Middle East Business News Review – A look at today’s important financial news and business updates from the Middle East and North Africa
The UAE, which has leapt six places to 20th in the past five years, has performed strongly on the world’s most attractive mergers and acquisitions markets, according to new global country rankings.
The US continues to enjoy the top global ranking in terms of M&A maturity, closely followed by Singapore, the 2012 M&A Maturity Index report said. The UK follows in third position ahead of Hong Kong in fourth.
Iran announced the launching of the first domestically-produced aframax oil tanker on Tuesday, part of its programme to counter US-led Western sanctions which aim to target oil exports and restrict its maritime trade.
The Fars news agency reported that the oil tanker was ordered by Venezuela, Iran’s chief Latin America ally.
Iran Khodro, Iran’s main automobile company, announced on Wednesday it has the full capacity to cope with French car maker Peugeot’s decision to halt exports of vehicle kits for assembly, reports coming from Tehran said.
Ahmad Nematbakhsh, secretary of Iranian Automakers Association, said such a move cannot have a great impact on the country’s car industry as Iran is able to produce or supply the parts needed for Peugeot passenger cars domestically. He added that the Iranian manufacturers can produce the needed parts or supply it through third companies.
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Kuwait compete in London Olympics has increased the turnout of Kuwaiti citizens buying tickets for various games.
Abdul Wahab Al Senafi, in charge of an online sport website, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the turnout of citizens increased more than three times right after the decision was announced. He expected the numbers to increase in the next few days.
Many Kuwaitis are rushing to buy tickets of various Olympic Games in which compatriot athletes are participating in.
The International Monetary Fund announced on Wednesday a $2bn loan agreement has been reached with Jordan as it struggles with surging borrowing costs and political unrest.
The Washington-based lender said on its website it agreed to a request for a 3-year stand-by accord “in support of the government’s economic reform programme”. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s executive board.
Etisalat, the Abu Dhabi-based telco with operations in 16 countries, on Wednesday announced a net profit after federal royalty of AED1.9bn ($517m) for the second quarter of 2012.
The figure represented growth of three percent over the previous quarter, and a year-on-year growth of 17 percent on quarterly Group consolidated revenue of AED8.252bn, an increase of four percent year-on-year.
The company, the Gulf’s No 2 telecom operator, said in a statement that revenue from international operations grew by 14 percent to AED2.3bn.
Family businesses are the backbone of the Kingdom’s economy contributing SR 350 billion or 25 percent of its gross domestic product, according to Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Chairman Saleh Kamel.
“There are more than 5,000 family businesses across the Kingdom, of which only 156 are listed on the Saudi bourse. This is a small figure compared to the prospects this market holds,” Kamel said while opening a forum on ‘Family-owned businesses vs. Saudi stock companies’ Monday night.
PetroChina, Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, signed an agreement to acquire 40% of exploration and production rights for Qatar’s Block 4 from GDF Suez Qatar, which is the operator of the block, Qatar Petroleum said in a statement on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, QP authorises PetroChina Investment to acquire 40 percent of the exploration and production rights from GDF Suez under Qatar’s exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) for Block 4, an offshore block located north of the Gulf Arab state.
GDF Suez Qatar will continue to be the operator of the block with its 60% stake.
Sudan will revise its transit fee demand for South Sudan’s oil exports when the African neighbours resume talks to end an oil dispute for the first time since border fighting escalated in April, a Sudanese official said on Wednesday.
Both countries will be discussing on Thursday South Sudan’s oil payments at talks in Addis Ababa, the first time since the South briefly occupied the Heglig oilfield in April which contributed much to Sudan’s oil output.
Juba shut down 350,000 barrels per day output in January after Khartoum started taking some oil for what it called unpaid transit fees.