Dubai completes financing for tram project
Dubai's finance department announced Wednesday that it has completed financing for phase one of a $1.08 billion tram project being built by a consortium of European and US companies. The department, in an emailed statement, said "it has successfully completed a dual currency financing of $675 million," which will go towards finalizing the first phase of the Al-Sufouh Tram network covering 19 stations in business and residential areas. The consortium includes the French Alstom, Belgian Besix, Britain's Serco and Parsons of the United States. Last April, Alstom Transport said construction on the 10-kilometre (six-mile) light rail system had resumed after being put on hold due to financing troubles linked to the global financial crisis. It said the project would be completed in 2014, three years behind schedule. The tram is to serve Dubai Media City and Internet City as well the Burj al-Arab hotel and other luxury resorts, connecting with Dubai's already operational 70-kilometre (45-mile) metro rail network.
Source: Associated Foreign Press
Department of Finance completes Al-Sufouh tram project financing of $675 million
The Government of Dubai Media Office - 22 February 2012: The department of finance in Dubai today announced that it has successfully completed a dual currency financing of US$675million (six hundred seventy five million US dollars). The proceeds from the facility will go towards the completion of phase 1 of the construction of the Al-Sufouh Tram project in Dubai. The first phase of the project will see the construction of a 10km-long track starting from Dubai Marina and running all the way to the Knowledge Village. The transaction comprises a 13-year USD401million loan which will amortize over 10 years starting 2015, and is guaranteed by the official government export credit agencies of Belgium (ONDD) and France (COFACE). The second portion of the transaction is a 6-year USD274million Islamic Ijara facility, split equally in USD and AED, and amortizing over three years, also starting 2015, according to the Dept. of Finance quoted in a press release distributed today by the Government of Dubai Media Office. H.E. Abdulrahman Al-Saleh, Director General of the Dubai Department of Finance, said: "We have seen a very encouraging response to this financing, which is a testament to the strong confidence that the international banks have in Dubai's economy, and the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai." H.E. Al-Saleh re-affirmed that the Dubai Government is continually examining ways to optimize its funding strategy. He said that export credit agencies financing (ECA) is a good proof of the success of this strategy. "Through ECA, we have been able to achieve long-term financing at competitive rates while continuing to efficiently manage the Emirate's finances," he added. Citibank, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC acted as mandated lead arrangers and underwriters for the financing.
Saudi to invite consultants for Landbridge rail project designs
Saudi Arabia's state-owned Public Investment Fund, or PIF, and its unit Saudi Railway Co. will next week invite local and international consultants to prepare the designs for the local Landbridge rail project, Jeddah-based Okaz daily reports Wednesday, citing an official. The Landbridge railway will be the kingdom's major transportation line for shipping containers between the Jeddah Islamic Port on the west coast, the Riyadh Dry Port, and the King Abdul Aziz Port on the east coast, Mansour Al Maiman, PIF's secretary general, told the paper. After the appointment of the project's manager, a tender will be launched targeting local contractors who will form consortia with international companies [to implement the project], he told Okaz.
Etihad Airways honors Kuwait travel industry
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has paid tribute to travel agents in Kuwait at a gala dinner at the Kuwait Marriott Hotel. The event recognized the Kuwaiti travel industry’s continuous business support and commitment to the UAE carrier, on the back of improved route and revenue performance. In 2011, Etihad Airways carried 180,000 passengers to and from Kuwait, an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year. Awards were presented to 15 strongly performing agencies in Diamond, Pearl and Coral categories. Etihad Airways also acknowledged five other agencies with appreciation awards. The prestigious event was attended by 250 travel partners from 110 leading local travel companies, as well as senior travel industry officials. Nabil Matarweh, Etihad Airways Country Manager for Kuwait, said: “We are delighted to have the continuous support of the Kuwaiti travel industry, which has played a vital role in taking our success in Kuwait to new heights. “We owe much of this success to the importance of our business relationships with agencies and agents, who, day-in day-out, sell our service and we believe it is only right that we recognize and reward their support. “2012 will be an exciting year for Etihad Airways in Kuwait as we plan to work even more closely with our corporate guests to ensure they receive nothing but the best travel service and experience when flying with us.” Etihad Airways has been flying to Kuwait since July 2006. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the airline offers triple daily services to and from Kuwait, with seamless connections through Abu Dhabi to more than 80 passenger and cargo destinations internationally.
Mohebi plans $95 million logistics hub
Mohebi Logistics, a leading distributor of global brands across the Middle East, said it will invest Dh350 million ($95.2 million) to build its new headquarters and logistics facility at Dubai World Central (DWC). The DWC is part of Dubai Government’s overall strategy to enhance the emirate’s transport and logistics services and capitalize on its geographical location to strengthen Dubai’s reputation as an international trading and commercial hub. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, and Mohammed Mohebi, Mohebi Logistics CEO, signed the lease agreement for the 1.5 million sq. ft. plot in Dubai Logistics City (DLC). The Emirati company now joins the ranks of Aramex, Kuehne + Nagel, Panalpina, Hellmann Caliper, INL, RSA Logistics and other major industry players that are taking full advantage of DWC’s infrastructure, multi-modal transport accessibility, dedicated services and facilities, said Sheikh Ahmed. 'DWC consolidates Dubai’s position as a major international logistics hub. It establishes a strategic link to global markets and plays a crucial role in meeting the present and future needs of Dubai's aviation, tourism, trade and logistics sectors,' he remarked. 'Moreover, it demonstrates Dubai Government’s commitment to support key industry players such as Mohebi Logistics by providing the right combination of world-class infrastructure and value-added services,' he added. Mohammed Mohebi said, “We are proud and excited at the prospect of becoming a strategic partner of Dubai World Central and key contributor to Dubai’s continued economic growth. It is important that Emirati talent and know-how offered by home-grown companies are developed to support our leadership’s vision of creating a knowledge-based economy,' he noted. 'DWC will play a critical role in showcasing both Emirati talent and corporate capabilities, which in my opinion is [important] in serving our national interests,' he added. According to him, the construction of a new logistics base in DLC is part of Dh1 billion in investments that Mohebi Investments earmarked to establish itself as a major regional player. Khalifa Al Zaffin, executive chairman, Dubai Aviation City Corporation, said: “DLC supports the growing logistical needs of the region’s burgeoning business community. Furthermore, it provides direct access to a range of state-of-the-art infrastructure and services and multi-modal transport within a centralized location at DWC.' Rashed Bu Qara'a, COO, Dubai Aviation City Corporation said, 'Moving forward, DWC will continue to focus on building strong relations with clients as one of the cornerstones of our growth strategy.' Mohebi Logistics, which is part of the Zainal Mohebi Group, will build its corporate headquarters and facilities comprising 110,000 pallet positions, expanding the company’s storage and logistics facilities and almost doubling its capacity to serve its regional and global clientele. The headquarters and temperature-controlled warehousing facilities will be constructed in two phases.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
UPS, TNT in talks after $6.4 billion bid
United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest package delivery company, is in talks with TNT Express after its Dutch rival rejected a 4.9 billion-euro ($6.45 billion) cash bid, the companies said. UPS had made an offer of nine euros per share for all of TNT's issued capital, a premium of 42 per cent over TNT's closing price on Friday of 6.343 euros. "UPS confirms that, on 11 February, 2012, following discussions with TNT, it made a revised, increased and comprehensive proposal to acquire the entire issued share capital of TNT for nine euros per share in cash," the US firm said in a statement. "We are open to advancing the talks, and we continue to be in discussions," Ernst Moeksis, spokesman for TNT Express, told Reuters. UPS's bid emerged as activist shareholders in TNT stepped up calls for the company to shake up its board and increase shareholder value, which could include a takeover. Analysts have put a price tag on TNT Express of about 5 billion euros. The group has suffered declining revenues across all of its markets as the global economic slowdown led more customers to shun air transport in favor of cheaper shipping. Listed in May after it split from delivery firm PostNL, TNT Express shares have fallen from a high of 10.20 euros on May 10 to a low of 4.46 euros on October 6. "I find it difficult to believe that there's going to be a significant bidding war for these assets," said Art Hatfield, managing director in equity research at Morgan Keegan & Co., based in Memphis. "It's a good offer." Andre Mulder, analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, said he did not rule out a counter-offer from FedEx Corp. "We had expected FedEx to move as its European domestic share is only 2 percent," he said in a research note, adding that FedEx "has zero debt and could easily cough up this amount if it could find the banks to lend it the money. As TNT would be highly complementary, cost savings would be much smaller at some 100 million euros." Mulder said he did not see major objections from the competition authorities except perhaps in the United Kingdom. "TNT already is the domestic market leader in Europe with an 18 per cent share, with Deutsche Post second at 15 per cent. Adding the 10 per cent for UPS would take it to just below 30 per cent. Nearing a 33 per cent danger level, we think that only in the UK the combination may have too high a market share, so this could be subject to some disposals." PostNL, the largest shareholder in TNT Express with 29.9 percent, declined to comment on the UPS bid. It has already indicated that it would support a possible takeover. PostNL has taken impairments of more than 700 million euros on its stake in recent months on its TNT stake. Bowing to pressure from activist shareholders, TNT this month agreed to appoint several new members to its supervisory board, including two candidates proposed by American investor Jana Partners. Jana Partners called for an overhaul of the TNT Express supervisory board in December, including replacing the chairman, to try to force the Amsterdam-listed logistics company to improve operational performance while at the same time explore a sale. Jana, which together with Canada's Alberta Investment Management Corporation, has a combined stake in TNT Express of just over 5 percent, told Reuters earlier this year the current TNT management was destroying shareholder value and needed to be replaced.