Abu Dhabi oil giant ADNOC said to consider IPO of drilling business

Abu Dhabi oil giant ADNOC said to consider IPO of drilling business
FILE PHOTO: A general view of ADNOC headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Photo
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Updated 08 April 2021

Abu Dhabi oil giant ADNOC said to consider IPO of drilling business

Abu Dhabi oil giant ADNOC said to consider IPO of drilling business
  • Drilling unit said to be largest in region
  • Follows distribution unit listing in 2017

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is considering listing its drilling business on the local stock market, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The state oil giant said its drilling company is the largest in the Middle East.
ADNOC has held discussions with banks over the potential initial public offering (IPO), said the sources, who declined to be named as the matter is not public.
Two of the sources said ADNOC wanted the deal to happen this year. One of them said discussions were at an early stage but the IPO size could be more than $1 billion.
ADNOC declined to comment.
If the deal goes ahead, it would be the oil company’s second listing of a unit on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange after it listed ADNOC Distribution in late 2017, raising 3.1 billion dirhams ($844 million).
ADNOC, which supplies nearly 3 percent of global oil demand, has also sold stakes in its pipeline infrastructure and refining businesses to global companies and investors.
ADNOC Drilling owns and operates a large fleet of rigs, including 75 onshore rigs, 20 offshore jackup rigs, and 11 well water rigs, according to its website.
The business is critical for ADNOC’s upstream operations, helping the oil company reach its production targets.
The potential deal comes as the world’s top oil and gas companies scramble to control costs in response to the coronavirus crisis, which has hammered oil demand and prices.
CEO Sultan Al-Jaber said in June that a transformation strategy embarked on four years ago had helped the company adapt more quickly to market changes, and that it would continue to work with strategic investors to attract foreign capital and maximize value from its resources.


Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
Updated 8 min 34 sec ago

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
  • Central bank liquidity support to local banks has been extended
  • Loan repayment holidays have been extended to 2 years

DUBAI: Qatar’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to maintain central bank liquidity support for local banks as it stepped up its economic response to the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections.

Exemptions have been granted from electricity and water fees until the end of September for sectors closed due to the pandemic, Gulf Times reported.

The National Guarantees Programme at Qatar Development Bank has been extended until the end of September, while an exemption from interest under the National Guarantees Programme has been extended by one year to two years, followed by two years of interest at no more than the Qatar Central Bank rate plus 2 percent.

Qatar Central Bank first implemented a series of measures including a freeze on loan repayments and the National Guarantees Programme to provide financing to private-sector companies in March 2020.


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 40 min 48 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 15 April 2021

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.