Dubai’s Vista Global agrees to buy Uber-style private jet booker

Updated 10 April 2019
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Dubai’s Vista Global agrees to buy Uber-style private jet booker

  • Equity swap expected to close by second quarter
  • Vista competes with Warren Buffett's NetJets

LONDON: Dubai-based Vista Global has agreed to buy JetSmarter which allows well-heeled travelers to book private jets on demand.
Vista Global, headquartered at the Dubai International Financial Center and run by the Swiss billionaire Thomas Flohr, is acquiring the US company for an undisclosed sum.
He said: “Customers today want speed, reliability and value, which in today’s world is only possible with technology.”
The acquisition underscores a trend of moving away from private jet ownership globally as more people choose to buy flying hours instead.
The Middle East has traditionally been a strong market for private jet operators with the Dubai Airshow a popular parade ring for planemakers and private jet charter companies.
But a regional economic slowdown, especially in the oil and gas sector, has hurt underlying demand for private jet services.
Founded in 2012, JetSmarter had planned to IPO and was valued at $1.6 billion just three years ago, but has since faced tough trading.
The equity swap deal is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2019 and it means that JetSmarter investors that include Clearlake Capital and Jefferies Financial Group will now become investors in Vista Global.
Vista competes with NetJets, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway empire.


Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

Updated 26 June 2019
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Urgency needed to boost Palestinian economy: IMF chief

  • The MF has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy
  • ‘If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained’

MANAMA: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that major economic growth was possible in the Palestinian territories if all sides showed urgency, as she took part in a US-led conference boycotted by the Palestinian leadership.
The International Monetary Fund has been warning of severe deterioration in the Palestinian economy, with tax revenue blocked in a dispute with Israel which has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade.
“If there is an economic plan, if there is urgency, it’s a question of making sure that the momentum is sustained,” said Lagarde.
The IMF chief is attending a conference in Bahrain to discuss the economic aspects of a United States plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians as it fails to address key political issues.
Lagarde said for the US plan to work “it will require all the goodwill in the world on the part of all parties — private sector, public sector, international organizations and the parties on the ground and their neighbors.”
Citing examples of post-conflict countries, Lagarde said that private investors needed progress in several sectors including strengthening the central bank, better managing public finance and mobilizing domestic revenue.
“If anti-corruption is really one of the imperatives of the authorities — as it was in Rwanda, for instance — then things can really take off,” she said.
The plan presented by White House adviser Jared Kushner calls for $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and its neighbors within a decade.
The proposals for infrastructure, tourism, education and more aim to create one million Palestinian jobs.
Gross domestic product in the Gaza Strip declined by eight percent last year, while there was only minor growth in the West Bank.
Kushner, opening the conference on Tuesday, called the plan the “Opportunity of the Century” — and said the Palestinians needed to accept it before a deal can be reached on political solutions.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected the conference, saying that the US and Israel are trying to dangle money to impose their ideas on a political settlement.
Washington says it will unveil the political aspects of its peace deal at a later date, most likely after Israel’s September election.