Delta buys $1.9bn LATAM stake, snatching partner away from American Airlines

Delta buys $1.9bn LATAM stake, snatching partner away from American Airlines
The LATAM deal is Delta’s largest since it merged with Northwest Airlines a decade ago. (AFP)
Updated 27 September 2019

Delta buys $1.9bn LATAM stake, snatching partner away from American Airlines

Delta buys $1.9bn LATAM stake, snatching partner away from American Airlines
  • The surprise deal with Latin America’s largest carrier will give Delta a much bigger footprint in the region
  • The LATAM deal is Delta’s largest since it merged with Northwest Airlines a decade ago

CHICAGO: Delta Air Lines said on Thursday it would buy a 20 percent stake in LATAM Airlines Group for $1.9 billion, creating a major new airline partnership and ending the Chilean carrier’s ties with American Airlines.
The surprise deal with Latin America’s largest carrier will give Delta a much bigger footprint in the region, a key growth market in which LATAM flies to dozens of destinations including cities in Argentina, Peru and Brazil.
The LATAM deal is Delta’s largest since it merged with Northwest Airlines a decade ago.
American Airlines Group Inc, which has long been the leading US carrier in the region and was pursuing a deeper route alliance with LATAM, said the loss of its Chilean partner would not have a significant impact on its financial results.
American added that its LATAM partnership had limited upside after the Chilean Supreme Court struck down the two carriers’ plans for further route cooperation that would have also involved oneworld alliance members British Airways and Iberia.
“This is a body blow for American, but not a lethal body blow. It means that Delta will have more access to Latin America than it did before, but American already has much of that in its back pocket,” independent aviation analyst Mike Boyd said.
Following its tie-up with Delta, LATAM will exit oneworld and pursue route options with Delta and its partner Grupo Aeromexico, which belong to the rival SkyTeam alliance. It has not, however, decided whether to officially join SkyTeam.
Oneworld said LATAM had advised it would leave the alliance in “due course” in line with contractual requirements, without naming a specific date.
Airlines increasingly have bilateral codeshare arrangements outside major alliances. Qantas Airways Ltd, a oneworld member, said it would retain its codeshare partnership with LATAM despite the Chilean carrier’s departure from the alliance.
As a result of the deal, Delta will sell its stake in Brazil’s largest airline Gol, a LATAM rival.
Delta does not expect regulatory obstacles for its tie-up with LATAM, where it will gain representation on the board of directors. The plan envisions growth for both carriers, which currently overlap on only one route, Chief Executive Ed Bastian told Reuters.
“I think it’s a great fit,” he said.
Atlanta-based Delta expects the LATAM deal to be accretive to earnings per share over the next two years and add $1 billion in revenue growth over five years, Bastian said.
Delta is using newly issued debt and available cash for the deal. It will also provide LATAM with an additional $350 million to help it transition out of oneworld and plug into Delta’s network.
The two can start code-sharing before they receive government, regulatory and anti-trust approval for the larger tie-up, a process Bastian said he expects to take between 12 and 24 months.
Delta will also acquire four A350 aircraft from LATAM and assume LATAM’s commitment to purchase another 10 A350s to be delivered between 2020 and 2025 for an undisclosed sum.
Apart from its stake in Grupo Aeromexico, Delta also has holdings in Air France KLM, China Eastern, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air Lines Co’s parent company.
It has also been negotiating a 10 percent stake in Alitalia as part of its strategy to boost its international presence through equity investments. That plan has not changed with the LATAM deal, which Delta started studying about three months ago after an approach by a third party, Bastian said.


Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable
Updated 9 min 12 sec ago

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

RIYADH: Fitch Ratings has revised Commercial International Bank (Egypt) S.A.E.’s (CIB) outlook to stable from negative while affirming the bank’s long-term issuer default rating at “B+” and viability rating at “b+.” 

According to the ratings firm, pressures on the domestic environment have eased since the end of the third quarter of 2020 moderating downside risks to Egyptian banks’ credit profiles.

It said this reflects improving foreign currency liquidity, with the banking sector’s net foreign assets reaching $3.5 billion in April 2021, a reversal of a net foreign liability position of $5.3 billion at the end of April 2020. This was supported by a strong increase in foreign holdings of Egyptian treasuries to $29 billion in May 2021.

Fitch expects real GDP growth to accelerate to 6 percent in 2022.


Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion
Updated 13 min 41 sec ago

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

CAIRO: Egypt’s domestic liquidity rose to EGP 5.36 trillion ($213.9 billion) at the end of June 2021.

According to the official data, liquidity grew by 1.9 percent monthly. Domestic liquidity increased by 18.3 percent annually, compared to EGP 4.53 trillion in June 2020.

The money supply rose during June to EGP 1.25 trillion, compared to EGP 1.22 trillion in May 2021.  Money supply includes deposits in local currency and cash in circulation outside the banking system.

Last November, the Central Bank of Egypt decided to reduce both the overnight deposit and lending rate and its main operation rate by 50 basis points, to 8.25 percent, 9.25 percent, and 8.75 percent, respectively.

Last month, the central bank froze the interest rate for the fourth time this year.


Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to fight climate change

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 55 min 57 sec ago

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to fight climate change

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
  • Prince Abdul Aziz and Sharma discussed the framework of the circular carbon economy adopted by G20 leaders during Saudi Arabia’s presidency in 2020

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman recently held a meeting with COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in confronting global climate change.
The Saudi minister highlighted the Kingdom’s qualitative initiatives to help reduce emissions and preserve the environment, foremost of which are the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched these initiatives on March 27. These initiatives are aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent through the use of clean hydrocarbon technologies and the planting of 50 billion trees, including 10 billion in Saudi Arabia.
The “green” initiatives, which are part of the Vision 2030 strategy, will place Saudi Arabia at the center of regional efforts to meet international targets on climate change mitigation, as well as help it achieve its own goals.
Prince Abdul Aziz and Sharma also discussed the framework of the circular carbon economy adopted by G20 leaders during Saudi Arabia’s presidency in 2020.
While the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region has long been a leading global supplier of fossil fuels, renewables are complementing its own energy mix, offering eco-friendly alternatives such as clean hydrogen fuel to decarbonize and reduce gas emissions.
With around 70 to 90 percent of the Arabian Peninsula facing the threat of desertification, owing to past and ongoing human activities, massive afforestation, and land restoration initiatives hold hope for millions of hectares of degraded land.
Unfortunately, in a G20 meeting held in Italian city, Naples on July 22-23, energy and environment ministers failed to agree on the wording of key climate change commitments in their final communique after China and India refused to give way on two key points.
One of these was phasing out coal power, which most countries wanted to achieve by 2025 but some said would be impossible for them.
The other concerned the wording surrounding a 1.5-2 degree Celsius limit on global temperature increases that was set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial baseline used by scientists and are on track to exceed the 1.5-2 degree ceiling.
“Some countries wanted to go faster than what was agreed in Paris and to aim to cap temperatures at 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others, with more carbon-based economies, said let’s just stick to what was agreed in Paris,” said Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani.
The G20 meeting was seen as a decisive step ahead of United Nations climate talks, known as COP26, which take place in 100 days’ time in Glasgow in November.


Saudi CITC pushes for more tech listings on Tadawul

Saudi CITC pushes for more tech listings on Tadawul
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi CITC pushes for more tech listings on Tadawul

Saudi CITC pushes for more tech listings on Tadawul
  • The CITC is aiming to enhance the investment environment in the telecoms and IT sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) signed an initial agreement with the Saudi Stock Exchange pushing for more listing of technology operators in the Kingdom on the Saudi stock market.

The CITC is aiming to enhance the investment environment in the telecommunications and information technology sector, the postal sector and delivery applications, SPA reported.

Financial market listings provide greater investment opportunities and helps companies to expand and enter new markets, and develop products, CITC said.

It also contributes to strengthening corporate governance with a regulatory framework of high quality and institutional value.

This agreement comes in line with the Vision 2030 objectives aimed at making the Kingdom a leading global logistics platform and a connecting hub for the three continents.


Saudi mortgage lending surges 27 percent in first half of 2021 — SAMA

Saudi mortgage lending surges 27 percent in first half of 2021 — SAMA
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi mortgage lending surges 27 percent in first half of 2021 — SAMA

Saudi mortgage lending surges 27 percent in first half of 2021 — SAMA
  • Saudi banks and financial institutions lent SR79 billion for residential mortgages H1 2021

RIYADH: Residential mortgage financing in Saudi Arabia jumped by more than a quarter in the first half of the year even as new lending slowed in the second quarter, central bank data showed.

Saudi banks and financial institutions lent SR79 billion for residential mortgages in the first six months of 2021, up from SR62.1 billion in the same period last year, SAMA said in its monthly bulletin. The number of transactions increased 14.2 percent to 153,054 in the period.

The value of mortgages provided in the second quarter slid to SR31.1 billion riyals from SR49 billion in the first quarter as the supply of new properties fell amid changes to the building code.

“The number of contracts increased in the first half, but temporarily decreased in the past three months, but due to the reorganization of property evaluation by the Real Estate Fund, and the application of the new Saudi building code with the temporary ambiguity until it is well understood, and the lack of supply of ready housing units,” Mohamed AlKhars, a member of the housing program advisory board and the chairman of Innovest Property Co. told Arab News.

“I expect the volume of financing and the number of contracts to gradually increase in the fourth quarter of 2021,” he said.

Financing for villas accounted for 80 percent of residential real estate loans in the first half of the year, with 15.9 percent for apartments and the remainder for land, the SAMA data showed.

“Villas are still more desired by citizens and more available in the market, and apartment supply is still low now, as the developers are still focusing on building villas due to low interest in apartments which might continue for a while,” AlKhars said.

The mortgage market has seen stratospheric growth since SAMA began collecting the data in 2016 when a total of 22,259 real estate loans were issued. In 2019, that number jumped to 179,220 from 50,496 the previous year, before reaching 295,590 in 2020.