Nintendo’s Q1 net profit drops 46% on forex losses

Nintendo’s Q1 net profit drops 46% on forex losses
Hardware and software sales increased 13.2 percent and 25.9 percent respectively. (Reuters)
Updated 30 July 2019

Nintendo’s Q1 net profit drops 46% on forex losses

Nintendo’s Q1 net profit drops 46% on forex losses
  • Net profit shrank “as a result of foreign exchange losses of 12 billion yen and other factors,”

TOKYO: Japanese entertainment giant Nintendo said Tuesday its net profit in the first quarter dropped 46 percent due to exchange rate losses, but reported steady sales of its Switch gaming platform.
Net profit for the April-June period fell 45.7 percent from a year earlier to 16.6 billion yen ($150 million), but the Kyoto-based consumer gaming juggernaut kept full-year forecasts unchanged.
“Hardware and software sales increased 13.2 percent and 25.9 percent respectively,” the company said, with “Super Mario Maker 2” and “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” both selling well.
Net profit shrank “as a result of foreign exchange losses of 12 billion yen and other factors,” it said.
Sales rose 2.4 percent to 172 billion yen while operating profit fell 10.2 percent to 27.4 billion yen.
For the fiscal year to March 2020, Nintendo forecasts a 7.2 percent decline in bottom-line profit but the company has set a higher sales target.
“Nintendo has maintained positive momentum as sales of Switch are expanding steadily, together with powerful titles,” Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, told AFP ahead of the release of the earnings.
“Nintendo is expected to stay on course to growth,” he said.
Nintendo said in April that sales of its portable Switch console were projected to rise six percent to 18 million units for the current fiscal year, with the release of new titles in its popular Super Mario, Pokemon and Zelda franchises.
The Switch has become a huge global seller, helped by innovative, family-friendly titles that have wowed critics and gamers alike.
The Japanese giant announced earlier this month the release of a scaled back, cheaper version of the console, with an expected release in September ahead of the key holiday shopping season.
Switch Lite, which will sell for $199.99, will be a strictly handheld device that can’t be connected to television sets.
Unlike the existing console — a hybrid that can be used for handheld play or hooked up to a screen at home — the new edition’s controllers will be permanently fixed on either side of the screen.
It will be small enough to fit in the pocket of an adult’s jacket.
Nintendo, the creator of Super Mario and Pokemon, is aiming to roll out the flagship Switch model to China via Tencent to further boost its global reach.
Its gaming rival Sony on Tuesday reported a 32.8 percent drop in its first-quarter bottomline profit on one-off factors, with operating profit up.
The PlayStation manufacturer said the plunge reflects in part the firm’s exceptional first quarter results last year, fueled in part by the sale of a part of its stake in Spotify.


Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf

Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf
Updated 8 min 59 sec ago

Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf

Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf
  • Etihad Rail will operate 750 miles of track connecting all of the emirates and Saudi Arabia
  • The long-term plan is to be part of a wider railway network connecting all six GCC countries

ABU DHABI: In the desert emirate of Abu Dhabi, Ibrahim Al-Hammadi inspects a freight train on the UAE’s first railway line. He climbs aboard the locomotive, does a final systems check and then it’s full steam ahead.
Hammadi is the first Emirati to become a train driver — in a country which already has a space program and two of the world’s biggest airlines, but is only now developing a rail network to connect all seven of its emirates.
“I was intrigued when I saw the train operating,” the 23-year-old told AFP. “It was something new, and it pushed me to ask around about learning how to drive it.”
The United Arab Emirates is well known for its audacious infrastructure and technology projects. It successfully sent a probe to Mars earlier this year, and the world’s first superfast hyperloop system is planned to link its two main cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
When completed, Etihad Rail will operate 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) of track connecting all of the emirates — from Ghweifat in the western region of Abu Dhabi to the emirate of Fujairah on the eastern coast — and link with neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The long-term plan is to be part of a wider railway network that would connect all six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar as well as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
A spirit of competition between the emirates, which each have their own specialities and areas of interest, is credited with holding back the national rail project.
“There has been some hesitance from the federal government to spend on national economic integration projects... along with traditional issues on emirate-level sovereignty,” Karen Young, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, told AFP.
“The UAE is a federal system and its centralization of authority and economic and development policy within (the federal capital) Abu Dhabi are still relatively new.”


And so far there has been little progress on the multi-billion-dollar GCC railway, which has languished after a feasibility study was approved by the six countries back in 2004.
“The rail projects within the GCC have been in a planning process for years, part of bigger goals of trade and economic integration within the regional organization of the Arabian peninsula,” Young said.
“That integration has faced a number of obstacles, from a shared currency policy that is now moot, to the dispute with Qatar which severed basic investor rights, citizen travel and trade.”
That dispute, which lasted for more than three years before being resolved in January, saw Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the UAE, sever ties with Qatar in June 2017 partly over allegations that Qatar was too close to Iran. Doha denied the accusations.
Hammadi works on Etihad Rail’s first section of line, which covers 264 kilometers and has been operational since 2016.
He drives trains transporting granulated sulfur from Abu Dhabi’s inland fields in Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais.
Freight is currently the line’s main focus but as it is extended through the mountains between the emirates of Dubai and Fujairah, the line is also set to offer passenger services that will run at speeds of up to 200 kph (125 mph).
That will provide an alternative to the UAE’s network of mega-highways, some more than a dozen lanes wide, which carry endless streams of motorists in a car-dependent nation, as they zip through canyons of skyscrapers or rocky mountains, and towering dunes.


The UAE hopes the rail network’s supply chain will help diversify its oil-dependent economy.
“Railways have always been a vital component in the economic, social and strategic growth of countries around the world,” Hammadi told AFP.
“It developed the infrastructure in the western region (of the UAE), increased security and safety on the roads and lessened congestion.
“The Etihad Rail project will connect the country’s key centers of trade, industry and population.”
For the project’s first stage, Etihad Rail operates seven locomotives and 240 freight wagons, with each locomotive hauling up to 110 wagons as it crosses the country’s vast desert.
In the Abu Dhabi control room, Maitha Al-Remeithi, the first female Emirati train controller, walks from one section to another monitoring the dozens of screens in the room.
For Remeithi — who started working with Etihad Rail in 2017 — it was her passion for something “unique, exciting and new” that drove her toward the rail industry.
“The railway is growing every day, and as I am involved in the daily running of the operation, I can see its positive impact within the transport sector from safety, environmental and logistics perspectives,” the 30-year-old said.
Etihad Rail says that one full freight train can replace 300 trucks, and cut CO2 emissions by 70-80 percent.
“Using rail as a mode of transport means fewer trucks on the roads; the need for road maintenance is less and CO2 emissions are less,” Remeithi said.


Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala sells 4.5% Oil Search stake for $275m

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala sells 4.5% Oil Search stake for $275m
Updated 29 min 31 sec ago

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala sells 4.5% Oil Search stake for $275m

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala sells 4.5% Oil Search stake for $275m
  • Fund bought 17.6 percent stake in 2008
  • Sale takes stake below 5 percent threshold to be considered a substantial shareholder in Australia

ABU DHABI: Mubadala sold a 4.5 percent stake in Oil Search Ltd. for A$362.8 million ($274.82 million), the oil and gas producer said in a filing late on Thursday.
Mubadala, an investor since 2008, sold 94 million shares on Tuesday, the filing showed, lowering its stake to 4.94 percent, below the 5 percent threshold to be considered a substantial shareholder in Australia.
The state fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mubadala, which initially bought a 17.6 percent stake in 2008, declined to participate in a A$1.16 billion capital raise conducted by Oil Search in April 2020.
The state fund’s representative, Bakheet Al Katheeri, also stepped down from Oil Search’s board, the company said in a separate statement earlier on Thursday.


Jeddah Economic City: 90% of road, landscaping work done

Jeddah Economic City: 90% of road, landscaping work done
Updated 24 June 2021

Jeddah Economic City: 90% of road, landscaping work done

Jeddah Economic City: 90% of road, landscaping work done
  • The project will consist of three sectors: A financial district, a residential district and Al-Balad

JEDDAH: Jeddah Economic City — one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship megaprojects, which will include the world’s tallest tower — is nearing completion on all road construction and landscaping work, according to a senior executive on the project.

Speaking at the Urban Landscape Saudi 2021 event this week, Fady Nassim, executive head of urban planning for Jeddah Economic City, said the main goal of the 5.3-million-square-meter project is to create a habitable, economically beneficial and environmentally friendly space. “Ninety percent of the work on road construction and landscaping in the city is done,” he told delegates.

The city will consist of 210 towers that will be over 30 floors high, the centerpiece being Jeddah Tower, which will be around 1 km tall and will take over from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building.

The project will consist of three sectors: A financial district, a residential district and Al-Balad, which will be a contemporary recreation of the old quarter of Jeddah.

Nassim said the landscaping will be done in a way that ensures plenty of green space and room for pedestrians, with less emphasis on cars and traffic.

Also speaking at the event, which was organized by the Saudi Contractors Authority, was Abdurahman Medallah, general manager for urban studies and policies at the Sharqia Development Authority.

He highlighted the fact that the rapid expansion of urban areas in the Kingdom is impacting agricultural land.

Medallah also highlighted the recently announced Saudi Green initiative, which aims to enhance rural areas and expand green areas in the Kingdom.

“Some of these targets are to increase the share of renewables, to reduce carbon emissions, to plant around 50 million trees, and to raise the percentage of protected areas to around 30 percent,” he said.


Egypt-UK trade up 8% to $722m in Q1 2021

Egypt-UK trade up 8% to $722m in Q1 2021
Updated 24 June 2021

Egypt-UK trade up 8% to $722m in Q1 2021

Egypt-UK trade up 8% to $722m in Q1 2021

CAIRO: Trade between Egypt and Britain increased 8 percent year-on-year to £519 million ($722 million) in the first quarter of 2021, said Nasser Hamed, director of the EU Administration at the Egyptian Commercial Office.

Egypt’s exports to the UK during the first quarter of 2021 amounted to about £219 million, down 1.8 percent year-on-year, while its imports from Britain amounted to about £300 million, down about 14 percent, according to the Middle East News Agency.

Hamed said British investment in Egypt amounted to about $5.3 billion, accounting for 33 percent of total European investments.

He added that Britain is the third-largest investing country in Egypt after the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Hamed said despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on exports over the last year, Egyptian food exports to Britain surged by about 76 percent to £24 million, consisting mainly of molasses, vegetable oils and fats, chocolate, vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices.

He added that with gross domestic product of about £1.9 trillion and total imports in 2020 of £493 billion, the British economy offers great potential for Egyptian exporters.

Hamed said following Brexit, the terms of the Egyptian-British partnership agreement is the same as those of the European partnership agreement, except for minor differences on issues related to quotas or export seasons for some products such as grapes and strawberries.


Catalyst Partners ready to raise more funds: CEO

Catalyst Partners ready to raise more funds: CEO
Updated 24 June 2021

Catalyst Partners ready to raise more funds: CEO

Catalyst Partners ready to raise more funds: CEO

DUBAI: Mubadala-backed fund Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners is ready to raise more capital after investing close to $1 billion over the last 18 months, its chief executive said.

The fund was set up by Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and US alternative asset manager Falcon Edge Capital in 2019 with $1 billion in capital.

CEO James Munce told Reuters Catalyst Partners had so far made 21 investments with an average ticket size of $50 million, with some deals investing up to $100 million.

“The plan is to go again. I think we have gone faster than expected,” Munce said in reference to adding more capital.

No decision had been made on when or how much more capital would be committed, he said.

“My view on it is this can grow to be another $1 billion and we have $2 billion deployed over the next 18 months from here. That will be a four year-track record of a $2 billion fund and we would start to get some relevance in the region,” he said.

Catalyst Partners was set up to support the development of Abu Dhabi’s ADGM financial center, which opened in 2015, while also achieving financial returns, according to its website.

Its investments have included an American financial technology startup developing blockchain tools for banks and an Abu Dhabi-based aircraft leasing firm.