Kuwait eager to back Egyptian economy - Jazeera chief
Kuwait is keen on fully supporting the Egyptian economy in general and aviation and tourism in particular, Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways Chairman Marwan Boudi said. Speaking to KUNA on the sidelines of a Jazeera Airways ceremony for launching its maiden flight to Cairo, he reassured that the situation in Egypt was calm and therefore there was no reason for concern, especially on the part of investors. “We are very optimistic and confident that Egypt will be back to its normal position in the sector of aviation and tourism,” he said. He said his company was planning to boost the number of its Cairo-destined flights; one flight every four hours. He added that his company’s suspended tours to Sharm El Sheikh would resume within the next couple of weeks. Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways celebrated its first flight to Cairo on May 18, 2011, to be the first airline to land in the Egyptian capital since the January 25 revolution. On board the flight were Kuwaiti Ambassador to Egypt Rasheed Al-Hamad, Chairman of Cairo Airport Company Hasan Rashid and Chairman and CEO of EgyptAir Holding Company, Hussain Masoud, along with Jazeera Airways Board Chairman, Marwan Boudai and a number of reporters and travel agency representatives.
Source: Kuwait News Agency
SMEs urged to upgrade marketing practices
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the GCC must update themselves with latest marketing techniques to survive in a changing digital marketplace, said the organizers of an upcoming marketing forum in Dubai. Genius Marketing, an international forum, will take place on May 24 in the Dubai Knowledge Village auditorium. Hany Mwafy, CEO, Mena region, London Business Forum, organizers of forum under the theme the 21st Century Tool Kit said local SMEs need to do more to win the battle against international competitors who are looking at the GCC as a lucrative market to grow their business. The forum, which is the debut event of London Business Forum Middle East, will discuss threats and opportunities faced by GCC businesses and the status of their marketing techniques vis-à-vis advanced global skills. More than 100 industry experts, including chief executive officers, vice presidents, directors and marketing professionals will discuss these issues at this C-level forum to be run by Peter Fisk, the internationally renowned inspirational business author, consultant and entrepreneur. “Internet has opened the doors wide to the global marketplace, regardless of its size. This means any market in the world can become a target of big companies, posing a serious threat to smaller businesses that lack new marketing techniques which are heavily digital driven,” Mwafy said. “As more people and businesses become Internet dependent, the marketing landscape is expanding exponentially. In this respect, a forum addressed by such a renowned global personality as Peter Fisk is highly significant.” Mwafy added: “We are happy to have Peter Fisk in this forum. He has been described by Business Strategy Review as one of the best new business thinkers today.” Fisk, founder and CEO of the Genius Works, will introduce his bestselling ‘Creative Genius’ book at the forum. His book ‘Marketing Genius’ has been translated into 30 languages, a statement said.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Autonomous accounting body must for UAE
The UAE, which has seen a phenomenal growth especially in the free zones, needs an autonomous accounting body to harness and consolidate best practices in book keeping for the benefit of the growing economy, according to an expert. The UAE businesses have seen a 500-800 per cent growth in company incorporations across the free zone area alone in the last decade, with around 40,000 free zone companies registered in 2011, said Jitendra Gianchandani, managing partner of Jitendra Chartered Accountants (JCA), which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. “The growth in company registrations in the UAE has risen phenomenally in the last 10 years and an independent accounting body will complement this growth and support the forward march of the economy,” he remarked. “It will also nurture and accelerate the adoption of globally benchmarked corporate governance standards across the UAE as well accelerate capital market culture in the economy,” he added. JCA said such an independent regulatory and standards body will add value to the maturity of the UAE economy, which crossed a projected nominal GDP of Dh1 trillion in 2010 compared to Dh250 billion in 2001. “The economic landscape of the UAE underwent a paradigm change in the last 10 years. In 2001, there were only 5,000 companies in four free zones. The 2011 count shows that there are 40 free zones across the UAE now with some 40,000 registered companies which is an ample testimony to the economic growth of this country,” Gianchandani said. According to JCA statistics, there are over 7,000 companies in Jebel Ali Free Zone as of 2011, over 3,000 in Dubai Airport Free Zone and more than 3,000 in the Tecom cluster comprising Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. The number of companies in Dubai International Financial Centre is now at nearly 800 while over 3,000 companies are registered in RAK Free Zone and Ajman Free Zone and 10,000 in Sharjah across Saif Zone and Hamriyah. According to him, the number of national and multinational companies in the UAE has doubled in the last 10 years. “The growth has evidently opened opportunities for accounting auditing professionals in the UAE as well reinforced the need to streamline accounting and auditing practices with transparency in focus,” he said. “At present IFRS and GAAP are widely used by most of the local and international companies, but there is no accounting body in the UAE, he stated. Calling for an accounting body, Gianchandani said, “Once this gets created, it will monitor and focus on the different aspects of the accounting and auditing profession and will bring uniformity while presenting the accounts.” “Foreign firms can also easily incorporate the accounts with head office if uniformity in accounts is maintained,” he added.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Faruk unveils big Iraq investment plans
Faruk Group Holding, a major conglomerate with entities in eight different industry sectors in Iraq, has unveiled big investment plans for the northern city of Sulaymaniyah. The group with a diversified range of interests including telecommunications, cement, manufacturing, hotels, medical services, properties, construction and IT, has pumped more than $400 million into its hospitality industry alone. Unveiling the new roadmap for Sulaymaniyah’s hospitality industry at the recent Arabian Travel Market expo, chairman Faruk Mustafa Rasool said, ‘Our aim is to make Sulaymaniyah a desired destination in the Arab world.’ ‘The key hotel projects being planned include Grand Millennium Sulaymaniyah, Copthorne Hotel Baranan and Copthorne Hotel and Spa funded by more than $400 million investment,’ he noted. He pointed out that Iraq was a promising market; with more growth potential than any other market in the world can expect to have in the next 5 to 10 years. ‘Our operations in Sulaymaniyah will support not only our entry into Iraq market but also global business community,’ he noted. Hawre Daro Noori, CEO of Faruk Group Holding said, ‘We are from Sulaymaniyah and we are steering our city’s economy into becoming an industrial, telecommunications and education hub.’ ‘We invite businessmen from all over the world to visit Sulaymaniyah and Iraq and have a look and perhaps start a business in our country, because we believe that Iraq is a promising market,’ he added. Faruk Group, he said, will continue to invest in the hospitality sector to attract more visitors to Sulaymaniyah and provide international quality accommodations for guests and tourists from all over the world. ‘We will also target corporate clients, exhibition delegates, and other business and leisure visitors, he added. Faruk Group Holding had earlier set up Asiacell, the largest Iraqi private company and the first mobile company covering all of Iraq’s 18 governorates.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Palestinian firm issues $70m corporate bonds
Palestine Development and Investment Limited (Padico) Holding, a leading investment company, said it has successfully issued the country’s first corporate bonds at a total par value of $70 million. The Palestinian financial services sector has not previously witnessed the issuance of any form of bonds or other long term financing tools specialized in project financing outside the existing customary bank loans. The bonds are set to be privately placed and will not be listed nor traded on the Palestine Exchange (PEX), said a statement from Padico. Several banks and financial institutions have expressed notable interest and commitment to purchase Padico’s bonds, which led to an oversubscription, it added. Such interest reflects high confidence in the company’s repayment abilities and the long term sustainability of its investment portfolio, especially given its strong track record in mitigating local political risk. As a long-term financing tool, the bonds represent a highly suitable financing option for Padico’s investment strategy which targets medium and long term strategic projects. The bond issuance will grant the company adequate levels of liquidity for funding its new projects that require sometime to become income generating. Padico will issue 7,000 bonds of senior debt secured by specific assets with a total value of $70 million. Par value per bond equals $10,000, and minimum subscription amounts to 10 Bonds with a total amount of $100,000. Dr. Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister, confirmed the significance of this bond issuance stating: ‘We believe that the issuance of corporate bonds by the private sector is a true milestone for Palestine’s financial services sector.’ ‘We are also proud that Padico and the private sector have preceded the public sector in issuing the first Palestinian bonds, which represents a sign of agility and progressiveness.’ Munib R. Masri, Padico chairman said ‘This bond issuance represents our long-term vision and commitment to investing in Palestine, and reaffirms our confidence in the local economy.’ ‘We have conducted business in Palestine despite the political risk involved, and we have maintained an impressive track record of financial performance.’ Padico CEO Samir Hulileh said the bond issuance greatly supports Padico’s strategic plans and future directions. ‘Diversifying our financing schemes, and matching our investments with the incoming cash flows will enable us to fund long term and strategic projects while reducing dependency on short term bank loans. This new financing scheme will also allow us to adopt a consistent dividend policy,’ he added. Padico, he said, plans to establish several mega projects in the coming period, such as a power generation project in northern West Bank at a total cost of $300 million, and a large scale tourism and real estate development project in Jericho.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Saudi tops global trade confidence index
Saudi Arabia reported the highest increase in trade confidence in the world in the first quarter of this year, according to a HSBC Trade Confidence Index (TCI) report. The half year index, developed and published regularly by HSBC, the global partner of the Saudi British bank-SABB, covers a total of 21 markets – including key economies in the Asia-Pacific region, Mena, Latin America, North America and Europe. The Kingdom’s business community was the most optimistic topping the trade confidence index with an increase of 14 points thanks to the huge positive impact from global exchange rates (up 20 points), the impact of government regulations (up 27 points), and trade volume (up 14 points), the HSBC said in its 5th TCI report. This confidence leap took Saudi to the second highest in the world, from the seventh position last year. Registering as the 6th highest score in this round of the HSBC TCI, the UAE remains one of the most positive nations for trade confidence, despite a slight dip from the last round. The UAE traders still report the highest levels of intra-regional trade, with 64 per cent of respondents reporting trade with the Middle East as their primary region. Government regulations continue to be seen as a positive driver to UAE trade, with the number of traders viewing the impact of government trade regulation as ‘very favorable’ up a massive 24 points this round, the report added. Interestingly, exporters and importers around the world remained optimistic about trade prospects in the next six months despite increasing concerns about rising costs, reduced profitability and volatile demand. In the Mena region, the regional average was the highest in the world at 118, whilst the global HSBC TCI held steady at 114 in the first half of 2011 compared to 116 in the second half of 2010. This fifth wave of the index shows that Mena traders are most concerned about buyer and supplier risk, with 37 per cent (up 11 points on the previous wave) expecting buyer default risk to increase, and 41 per cent (up 20 point) expecting increasing numbers of suppliers to be unable to meet their arrangements. The top strategy for reported for managing buyer default risk was greater use of trade finance via banks, with 40 per cent of the results. Encouragingly, Mena traders were not concerned about volumes of trade, nor do they see intra-regional trade threatened by recent political events. The number who expects trade volumes to stay the same or increase is up 5 points on the previous round, at 80 per cent. A new addition to the HSBC TCI, Egyptian traders have reported a positive score in this first report. ‘At 102 points on an index of 100. 70 per cent of traders expect volumes to stay the same or increase in the next six months, with 68 per cent positive about the global economy over the same period,’ the HSBC TCI report added.
Source: TradeArabia News Service