Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

Boats sail in front of Kuwait City’s skyline. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 22 November 2018
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Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

DUBAI: Kuwait Projects Co. (KIPCO), the Gulf state’s largest investment company, has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of its majority stake in pay-television operator OSN, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
OSN, which this year signed its first partnership deal in the region with Netflix, reported income of 12.38 million dinars ($40.7 million) for the period from July 1 to August 8, according to KIPCO’s latest financial results.
KIPCO and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
KIPCO said in the results, released last week, that the company’s board had approved initiating a plan to divest its 60.5 percent equity interest in Panther Media Group, also known as OSN, and had engaged an international investment banker for the purpose. It did not disclose the name of the banker.
Dubai-based OSN has been facing fierce competition in a changing entertainment landscape that has involved a move away from traditional paid television providers.
With the rights to broadcast into countries across the Middle East and North Africa, OSN has more than 180 channels, according to its website. Its other shareholder is Mawarid Group.
OSN faces subdued demand in its core markets due to piracy, geopolitical factors and fiscal reforms by governments which have led to sizeable expatriate populations leaving some of its core markets, said Anuj Rohtagi, director of group financial control at KIPCO in KIPCO’s third-quarter earnings conference call on Nov. 15. He added OSN was taking action to cut costs and attract new customers.
It is not the first time KIPCO has explored offloading at least some of its stake in OSN. In 2014, it said it planned to start the process for an initial public offering of OSN shares.


FlyDubai ends 2018 with $43.5m loss

Updated 6 min 16 sec ago
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FlyDubai ends 2018 with $43.5m loss

DUBAI: The Dubai government-owned budget carrier FlyDubai said on Wednesday that its revenues increased to $1.7 billion in 2018, though the airline ended the year with a loss of $43.5 million.
The airline that flies out of both Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central’s Al Maktoum International Airport blamed fuel costs, rising interest rates and “unfavorable currency exchange movements” for the loss. It had made $1.5 billion in revenue in 2017, earning a narrow profit of $10 million that year. “In line with expectations, 2018 was a challenging year, however we have continued to invest in our capacity and increased revenue,” FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said.
FlyDubai, which now has a code-share deal and tighter relationship with Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates, offers bargain flights to locations both served and not by its well-known elder sibling. FlyDubai began operations nearly 10 years ago and its 4,000 staff now serve over 90 destinations.
The carrier flew 11 million passengers last year, slightly up from the 10.9 million it flew in 2017.