UAE’s rail project back on track with financing sealed

The second phase of the UAE’s rail project will extend 605 kilometers from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the east coast. (WAM)
Updated 27 November 2018
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UAE’s rail project back on track with financing sealed

  • Etihad Rail said the UAE Ministry of Finance and the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance have signed an agreement to finance the second stage
  • The preliminary designs for phase two have been completed and tenders for construction work will be launched by end of this month

ABU DHABI: Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the United Arab Emirates’ national rail network, said on Tuesday the government has agreed financing for phase two of the project which was put on hold in 2016.
The financing deal signals that the project is back on track after delays partly due to bureaucracy, technical difficulties and financing issues as the government slowed spending due to low oil prices.
State-owned Etihad Rail had suspended the tendering process for phase two of the project in 2016, saying it was reviewing options for the timing and delivery.
Etihad Rail said the UAE Ministry of Finance and the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance signed the agreement to finance the second stage. It did not disclose a figure for the financing.
The second phase will extend 605 kilometers from Ghuweifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to Fujairah on the east coast.
The preliminary designs for phase two have been completed and tenders for construction work will be launched by end of this month, Etihad Rail said.
The new railway will increase the volume of goods transported to more than 50 million tons from seven million tons, it said.
Etihad Rail is owned 70 percent by the Abu Dhabi government and 30 percent by the UAE federal government.
Once the project is completed, the UAE’s national railway network, which will cost an estimated $11 billion in total, will run for about 1,200 km across the Emirates. The Etihad Rail network will also form a vital part of the Gulf-wide railway network.
Phase one of the rail network, completed in 2015, extends 264 km from Shah and Habshan near Abu Dhabi to Ruwais to transport the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s shipments of granulated sulfur for export.
This part of the project secured financing of $1.28 billion from local and international banks.


Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

Updated 18 September 2019

Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

  • Specialist insurer reports first-half pre-tax profit of $2.87 billion

LONDON: The 330-year old specialist insurance market Lloyd's of London reported a first-half pre-tax profit of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.87 billion) on Thursday, up nearly fourfold on investment gains and a cutback in underperforming business.
Lloyd's, which covers commercial risks from oil risks to footballers' legs, suffered steep losses in 2017 and 2018 due to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires.
Lloyd's last year told its 99 member syndicates to ditch the worst performing 10% of their businesses.
"It is encouraging that the Lloyd's market is showing increased discipline in 2019," Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.
"We need to make some brave choices on how to meet the expectations of our customers and all our stakeholders in the future."
The market has proposed its members move to electronic exchanges next year, as it responds to competition from cheaper rivals.
Further details of the strategic changes will be released on Sept 30.
Net investment income rose to 2.3 billion pounds from 0.2 billion a year earlier, helped by strong equity returns.
Gross written premiums rose 1.7% to 19.7 billion pounds but the company's combined ratio, a measure of underwriting performance in which a level below 100% indicates a profit, weakened to 98.8% from 95.5%.
The results compare with a profit of 0.6 billion pounds a year ago.
Premium rates rose by an average of 3.9%, Lloyd's said.
Lloyd's in May asked the Banking Standards Board to conduct a survey of the insurance market's 45,000 participants on issues such as honesty and respect to help to improve its working environment, following allegations of sexual harassment at member firms.
The survey will be published on Sept 24, Neal said on Thursday.