Spain next hotspot for Arabian Gulf investments



While fans of the British comedy TV series Monty Python will know that "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition", the "Spanish acquisition" is nothing to fear.

In fact, it is a truism that more and more investors from the Arabian Gulf are expected to discover.

The European Union’s fifth-largest economy is tipped as a hotspot for investment from the Arab world, encouraged by strong growth in the first half of 2015 as well as the weak euro.

Spain was hit hard by the euro-zone crisis and its unemployment rate is still high. But with year-on-year GDP growth of 3.1 per cent in the second quarter – the fastest pace in eight years – Spain is emerging as one of this year’s star players in Europe.

Daniel Aguilon, the co-founder of HispaLux Consulting in Dubai, and Sven Behrendt, the managing director of the Geneva-based consultancy GeoEconomica, say the country is increasingly on Gulf investors’ radars.

Why are Gulf investors getting more interested in Spain?

Mr Behrendt: Spain has weathered the European sovereign debt crisis quite well and growth is returning, which makes it an attractive investment destination.

What kind of interest are you seeing in Gulf investment in the country?

Mr Aguilon: Both private and corporate investors have been targeting multiple sectors in Spain – including real estate, retail, energy and logistics – especially since the start of 2014, as the economy is recovering from the financial crisis.

The Gulf, and Arabic countries in general, and Spain have for centuries shared common culture and traditions, which facilitates the commercial and personal relations between both sides. The decrease of prices in real estate during the recession, between 35 and 40 per cent depending on the area, along with the current euro level at its lowest in history, have also contributed significantly to attracting new investors.

Spain was hit harder by the downturn than many other EU economies. Does that mean it is more vulnerable, or does its strong growth this year suggest an opportunity?

Mr Aguilon: Spain was certainly affected very negatively by the recession – especially outside the big cities – and is still struggling to get out of it.

However, GDP has increased significantly in Q1 and is forecast to increase by 3.1 per cent during 2015 as a whole.

From the real-estate side, prime assets in [Madrid and Barcelona] are always in high demand – regardless of the economy.

What are the challenges for individuals wanting to invest in Spain, compared with markets like the UK or Germany?

Mr Aguilon: Mainly the lack of understanding of the Spanish law, administration and banking systems.

At the same time, compared to Germany or the United Kingdom, if the investor does not speak Spanish [it] can be sometimes difficult to deal with government agencies without help.

business@thenational.ae

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter

RESULT

Wolves 1 (Traore 67')

Tottenham 2 (Moura 8', Vertonghen 90+1')

Man of the Match: Adama Traore (Wolves)

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Rating: 3.5/5

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

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.

Moving Out 2

Developer: SMG Studio
Publisher: Team17
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
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

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

The stats: 2017 Jaguar XJ

Price, base / as tested Dh326,700 / Dh342,700

Engine 3.0L V6

Transmission Eight-speed automatic

Power 340hp @ 6,000pm

Torque 450Nm @ 3,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined 9.1L / 100km

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

MANDOOB

Director: Ali Kalthami

Starring: Mohammed Dokhei, Sarah Taibah, Hajar Alshammari

Rating: 4/5

Directed by Sam Mendes

Starring Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays

4.5/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Yango Deli Tech
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2022
Sector: Retail SaaS
Funding: Self funded

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

How green is the expo nursery?

Some 400,000 shrubs and 13,000 trees in the on-site nursery

An additional 450,000 shrubs and 4,000 trees to be delivered in the months leading up to the expo

Ghaf, date palm, acacia arabica, acacia tortilis, vitex or sage, techoma and the salvadora are just some heat tolerant native plants in the nursery

Approximately 340 species of shrubs and trees selected for diverse landscape

The nursery team works exclusively with organic fertilisers and pesticides

All shrubs and trees supplied by Dubai Municipality

Most sourced from farms, nurseries across the country

Plants and trees are re-potted when they arrive at nursery to give them room to grow

Some mature trees are in open areas or planted within the expo site

Green waste is recycled as compost

Treated sewage effluent supplied by Dubai Municipality is used to meet the majority of the nursery’s irrigation needs

Construction workforce peaked at 40,000 workers

About 65,000 people have signed up to volunteer

Main themes of expo is  ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and three subthemes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

Expo 2020 Dubai to open in October 2020 and run for six months

The Energy Research Centre

Founded 50 years ago as a nuclear research institute, scientists at the centre believed nuclear would be the “solution for everything”.
Although they still do, they discovered in 1955 that the Netherlands had a lot of natural gas. “We still had the idea that, by 2000, it would all be nuclear,” said Harm Jeeninga, director of business and programme development at the centre.
"In the 1990s, we found out about global warming so we focused on energy savings and tackling the greenhouse gas effect.”
The energy centre’s research focuses on biomass, energy efficiency, the environment, wind and solar, as well as energy engineering and socio-economic research.

Company profile

Name: Envi Lodges
Started: September 2021
Co-founders: Noelle Homsy and Chris Nader
Based: UAE
Sector: Hospitality
Number of employees: 12 to 15
Stage of investment: Series A