• Monday, 21 May 2018
  • Published inMay 2018

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Country Risk Update – Oman
Risk Indicator – DB4d
Risk Level – Moderate
Ratings Trend – Deteriorating

The government introduces measures to boost job creation in the public and private sectors amid rising discontent over unemployment. The government is targeting high-end tourism as an area for growth. Oman’s intangible wealth is low due to the limited education and skill-sets of its labour force. The ports of Sohar and Salalah are emerging as regionally competitive infrastructure facilities, soon to be joined by Al Duqm.

Market Overview

Naguib Sawiris’ Beltone Financial To Acquire Significant Stake In Oragroup
Egypt-based investment bank Beltone Financial Holdings (BTFH) – owned by the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris – is looking to acquire a significant interest in Oragroup, a regional bank in Africa.The transaction comes as Beltone Financial looks to grow its investments and expand within the financial services industry in the African continent. Oragroup has a strong presence in Africa with its 143 branches that serve over 400,000 clients in 12 African countries in western and central Africa.​While BTFH didn’t disclose the value of the potential deal, it noted that it seeks to sign a non-binding offer to set out the indicative terms for a possible transaction, BTFH intends to conduct a preliminary financial feasibility study for the transaction before commencing a comprehensive and non-exclusive due diligence process to reach an agreement with respect to the possible transaction and the execution of the relevant implementation agreements.​

UAE approves 100% ownership of companies, new ten-year visa
The UAE has approved a new long-term visa system aimed at attracting international investors and high-skilled professional workers. In a major announcement, the UAE cabinet also approved 100% foreign ownership of companies in the country, which has previously been limited to those companies based in freezones. The ten-year visa will be made available to investors in the UAE, as well as those who are specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators. A separate five-year residency visa will be made available to students studying in the UAE, and 10-year visas for “exceptional students”, news agency WAM reported.

Abraaj’s alleged misuse of money said to go beyond health fund
Two separate examinations into the alleged misuse of money at embattled Middle Eastern investment firm Abraaj Group found potential irregularities in its $1 billion healthcare fund as well as its other vehicles, according to people with knowledge of the matter.An audit commissioned some months ago by four high-profile investors including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation suggested that money from the healthcare fund was being diverted elsewhere, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Preliminary findings from a separate review by Deloitte – at Dubai-based Abraaj’s request – also threw up potential discrepancies in the accounting at some of the other pools, they said.Deloitte, whose review is still underway, is discussing its findings so far with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the people said. The markets regulator has yet to decide on a course of action, they said​.

SAAB And Alawwal Bank’s Merger To Create Third-Largest Listed Bank In Saudi Arabia
After a year of talks, Saudi British Bank (SAAB) and Alawwal Bank have reached a preliminary, non-binding agreement to merge through the share exchange ratio. Based on this agreement, Alawwal Bank shareholders would receive 0.485 SABB shares for each Alawwal Bank share depending on this exchange ratio and the closing price of SAR 33.5 per SABB share at the last trading day prior to the date of this announcement. SAAB, which is backed by HSBC, will offer to pay 28.5% premium to the Alawwal Bank, by valuing Alawwal Bank’s share price at SAR 16.3 and by valuing Alawwal Bank’s existing issued ordinary share capital at approximately SAR 18.6 billion (around $5 billion). The proposed merger between SABB and Alawwal Bank would create the kingdom’s third-largest listed bank in terms of assets, profits and revenues. The two banks generate collectively $76.7 billion in total assets, while revenues around $3.4 billion, and profits about $1.4 billion, according to the financial statements of the two banks in 2017.

ADNOC Inks Deal With Spain’s Cepsa To Develop Manufacturing Facility In Ruwais
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is moving ahead with plans to create a new linear alkylbenzene (LAB) facility at its refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais, after signing a project development agreement with Spain’s Cepsa. The new agreement with Cepsa came a day after ADNOC revealed plans to invest $45 billion alongside partners over the next five years to enhance and expand its refining operations and capabilities as it works to become a global player in the downstream sector.Through its investment strategy, ADNOC will create the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in Ruwais and pursue highly targeted overseas investments to secure greater market access. These investments are expected to add more than 15,000 jobs by 2025 and contribute an additional 1% to GDP per year.

Commodity Tracker

Business Events this Week In UAE

The Indian Property Show
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
21 June 2018 To 23 June 2018
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