• Monday, 25 June 2018
  • Published inJune 2018

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Country Risk Update – Kuwait
Risk Indicator – DB4b
Risk Level – Moderate

Ratings Trend – Stable

In Kuwait a pending resolution of the Divided Zone dispute with Saudi Arabia will boost oil production capacity. The risk of insecurity, including sectarian tensions between Kuwaitis, remains higher than usual in light of regional tensions such as Saudi-Iranian rivalry.

Market Overview

JPMorgan Sells Stake In Saudi Investment Bank For $203 Million
The Saudi Investment Bank announced that it fully bought out JPMorgan International Finance Company’s stake in it for a sum of $203 million.The company announced the signing of an agreement for the purchase of the full stake of JPMorgan International Finance Company in the Saudi Investment Bank amounting to 56,245,350 shares, which represent 7.49% of the share capital of the Saudi Investment Bank for $ 3.6 per share. This deal is subject to regulatory approvalsThe Saudi Investment Bank does not intend to reduce its capital in this transaction but will retain it as treasury shares and re-issue it to shareholders later as a priority share. The bank will seek all regulatory approvals required to complete the transaction.The New York-headquartered bank has said that it is selling its stake as a part of its policy of divesting non-core assets globally.

Good News For Female Managers As Saudi Arabia Celebrates First Day Of Driving For Women
As clock struck 12, women drivers across the Kingdom took the wheel as a long-awaited decades long ban on females driving came to an end on June 24, 2018. One of the most prominent women driver was businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s daughter Reem, who drove around with her father and her children as she celebrated the lifting of the ban. Alwaleed termed the step as a “great achievement” in a video posted on Twitter. On June 5, 10 women received their license after swapping their foreign licenses for a local one. Authorities expected 2,000 women to have their driving license by the time the ban was lifted on June 24. The removal of the ban is part of reforms instituted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to offset the fall in oil revenues- one of the main sources of public income. The move is expected to benefit the country positively as it could boost its growth rate primarily by increasing the participation of women in the workforce.
According to a survey by recruitment website GulfTalent, 82% of women plan on taking up driving this year. This is expected to provide more career progression for women by giving them the mobility required for managerial positions, paving their way to senior roles.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Acquires 10% Interest In Egypt Gas Field Shorouk Concession From Italian Giant Eni
Abu Dhabi’s state-run Mubadala Investment Company has made its first investment in Egypt after its petroleum unit completed an acquisition in offshore Shorouk Concession in Egypt from Italy’s Eni. IEOC, a subsidiary of Eni, owns 50% interest in the concession, while Rosneft has a 30% and BP had close to 10%.The value of the deal, which was first announced in March 2018, was not disclosed. Mubadala’s investment comes as the company revealed its intention to step up its investments following a rise in its 2017 income post domestic consolidation with other investment arms of Abu Dhabi government.​ “The acquisition of a 10% interest in the Shorouk concession with the producing Zohr gas field is a significant portfolio addition for Mubadala Petroleum and marks our entry into Egypt,” said Dr. Bakheet Al Katheeri, CEO of Mubadala Petroleum. The offshore concession contains Zohr gas field which was discovered in 2015 by Italian oil and gas giant Eni. It is the largest ever natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea and has a total potential of up to 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. 

Cleartrip Acquires Saudi Online Travel Firm Flyin As It Eyes Growth In The GCC
Travel booking firm Cleartrip has acquired Saudi Arabia-based online travel aggregator Flyin as it looks to further consolidate its market presence within its focus markets. Although the deal value was not disclosed, a source familiar with the matter said that it amounted to more than $70 million. Cleartrip said in a press release that it was one of the largest deal in the travel space and will provide the company with a wider reach and a larger client base in one of the region’s biggest market.“When we started we realized that Saudi is a lot more complicated than other GCC markets,” Stuart Crighton, Founder and CEO of Cleartrip said in a phone interview. He added that the acquisition will help Cleartrip achieve scale in the Kingdom while improving its market share. Post the deal, Cleartrip will have a 60% market share in the GCC, the company said. Founded in 2008, Flyin says that it is the largest online travel company in KSA.Cleartrip, which originated in India, is now increasing its market presence in the Middle East. It has a 22% market share in its home market of India but has rapidly gained ground in the GCC too.

Abraaj To Sell Part Of Its Fund Management Business To US Based Colony Capital
Following an approval from the Cayman Islands Courts for a provisional liquidation and business restructuring, Abraaj Holdings inked a sale and purchase agreement with U.S.-based Colony Capital for its Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds management business. According to the agreement, all of Abraaj’s staff in the eight offices will be transferred to Colony Capital. Further to the deal the U.S. based investment management company will oversee—on an interim basis—other group funds that it did not acquire so that Abraaj’s stakeholders have a complete global situation in place. Colony Capital was initially in advanced talks to buy Abraaj’s fund management business but backed away after due diligence raised some red flags about the buyout firm. Other investors such as Cerberus Capital Management LP and a unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group had also previously showed interest in purchasing Abraaj’s fund management business. But none of the deals went through.

Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE

HostApp Summit 2018
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall C&D,
Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre
06 August – 07 August 2018
Business Updates

Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

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