Sudan may get help from Lufthansa to revive troubled airline

Sudan may get help from Lufthansa to revive troubled airline
Egyptian carrier EgyptAir agreed a strategic partnership with Sudan Airways last April. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 08 June 2021

Sudan may get help from Lufthansa to revive troubled airline

Sudan may get help from Lufthansa to revive troubled airline
  • The carrier was in difficulty even before the pandemic

RIYADH: The Sudan government said it was in talks with Germany’s Lufthansa Consulting over a potential role in restructuring its troubled airline, Bloomberg reported.
“If not through a joint venture, they can help to restructure Sudan Airways so that it can be competitive,” Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim said in an interview, without providing any additional details.
Sudan Airways is one of the oldest airlines in Africa. The state carrier stands to benefit from the country’s reintegration with the global economy after the end of US restrictions.
The carrier was in difficulty even before the pandemic.
Egyptian carrier EgyptAir agreed a strategic partnership with Sudan Airways last April.


 


Pent-up travel demand helps Lufthansa halve losses


Pent-up travel demand helps Lufthansa halve losses

Updated 6 min 44 sec ago

Pent-up travel demand helps Lufthansa halve losses


Pent-up travel demand helps Lufthansa halve losses


FRANKFURT: German airline Lufthansa said on Thursday it halved its losses in the second quarter compared to a year ago, as travel restrictions eased over the coronavirus pandemic and passengers returned.

Europe’s largest airline group said its net loss between April and June came in at €756 million ($890 million) compared with 1.5 billion euros last year, when travel worldwide was halted by COVID-19.

Increased bookings saw the company record a positive cash flow in the second quarter for the first time since the start of the health crisis.

“We have been able to stop the outflow of funds in the current phase of reviving our business and generate a positive cash flow for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic,” said CEO Carsten Spohr.

“In June alone, the number of bookings was more than twice as high as at the beginning of the quarter,” the company said.

Lufthansa said it still expected to operate at 40 percent of its pre-crisis capacity this year, leaving its projection unchanged.

Flight capacity will increase to 50 percent in the third quarter, on the back of continued recovery in demand in Europe, increased business travel and the opening up of further markets, such as North America.

Following an announcement from the US that the country would begin to allow vaccinated foreigners to travel to the country at some point, Spohr said in a conference call that Lufthansa was planning on the change to be implemented at the “end of September.”

In terms of the risk posed to the business by the spread of the more-infectious delta variant, Spohr said that the progress of the vaccination campaign was “more important” for the sector.

As a result, Lufthansa expects to book positive operating, or underlying, profit later this year on its path back into the black.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a yardstick closely watched by analysts, was still severely negative in the second quarter, with the company registering a loss of about €400 million in the second quarter.

Lufthansa, which also includes Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines, was saved from bankruptcy last June by a German government bailout.

Lufthansa’s chief financial officer Remco Steenbergen said the company was discussing with investors about how to raise the capital needed to pay down the state aid the group received, and said the final figure would be “significantly less” than the €3 billion to €4 billion previously mooted.

The company is in the throes of a painful restructuring to slash costs that will include thousands of job cuts, with 30,000 already axed since the start of the pandemic.

As part of the recovery plan, the airline will slash its current fleet of 800 aircraft to 650 by 2023.


JP Morgan launches bitcoin fund; Uruguay mulls letting businesses accept cryptos

JP Morgan launches bitcoin fund; Uruguay mulls letting businesses accept cryptos
Updated 11 min 53 sec ago

JP Morgan launches bitcoin fund; Uruguay mulls letting businesses accept cryptos

JP Morgan launches bitcoin fund; Uruguay mulls letting businesses accept cryptos

DUBAI, RIYADH: The second-largest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, Ethereum, recorded gains early on Thursday as investors anticipate a major upgrade that is aimed to improve and optimize the digital currency.

Its price was up by around 8 percent over the last 24 hours, according to Forbes.

Ether traded at $2,687.71 at 5 p.m. Riyadh time on Thursday, according to data from Coindesk.

Bitcoin traded lower, falling by 2.78  percent to $38,035.85.

In other developments, a report by Pymnts and Bitpay showed consumers in the US are increasingly interested in using cryptocurrencies for their payments.

“The report analyzes a census-balanced survey of 8,008 US consumers who were current and former cryptocurrency owners and cryptocurrency nonowners between Feb. 8 and Feb. 23, 2021,” the report said, cited by Bitcoin.com.

It found that 93 percent of crypto users would consider making purchases using cryptocurrency, while 59 percent of non-crypto owners said they are interested in using it for their purchases in the future.

In Europe, French asset manager Melanion Capital received regulatory approval to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking bitcoin price for investors across the region.

Another act to regulate the industry is from a senator in Uruguay who introduced a bill to allow businesses to accept cryptocurrencies as payments.

The bill will provide “legal, financial and fiscal security in the business derived from the production and commercialization” of crypto, CoinDesk has reported.

JP Morgan has launched an in-house bitcoin fund, and has begun pitching it to private bank clients.

Google’s new ad policy for financial products and services has gone into effect – and it allows some crypto ads.

In the East, Hong Kong is seeing a rise in crypto-related crimes, according to Bitcoin.com, with authorities saying it could be due to the increasing popularity of crypto investments.

But in China, a global leader in the crypto scene, these crimes have decreased significantly in recent years.


Saudi Maaden shifts to profitability in the second quarter, year-on-year

Saudi Maaden shifts to profitability in the second quarter, year-on-year
Updated 41 min 7 sec ago

Saudi Maaden shifts to profitability in the second quarter, year-on-year

Saudi Maaden shifts to profitability in the second quarter, year-on-year

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) turned in profits after zakat and tax, at about SR1.1 billion ($2.94 billion) in the second quarter of 2021, compared to losses of about SR434.15 million in the second quarter of 2020, the company announced in a statement on the Saudi Stock Market (Tadawul).

Maaden’s profits increased by 45.1 percent in the second quarter of 2021, compared to profits of about SR761.15 million in the first quarter, while revenues rose by 11.95 percent to SR6.1 billion.

The company attributed its shift to profitability year-on-year to the increase in the average prices achieved for all products except industrial minerals, despite the decrease in the quantities sold of gold, ammonia and alumina.

Profitability was also due to the increase in net profit attributable to Maaden’s stake in joint ventures and the increase in other revenues, despite the decrease in income from term deposits.


Sakani Housing program completes Saudi Eastern region projects

Sakani Housing program completes Saudi Eastern region projects
Updated 52 min 53 sec ago

Sakani Housing program completes Saudi Eastern region projects

Sakani Housing program completes Saudi Eastern region projects

RIYADH: The Sakani program has wrapped up four projects in the Eastern Region, and three other initiatives are over 90 percent completed.

Sakani is a real estate initiative launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund to support Saudi citizens to own their first home.

Completed projects include Nasaj Town, with 674 housing units, the Saraya AlGharoub initiative, which provides 116 homes, the Mada Oasis project, which will serve 282 families, and the Al-Bayraq Villas settlements in Al-Mubarraz, which offers 178 units.

The Eastern Region’s housing projects with over 90 percent completion include Al-Qatif Al-Badrani, with 196 units, Al-Barraq Villas in Dammam, with 959 housing units, and the “MD” project, which will offer 728 town houses.

Some 34 housing projects are being implemented in the Eastern Region to provide more than 22,000 diverse homes.

Some 144,000 houses will be distributed through 101 Sakani projects throughout the Kingdom.

The scheme runs in partnership with the private sector and channels financing options to people who can also construct their own homes.


Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund
Updated 05 August 2021

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund

Innovest Properties launches $200m Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund
  • nnovest Properties has previously developed the residential communities in Al-Bayraq in the Eastern Province

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Innovest Properties, one of the Kingdom’s largest investment and property companies, has launched the SR755 million ($200 million) Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund with Lebanon’s Blominvest.

Innovest Properties has previously developed the residential communities in Al-Bayraq in the Eastern Province, which provided more than 1,100 housing units under the Sakani Program, it said in a statement.

Al-Ahssa Real Estate Investment Fund is a closed private investment fund licensed by the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) and compliant with the regulations of the Shariah Supervisory Board.

The fund aims to invest in the urban area west-south of Al-Ahsa city. The plan is to acquire a sector of raw land to be developed and marketed in the form of residential plots and commercial facilities.

“The launch of this fund is a major tributary that contributes to the development and consolidation of the real-estate sector in the region and crowns our investment successes in the residential real estate sector,” said Innovest Properties Chairman Mohammed Alkhars.