France insists ‘No’ Canadian takeover of Carrefour

On Wednesday, Couche-Tard submitted a nonbinding offer for Carrefour valuing the group at more than €16 billion ($19.5 billion). (Reuters)
On Wednesday, Couche-Tard submitted a nonbinding offer for Carrefour valuing the group at more than €16 billion ($19.5 billion). (Reuters)
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Updated 16 January 2021

France insists ‘No’ Canadian takeover of Carrefour

France insists ‘No’ Canadian takeover of Carrefour

PARIS: France insisted on Friday it would not agree to a €16-billion ($19.5 billion) takeover of supermarket giant Carrefour by Canada’s Couche-Tard convenience store chain because it could jeopardize food security, an even more important consideration in the coronavirus pandemic.
“My position is a polite, but clear and definitive ‘No’,” French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told BMTV and RMC.
“Food security is a strategic consideration for our country and one does not just hand over one of the large French distributors like that,” Le Maire said.
“Carrefour is the biggest private sector employer in France with nearly 100,000 employees,” he noted, and the group accounts for 20 percent of the food distribution market in the country. On Wednesday, Couche-Tard submitted a nonbinding offer for Carrefour valuing the group at more than €16 billion ($19.5 billion).

FASTFACT

12,300

Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores of various formats in more than 30 countries.

Le Maire made clear immediately that he was not in favor of a deal involving “an essential link in food security for the French, of food sovereignty.”
The government’s reaction caused “surprise” at Carrefour itself, according to sources who said the comments were “premature” given that merger discussions had barely begun.
“We haven’t decided yet whether the interest shown is attractive for us,” one company official said on condition of anonymity.
Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores of various formats in more than 30 countries and in 2019 generated a net profit of €1.3 billion on revenue of €80.7 billion.
It employs 320,000 people worldwide.
Couche-Tard has a worldwide network of more than 14,200 stores and earned a net profit of $2.4 billion on sales of $54 billion in its last complete year.
In the US and several European countries, as well as in Latin America and southeast Asia, it operates under the Circle K and other brands.


Anghami to be first Arabic tech firm to list on Nasdaq New York

Anghami to be first Arabic tech firm to list on Nasdaq New York
Updated 9 min 51 sec ago

Anghami to be first Arabic tech firm to list on Nasdaq New York

Anghami to be first Arabic tech firm to list on Nasdaq New York
  • UAE-headquartered music streaming service plans to rival Spotify, Deezer with US IPO

DUBAI: Arabic music streaming service Anghami is set to become the first technology company from the region to list on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange as part of a merger deal valuing the platform at up to $230 million.

Anghami – my tunes, in Arabic – is set to merge with Vistas Media Acquisition Co. Inc., a publicly traded special-purpose acquisition company. Often referred to as “blank check companies” in the industry, the merger is seen as a quicker and cheaper route to a Nasdaq listing.

The listing is expected to close at the end of May, early June and Vistas Media Acquisition Co. Inc. has already gathered $40 million in advance commitments, with $10 million from parent company, Singapore’s Vista Media Capital, and $30 million from the UAE asset management firm SHUAA Capital.

Eddy Maroun, co-founder and CEO of Anghami, told Arab News the transaction was likely to value the company at between $220 million and $230 million.

Founded in 2012 by Maroun and fellow Lebanese entrepreneur Elie Habib, Anghami is the first music-streaming platform in the Middle East and rivals global brands such as Spotify and Deezer.

With more than 57 million Arabic and international songs and around 70 million registered users, it generates approximately 10 billion streams a year.

Maroun said: “Elie and I co-founded the company in 2012 with a vision for Anghami to be a first of its kind, digital media entertainment technology platform in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

“Today, we have taken a significant step forward in our growth plans in seeking to become the region’s first Arab technology company to list on Nasdaq. Being a US-listed public company gives us access to growth capital and a global platform that is the best in the world.”

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi since early 2021, following a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, it also has offices in Beirut, Dubai, Cairo, and Riyadh. The duo of founders currently own 32 percent of the company, with the remaining 68 percent backed by regional venture capital funds and major media and telecommunications companies.

According to Anghami, its revenue has grown 80 percent over the last three years and is forecast to increase five-fold over the next three years.

Rabih Khoury, managing partner of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), said: “As the largest institutional investor in Anghami, we at MEVP are delighted that one more of our top portfolio companies will list on Nasdaq, the leading global market for technology.

“We have partnered with Eddy and Elie from the outset in 2012 and continuously supported Anghami starting with its seed round and all its subsequent funding rounds.”

Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC, said his company was “honored” to be a part of Anghami’s success and how it was “revolutionizing the Arabic music industry through innovation.”

Maroun revealed that he planned to use the new funding to tap into more of the 450 million Arabic-speaking population and to expand into new markets outside the Middle East.

“In our region we believe that there is a lot of untapped potential still in the Middle East and North Africa, meeting Gulf and Levant or in North Africa. And we also have a direction to go bigger with the Arab diaspora, which is a huge addressable market.

“We never spent any marketing dollars on diaspora, although there’s big potential there. And we believe that we have the capabilities to grow into other emerging markets given the learnings we had in our region,” he added.


UAE’s ADNOC to remove all destination restrictions for all its crudes

UAE’s ADNOC to remove all destination restrictions for all its crudes
Updated 6 min 38 sec ago

UAE’s ADNOC to remove all destination restrictions for all its crudes

UAE’s ADNOC to remove all destination restrictions for all its crudes
  • Intercontinental Exchange Inc will launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (IFAD) and trade in Murban futures contracts this month

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will remove all destination restrictions for all its crudes, and has signed deals to explore use of Murban futures with Chinese end users, a senior ADNOC executive said on Wednesday.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc will launch ICE Futures Abu Dhabi (IFAD) and trade in Murban futures contracts this month.

The oil company said that it expects Murban crude to contribute about half of its 5 million barrels per day  (bpd) production capacity by 2030.


Abu Dhabi-owned GlobalFoundries may bring forward IPO as it pours $1.4bn into fab expansion

Abu Dhabi-owned GlobalFoundries may bring forward IPO as it pours $1.4bn into fab expansion
Updated 03 March 2021

Abu Dhabi-owned GlobalFoundries may bring forward IPO as it pours $1.4bn into fab expansion

Abu Dhabi-owned GlobalFoundries may bring forward IPO as it pours $1.4bn into fab expansion
  • Global semiconductor shortage boosts demand for chips
  • Shortage has hit automaker output worldwide
WASHINGTON: Abu Dhabi’s GlobalFoundries will invest $1.4 billion this year to raise output at three factories in the United States, Singapore and Germany, as a global shortage of semiconductors has boosted demand for chips, its chief executive said.
The US-based company, a unit of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned fund Mubadala, may also bring forward its initial public offering to late 2021 or the first half of next year, from a previous target of late 2022 or early 2023.
It is aiming for revenue growth of 9 percent to 10 percent from just over $5.7 billion last year.
Automakers and electronics producers are facing a global shortage of chips which has fueled manufacturing delays.
“The adoption of technology that would normally have taken a decade happened in one year in 2020 because of COVID-19,” GlobalFoundries CEO Thomas Caulfield told Reuters.
Before the pandemic, the chip industry was projected to grow 5 percent over a five-year horizon and now it has accelerated to grow at twice that rate, he said.
While the supply crunch has resulted in car makers such as Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors cutting output, an increase in supply would create further demand.
GlobalFoundries said the $1.4 billion, which will be divided evenly among its fabs in Dresden, Germany, Malta, New York and Singapore, will begin to ramp up output through 2022 to produce chips from 12 to 90 nanometers.
About a third of the investment will come from clients seeking to lock in supply over several years, Caulfield said, forecasting a 20% rise in production next year following an expected 13 percent increase in 2021.
If demand continues to rise GlobalFoundries could build a new plant adjacent to its Malta, New York, plant after securing a purchase option agreement for about 66 acres of undeveloped land last year.
But a decision to break ground there would hinge on the US Congress funding a set of measures to incentivise chip manufacturing in the US known as the Chips Act, which was approved last year.
“It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s just a question of ‘when,’... And a key element of going forward will be the funding of the Chips Act,” Caulfield said.
US President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has pledged to support the effort, and senators are looking at providing emergency funding for the law as part of a bigger package to counter China’s rise, as chipmaking has shifted to Asia.
GlobalFoundries is the world’s third-largest foundry by revenue behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics but ranks second when factoring out the part of Samsung’s foundry business that makes chips for other elements of the South Korean firm.

Oman has fastest port operations in the world, UN body says

Oman has fastest port operations in the world, UN body says
Updated 03 March 2021

Oman has fastest port operations in the world, UN body says

Oman has fastest port operations in the world, UN body says
  • The Sultanate earlier announced the National Logistics Strategy 2040 in a bid to become a global logistics hub

DUBAI: Oman’s ports have been recognized by the UN’s trade and development arm as first in the world in terms of speed of container handling.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), container vessels only stay in the Sultanate’s ports for an average of 12.5 hours – including all entry, exit, loading, and unloading operations.

The Sultanate earlier announced the National Logistics Strategy 2040 in a bid to become a global logistics hub.

The plan involves adding new maritime routes and more international partnerships to ease the movement of goods.

Oman joined Poland and Gulf neighbor UAE at the top of UNCTAD’s list.


Dubai firm acquires Paris towers in $300m deal

Dubai firm acquires Paris towers in $300m deal
Updated 03 March 2021

Dubai firm acquires Paris towers in $300m deal

Dubai firm acquires Paris towers in $300m deal
  • The acquisition of Altais Towers in the east of the French capital is GII’s first purchase in the city and the firm’s largest real estate deal to date

DUBAI: Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), a Dubai-based Shariah-compliant financial services firm, has bought a commercial tower block in Paris, in a deal valued at around $300 million.

The acquisition of Altais Towers in the east of the French capital is GII’s first purchase in the city and the firm’s largest real estate deal to date, bringing the value of its total investments in Europe to around $800 million.

Mohammed Al-Hassan, founding partner and co-CEO of GII, said: “Altais Towers is an exciting marker in GII’s growth trajectory, as we head toward achieving a total AUM (assets under management) of $3 billion by the end of 2021.

“This acquisition highlights our deep and diversified global experience as we expand into new geographies and execute transactions of this scale and complexity, especially amidst the challenges presented by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Altais Towers is located in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil and comprises two towers with 28 and 16 floors, respectively.

Founded in 2014, GII has nearly $2 billion of assets under management and is currently looking at other projects in Europe, namely in the UK and Germany.