UAE’s Mubadala leads $400m funding round for Berlin-based insurtech

UAE’s Mubadala leads $400m funding round for Berlin-based insurtech
Wefox is a fully licensed digital insurance company that sells insurance to intermediaries. (Twitter @wefoxHQ)
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Updated 12 July 2022

UAE’s Mubadala leads $400m funding round for Berlin-based insurtech

UAE’s Mubadala leads $400m funding round for Berlin-based insurtech
  • Wefox increased its post-money valuation to $4.5bn

LONDON: Wefox, a Berlin-based insurtech, has closed a $400 million Series D funding round led by Mubadala Investment Company, according to a Gulf Business report.

Eurazeo, LGT, Horizons Ventures, OMERS Ventures, and Target Global were among the other investors in the round.

Wefox, which is a fully licensed digital insurance company that sells insurance to intermediaries, has more than two million customers.

Wefox's valuation has risen from $3 billion to $4.5 billion in a year, defying the current trend in the insurtech and tech sectors.

“Unlike most direct to consumer insurtechs, wefox acts as an ecosystem enabler, empowering the various distribution channels instead of competing with them,” said head of Mubadala Ventures Ibrahim Ajami.

“This model has allowed wefox to scale quickly and sustainably, providing brokers and customers alike a platform that seamlessly digitises the insurance market,” Ajami added.

“This new valuation of $4.5 billion is a clear validation of our business model, which focuses on indirect distribution via agents rather than direct. This makes our business one of the most credible insurtechs in the market right now. We continue doubling our revenues with last year reaching $320m” CEO and founder of wefox Julian Teicke said.

Teicke continued: “Within the first four months of this year wefox generated more than $200m in revenues, which keeps us on track to achieve our revenue target of $600m by the end of 2022.

“Wefox now has more than two million customers and we aim to reach three million customers by the end of this year. It is further proof that wefox is trusted and testament to our focus on prediction and prevention, rather than the traditional approach of repair and replace.

“We are making insurance 10 times better through technology. As a result, our customer experience is simple and fit for purpose for the way we live today.”


Oil edges higher as US crude stocks plunge on strong export demand

Oil edges higher as US crude stocks plunge on strong export demand
Updated 16 sec ago

Oil edges higher as US crude stocks plunge on strong export demand

Oil edges higher as US crude stocks plunge on strong export demand

HOUSTON: Oil edged marginally higher after hitting a six-month low earlier on Wednesday, as markets weighed a steeper-than-expected draw down in US crude inventories against rising output and exports from Russia.

US crude stocks fell by 7.1 million barrels in the week to Aug. 12 to 425 million barrels, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 275,000-barrel drop.

Brent crude rose 72 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $92.96 per barrel by 1108 a.m. ET (1508 GMT), after spiking more than $2 immediately after EIA data was released. Earlier in the day, recession worries had pushed benchmark prices to its lowest since February at $91.51. US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.03 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $88.46.

UScrude exports hit 5 million barrels per day, the highest on record, according to EIA data, as WTI has traded at steep discount to Brent, making purchases of US crude ore attractive to foreign buyers. In a sign of strong demand, gasoline stocks also drew 4.6 million barrels, much higher than the expected 1.1 million barrel draw.

“It was expected to be a friendly report and it was pretty much across the board. Some of those demand destruction concerns that the market was going through seem to be alleviated a little bit,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures group.

The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday had flagged a 448,000 barrel draw in crude stocks and 4.5 million barrels in gasoline inventories, according to sources.

Oil has soared in 2022, coming close to an all-time high of $147 in March after Russia's invasion of Ukraine exacerbated supply concerns.

However, Russia has started to gradually increase its oil production after sanctions-related curbs and as Asian buyers have increased purchases, leading Moscow to increase its forecasts for output and exports until the end of 2025, an economy ministry document seen by Reuters showed.

Russia’s earning from exports

Russia’s earnings from energy exports are expected to rise 38 percent this year partly due to higher oil export volumes, according to the document, in a sign that supply from the country has not been impacted as much as markets originally expected.

The prospect of recession has also more recently weighed on oil prices. 

Political developments

On the oil supply front, the market is awaiting developments from talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which could eventually lead to a boost in Iranian oil exports if a deal is reached.

The EU and US said on Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to what the EU has called its “final” proposal to save the deal.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said a return of Iranian crude supply would reduce their 2023 forecast by $5-10 per barrel from $125 per barrel.


Egypt’s central bank governor resigns as economic woes mount

Egypt’s central bank governor resigns as economic woes mount
Updated 15 min 5 sec ago

Egypt’s central bank governor resigns as economic woes mount

Egypt’s central bank governor resigns as economic woes mount
  • President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi accepted the resignation of Tarek Amer and named him a presidential adviser
  • The currency is under pressure, sliding in value to about 19 Egyptian pounds to the US dollar

CAIRO: Egypt’s central bank governor resigned Wednesday as the Middle East’s most populous nation struggles to curb inflation triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine, high oil prices and a drop in tourism.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi accepted the resignation of Tarek Amer and named him a presidential adviser, the Egyptian leader’s office said in a statement. The brief statement offered no explanation for Amer’s resignation.
No replacement was immediately named for Amer, who had been appointed governor of the central bank in November 2015. He has been criticized for his handling of Egypt’s financial challenges.
The currency is under pressure, sliding in value to about 19 Egyptian pounds to the US dollar. That followed a central bank decision allowing the currency to depreciate by around 16 percent in March to try to stem a growing trade deficit.
“It seems there’s a lot of tensions within policymaking circles, and I think that’s ultimately what led to Mr. Amer’s resignation,” said Jason Tuvey, a senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.
Tuvey said there are officials that oppose devaluing the pound and instead support measures like rationing gas consumption by curbing electricity usage, which could in turn harm business activity. Amer had traditionally been seen as in the camp that supported the pound’s depreciation as a way to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The London-based Capital Economics research firm predicts that Egypt’s currency will continue to slide, reaching 25 pounds to the dollar by the end of 2024 amid sustained pressure.
The resignation of the central bank head comes after key ministries were reshuffled Saturday as the government faces mounting pressure from economic challenges. The Cabinet shake-up, which was approved by parliament in an emergency session, affected 13 ministries, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation. The country’s minister of tourism and antiquities also was replaced.
Egypt’s expansive tourism industry, which employs millions, was hit hard by years of turmoil, the COVID-19 pandemic and then the war in Ukraine. Prior to the conflict, around a third of tourists to Egypt came from Russia.
Russia’s war has been deeply felt in other ways in Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer that sources around 80 percent of it from the Black Sea region.
In the first weeks after the invasion of Ukraine in late February, the price of wheat and other grains skyrocketed, as did the price of fuel. Although prices have come down somewhat, the cost of grains remains at least 50 percent higher than before the pandemic in early 2020. Furthermore, the cost of shipping to export those grains through the Black Sea is high.
Inflation in the country of 103 million people reached 14.6 percent in July, increasing pressure on lower-income households and everyday necessities. Around a third of Egyptians live in poverty, according to government figures.
The World Bank notes that Egypt’s government announced an assistance package worth 130 billion pounds (more than $8 billion) just before devaluing the pound in March to alleviate the impact of rising prices. The package aimed to increase public-sector wages and pensions, as well as expand direct cash assistance programs.
Egypt’s Gulf Arab allies have come to its assistance with multibillion-dollar investments buoyed by high oil prices that have helped their bottom line.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, recently established a division in Egypt that has already announced deals worth $1.3 billion with the aim of bringing in $10 billion into Egypt.


MENA Project Tracker — Oman tenders bids on roadworks in Duqm; Penspen wins 7 contracts in Mideast

MENA Project Tracker — Oman tenders bids on roadworks in Duqm; Penspen wins 7 contracts in Mideast
Updated 17 August 2022

MENA Project Tracker — Oman tenders bids on roadworks in Duqm; Penspen wins 7 contracts in Mideast

MENA Project Tracker — Oman tenders bids on roadworks in Duqm; Penspen wins 7 contracts in Mideast

CAIRO: Khatib & Alami— an engineering consultant headquartered in Singapore — submitted the lowest bid of 1.53 million Bahraini dinar ($4 million) for a feasibility study contract to provide engineering services on the Bahrain Northern Link Road.

The bids were tendered by Bahrain’s Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry in March as part of a public-private partnership project.

The road will connect to the King Hamad Causeway— which is a road that is currently being constructed to link Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, reported MEED.

Oman invites bids on Duqm roadworks

Oman’s Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones has tendered  bids for a contract to construct coastal roadworks in Duqm.

Eleven companies will be joining the price bid opening on Sept. 11.

The project’s work includes building 14 km of roadways, extending an existing service road, four roundabouts and other connections, reported MEED.

Penspen secures seven contract in Mideast 

UK-based Penspen  has announced its work on seven new contracts in the Middle East during the second quarter of 2022.

Although the engineering company wasn’t specific about its partners, it disclosed the scope of work which included project management consultancy, engineering services, and asset integrity, reported MEED.

Nass group to construct The Avenue extension

The Avenues Co.—a subsidiary of Al-Sorouh Management Co.—has announced the selection of Nass Group for the main contract of the Bahrain Phase II expansion project.

The project will stretch The Avenues 41,200 sq. meter along the west of Manama’s coastline, allowing the construction of 224 additional units of housing. ,  

In addition to that, the extra space will allow for more recreational activities, and basic amenities., disclosed Trade Arabia.

The Avenues project will be completed by the first quarter of 2024, whereafter it will become the largest shopping and entertainment area residing by the sea.

 

 


NRG Matters — UAE’s Tadweer signs gas-to-energy project deal with KEO; Electric cars charging industry sees $4.8bn investment this year

NRG Matters — UAE’s Tadweer signs gas-to-energy project deal with KEO; Electric cars charging industry sees $4.8bn investment this year
Updated 17 August 2022

NRG Matters — UAE’s Tadweer signs gas-to-energy project deal with KEO; Electric cars charging industry sees $4.8bn investment this year

NRG Matters — UAE’s Tadweer signs gas-to-energy project deal with KEO; Electric cars charging industry sees $4.8bn investment this year

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center, Known as Tadweer, has signed a consultancy agreement with KEO International Consultants to conduct a feasibility study for extracting greenhouse gases from Al-Dhafra landfill and converting them into green energy. 

This is in line with the centre's plan to achieve an efficient waste management system and use the best methods for processing and handling waste, according to Trade Arabia. 

Solar power

UK’s renewable energy developer TuNur is planning to invest $1.5 billion in building an export-oriented solar power plant in Tunisia with a capacity of 500 MW.

The plan was announced by the company's CEO Daniel Rich during a meeting with Tunisia’s Minister of Economy and Planning Samir Saied,  Reuters reported citing the Tunisian state news agency TAP.

Electric car-charging industry

Investment in the electric car-charging industry has grown this year, with over $4.8 billion in roll-out announcements, investment, debt financing and acquisitions.

This has been driven by the fast growth and huge availability of government funds, Bloomberg reported. 


GASCO mulls JV to set up composite cylinder factory with UK’s Aburi Composites

GASCO mulls JV to set up composite cylinder factory with UK’s Aburi Composites
Updated 17 August 2022

GASCO mulls JV to set up composite cylinder factory with UK’s Aburi Composites

GASCO mulls JV to set up composite cylinder factory with UK’s Aburi Composites

RIYADH: National Gas and Industrialization Co., or GASCO, is studying the feasibility of partnering with UK’s Aburi Composites and Saudi-based Front End Co. to operate a joint cylinder factory.

Once the deal is finalized, the joint factory will be specialized in manufacturing composite cylinders, Nomu-listed GASCO said in a bourse filing.

This aligns with its strategy and experience in the gas supply chain, strengthening its investments in gas supply chains and enhancing localization opportunities.

UK-based Aburi Composites is a leading supplier of composite fiberglass cylinders, while Front End provides advisory services to support the expansion of international companies.