Middle East Business News Review – 22 August

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Photo – Vahid Salemi/AP


Middle East Business News Review:  Top Business News from the Middle East & North Africa

Middle East investment lifts top European clubs to new heights

Investment from the Middle East is matching record levels of revenue in European football, a report compiled by an international professional services group said on Wednesday.

The 2012 Deloitte Football Money League reported that during the 2010/11 season, the combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest revenue generating football clubs grew by 3% year-on-year to exceed $6 billion, in part due to investment from the Middle East region.

Saudi Aramco to develop off-shore oil field, boost gas production – reports

Saudi Arabia will begin deep-water drilling in the Red Sea by the end of the year and is expected to announce the results of current projects sometime next year, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, said in an interview.

A Saudi daily separately reported on Wednesday that Riyadh is also developing a natural gas field called Midyan in the northwestern part of the kingdom.

Saudi Aramco’s Chief Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih told the Eqtisadiah newspaper that gas will be used for power generation. The company confirmed on Tuesday it has released the engineering, procurement and construction tenders for the Midyan gas processing project that will cost about $800 million.

Iran procures huge amount of wheat on global markets

European traders said on Wednesday Iran’s state grains agency has discreetly purchased around 400,000 metric tons of milling wheat during the past week largely from the European Union, Baltic Sea and Black Sea regions, with some traders expecting up to 500,000 metric tons involved.

Iranian wheat imports are usually handled by the private sector but the state had to step in and help with purchasing earlier this year because of the disruption to trade financing caused by Western sanctions aimed at Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Iran has in the past exported wheat but the trade sanctions were imposed after a bad harvest, forcing the country to quietly enter global markets and make substantial wheat purchases to help feed its large population.

Egypt’s Mursi requests $4.8 billion IMF loan

Egyptian officials said they have requested a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund during a visit on Wednesday by its chief Christine Lagarde to discuss helping the ailing economy.

Cairo said last week it would discuss a bigger-than-expected loan from the fund, whose support could help to stave off a balance of payments crisis and rebuild confidence of investors who fled during 18 months of political turmoil.

Egypt’s military-appointed interim government had been negotiating a $3.2 billion package before it handed power to President Mohamed Mursi on 30 June. The deal was not finalised.

Algeria to spend $6 billion on country-wide tram projects

Algeria announced it will invest more than $6 billion to modernise public transport by introducing trams in 14 cities nationwide, media reports said.

Algiers Subway Company (EMA) said the provinces that will benefit from the trams are Sidi Bel Abbes, Mostaganem, Tlemcen and Bechar in west Algeria, Setif, Annaba, Batna, Beja a, Biskra, Skikda, Tebessa and Ourgla in the east, and Blida and Djelfa in the centre.

Algiers is the only city in the country that has a tram at present, with two stretches of the first line linking Bordj El Kifan neighbourhood in the eastern outskirts to Les Fusiles in downtown Algiers, Xinhua news agency quoted reports as saying.

UAE firm wins new deal to build two new boats

UAE-based Grandweld Shipyards said on Wednesday it has been awarded a contract to design and build another two 42M aluminum crew boats for a US-based yacht brokerage firm.

The deal with Global Marine follows the successful delivery of three 41M aluminum crew boats in 2011, Grandweld said in a statement.

The vessels are designed to reach a speed in excess of 26 knots, and feature crew seating capacity of 83 persons, and 104 sq m loading area for over 90 tonnes of deck cargo. The boats are scheduled for delivery in August 2013, the statement added.

Burj Khalifa firm to build world’s tallest statue

US-based management firm behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – is set to claim another record after it signed a deal to build the world’s tallest statue.

US firm Turner Project Management will head up a consortium which has been assigned to build the 182-metre-high Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel. Located in the midst of Narmada River in western India, the statue will be the tallest in the world and almost four times the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Qatar buys 22% stake in China’s CITIC Capital

CITIC Capital Holdings said on Wednesday a unit of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has subscribed to new shares in the Chinese investment firm, equivalent to a 22 percent stake.

CITIC Capital, partly owned by China’s sovereign wealth fund, did not give financial details of the investment by Qatar Holding, a unit of Qatar Investment, in its newly issued shares.

IndiGo set to link Dubai to southern India

Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo has announced the introduction of new flights connecting Dubai to destinations in southern India.

Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo, said the airline would launch its new daily and non-stop flights between Kochi and Dubai and Chennai and Dubai on August 25.

In comments published by the Hindu Business Line, he said the airline will be offering introductory return fares of AED734 on all new flights. Recently IndiGo launched its second daily and direct flight between Dubai and Delhi and between Delhi and Bangkok. Hyderabad has also been connected with Dubai recently.

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