Abu Dhabi Global Market, UAE Exchange partner to promote fintech

Richard Teng, the chief executive of the ADGM’s regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, left, with Promoth Manghat, the chief executive of UAE Exchange. (Courtesy UAE Exchange)
Updated 12 August 2017
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Abu Dhabi Global Market, UAE Exchange partner to promote fintech

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate’s global financial free zone, has partnered with UAE Exchange to help startups engaged in the remittance, foreign exchange and payments business develop and deploy financial technology.
UAE Exchange and ADGM will jointly implement innovation programs emerging payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, and P2P solutions, a statement said.
ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory — or RegLab — is the Middle East region’s first fintech incubator where startups can benefit from a more flexible regulatory regime during the early stages of their operation, before they go on to full regulatory membership at the Abu Dhabi financial free zone.
“This strategic partnership dovetails well with ADGM’s vision to establish a vibrant and well-functioning fintech ecosystem that bolsters innovation, facilitates investment flows and supports greater growth of financial services activities,” Richard Teng, the chief executive of the ADGM regulator Financial Services Regulatory Authority, said in the statement.
“The collaboration with UAE Exchange will create a feedback loop for ADGM as a financial services regulator to fine-tune and enhance its rules and regulatory approach to financial innovation.”
“Collaboration between established financial services providers and fintech start-ups is necessary to build a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Our partnership with ADGM will nurture local fintech innovation through incubator, accelerator and academic programs,” said Promoth Manghat, the chief executive UAE Exchange. “Such partnerships will add greater depth to the financial services industry, creating additional value for customers through digitally delivered services.”
The ADGM in May chose the first batch of fintech startups — from 11 applicants — to mentor under its RegLab program, with two of those in the list coming from the UAE.
The UAE companies, Now Money, which uses mobile technology to help low-income migrant workers to access banking and remittances services, and Titanium Escrow, an automated escrow services company that seeks to bring stability to the cash cycle of small businesses, joined India’s CapitaWorld and Rubique as well as Finalytix, a US robo-advisory platform.


UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

Updated 14 August 2018
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UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

  • Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran
  • Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix

OSLO: A British renewable energy investor Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran due to recently imposed US sanctions on Tehran.
The solar plant in Iran would have been the first renewable energy investment outside Europe by Quercus and the world’s sixth largest, with a 600 megawatt (MW) capacity.
Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix, partly due to air pollution and to meet international commitments, hoping to have about 5 gigawatt in renewables installed by 2022.
In June, before the US-imposed sanctions, more than 250 companies had signed agreements to add and sell power from about 4 gigawatt of new renewables in the country, which has only 602 MW installed, Iranian energy ministry data showed.
Washington reimposed sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.
US president Donald Trump has also threatened to penalize companies that continue to operate in Iran, which led banks and many companies around the world to scale back their dealings with Tehran.
“Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi said in an email on Tuesday.
The firm will continue to monitor the situation closely, said Biasi, who declined to comment further.
Last year Quercus said it would set up a project company and sell shares via a private placement after attracting interest from private and institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds.
Construction was expected to take three years, with each 100 MW standalone lot becoming operational and connecting to the grid every six months.

SANCTIONS BITE
Independently-owned Quercus has a portfolio of around 28 renewable energy plants and 235 MW of installed capacity.
The firm, founded by Biasi and Simone Borla in 2010, controls five investment funds and has a network of “highly regarded external partners,” it says on its website.
The 600 MW plant it aimed to construct in Iran would be the firm’s largest investment. Quercus declined to comment on the details of its decision to cease the plan and on any financial losses that could result from it.
Fearing the consequences of the US embargo, a string of European companies have recently announced they would scale back their business in Iran.
On Tuesday, German engineering group Bilfinger, said it did not plan to sign any new business in the country, while automotive supplier Duerr on Aug. 11 said it had halted activities in Iran.
Another project, planned by Norway’s Saga Energy, which said last October it aimed to build 2 GW of new solar energy capacity in Iran and to start construction by the end of 2018, has also stalled.
Saga Energy’s chief of operations Rune Haaland told Reuters it was still working on getting the funding, which is more complicated since recent developments, and although it aimed to push on with its plans, construction could be delayed. ($1 = 0.8773 euros)