DP World signs deal to develop $1 billion new Senegal port

DP World signs deal to develop $1 billion new Senegal port
In this Feb. 8, 2009 file photo, cranes off load containers at the Jebel Ali port terminal 2 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. International port operator DP World signed a deal on Wednesday, Dec. 23,2020, to develop a new deep-water port in Senegal worth over $1 billion, the company announced, its biggest ever investment in Africa. (AP)
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Updated 24 December 2020

DP World signs deal to develop $1 billion new Senegal port

DP World signs deal to develop $1 billion new Senegal port
  • The major investment follows DP World’s delisting from the stock exchange to become a fully government-owned firm
  • DP World Dakar plans to pour $837 million into the first phase of Senegal’s Ndayane port construction

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: International port operator DP World signed a deal Wednesday to develop a new deep-water port in Senegal worth over $1 billion, the company announced, its biggest ever investment in Africa.
DP World Dakar, a joint venture between the Dubai-based maritime firm and the port authority based in Senegal’s capital Dakar, will build and operate a vast new 600-hectare (1,500-acre) port on the Atlantic Ocean. The deal also includes plans to build a new terminal to handle the world’s biggest container ships and a “special economic zone” to attract foreign capital.
The major investment follows DP World’s delisting from the stock exchange to become a fully government-owned firm. The world’s fourth-largest port operator runs operations in 40 countries as far east as Brisbane, Australia and as far west as Prince Rupert, Canada. Over the years, DP World has won concessions to develop commercial ports and logistics hubs at several sites across Africa, including Somaliland, Algeria, Mozambique and Djibouti.
DP World’s forays into Africa come as the United Arab Emirates aggressively seeks to gain a strategic foothold in the continent. Over the past few years, the Gulf nation has built a series of military bases in the Horn of Africa that allow it to project power far beyond its borders, into the Red Sea and the crucial Bab el-Mandeb strait.
DP World Dakar plans to pour $837 million into the first phase of Senegal’s Ndayane port construction, the single-biggest private sector investment in the West African country’s history, followed by another $290 million, according to a company statement.
The new port will help cement Dakar’s status as “a major logistics hub and gateway to West and Northwest Africa,” the company added.


A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double monthly minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double monthly minimum wage
Updated 8 min 51 sec ago

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double monthly minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double monthly minimum wage
  • Cost of fattoush salad trebles
  • Collapse of pounds sends prices soaring

BEIRUT: After a year of economic meltdown in Lebanon, Hala Sheikh is sticking to a modest menu as she prepares the evening meal for her family to break their daily Ramadan fast.
Even the humble fattoush, a popular salad that she prepares for dinner, has tripled in cost since last year, leaving millions of Lebanese struggling to put food on the table in the Muslim holy month which is usually a time of celebration.
“We didn’t want to prepare unnecessary stuff,” Sheikh said as she got ready for the first Ramadan meal this week. “We prepared basic things like fattoush, soup and a main course — we will not prepare big meals like last year or the year before.”
A study by the American University of Beirut (AUB), dubbed the “Fattoush Index,” found that the cost of its ingredients — including lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, radish and bread — soared 210 percent in the last 12 months.
For Sheikh, a 50-year-old former nutritionist who moved from the US with her family, prices are a constant concern.
“During this bad economic situation you have to bear in mind the cost of making fattoush,” she said as she prepared the salad in her flat in Beirut’s Hamra district where she lives with her husband and four sons.
“This lettuce I’m cutting costs 3,000 pounds.” After the currency slumped 85 percent, that is worth barely 20 US cents. But in a country where the minimum wage has plunged to around $50 a month, costs quickly spiral.
AUB professor Nasser Yassine said that over the full month of Ramadan the cost of providing the fast-breaking Iftar meal for a family of five had risen to 1.5 million Lebanese pounds, more than double the monthly minimum wage.
It will be hard “for poor families who are below the poverty line and it will also be hard for them to secure and maintain their daily food,” he said.
Yassine’s Fattoush Index may even under-estimate the scale of the problem, with official consumer price data showing the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks jumped 417 percent in the year to February.
The runaway inflation is part of a broader economic collapse over the last two years which is fueling hunger and unrest, in the country’s gravest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
After decades of mismanagement and corruption, Lebanon’s leaders have failed to break their political deadlock and form a new government to tackle the crisis, which has only worsened with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port in August.
“We witnessed many wars, civil war and the Israeli invasion,” Sheikh said. “But this is the worst Ramadan we have ever been through.”


Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
Updated 56 min 33 sec ago

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing

Deyaar profits rise, sees Dubai property demand growing
  • Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units

DUBAI: Deyaar, one of Dubai’s biggest property developers, reported a rise in first quarter profit, the company said in a statement.

The shares rose 0.8 percent in early trade.

The developer that is majority-owned by Dubai Islamic Bank, reported first quarter net profit of 15.1 million dirhams ($4.1 million)  – up from 2.6 million dirhams from the same period last year.
Sales also rose to 149.2 million dirhams, compared to 98.8 million dirhams in 2020.
Profit grew on higher demand for Deyaar’s ready and off-plan residential units, Saeed Al-Qatami, its CEO said.
"We expect this demand to grow even more with the economic recovery in the emirate and the effort that the government takes towards executing the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040,” he said.
Deyaar recently handed over its Bella Rose development in Dubai Science Park. It has 478 residential units and 12 shops.
The company also began construction work on the third and fourth phases of its residential Midtown project in Dubai Production City, where it plans to add 11 more buildings.


Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies
Updated 15 April 2021

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies

Qatar may allow 100% foreign ownership of listed companies
DUBAI: The Qatari cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday that would allow non-Qatari investors to own up to 100 percent of the capital of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange, according to a statement on Qatar News Agency.

Should the law be implemented, companies would have to approve increases in foreign ownership on a case-by-case basis, Bloomberg News reported.

Such a change could lead to inflows of about $1.5 billion into listed Qatari companies, with beneficiaries potentially including Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan and Commercial Bank of Qatar, Bloomberg cited investment bank EFG-Hermes as saying.

Foreign ownership of many Qatari companies currently sits way below the 49 percent limit. Qatar General Insurance had 32 percent foreign ownership as of April 14, Gulf Warehousing 30 percent and Commercial Bank of Qatar 21 percent, Qatar Stock Exchange data shows.

Saudi Arabia dropped its cap on ownership of publicly traded companies by foreign strategic investors in June 2019, while the UAE said in July of the same year it would allow the emirates to set their own foreign-ownership limits.

Qatar eased rules on foreign property ownership in October last year in an attempt to make the sector more attractive to expatriates, foreign investors and real estate funds.

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision
Updated 15 April 2021

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision

Turkish lira trades flat ahead of central bank rate decision
  • Last month, the lira weakened to near its record lows after President Tayyip Erdogan appointed Sahap Kavcioglu as central bank governor

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s lira traded flat against the dollar on Thursday, ahead of the new central bank governor’s first rate decision, where the bank is expected to maintain its policy rate at 19 percent.
The lira stood at 8.0530 against the dollar at 0647 GMT, near Wednesday’s close of 8.0655. Last month, the lira weakened to near its record lows after President Tayyip Erdogan appointed Sahap Kavcioglu as central bank governor, replacing his predecessor in a shock decision.


Dubai logistics firm Tristar drops IPO plans

Dubai logistics firm Tristar drops IPO plans
Updated 15 April 2021

Dubai logistics firm Tristar drops IPO plans

Dubai logistics firm Tristar drops IPO plans
  • Tristar began its public share sale on April 4, setting a price range that implied a market capitalization of 2.64-3.24 billion dirhams
  • The company saw weak demand for its shares, said two sources familiar with the matter

DUBAI: Logistics firm Tristar has dropped plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in Dubai, with sources saying the deal did not attract enough investor demand.
The move, which confirms what the sources had earlier told Reuters, is a setback for Dubai’s bourse, the Dubai Financial Market, which has not seen a big ticket listing since 2017.
The company said “its board and existing shareholders have decided to withdraw its planned initial public offering on the Dubai Financial Market as existing shareholders’ expectations were not met.”
“The board and existing shareholders believe that greater returns can be realized executing Tristar’s current growth strategy under the established shareholder structure,” it said.
Tristar began its public share sale on April 4, setting a price range that implied a market capitalization of 2.64-3.24 billion dirhams ($719-$882 million).
The company saw weak demand for its shares, said two sources familiar with the matter. The offering was planned to close on April 15.
Part-owned by Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility, Tristar had previously intended to list in London, but plans were scrapped after turmoil at London-listed health care firm NMC shook investor confidence in Gulf companies.
Tristar said earlier this month it expected to raise between 438 million and 537 million dirhams as part of its primary offering, and another 90 to 240 million from a secondary offering.
BofA Securities and Citigroup were global coordinators and joint bookrunners on the deal.