Cairo airport to partly close in summer to save power

Updated 31 March 2013
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Cairo airport to partly close in summer to save power

CAIRO: Cairo international airport will close most of its runways for four hours each day from early June to save power for the Egyptian government that is struggling to pay for fuel imports for power stations, the minister of civil aviation said.
Power cuts have become more frequent since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Two years of political upheavals have choked off tourism revenues and pressured the currency, triggering a soaring budget deficit.
Egypt’s new Islamist leaders are trying to negotiate a credit line with the International Monetary Fund as the country faces a lack of funds to buy fuel, causing repeated power cuts.
“Cairo International airport will close for four hours daily starting the first of June while one runway will be kept open to receive any flights during those hours,” the state news agency quoted civil aviation minister Wael Al-Maadawi as saying.
He said the closure should not have any impact on air traffic as the airport had seen a dramatic reduction in flights, and runways had been kept open without being used.
“The decision came after detailed study on the rate of work that had witnessed a huge reduction (in traffic) in the past two years,” he added.
Shortages of state-subsidized diesel have paralyzed transportation in parts of the country and fuel problems are expected to worsen as summer approaches and householders switch on their air conditioners.
Spending on fuel subsidies accounts for around a fifth of Egypt’s budget.
The budget deficit is forecast to hit 10.9 percent of GDP in the year to the end of June, assuming economic reforms are made to curb spending. Without such reforms, the government says the deficit will hit 12.3 percent.


UAE regulators ask corporates to declare exposure to Abraaj

Updated 18 min 40 sec ago
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UAE regulators ask corporates to declare exposure to Abraaj

  • Air Arabia admits $336 million exposure to Abraaj funds.
  • Abraaj sells its Latam, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds to Colony Capital.

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates’ top securities regulator has asked UAE-listed companies to declare their exposure to Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj, which filed for provisional liquidation last week.
The Securities & Commodities Authority sent a letter earlier this week and companies had until Thursday to submit their responses, Obaid Al-Zaabi, chief executive of the regulator, told Reuters.
Air Arabia, a Dubai-listed low-cost carrier, said this week that it had a $336 million exposure to Abraaj, which is the Middle East’s biggest private equity firm. Shares in the airline plunged because of these links.
Al-Zaabi said some companies in the UAE had exposure to Abraaj, without naming them.
A court in the Cayman Islands, where Abraaj Holdings is registered, ordered this week that PwC be appointed as provisional liquidators of the company and Deloitte as liquidators of Abraaj Investment Management Ltd.
Abraaj said that the latest restructuring agreement has received in-principle regulatory approval and is expected to close upon approval from the Cayman Islands court and other customary consents.
On Thursday, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which is the regulator of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), said it would discuss “various matters” with the liquidators and “will continue to work toward safeguarding the interests of investors.”
The DFSA is involved because Abraaj has an entity regulated in DIFC.
Abraaj Group agreed to sell its Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds management business to US investment management firm Colony Capital Inc, the companies said on Thursday.
The sale agreement comes after months of turmoil at Abraaj in the wake of its dispute with four of its investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and International Finance Corp. (IFC), over the use of their money in a $1 billion health care fund. The group has denied it misused the funds.
The sale is part of a provisional liquidation and restructuring as set out in a court order. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Colony Capital has also agreed to oversee, on an interim basis, other Abraaj group funds that are not being acquired so that the group and all its stakeholders have a “comprehensive global solution in place,” the companies said.
The other group funds include the $1 billion health care fund, and some legacy funds of the private equity group.
Sources told Reuters earlier that US buyout firm TPG was in talks with investors in Abraaj’s health care fund to take over management of the assets of the $1 billion fund.
The K-Electric asset, which is being sold in Pakistan and is owned by Abraaj Holdings, is also not part of the transaction.
Colony’s deal comes after other investors such as Cerberus Capital Management had also made offers for the Abraaj business before it filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands.
A unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group earlier this week made a conditional offer to buy Abraaj’s management interest in all of its limited partnerships for $50 million, according to a document seen by Reuters.
Since Abraaj’s row with some investors became public early this year, it split its investment management business and holding company, while its founder Arif Naqvi stepped aside from the day-to-day running of its private equity fund unit and the firm halted its investment activities.
Tom Barrack, executive chairman of Colony Capital, said that he hoped that the transaction would enable the process of rebuilding on all sides and also bring an end to the speculation that has swirled around Abraaj over the past months.