Saudi ports’ competitiveness lined up for discussion

Updated 27 March 2013

Saudi ports’ competitiveness lined up for discussion

The Jeddah Commercial Forum 2013 will take place next month with “Empower national trade with international competitive standards” as its slogan.
The Strategic Commercial Committee of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) is organizing the forum, with the support of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as its strategic partner and in cooperation with the faculty of economy and administration of King Abdul Aziz University as knowledge partner.
It is being held under the auspices of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled bin Faisal at the Jeddah Hilton from April 20-22.The forum has five sessions.
Ali H. Alireza, deputy chairman of the committee and managing director of Haji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd., says keynote speakers will discuss topics related to commercial activities and solutions for resolving problems arising out of such activities, Saudization policies and skills gap in the labor market, mediation as an alternative solution for commercial disagreements, the role of logistics in enhancing the competitiveness of the ports, and the impact of adverse practices on the Saudi and Gulf economies and trade.
“This conference touches very directly the issues that are facing business people in our economy today such as growth of the economy in general and more particularly issues such as creation of jobs for Saudi nationals, work of the ports that has drawn the attention in recent times because of the growth of the economy, and the ability of the ports to keep pace with the growing trade,” Alireza said.
“We are not talking about the Jeddah Islamic Port alone but the ports in general around the Kingdom. There are issues about customs, and how their dealings influence the ways of doing business in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
For instance, he said Haji Husein Alireza & Co. is an assembler of MAN trucks in Saudi Arabia so we have to import components to assemble them here. We find customs give a different treatment in order to encourage the setting up of assembly in Saudi Arabia, which is also an important issue.
“The forum will also deal with other topical issues like the rising prices of consumer goods, the pricing of products in Saudi Arabia, and the inflationary trend worldwide leading to the rising cost of commodities, and the impact of this and that of fluctuations in the currency market on our prices,” Alireza said.
What distinguishes this forum from other events is its practical relevance to issues we face today and the useful and relevant recommendations that are going to be presented by the participants in the conference, he added.
“In the past, we thought the cases of returned checks and unpaid debts were big issues. There was a relatively high amount of uncollected obligations in Saudi Arabia from checks, which were not honored, and unpaid promissory notes. They were no doubt big problems, but they were addressed in the past conferences,” he added.
The Ministry of Interior took decisive action and handled the problems and considered the recommendations made by the conference. And now the problem is much less, as it was addressed by changing certain regulations and implementing the regulations carefully, he said.
“We have seen from the past conferences that we have had good positive results from the issues we presented and from the solutions the relevant government agencies have implemented. That is why I am very supportive of and optimistic about this particular conference,” Alireza added.

Creditors take action against Al Jaber in decade-long saga

Updated 23 September 2020

Creditors take action against Al Jaber in decade-long saga

  • The downturn in the Gulf construction sector has triggered a number of corporate restructurings as companies are forced to reschedule debt, raise fresh borrowing or enter insolvency protection

DUBAI: Creditors have started to enforce claims against Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, in a dispute triggered by a construction downturn in the UAE more than a decade ago.

Al Jaber, a contractor with interests across a range of sectors, has struggled since building up debt in the wake of a UAE real estate crisis and began talks with creditors in 2011.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, which is working as restructuring and security agent, said in a document dated Sept. 21 which was seen by Reuters, that it had instructions from the majority of creditors to proceed with claims against Al Jaber.

A representative for Al Jaber did not immediately respond to a request or comment. ADCB declined to comment.

The move follows delays in restructuring agreements, under which Al Jaber was to appoint a new board and sell companies and assets such as the Shangri-La hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In exchange, creditors had agreed to extend the maturity of a 5.9 billion dirhams ($1.61 billion) loan, cut interest rates, and provide additional revolving debt.

The initial enforcement action now being pursued by creditors includes the “acceleration and demand for payment of amounts outstanding” under the previously agreed debt restructuring, a source familiar with the matter said.

Enforcement will also allow creditors to claim against Al Jaber’s chairman under a 4.5 billion dirham loan to the company.

Several UAE companies have sought to extend debt maturities or agree better terms in recent years to avoid defaults, after an oil price crash hit energy services and construction.

The coronavirus crisis has added to the strain and Arabtec Holding, the UAE’s biggest listed contractor, this week will discuss options including dissolution after the pandemic hit projects and led to additional costs.

Meanwhile, Dubai-listed construction firm Drake & Scull is working to reach an agreement with its creditors in an out-of-court process.