Riyadh Metro joins station branding ride

The Riyadh Metro project is part of the country’s ambitious program to reform the economy and society. (Reuters)
Updated 15 October 2017

Riyadh Metro joins station branding ride

RIYADH — The $23 billion Riyadh Metro launched an auction on Sunday for private companies to name and advertise in select metro stops when the system opens in 2019, an initiative that could generate millions of dollars to help cover operational costs.
Construction on the 176-kilometer metro began in 2014 after contracts were awarded to consortiums headed by US construction giant Bechtel Corp, Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas and Italy’s Ansaldo STS.
The metro’s six lines and 85 stations are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2019. They will be served by electric, driverless trains in what officials describe as the world’s largest public transport system currently under development.
Construction has pushed ahead amid speculation the project could be scaled back or delayed following a slump in Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues. The metro is part of the country’s ambitious program to reform the economy and society.
Local and international companies licensed in the kingdom will be eligible to bid for naming and advertising rights at 10 stations, said officials from the state-run Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), which oversees the metro project.
Another 10 stations could be offered at a later auction. Bids must be submitted by Jan. 25 and winners will be announced by mid-2018, the officials said.
“(The revenues) will be allocated for running the train and supporting the public transit system in the city”, said Alwalid Alekrish, Director of Construction Development Projects and Project Director of the Riyadh Metro.
He declined to specify how much the auction was expected to generate, but the potential is large. The metro in neighboring Dubai has earned hundreds of millions of dollars with a similar initiative, according to local media.
Promotional materials suggested winning companies would have their logos plastered throughout the stations – at turnstiles, elevators, passageways and shopping areas.


IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

Updated 20 February 2020

IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

  • IMF team will provide broad technical advice
  • Lebanon has not requested IMF financial assistance

BEIRUT: A team of IMF experts met Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday at the start of a visit to provide Lebanon with advice on tackling a deepening financial and economic crisis, an official Lebanese source said.

The IMF has said the team will visit until Feb. 23 and provide broad technical advice. Lebanon has not requested financial assistance from the Fund.

The long-brewing economic crisis spiraled last year as capital flows into the country slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite over decades of corruption and bad governance.

Diab’s government, which took office last month, must decide what to do about upcoming debt payments, notably a $1.2 billion dollar-denominated sovereign bond due on March 9.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meanwhile said on Thursday measures would be taken to hold to account all those who contributed to Lebanon’s financial crisis through illegal actions be they transfers abroad, manipulation of Eurobonds or other acts.

“There is information that we are still in need of with regards to the banking situation. There are measures that we will take to hold to account all who participated in bringing the crisis to where it is,” Aoun said, according to his Twitter account.

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One of Lebanon’s most influential politicians, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, said on Wednesday that debt restructuring was the best solution for looming maturities.

Lebanon will on Friday review proposals from firms bidding to give it financial and legal advice on its options, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The government aims to take a quick decision on who to appoint, the source said.

So far, firms bidding to be Lebanon’s legal adviser are Dechert, Cleary Gottlieb, and White and Case, the source said.

Lebanon has issued requests for proposals to seven firms to provide it with financial advice.

The government on Wednesday formed a committee tasked with preparing an economic recovery plan that includes ministers, government officials, a central bank representative and economists, according to a copy of a decree seen by Reuters.