamColor Z Displays will be a gamechanger for studios and digital creatives who rely on color-critical accuracy and extreme performance.”

HP DreamColor Z31x Studio Display Key Features

HP has once again pushed the limits of innovation to bring users outstanding accuracy and consistent color from displays, to the big screen and print. Each new feature of this 31-inch diagonal DreamColor Studio Display is a result of direct feedback from customers looking for new ways to transform the way they work. The key features include:

  • Precise image quality from any viewing angle.
  • Reliable and accurate color with an advanced built-in colorimeter capable of measuring and adjusting on-screen performance automatically or at scheduled intervals or on demand.
  • Workflow accelerating features that allow users to create in Cinema 4K resolution, view in True 2K, and speed projects from concept to completion with onscreen markers and keyboard-based input switching between devices.

HP’s Most Affordable DreamColor Display

The HP Z24x G2 DreamColor Display delivers the color accuracy and consistency that has become synonymous with the HP DreamColor brand. This DreamColor display’s affordable price allows every artist to have a professional color accurate display on their desks. The HP Z24x, HP’s most affordable color-critical display, offers:

  • A 24-inch diagonal DreamColor panel that produces up to 1 billion colors from a massive color gamut covering 99 percent of Adobe® RGB.
  • Pure, consistent color accuracy from design to production with color calibration on the amazingly affordable display.
  • Push-button color space selection.
  • Calibration software for both Windows® and macOS supporting both the X-Rite i1Display Pro and the Klein Instruments K10-A colorimeters.
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Healthcare and education private equity investment analysed in the UAE

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  • Education and healthcare experts meet as part of LBS’s inaugural Catalyzers Series

Experts from across the Middle East believe that the UAE’s education and healthcare sectors are experiencing a pivotal period of growth. The comments were made at  London Business School’s first Catalyzers Series forum, which  brought together leading industry figures in Dubai.

The event, held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, featured two panel discussions on the future of investments and private equity in education and healthcare. Leading healthcare magnate Dr. B. R. Shetty discussed his revolutionary work within the nation’s healthcare industry and London Business School Term Professor of Accounting Florin Vasvari delivered a keynote speech about current market scenarios.

Speaking on the future of education in the country, Emad Mansour, CEO of Audacia Capital, highlighted that the industry is entering a crucial phase enabling it to reach its potential. Opportunities to invest are plentiful in the sector, he commented, however investors need to be more discerning.

The panel collectively agreed that the education space in the country has had many new entrants in recent years as Dubai becomes more visible on the global map as a world-class destination for prospective students.

Dr. Pablo Fetter, Education Investment Expert and former CEO of Kings’ Education added that Dubai “is second to Singapore in the schools market internationally,” highlighting the level of investments into the sector, which he described has seen a shift in the school landscape locally.

The UAE has invested $2.72 billion into the education sector, marking a 22 per cent increase in government spending on education. The UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda emphasises the development of a first-rate education system, which will require a complete transformation of the current education system and teaching methods.

Founder and Executive Director of Learning Curve Holdings and LBS alumnus, Basem Abu Dagga, has been carefully analysing the full value chain within the education investment market. He believes there are still some fantastic opportunities to make money with some very ambitious and solid operators. He also touched on the future of education and the amount of reform that will be necessary to reinvent outdated systems and curriculums.

The panel shed light on the supply of  skilled teachers to the education market in Dubai, which must be kept in line with growth in student numbers to ensure the welfare of the industry. Dr. Fetter also spoke about technology and innovation – pillars of Dubai’s advancements – having an impact on education.

Dr. Anshul Govila, LBS alumnus and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Universal Hospitals, led a panel which comprehensively discussed the scope of investment in the healthcare sector in the UAE.

Rebecca Samuel from ICME Consulting elaborated that the market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of more than 13 per cent over the last few years. Mark Adams, CEO of Anglo Arab Holding, explained that growth is in spite of funding pressures.

A more detailed discussion around healthcare assets in the lower end of the middle market, including single physician and multi-physician owned practices, was led by George Traub, CEO at Lumina Advisors and Simi Nehra, Director of M&A at KPMG. Both panellists stressed how a commercial due diligence exercise of these assets is difficult to conduct because of the lack of commercial maturity of these establishments. Naji Hawayek, Partner and expert corporate lawyer at Clyde and Co stressed the importance of a legal three-stage process.

The discussion then centred on public-private partnerships (PPP) in the UAE, which the experts agreed is yet to realise its full potential in the healthcare space. Nasser Massoud, LBS alumnus and Managing Director at Concept Realisation, highlighted examples from the UK’s NHS of successful partnerships around orthopaedic care.

Finally, George Sakou, Senior Banker at IFC, ran a session looking at how the UAE can be used as a platform to raise capital for investment in other healthcare projects in Africa and elsewhere.

The Catalyzers Series, a new collection of forums organised by London Business School’s Gulf Association and The Learning Curve Holdings, will focus on a range of sectors that are at the heart of the UAE and the Gulf Region’s future.

London Business School has been developing the region’s business leaders for the last 10 years from its Dubai Centre at the Dubai International Financial Centre, which offers the Executive MBA programme.

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Al Naboodah wins government award for happiest workplace

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Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE) was this week awarded the honour of being named the United Arab Emirates’ happiest working environment for 2017 at the inaugural happiness awards hosted by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation in Abu Dhabi.

Senan Al Naboodah, Managing Director of Al Naboodah Construction Group, accepted the award from His Excellency Saqr bin Ghubash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, along with Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, the Minister of State for Happiness.

The award is recognition of ANGE’s efforts to embrace a workplace culture that breeds happiness for its 16,000 employees and reinforces its position as an employer of choice in the UAE.

On receiving the award, Senan Al Naboodah commented:“It is an honour to win the UAE’s first award for the happiest working environment. ANGE strongly embraces the vision of the UAE’s leadership to position the nation as the world’s happiest country and we have made it our responsibility to ensure this vision is achieved across every aspect of business. We are grateful to be recognised for this contribution.”

The award was judged against stringent criteria and included an audit of ANGE’s head office and examination of the Group’s approach to employee welfare. ANGE was one of 10 companies shortlisted for the award. Judges were impressed by ANGE’s employee satisfaction ranking and the level of involvement of the Al Naboodah family in the operations of the business.

The award complements ANGE’s strategy to invest in the growth and development of its workforce as part of its sustainability drive.

In 2016, employees participated in more than 150 training courses and the Al Naboodah Construction Group Trade School received world-class accreditation, providing construction employees with globally recognised certifications.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, ANGE reports on employee satisfaction levels. In a recent survey, overall employee engagement was measured at 95 percent with a response rate of 81 percent, demonstrating a highly engaged workforce compared to globally recognised employee satisfaction rankings. This positive result is reflected in an employee turnover rate of around 13 percent, which compares favourably with a UAE average of over 30 percent.

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First International bank to launch innovative home loan solution in the UAE

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In line with our objective of bringing world class solutions to the UAE, Standard Chartered announced today the launch of MortgageOne, a unique home loan solution for conventional & Islamic banking clients in the UAE. The product has been successful and widely accepted in other big markets where Standard Chartered operates like Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

Being a first for an international bank in the country, the MortgageOne account allows customers to combine their home loan borrowings and personal savings and transactions into one account.

The way it works is that clients pay interest only on the difference between the loan balance and the money held in the account. So if a client has higher amounts of cash in his/her account, the interest paid by the client on a mortgage will be lower than usual. What that means is that, every time clients pay their home loan installment, they will be paying more towards the principal amount of the loan and less interest. This helps them pay off their loan balance much faster than a regular mortgage and at a lower interest cost.

Linking the current account with home loan doesn’t just save clients on interest – they’ll also have the flexibility to withdraw the interest saved, plus the money in their account (similar to a normal account) at any point in time.

Commenting on the launch event, Shehzad Hameed, Head of retail clients, Standard Chartered UAE said: “We have shifted from a product based approach to being more client-focused. We have been developing propositions and services based on our clients’ needs rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. This has led to the introduction of MortgageOne in UAE.

In terms of eligibility, a client will need to be between 21 and 65 years of age, and earn at least AED 10,000 per month to avail a MortgageOne from Standard Chartered. The bank lends up to AED 18 million.

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DAMAC Properties Launches Evo Townhomes for Seekers of a Revolutionary Home Concept

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  • Two-bedroom townhomes for AED 699,999 payable over five years; ideal community living for couples and young professionals

DAMAC Properties, a leading luxury real estate developer in the region, today launched Evo Townhomes, a range of two-bedroom homes that appeal to couples and young professionals who are in search of a revolutionary living concept. Combining both space and practicality, Evo Townhomes provide enough room to cater to the dynamic lifestyle and the new and modern generation.

Featuring two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, covered parking and private garden or terrace, these cosy townhomes exemplify the next level in convenience and modernity. From contemporary homes to wide-open spaces, recreational activities and lifestyle amenities; there is always an array of things to see and do.

Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties said: “Keeping millennials in mind, we launched yet another innovative product offering that speaks to the ever-changing lifestyle of the young and lively generation. Evo represents the address of choice for those seeking an enriching community that reinvents itself to keep up with their requirements.”

Evo Townhomes break the Dubai mould as they are set within AKOYA Oxygen master development away from the skyscrapers, busy roads and bustling suburbs. AKOYA Oxygen is a green community that embraces tranquility and a more leisurely way of life. At the heart of the development is the Trump World Golf Club Dubai where residents can play on the rolling greens or take in the breathtaking vistas.

AKOYA Oxygen is located in the heart of new Dubai, where an array of entertainment and leisure amenities can be found. It’s also close to major road networks, business centres and landmark attractions allowing convenient access to key destinations.

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Invest in Sharjah and Euromoney Emirates Conference Announces Outstanding Line-Up of Speakers

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  • 35 key economic experts confirmed for inaugural UAE event with more 350 high-level attendees from across the world

The UAE’s upcoming Euromoney Conference, organised and co-hosted by the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), has named its key speakers and attendees, which include 35 of the leading finance and investment experts from across the region and beyond, with more than 350 confirmed CEOs and high-level executives participating at the conference from across the world.

The two-day Euromoney Emirates Conference being held on 8-9 May, 2017, at the Sheraton Sharjah Hotel, will be held under the theme ‘Finance and Investment for an Innovative Economy’. It will highlight the shifts in economic policy necessary to sustain investment growth, encourage innovation across industries, and enable financial institutions and SMEs to prepare for the future by adopting the most secure technology.

Invest in Sharjah, the entity responsible for intensifying Sharjah Government’s efforts to promote the emirate’s business and investment opportunities in key international markets, will welcome representatives from leading fiancial institutions to discuss the next phases of development in the UAE, in particular Sharjah, in its efforts to become among the region’s top economies.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, the conference will feature a number of welcome addresses presented by: His Excellency Mr Younis Haji Alkhoori, Undersecretary, Ministry of Finance, United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Mr. Richard Banks, Consulting Editor for the Euromoney Conference.

The conference will also feature a number of expert speakers, including: His Excellency Dr Obaid Saif Al Zaabi, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Securities and Commodities Authority, Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises; Tarek Fadlallah, CEO of Nomura Asset Management; Dr Magda Kandil, Chief Economist and Head of Research, Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates; Alia Moubayed, Director of the Geo-economics and Strategy Programme; and Krysta Fox and Executive Director, DMCC.

Other experts include: Tom Nauwelaerts, Managing Director, Momentum Logistics; Eman Al Mahmoud, Programs Manager, Sheraa; Walid Hanna, Founder, and Managing Partner, Middle East Venture Partners; Noor Shawwa, Managing Director, Endeavor UAE; Omar Soudodi, Managing Director, Payfort; Wael Aburida, Managing Partner, Halo Investment Management; Fadi Al Said, Director, Portfolio Manager, Lazard Asset Management; Charbel Azzi, Senior Director, Head of S&P Dow Jones Indices for Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Russia and CIS, S&P Global; and Pankaj Gupta, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer UAE, Gulf Islamic Investments.

Mohammed Juma Al Musharrakh, Director of Invest in Sharjah Office, believes the line-up is reflective of the calibre of the conference and the progress of Sharjah on a regional and global investment stage.

“Euromoney is a world-renowned source of economic insight and a bellwether of market trends. Its conferences are seen as an essential extension of its core research and publications and are held in the nerve centres of regional economies worldwide. The fact they are coming to the United Arab Emirates for this year and have chosen Sharjah as the venue is indicative of the huge strides we have made and the interest that we have generated over recent years,” he said.

With a mix of keynote presentations, on-stage interviews, panel discussions and workshops, the conference will address crucial topics related to an innovative economy and its mechanisms. At a time of fiscal uncertainty and global economic caution, this includes globalisation, energy markets and new technology, and the UAE will outline its intentions specifically with regards to the country’s aspirations, policies and strategies for an innovative economy.

Al Musharrakh added: “It is important to remember that Invest in Sharjah is more than a facilitator at this event, it is more than a host, it is a leader in its content and the premier business representative for the UAE.”

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The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre: a safe gateway to the relationship between landlords and tenants

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The Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC) was established in 2013 as the judicial arm of the Dubai Land Department (DLD), following a decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The decree gave RDC the objective of employing new methods with flexible mechanisms to meet the requirements of the next era, and supporting the execution of issues and matters related to Dubai real estate with greater accuracy, impartiality and transparency.

Based on these criteria, RDC has developed a specialised judicial system to deal with rental disputes, and conciliation procedures to ensure social and economic stability while also supporting the sustainable growth of the Emirate.

Mandates RDC is responsible for the settlement of all rental disputes arising between tenants and landlords over real estate located in the Emirate or its free zones, including counter-claims as well as requests for temporary or urgent action from either party to the lease.

RDC also adjudicates appeals made against decisions and judgments in accordance with the provisions of the decree and the regulations issued thereunder, and its team is responsible for implementing the decisions and judgments RDC issues following rental disputes.

Common Issues Since its inception three years ago, RDC has received various types of complaints and issues related to the real estate sector, and handled proceedings to help regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants. Common issues include the termination of contractual relationships and the landlord forcing the tenant to evacuate the property.

His Excellency Judge Abdulqader Mousa, Director of RDC, commented: “Under Law No. 26 for the year 2007 and its amendments, which outline the relationship between landlords and tenants in the Emirate of Dubai, the landlord is entitled to apply for the evacuation of the property in 12 cases. The most common of these are if the tenant fails to pay rent, if demolition or overall maintenance of the building is planned, or if the landlord wishes to use the property for their own personal use or for the use of their next of kin of the first degree. From the date of restoration of the tenant, the landlord is not entitled to lease to others before at least two years for residential properties and three years for non-residential properties, unless the committee rules otherwise in light of the causes. If the landlord does so, the tenant has the right to request for the committee to order proper compensation.”

Regarding rent increase, Moussa added that the tenant must be notified 90 days before the end of the contractual relationship in one of two ways: notary public or by registered mail.

Tenant insurance is among the disputes that can arise between the two parties. The law allows the landlord to provide the tenant with insurance to safeguard the maintenance of the property until the end of the contract period, at which point the landlord is obliged to refund the insurance or what remains of it to the tenant. At the end of the lease period, the tenant is obliged to hand over the property to the landlord in the state that it was received at the outset of the contract, except for expenses incurred from normal use or for reasons beyond the tenant’s control.

Moussa pointed out that among the other problems handled by RDC are cases in which landlords cause disputes with tenants by cutting off services to the property, although it is forbidden for the landlord to do so or to prevent the tenant use of the property in any way. “In such a case, the tenant may apply to both the police station where the property is located to rescind the eviction or to prove its validity, and to the RDC for the retraction of the eviction notice and the provision of damage compensation through a lawsuit supported by official reports.”

The issue of raising rent is another case frequently handled by RDC. This is based on the law that allows the landlord to raise the rent legally after resorting to the real estate calculator, and to ascertain the value of the permitted increase according to state, age and location of the property, as well as the services it provides. Law No. 43 for the year 2013 defines the increase criteria in certain percentages, allowing the rental calculator to work out the increase easily.

Transparency Spreads Stability Thanks to the transparency of its procedures, RDC plays an important role in helping all parties to work and live in Dubai harmoniously, in an environment governed by clear laws that define the duties and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. This environment attracts investors to the Emirate’s real estate sector as it creates a climate of reassurance.

RDC is also keen to further the UAE’s national agenda and smart objectives.  In order to achieve its vision of being the international reference point for the resolution of rental disputes, RDC pursues the best international litigation practices to continuously develop its performance. RDC achieved outstanding results for the litigation period, reaching a period of 22 days for litigation in the first quarter of this year.

Continuous Innovation RDC is making every possible effort to continue to upgrade its working mechanisms and achieve happiness and comfort for all relevant parties. One of its most important achievements is the Smart Judge – a contemporary application that enables rental parties to ascertain their legal positions regarding disputes, and guides them in legal proceedings at the various stages of litigation.

The application has many features, such as providing free legal advice over issues involved with leases and operations in Dubai, which results in cost, time and effort savings by helping to prevent rental issues. The Smart Judge application also offers a draft judicial judgment in light of the details and data provided by the interrogator – the first judicial judgment of its kind in both the region and the world.

RDC’s decision makers continue to monitor market developments, identify the most common issues, assess their causes, and formulate solutions that benefit all parties. In this way, RDC achieves its mission of establishing a secure real estate environment that guarantees the rights of all.

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Increased Competition, Maturity, and a Flush Year Expected for GCC’s Automotive Sector

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  • Vehicles on the road in UAE expected to reach 3.53 million or 18.5% of regional market share by 2020

The automotive industry in the UAE and GCC has been a resilient cornerstone of the economies in these countries for many years, so much so that the GCC has long been the largest automotive market in the MENA region. Although the sector seemed to show signs of slowing-down in 2016, the industry is expected to return to its commanding position due to a couple of factors.

On the periphery of the automotive industry too there is increased activity from companies manufacturing support products and services. For instance, the German origin Kärcher offers total cleaning solutions specific for the automotive industry, as well as general solutions that are appropriate for certain tasks across industries.

Across the GCC, 2017 is the final calendar year before the implementation of VAT is carried out across the region beginning in 2018. As such 2017 is expected to be a boom-year for car sales across the region, as individuals and companies rush to purchase pre-VAT priced vehicles. No doubt the sales of vehicles will contribute to the current estimate of 16.5 million vehicles on the roads across the GCC for 2017. This figure is estimated to rise to 19 million vehicles by 2020 according to a report by Frost & Sullivan, which also suggests that Saudi Arabia will be the regional market leader with a 52.5% market share. The same report suggests the UAE will have the second largest market share at 18.5% followed by Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

“The high-traffic that automotive dealer showrooms witness daily can leave the area looking dirty if not regularly maintained. “For example, 94% of soil, dust and sand in a facility come from foot traffic,” commented Mr. Mazen Abou Chakra, Export Sales Director, Kärcher Middle East FZE who is an exhibitor at this year’s Automechanika. “If showrooms, service areas, and parking lots are not maintained to the highest cleaning standards, then this could turn away customers. Of course, maintaining these high traffic areas is very demanding and requires top-of-the-line equipment which Kärcher manufactures. There is no doubt a clean showroom, and other public areas at automotive dealers play an important role of instilling customer confidence in the brand,” he continued.

However, amidst all the trends affecting the automotive industry, there are two that directly affect the way in which automotive businesses operate. These are increasing maturity within the markets, and competition. The increased competition has automotive businesses innovating new ways to compete. One area of focus is the showrooms and parking lots of automotive dealers. A clean showroom can instill customer confidence in the brand.

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Qatar lifting moratorium makes sense given LNG market dynamics

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In early April, Qatar lifted a moratorium on the development of the North Field, the world’s largest non-associated gas reservoir. The moratorium had been in place since 2005 and its removal clears the way for an increase in production and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A new development from the North Field would produce 15.2m tons per year in 5-7 years, an increase of 10% from current total gas production levels. The lifting of the moratorium might be motivated by the dynamics in the global LNG market over the next decade. A wave of new LNG supply is expected up to 2020, but then the market is expected to tighten beyond that. The return to the market of the world’s largest LNG producer should deter potential investment from other sources, allowing Qatar to better compete for market share in the 2020s.

Global LNG markets are expected to be oversupplied until 2020, but become undersupplied thereafter. New LNG supply is expected up to 2020 mainly from the US and Australia, boosting global production by around 10% per year over the period, which will outstrip demand growth, expected to be around 6% per year in line with recent historical growth. However, beyond 2020 the market is expected to tighten with supply broadly flat as few new LNG projects (which take 5-7 years to complete) have been given the green light since the sharp decline of oil prices in 2014.

Nonetheless, there are a huge number of potential projects waiting on the side-lines, which could increase supply if prices recover. The International Gas Union (IGU), a global association to support the gas sector, estimates that existing project proposals amounted to 879m tons, or 3.4 times the current market size. Given recent low prices, most of these projects have been unable to progress. However, the last few months have seen a turnaround in LNG spot prices, which have risen from USD4.1 per million British thermal units (mbtu) in May to USD10.0 in February. If these higher prices are sustained, it would increase the likelihood that producers can achieve agreements for long-term sales contracts at prices above the breakeven level for new projects. There is a risk that some of the proposed projects could get the go ahead.

Hence, now is a good time for Qatar to step back into the market to deter new investments elsewhere given its comparative advantages. First, Qatar already has existing infrastructure and LNG facilities that could help keep costs down. The total cost of new production is estimated to be USD2-5 per mbtu, below the level at which other potential new projects are viable. It is possible that Qatar could increase production of LNG by simply “debottlenecking” (upgrading) existing facilities, which would keep costs at the low end of its range. Second, as the world’s largest producer, Qatar already has the reputation for reliability and the relationships to agree long-term supply agreements with importers.

Qatar’s decision to lift the moratorium came as a surprise to markets. After 12 years with little word on when it would likely be lifted, many had begun to assume that it could remain in place indefinitely. However, the decision to lift the moratorium could help cement Qatar’s position as a leading global LNG exporter. It will also help to boost growth and national income when production comes on stream, probably just after the World Cup in 2022.

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