Middle East Business Review – 2 February

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An Indian Supreme Court ruling has revoked the telecoms licenses of 122 companies, including that of a consortium of Norway’s Telenor, Unitech, India’s DB group and UAE’s Etisalat. “We have been unfairly treated as we simply followed the government process we were asked to. We are shocked to see that Uninor is being penalised for faults the court has found in the government process,” the joint venture said in a statement.

According to a report issued by Exotix investment bank, Dubai World-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone and DIFC Investments may need $983 million and $3.25 billion respectively from the Dubai Government to meet their debt obligations due this year. We believe that this government support will be forthcoming and that DIFC has options to alleviate this large funding gap. Jebel Ali Free Zone may have a $400m funding gap after a successful bank debt refinancing, which would need to be plugged by either the government or with parent Economic Zones Worlds potential sale of Gazeley. We also do not rule out a soft restructuring scenario for Jebel Ali Free Zone, the report said.

According to figures collated by Ventures Middle East, market research specialists, 113 new energy, power and water projects are dominating the Middle East’s booming energy sector. The report said the UAE is one of the most active countries in the region is it continues to build a civilian nuclear power plant worth $20 billion that will meet the country’s growing energy demand. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has earmarked $100 billion for the King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy. The Saudis are also working on 15 other projects costing around $9 billion. Qatar plans to build at least eight power and water facilities worth US$4.8 billion while Bahrain has four ongoing projects worth US$4.2 billion. Kuwait has 17 projects valued at US$4 billion, while Oman has set aside US$2.9 billion for 13 new power, water and energy projects which will begin construction in 2012.

The Government of Abu Dhabi has announced the construction of the Midfield Terminal Complex (MTC), part of the $6.8 billion expansion plan of the capital’s international airport, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) announced in a statement. “The central space of the terminal building could hold three full-sized football pitches and features a ceiling 52 metres tall at its highest point,” according to ADAC’s website. “This development represents one of the largest investments by the Government to deliver the needed infrastructure, in line with Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, that will cater to the growth of the aviation sector in the region and confirms Abu Dhabi’s strong position in the global air transportation network. ADAC looks forward to appointing the Midfield Terminal Building contractors and creating this key infrastructure asset for the emirate of Abu Dhabi,” said Khalifa Al Mazroui, Chairman of ADAC.

Yahsat, an Abu Dhabi-owned satellite company, announced it is evaluating plans of launching its third satellite into the orbit while finalising arrangements to blast its second spacecraft later this year. “We think there is always the option of launching a third satellite. We want to grow organically. And this might be achieved by launching a third satellite. We are really evaluating this opportunity right now,” Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, the chief executive of Yahsat, said.

According to a report published in The Indian Express, Tehran has accepted New Delhi’s offer of paying 45% of oil transactions in rupees which would be deposited in Kolkata-based UCO Bank. India’s annual oil bill stands at around $12.68 billion. Turkish bank Halk Bankisi receives most of the payments from India in euros on behalf of Iran. New Delhi reiterated it will continue buying crude from Iran despite sanctions slapped by the US and Europe on the Islamic Republic. Iran accounts for 12% of India’s annual oil imports.

(By Moign Khawaja – Editor: Arabian Gazette)

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