Qatar success already pays off for Orascom



Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) has emerged as a clear beneficiary of Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

As Egypt's biggest publicly traded builder, OCI has an extensive presence throughout the GCC, analysts say. Its 45-year relationship with Qatar also stands the company in good stead.

Contrack International, a construction company based in the US and 100 per cent owned by Orascom, has completed several prestigious projects in Qatar including the Weill Cornell Medical College, the Al Jazeera Children's Channel building and the Science and Technology Park.

"It's a well-known name there," said Mohamed Kotb, the director of asset management at Naeem Brokerage. "It has the experience, the power to negotiate and get the business, and the international partnership," he said without elaborating on how much money he expected the company to make in Qatar. "OCI will have a good portion of the pie from the World Cup win," Mr Kotb said.

Shares in the company rose 0.7 per cent to 280.91 pounds on the Egyptian Exchange. It has rallied nearly 8.6 per cent in the past month.

When the award of the World Cup to Qatar was announced, shares in OCI jumped to their highest level in six months.

Construction and contracting companies have made known their hopes of taking advantage of the boom in infrastructure projects in the run-up to the tournament, despite it being more than 11 years away.

But Mr Kotb singled out OCI as the "only cross-border" construction company having the capability to meet Qatar's World Cup infrastructure needs.

Another competitor that could become a major beneficiary is the UAE builder Arabtec, which also has operations in Qatar.

Third-quarter profit at OIC rose 22 per cent to US$147.6 million. The value of its backlog of projects was $600m in the quarter and $2.1 billion for the nine-month period.

OCI's second arm, which is in fertiliser, will also keep the company in positive territory, with prices for the nitrogen-based nutrient urea forecast to rise next year as farmers look to maximise their yields.

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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. 

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British Grand Prix free practice times in the third and final session at Silverstone on Saturday (top five):

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:28.063 (18 laps)

2. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:28.095 (14)

3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:28.137 (20)

4. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1:28.732 (15)

5. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Renault) 1:29.480 (14)

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 582bhp

Torque: 730Nm

Price: Dh649,000

On sale: now 

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Author: Michael Knights

Pages: 256

Available: January 26

DIVINE INTERVENTOIN

Starring: Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader, Amer Daher

Director: Elia Suleiman

Rating: 4.5/5

SUCCESSION SEASON 4 EPISODE 1

Created by: Jesse Armstrong

Stars: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Nicholas Braun

Rating: 4/5

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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.”

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)

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

Ireland v Denmark: The last two years

Denmark 1-1 Ireland 

7/06/19, Euro 2020 qualifier 

Denmark 0-0 Ireland

19/11/2018, Nations League

Ireland 0-0 Denmark

13/10/2018, Nations League

Ireland 1 Denmark 5

14/11/2017, World Cup qualifier

Denmark 0-0 Ireland

11/11/2017, World Cup qualifier

 

 

 

The pillars of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy

Encourage innovation in the metaverse field and boost economic contribution

Develop outstanding talents through education and training

Develop applications and the way they are used in Dubai's government institutions

Adopt, expand and promote secure platforms globally

Develop the infrastructure and regulations

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

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

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5


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