Hilton to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026

Hilton to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026
Hilton Worldwide plans to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026, adding about 1,700 rooms. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 March 2021

Hilton to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026

Hilton to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026
  • The company currently has 14 hotels in Egypt
  • The expansion will increase its number of rooms in the most populous Arab country by 28% and introduce three new brands

CAIRO: Hilton Worldwide plans to open nine more hotels in Egypt by 2026, adding about 1,700 rooms, its regional head told Reuters.
The company currently has 14 hotels in Egypt. The expansion will increase its number of rooms in the most populous Arab country by 28% and introduce three new brands, said Mohab Ghali.
Tourism, which accounts for 15% of Egypt’s gross domestic product and is a major source of foreign currency, has seen a sharp decline in the COVID-19 pandemic, with visitor numbers plunging to 3.5 million in 2020 from 13.1 million in 2019.
Ghali told Reuters in 2017 that Hilton planned to increase its hotel portfolio in Egypt to 30 within 10 years.


IPO will cement ‘solutions by stc’ position as region’s top digital enabler: CEO

IPO will cement ‘solutions by stc’ position as region’s top digital enabler: CEO
Updated 13 sec ago

IPO will cement ‘solutions by stc’ position as region’s top digital enabler: CEO

IPO will cement ‘solutions by stc’ position as region’s top digital enabler: CEO
  • Solutions by STC recently announced it will go public, offering 20 percent of the company’s shares

DUBAI: The planned initial public offering of Saudi Arabia’s Solutions by STC will cement the company’s position as a top digital enabler in the region, its Chief Executive Officer Omar Al-Noamani said.

A unit of the Saudi Telecom Company, Solutions by STC recently announced it will go public, offering 20 percent of the company’s shares.

The move is expected to increase the company’s capital, Al-Noamani said in an interview with CNBC Arabia, and to explore expansion opportunities in other markets.

“We are in a very good financial standing,” the CEO said, noting the 31 percent increase of the company’s cumulative average of net revenue in the last three years.

Net profit also increased by 13 percent in the same period, he added.

He said this strong financial solvency will allow the company to distribute IPO proceeds directly as divided to shareholders.

The dividend policy, which is yet to be announced, will depend on performance evaluation and growth rates, Al-Noamani said.


Telecom giants finalize Indonesia merger in $6bn deal

Telecom giants finalize Indonesia merger in $6bn deal
Updated 31 sec ago

Telecom giants finalize Indonesia merger in $6bn deal

Telecom giants finalize Indonesia merger in $6bn deal

DUBAI: Two top telecommunications companies in Indonesia have reached an agreement to merge their businesses — pegged to be one of the largest telecom deals in Asia valued at $6 billion.

Ooredoro and CK Hutchison will merge their telecoms businesses to form “a larger, commercially stronger, and more competitive world-class telecoms and internet company,” the pair said in a statement.

The new company will be called Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison.

Under the deal, assets and infrastructure of both companies will be shared, as well as their expertise in international markets such as Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa region.

“This merger is a landmark deal for Asia and for Ooredoo Group. It furthers our strategy to drive more value from our portfolio and accelerate digitalization across our global footprint,” Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, chairman of the Ooredoo Group, said.

The deal will give CK Hutchison newly issued shares in Indosat Ooredoo, amounting to 21.8 percent, and PT Tiga Telekomunikasi Indonesia, working out to 10.8 percent.

It will also acquire 50 percent shares in Ooredoo Asia, and an additional 16.7 percent stake from Ooredoo Group for a cash consideration of $387 million.

Both companies will each own 50 percent of Ooredoo Asia, set to be renamed Ooredoo Hutchison Asia, which will retain a controlling 65.6 percent ownership stake in the merged company.

The new company will remain listed on the Indonesian Stock Exchange, with the Indonesian government retaining 9.6 percent in shares.


Saudi-backed Lucid breaks Tesla's rating on electric car range

Saudi-backed Lucid breaks Tesla's rating on electric car range
Updated 6 min 15 sec ago

Saudi-backed Lucid breaks Tesla's rating on electric car range

Saudi-backed Lucid breaks Tesla's rating on electric car range
  • Lucid's Air Dream model can go for 520 miles between charges
  • It beats Tesla's record

Saudi-backed electric car makers Lucid Motors are celebrating after one of its models smashed Tesla’s record for distance covered without needing a recharge.

The company’s Lucid Air Dream Edition R has been given a rating of 520 miles by the Environmental Protection Agency, making it the longest-range electric vehicle ever rated by the organisation.

The rating means the US-based company, which received $1 billion from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund in April 2019, has beaten Tesla’s longest range vehicle by more than 100 miles.

Earlier this month it was announced that Lucia Motors will produce vehicles in Saudi Arabia by 2024, with the paperwork still being finalised

Commenting on the EPA-rating, CEO Peter Rawlinson said: “I’m delighted that our Lucid Air Dream Edition Range has been officially accredited with a range of 520 miles by the EPA, a number I believe to be a new record for any EV. Crucially, this landmark has been achieved by Lucid’s world-leading, in-house EV technology, not by simply installing an oversize battery pack,

“Our race-proven 900V battery and BMS technology, our miniaturized drive units, coupled with our Wunderbox technology endow Lucid Air with ultra-high efficiency, enabling it to travel more miles from less battery energy. The next generation EV has truly arrived!”

In an exclusive drive with car review site MotorTrend, the Lucid Air Dream Edition R was taken from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back down to Lucid HQ in Newark — a 445-mile trip — with 72 miles to spare. 

Lucid Motors described this as “real-world testing, air conditioning on, pacing with the flow of traffic. The cruise control was set at a practical 67 mph”.

After the journey, MotorTrend’s Jonny Lieberman said: “Remember range anxiety? As with the internal combustion engine, it's a thing of the past.”

Lucid Motors — which is 67 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund — will be hoping the rating drums up pre-orders for their vehicles.

It’s flagship Lucid Air model, priced at over $70,000, is due to launch early next year but has received only 11,000 orders to date.

That’s about half as many Teslas have been sold every month in the US alone this year, and just under 388,000 cars in total were sold in Saudi Arabia in 2020.


Egypt completes manufacturing of 5 million COVID vaccine doses

Egypt completes manufacturing of 5 million COVID vaccine doses
Updated 16 September 2021

Egypt completes manufacturing of 5 million COVID vaccine doses

Egypt completes manufacturing of 5 million COVID vaccine doses
  • Health Minister Hala Zayed said an additional production line is being prepared at the Giza plant

CAIRO: Egypt has finished manufacturing 5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine – 2.5 million of which will be released this week.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said an additional production line is being prepared at the Giza plant, which will be operational in November. It will have a capacity of 300,000 doses per day.

Around 17 million doses of AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sputnik, and Pfizer vaccines were supplied and distributed by the health ministry in September.

Five million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine were donated, as well as 100,000 to 250,000 doses AstraZeneca.

The ministry worked with local governorates to deliver the vaccines, as the government scrambles to speed up vaccinations in the country of 100.4 million people.

Zayed said 13 million citizens have been vaccinated so far – 584,000 of whom got the jab for travel purposes.

The minister reviewed the country’s capacity to attend to COVID-19 patients, saying around 3.380 million liters of oxygen are still in stock.

She also reviewed facilities and equipment of central care hospitals, as well as efforts to expand them.


Philip Morris’ ‘smoke free’ plan advances with $1.5bn deal for UK’s Vectura

Philip Morris’ ‘smoke free’ plan advances with $1.5bn deal for UK’s Vectura
Image of Philip Morris factory
Updated 16 September 2021

Philip Morris’ ‘smoke free’ plan advances with $1.5bn deal for UK’s Vectura

Philip Morris’ ‘smoke free’ plan advances with $1.5bn deal for UK’s Vectura
  • Chief Executive said the acquisition of Vectura was a critical part of his strategy to move the company "Beyond Nicotine"
  • Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said they have sent a letter urging the UK government to look into any conflict of interest issues

LONDON: Cigarette maker Philip Morris (PMI) clinched its £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) takeover of asthma inhaler maker Vectura on Thursday, as part of the company’s long term plan to develop “smoke-free” products and switch to being a “broader healthcare and wellness” company.

The deal won the support of the British company’s shareholders who decided to take the 165 pence-per-share offer from PMI, with nearly 75 percent backing the deal but angered health groups such as Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation that have questioned whether a tobacco group should own a company that cures the very respiratory illnesses cigarettes cause.

PMI Chief Executive Jacek Olczak has argued that acquiring Vectura is a critical part of his strategy to move the company “Beyond Nicotine.”

He told the Telegraph last month that opponents of the deal were “not interested in progress” and accused them of “settling old scores” with the tobacco industry.

Olczak said PMI would provide Vectura’s scientists with the resources and expertise to reach its goal of generating at least $1 billion in net revenue from “Beyond Nicotine” products by 2025.

In the meantime, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said they have sent a letter urging the UK government to look into any conflict of interest issues.

The letter was co-signed by 35 charities, public health experts and clinicians.

“There’s now a very real risk that Vectura's deal with big tobacco will lead to the cigarette industry wielding undue influence on UK health policy,” said Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

PMI has received regulatory clearances for the deal and following the public tender process, its offer cannot now be withdrawn.

While the company received the 50 percent threshold to make its offer unconditional, it has not yet reached the 75 percent of shares it needs to delist Vectura.

PMI said it was extending its offer to Sept. 30, to give Vectura shareholders time to accept its proposal.