India fines 530 firms for delay in appointing women directors

India fines 530 firms for delay in appointing women directors
Updated 14 July 2015

India fines 530 firms for delay in appointing women directors

India fines 530 firms for delay in appointing women directors

NEW DELHI: The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has slapped fines on 530 listed companies for failing to meet a deadline to appoint a women director and boost gender diversity in their boardrooms, a BSE official said on Tuesday.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) last year imposed a quota of at least one female director on the board of every listed firm, and warned of “very serious” consequences if the thousands of companies did not comply by an April 1 deadline.
The BSE said in a statement that SEBI rules meant companies who failed to comply would face a scheduled fine. This ranging from 50,000 rupees ($790) to 142,000 rupees ($2,240) to Oct. 1, 2015. After this, they would pay an additional 5,000 rupees ($78) per day until they complied.
“As per the provisions of the SEBI circular, BSE has till date (July 13) issued advisory letters to 530 companies regarding levy of fines for non-compliance with the said provision within the prescribed timelines,” said a statement.
A BSE spokesman said he could not disclose the names of the 530 firms from the 5,711 companies listed on the exchange that were being penalized.
The National Stock Exchange (NSE) said it had also sent out letters informing 260 listed firms, many of which are also listed on the BSE, of its intention to levy fines.
An NSE spokesman said SEBI could take further action against companies which had not paid up fines and appointed a woman director by Sept 30, 2015.
“SEBI may take any other action, against the non-compliant entities, their promoters and/or directors or issue such directions in accordance with law, as considered appropriate,” he said quoting the SEBI directive.

Not enough
According to PRIME Database, a market research group, which monitors the NSE, 105 companies out of 1,733 still had vacancies for women directors on their boards as of Tuesday.
These include private firms such as Aditya Birla Chemicals, Nissan Copper Ltd. and Infotech Ltd. as well as state-run companies such as the Bank of India, the State Trading Corporation of India and the Bank of Maharashtra.
Analysts welcomed the move, but said it was insufficient to force companies give women seats at the tables.
“The fines really are not enough. If you look at it, a company would be paying only around 63,000 rupees or $1,000 — for non-compliance if they paid today,” said Pranav Haldea, PRIME Database’s Managing Director.
“Asking a company to pay that amount will not exactly burn a hole in their pockets.”
SEBI could take stronger action such as suspension from trading or freezing promoters’ share holdings, Haldea said.
The companies have argued there are too few professionally qualified women to fill boardroom positions. But others say there are many women who can do the job but need support in terms of visibility and networking.
“While SEBI is right to have fined companies for non-compliance to appoint women on boards, is the government doing enough to ensure that women are appointed on boards of companies?” said Sarika Bhattacharyya, co-founder and director of Biz Divas, a non-profit promoting women leadership.
“India is still in the nascent stage of appointing women on boards and if necessary steps are taken by the government, we should be able to see better traction.”
Ahead of SEBI’s April 1 deadline, thousands of companies rushed to recruit women directors, with many installing the wives and mother-in-laws of their top executives.
But the scarcity of women in the boardroom is not unique to India. Nearly one-fifth of the world’s 200 largest companies have no women directors, according to an August 2014 report by Biz Divas.


Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds
Updated 23 April 2021

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds

Dubai real-estate transactions surge 43% in March as sector rebounds
  • The value of property transactions jumped 40 percent YOY in March
  • Real-estate agents earned 392 million dirhams in commission in Q1

RIYADH: Dubai real-estate transactions jumped 43 percent year over year in March 2021 to 6,590 as investors flooded back into the sector.

The value of sales rose 40 percent to 22.9 billion dirhams ($6.2 billion), according to the real estate bulletin issued by Dubai Land Department (DLD), WAM reported. The number of transactions was the second highest monthly total since February 2017.

The bulletin highlighted continued attractiveness of the real estate sector to new investors, with 5,683 entering the market in Q1 2021, representing 64 percent of the total number of investors in the period.

The value of commissions achieved by active real estate brokers reached 392 million dirhams in Q1 2021, while 143,374 rental contracts were recorded in Q1 2021, 57 percent of which were new contracts and 43 percent were renewed.

The bulletin highlighted the top five areas for investor attractiveness. In villa sales, Hadaeq Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid topped the list in Q1 2021, followed by Wadi Al Safa 5, Wadi Al Safa 7, Nad Al Sheba 1, and Al Thanyah Fourth. In apartment sales, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay, Burj Khalifa, and Al Merkadh topped the list in Q1 2021.

Sales of luxury villas, sea-view apartments and second-hand family houses jumped in March, re-energizing a property market that saw a sharp fall in activity at the height of the pandemic and had been in a five-year slump prior to that, Reuters reported at the time.

S&P Global credit analyst Sapna Jagtiani does not expect Dubai’s real estate market to recover to pre-pandemic levels until next year, the agency said.


Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation
Updated 23 April 2021

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation

Red Sea Project uses smart light systems as it seeks dark sky accreditation
  • Smart systems help reduce waste and minimize light pollution
  • Red Sea Project wants to be certified by the International Dark Sky Association

RIYADH: All Red Sea Project assets, including resorts, hotels and facilities, run through smart control systems that allow enough light as needed while being careful to save energy consumption and reduce waste, said Myriam Yaniz, director of lighting management at the company.

Red Sea Project is using the technology as it looks to be certified as an International Dark Sky Place by the International Dark Sky Association.

The company reviews different scenarios to know the adequate amount of lighting required during different times of the day and during the different seasons, Yaniz told Al Eqtisadiyah paper, during the World's Earth Day celebration on Thursday.

"At the design stage and during the first meeting of any destination project, our night vision is conveyed to our team of consultants and provided with our list of criteria to ensure that the work is carried out accordingly," she said.

Red Sea Project is a land and property development on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast announced by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in July 2017.


Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
Updated 23 April 2021

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February

Saudi bank deposit growth accelerated to 11-month high in February
  • Bank deposit growth was the fastest since March 2020

RIYADH: Bank deposits in Saudi Arabia grew during February at the fastest pace since March 2020 as the economy continued to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Deposits reached SR1.96 trillion ($522.5 billion) at the end of February, an increase of 1.83 percent, the most since the previous March’s 1.92 percent gain, Al Eqtisadiah reported, citing SAMA data.

On an annual basis, bank deposits in Saudi Arabia increased by 10.2 percent, or SR180.47 billion. Individual and corporate deposits, which made up 74.6 percent of total deposits, increased by 9.8 percent year over year.

Demand deposits increased 14.2 percent to SR1.29 trillion in the 12 months to the end of February, making up 88 percent of total deposits with savings and foreign deposits accounting for the rest.


Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts

Egypt and Russia agree to resume all flights, including to resorts
CAIRO: Egypt and Russia have agreed to resume all flights between the two countries in a call between their presidents, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
Flights to resort destinations Sharm Al-Sheikh and Hurghada were suspended after a Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai in October 2015, killing 224 people.
The Egyptian statement did not specify a timeline for the resumption of flights, but Russia’s Interfax news agency reported this week that flights could resume in the second half of May.
An Airbus A321, operated by Metrojet, had been taking Russian holiday makers home from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in 2015, when it broke up over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all on board. A group affiliated with Daesh militants claimed responsibility.
The decision to resume flights followed “the joint cooperation between the two sides on this issue, and based on the standards of security and convenience provided for visits at Egyptian tourist destination airports,” the statement said.

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform

Egypt raises domestic fuel prices for first time since subsidy reform
  • Egypt lowered fuel prices in October 2019 following protests
  • Egypt phased out fuel subsidies on the advice of the IMF

RIYADH: Egypt’s price-setting committee raised domestic fuel prices on Friday for the first time since it was formed in October 2019 following the completion of subsidy reforms, the petroleum ministry said in a statement.

Prices were last raised in July 2019 when Egypt, a net oil importer, finished phasing out subsides on fuel products as part of a reform program backed by the International Monetary Fund. Prices had remained stable over the past year after being lowered in April 2020 and October 2019.

The prices of 80-octane, 92-octane, and 95-octane fuel were raised by 0.25 Egyptian pounds each, to 6.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.40), 7.5, and 8.5 pounds per liter, respectively, the statement said.

The pricing committee’s mechanism links energy prices to international markets, and takes into account the exchange rate as well as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.

Egypt lowered fuel prices in October 2019 following several rounds of price hikes as part of an austerity program that triggered discontent, including protests against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.