India In-Focus — Blast at India's Tata Steel coke plant; Xiaomi accuses Indian agency of physical violence threats

India In-Focus — Blast at India's Tata Steel coke plant; Xiaomi accuses Indian agency of physical violence threats
The unit was not operational and was undergoing a dismantling process. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 08 May 2022

India In-Focus — Blast at India's Tata Steel coke plant; Xiaomi accuses Indian agency of physical violence threats

India In-Focus — Blast at India's Tata Steel coke plant; Xiaomi accuses Indian agency of physical violence threats

MUMBAI: India’s Tata Steel said three contract workers had been injured in a blast at one of its coke plant units in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Saturday.

The unit was not operational and was undergoing a dismantling process, Tata, India’s largest steelmaker by revenue, said in a statement, adding that production has not been impacted.

Tata did not say what had caused the blast but some local media reported that it happened in a gas pipeline at a battery site and led to a massive fire.

“An investigation to assess the cause is underway,” Tata said.

Xiaomi accuses Indian agency of physical violence threats

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has alleged its top executives faced threats of "physical violence" and coercion during questioning by India's financial crime-fighting agency, according to a court filing seen by Reuters.

Officials from the Enforcement Directorate warned the company's former India managing director, Manu Kumar Jain, current Chief Financial Officer Sameer B.S. Rao, and their families of "dire consequences" if they did not submit statements as desired by the agency, Xiaomi's filing dated May 4 stated.

After the Reuters story was published, the Enforcement Directorate issued a statement saying Xiaomi's allegations were "untrue and baseless" and company executives had deposed "voluntarily in the most conducive environment".

Xiaomi has been under investigation since February and last week the Indian agency seized $725 million in the company's India bank accounts, saying it made illegal remittances abroad "in the guise of royalty" payments. 

Xiaomi has denied any wrongdoing, saying its royalty payments were legitimate.

LAst week a judge heard Xiaomi lawyers and put on hold the Indian agency's decision to freeze bank assets. The next hearing is set for May 12. 

The company alleges intimidation when executives appeared for questioning multiple times in April.

Jain and Rao were on certain occasions "threatened ... with dire consequences including arrest, damage to the career prospects, criminal liability and physical violence if they did not give statements as per the dictates of" the agency, according to the filing in the High Court of southern Karnataka state.

The executives "were able to resist the pressure for some time, (but) they ultimately relented under such extreme and hostile abuse and pressure and involuntarily made some statements," it added.

In its media statement, the Enforcement Directorate said it is a "professional agency with strong work ethics and there was no coercion or threat to the officers of the company at any point of time".

Generali becomes majority shareholder in Indian non-life joint venture

Italy’s top insurer Generali said on Friday it had completed the acquisition of a 25 percent stake in its Indian non-life insurance joint venture, increasing its holding to 74 percent after receiving regulatory and competition approvals.

When it announced the deal in January, Generali said it had agreed to pay 145 million euros ($153 million) to debt-laden Future Group, its partner in Future Generali India Insurance, for the stake.

The deal, which is in line with Generali’s strategy to position itself in fast-growing markets, follows a 2021 decision by the Indian government to allow foreign companies to own up to 74 percent of a local insurance business, up from 49 percent previously.

In March, Generali also completed a deal to become the majority shareholder in its Indian life insurance joint venture.

Generali is the first international insurer to take a majority stake in both its Indian life and non-life insurance joint ventures since the new foreign ownership cap came into effect, it said in a statement.

(With input from Reuters) 


Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
Updated 04 July 2022

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
  • OPEC misses target to boost output in June: Survey

LONDON: Oil rose on Monday as supply concerns driven by lower OPEC output, unrest in Libya and sanctions against Russia outweighed fears of a demand-sapping global recession.
Eurozone inflation hit yet another record high in June, strengthening the case for rapid European Central Bank rate increases, while US consumer sentiment hit a record low.
Brent crude rose $2.26, or 2 percent, to $113.89 a barrel by 12:47 p.m. ET (1648 GMT) after falling more than $1 in early trade. US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.20, or 2 percent, to $110.63, in thin volume during the US Independence Day holiday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries missed a target to boost output in June, a Reuters survey found.
In OPEC member Libya, authorities declared force majeure at Es Sidr and Ras Lanuf ports as well as the El Feel oilfield on Thursday, saying oil output was down by 865,000 barrels per day.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s production has been hit by more than two weeks of unrest that has caused the country to lose nearly 2 million barrels of output, said state-run oil company Petroecuador.
Adding to potential supply woes, a strike this week in Norway could cut supply from Western Europe’s largest oil producer and reduce overall petroleum output by about 8 percent.
“This backdrop of mounting supply outages is colliding with a possible shortage in spare production capacity among Middle Eastern oil producers,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM, referring to the limited ability of producers to pump more oil.
“And without new oil production hitting markets soon, prices will be forced higher.”

British PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called on the OPEC+ producer group to produce more oil to tackle a cost-of-living crisis.
Brent crude has come close this year to topping the 2008 record high of $147 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to supply concerns.
Soaring energy prices on the back of bans on Russian oil and reduced gas supply have driven inflation to multi-decade highs in some countries and stoked recession fears.


Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector
Updated 04 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s Suez Canal’s revenues increased 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22. The Ministry of International Cooperation has received $2.4 billion from bilateral and multilateral partners over the past two years for the development of sustainable transport sector.

Suez Canal

Suez Canal’s revenues increased by 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22, compared to the year earlier, to reach $7 billion, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabea.

Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Sustainable transport sector 

Egypt is working to provide development funds and technical support from multilateral and bilateral development partners in a bid to develop the transport sector, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing the minister of international cooperation.

Rania Al-Mashat was quoted as saying that over the past two years, the ministry has received around $2.4 billion for the sustainable transport sector from the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, China, and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

BNPL service

Amazon Egypt has launched its buy now, pay later fintech platform valU, as part of its commitment to enhance shopping experience in the north African country and offer customers affordable and flexible payment options. 

 


Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card
Updated 04 July 2022

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card

Boubyan Bank and Visa celebrate launch of World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card
  • The card includes many events, exclusive discounts and offers for Visa cardholders

KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank and Visa announced the launch of Boubyan’s Visa FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Prepaid Card on Friday.

The launch event was attended by partners, media professionals, social media influencers, and bank customers.

“It is no secret that Kuwait, the region and the whole world are passionate about football,” Abdullah Al-Mejhem, Chief Private Banking and Consumer Banking, said.  “The fact it will be held in a GCC country makes us at Boubyan Bank proud of how far we have come as a region and our partnership with Visa.”

He continued: “We take pride in our collaboration with Visa in this special launch of Boubyan Visa Prepaid Card along with its various benefits. I would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate the importance of our special partnership with Visa that dates back to many years, and which, thank Almighty Allah, introduced outstanding services to better serve our customers of all segments.

“Boubyan Bank is keen on changing traditional concepts about banking products and services out of its endeavors to become a “Way of Life” and to be always closer to customers. This can be clearly seen through our constant tracking of sports’ activities, especially popular sports such as football.”

At the event, customers enjoyed the activities and many benefits such as being issued the card with no fees.

“We are proud to join our longstanding partner Boubyan Bank in offering football fans in Kuwait access to the digital economy through secure and rewarding digital payment solutions. These FIFA-themed Visa prepaid cards are contactless enabled for quick and easy payments in store and backed by Visa’s security technology so cardholders can pay with confidence. For travelers, they also promise the peace of mind of worldwide acceptance at our 100 million merchant partner locations” Shashank Singh, Visa’s General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar, said.

“There is no doubt that the FIFA World Cup ™ is an international event that draws the attention of people around the world for more than one month. This time, the event enjoys a special importance since it will be held very near to us, an hour away, which gives it more focus and attention.” Yousef Al-Majed, the bank's Executive Manager, stated.

According to Al-Majed, the card's design includes many events, exclusive discounts and offers for Visa cardholders, as well as the ability to use it with all modern payment Apps and smart wearables.

“The card is easily available for all Boubyan Bank’s customers. It is a limited edition, which gives it more glamour and importance. Customers can get the card through Msa3ed, our digital assistant on Boubyan App, or through any of Boubyan Bank’s branches, where they can apply for the card and choose whether the card be delivered to their homes within 5 business days, or to receive the card from any branch within 3 business days.” he pointed out.

“This ceremony comes as a part of the campaign organized by the bank for this card, which started months ago, including the organization of Boubyan Football Cup during the Holy Month of Ramadan. The coming period will witness many events to be announced in due time through our social medial platforms as a part of the marketing campaign for the card,” Al-Majed concluded.


OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier
Updated 04 July 2022

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

OPEC+ must produce more oil, says British premier

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday OPEC+ must produce more oil to try to tackle a growing cost-of-living crisis and bring down prices.

“There is no doubt that we are going to need a lot more OPEC+ oil,” he told parliament, referring to a group that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major oil producers.

“The UK has ... strong and productive relations with Saudi Arabia. We need to make sure the whole of the West does as well,” Johnson said, adding that Saudi Arabia needed to produce more oil. 


NRG Matters: Australia, India agree to strengthen clean energy deal; EU plan hydrogen deal with Namibia


NRG Matters: Australia, India agree to strengthen clean energy deal; EU plan hydrogen deal with Namibia

Updated 04 July 2022

NRG Matters: Australia, India agree to strengthen clean energy deal; EU plan hydrogen deal with Namibia


NRG Matters: Australia, India agree to strengthen clean energy deal; EU plan hydrogen deal with Namibia


RIYADH: On a macro level, Australia and India have agreed to a partnership to strengthen a clean energy deal. Zooming in, France’s Technip Energies has been awarded a contract to build the first carbon capture and storage project in the world. 

Looking at the bigger picture

• The EU is planning a deal with Namibia to support the country’s emerging green hydrogen sector and boost its own imports of the fuel, Reuters reported citing EU and Namibian officials.

It is part of the bloc efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

• Australia and India have agreed to a partnership to strengthen a clean energy deal, according to Reuters. 

The two countries agreed to cooperate in developing critical metal projects and supply chains.

Through a micro lens

• French engineering and technology firm for the energy industry Technip Energies has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the world’s first carbon capture and storage project.

Awarded by Hafslund Oslo Celsio, the project is for a supplier of district heating in Norway, and will be the first full-scale waste-to-energy plant in the world with carbon dioxide capture, Trade Arabia reported.