S&P cuts credit ratings on two Dubai firms, cites weaker economy

S&P had previously upgraded Dubai Electricity and Water Authority in 2012 and 2016, as the emirate recovered from a credit crisis that nearly caused it to default on its debt. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018

S&P cuts credit ratings on two Dubai firms, cites weaker economy

  • The emirate does not have a sovereign credit rating, so analysts often look at state firms as indicators of its financial health

DUBAI: S&P Global Ratings cut its credit ratings for two Dubai state-owned companies, saying a weakening economy in the emirate was hurting the government’s ability to extend emergency support to the firms if needed.
The downgrades were a fresh sign of pressure on Dubai’s economy, where the real estate and equity markets are slumping. The emirate does not have a sovereign credit rating, so analysts often look at state firms as indicators of its financial health.
S&P lowered its rating on utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) late on Tuesday to BBB from BBB-plus, assigning it a negative outlook, which indicates a significant chance of a further downgrade in future.
It was S&P’s first outright downgrade of DEWA. The agency had previously upgraded the company in 2012 and 2016, as the emirate recovered from a credit crisis that nearly caused it to default on its debt. A default was averted with $20 billion of aid from neighboring Abu Dhabi.
S&P also lowered its rating for real estate firm DIFC Investments (DIFCI) to BBB-minus, one step above junk status, from BBB, but with a stable outlook. DIFCI owns an office and retail complex in Dubai’s international financial center.
Analysts say that the pressures on Dubai are not as serious as those it faced a decade ago, and it has strengthened its finances since then by restructuring billions of dollars of debt at state-linked firms.
Dubai government bond prices and the cost of insuring Dubai sovereign debt showed little reaction on Wednesday to the S&P downgrades.


Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

Updated 23 October 2019

Saudi Arabia promotes investment opportunities with Japan’s business leaders  

  • Saudi Arabia and Japan exchanged 12 MoUs in the fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia opened its doors for Japanese investment during a Saudi-Japan business forum held in Tokyo on Wednesday amid growing economic ties between the two nations.  

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) discussed tourism and entertainment investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia with Japan’s business leaders and government officials during the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

During the forum, 12 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were exchanged in fields of education, science, technology, and banking and finance.

The MoUs include Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company which will aim to manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability.

Two Saudi and Japanese universities signed MoUs for academic exchange on research. While SAGIA signed MoU with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to enhance investment opportunities.

“Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners, and businesses from across our countries have a strong track record of working together,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al-Qasabi said at the Forum.

“Today’s Forum reflects the success and strength of this enduring partnership. We established the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive and facilitate continued private sector involvement by establishing joint-ventures between entities across our respective countries,” he added.

These investments come alongside a broad series of economic reforms, which are enabling rapid growth in foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. This is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy as outlined in Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia has moved up three positions to the 36th place, globally, through its efforts to diversify the Kingdom’s economy, according to the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum.

The total number of foreign investor licenses issued in the first half of 2019 was more than double the number issued the same period a year before.

“We believe that the future prosperity of the Kingdom depends on fostering even closer ties with our strategic partners across the globe, and we look forward to welcoming these companies as they take part in the historic transformation of our economy,” Al-Qasabi said. 

Memoranda of Understanding exchanged at the Forum include:

  • University of Tokyo and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) – the academic exchange for research in renewable energy and petrochemicals
  • Kyoto University Institute for Advance Study (KUIAS) and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST)– to promote the exchange of scientific materials, publications, and information and exchange of faculty members and researchers, students and joint research
  • University of Tokyo and King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) – to collaborate on the research and the next generation of organic and soft electronics and efficient generation of hydrogen
  • Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) – to promote the exchange of data and best practices in the field of intellectual property protection including trademarks and patents
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – to enhance investment opportunities between Japan and Saudi Arabia
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) – a framework for cooperation to enhance investment from Japan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Toyobo and Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Arabian Japanese Membrane Company – to develop innovative membrane technologies and manage disposed brine water generated from seawater desalination plants for environmental sustainability
  • Sojitz Corporation and AIZAWA Concrete Corporation and Al Saedan for Development – to explore opportunities and utilize 3D printing technology and local materials for housing construction
  • Cyberdyne Group and Abdul Latif Jameel Investments – to collaborate and enhance Cybernic treatment and contribute to the social development of the Kingdom.
  • Saudi-Japan Vision Office Riyadh (VRO) and National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) – to expand collaboration and enable investments in the field of industry, mining, energy and logistics
  • TBM and SABIC – to build a circular economy using LIMEX
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and Saudi-Japanese Automobile High Institute – to provide support and training for human capacity development for Saudi youth in the automotive sector