‘Many more airlines will go under’ Qatar Airways boss tells CNN

‘Many more airlines will go under’ Qatar Airways boss tells CNN
The outspoken airline chief highlighted some of the safety measures adopted by the airline and its hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha. (File/AFP)
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Updated 20 April 2021

‘Many more airlines will go under’ Qatar Airways boss tells CNN

‘Many more airlines will go under’ Qatar Airways boss tells CNN
  • Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker gave a bleak assessment of the challenges facing the industry as it struggles to recover from the collapse in global air travel

DUBAI: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker has warned that many more airlines will be forced out of business by the pandemic.
In an exclusive interview on CNN’s Quest Means Business, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker gave a bleak assessment of the challenges facing the industry as it struggles to recover the collapse in global air travel.
“By the time this pandemic is over, there will only be few airlines that are strong and will continue operating,” he said. “A lot of other airlines will go under. And this will continue to happen, because we have not seen the worst of it over yet.”
He said that returning the airline industry to full strength should be a key priority to boost the global economic outlook.

“If this pandemic prolongs for too long, this will completely destroy the world’s economy which is so dependent on airlines for delivering business, carrying freight around, and most importantly creating jobs,” he said.
The outspoken airline chief highlighted some of the safety measures adopted by the airline and its hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha.
These include high-tech temperature sensors, ultraviolet disinfectant processes, and mask-wearing on flights.
He also spoke about the process of asking the company’s shareholders – the Qatari government – for a cash injection during the pandemic, “I couldn’t just jump the queue and go and tell my boss, the ruler of my country, that our situation is so dire, and this is what we need. Because I am sure there were a lot of other people in the queue before me telling him the same thing.”

The CEO also spoke about access to vaccinations and mitigating the risks amid the slow roll out of vaccines in some countries.
He told Quest, “It will be a problem for the aviation industry. And we will have to work a way within this risks that we will have to take. But we will have to do things, we'll have to put processes, we'll have to put systems in place to mitigate that risk.”
A resurgence of the coronavirus in many countries in recent weeks is threatening to quash some positive signs that had been slowly emerging from the sector.
At the same time many passengers are reluctant to fly even where permitted, because of safety concerns and confusion over the different vaccination, testing and quarantine requirements of different countries.
Industry body IATA has been trying to address that challenge with its trial Travel Pass initiative aimed at informing passengers about what tests, vaccines and other measures they require at their destinations.


UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds
Updated 53 min 14 sec ago

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

UAE’s Etisalat to raise €1 billion with two-tranche bonds

Abu Dhabi-based telecoms operator Etisalat is set to raise €1 billion ($1.2 billion) in dual-tranche bonds on Thursday, a document from one of the banks leading the deal showed.
The company plans to raise €500 million in seven-year notes and a further €500 million with a 12-year maturity, according to the document reviewed by Reuters.
The seven-year notes were being marketed at about 85 basis points over mid-swaps, with the 12-year tranche at about 110 bps over.
HSBC, BNP Paribas, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Societe Generale have been hired to arrange the transaction, which is expected to close later on Thursday.


Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months
Updated 06 May 2021

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months

Egypt PMI fell in April to lowest level in 9 months
  • PMI fell to 47.7 in April from 48 in March, IHS Markit said
  • Output, new orders and employment all fell in April

RIYADH: Egypt’s non-oil private sector economic conditions worsened in April by the most since June 2020, according to IHS Markit.

The Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 47.7 in April from 48.0 in March, its fifth consecutive month below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, IHS Market said.

Sub-indexes showed declines in output, new orders and employment as rising global raw material costs pushed inflation to the fastest pace since September 2019.

The level of new export orders received by Egyptian companies increased strongly during April, which purchasing managers attributed to an improvement in activity across foreign markets.

However, expectations for future output fell significantly in April, as a rise in domestic coronavirus cases and concerns about financial liquidity damped optimism, IHS Markit said.


Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled
Updated 06 May 2021

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled

Aramex profits hit by supply chain disruptions as new CEO unveiled
  • Q1 net profit fell 32 percent to 46 million dirhams
  • Revenue jumped 24 percent to 1.42 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Aramex failed to turn a surge in demand from e-commerce into profits as pandemic-related capacity constraints squeezed margins in the first quarter.
Q1 net profit fell 32 percent to 46 million dirhams ($12.5 million) even as revenues jumped 24 percent to 1.42 billion dirhams, the Dubai-based logistics company said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market.
The increase in revenue was driven by a 35 percent gain in its International Express business to 647 million dirhams as cross-border e-commerce in the US, UK, Hong Kong and other Asian markets gathered pace. Its domestic express business grew 23 percent to 356 million dirhams, where e-commerce activity in Saudi Arabia was a major driver.
“The impact of COVID-19 continues to weigh on our operating margins because of relatively high line haul costs,” CEO Bashar Obeid said in the DFM filing. “The downward pressure on margins will likely continue for the remainder of the year, however, will slowly start to abate as we continue to explore ways and redesign our line haul network.”
Aramex also announced that Othman Aljeda will replace Obeid as CEO following an undisclosed transition period. Obeid resigned on April 29 after 28 years with the company and four years in the top job, citing personal reasons.


Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets
Updated 06 May 2021

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets

Bahrain may follow other Gulf states by selling oil pipeline assets
  • Flurry of energy asset sales in recent weeks
  • Bahrain’s new petrochemical plant will use naphtha

RIYADH: Bahrain may follow other Gulf states and sell energy assets to bolster its economy after last year’s crash in oil prices, Bloomberg reported
“We’ve got a lot of infrastructure assets that can easily be” structured to raise funding, Oil Minister Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa said in an interview. “We’ve been looking at this for some time. We haven’t made a decision yet,” he added.
A pipeline connecting the island-nation to Saudi Arabia would be “ideal” for a private-equity transaction, while a ship for importing liquefied natural gas and upstream assets could also be used to raise money, he said.
In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have all accelerated multi-billion-dollar plans to sell energy assets or issue bonds off the back of them, Bloomberg said.
The region’s state energy producers are in a strong position because demand for infrastructure assets, which tend to have steady returns, is high, Al Khalifa said.
“There seems to be a large pool of capital interested in this, despite all the challenges with the environmental drive,” he said.
Al-Khalifa said that the government is in talks with international firms about them investing in a petrochemical plant that will cost as much as $2 billion to build, the news site said.
Bahrain’s new petrochemical plant will use naphtha from a nearby refinery, whose capacity is being expanded from 270,000 oil barrels a day to 400,000. The expansion should be finished in around 18 months, Bloomberg reported.


Mubadala reports record income after $29bn tech and life sciences spending spree

Mubadala reports record income after $29bn tech and life sciences spending spree
Updated 06 May 2021

Mubadala reports record income after $29bn tech and life sciences spending spree

Mubadala reports record income after $29bn tech and life sciences spending spree
  • UAE and US remain biggest investment areas
  • Assets under management reach 894 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi sovereign investor, reported a 36 percent rise in total comprehensive income to 72 billion dirhams ($19.59 billion) after a year of frenetic deal making.
It represents the largest total comprehensive income in Mubadala’s history, the company said in a statement. The performance was driven by significant growth in Mubadala’s public equities portfolio and funds, it said.
In 2020, Mubadala invested 108 billion dirhams ($29.39 billion) of capital, across telecom, pharma and tech.
“We navigated our portfolio through the dramatic macro-economic decline of early 2020, and decided to accelerate the pace of our capital deployment, ending the year with record profit and growth,” said CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak. “In line with our long-term strategy, we increased our investments in sectors where we have high conviction, and with high performing fund managers. Technology and life sciences in particular have been essential to the world over the last year, and we see those sectors bringing greater opportunity for deeper investment.”
Mubadala struck long-term agreements with Silver Lake in technology; in life sciences with PCI Pharma in the US; and in consumer goods and telecommunications with the Reliance Group of India, it said.
The UAE and the US remained the largest geographic areas for its portfolio. It also invested through its sovereign investment partnerships in France, China and Russia in 2020.
At year-end, its assets under management across the group stood at 894 billion dirhams — up from 853 billion dirhams in 2019.