Air Seychelles sets final terms in Etihad debt row

Air Seychelles sets final terms in Etihad debt row
A visitor walks past the Etihad Aviation Group logo on display during the fifth day of Dubai Air Show in Dubai. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 May 2021

Air Seychelles sets final terms in Etihad debt row

Air Seychelles sets final terms in Etihad debt row
  • Etihad sold its stake in Air Seychelles to the government for one dollar last month

NAIROBI: State-owned Air Seychelles will not pay more than $20 million to holders of bonds worth $72 million, a government official told Reuters, even though creditors have threatened to wind the African airline up if they are not paid in full.
The standoff is the latest twist in broader efforts by creditors to recover $1.2 billion owed by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and airlines it partly owned when the debt was issued in 2015 and 2016, such as Air Seychelles.
At the time, Etihad owned 40 percent of Air Seychelles and it was in a consortium along with the Gulf airline and other carriers that borrowed the money through special purpose vehicle EA Partners.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, Air Seychelles said it was struggling to honor its portion of the debt worth $71.5 million and it has been engaged in restructuring talks with a steering committee of creditors since July.
A senior government official from the Indian Ocean archipelago told Reuters it would not be able to offer bondholders more than $20 million to settle the debt.
“The $20 million which has been offered represents the upper limit with regards to the funding that Air Seychelles and/or the government of Seychelles can get approval for and successfully raise on the international market for settlement of the bond,” Patrick Payet, secretary of state for finance, said.
A committee of EA Partners creditors asked Air Seychelles last month to repay its debt, according to an EA Partners regulatory filing.
“Should Air Seychelles not comply ... the creditor will apply to the Supreme Court of Seychelles for an order that Air Seychelles be wound up,” the filing last month said.
The committee told Reuters this week it had rejected the $20 million offer but had not yet filed a winding-up petition to give the government a “grace period” to finalize a separate settlement with Etihad.
Etihad sold its stake in Air Seychelles to the government for one dollar last month and agreed to give it a 79 percent discount on the money it still owed the Gulf carrier, which is also about $72 million, Seychelles News Agency reported.
Creditors said it was unacceptable for Seychelles to offer financial investors a similar discount to the one it had received from Etihad, as the airline was a strategic shareholder.
Payet said that should creditors not accept the $20 million offer, the airline would have to consider other options, including insolvency and liquidation proceedings.
“It is the bondholders’ right to pursue legal options,” he said. “However, all our forecasts show in such an eventuality, the bondholders will recover significantly less than the $20 million currently on offer and it will take considerably longer to receive anything.”


Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
Updated 4 min 18 sec ago

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger

Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments mull merger
  • It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world

RIYADH: Dur Hospitality and Taiba Investments said they would start preliminary discussions about a possible merger.

The pair made the disclosure in separate statements to the Saudi stock exchange on Sunday.
It comes amid a wave of merger and acquisition activity in the Kingdom and wider Gulf region as corporations reposition themselves in the post-pandemic world.
Dur develops, owns and manages hotels, restaurants, recreational centers and travel agencies. It also provides services to Umrah pilgrims, in addition to developing residential, hotel and commercial buildings, Argaam reported.
Its major shareholders include Assila Investments Co. with 27.14 percent, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) with 16.62 percent, and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa with 12 percent, the financial website said.
Meanwhile Taiba is active in real estate, architectural and electrical contracting, maintenance and operation, agricultural, industrial and mining activities.
Its major shareholders include Asilah Investment Co. with 16.73 percent, Mohamed Saleh Hamza Serafy (15.55 percent), and Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed Al Issa (7.41 percent), Argaam said.


SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
Updated 8 min 38 sec ago

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m

SRMG unit inks 3-year media services contract worth $53.3m
  • Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services

DUBAI: Taoq International Public Relations, a unit of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), has signed a three-year contract with an annual value of SR200 million ($53.3 million).
Under the contract, Taoq will provide media services, produce multilingual content, and provide consulting services, SRMG announced in a bourse filing.
The financial impact of the deal, signed with an unnamed commercial company in the media industry, is expected to appear in Q2 statements this year.

 


Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom
Updated 14 min 1 sec ago

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom

Tabuk Pharma clinches deal to sell Moderna vaccine in Kingdom
  • The Riyadh-based company has signed an exclusive service agreement with Moderna Switzerland

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Tabuk Pharmaceutical has signed a contract with Moderna to sell and distribute its COVID-19 vaccine in the Kingdom.
The Riyadh-based company, a unit of Tadawul-listed Astra Industrial Group (AIG), has signed an exclusive service agreement with Moderna Switzerland, it said in a stock exchange filing on Sunday.
Tabuk said the value of the deal was difficult to determine "since it is dependent on the level of supply and sales to the market."
Tabuk will hold the marketing authorization for the product during the term of the agreement, it said.
The scope of the deal includes providing suitable handling of the products for the distribution to wholesalers, hospitals, clinics and others.
It also opens up the possibility of Tabuk working with Moderna on other products or new variant vaccines if authorized in the future.
Tabuk Pharmaceuticals has a presence in 20 markets and employs over 1,500 employees.


Iraqi oil minister expects oil prices at $68 to $75 in H2

Iraqi oil minister expects oil prices at $68 to $75 in H2
Updated 13 June 2021

Iraqi oil minister expects oil prices at $68 to $75 in H2

Iraqi oil minister expects oil prices at $68 to $75 in H2
  • “We expect that Exxon Mobil will remain in a certain part of Iraq in some investments, it came out only from West Qurna 1,” he said

CAIRO: Iraq’s oil minister said on Saturday that he expects oil prices to range between $68 and $75 per barrel during the second half of this year if OPEC abides by set production output to protect markets.
Ihsan Abdul Jabbar also told journalists “there are new projects in which there is a common interest” between Exxon Mobil and Iraq. “We expect that Exxon Mobil will remain in a certain part of Iraq in some investments, it came out only from West Qurna 1,” he added.


Dubai’s non-oil external trade grows 10 percent in Q1

Dubai’s non-oil external trade grows 10 percent in Q1
Updated 13 June 2021

Dubai’s non-oil external trade grows 10 percent in Q1

Dubai’s non-oil external trade grows 10 percent in Q1
  • Exports grew 25 percent to 50.5 billion dirhams while imports rose by 9 percent to 204.8 billion dirhams
  • Gold topped the list of commodities in the emirate’s external trade at 63 billion dirhams

DUBAI: Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade reached 354.4 billion dirhams ($96.5 billion) in the first three months of 2021 – indicating a 10 percent increase from the same period last year.
Exports grew 25 percent to 50.5 billion dirhams while imports rose by 9 percent to 204.8 billion dirhams, state news agency WAM reported.
Re-exports reached 99 billion dirhams in the same period, growing 5.5 percent.
“This remarkable performance reflects our external trade sector’s impressive resilience and its ability to rebound and grow in the face of major international crises,” the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said.
He attributed the growth to the emirate’s advanced infrastructure, good governance, as well as the “generous stimulus packages” launched to support businesses during the pandemic.
Dubai earlier launched a five-year economic strategy to raise external trade to 2 trillion dirhams, and leverage its potential as a global trade hub given its location.
“Furthermore, by hosting Expo 2020, ‘the world’s greatest show’, Dubai will make a significant contribution to the recovery of the global economy and help it move toward prosperity again,” Sheikh Mohammed added.
It helped that global trading activities in Dubai were not heavily affected by the health crisis, Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman of port operator DP World, said.
“The impressive success of the vaccination campaign in the UAE has created high levels of global confidence in the country and helped Dubai add to its profile as the city with the world’s most favorable business environment,” he said.
Sulayem highlighted Dubai’s ongoing campaign to create a global logistics network through a passport system that eases international trade.
Countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, and Brazil have joined the network, and several international shipping giants have signed up to benefit from it.
Airborne trade grew 15 percent to 179 billion dirhams, while sea trade accounted for 120 billion dirhams, recording a 3 percent increase. Land trade rose by 7 percent to 55.3 billion dirhams.
China is still Dubai’s biggest trading partner in the first three months of the year, with 44 billion dirhams worth of trade, representing a 30 percent increase.
It is followed by India at 35 billion dirhams, the US at 15.4 billion dirhams, and Saudi Arabia at 14.7 billion dirhams.
Gold topped the list of commodities in the emirate’s external trade at 63 billion dirhams, followed by telecoms, diamonds, jewelry, and vehicle trading.