Middle East Business News Review – 22 October

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Today’s top business and economy news from the Middle East and North Africa:

Global Ports purchases DP World stake in Far East port

DP World, the world’s third-largest port operator, said on Monday it has sold its 25% stake in container terminal Vostochnaya Stevedoring Co to Russia’s Global Ports Investment for $230 million.

Following the sale, Global Ports will now take full control of the Vostochnaya terminal. It already held a 75% stake before the sale. The transaction is expected to close later this week, DP World said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai.

According to Global Ports, the Vostochnaya Stevedoring Co, based in the port of Vostochny, is the largest container terminal in the Far East of Russia and one of the key gateways for Russian container transport.

UAE’s Dana Gas discovers gas in Egypt’s Nile Delta

A United Arab Emirates gas company announced on Monday it had discovered natural gas in Egypt’s Nile Delta, estimating the deposit at between 4 billion and 6 billion cubic feet.

The Sharjah-based company, which is also the Middle East’s first and largest regional private sector natural gas company, said it has discovered a new gas field in the Nile Delta, Egypt. The discovery was at West Sama-1 in the West El Qantara Concession..

Dana Gas said the find was its second natural gas discovery in Egypt this year, after successful drilling in the Komombo Concession in the second quarter.

Dubai mall among world’s most profitable

Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates has been named among the world’s top 10 most profitable shopping malls in a new report.

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ flagship mall in Dubai, has been ranked the seventh most productive shopping centre in the world, earning $1,423 per sq ft per annum, according to research by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC).

According to ICSC, the 2.5 million sq ft Mall of The Emirates is nearly three times more profitable per sq ft than the industry average. The research said its sales surpass those of some of the most internationally renowned shopping destinations in Los Angeles, Toronto and Orlando.

Oman to create more jobs by establishing free zones

Oman announced on Monday it is planning to invest $450 million to extend its free trade zones across the country as part of its bid to attract more foreign investment and diversify its oil-based economy.

Foreign direct investment registered a decrease last year, a discouraging sign for non-OPEC crude exporter which is trying to create tens of thousands of jobs every year for its fast-growing population of some 2 million nationals.

Muscat hopes to tackle these issues by expanding its free trade zones.

S.Korea’s Samsung Engineering wins $871m order in Saudi Arabia

amsung Engineering Co said on Monday it won an $871 million order to expand a hydrogen refinery in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia from the Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company (Luberef).

The South Korean engineering company said in a statement that construction is slated to be completed by July 2015.

Iraqi Kurdistan to raise oil exports in 2013 on conditions

Kurdistan regional government said it is ready to export 250,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2013 if the central government pays the autonomous region’s operators. The move is widely been seen as an effort to ease dispute over control of Iraq’s crude.

Erbil halted shipments of its oil in April in protest over what it said was Baghdad’s failure to pay foreign oil companies, but resumed exports after reaching an initial deal in September.

The agreement was reached during a visit to Baghdad by a Kurdish delegation, which met ministers from Al Maliki administration to iron out disagreements over the 2013 draft national budget. Current Iraqi Kurdistan shipments are around 140,000 barrels per day and are expected to rise to 200,000 bpd by the end of the year.

70% of GCC firms plan to up hiring in 2013

More than two third of GCC companies are expected to hire new staff next year, according to the results of a new survey by HR giant Mercer.

Its 2012 Total Remuneration Survey showed that more than 70 percent of surveyed organisations are anticipating growth within various departments as they look to accelerate recruitment in 2013.

The results from more than 500 firms also forecast a rise in salaries by five percent in the UAE, 5.6 percent in Qatar and six percent in Saudi Arabia during 2013.

Egypt to seek $2bn aid from Algeria – report

An unnamed Egyptian government official said Prime Minister Hisham Kandil will hold talks with Algerian government to seek aid worth $2 billion during a visit to Algeria, an Egyptian newspaper reported on Monday.

Egypt is struggling for funds to bring down its budget deficit and avert a defaulting on its payments until a $4.8 billion loan is secured from the International Monetary Fund.

Reuters quoted two unnamed official sources as saying that Cairo was seeking aid from the fellow north African state. There was no word about the form of the assistance though. One official confirmed the amount in question was around $2 billion.

Somali piracy at 3-year low after security thwarts gangs

Somali pirate attacks fell to their lowest in three years in the first nine months of 2012 as tougher navy action and private armed security teams deterred gangs, a maritime watchdog said.

Last year, Somali piracy in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern Indian Ocean netted $160 million, and cost the world economy some $7 billion, according to the American One Earth Future foundation.

In the January to September period, attacks involving Somali pirates fell to 70 compared with 199 incidents in the first nine months of last year and was at its lowest since 2009, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Monday. Only one ship was targeted by pirates in the third quarter of 2012, the IMB said, adding that piracy off West Africa was increasing however.

Oil prices rebound on Middle East tensions

Oil prices rebounded on Monday from sharp pre-weekend losses, as investors tracked Middle East tensions.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December gained 49 cents to $110.63 a barrel in London midday trade.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, grew 54 cents to $90.59 a barrel.



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