Aramco, Air Products, ACWA to form joint venture in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Aramco, Air Products and ACWA Power form joint venture in Jazan Economic City (JEC). (Photo courtesy of Saudi General Investment Authority)
Updated 12 August 2018
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Aramco, Air Products, ACWA to form joint venture in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, Air Products and ACWA Power signed on Sunday an agreement outlining terms for setting up a gasification/power joint venture in Saudi Arabia with assets bought from the state energy giant.
“The JV will purchase the gasification assets, power block and the associated utilities from Saudi Aramco for approximately $8 billion,” they said in a statement.
According to the term sheet, US-based Air Products will own at least 55 percent of the joint venture, to be set up in Jazan Economic City (JEC), with Saudi Aramco and ACWA Power owning the balance, the statement said.
The joint venture will own and operate the facility under a 25-year contract for a fixed monthly fee. Saudi Aramco will supply feedstock and the joint venture will produce power, hydrogen and other utilities for Aramco.
The statement said the assets are currently under construction and would be transferred to the joint venture upon start-up, scheduled in 2019.
“The JV will serve Saudi Aramco’s Jazan Refinery and terminal at JEC, a megaproject that will process heavy and medium crude oil to create liquefied petroleum gas, sulfur, asphalt, benzene and paraxylene, and add 400,000 barrels per day of refining capacity,” it added.
The refinery on the Red Sea is part of a plan to revive the southwestern region by building an economic city which will help create thousands of jobs.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has a total shareholding of 25 percent in Riyadh-based ACWA Power, a developer and operator of power and water plants.


Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

Updated 20 February 2019
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Dubai real estate market recovery to be seen as of 2022: S&P

  • The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate
  • S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system

DUBAI: S&P Global, the ratings agency, painted a grim picture for the real estate sector in Dubai, with a meaningful recovery in property prices expected only after 2022.
At a presentation to journalists in the Dubai International Financial Center, S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani said that under the firm’s “base case scenario,” the Dubai real estate market would fall by between 5 and 10 percent this year, roughly the same as the fall in 2018, which would bring property prices to the levels seen at the bottom of the last cycle in 2010, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
“On the real estate side we continue to have a very grim view of the market. While we expect prices to broadly stabilize in 2020, we don’t see a meaningful recovery in 2021. Relative to the previous recovery cycle, we believe it will take longer time for prices to display a meaningful recovery,” she said.
S&P’s verdict adds to several recent pessimistic assessments of the Dubai real estate market. Jagtiani said that conditions in the other big UAE property market, in Abu Dhabi, were not as negative, because “Abu Dhabi never did ramp up as much in 2014 and 2015 as Dubai.” S&P does not rate developers in the capital.
She added that a “stress scenario” could arise if government and royal family related developers — such as Emaar Properties, Meraas, Dubai Properties and Nakheel — which have attractive land banks and economies of scale, continue to launch new developments.
“In such a scenario, we think residential real estate prices could decline by 10-15 percent in 2019 and a further 5-10 percent in 2020. In this case, we expect no upside for Dubai residential real estate prices in 2021, as we expect it will take a while for the market to absorb oversupply,” she said.
S&P recently downgraded Damac, one of the biggest Dubai-based developers, to BB- rating, on weak market prospects.
However, Jagtiani said that, despite the “significant oversupply” from existing projects, several factors should held stabilize the market: Few, if any, major product launches; improved affordability and “bargain hunting” by bulk buyers; and a resurgence of Asian, especially Chinese, investor interest in the market.
Jagtiani also said that government measures such as new ownership and visa regulations and reduction in government fees could help prevent prices falling more sharply, as well as “increased economic activity related to Dubai Expo 2020, which is expected to attract about 25 million visitors to the emirate.”
The outlook on property was part of a challenging assessment of the credit-worthiness of the emirate. “In our view, credit conditions deteriorated in Dubai in 2018, reducing the government’s ability to provide extraordinary financial support to its government related entities (GREs) if needed,” S&P said in a report. “The negative outlook on Dubai Electricity and Water
Authority (DEWA) partly reflects our concern that a real estate downturn beyond our base case could out increased pressure on government finances,” the report said.
It pointed out that about 70 percent of government revenues come from non-tax sources, including land transfer and mortgage registration fees, as well as charges for housing and municipality liabilities, as well as dividends from real estate developers it controls, like Emaar and Nakheel.
S&P was generally comfortable with the credit ratings of the emirate’s banking system, which has an estimated 20 percent exposure to real estate. “Banks in the UAE tend to generally display a good level of profitability and capitalization, giving them a good margin to absorb a moderate increase in risks,” the report said.