Etisalat sets new date over Zain deal



Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecommunications company, aims to complete the due diligence for its Dh44 billion (US$11.97bn) acquisition of a controlling stake in its Kuwaiti rival Zain by the end of next month.

The company missed a January 15 deadline to complete the review of Zain's finances, leading to worries that the biggest acquisition currently taking place in the Mena region could be derailed.

But Etisalat's bid "continues to make good progress", the company said yesterday.

"Etisalat is delighted with the recent progress in the due diligence process and wishes to reach a final agreement as soon as practically possible," said Mohammed Omran, the Etisalat chairman.

The company said: "In addition, Etisalat's discussions with 18 international and regional banks regarding the financing required to complete the proposed transaction continue, and it remains highly confident that it will be able to secure the necessary financing."

In September, Etisalat announced it had offered Zain shareholders 1.7 dinars a share for a 46 per cent stake.

The final progress and the results of the proposed transaction are due to be presented to the board by the end of next month.

This month, Etisalat said it missed its deadline because it had not received enough information from Zain to complete the due diligence process.

Later it emerged the deadline had been extended until the end of this month.

The delays have given rise to worries that a rival bidder could steal Etisalat's thunder.

Soon after the company missed its deadline, Cukurova Holding, a Turkish conglomerate that controls Turkcell, a telecoms operator, made a $7.89bn bid for a 29.9 per cent stake in Zain.

But Nasser al Kharafi, the chairman of the Kharafi Group, a major shareholder in Zain, claimed the offer was not legally binding as it was not posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

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.”

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Company name: Revibe
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Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The biogs

Name: Zinah Madi

Occupation: Co-founder of Dots and links

Nationality: Syrian

Family: Married, Mother of Tala, 18, Sharif, 14, Kareem, 2

Favourite Quote: “There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.”

 

Name: Razan Nabulsi

Occupation: Co-founder of Dots and Links

Nationality: Jordanian

Family: Married, Mother of Yahya, 3.5

Favourite Quote: A Chinese proverb that says: “Be not afraid of moving slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

MATCH INFO

New Zealand 176-8 (20 ovs)

England 155 (19.5 ovs)

New Zealand win by 21 runs

Teachers' pay - what you need to know

Pay varies significantly depending on the school, its rating and the curriculum. Here's a rough guide as of January 2021:

- top end schools tend to pay Dh16,000-17,000 a month - plus a monthly housing allowance of up to Dh6,000. These tend to be British curriculum schools rated 'outstanding' or 'very good', followed by American schools

- average salary across curriculums and skill levels is about Dh10,000, recruiters say

- it is becoming more common for schools to provide accommodation, sometimes in an apartment block with other teachers, rather than hand teachers a cash housing allowance

- some strong performing schools have cut back on salaries since the pandemic began, sometimes offering Dh16,000 including the housing allowance, which reflects the slump in rental costs, and sheer demand for jobs

- maths and science teachers are most in demand and some schools will pay up to Dh3,000 more than other teachers in recognition of their technical skills

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- in Indian schools, it has also become common for teachers to share residential accommodation, living in a block with colleagues

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Price, base / as tested: Dh409,000 / Dh467,000

Engine: 3.0-litre V6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 430hp @ 5,750rpm

Torque: 580Nm @ 4,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 10.9L / 100km

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).

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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

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

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Rating: 2/5

Reputation

Taylor Swift

(Big Machine Records)

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Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Abu Dhabi race card

5pm Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic Prestige Dh110,000 1,400m

5.30pm Abu Dhabi Colts Classic Prestige Dh110,000 1,400m

6pm Abu Dhabi Championship Listed Dh180,000 1,600m

6.30pm Maiden Dh80,000 1,600m

7pm Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap Dh80,000 1,400m

7.30pm Handicap (TB) |Dh100,000 2,400m

The Lowdown

Us

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseqph, Evan Alex and Elisabeth Moss

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

What is the FNC?

The Federal National Council is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It held its first session on December 2, 1972, a year to the day after Federation.
It has 40 members, eight of whom are women. The members represent the UAE population through each of the emirates. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have eight members each, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah six, and Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have four.
They bring Emirati issues to the council for debate and put those concerns to ministers summoned for questioning. 
The FNC’s main functions include passing, amending or rejecting federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the FNC for recommendations when members can amend the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. 
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by UAE citizens to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
In the 2015 elections, 78 of the 252 candidates were women. Women also represented 48 per cent of all voters and 67 per cent of the voters were under the age of 40.
 

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

Kill

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Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Huddersfield Town permanent signings:

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  • Tom Ince (winger): signed from Derby County for £7.7m
  • Aaron Mooy (midfielder): signed from Manchester City for £7.7m
  • Laurent Depoitre (striker): signed from Porto for £3.4m
  • Scott Malone (defender): signed from Fulham for £3.3m
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  • Danny WIlliams (midfielder): signed from Reading on a free transfer
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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


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