Middle East Business News Review – 24 July
Middle East Business News Review – A look at today’s important financial news and business updates from the Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East North Africa region posted a positive performance result in June 2012 despite lingering economic concerns, a global travel research firm said on Tuesday.
The region’s occupancy increased 8.7% to 58.2% during the month while its average daily rate fell 1.8% to $136.16. Revenue per available room also rose 6.8% to $79.22, the Smith Travel Research Global survey revealed.
The report disclosed top Middle East destination Dubai achieved the largest ADR increase, rising 9.8% to $170.07, followed by Amman with an 8.2% increase to $155.51. Doha, another emerging tourist destination, ended the month with the largest occupancy decrease, falling 11.8% to 49.4%.
Algeria and the United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday they will jointly produce NIMR armoured vehicles in the North African country. The agreement, signed on 19 July between the Algerian Ministry of Defence’s Mechanical Industry Promotion Group and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) Tawazun Holdings, said the NIMR-Algerie Joint Stock Company will be established in Khenchela in the northeast of the country, Algerian Press Service reported.
Abu Dhabi-based Tawazun owns NIMR Automotive. The company produces a family of interoperable 4×4 and 6×6 armoured vehicles with a common chassis and can be configured for various missions, including reconnaissance, border surveillance, logistics, urban warfare, ambulance, command and control. It can also be used as an armoured personnel carrier.
Saudi Arabia is set to lead growth in Middle East’s infrastructure and construction spending over the next 15 years, a report compiled by BofA Merrill Lynch said on Tuesday.
The study noted that the construction sector across the Middle East and North Africa region will be a key beneficiary of governmental reforms to end their dependence on oil income and raise input of the non-oil sector.
Iraq oil ministry announced on Tuesday it has decided not to sign any oil deals with Chevron Corp and blacklist the oil giant until further notice. The decision came as the California-based oil corporation purchased stakes in Iraqi Kurdistan’s two blocks and announced exploration plans.
“In line with Oil Ministry policy based on the constitution, the Oil Ministry announces the disqualification of Chevron company and bars it from signing any deals with the federal Oil Ministry and its companies,” the statement said.
The Jordanian government is exploring ways to increase taxes as one way to reduce budget deficit but taking utmost care not to upset common daily economic activity for most of the population, especially now that Ramadan has begun, an international business think tank report said.
The study conducted by the Oxford Business Group suggested that the kingdom posted better-than-expected economic figures for the first quarter of 2012 and noted a 3% expansion in GDP. However, the Oxford-based publisher noted that the government is cautiously leaning on tax hikes and arbitrary measures to boost government revenue until the economy rebounds.
First Gulf Bank (FGB), the UAE’s second-largest lender, reported a 14 percent year-on-year rise in second quarter net profit, it was announced on Tuesday.
The lender, which is part-owned by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, made a net profit of AED1.017bn (US$276m) between April and June 2012, compared with AED890m in the same period the year before.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the largest lender by market value in the UAE, reported a two percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday due to higher net interest income, meeting forecasts.
NBAD had second-quarter net profit of AED1.05bn ($284.8m), up from 1.03 billion dirhams in the same period a year earlier, the bank said in a statement.
Analysts had forecast an average profit of AED1.031bn in a Reuters poll.
Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft announced on Tuesday that it has won a contract to supply the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) with 24 training aircraft.
Pilatus will supply a complete PC-21 training system, consisting of a fleet of 24 PC-21 trainer aircraft, a suite of ground based training system assets and an extensive logistics support and maintenance package.
The company did not disclose the value of the contract in a statement.
Kuwait Zain telecom said on Tuesday it has raised its stake in Zain Saudi Arabia from 25% to 37.04% following a capital restructuring.
Zain Telecom paid $347 million to buy shares in a rights issue launched by Zain Saudi Arabia as part of a capital restructuring process by the loss-making unit, a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website said.
The $1.6 billion rights issue closed on Saturday after it was 105% over subscribed.