India’s Future Retail suspends supermarket operations as Reliance plans takeover

India’s Future Retail suspends supermarket operations as Reliance plans takeover
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Updated 27 February 2022

India’s Future Retail suspends supermarket operations as Reliance plans takeover

India’s Future Retail suspends supermarket operations as Reliance plans takeover
  • Reliance had transferred leases of some stores of debt-laden Future to its name and sublet them to Future

NEW DELHI: Future Retail Ltd, India’s second-largest retailer, suspended most of its online and offline operations as stores remained shut on Sunday, after rival Reliance bid to take over its flagship supermarkets for missed lease payments.


Reliance Industries Ltd. will rebrand the Future stores after the company failed to make payments for them to Reliance, sources told Reuters on Saturday, closing most outlets of the popular Big Bazaar chain.


Though Future has more than 1,700 outlets, all the 200 stores that Reliance will rebrand as its own will be Big Bazaars, which was started around two decades ago by Kishore Biyani, dubbed as India’s retail king for transforming the sector.


Future and Reliance did not respond to requests for comment. Future told stock exchanges on Saturday the company was “scaling down its operations.”


Future’s stores across India remained shut on Sunday as Reliance did stock-taking ahead of a rebranding, people familiar with the plans said.


“We regret to inform you that currently stores are non-operational for 2 days,” Big Bazaar told a Twitter user who complained about a closure.


Future’s e-commerce mobile app and website were also not available for online ordering.


Reliance’s move assumes significance as it follows failed efforts since 2020 to close a $3.4 billion deal to acquire the retail assets of Future, whose partner Amazon.com Inc. has blocked the transaction by citing violation of contracts.

Future denies any wrongdoing.


Reliance had transferred leases of some stores of debt-laden Future to its name and sublet them to Future, but is now taking over as Future did not make payments.

Reliance has offered store staff jobs on existing terms.


“All employees, consumers, and everyone in India — we are all attached to the Big Bazaar brand,” a Big Bazaar employee on Sunday. “So you feel sad this is happening.”


In blocking the Future-Reliance deal, Amazon has long argued that Future violated the terms of a 2019 deal in which the US giant invested $200 million in the Indian company.

Amazon’s position has been backed so far by a Singapore arbitrator and Indian courts.


The move will upset plans of Amazon, which hoped one day to have a piece of Future’s stores itself.

But the US firm appears to have little legal recourse, as store landlords appear to have independently given the leases to Reliance, said a lawyer familiar with the dispute.


“Probably Amazon didn’t think Reliance will be this aggressive,” said the lawyer.


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 

Updated 15 August 2022

PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


RIYADH: The Helicopter Co., fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, has announced that Airbus ACH160 multi-purpose Helicopter will become part of its fleet in early 2023.

The new ACH160 is one of the world’s most technologically advanced helicopters with a new rotor blade design that results in significantly reduced noise, according to a statement posted on LinkedIn.

The company will obtain six new ACH160 helicopters, with the first being set to join the fleet early in 2023.

The new helicopter comes in line with the firm’s aims to deliver an improved environmental footprint and lower fuel consumption.


Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands
Updated 15 August 2022

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

CAIRO: China’s central bank cut key lending rates in a surprise move on Monday to revive demand as data showed the economy slowing in July, with factory and retail activity squeezed by Beijing’s zero-COVID policy and a property crisis.

The grim set of figures indicate the world’s second largest economy is struggling to shake off the June quarter’s hit to growth from strict COVID-19 restrictions, prompting some economists to downgrade their projections.

Egypt’s unemployment rate  

Egypt’s unemployment rate in April to June remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 7.2 percent, the country’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization And Statistics announced on Monday.

Thai GDP grows 

Thailand’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year in the second quarter as eased COVID-19 restrictions boosted activity and tourism, reinforcing views that more rate hikes will be needed to curb inflationary pressures.

The Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is making a steady recovery after the lifting of pandemic curbs but still faces headwinds ranging from inflation at 14-year highs to China’s slowdown and weaker global demand. Read full story

The government slightly revised its 2022 economic growth forecast to 2.7 percent to 3.2 percent from an earlier 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent range. Last year’s 1.5 percent growth was among the slowest in Southeast Asia.

Japan’s economy expands

Japan’s economy expanded an annualized 2.2 percent in the April-June period to mark the third straight quarter of expansion on solid private consumption, government data showed on Monday.

The increase in gross domestic product was slower than a median market forecast for a 2.5 percent expansion. It translated into quarterly growth of 0.5 percent against market forecasts for a 0.6 percent rise.

Private consumption rose 1.1 percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter, compared with a median market forecast for a 1.3 percent increase, the data showed.

 

 


Fitch upgrades Oman rating to BB

Fitch upgrades Oman rating to BB
Updated 15 August 2022

Fitch upgrades Oman rating to BB

Fitch upgrades Oman rating to BB

DUBAI: Global rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the long-term foreign currency issuer default rating on Oman to BB from BB-.

The outlook on Oman is stable, Fitch said on Monday.

The agency said the upgrade “reflects significant improvements in Oman’s fiscal metrics, a lessening of external financing pressures and ongoing efforts to reform public finances.”

A relatively small crude producer when compared to its wealthier Gulf neighbors, Oman is more sensitive to oil price swings, meaning it was hit especially hard by the pandemic-driven price crash in 2020.

But higher oil prices this year along with fiscal reforms, Fitch said, will support the sultanate to register its first budget surplus since 2013 and contain debt levels over the next few years.

“Higher oil revenue will underpin budget surpluses in 2022 and 2023,” Fitch said.


IT consulting firm Saudi Networkers to list on Nomu on Aug. 17

IT consulting firm Saudi Networkers to list on Nomu on Aug. 17
Updated 15 August 2022

IT consulting firm Saudi Networkers to list on Nomu on Aug. 17

IT consulting firm Saudi Networkers to list on Nomu on Aug. 17

RIYADH: Saudi Networkers Services Co., a Riyadh-based technical consulting services provider, will list its shares on the Kingdom’s parallel Nomu market on Aug. 17, according to a bourse filing.

The initial public offering price was earlier set at SR71 ($19) per share, yielding strong demand from qualified investors with the IPO being 223 percent oversubscribed.

Led by Aldukheil Financial Group, the offering of 1.5 million shares, or a 25 percent stake, was limited to qualified investors.

Ahead of its IPO, Saudi Networkers posted a 28 percent drop in profit, from SR39.1 million to SR28.3 million, for the year 2021, due to a rise in the cost of revenue. 

 


MENA Project Tracker— ACWA bids on PPP projects; Kahramaa EOI on new project; Iraq requests bids on water dam

MENA Project Tracker— ACWA bids on PPP projects; Kahramaa EOI on new project; Iraq requests bids on water dam
Updated 15 August 2022

MENA Project Tracker— ACWA bids on PPP projects; Kahramaa EOI on new project; Iraq requests bids on water dam

MENA Project Tracker— ACWA bids on PPP projects; Kahramaa EOI on new project; Iraq requests bids on water dam

CAIRO: Saudi-based ACWA Power has submitted a bid to develop the Amaala Utilities Public-Private Partnership as part of the Amaala giga-tourism project in Saudi Arabia, reported Zawya.

ACWA Power has been going strong with bids on many projects, such as a solar photovoltaic independent power plant project in Uzbekistan, an independent water plant project in Saudi Arabia, and many more.

While the prolonged war has caused disruptions in the project's progress, ACWA said it is confident that its work will experience only a very minor delay.   

Kahramaa EOI on new project

Kahramaa— Qatar state utility General Electricity & Water Corporation—has received expressions of interest from developers for the planned Facility E independent water and power producer project.

While two consortiums and two other companies withdrew their EOI, Japan-based Marubeni Corp. has committed to its bid.

Moreover, Kahramaa is considering swapping out the original project for an independent water project instead, according to MEED.

Iraq requests bids on water dam

Iraq's Water Resources Ministry has requested bids from three companies— Serbian-based Energoprojekt, Italy’s Hydronova, and the Dutch Deltares Co.—for the construction of its $3.7 million water dam on the Southern Shatt Al-Arab River.

“The Ministry asked those companies to submit their bids for the first phase of the project before September 25,” according to Zawya.