Newsletter 100 Issue December (Copy 80)

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Country Risk Update - Kuwait

Risk Indicator - DB4b
Risk Level - Moderate
Ratings Trend - Stable

Despite its oil wealth, Kuwait's bureaucracy and combative politics make it a difficult place to do business. The disintegration of the GCC as a result of the Qatar crisis leaves Kuwait in a difficult position and could harm market opportunities. 
Market Overview
Dubai-Based Ride Hailing Giant Careem Launches Operations In Sudan
Careem, Uber’s largest rival in the Middle East, expanded its services into a 14thcountry as it launched operations in Khartoum, Sudan, becoming one of the few international companies to enter the African nation.The move comes months after the United States lifted long-standing economic sanctions against Sudan. The sanctions included a trade embargo, a freeze on some government assets, and restrictions on Sudanese banks including the ability of foreign banks to do business with Sudan.With the move into Khartoum, the ride-hailing company aims to expand its mission by working to simplify the lives of its people and boosting the economy of Sudan.​Commenting on becoming one of the very few international companies to enter the country, CEO Musassir Sheikha said that the company is thrilled at launching in Khartoum and is able to “create various business opportunities, job creation and mobility also help improve the transportation sector.”​
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Launches Joint Venture To Develop Oil Fields In Russia
Abu Dhabi state-owned investment giant Mubadala has completed a deal establishing a joint venture to develop oil fields in Russia, along with local partners Gazprom Neft and Russia’s sovereign wealth fund.The deal was completed through Mubadala’s wholly-owned subsidiary Mubadala Petroleum.The move finalizes an agreement initially struck in May 2018, and marks Mubadala Petroleum’s first foray into Russia’s oil and gas sector, according to a statement issued by the partners. The venture will focus on oil fields in the Tomsk and Omsk regions of Western Siberia. The proved and probable reserves of hydrocarbons in the fields amount to 300 million barrels, with oil production at 33,000 barrels per day in 2017, according to the statement. Oil from the fields is sold into Russian domestic and international markets and transported primarily through the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.In the deal, Mubadala Petroleum has acquired a 44% stake in Gazpromneft-Vostok, which operates the 13 fields. Gazprom Neft holds a 51% stake in the venture, while the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) possesses the remaining 5%. Financials of the joint venture were not disclosed. 
Samsung partners with UAE startup on discount voucher service
UAE-based startup VoucherSkout’s discount voucher platform has attracted interest from global smartphone giant Samsung.Both companies have announced they are pairing up to introduce a digital savings service across the UAE called Samsung Pay Vouchers.VoucherSkout’s service allows customers, through its app, to avail 50% offers at F&B and entertainment outlets across the country.Customers pay to buy the vouchers as they use them instead of having to pay for an annual subscription to offers.Until the partnership was announced, the startup had more than 45,000 users and 300 merchants across the UAE.The new collaboration will see its offers integrated with digital payments platform Samsung Pay to offer 50% off discounts to customers using Samsung phones.Founded by David Tobias in 2016, VoucherSkout’s service allows the companies it works with to increase revenue by growing awareness around their products and services. With the new partnership, the startup will add Samsung Pay customers to its audience, it said in a statement.
Abraaj fund unit that managed $14bn is said to get $1 bid
Abraaj Group’s fund unit, which managed about $14 billion at its peak and was one of the most influential emerging market investors, received a bid from private equity firm Actis for $1, people familiar with the matter said.Chicago-based Vistria Group, Rohatyn Group, Kuwait’s Agility Public Warehousing Co and Abu Dhabi Financial Group also made offers for the floundering Middle Eastern buyout firm’s business, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.Abraaj’s liquidators are also getting offers for regional operations within the unit, the people said.Colony Capital, whose earlier bid for Abraaj’s entire fund business was rejected, made an offer for its Latin American operations, while Helios Capital Management is bidding for the Africa platform, they said.NBK Capital, the investment banking unit of National Bank of Kuwait, made an offer for Abraaj’s Middle East and North Africa business, they said.London-based investment firm Centricus, run by co-founders Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu, made an offer to buy the Turkish and South East Asian portions of the business, two of the people said. Brookfield Asset Management may also be interested in parts of the unit, the people said.
3 Major UAE Banks In Talks To Merge Into A $110 Billion Powerhouse
Oil-rich Abu Dhabi is mulling another potential bank merger between three of its banks, which would result in a financial powerhouse with combined assets of $110 billion.Locally-listed Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Union National Bank (UNB) along with privately-held Al Hilal Bank, are exploring a merger between the three entities, creating the UAE’s second largest bank and the fifth largest in the GCC. The potential merger comes as the emirate — home to 6% of the global crude reserves — looks to insulate itself from the low price oil environment.Last year, two of Abu Dhabi’s biggest banks, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank entered into a mega-merger to create First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest bank in the country and the second largest in the GCC with $188 billion in assets.This was followed by the consolidation of two of the emirate’s sovereign wealth funds, Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Investment Council, creating a behemoth with estimated combined assets of $250 billion, making it the world’s eleventh largest sovereign fund.For the past four years, lower oil prices have pushed lenders across the region to consolidate, which has resulted in a 62% jump in mergers and acquisitions in the Middle East during the first half of 2017, according to a report by McKenzie.
Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE
Zameen Pakistan Property Expo
@ Za’abeel Hall 5, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre
Date14 September 2018 To 15 September 2018
Business Updates
We are proud to be part of Forbes Italy magzine in it's July edition.
“The next level of decision-making” a page dedicated to CRIF which higlights CRIF’s vision, strategies and value proposition and how these allow the company to promptly satisfy the increasingly sophisticated needs of markets on a global level with incerpts from Carlo Gheradi and Eugenio Bonomi.
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