Shuaa takes aim at Emirates REIT sukuk ‘lip service’ offer

Shuaa takes aim at Emirates REIT sukuk ‘lip service’ offer
Emirates REIT is the UAE“s largest listed shariah-compliant real estate investment trust (REIT). (Shutterstock)
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Updated 01 June 2021

Shuaa takes aim at Emirates REIT sukuk ‘lip service’ offer

Shuaa takes aim at Emirates REIT sukuk ‘lip service’ offer
  • But some investors, including Dubai-based Shuaa Capital are not happy and say the company’s claim that sukuk holders will benefit from the exchange was just “lip service”

DUBAI: A proposal by Emirates REIT to exchange a $400 million sukuk for new paper has triggered an angry backlash from some investors that include Dubai-based Shuaa Capital.
The UAE’s largest shariah-compliant real estate investment trust had offered sukuk holders the option of exchanging their unsecured notes for a secured, but longer-dated alternative.
The existing 5.125 percent profit rate would be maintained for the new secured sukuk. While the existing paper matures in 2022, the new instrument would extend to 2024.
Equitativa, the manager of Emirates REIT, said on Tuesday that the large majority of sukuk holders that have already voted, were in support of the company’s exchange offer and encouraged all certificate holders to vote by 7 June.
But some investors, including Dubai-based Shuaa Capital are not happy and say the company’s claim that sukuk holders will benefit from the exchange was just “lip service.”
“Certificate holders are not being adequately compensated for the risks that they are being asked to take,” Ajit Joshy, head of public and private markets at Shuaa Capital told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.
He called on the REIT owner to provide additional assets as security for their new proposal as well as cutting their own management fees to a level that was closer to other real estate trusts operating in the region.
“What they have done is not sufficient. We believe there are at least another $200 million of assets . . . which can be provided to sukuk holders as additional security. More importantly, what we should be focusing our attention on is the deteriorating cash flow situation of the company.”
He added: “There are five or six REITs listed in the region. The average management fee which is charged on a net asset basis is about 1.3 percent as compared to Emirates REIT management fee for the year 2020 which was about 4.2 percent. If this thing is pushed out for another three and a half years, we as sukuk holders will potentially be losing another $40 or $50 million of value in incremental management fees between now and 2024.”
Emirates REIT is the UAE“s largest listed shariah-compliant real estate investment trust (REIT). It was the first REIT incorporated in the UAE in 2010 and has approximately $690 million of assets under management according to its website. The REIT is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).


Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
Updated 3 min 25 sec ago

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
  • Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months

BENGALURU: ndian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36 percent to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42 percent to 52,773.05 at close.
Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.
India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.
The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the US Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.
Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.
In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ending 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively.
The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55 percent this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85 percent and 1.07 percent.
Software services firm Infosys rose 0.8 percent, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23 percent.
Shares of Future Retail closed 10 percent higher, after staying at those levels since early trade.


Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
Updated 15 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
  • It will open on July 3
  • The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan

DUBAI: The Saraya Aqaba Waterpark – billed as the biggest in Jordan – is opening its doors on July 3.
Located in the country’s only coastal city, Aqaba, the park spans an area of more than 28,500 square meters. It has rides, slides, as well as food and beverage stalls.
“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from all around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages,” Chris Van Der Merwe, its general manager said in a statement.
The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan, and is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Farah Experience, which also handles Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Theme parks and other physical attractions have taken a hit when the pandemic forced countries to restrict people’s mobility, however some are now welcoming guests again as attractions make a gradual return.


Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers

Saudi inflation driven up by food and vehicle prices as VAT hangover lingers
  • Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics

RIYADH: Saudi inflation rose for a second straight month as the consumer price index hit 5.7 percent.
Prices rose 5.3 percent the previous month according to data from the General Authority for Statistics.
The pickup in inflation highlighted the continuing impact of higher value added tax (VAT) which was increased to 15 percent in July 2020 from 5 percent before.
Transport prices also increased by 19.3 percent, led by the rising cost of buying a vehicle.
However food and beverage prices were the main driver in the rising cost of living, rising by 7.3 percent. Food represents a weighting of 17 percent in the Saudi consumer basket that economists use to measure the cost of living in the country.
“In particular, the increase in the prices of meat (6.8 percent) and vegetables (6.7 percent) was remarkable. Food prices were the main driver of the inflation rate in May 2021.” the authority said in a statement.
Food prices are accelerating across the Arab world with Egypt this week also reporting a pick-up in inflation to 4.8 percent year-on-year in May, up from 4.1 percent the previous month. It comes as the United Nations Food Agency predicts a double-digit spike in global food import costs this year.


Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
Updated 15 June 2021

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow

Saudi flower farm Astra plucked by Dubai-based Floranow
  • Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace

DUBAI: Floranow, a Dubai-based B2B floral marketplace said it acquired the distribution business of Saudi Arabia’s Astra Farms
Floranow describes itself as the MENA region’s first online B2B flower marketplace, connecting global producers of flowers and plants to regional and international buyers, including florists, hotels, event planners and supermarkets.
Astra Farm is the Middle East’s largest producer of cut flowers and runs an extensive distribution network across the Kingdom.
“It will enable us to help the Saudi floriculture sector innovate and thrive via the use of amazing technology and world-class, cool-chain logistics,” said Charif Mzayek, Floranow’s founder and CEO.
The company said the deal will disrupt the Kingdom’s floral industry by introducing innovative technology to an otherwise traditional sector.
The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.


25,000 UAE students join after-school maths and coding program as parents fret over pandemic lost learning

25,000 UAE students join after-school maths and coding program as parents fret over pandemic lost learning
Updated 15 June 2021

25,000 UAE students join after-school maths and coding program as parents fret over pandemic lost learning

25,000 UAE students join after-school maths and coding program as parents fret over pandemic lost learning
  • Global demand for math and coding education has surged
  • Cuemath has taught over 200,000 students across 20 countries

DUBAI: More than 25,000 school children in the UAE have signed up for the pilot program of Cuemath, an after-school math and coding program backed by Google.
Cuemath’s online learning program was launched early this year in the UAE, and thousands of students have downloaded the application and online classes.
Demand among students in grades 3 to 7 has been especially strong, the company said in a statement.
The company recently received $40 million in funding, which it said will be utilized in bringing its curriculum to more students in the Emirates. It was backed by Google and Sequoia Capital.
Cuemath has taught over 200,000 students across 20 countries, including the US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Nigeria, Egypt, and Thailand.
Global demand for math and coding education has surged, the company said, with its program growing three times across its geographies.
The trend has been driven by a boom in the EdTech industry during the pandemic when millions of kids were forced to study at home.
“Education is transforming globally, as digital formats allow students to access education best practice from anywhere,” Manan Khurma, founder of Cuemath, said.
“The MEA EdTech and smart classroom market is forecast to double to $7.6 billion by 2027. The global market is many multiples of this,” he added.