PIF, Dubai businessman Alabbar launch $1bn e-commerce platform

Noon.com will launch operations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in January, according to Mohammed Alabbar.
Updated 14 November 2016
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PIF, Dubai businessman Alabbar launch $1bn e-commerce platform

JEDDAH: The online shopping experience in the Middle East is set to forever change with the launch of Noon, described as the region’s largest-ever e-commerce company, in January.
Noon is designed to be a driver of innovation, which will offer a vast product selection and fast delivery across all categories.
With an initial investment of $1 billion, Noon will launch in the Saudi and UAE markets, and will soon cover the entire Middle East region. 
Noon aims to grow online sales in the region from 2 percent of the total market ($3 billion), to 15 percent ($70 billion) within a decade. 
Emaar Properties Chairman Mohamed Alabbar, who is leading the venture with prominent GCC investors, described Noon as “nothing less than a quantum leap in retail in the region, and the world.” 
Alabbar added: “We come with the endurance to build a customer-centric business for the long-term. For us, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I am pleased to announce that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia will take 50 percent equity in Noon. In addition, the head office of Noon will be based in Riyadh.”
“With Noon, we are offering the most customer-centric ecommerce experience available anywhere,” he said. “In one move, we are launching a future-focused company, which is the biggest online shopping platform ever seen in the region. Noon is a company born in the Middle East and serves customers in the Middle East.”
Noon is claims to bring a number of impressive firsts for the region. It will have the biggest selection, with 20 million products covering fashion, books, home and garden, electronics, sports and outdoor, health and beauty, personal care, toys, kids and baby products, among others.
It will have more than 10 million square feet of warehousing. At 3.5 million square feet, the UAE fulfillment center will cover more than 60 football fields.
Same-day delivery through Noon Transportation, an in-house express delivery service, and NoonPay, a secure and innovative payment gateway, are its other features.
Noon’s CEO Fodhil Benturquia said a commitment to customer-centric service and innovative technology will be key to Noon’s success. “The customer is the purpose of our being, and we are here to win their hearts and their trust. Our customer experience will be driven by state-of-the-art technology that will power everything from product discovery to purchase and delivery.”
Noon, through its mobile app and noon.com website, will be an end-to-end e-commerce retailer. “We want to be the partner of choice for sellers, whether they’re big or small. We invite them to be part of our ecosystem, working together to change the online shopping landscape for the Middle East customer.”
“Our team not only comes with exceptional backgrounds, but also with an all-consuming passion to change the way things are done,” he added.
Noon boasts that its team has a wealth of e-commerce experience earned at sector leaders, including Amazon, Apple, PayPal, eBay, Google, Flipkart and others.


Emirates Airline half-year profit slides 86% on oil hike

Updated 15 November 2018
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Emirates Airline half-year profit slides 86% on oil hike

DUBAI: Emirates Airline on Thursday posted an 86 percent drop in half-year profits as the Middle East's leading carrier was hit by a hike in oil prices and currency devaluations.
The Dubai-based airline in a statement its net profit in the six months to September 30 was also impacted by other challenges and expected tough months ahead.
Emirates said it recorded a profit of just $62 million in the first half of the 2018-2019 fiscal year compared with $452 million in the same period last year.
"The high fuel cost as well as currency devaluations in markets like India, Brazil, Angola and Iran, wiped approximately 4.6 billion dirhams ($1.25 billion) from our profits," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group.
Emirates, one of the world's biggest airlines, said fuel costs rose by 42 percent compared with the same period last year.
The company, which flies to more than 150 destinations, said the cost of fuel amounted to a third of its expenses.
Emirates is the world's largest operator of Airbus A380s with more than 100 of the superjumbos in its fleet.
"The next six months will be tough, but the Emirates Group's foundations remain strong," Sheikh Ahmed said in a statement.
In the six months to September 30, the airline carried 30.1 million passengers, a rise of three percent on the last fiscal year, the company said.
Emirates' revenues were 10 percent higher than the previous year at $13.3 billion.
"We are proactively managing the myriad challenges faced by the airline and travel industry, including the relentless downward pressure on yields and uncertain economic and political realities in our region and in other parts of the world," said Sheikh Ahmed.
Profit for the Emirates Group, which also includes Dnata, a leading air services provider, was also down by 53 percent to $296 million.