Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.7 billion loss in 2020

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.7 billion loss in 2020
An Emirati man takes a selfie in front of a new Etihad Airways A380 in Abu Dhabi. (AP)
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Updated 04 March 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.7 billion loss in 2020

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.7 billion loss in 2020
  • Regional carriers hit hard by pandemic
  • CEO says airline stood firm in face of downturn

ABU DHABI: Etihad on Thursday reported core operating losses of $1.7 billion in 2020, reflecting the severe toll of the coronavirus pandemic on the long-troubled airline that has lost billions in recent years.
Etihad reported revenues of $2.7 billion in 2020 compared to $5.6 billion the year before, a precipitous decline it attributed to “drastically fewer people traveling” as the surging pandemic crippled air travel.
But the airline, one of the Middle East’s top carriers, struggled with financial losses long before the pandemic wiped out the global aviation industry. Since 2016, Etihad has lost a total of $5.62 billion as it has aggressively bought up stakes in airlines from Europe to Asia to compete against the region’s other leading airlines, Dubai-based Emirates and Qatar Airways.
With cost-cutting measures, the company was just starting to recover from the economic pain early last year. It announced the sale of 38 aircraft to an investment firm in an attempt to bolster profits, in a deal valued at $1 billion.
Then, the pandemic struck. Last March, the United Arab Emirates halted flights to stem the spread of the virus. Passenger traffic plummeted to just 4.2 million travelers from 17.5 million the year before, the airline said. Total passenger capacity on planes dropped 64 percent. The carrier lost $758 million over the first half of 2020 alone. The losses rippled across the company, forcing the airline to cut 33% of its workforce and slash salaries by 25-50 percent.
By comparison, Etihad lost $870 million in 2019. The airline reported losses of $1.28 billion in 2018 and $1.52 billion for 2017.
While rollout of coronavirus vaccines has stoked hopes for a global return to travel, the industry is not expected to see meaningful recovery for months, until vaccines are widely administered.
Still, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas struck an optimistic tone in the earnings announcement.
“While nobody could have predicted how 2020 would unfold,” he said, “Etihad stood firm and is ready to play a key role as the world returns to flying.”


Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets

Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets
Updated 2 min 29 sec ago

Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets

Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets
  • Follows 737 grounding after 2018/19 crashes
  • UAE lifted its ban on the aircraft this year

DUBAI: Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), one of the world’s biggest leasing companies, on Tuesday announced an order for 15 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets worth $1.8 billion at list prices.
The order signals a further show of confidence in the narrow-body jet, which had its nearly two-year safety ban in the United States lifted late last year. The United Arab Emirates lifted their ban this year.
“We are confident in the success of these aircraft as domestic and regional air travel is seeing strong signs of recovery,” DAE CEO Firoz Tarapore said in a statement.
The 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.


Morocco to attract foreign renewable energy investment

Morocco to attract foreign renewable energy investment
Updated 11 min 17 sec ago

Morocco to attract foreign renewable energy investment

Morocco to attract foreign renewable energy investment
  • Morocco is working to attract investments in green hydrogen

RIYADH: More than 260 industrial projects have been supplied with new energy during the last three years in Morocco, Asharq Business reported, citing Energy Minister Aziz Rabbah.

A massive water scheme launched by Morocco, which extends over the next five years with investments exceeding $13 billion, will include a number of desalination plants powered by renewables, he said.
Rabbah said that the ministry was also working to attract investments in green hydrogen.
“This investment is accompanied by the development and diversification of the electric power network at the national level and the electrical connection with neighboring markets, based on the open market for electricity, which receives annual investments of about $1 billion,” he said.
Two laws related to the energy sector have been issued, he said — one for hydrogen investments and the other for self-production that allows citizens to produce the electricity they need.
“The legislative reforms that have taken place in the Moroccan energy sector are part of a comprehensive system of reform adopted by the Kingdom of Morocco to create an attractive business environment for investment in all sectors,” he explained.
“Taxes were reviewed, and administrative procedures related to investment were simplified and digital technology has been introduced to boost investors confidence,” he added.
The minerals sector has been restructured and over 3,300 licenses have been issued, with strong demand from local and international companies, Rabbah said.


Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network
Updated 35 min 20 sec ago

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network

Emirates NBD profits rise as it expands Saudi branch network
  • The bank reported a net profit of 2.32 billion dirhams ($599 million) in the first quarter of 2021

DUBAI: Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest lender, reported a 12 percent increase in first-quarter net profit amid an improving economic outlook.

The bank reported a net profit of 2.32 billion dirhams ($599 million) in the first quarter of 2021, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Patrick Sullivan, group chief financial officer said the bank was able to deliver a 12 percent rise in profit, "with the significant impact of lower interest rates being more than offset by significantly lower credit impairment, and good cost discipline."
The bank said it increased its branch network in Saudi Arabia to six and became the first foreign bank to be granted permission to open branches in Madinah and Makkah.
The bank highlighted the improving economic outlook in Saudi Arabia with the Kingdom's economy expected to grow by 0.7 percent this year after contracting 4.1 percent in 2020.  
"Higher oil prices will help to reduce the budget deficit to just 1.4% of GDP this year, and a number of initiatives have been announced to boost domestic investment," it said.

 


Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows
Updated 43 min 49 sec ago

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows

Saudi Arabia is biggest 5G adopter in the Gulf, report shows
  • Saudi Arabia’s 5G speed was “much faster than the global average”

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has recorded the highest adoption of 5G technology compared to its Gulf neighbors, a new report showed.
Ookla, an Internet intelligence firm, revealed that the Kingdom had the most number of devices connected to 5G since its commercial release in 2019.
It was measured by looking at the ratio of samples from devices connected to 5G to the number of samples from all 5G-capable devices, which the firm said is an indicator of the maturity of a country’s 5G market.
Qatar came second, followed by the UAE. Oman, which only launched 5G early this year, was at the bottom of the list.
The report also noted Saudi Arabia’s 5G speed was “much faster than the global average.”
Its median download speed was 127 percent faster at 322.42 Mbps.
The Saudi Telecom Company emerged as the fastest operator in the Kingdom, but Mobily recorded the highest rating from customers.


NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill
Updated 20 April 2021

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill

NADEC consortium submits bid for privatized Saudi flour mill
  • Saudi Arabia is accelerating plans to privatize key infrastructure in an effort to modernize the economy

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia's National Agricultural Development Company (NADEC) is part of a consortium that has bid for a privatized flour mill in the Kingdom.
It has teamed up with OLAM International Limited, Al Rajhi International for Investment and Abdulaziz Alajlan & Sons Company for Commercial and Real Estate Investment, to bid for one of two mills being privatized, the company said in a stock exchange filing.
The two mills are being offered for privatization by the Saudi Grains Organization.
NADEC said  it has agreed a "term sheet" relating to the creation of a limited liability company to acquire the mill should its bid be successful.
The potential acquisition would be financed through a combination of self-financing by the consortium members and borrowing from local banks, it said.
Saudi Arabia is accelerating plans to privatize key infrastructure in an effort to modernize the economy, speed major infrastructure works and develop its financial services sector.