Dubai International Financial Centre Investments, the commercial arm of the financial free zone, suffered losses of US$247.7 million last year compared with a loss of $561.4m in 2009.
Dubai International Financial Centre Investments, the commercial arm of the financial free zone, suffered losses of US$247.7 million last year compared with a loss of $561.4m in 2009.

DIFC unit cuts losses and defers $1bn loans

Dubai International Financial Centre Investments, the commercial arm of the financial free zone, posted losses of US$247.7 million last year compared with a loss of $561.4m in 2009, as it wrote down the value of property.

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The company has been trying to lower debts and sell off assets this year, it said, adding it had renegotiated $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) worth of loans with the Government of Dubai as it looked to sell assets and lower its debts.

The Government has deferred principal and interest payments on the two loans, which are worth $500m each. One was due in total in 2013, but repayment has been postponed until April 2014. The other was due in two payments - this month and in May 2013, but interest payments have been changed to later this year.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Investments has a broad range of financial assets but derives most of its revenues from leasing out property in the free zone, including prominent offices such as those in the Gate Building.

Ahmed Humaid al Tayer, the chairman of DIFC Investments and governor of the DIFC, attributed the loss mostly to "the devaluation of the real estate portfolio due to the market conditions".

The DIFC is one of the best-performing property zones in the emirate but during the economic boom the centre's investment arm took on debt and invested in assets far from its core business of operating a financial centre.

It is now seeking to sell those assets, such as the high-end fashion retailer Villa Moda that closed last year and the business data and utility manager DClear.

The greatest challenge for DIFC Investments is its debt. It has almost $3bn due over the next five years, including government loans, bank borrowings and a $1.25bn Islamic bond, or sukuk, issued in 2007.

Shahli Akram, the chief executive of DIFC Investments, said yesterday the company might "divest certain of its investment portfolio to create robust liquidity streams across the business", but planned to hold on to some strategic assets.

"We believe that this strategy will assist us to better position our financial resources to withstand the various economic variables both on regional and global scale," Mr Akram said.

The company settled debts of about $265m last month, he said. Standard & Poor's said in a report last year that DIFC Investments had pledged to reduce its debts by $1bn by the end of this year.

It would do this through selling "non-core" assets, which is thought to mean its smaller foreign shareholdings, investments in properties outside the DIFC and financial technology companies.

Debt issuances were not planned, but Mr Akram said the company was monitoring its "debt management and liquidity strategy to be in a position to service the debt obligations as and when they fall due".

DIFC Investments recorded revenues from its investment properties, which are made up primarily of the offices in and around the Gate Building at the centre of the free zone, of $126.1m for the year - up from $124.9m in 2009.

These revenues could be affected by the DIFC Authority's announcement in December that it was cutting this year's rents and fees. The changes primarily affect companies that are seeking to rent out additional space by providing a pricing "matrix" of discounts.

Rents will range from Dh160 to Dh280 a square foot of office space, depending on the amount leased and location.

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The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo hybrid
Power: 680hp
Torque: 1,020Nm
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.5L/100km
On sale: Early 2024
Price: From Dh530,000 (estimate)


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

Tour de France Stage 16:

165km run from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford


Catchweight 82kg
Piotr Kuberski (POL) beat Ahmed Saeb (IRQ) by decision.

Women’s bantamweight
Corinne Laframboise (CAN) beat Cornelia Holm (SWE) by unanimous decision.

Omar Hussein (PAL) beat Vitalii Stoian (UKR) by unanimous decision.

Josh Togo (LEB) beat Ali Dyusenov (UZB) by unanimous decision.

Isaac Pimentel (BRA) beat Delfin Nawen (PHI) TKO round-3.

Catchweight 80kg​​​​​​​
Seb Eubank (GBR) beat Emad Hanbali (SYR) KO round 1.

Mohammad Yahya (UAE) beat Ramadan Noaman (EGY) TKO round 2.

Alan Omer (GER) beat Reydon Romero (PHI) submission 1.

Juho Valamaa (FIN) beat Ahmed Labban (LEB) by unanimous decision.

Elias Boudegzdame (ALG) beat Austin Arnett (USA) by unanimous decision.

Super heavyweight
Maciej Sosnowski (POL) beat Ibrahim El Sawi (EGY) by submission round 1.

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 666hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
On sale: Q1 2023
Price: from Dh1.15 million (estimate)

Gender equality in the workplace still 200 years away

It will take centuries to achieve gender parity in workplaces around the globe, according to a December report from the World Economic Forum.

The WEF study said there had been some improvements in wage equality in 2018 compared to 2017, when the global gender gap widened for the first time in a decade.

But it warned that these were offset by declining representation of women in politics, coupled with greater inequality in their access to health and education.

At current rates, the global gender gap across a range of areas will not close for another 108 years, while it is expected to take 202 years to close the workplace gap, WEF found.

The Geneva-based organisation's annual report tracked disparities between the sexes in 149 countries across four areas: education, health, economic opportunity and political empowerment.

After years of advances in education, health and political representation, women registered setbacks in all three areas this year, WEF said.

Only in the area of economic opportunity did the gender gap narrow somewhat, although there is not much to celebrate, with the global wage gap narrowing to nearly 51 per cent.

And the number of women in leadership roles has risen to 34 per cent globally, WEF said.

At the same time, the report showed there are now proportionately fewer women than men participating in the workforce, suggesting that automation is having a disproportionate impact on jobs traditionally performed by women.

And women are significantly under-represented in growing areas of employment that require science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, WEF said.

* Agence France Presse


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Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Name: Colm McLoughlin

Country: Galway, Ireland

Job: Executive vice chairman and chief executive of Dubai Duty Free

Favourite golf course: Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

Favourite part of Dubai: Palm Jumeirah


How to come clean about financial infidelity
  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own up than be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Inform them of the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and figure out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. 
  • Give it time: Like any breach of trust, it requires time to rebuild. So be consistent, communicate often and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Ensure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow through with what you say you are going to do when it comes to money can make all the difference in your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work on a plan to resolve the problem together: If there is a lot of debt, for example, create a budget and financial plan together and ensure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported. 

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

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