Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC seals $5.8bn refining and trading deal with ENI, OMV

ADNOC’s chief executive Sultan Al-Jaber said the equity partnership was a ‘one of a kind’ deal. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2019
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Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC seals $5.8bn refining and trading deal with ENI, OMV

  • The transaction is one of the largest ever in the refinery business
  • The partners will also establish a joint trading venture

ABU DHABI: Italy’s Eni and Austria’s OMV have agreed to pay a combined $5.8 billion to take a stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) refining business and establish a new trading operation owned by the three partners.
The transaction, which expands ADNOC’s access to European markets, furthers Eni’s diversification away from Africa and gives OMV a downstream oil business outside Europe. It was hailed as a “one of a kind” deal by ADNOC’s Chief Executive Sultan Al-Jaber.
“The whole oil and gas industry hasn’t seen a transaction of this size and sophistication,” he said.
Under the agreement, Eni and OMV will acquire a 20 percent and a 15 percent share in ADNOC Refining respectively, with ADNOC owning the remaining 65 percent, the three companies said in statements on Sunday.
The partners will own the same proportions of the joint trading venture, they added.
OMV said that it would pay around $2.5 billion, while Eni said it would pay around $3.3 billion, giving ADNOC Refining, which has a total refining capacity of 922,000 barrels per day, an enterprise value of $19.3 billion.
The agreement includes output from the Ruwais Refinery, the fourth largest single site refinery in the world.
WIN/WIN
The new trading venture will expand market access for ADNOC Refining’s products with export volumes equivalent to approximately 70 percent of throughput.
“We are already well-positioned in Asia and we want to increase our market share there .... but this will also help us to have access to European markets and beyond,” Al-Jaber said.
Eni has signed several deals in the Middle East in recent months as it expands outside Africa where it is the biggest foreign oil and gas producer.
The company’s CEO Claudio Descalzi said the partnership would increase its global refining capacity by 35 percent.
“This transaction, which allows us to enter the United Arab Emirates’ downstream sector...(will make) Eni’s overall portfolio more geographically diversified, more balanced along the value chain, more efficient and more resilient to cope with market volatility,” he said.
OMV described the deal, which is set to close in the third quarter of 2019, as a major milestone in relation to its “Strategy 2025” plan. It said it would finance the deal primarily out of its cash flow.
“With (this transaction) OMV has established a strong integrated position in Abu Dhabi...spanning from upstream production to refining & trading and petrochemicals,” CEO Rainer Seele said.
Founded in 1971, ADNOC has undergone major change since Al-Jaber’s appointment in 2016, part of wider economic reforms led by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who witnessed the signing of the three-way agreement.
Al-Jaber has embarked on privatising its services businesses, ventured into oil trading and expanded partnerships with strategic investors.


In sluggish Russian economy, halal sees growth

Updated 21 July 2019
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In sluggish Russian economy, halal sees growth

  • Ever more producers are catering for the domestic Muslim community, which accounts for around 15 percent of Russia’s population
  • The halal economy, worth more than $2.1 trillion globally, is far from limited to meat

SHCHYOLKOVO, Russia: The manager of a sausage factory near Moscow, Arslan Gizatullin says his halal business has been feeling the pinch — not so much from Russia’s sluggish economy but competitors vying for a piece of a growing Islamic market.
Ever more producers are catering for the domestic Muslim community, which accounts for around 15 percent of Russia’s population and is set to expand, and in some cases are also setting their sights on export.
“In the last few years in general, halal’s become something of a trend in Russia,” said Gizatullin, who has been at the Halal-Ash plant in the city of Shchyolkovo for seven years.
The factory was among the first of its kind when it opened two decades ago, recreating Soviet-style sausages in accordance with Islamic law, among other products.
“Now I go to shop displays and I see sausage from one, two, three producers... I see that competition is growing,” he adds from the factory, which employs 35 people and puts out up to 1.5 tons of produce a day.
The halal economy, worth more than $2.1 trillion globally, is far from limited to meat.
Cosmetics firms and services such as halal hotels have received licenses from the body that oversees Islamic production in Russia, while state-owned Sberbank is looking into creating an Islamic finance entity.
The Center for Halal Standardization and Certification, under the authority of the Russian Council of Muftis, has approved more than 200 companies since it opened in 2007.
The center says that number is growing by five to seven companies a year — from a standing start at the collapse of the anti-religious Soviet Union.
Rushan Abbyasov, the deputy head of the Council of Muftis, told AFP the Russian agriculture ministry was supporting the center in its efforts to increase exports to the Arab world and Muslim-majority ex-Soviet republics.
“We’ve looked at international experience in the Arab world, in Malaysia, and we’ve developed our Russian (halal certification) standard following that model,” Abbyasov said in an interview at Moscow’s central mosque.
“We’re doing it in a way that matches international halal standards as well as the laws of the Russian Federation.”
The mufti pointed to an annual exhibition of halal goods and producers in the Muslim-majority Russian republic of Tatarstan, which this year saw its biggest ever turnout, as an example of the sector’s growth.
Tatar officials told Russian media the halal food market accounted for around 7 billion rubles a year ($110 million) — or just over three percent of the region’s gross agricultural output.
But they said the sector was growing at a rate of between 10 and 15 percent a year.
The certification center said Russia’s overall halal economy was also growing at a rate of 15 percent every year, but declined to give a breakdown of its figures.
Russia’s overall economy is stagnant, with the government predicting growth of only 1.3 percent this year, after 2.3 percent growth in 2018.
Alif, a Moscow-based cosmetics firm, is a new company at the forefront of the move toward exporting halal goods from Russia.
Manager Halima Hosman told AFP that, a year after launching, Alif’s products were being sold in the Muslim-majority Russian republics of Dagestan and Chechnya, as well as ex-Soviet Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
“Our priority targets for export now are France, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia,” she said, adding that the company had non-financial support from the halal certification center.
The 28-year-old, who was born into an Orthodox Christian family in southern Moldova but converted to Islam as a teen, said promoting halal products was about more than business.
“It’s a way for people who don’t know about Islam, who aren’t Muslim, to find out about what ‘halal’ actually means,” Hosman added of the alcohol- and animal fats-free cosmetics.
Lilit Gevorgyan, principal economist for Russia and former Soviet states at IHS Markit, said the growth in Russia’s halal economy seemed impressive but was coming from a “very low base.”
Further growth in the sector was likely to be driven more by export than by domestic demand, she said.
This is mainly because household incomes have yet to recover from a 2014 crisis caused by a fall in global oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
“Halal food is more expensive due to its production costs, and for Russian consumers... every ruble counts,” she said, adding that much of Russia’s Muslim community was non-practicing.
Changing Muslim countries’ perception of Russia will be key if Moscow is serious about increasing halal exports, Gevorgyan added.
“Branding is important,” she said, adding that Russia — as yet — is not seen as a major halal producer.