Dubai, UAE, February 19, 2018.   Interview with Phanes Group CEO, Martin Haupts.
Victor Besa / The National
Business
Reporter:  Jennifer Gnana
Phanes Group chief executive Martin Haupts says there is an opening window of opportunity for off-grid players in the Middle East. Victor Besa / The National

Exclusive: Dubai’s Phanes targets $200m worth of projects as it eyes Egypt, Saudi



Dubai-based small-scale utilities developer Phanes Group is eyeing US$200m worth of projects with a collective capacity of 150MW as it targets new markets such as Egypt, its chief executive said.

"We're looking at Egypt from two perspectives - one is we have a number of deals that are advancing in the pipeline and the second round of programmes could be interesting once we see how the first phase pans out," Martin Haupts said in an interview with The National.

Phanes Group, a partner with Dubai-based port operator DP World on one of the largest solar rooftop projects in the Middle East, has positioned itself to grow as a big player in the energy-poor off-grid segments of sub-Saharan Africa, schemes it develops in partnership with development finance. Much of sub-Saharan Africa remains in the dark, with an estimated 632 million people living without access to electricity. This is a segment that the former Barack Obama administration sought to electrify through the $7 billion Power Africa scheme, which aims to deploy 30GW of electricity by an undefined timeline.

Phanes Group, a partner in the US government scheme, is looking to bridge the gap in places such as Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous state which is looking to generate 20 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.

“You have a lot of industry in Egypt, which is good. So we’re looking at the CNI segment. It's interesting and feasible in the country. The larger scale ground-based systems are reserved for tender,” said Mr Haupts.

CNI or critical national infrastructure refers to those assets whose loss would lead to severe economic or social consequence and in the case of energy can be typically plugged by off-grid solutions.

Phanes, which normally develops 10MW to 100MW schemes, is also looking to capitalise on the huge volume of renewables projects in the pipeline in the Middle East, where it hopes that more work would translate into a more competitive space for smaller players.

Saudi Arabia, which is looking to tender 3.25GW of solar projects as well as 800MW of wind capacity this year, was "too early" to penetrate last year.

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The nascent nature of the industry and the government’s priority on pushing through tender-based programmes meant companies like Phanes that are targeting a growing demand for energy efficiency through off-grid schemes found themselves biding their time.

Saudi Arabia, this year however, is targeting energy savings of around 40GW hours through the first phase of its efficiency programme that has whet the appetite of several and international and local players looking to gain entry into one of the largest markets in the region.

“You have a lot of industry in Saudi Arabia, which is cut off the grid, which is completely dependent on thermal production like diesel gen sets and I believe this is a very interesting market,” said Mr Haupts.

The firm is also watching renewables targets being rolled out in the UAE’s small emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, home to several energy-intensive industries, such as cement and one of the world’s largest facilities for production of ceramics.

Phanes, which typically funds its various solar schemes through 30 per cent equity with the remainder backed by developing finance institutions, is looking to grow its footprint in the Mena region as well as in Pakistan and Central Asia over the next five years.

But for now, the firm is betting on sub-Saharan Africa’s growth potential and is looking at newer models of developing energy schemes.

“We’re one of the more active medium-sized players already now so we want to build up an IPP [independent power producer] portfolio on the back of that we also want to be part of the solution as far as off-grid is concerned,” said Mr Haupts.

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

MATCH INFO

World Cup qualifier

Thailand 2 (Dangda 26', Panya 51')

UAE 1 (Mabkhout 45+2')

ULTRA PROCESSED FOODS

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Structural weaknesses facing Israel economy

1. Labour productivity is lower than the average of the developed economies, particularly in the non-tradable industries.
2. The low level of basic skills among workers and the high level of inequality between those with various skills.
3. Low employment rates, particularly among Arab women and Ultra-Othodox Jewish men.
4. A lack of basic knowledge required for integration into the labour force, due to the lack of core curriculum studies in schools for Ultra-Othodox Jews.
5. A need to upgrade and expand physical infrastructure, particularly mass transit infrastructure.
6. The poverty rate at more than double the OECD average.
7. Population growth of about 2 per cent per year, compared to 0.6 per cent OECD average posing challenge for fiscal policy and underpinning pressure on education, health care, welfare housing and physical infrastructure, which will increase in the coming years.

How to keep control of your emotions

If your investment decisions are being dictated by emotions such as fear, greed, hope, frustration and boredom, it is time for a rethink, Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, says.

Greed

Greedy investors trade beyond their means, open more positions than usual or hold on to positions too long to chase an even greater gain. “All too often, they incur a heavy loss and may even wipe out the profit already made.

Tip: Ignore the short-term hype, noise and froth and invest for the long-term plan, based on sound fundamentals.

Fear

The risk of making a loss can cloud decision-making. “This can cause you to close out a position too early, or miss out on a profit by being too afraid to open a trade,” he says.

Tip: Start with a plan, and stick to it. For added security, consider placing stops to reduce any losses and limits to lock in profits.

Hope

While all traders need hope to start trading, excessive optimism can backfire. Too many traders hold on to a losing trade because they believe that it will reverse its trend and become profitable.

Tip: Set realistic goals. Be happy with what you have earned, rather than frustrated by what you could have earned.

Frustration

Traders can get annoyed when the markets have behaved in unexpected ways and generates losses or fails to deliver anticipated gains.

Tip: Accept in advance that asset price movements are completely unpredictable and you will suffer losses at some point. These can be managed, say, by attaching stops and limits to your trades.

Boredom

Too many investors buy and sell because they want something to do. They are trading as entertainment, rather than in the hope of making money. As well as making bad decisions, the extra dealing charges eat into returns.

Tip: Open an online demo account and get your thrills without risking real money.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Gender pay parity on track in the UAE

The UAE has a good record on gender pay parity, according to Mercer's Total Remuneration Study.

"In some of the lower levels of jobs women tend to be paid more than men, primarily because men are employed in blue collar jobs and women tend to be employed in white collar jobs which pay better," said Ted Raffoul, career products leader, Mena at Mercer. "I am yet to see a company in the UAE – particularly when you are looking at a blue chip multinationals or some of the bigger local companies – that actively discriminates when it comes to gender on pay."

Mr Raffoul said most gender issues are actually due to the cultural class, as the population is dominated by Asian and Arab cultures where men are generally expected to work and earn whereas women are meant to start a family.

"For that reason, we see a different gender gap. There are less women in senior roles because women tend to focus less on this but that’s not due to any companies having a policy penalising women for any reasons – it’s a cultural thing," he said.

As a result, Mr Raffoul said many companies in the UAE are coming up with benefit package programmes to help working mothers and the career development of women in general. 

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Championship play-offs, second legs:

Aston Villa 0
Middlesbrough 0

(Aston Villa advance 1-0 on aggregate)

Fulham 2
Sessegnon (47'), Odoi (66')

Derby County 0

(Fulham advance 2-1 on aggregate)

Final

Saturday, May 26, Wembley. Kick off 8pm (UAE) 

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Conservative MPs who have publicly revealed sending letters of no confidence
  1. Steve Baker
  2. Peter Bone
  3. Ben Bradley
  4. Andrew Bridgen
  5. Maria Caulfield​​​​​​​
  6. Simon Clarke
  7. Philip Davies
  8. Nadine Dorries​​​​​​​
  9. James Duddridge​​​​​​​
  10. Mark Francois
  11. Chris Green
  12. Adam Holloway
  13. Andrea Jenkyns
  14. Anne-Marie Morris
  15. Sheryll Murray
  16. Jacob Rees-Mogg
  17. Laurence Robertson
  18. Lee Rowley
  19. Henry Smith
  20. Martin Vickers
  21. John Whittingdale
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

BELGIUM SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels

Defenders: Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Leander Dendoncker, Zeno Debast, Arthur Theate, Wout Faes

Midfielders: Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Amadou Onana, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Loïs Openda, Charles De Ketelaere, Eden Hazard, Jeremy Doku, Dries Mertens, Leandro Trossard

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Calls

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Pedro Pascal, Karen Gillian, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

4/5

SPEC SHEET

Display: 10.4-inch IPS LCD, 400 nits, toughened glass

CPU: Unisoc T610; Mali G52 GPU

Memory: 4GB

Storage: 64GB, up to 512GB microSD

Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio

Battery: 8200mAh, up to 10 hours video

Platform: Android 11

Audio: Stereo speakers, 2 mics

Durability: IP52

Biometrics: Face unlock

Price: Dh849

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

Profile box

Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5


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