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Al QEMZI KEEPS TEAM ABU DHABI ON COURSE FOR QUADRUPLE WORLD TITLE SUCCESS

Emirati driver underlines F2 dominance in Portugal to become world champion with third race victory

Team Abu Dhabi are half way towards their target of landing four major powerboat racing titles this season following Rashed Al Qemzi’s triumph in the UIM F2 World Championship.

Al Qemzi, who clinched his second F2 crown in three years by winning yesterday’s Grand Prix of Portugal in Ribadouro, was part of the four-man crew who secured the World Endurance Championships in Poland two months ago.

Team Abu Dhabi’s reigning UIM F1H2O world champion Shaun Torrente currently leads this year’s series and also tops the UIM XCAT World Championship standings with his title-winning partner from last season, Faleh Al Mansoori.

It means the title quartet remains a distinct possibility for Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, which hosts the final round of the F2 series on December 6-7, with the silver and bronze medals remaining in the balance.

Al Qemzi, whose third race win of the season in Portugal came from a fourth successive pole position, won by 18 seconds from home favourite Duarte Benavente after Sharjah Team’s Dutch driver Ferdinand Zandbergen dropped from second to fourth place with a one lap penalty.

The Emirati driver has dominated the championship following an opening round win in Lithuania, extending his lead with second place in Norway and following that with another victory in Italy last month.

While team-mate Rashed Al Tayer finished outside the top ten in Portugal, he will be aiming for a podium finish to the season on familiar home waters in Abu Dhabi.

Before that he will be attempting to boost his bid for this year’s UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship title in next month’s penultimate round in China.

Currently lying in second place, Al Tayer wants to close the gap on Kuwaiti leader Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq ahead of December’s final round in Sharjah.

Grand Prix of Portugal results

  1. Rashed Al Qemzi UAE    Team Abu Dhabi 43:32:44
  2. Duarte Benavente POR    Atlantic Team 43:50:44
  3. Ola Pettersson SWE    Skåne Racing Team  44:02:41
  4. Ferdinand Zandbergen NED Sharjah Team  Lap  Lap – 1
  5. Edgaras Riabko LTU F2 Lithuania  Lap -1
  6. Mette Brandt Bjerknæs NOR MBR Lap -1
  7. Ahmad Al Fahim UAE Victory Team Lap -1
  8. Kalle Viippo FIN     Kalle Viippo Racing Lap -1
  9. Manoor Al Mansoori UAE Victory Team  Lap -2
  10. Steve Hoult GBR   Team WNT Lap -2

UIM F2 World Championship leading positions after 4 of 5 rounds

  1. Rashed Al Qemzi UAE 75pts
  2. Duarte Benavente POR 38
  3. Ola Pettersson SWE 34
  4. Ferdinand Zandbergen NL 34
  5. Stefan Hagin GER 20
  6. Daniel Segenmark SWE 20
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Sports

AL QEMZI CLINCHES F2 WORLD TITLE IN PORTUGAL

Team Abu Dhabi driver underlines dominance of championship with third victory of season

Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Qemzi clinched the UIM F2 World Championship title for the second time in three years with a commanding victory in the Grand Prix of Portugal.

The Emirati driver, who has led the series from his opening round win in Lithuania back in June, was crowned world champion in Ribadouro tonight with one round to spare after another impeccable display.

Having secured his fourth successive pole position 24 hours earlier, he again underlined his dominance of this year’s series with a 14.75 secs winning margin over Sharjah Team’s Ferdinand Zandbergen, his nearest title challenger. Portugal’s Duarte Benavente was third, another 4.28 secs adrift.

Al Qemzi now has the luxury of carrying his second F2 world title into the final round, the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, which effectively becomes a victory lap of honour on home waters on December 7. Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashed Al Tayer finished in 13th position.

There was a double helping of drama at the start of the race which was halted initially by a red flag after a collision between Dutchman Zandbergen and German Stefan Hagin on the first lap.
The re-start then saw another clash on the first turn between Sweden’s Daniel Segenmark and Britain’s Owen Jelf, and after the yellow flag resumption Al Qemzi stormed into a clear lead and went on to secure a third race victory of the season.

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Tabreed’s Q1 2017 Net Profit Increases by 19% to AED 75.4 million

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  • Khaled Al Qubaisi appointed Chairman of Tabreed’s Board of Directors

National Central Cooling Company PJSC (DFM: Tabreed), the leading regional district cooling utility company, today released its 2017 first quarter (Q1) financial results. The Company’s performance benefited from the new connections made last year, in addition to over 20,000 Refrigerated Tons (RT) added during Q1 2017.  These new connections, combined with Tabreed’s existing presence in the GCC, resulted in net profit increasing by 19% to AED 75.4 million.

Financial highlights – three months ended 31 March 2017:

  • Net profit attributable to the parent increased by 19 percent to AED 75.4 million (Q1 2016: AED 63.4 million)
  • Earnings per share increased by 19 percent to AED 0.03
  • Core chilled water revenue increased by 15 percent to AED 255.2 million (Q1 2016: AED 222.3 million)
  • Share of results of associates and joint ventures increased by 5 percent to AED 22.9 million (Q1 2016: AED 21.9 million)
  • Group revenue increased by 6 percent to AED 270.2 million (Q1 2016: AED 255.5 million)
  • EBITDA increased by 13 percent to AED 140.8 million (Q1 2016: AED 124.8 million)
  • Increased dividend distributed to shareholders for the fiscal year 2016 by 8 percent, to 6.5 fils per share

Operational highlights – three months ended 31 March 2017:

  • Total group connected capacity across the GCC totaled 1,068,438 RT with 20,027 RT added in the first quarter of 2017, including:
    • 16,227 RT in the United Arab Emirates
    • 3,800 RT in Qatar

Environmental highlights – three months ended 31 March 2017:

  • 174 million kilowatt hours was saved across the GCC – enough energy to power approximately 5,800 homes in the UAE every year
  • These power savings prevented the release into the atmosphere of 87,200 tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of eliminating the emissions of 17,400 vehicles annually

Tabreed’s Board of Directors also appointed Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi as Tabreed’s Chairman, succeeding Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, who was instrumental in guiding the company through its recapitalization and return to profitability.

Al Qubaisi, said: “The 19 percent increase in our net profit for Q1 2017 highlights the strengths of our core chilled water business, which continues to grow as a result of the new projects coming on line to supplement our strong existing operations across the GCC. Tabreed’s priority going forward continues to be delivering stable returns to shareholders, whilst expanding our operations throughout the GCC to boost the company’s long-term growth and success.”

Jasim Husain Thabet, Tabreed’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “As the leading district cooling company in the GCC, Tabreed is the partner of choice for providing energy-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly cooling solutions to organizations across the region. We strive to strengthen our presence in the region by building strategic partnerships with leading private and government entities, and delivering innovative district cooling solutions to our customers.”

Thabet continued: “During the first quarter of 2017, Tabreed continued to add to its portfolio of landmark projects it supports with the acquisition of ICT’s district cooling plant, which provides cooling to the Nation Towers in Abu Dhabi.”

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al khaliji organizes session on Local and International Banking for Qatar University students

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Al Khalij Commercial Bank (al khaliji) P.Q.S.C., Qatar’s next generation bank, recently organized an informative session about local and International Banking entitled “How can banks go global” to students of Banking and Finance at Qatar University, this comes as part of the banks efforts to bridge the gap between the education field and the sector’s job market.

The session was hosted by Mr. Paul Maguire, al khaliji’s Group Chief Business Officer, who discussed the different ways university students can explore the field of banking and finance, opening the doors to many possibilities and employment opportunities.

Through the special event, al khaliji has put its many years of experience and the expertise of its senior executives at the fingertips of Qatar’s younger generation of aspiring professionals, while helping them to gain a new perspective on banking and finance as a sound career choice.

The session witnessed the participation of a large number of Qatar University students, who were keen on interacting and discussing the topics as well as learning more about al khaliji as a leading financial institution in Qatar, and the country’s banking sector as a whole.

The event, which comes as part of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, reflects al khaliji’s belief that to be a successful financial institution, it must meet the needs of both this generation and future generations of employees, customers, investors and business partners, by blending tradition with innovation, while supporting the human development pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030.

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Mahandru Associates attending Zameen.com Property Expo, Lahore – PAK

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  • Expo Centre, Johar Town – Lahore on 13th & 14th May 2017.

Mahandru Associates, one of the UAE’s reputed Immigration and Investment Consultant, is set to join Zameen.com Property Expo in Lahore, Pakistan, held at Johar Town Expo & Convention Center.

Mahandru Associates will display a vast array of its latest projects which help its prospective clients to obtain Permanent Residency and Citizenship in different parts of the world through Real Estate and other mixed Investments. A vast property portfolio from its European property partners in Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, and Portugal will be showcased in relation to the legal requirements of obtaining the Residency and Citizenship rights.

In addition to the wide European attractive property market, several Caribbean Island countries in the commonwealth will also be represented as one of the very few places offering direct Citizenship and Passport alternatives through multiple Property Investment options.

Mahandru Associates participation in the show is part of efforts to meet growing demand from investors in the region, who are constantly seeking for an internationally experienced all-round enterprise in managing their wealth and opening new channels and markets for generations ahead.

“The Zameen Property Expo in Lahore is a great platform to showcase our outstanding success and valuable experience in the MENAP region on foreign property investment with residency and citizenship solutions and engage directly with potential clients in Pakistan and neighboring states,” said Raheel Sheikh, Managing director of Mahandru Associates.

“Given the apparent high volume of investment by Pakistani investors into UAE’s real estate market, we are well-positioned to highlight our attractive alternatives in the European continent which come along with immense added benefits for the family.” – Sheikh Added

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HONEYWELL UOP SIGNS AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT FOR EXPANSION OF JORDANIAN REFINERY

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  • Expansion of Zarqa Refinery will increase production of cleaner-burning fuels

Honeywell UOP announced today that it has signed an agreement with the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) to facilitate a $1.6 billion expansion of its refinery in Zarqa, Jordan. This expansion will increase the capacity of the facility to 120,000 barrels per day and will allow JPRC to upgrade the quality of its product to meet Euro V emissions specifications.

The ceremony was attended by Jordanian Prime Minister H.E. Hani Al-Mulki, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Saif, JPRC Board Chairman Walid Asfour, Vice Chairman Omar Al-Kurdi, JPRC CEO Abdul Karim Alaween and Honeywell UOP President and CEO Rebecca Liebert.

“The expansion of the Zarqa refinery is a very important project because, in addition to improving the quality of products, it will grow its capacity to 120,000 barrels per day,” said JPRC CEO Abdul Karim Alaween. “It will help us meet the rising demand for fuel, which is growing at an average of 3 percent every year.”

As part of the project, which is the fourth such expansion of the JPRC refinery, Honeywell UOP will provide manager licensing services, technology licensing, front-end engineering design consultancy services, and basic engineering design. It also will provide catalysts and process equipment, and training and start-up services.

 “Honeywell UOP has worked with JPRC since it was established in 1956, beginning with design services and technology licensing and the subsequent construction of its first refinery,” said Honeywell UOP’s Liebert. “We are especially grateful to be involved in the expansion of the Zarqa refinery, which will increase its volume and upgrade the quality of its petroleum products and support the further economic development of Jordan.”

Technologies provided by Honeywell UOP will include crude and vacuum distillation units — designed by Houston-based Process Consulting Services, Inc. — for distilling crude oil into various fractions. Honeywell UOP also will provide Unicracking™ and hydrotreating units to create clean distillate, as well as CCR Platforming™, Penex™, MinAlk™, Merox™ and Selectfining™ units for producing cleaner-burning high-octane motor fuels, and a Polybed™ PSA unit for purifying hydrogen.

The Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company, Ltd. (JPRC) is the sole oil refining company of Jordan, publicly traded on the Amman Stock Exchange, with headquarters in the capital of Amman, and a refinery in Zarqa, 35 kilometers east of Amman. The company manufactures a variety of fuels and refinery derivatives, and wholly owns a subsidiary oil marketing company. Moreover, JPRC operates a lube oil blending facility, three LPG bottling stations and LPG storage facilities in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid. The company also owns and operates an oil terminal and storage facilities in the port city of Aqaba.

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Microsoft, ADSIC raise Cybersecurity Awareness in the UAE

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  • Participation of more than 20 government entities

Microsoft and the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Center (ADSIC), have teamed up to host a series of digital transformation workshops geared towards increasing awareness about the importance of digital technology and the immense impact it can have in the public sector. The workshops will focus on government workforce digital transformation readiness and building effective and sustainable digital strategies across all Abu Dhabi Government entities.

The first workshop of the series, titled Empowering Digital Government: Cyber Security took place last month at the Beach Rotana Hotel, Abu Dhabi with the participation of more than 20 government entities and 50 executives and employees, in addition to a select group of digital transformation specialists. The sessions took a significant step towards enhancing awareness on Cyber security threats and how users can safeguard against malicious content in the digital world. The full day event provided insights into the current security landscape and featured demos as well as discussions on Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security and Microsoft Office 365 Security features such as Advanced Threat Protection and Data Loss Prevention. Microsoft Cyber Security experts addressed best practices, frameworks and the importance of an advanced security strategy for the digital age that can proactively safeguard public sector organizations without limiting the productivity of their employees.

Mr. Said Al Mansouri, Executive Director of Shared Government Services at ADSIC said, “As the entity in charge of developing the local ICT sector, ADSIC places great strategic emphasis on protecting the assets and data of our partners from the government sector and end-users of the digital solutions that we either directly provide or oversee.”

Al Mansouri added, “Our collaboration with Microsoft and other leading ICT experts from the private sector assists us in achieving our mandate, while creating notable awareness on advanced security best practises.”

Attendees at the workshop benefitted from immersive demo-oriented experience presented by Microsoft, along with the company’s complete security portfolio and opportunity to learn from the Cybersecurity team about building an effective government security strategy.

“As companies embrace new technologies such as cloud, big data, and IoT, it becomes critical to have advanced security measures in place. In this digital era, the focus needs to shift from securing parameters to safeguarding data spread across different systems, devices and the cloud” said Cyril Voisin, Executive Security Advisor, Enterprise Security Group, Microsoft Middle East and Africa. Microsoft is committed to ensure holistic, agile and identity driven security policies are placed across all government entities, so that current threats are timely identified and addressed, and transparency is achieved. This workshop forms part of a shared vision between ADSIC and Microsoft towards building capacity and increasing awareness on digital risks and threats.”

According to a Microsoft research, the number of attempted cyber-attacks over a week rose 600,000 in the past three of years. These figures clearly point towards a need for implementation of strict security measures with organisations.   The company’s ongoing strategy builds on its intelligent security portfolio that safeguards organization with protection of all endpoints, detection of threats before they happen and faster response with informed security analytics and machine learning.

With the continued effort and commitment to government capacity building, the second workshop of the series titled “Empowering Digital Government: Harnessing the Disruptive Force of Technology”; took place on May 3. The workshop focused on innovative technologies such as Blockchain, the Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Chatbots and the immense transformational opportunities they can create for public sector organizations. The sessions elaborated on the public sector use-case scenarios of these technologies and how their adoption can further empower the robust digital transformation strategies and future plans of the Abu Dhabi Government entities. Microsoft technology and business experts and executives from over 25 government entities discussed how the capitalization of these technologies can drive innovation and future sustainable growth, enabling government organizations to become more agile, drive efficiency and transform their services.

The partnership between Microsoft and the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Center (ADSIC) is set to continue with the joint goal of empowering the productivity of government employees and ensuring the consistent delivery of enhanced and personalized citizen experiences through operational optimization and transformation of services and products. More workshops in the series, focused on Microsoft Azure Public Cloud Security and Datacenter Management, are planned to be held later this year.

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Falconcity of Wonders commended by Dubai Police for road safety advocacy

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  • Developer is major sponsor of White Points System for 5th consecutive year

Falconcity of Wonders LLC, the developer of the Falconcity of Wonders (FCW) multipurpose mega project arising in Dubai, was recently honored by the Dubai Police for its outstanding support of local and national efforts to enhance road safety awareness and best practices. Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, handed over the Diamond Sponsor Award to Mr. Ahmad Almoosa, Vice Chairman and Deputy General Manager of FCW, in recognition of the developer’s distinguished Diamond Sponsorship of Dubai Police’s White Points Systems during an awards ceremony held recently at Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai.

Falconcity of Wonders has been a major sponsor of the White Points System for the past five years. The developer is actively involved in various other initiatives that help ensure a secure, peaceful and productive community for present and future generations to enjoy. This reflects FCW’s commitment to help make the UAE one of the world’s safest nations.

Mr. Ahmad Almoosa, said: “The safety of the community is a top priority for us at Falconcity of Wonders. Just recently we conducted a fire safety and prevention training for our employees to uphold our culture of safety. We thank the Dubai Police for appreciating and recognizing our efforts to help keep the roads of Dubai safe and create a new breed of responsible drivers. We will continue to support efforts to transform Dubai and the entire UAE into one of the world’s safest motoring communities.”

The White Points System was proposed by Lt. General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security, to encourage motorists to become safer and law-abiding drivers. All Dubai-registered vehicles are eligible under the system which was implemented in 2012. Drivers with spotless records can receive a total of 12 white points a year, one for each month, which can be redeemed through several ways and can also be used to cancel some fines. Last year the General Department of Traffic of the Dubai Police awarded 1,800 drivers for not committing any traffic violations for an entire year and handed out two brand new cars, gifts and vouchers to safe drivers.

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MENA Food & Beverage M&A Passed $3.4 Billion in 2016

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  • 2016 Food & Beverage deal value reaches eight year record
  • A strong pipeline in the sector is predicted for 2017
  • Nestlé’s acquisition of Egyptian coffee producer, Bonjorno, drives 2017 deal value so far

Mergermarket, the leading provider of M&A data and intelligence, has reported that Food & Beverage sector deal value for the full year 2016 surged to over US$ 3.4 billion, from just US$ 402 million the previous year. Total deal value for the year was the highest since the data provider first reported on the sector’s M&A landscape in 2009. Four deals in the Consumer sector have been announced so far this year worth US$ 104 million with a strong pipeline predicted for 2017. The data was announced at Mergermarket’s MENA Mergers 2017 forum, which took place at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai on 8th May.

Deal value in the Food & Beverage subsector so far this year has been driven by consumer giant, Nestlé’s, acquisition of Caravan Marketing Company, a leading Egyptian instant coffee company and owner of the Bonjorno brand, for US$ 33 million. The acquisition reflects Nestlé’s ambition to invest in Egypt and the fast development of a rapidly growing soluble coffee segment which has been gaining popularity in the region.

Ruth McKee Al Ghamdi, Head of Mergermarket MENA, commented:“Food and beverage continues to be a hot sector for M&A in the MENA region. In an era of low oil prices, challenging economic conditions and stiff competition, thriving businesses are highly sought-after by corporates and private equity firms. A number of successful concepts are expanding throughout the region through opening company-owned locations or franchising. Most deals in this space will likely be seen in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.”

Following a slow start to 2017, M&A deal activity in the sector is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. Mergermarket intelligence suggests that a further flurry of small-cap deals are expected including Emirates Modern Poultry Co (Al Rawdah), who are mulling over a US$ 20-30 million joint venture in Kuwait and Oman to increase their export capabilities.

In March, Mergermarket reported that Lebanese food chain Shawarmanji was in advanced discussions with a private equity firm over a stake sale. Shawarmanji has signed franchise agreements to launch 50 outlets in Saudi Arabia in the next seven years, with discussions to open further franchises in Oman and Egypt and plans to enter Europe by the end of 2018.

Jayshree Gupta, Corporate Partner, Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, UAE, commented:“Deal flow in consumer-led sectors remains steady, with activity in the food and beverage (F&B) sector maintaining momentum through FY 2016 and into Q1 2017. The UAE traditionally sees a large chunk of the region’s F&B activity, and we expect to see continued interest in both domestic and cross-border transactions, with some mega deals achieved in the Middle East last year. And despite a flat 2016 and modest expectations for 2017, retail is still predicted to be a driver of growth in the domestic economy in the medium term.”

Mergermarket’s MENA Mergers 2017 forum was attended by leading MENA transaction professionals, who examined deal trends in the region as well as ideas on the outlook for M&A in the Middle East. The Forum was hosted in strategic partnership with Baker McKenzie, EY, Standard Bank, AIG, Instinctif Partners and iDeals Solutions. The forum is followed by Mergermarket’s second annual Middle Eastern M&A Awards, which will recognise transaction advisory achievements across a range of sectors including ‘Energy, Mining & Utilities’, ‘Financial Services’, ‘Consumer’, ‘Pharma, Medical & Biotech’, ‘Telecoms, Media & Technology’ and ‘Industrials & Chemicals’.

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DAMAC Properties Fosters Entrepreneurial Talent

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  • Company facilitates an enriching field trip for 50 Kingston University London’s masters students

DAMAC Properties, one of the region’s largest luxury real estate developers, has recently organised a field trip for 50 master’s students from the Kingston University London who were in Dubai on an educational visit. The initiative comes as part of DAMAC’s on-going collaboration with the university that commenced three years ago, with an objective to foster the talents of the next generation of entrepreneurs and construction professionals.

As part of the field trip, the DAMAC Properties team shared site plans, technical details and insights about their developments with the students to give them the opportunity to produce a comprehensive cost plan for the construction of a prospective hotel after carrying out feasibility studies and research on three assigned plots. In addition, they also visited a completed hospitality project and construction sites, and toured the Trump International Golf Club Dubai in DAMAC Hills to develop a better understanding of the various phases involved in the construction and operation of a hospitality real estate project.

Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties, said: “It was our pleasure to host this talented group of students from the Kingston University London and facilitate this field visit to help enrich their knowledge and understanding of the real estate sector. Supporting future entrepreneurs through first-hand learning experiences like those offered during this field trip is an important extension of our mandate. Moreover, we look at this opportunity as a significant knowledge-sharing exercise that provides the participant students with deeper insights on real-life working environments while also encouraging our own teams to welcome and consider fresh ideas and opinions.”

Expected to graduate soon, the students acknowledged the field trip as the key highlight of their course and found the lessons gained from the opportunity to be valuable and constructive. Throughout their stay, they were hosted at DAMAC Maison Royale The Distinction, the most prestigious property in DAMAC’s hospitality portfolio, located in the Burj area of Dubai.

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DOHA BANK ETF IN FINAL PHASE

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Qatar Exchange and HSBC organized the Annual Investment Forum 2017 on 8-9 May 2017 at New York Palace Hotel.  Mr. Rashid Ali Al-Mansoori, Qatar Exchange CEO said,

“Qatar Exchange aims to provide more products this year to encourage investments from global investors. The Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is part of this initiative of Qatar Exchange. This would result in increase in inflows to Qatar economy both from the region and from globe and thereby promote sustainability.”

On the sidelines of the forum, Dr. R. Seetharaman CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on Qatar economy and Doha Bank ETF progress. He said “Qatar economy expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2017. Qatar continues to follow its non- hydrocarbon diversification model and prudent fiscal management amidst low oil prices. In Qatar Budget 2017, the total allocation for key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure was nearly 44 percent of the total expenditure, out of which 12.3 percent is for health, 10.4 percent is for education and 21.2 percent is for infrastructure segment respectively. There is a clear focus on health, education and infrastructure development. In the infrastructure space, Qatar is currently witnessing mega infrastructure projects culminating towards the FIFA world cup in 2022, which is a jewel in the crown of Qatar. Qatar’s diversification has thereby contributed to sustainable development. The Qatar government is also taking steps to increase non-oil revenues, focusing on indirect taxes and levies. Qatar had come up with its $9bn bond issue in 2016. Qatar ranked 18th in ‘the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17’ and stands second in the region. Qatar is also planning to introduce PPP law this year. The financial sector has a key role to play in achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030 owing to high level of capitalization and good capital adequacy ratios of banks. Measures taken by the Qatar central bank and the government have led to a robust growth in the financial industry, even during crisis. Qatar exchange has received MSCI upgrade in 2014 and more capital market reforms are pursed by Qatar economy. The upgrade enables better visibility of Qatar’s existing listed firms before foreign institutions. Qatar’s financial sector will be therefore be an enabler for Qatar’s economic transformation. Qatar Exchange is planning to introduce a number of products this year which will improve the investor’s participation. Qatar economy is sustainable on account of the economic and financial market reforms. Doha Bank will aim to support Qatar’s financial market reforms through the ETF.”

On Doha Bank ETF Plans, Dr. R. Seetharaman said “Doha Bank has been working closely with the Listing Committee and Qatar Exchange and local regulators in driving the new listing towards growing the investment platform in Qatar via new offerings. In line with this initiative, we are proud to announce that the bank as Founder is in the final phase for filing its application for listing approval for the proposed launch of the QE Index ETF (QETF). The QETF will invest and replicate the Qatar Index largest 20 companies in terms of market capitalization and liquid listings – The crown jewels of Q-Inc. The fund will replicate the index in performance, net of fees. The fees or ‘Total Expense Ratio’ to be 0.50%; one of the lowest in Emerging Markets offerings. The fund will pay an annual dividend, net of fees, similar to the index; which currently carries a yield of 3.80%. The offering will enjoy easy access, as the investor needs only an investor number and broker and the ETF will be easily traded in the secondary market like other current listings. The Fund also has on boarded a dedicated ‘Liquidity Provider’ to ensure secondary market liquidity. The fund enjoys full support from local government and regulators and currently the bank is raising seed capital to be invested along with the bank pre-listing.”

Mr. Abdul Aziz, Head of QE listing and Mr. David Challinor, CFO at Doha Bank also participated on the sidelines of this Annual Investment Forum.

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Mergermarket M&A Awards Recognises Top Middle East Advisors

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  • 2nd Middle Eastern M&A Awards announces top names in regional M&A
  • EY tops the regional M&A financial advisor rankings
  • Clifford Chance is named regional M&A legal advisor of the year

Mergermarket, the world’s leading news and intelligence service for mergers & acquisitions, last night announced the winners of its second annual Middle Eastern M&A Awards, recognising top banks and law firms supporting M&A in a range of sectors including ‘Consumer’, ‘Energy, Mining & Utilities’, ‘Financial Services’, ‘Industrials & Chemicals’, ‘Pharma, Medical & Biotech’ and ‘Telecoms, Media & Technology’.

Of the financial advisor nominations, Mergermarket named EY as the best regional M&A financial advisor and in the sector rankings, Citi won best financial advisor in the Energy, Mining & Utilities sector, PwC was awarded top financial advisor in the Financial Services sector whilst Rothschild won best financial advisor in the Consumer sector. Second titles were awarded to EY who also led the rankings for top financial advisor in the Pharma sector and Rothschild who led the financial advisors in the Industrials sector. Bank of America Merrill Lynch won best financial advisor in the Telecoms, Media & Technology sector.

Of the legal advisor nominations, the top regional legal advisory firm was awarded to Clifford Chance. In the sector rankings, White & Case led the Energy, Mining & Utilities sector, Clifford Chance won best legal advisor for the Financial Services sector and Allen & Overy led the legal advisor rankings in the Consumer sector. Meanwhile, Clyde & Co. won top legal advisor in the Pharma Sector, Baker McKenzie topped the rankings for the Telecoms, Media & Technology sector and King & Wood Mallesons won first prize for the Industrials sector rankings.

In the Fixed Income space, the Loan Bookrunner award was won by National Bank of Abu Dhabi whilst the Bond Bookrunner Corporate award was presented to Emirates NBD and Bank of America Merrill Lynch was awarded top Bond Bookrunner in the Government category. The top Sukuk Bookrunner was KAMCO.

Speaking on the night, Matthew Robinson, Events Director EMEA at Mergermarket, commented:“Our league table rankings for M&A and debt capital markets gives us a unique insight to the innovative work conducted on behalf of clients across the region. With an increase in entries this year, we’re thrilled to celebrate the achievements of all those firms who entered. And congratulations to all tonight’s winners.”

The Awards were preceded by Mergermarket’s 2017 Middle Eastern M&A and Private Equity Forum, which was attended by leading MENA transaction professionals, who examined deal trends in the region and shared ideas on the outlook for M&A in the Middle East. The Forum was hosted in strategic partnership with Baker McKenzie, EY, AIG, Standard Bank, Instinctif Partners and iDeals Solutions.

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