Warner Music invests in Prince Al-Waleed’s Rotana Music

Salem Al-Hendi, CEO of Rotana Music Holding. (Supplied)
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Salem Al-Hendi, CEO of Rotana Music Holding. (Supplied)
WMG’s President, International, Recorded Music Simon Robson (left) and Rotana Music Holding CEO Salem Al-Hendi. (Supplied)
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WMG’s President, International, Recorded Music Simon Robson (left) and Rotana Music Holding CEO Salem Al-Hendi. (Supplied)
Warner Music Group on Tuesday announced it has invested an undisclosed amount in Rotana Music, the independent record label owned by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. (Supplied)
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Warner Music Group on Tuesday announced it has invested an undisclosed amount in Rotana Music, the independent record label owned by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 February 2021

Warner Music invests in Prince Al-Waleed’s Rotana Music

WMG’s President, International, Recorded Music Simon Robson (left) and Rotana Music Holding CEO Salem Al-Hendi. (Supplied)
  • The deal will boost WMG’s presence in the MENA region
  • Established in 1993, Rotana Music Holding is the largest record label in the Arab world

DUBAI: Warner Music Group (WMG) on Tuesday announced it has invested an undisclosed amount in Rotana Music, the independent record label owned by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

The deal will boost WMG’s presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and includes an agreement for ADA Worldwide, its label services division, to distribute Rotana releases globally outside the region.

“We’re thrilled to be joining with Rotana, whose significant presence in the market reflects its extraordinary roster of musical icons and outstanding talent,” said WMG’s President, International, Recorded Music Simon Robson.

“We’re especially excited about the opportunity to both expand our profile in the region and to bring these amazing artists to audiences across the globe.” 

Salem Al-Hendi, CEO of Rotana Music Holding, said: “This is an exciting time, and we at Rotana are very happy with this partnership, which will facilitate Warner Music’s reach into the MENA music industry and fan communities, just as it will benefit Rotana in our global expansion objective.”

Rotana’s portfolio of Arab artists includes Mohamad Abdo, Abdulmajid Abdallah, Rabeh Saqer, Rashed Al-Majed, Abdallah Ruwaished, Ahlam, Amr Diab, Elissa, Tamer Hosny, Najwa Karam, Shereen Abdalwahab, Angham, Wael Kfoury and Saber Al-Robae.

Established in 1993, Rotana Music Holding is the largest record label in the Arab world. Headquartered in Riyadh, it has offices in Jeddah, Dubai, Kuwait, Lebanon and Cairo.


UAE may become first major oil exporter to target net zero by 2050

UAE may become first major oil exporter to target net zero by 2050
Updated 9 min 46 sec ago

UAE may become first major oil exporter to target net zero by 2050

UAE may become first major oil exporter to target net zero by 2050
  • UAE can hit target while continuing to sell oil and gas
  • UAE may announce plan before Glasgow climate summit

ABU DHABI: The UAE is considering a 2050 target to align with a global push to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

If the discussions succeed, the UAE could become the first among OPEC countries to technically reach net zero while continuing with plans to invest billions in oil extraction.

This move would please Western countries pushing for stronger climate commitments but won’t require it to sell less oil.

The net-zero charge is being led by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s special envoy for climate change and its minister of industry and advanced technology.

We are “certainly working on a whole-of-government approach to see at what point it would be feasible to achieve net zero,” Hana AlHashimi, who heads Al Jaber’s office, said on a call hosted by the US-UAE Business Council on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. “I’d encourage you to stay tuned,” she said.

The country aims to make an announcement before the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November, the people said, asking not to be identified for the privacy of the ongoing talks.

Emissions from burning fossil fuels after they’re shipped abroad aren’t included in such country-level targets. The fossil fuels remain UAE’s biggest source of revenue, contributing about 30 percent to GDP. Still, the nation has taken steps to bolster its green credentials.

Only half of all power capacity is set to be emission free by 2050, consisting of renewables and nuclear, according to the UAE’s long-term energy plan. The country plans to meet the rest of its energy needs with gas and coal.

Climate Action Tracker, a nonprofit that analyzes climate goals, rates the UAE’s policies “highly insufficient.”

The UAE is now bidding to host the UN’s global climate talks in 2023. It’s up against South Korea, which has already set a net-zero by 2050 goal.

The UAE has been a target of US lobbying for stronger green commitments. It’s among the few countries to host special climate envoy John Kerry twice since he took office earlier this year, Bloomberg said.

Kerry expressed optimism that Saudi Arabia will agree to a net-zero emissions target of around 2050 after visiting the nation on his most recent trip to the region.


Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf

Fledgling UAE rail network step toward bridging the Gulf
Updated 17 min 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 58 min 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.