In a breakthrough on 3 May, the Kuwait cabinet approved two public-private partnership (PPP) projects which had been held up by the State Audit Bureau.Business opportunities should increase as the government targets a more diverse economy with its national development plan.
UAE banking sector remains resilient, says central bank chief The UAE banking sector remains resilient, with robust capital ratios, liquidity buffers, profitability, and stable sources of funding, according to Central Bank governor Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori. The bank’s Financial Stability Report for 2017 showed that macroeconomic and financial-market conditions remained stable in the UAE last year while the global and domestic economic growth and outlook improved during the year. It added that improved economic conditions have not yet translated into a credit expansion in the domestic retail and corporate sectors.The Central Bank said the UAE banking sector remained well capitalised, with solid liquidity buffers, stable funding, and improved profitability.While the liquid assets of the banking sector increased and stable funding indicators improved, bank lending growth slowed down during the year, although lending growth to the real estate sector increased.The general and specific loan loss provisions remained adequate at above 100 percent, despite the slight uptick in the non-performing loans ratio, the report noted.
Saudi’s Arbah offers $66m financing for upmarket London project
Saudi-based Arbah Capital has announced its participation in the £500 million ($666 million) Regent’s Crescent project in prime central London, UK with a shariah compliant mezzanine financing facility of up to £50 million ($66 million).The development is for 76 high-end residential units facing Regent’s Park in the heart of the UK capital city.It is the rebuild of an 1800s Grade 1 listed building designed by John Nash, who was the architect of Buckingham Palace. The development is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020, a statement said.Mahmood Al Kooheji, CEO of Arbah Capital, said: “This is a landmark moment in Arbah Capital’s successful progress into becoming an investment bank which participates in carefully selected, risk adjusted, and investment opportunities internationally.
Abu Dhabi’s New $13.6 Billion Reform Plan To Create 10,000 Jobs Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved an AED 50 billion ($13.6 billion) economic stimulus package for Abu Dhabi, aimed at accelerating the economic growth over the next three years.In order to boost the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi’s private sector, the plan will comprise a set of initiatives covering infrastructure and legislative projects, as well as SMEs, and industrial and social projects.The plan also included a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi, reducing associated costs across industries. This includes exempting all new licenses from the requirement of having an office or a work space in the emirate for two years, permitting permanent home licenses, and implementing instant licensing systems in most commercial license types and all services provided by the government.The government will also issue dual licenses for companies in Abu Dhabi free zones to enable them to work outside the free zones and to participate in government tenders.
Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Secures $300 Million Islamic Loan Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co has raised a $300 million Islamic loan from a group of regional banks in an effort to repay its outstanding debts. The Saudi-listed retail giant secured the funds by signing a Murabaha loan agreement with the National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, it announced in a stock exchange statement. Murabaha is an Islamic financing structure where a loan does not carry interest, and therefore remains Sharia compliant.The loan will be used to repay the outstanding balance on a $266 million syndicated loan the company signed in 2014 and the total amount of a $133 million in sukuk issued in the same year. The sukuks are due to be repaid in 2019. The new lslamic loan has a seven-year maturity, and a payment plan every six months.
Ras Al Khaimah says 2018 oil, gas licensing round ‘proving popular’
The RAK Petroleum Authority has announced that international companies have expressed an interest in bidding for oil and gas exploration concessions in Ras Al Khaimah.Launched on April 1 to attract regional and international companies aiming to expand their portfolios in the UAE, the 2018 RAK Licensing Round is proving to be popular, state news agency WAM reported.The newly established RAK Petroleum Authority is managing the licensing round in accordance with the directives of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. The licensing round has successfully generated an encouraging and positive response from many international companies eager to explore Ras Al Khaimah’s oil and gas potential,” said Nishant Dighe, CEO of the RAK Petroleum Authority and RAK Gas.The licensing process covers seven contract areas that span almost the entire emirate of Ras Al Khaimah including four shallow water offshore blocks and three onshore blocks.The process remains open to interested parties until later this year.Data rooms have been set up in RAK and London to view the 2,200 sq km concessions.
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