Tuesday, 26 February 2013
ETISALAT, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest telecommunications operator, has hired banks to advise on its planned acquisition of Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, banking sources aware of the matter said.
The state-controlled firm picked BNP Paribas and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as financial advisers, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public.
A spokesman for Etisalat declined to comment.
Vivendi, the French media, entertainment and telecoms conglomerate, is looking to sell several assets as part of an overhaul aimed at cutting debt and reducing its exposure to the capital-intensive telecoms business.
Its majority stake in Maroc Telecom is worth about $6 billion on current market value, and a potential buyer for the stake would also be expected to make a mandatory offer to minority shareholders, further boosting the takeover price.
Etisalat is talking to banks about a syndicated loan of up to $8 billion to finance the potential transaction, banking sources told Reuters Loan and Pricing Corp earlier in February.
Other bidders for the stake include Gulf operator Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and South Korean telecoms company KT Corp.
Qtel has hired JP Morgan Chase Inc as adviser, while KT Corp picked Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse and Societe Generale to advise and finance a potential transaction, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Maroc Telecom has majority stakes in Gabon Telecom, Mauritania’s MaurieTel, Burkina Faso’s Onatel and Mali’s Sotelma.
It posted a 17 percent drop in 2012 net profit, citing restructuring charges and a non-recurring contribution to the government. Morocco is expected to retain its 30 percent holding in Maroc Telecom.
CHINA Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), Asia’s largest oil refiner, will buy half of Chesapeake Energy Corp’s Mississippi Lime oil and gas properties for $1.02 billion, becoming the latest Chinese company to pick up shale assets in North America.
Chesapeake shares were up 2 percent at $20.90 in premarket trading on Monday.
The stock has risen about 23 percent this year.
Output from shale fields in the United States and Canada has jumped over the last three years due to the advent of drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing.
Companies in China, which has the largest shale reserves in the world, are keen to get the know-how of drilling in such unconventional fields.
China’s state-owned Cnooc Ltd has struck a deal to buy Canadian oil and gas company Nexen Inc for $15.1 billion, while US company Pioneer Natural Resources Co said last month it would sell a stake in its assets in the Wolfcamp shale field of Texas to Sinochem Group for $1.7 billion.
Sinopec will get 425,000 acres in northern Oklahoma through the deal, Sinopec and Chesapeake said in a statement. The Mississippi Lime assets will be bought by Sinopec International.
Chesapeake has about 2.1 million net acres of leasehold in the Mississippi Lime region, where its production jumped 208 percent to an average of 32,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the fourth quarter, Chesapeake reported this month.
About 45 percent of the total output was oil, 46 percent was natural gas and the rest was natural gas liquids.
Sinopec’s deal with Chesapeake, the secondlargest gas producer in the United States, will help the Oklahoma City-based company cut down its debt, which stood at $12 billion as of December 31.
Chesapeake, which closed $12 billion of asset sales last year, is targeting asset sales of $4 billion to $7 billion in 2013, the company said in a presentation earlier this month.
Chesapeake said in December it would sell most of its natural gas processing and gathering assets for $2.16 billion to Access Midstream Partners LP.
Sinopec struck a deal with Devon Energy Corp in January 2012 to buy a third of the US oil and natural gas producer’s interest in five developing fields for about $2.2 billion.
THE Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), the multilateral development bank owned by the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), has announced the establishment of Apicorp Petroleum Shipping Fund, a landmark $150 million fund aimed at leveraging growth opportunities in the petroleum product tanker charter market, according to a release in Doha, on Monday.
The government of Qatar owns a 10 percent stake in Apicorp.
The first investment fund to be established by Apicorp, the initiative is also the first fund in the region aimed at a specific vessel category.
The fund has acquired five medium range (MR) petroleum product tankers.
These will be employed in the regional and international tanker market for five years to help meet the projected upsurge in demand for petroleum product carriers.
The fund is co-managed by Tufton Oceanic, a leading global fund manager in the maritime and energy-related industries Ahmad bin Hamad al Nuaimi, Apicorp’s CEO and GM said: “Apicorp Petroleum Shipping fund is a $150 million Shariah-compliant fund aimed at helping oil and gas companies grow their business while also generating regular yield and returns for the equity investors.
“In this case, the fund helps companies meet their requirements for petroleum products transportation without burdening their balance sheets. At the same time, the fund provides a mechanism for regional investors to participate in a highly specialized investment class in international marine assets that is not normally open to them.” “The new fund supports Apicorp’s strategic objectives of diversifying its business streams into new midstream sectors as well as tapping promising new growth avenues in the industry. We are exploring the development of similar new funds in shipping and other oil and gas sectors to take advantage of further such growth opportunities”.
Tufton Oceanic is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in the region and has strong relationships with regional institutions built over 30 years.
Apicorp and Tufton Oceanic also served as joint coordinators for arranging debt funding for the Shipping fund from Standard Chartered, SMBC, Riyad Bank and Natixis.
Standard Chartered and Natixis acted as the agent bank and the documentation agent respectively for the debt.
“The Shariah-compliant fund manages a total of $150 million fully underwritten by Apicorp, of which 70 percent is composed of debt and 30 percent equity provided by Apicorp and Tufton Oceanic,” al Nuaimi said.
Marcus Machin, director, Tufton Oceanic said: “The positive outlook for demand growth in the global product tanker market creates the right conditions for the success of the fund.
“The growth of rapidly industrialising megaeconomies like China and India is expected to drive volumes of seaborne petroleum products in the next few years. Combined with changes in trade patterns, this is expected to lift product carrier demand growth above general global economic activity in the coming years.” “Our decision to invest in the fund along with Apicorp reflects the growth opportunities that we see in the sector.
According to our research, we expect the product tanker market to witness a compound average demand growth of above 5 percent per annum over the next five years. At the same time, there has been a decline in the vessel order book as a result of constraints in the placement of new orders.
“Both these factors create the conditions for market growth in the coming years.
The fund acquired the product tankers at highly competitive rates at what we believe was a low point in the shipping market cycle,” Machin added.
DOHA ALUCKY themed ‘Palais de la chance’ collection from renowned French jewellery maison Van Cleef & Arpels made its Middle East debut at the 10th Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, which opened on Monday.
The precious collection showcased at the Ali Bin Ali (ABA) pavilion was launched in September 2012.
The collection encapsulates a wondrous vision with inspiration drawn from legends, symbols, nature and zodiac.
Each unique piece in the collection expresses Van Cleef & Arpel’s style and expertise.
The items include the breathtaking Moments de chance black & white long necklace and detachable clip, the Mademoiselle Coccinelle necklace in diamonds, the oriental-inspired Main de Fatma earrings and the Edelweiss earrings with beautiful white opals.
Talking to Qatar Tribune, Van Cleef & Arpels Managing Director for Middle East and India Alban Belloir said M a d e m o i s e l l e Coccinelle necklace in the collection is made of 16.15 carats white gold and diamonds while the Moments de chance necklace has 3.35 carats gold.
“We believe this collection will attract jewellery lovers in Qatar.
Featuring the items in Qatar for the first time in the Middle East gives us a special joy. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Ali Bin Ali pavilion, our host, ”he said.
O t h e r e l e g a n t items featured at the stall include the Scent of Jasmine necklace from Bals de Légende collection, the fascinating Pirale a breath-taking necklace from the Papillon collection and the Asya long necklace with wonderful jade beads from Pierres de Caractère collection. The Maison’s innovative creations and virtuoso craftsmanship are prominent at the show with a beautiful selection of iconic Zip necklaces and jewellery in the outstanding Mystery Set technique.
Describing the items on display, Belloir said, “Most of the articles at the stand are inspired by butterfly. Butterfly is one of our sources of inspiration in crafting our jewelleries. Butterfly is a symbol of metamorphosis. It is also very subtle and delicate. It symbolises advancement. That’s why we are using it in different ways, tones and different colours,” he said.
Other brands featuring dazzling watches and jewellery at the Ali Bin Ali pavilion include Panerai, Aaron Basha, Anorld & Basha, Audemars Piguet, Bertulocci, Cartier, David Morris, De Witt, Garrard, Graham, Hulchi Belluni, Kern, Leo Pizzo, Messika, Mikimoto, Montblanc, Pomellato, Prologue, Ralph Lauren, RCM, Repossi, Reuge, Richard Mille, Romain Jerome, RSW, Schreiner, Ulysse Nardin, Verdi and Vertu.
DOHA/BARCELONA QTEL, the telecommunication company spread over 17 countries in the world, re-launched itself under a new brand – ‘Ooredoo’, which means ‘I want’ in Arabic language, on Monday.
The announcement was made by Ooredoo Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al Thani at a special launch event at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
Ooredoo announced football star Lionel “Leo” Messi as its global brand ambassador and agreed to support the Leo Messi Foundation as part of the company’s continued commitment to making a difference in communities across the world.
A live telecast of the launch ceremony was witnessed by Ooredoo officials and other distinguished guests at a special screening at City Center Cinema in Doha. With the launch of the new logo, each of its operating companies in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia will adopt the new brand during the course of 2013 and 2014.
These companies, in which Ooredoo already has a controlling interest, include brands such as Qtel in Qatar, Indosat in Indonesia, Wataniya in Kuwait, Nawras in Oman, Tunisiana in Tunisia, and Nedjma in Algeria.
“With Ooredoo we have chosen an Arabic word that means ‘I want’, to reflect the aspirations of our customers and our core belief that we can enrich people’s lives and stimulate human growth in the communities where we operate,” said Ooredoo chairman. “We believe that the youth should be given the life chances that mobile technology can provide; that under-served communities should be able to access the Internet; that every woman should have an equal opportunity to use a mobile phone; and that entrepreneurs and small businesses should be able to receive business services tailored to their needs. Our new brand reflects these beliefs.” Chief Executive Officer of Qtel Qatar, Sheikh Saud bin Nasser al Thani, said: “This is a proud moment for Qtel in Qatar. Our company is at the heart of a global communications company that serves nearly 90 million people in communities around the world. Qtel in Qatar will be the first company in the Group to align with this new brand, and we will continue to find new ways to surprise and delight our customers.” The invitation-only launch event included presentations by Anne Bouverot, GSMA directorgeneral; Cherie Blair, chairman of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommu-nication Union (ITU). It also featured the guest appearance of Qatari Olympic medallist Nasser al Attiyah.
Ooredoo has experienced significant growth over the last six years, transforming from a single market operator in Qatar to an international communications company with a global customer base of more than 89.2 million people (as of September 30, 2012) and consolidated revenues of $6.8 billion for the first nine months of fiscal year 2012.
Delivering mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in emerging markets, Ooredoo has been the fastestgrowing telecommunications company in the world by revenue since 2006 and its enterprise value has more than tripled since 2005.
Dr Nasser, Group CEO of Ooredoo said: “We are very excited to become Ooredoo because the new brand signals our readiness to take the company to the next level. It is our belief that we can better serve our global customers by leveraging the combined resources and assets of a strong, unified global business under one brand.
“We also believe that rebranding now will help us to maintain our momentum in the face of new realities for the industry, signaling our commitment to become a global force.”
DOHA QATAR Airways should be allowed to increase the frequency of its flights to the Philippines, said Filipino envoy to Qatar HE Crescente Relacion, on Monday.
Relacion was responding to a query regarding the proposal made by the Qatari government to the Philippines last year to double up its current 14 flights due to high market demand.
“I don’t see any reason why we (the Philippines) should not allow this when we have already allowed the UAE’s Etihad Airlines to double its flights to 28 a week and Saudia Airlines to increase its flights thrice from seven to 21 a week,” Relacion told the media on the sidelines of the programme commemorating the 27th Anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution, held at the Philippine embassy.
Terming the Qatari offer as ‘attractive’, the envoy added that Qatar’s national carrier even proposed to open additional flights during off peak hours so as not to add-up to the congestion at the airports.
Congestion at the passenger terminal and at the runways is a foremost aviation concern in the Philippines.
“The Philippine flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), which plans to begin its Doha flights from October, will not open here if it does not see market opportunity. In other words, there is still market for additional flights. We are living in a highly-competitive world and I am for open skies policy. I feel, Qatar’s proposal is a welcome development,” he said.
Relacion said that more flights by Qatar Airways to the Philippines could lead to more Qataris and European travellers flying to the Philippines to explore the country.
Meanwhile, Relacion said an agreement on mutual protection and promotion of business, which would assure Qatari investors of the protection of their investments in the Philippines, was likely to be signed by the two countries soon.
He also announced that a team of officials from the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) will visit Qatar next month for a joint commission meeting on labour issues. The meeting will address the concerns of both sides on the employment of Filipino workers and also implementation of $400 minimum wage for domestic helpers.
“This minimum wage has been there since January of 2007. However, some recruitment agencies in the Philippines and in Qatar are refusing to implement the minimum wage by tampering with workers’ original contracts.
This time the POEA insists on strict implementation of the long-standing policy,” the envoy said.
On the occasion of the 27th EDSA People Power Revolution, Relacion urged his compatriots to recognise the legacy of the event which ended the regime of then president Ferdinand Marcos.
DOHA TWENTY-THREE female volunteers from four independent girls’ secondary schools will set out on an eight-day trip to Cambodia organised by Reach Out To Asia (ROTA from March 1
In collaboration with ROTA’s Cambodian partner, the Monithapana Foundation and under the sponsorship of Vodafone-Qatar, the group from Al Bayan Independent Secondary School for Girls, Al Sailiyah Independent Secondary School for Girls, Qatar Independent School and Amna Bint Wahab Independent Secondary School for Girls, will host several workshops in Cambodia during their stay in the country.
Prior to the visit, ROTA will conduct a four-day orientation sessions for the volunteers to prepare them for peer-to-peer sessions.
A total of four orientation sessions will be conducted, during which volunteers will share skills, practise public speaking and develop the content of the workshops they will deliver in Cambodia The volunteers will also receive briefings about ROTA projects and the school in Cambodia, Cambodian history, culture and other relevant information.
“Visiting Cambodia will give the volunteers a wonderful opportunity to develop and enhance important life skills such as communication, empathy and interpersonal relationships. In addition, they will experience a ROTA project that delivers high quality, modern education in a safe learning environment,” said ROTA National Programmes Director Mohammed Abdulla Saleh.
Besides the 23 female volunteers, the team will also comprise of six teachers, four ROTA staff and a trainer.
“ I have always wanted to play my part in voluntary service, not just because I think it is important but because it is something I enjoy and look forward to,” said Hissa Nasser al Qahtani, from Amna Bint Wahab Independent School.
“I feel honoured to be a part of this visit. I am confident that this tour will be a rewarding experience and I will get to do many things I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise,” said Reem al Amri from Sailiyah Independent Secondary School for Girls.
Ghalya Khalid al Mulla, another volunteer from Al Bayan Independent School, expressing her feelings said: “Volunteer service is in line with Islamic values. It has been an integral part of my life. I am looking forward to my visit to Cambodia as I believe the experience gained there will enrich my life further.
“I am indebted to ROTA for giving me this opportunity to interact with the pupils and engage in meaningful and memorable life-changing experiences.”
The newly named streets are among 6,140 streets spread in 21 areas that the committee in charge of naming areas, neighbourhoods, streets and squares in the ministry, finished naming.
The ministry said that the committee is making efforts to give names to the growing numbers of streets in the country, as a result of the urban development.
Ashraf El Sharkawy, head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, said that the regulator had approved the offer. “Yes. We obliged Qatar National Bank to present an offer for 100 percent,” he said. QNB has offered 38.65 Egyptian pounds ($5.74) a share, compared with Sunday’s close of 37.52 pounds.
Excluding the projects in execution, over 29 road projects have been announced by Qatar, which are worth of over QR34.59 million for next few years.
These were some of the facts to come out at the Middle East Road Planning, Design and Construction Summit which opened in Doha on Monday.
These giant reservoirs will be built in five different areas in Qatar: Umm Saieed, Rawdat Rashid, Thumama, Umm Salal and Al Kaaban.
The project is expected to be completed in two phases; the first one will complete in 2016, while the second phase implementation will start directly after the first one is finished and will continue till 2020.
Tenders for the project have been floated for interested international companies.
DOHA THE Qtel Group will now be known as Ooredoo.
The announcement was made by Ooredoo Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al Thani at a special launch event at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, in Spain.
During the event, Ooredoo announced football star Lionel “Leo” Messi as its global brand ambassador, and agreed to support the Leo Messi Foundation as part of the company’s continued commitment to making a difference in communities across the world.
“With Ooredoo, we have chosen an Arabic word - which means ‘I want’ - to reflect the aspirations of our customers and our core belief that we can enrich people’s lives and stimulate human growth in the communities where we operate,” said Sheikh Abdullah. “We believe that young people should be given the life chances that mobile technology can provide; that under-served communities should be able to access the Internet; that every woman should have an equal opportunity to use a mobile phone; and that entrepreneurs and small businesses should be able to receive business services tailored to their needs. Our new brand reflects these beliefs,” he said.
DOHA PRIME Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani inaugurated the 10th Qatar’s annual luxury event, the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, at the Doha International Exhibitions Center on Monday.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) officials led by Chairman Issa bin Mohammed al Mohannadi and representatives of jewellery houses also graced the occasion, which concluded with a ceremonial cake-cutting ceremony to mark the tenth-year milestone of the event.
This year, not only has the luxury event been extended to seven days, but it also features 15 percent more international labels including first timers like Christie’s from London and Matis Jewelry, who aim to establish a base in the jewellery industry in Qatar.
In all, 26 exhibitors representing over 500 of the world’s prestigious gemstone, jewellery and watch brands will showcase their ware in the 15,000 square meter exhibition hall.