Emal expansion on schedule



Construction of Emal's phase two expansion is more than 70 per cent complete and on schedule to meet its deadline of December.

Officials credit the progress of the smelter to the partnership with Khalifa Port, which serves the development. By the time the project is finished, around 5,000 containers filled with equipment required for construction, will have been shipped through the port on route to the Al Taweelah complex.

"One of the reasons for this success is the partnership we have developed with Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), which has enabled the smooth and efficient transportation of the vital equipment needed to build one of the world's largest single-site aluminium smelters," said Yousuf Bastaki, Emal's vice president for projects, in a release yesterday.

Large bulk goods such as compressors, modules, transformers and turbines are discharged at Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi and barged directly to Emal's construction jetty at Khalifa Port.

"Emal's purpose built wharf at Khalifa Port shortens the supply chain of raw materials direct from sea to smelter," said Abdulkareem Al Masabi, the vice president Khalifa Port, Abu Dhabi Ports Company. "We have worked closely with the company to provide the very best logistic solutions for the delivery of its phase two construction materials through all of ADPC's ports."

The addition of a new potline to Emal's smelter will increase its capacity from the current level of 800,000 tonnes a year to 1.3 million.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

'Champions'

Director: Manuel Calvo
Stars: Yassir Al Saggaf and Fatima Al Banawi
Rating: 2/5
 

Best Academy: Ajax and Benfica

Best Agent: Jorge Mendes

Best Club : Liverpool   

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 Player Career Award: Miralem Pjanic and Ryan Giggs

'Brazen'

Director:+Monika Mitchell

Starring:+Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler

Rating: 3/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2