Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal
Louis Dreyfus (LDC), a 169-year-old family-owned group, is controlled by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. (AFP)
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Updated 11 November 2020

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal

Abu Dhabi fund boosts food security with $800m Louis Dreyfus deal
  • ADQ to acquire a major stake in Louis Dreyfus (LDC) as part of an $800 million investment in the commodity trader
  • The deal comes as the coronavirus pandemic re-focuses attention on food security among Gulf states

LONDON: Abu Dhabi-based ADQ has agreed to acquire a major stake in Louis Dreyfus (LDC) as part of an $800 million investment in the commodity trader.
The deal comes as the coronavirus pandemic re-focuses attention on food security among Gulf states which rely heavily on imports.
It also opens up the 169-year-old family-owned group that is controlled by billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, to major outside investment for the first time.
As part of this transaction, Louis Dreyfus also signed a long-term supply deal with ADQ for the sale of agri-commodities to the UAE.
LDC is one of the big four global commodity trading houses, posting profits of $126 million in the first half of the year.
Upon completion of the transaction, a portion of its proceeds amounting to a minimum of $800 million will be invested into LDC, ADQ said in a statement on Wednesday.
The acquisition price was not disclosed.
“Food and agriculture is an attractive, core sector for ADQ to generate financial returns and strengthen the economic cluster locally,” said ADQ CEO Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi. “As one of the world’s leading agri-commodities and food companies, LDC represents a strategic investment opportunity for ADQ.”
This latest investment expands the Abu Dhabi investment group’s agricultural portfolio which includes the recently formed Silal that aims to boost local food production in the UAE and Agthia, one of the region’s biggest food and beverage producers.
Earlier this year, ADQ also agreed to acquire 50 percent of Al Dahra Holdings, a multinational agribusiness group specializing in animal feed and essential food commodities. 
“We are delighted to welcome ADQ to our shareholder group as long-term partners and investors, with a common vision for LDC’s future, and experience that will bring further value to the business and support the group’s ambition,” said company Margarita Louis-Dreyfus in a statement.


‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
Updated 10 sec ago

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO

‘solutions by stc’ sets minimum of 2 shares per individual investor in IPO
  • Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent

DUBAI: ‘Solutions by stc’ has allocated a minimum of two shares per individual subscriber as it completes its initial public offering. 

The ‘stc’ unit earlier announced its intention to float on the Saudi bourse, offering 24 million shares or 20 percent of its capital.

According to a filing on Monday, remaining shares will be allocated on a pro rata basis at around 0.5776 percent on average, based on the size of each subscriber’s request compared to the total remaining subscribed shares. 

Around 1.04 million retail investors subscribed to 2.4 million shares at SR151 per share - an offering oversubscribed by 2,365 percent. 

The institutional offering was 13,0004 percent oversubscribed, raising SR471 billion. 


Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
Updated 4 min 40 sec ago

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss

Qatar Airways says gets $3bn state aid after huge loss
  • The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31

DOHA: Qatar Airways said Monday it received $3 billion in state aid to weather the coronavirus travel downturn and to offset losses it blamed on the cost of grounding aircraft.
The airline reported an overall loss of $4.1 billion for the year to March 31, double the figure for the same period the year before.
Without the cost of grounding its Airbus A380 and A330 aircraft, Qatar Airways reported an underlying operating loss for the year of $228.3 million compared with $310 million the previous year.
The Gulf carrier did report a slight uptick in overall earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in the amount of cargo carried in the last 12-month period.
Qatar is among several governments that have stepped in to support their national carriers through the coronavirus shutdown, which has pummelled global travel and the aviation industry.
In September 2020 the airline reported it had received $2 billion in state aid after its annual losses exceeded 50 percent of share capital.
“We adapted our entire commercial operation to respond to ever-evolving travel restrictions and never stopped flying,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said in a statement, calling the last 12-month period “difficult.”
“While our organization did not receive any subsidies in the form of salary support or grants, (the Qatari government) did provide an equity injection of 11 billion riyals ($3 billion) to support the business’s continuity.”
Monday’s results are the first full year numbers since the United Arab Emirates, a key market for the Gulf carrier, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, ended a boycott of Qatar in place since June 2017.
They had accused Doha of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran, Riyadh’s regional arch-rival — charges Qatar denied — closing their airspace, borders and markets to Doha until a deal was struck in January.
Qatar Airways is the second largest airline in the Middle East after Dubai-based Emirates, operating a fleet of 253 aircraft — although some remain grounded during the pandemic.

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UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
Updated 11 min 18 sec ago

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends

UAE food giant Agthia to pay $17.8m in its first interim cash dividends
  • The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend

DUBAI: Agthia Group, a leading food and beverages company in the UAE, approved yesterday to pay a cash dividend of 8.25 fils per share for the first half of 2021, or 65.31 million dirhams, it said in a statement.

The approved dividend distribution marks Agthia Group’s first interim dividend, it said.

"Recently, the Group adopted a semi-annual dividend policy, which aligns with its commitment to maximizing shareholders’ returns," it added.


Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran
Updated 28 September 2021

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran

Female Pakistani duo gets $3m for their fintech startup Ooran
  • The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, who wanted to provide financing solutions for unbanked women in Pakistan

DUBAI: Pakistani financial technology startup Oraan has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, in a boost to female-led entrepreneurs in the country. 

The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, who wanted to provide financing solutions for unbanked women in Pakistan. 

The female duo set out to disrupt an informal financing model in Pakistan where families or a group of people in a community would contribute money to a pool distributed to a member each month. 

Oraan provides technology to decentralize and automate this informal system, providing unbanked communities, particularly women, a more sophisticated financing option.

Investors including Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners joined the round, as well as other international venture capitalists. 

“When a woman goes into a bank, the first question we get asked is ‘why do you even need a bank account?’ especially if you’re a freelancer or micro-entrepreneur or unemployed homemaker,” Iqbal said. 

The kinds of restrictions, she added, have stopped women from contributing to the economy because of the lack of financial mobility. 

“We take this culturally, religiously, socially acceptable tool, which is committees, digitize them and bring women into a more formal space where they can open bank accounts,” Iqbal explained.

The startup has big ambitions to become a “full-fledged neobank.”

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Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace
Updated 28 September 2021

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace

Oil hits top price in 3 years as global recovery gathers pace
  • Analysts forecast higher demand for oil as the global economy recovered from the pandemic downturn more quickly than expected

DUBAI: The price of oil surged on Monday to within a few cents of $80 a barrel, its highest level for nearly three years, as traders reassessed their outlook for global economic recovery amid tightening crude supply.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, ended the day at $79.60 a barrel — a 90 per cent rise in the last year — and analysts forecast higher demand for oil as the global economy recovered from the pandemic downturn more quickly than expected.
Damien Courvalin, commodities analyst at US bank Goldman Sachs, said: “While we have long held a bullish oil view, the current global oil supply-demand deficit is larger than we expected.” Global demand recovery from the impact of the coronavirus delta variant had been faster than previous estimates, he said, and Goldman raised its year-end forecast by $10 to $90 per barrel.
Christian Malek of JP Morgan restated his forecast of $100 per barrel as all commodities go through a “supercycle” in prices. “The oil supercycle is underway,” he said.
The recovery in oil prices from last spring has been in part driven by improving economic conditions around the world, but also to the action taken by OPEC+ — the alliance of producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — to curb supplies when demand was weak.
Although OPEC+ has begun to reverse the cuts, with an extra 400,000 barrels per month allowed until Dec. 2022, Goldman said the oil market would be in “structural deficit” again in 2023 as demand exceeded supply and investment remained low.
Despite the increased OPEC+ output quotas, some big producers have found it difficult to meet the new limits and give the global market all it needs. Saudi Arabia, with the biggest spare capacity in OPEC+, will probablybe a big winner from rising prices and output.
Gas shortages in Europe and elsewhere are also likely to give a boost to oil prices. “Winter demand risks are further now squarely skewed to the upside as to the global gas shortage will increase oil-fired power generation,” Goldman said.
The next OPEC+ meeting will decide whether to stick to the agreed 400,000 increase, but faces a conundrum if prices continue to rise. Some energy experts believe US shale oil could be on the cusp of a resurgence that could eat into OPEC+ market share.
West Texas Intermediate, the US standard, rose above $75 a barrel yesterday, a level many producers will regard as sufficient to justify resuming drilling.