CRIF GULF WEEKLY INSIGHTS Wishing our readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
Country Risk Update – Oman
Risk Indicator – DB4b Risk Level – Moderate
Ratings Trend – Deteriorating
Oman’s economic fundamentals have improved on the back of a higher oil price, but growth is set to remain muted in 2017 and 2018. In addition, the government is looking to raise alternative revenue streams through taxation, and to issue greater levels of debt to ease the pressure on public accounts.
GlaxoSmithKline Raises Stake In Saudi Unit By 26% Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) acquired an additional 26% stake in its Saudi unit, taking the company’s overall share in Glaxo Saudi Arabia Limited (GSAL) to 75% in total. GSK is investing more than $243 million in its Saudi operations over the next three years. Through this investment the company intends to expand its production of the Jeddah manufacturing site by 30% in the next three years followed by more investments to be done by 2020. GSK’s increased investment comes as the Kingdom looks to strengthen its manufacturing sector, an industry that was identified as being largely untapped by investors.
Fog forces dozens of flight cancellations across UAE Thick fog on 24 December 2017 disrupted flights at major airports in the UAE as thousands of foreign residents rushed to travel home for Christmas and the New Year. Dozens of flights were cancelled, diverted or delayed at the three main airports in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. At the Dubai airport, one of the busiest in the world, at least 17 flights were cancelled, as visibility dropped to just 100 metres in some areas of the emirate.At least another 100 incoming flights were either diverted to nearby airports or delayed, according to the flight schedule at the airport.
GCC investors snap up 53% of UK homes project More than half of a UK developer’s flagship project in Manchester, has been sold off-plan to GCC investors. Origin Homes, a unit of British developer Select Property, said 53 percent of its Laurence Place project has been snapped up by investors from Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Origin Homes offers investors complete flexibility, meaning they have the choice to occupy it themselves, allow a family member or friend to use the property, or rent it on the open market. Laurence Place, which comprises 209 studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, is in a prime central location in the heart of Manchester’s central business and retail districts.
Brick and mortar ‘more optimal’ than e-commerce, says Eros Group CEO While the rise of e-commerce has led to increased openings of online shops, physical stores continue to be stronger, according to the chief executive of consumer electronics giant Eros Group.Speaking to sources, Niranjan Gidwani said the segment accounts for just 5 percent of the total consumer electronics retail business in the UAE, as customers prefer to experience certain products before making a purchase.“Consumers find it an ideal channel when shopping for smartphones or accessories, but look to traditional channels for appliances and televisions,” he said, adding that the theory that e-commerce is more optimal than brick and mortar has “long been debunked.”
VAT launch to ‘lure more real estate investors’ to Dubai The introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the UAE from next month will provide major new incentives for institutional investors to enter the Dubai real estate market, according to the head of one of the country’s largest brokerages. Firas Al Msaddi, CEO of fäm Properties, believes that the new level of transparency in real estate transactions brought about by the introduction of VAT will provide a vital extra incentive to institutional investors.From January 1, 2018, the new 5 percent VAT Law will be applied to all products and services in the UAE, unless exempted or zero rated by federal law, and Al Msaadi said he is confident that Dubai real estate will benefit from a more open and clear system in which to invest.
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