Petrofac awards to hit $8.4 bln in 2014.

Petrofac Company has announced that it is currently enjoying a highly successful year following new contract awards from the Middle East and the Gulf regions, according to Construction Week Online.

Petrofac revealed that it secured deals worth $8.4 billion since the start of 2014, of which $7.2 billion were earned by the firm’s engineering, construction operations and maintenance arm.

These contracts include a $1.2 billion contract in Oman’s Khazzan gas field, a $1.7 billion gain as part of a consortium delivering $3.7 billion of work on the Kuwait Clean Fuels Project, added to a $970 million gas-treatment facility in Algeria. Moreover, Petrofac has agreed to capacity enhancements at the Upper Zakum field in Abu Dhabi.

The Company had reported a revenue and net profit drop during the first half of 2014 to $2.5 billion and $136 million, respectively, compared to $2.8 billion $243 million, respectively, during the same period in 2013. However, the firm has highlighted that its earnings would be “significantly weighted towards the second half of the year” reflecting the way in which projects are phased.

Petrofac revealed that it expects a full-year profit ranging between $580 million-$600 million.

No.of Reads (138)

Kuwait’s inflation rises by 2.71 pct in July

Kuwait’s annual record of the general index of consumer prices (inflation) rate rose in July by 2.71 percent compared with the same month of last year, the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) announced Monday.

In its monthly report the CSB, however, stated that the inflation rate remained unchanged on month-on-month basis.The CSB data showed that the inflation rate of four major groups increased, retreated for two groups and remained flat for six groups compared with that of June.

The groups which recorded inflation rate rises month-on-month were: tobacco and narcotics; furnishing equipment and household maintenance; transport; and recreation and culture.

The groups whose inflation rates dropped were: clothing and footwear; and communications.The detailed data indicated that the inflation rate of the major group of “furnishing equipment and household maintenance” hiked by 4.32 percent year-on-year and by 0.15 percent month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the major group “housing services” rose by 4.39 percent year-on-year, and remained unchanged month-on-month.Furthermore, the inflation rate of the major group “education” rose by 4.19 percent year-on-year and remained flat month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the major group “food and beverages” jumped by 1.96 percent year-on-year and remained changed month-on-month.The inflation rate of the major group “clothing and footwear” surged by 2.20 percent year-on-year and slipped by 0.38 percent month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the major group “restaurants and hotels” grew by 2.54 percent year-on-year, but remained unchanged month-on-month.The inflation rate of the main group of “recreational and cultural” rose by 0.47 percent year-on-year and by 0.15 percent month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the main group of “transport” swelled by 1.63 percent year-on-year and by 0.24 percent month-on-month.The inflation rate of the group “tobacco and narcotics” soared by 12.58 percent year-on-year and by 4.77 percent month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the main group “health” dropped by 1.18 percent year-on-year and remained flat month-on-month.Meanwhile, the inflation rate of the main group of “communications” decreased by 0.99 percent year-on-year and by 0.10 percent month-on-month.

The inflation rate of the major group “miscellaneous goods and services” soared by 0.24 percent year-on-year, and remained unchanged month-on-month.

No.of Reads (173)

102 KSE listed companies improve their performance in H1 -report.

The number of listed companies that officially published their results for the first half of the year was 176 companies, 91.2% of the total number of 193 listed companies, after excluding the deleted and suspended companies from trading and those with different financial statements dates ,said a recent report released by AlShall consulting .

The companies’ profits scored KD 913.7 million, which are lower by -4.8% than the profits for the first half of 2013 in the amount of KD 959.5 million, but in reality are higher by 1.6% after excluding the non-recurring profits of Ahli United Bank (Bahrain brunch) of about KD 60.5 million in 2013. The figure still below by 15.9% compare to the profits of the first quarter of this year, an indicators that needs follow up in the next two forthcoming quarters of the year.

Five sectors, out of 12 active sectors, achieved rise in their profitability compared with their performance in the first half of 2013. The highest was the banks sector which increased its profits from KD 391.1 million to KD 401.4 million. The most retreating was the real estate sector that declined from KD 107.8 million to around KD 79.2 million.

Results of the first half of this year indicate that the top 10 companies in achieving absolute profits contributed about KD 564.1 million, or %61.7 of total absolute profits. Their contribution to the overall growth in profits vis-a-vis the first half of 2013 was approximately KD 41.1 million, the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK)achieved the highest absolute profit by about KD 144.8 million. Zain came next by about KD 114.7 million. On the contrary, the top 10 companies that achieved the highest absolute losses recorded KD -41.4 million. Al Madina for Finance and Investment Company achieved the highest absolute loss by about KD 9.9 million, followed by “Kuwait Syrian Holding Company by approximately KD 7.1 million.

102 companies improved their performance with 93 companies were gainers and 9 companies reduced their losses or shifted to profitability. In other words, about 58% of the companies which announced their results achieved better performance. 74 companies had lower performance, 64 companies among them with lower profit level while 10 companies became losers. The attached table explains profit details according to sector.

In General, corporate profit growth appears to be modest, but under the geopolitical conditions, regional and local, coupled with the comparative weak performance of Kuwait stock exchange market, the positive trend in profitability albeit low might be acceptable.

No.of Reads (189)

Kuwait to boost oil exports to China to 500,000 bpd.

Kuwait plans to increase the volume of crude oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in three years, an executive at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said Saturday.

On Monday, Kuwait concluded a new 10-year deal with a China’s Sinopec Corp to nearly double its supplies by offering to ship the oil and sell it on a more competitive cost-and-freight basis.

“With new and mutual cooperation between the two parties, there is a good sign of increasing the volume of our crude oil exports to China up to 500,000 bpd in the next three years,” Nasser Al-Mudhaf, KPC’s Managing Director of International Marketing told Kuwait’s News Agency (KUNA).

Under the deal signed this week, KPC will initially export 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, which would amount to 15 percent of Kuwaiti petroleum exports and estimated to be worth $120 billion.

According to Al-Mudhaf, the contract is not related to an ongoing joint project between KPC and Sinopec for the construction of a 300,000 bpd refinery. Feedstock for the plant will be also supplied by KPC when it goes on-stream.”If the joint venture materializes, China-bound shipments may hit 800,000 bpd,” he added.

State news agency KUNA, quoting government data, reported in July that Kuwait’s crude oil exports to China in the first half of this year stood at 3.87 million tonnes, equivalent to around 157,000 bpd.

Most of Kuwait’s exports go to Asia. The Gulf Arab state pumped 2.81 million bpd in July, according to a Reuters survey.

No.of Reads (157)

Parsons wins additional work for Dubai Water Canal project.

Parsons has been selected by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to perform infrastructure design services for the Dubai Water Canal Project.

Planned to be a major tourist destination, the Dubai Water Canal will include a new shopping center, hotels, and restaurants, in addition to luxury housing and cycling paths. It is expected to provide new areas for public places and facilities, as well as private marinas for boats and a new trade center at the canal’s entrance.

Hamed Zaghw, President of Parsons International Limited said, “Parsons has been working with RTA for many years, and we look forward to continuing to be RTA’s partner of choice for this landmark project.”

A Parsons joint venture was selected by RTA to perform construction supervision services for the Dubai Water Canal Project earlier this year. Once completed, the project will add 6 km to the Dubai waterfront and will attract many visitors.



  No.of Reads (160)

Saudi prince paid $500k to meet actress Kristen Stewart

A Saudi prince paid half a million dollars to meet ‘Twilight’ actress Kristen Stewart for 15 minutes, according to media reports in the US.

The actress, who shot to fame playing the character Bella Swan in the ‘Twilight’ vampire movie franchise, agreed to meet the unnamed royal at Madison Square Garden in New York last December and in return he agreed to make a donation of $500,000 to a Hurricane Sandy charity fund, the New York Post reported.

The meeting was negotiated by movie studio boss Harvey Weinsten, who told reporters at the Toronto Film Festival he was approached by the Saudi prince eager to meet the 23-year-old star.

No.of Reads (207)

Kuwait softens regulations for illegal expats.

Illegal Expats in Kuwait

Illegal workers detected in Kuwait will now be given the opportunity to legalize their status rather than be deported, a senior Interior Ministry official has told Kuwait Times.

The apparent move in favor of expats will be implemented in lieu of an amnesty, which would have allowed illegal – and legal – residents to leave the country without retribution.

An amnesty in Saudi Arabia last year led to more than 1 million of the kingdom’s then 9 million expats to leave.In Kuwait, illegal residents who are caught are usually deported and banned from the country, without a means of appeal.

“Now the violator can pay the penalties and transfer his visa to remain in Kuwait,” Adel Al Hashash, head of public relations and moral guidance at the Interior Ministry, was quoted as saying.

“Also, the ministry has set a maximum limit for the penalty for one year at KD600 only instead of KD730 previously.”Director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) Mohammed Al Hamidi said the amendment favoured expats.

It is in vast contrast to the policy of former minister of social affairs and labor Thekra Al Rasheedi, who last year announced a plan to cut the number of expats by 1 million.

 The government also has frozen the issuance of new work visas until early next year, when a new Public Authority for Manpower is expected to be established.

No.of Reads (277)

“THE BIG-5 KUWAIT” announced dates for its second event.

The Big-5 Kuwait

Kuwait’s construction sector has witnessed remarkable growth at a steady pace, driven by the announcement of several infrastructure projects in recent times. According to a recent report by Ventures Middle East, the construction contracts in the country are set to reach $ 17.5 billion by the end of 2014 from $ 9.8 billion in 2011. Among the major infrastructure projects under various stages of planning and construction are Kuwait International Airport (KIA) re-development project, Kuwait Metro project, and the Kuwait National Rail Road System.

In line with these industry developments, The Big 5 Kuwait, Kuwait’s largest building and construction exhibition, has announced the launch of its second edition, following a successful debut last year. To be held from September 22 – 24, 2014 at the Kuwait International Fair, the exhibition will showcase a comprehensive range of innovative products and cutting edge technologies for the construction sector.

In addition, The Big 5 Kuwait will also feature a Live Demonstration Theatre to give hands-on demonstrations of the new products along with other special events such as the FM Congress, certified workshops, networking round tables, and a How to Trade in Kuwait Seminar. These free to attend special features have been designed with the Kuwait construction market in mind and ensure the continued professional development of its delegates.

Airport Expansion
The $ 698.5 million KIA redevelopment project is one of the key projects in Kuwait, which includes improvement of airport buildings and enhancement of other facilities such as fire stations, rescue centers and service roads. The planned expansion will increase the airport’s annual capacity to 20 million passengers. Likewise, the construction of the second terminal worth $ 3.3 billion will be able to handle 13 million passengers annually during the first phases, with plans to increase to 25 million and 50 million during subsequent phases.

Infrastructure Development
The $ 7 billion Kuwait Metro project is another vital project currently in the stages of design and supervision. Nearly 65 per cent underground, the Metro will cover more than 160 km, comprising 69 stations on its three lines. Lastly, the Kuwait National Rail Road System to be built at an investment of $ 10 billion will be an integrated rail network with a total length of 511 km double track. To be built on a “build, operate and transfer” (BOT) basis, the project is currently in the final process of design with budget and allocation being already made and the tendering process expected to commence soon.

Andy White, Group Event Director, The Big 5, said, “The demand for fresh technology and new building material is on a steady rise in Kuwait, driven by a robust performance of the construction and infrastructure sector. The total cost of infrastructure and construction projects in 2014 will touch $ 23.2 billion. All this activity strongly supports the need for The Big 5 Kuwait, which is set to present the latest tools and equipments for the construction sector during its second edition. With a greater exhibition area on offer, we are confident that we will continue to provide industry professionals with an opportunity to source new and international products, a place to network and also an opportunity to continue their professional development through the series of free to attend educational features.”

Launched in 2013, The Big 5 Kuwait received an overwhelming response for its first ever show. 5,000+ industry professionals, which include architects, engineers, contractors and developers, attended the three-day event to source products for $ 116 billion real estate and infrastructure projects that are underway in the country. Being the largest construction exhibition in the country, The Big 5 Kuwait complements the growing momentum in the Kuwaiti construction sector by offering new concepts and solutions in building technology.

No.of Reads (326)

Kuwait’s parliament passes $82.6 bln budget.

Kuwait’s parliament passed , last weekend , a record $82.6 billion budget for 2014/2015 fiscal year, projecting a $11.2 billion shortfall on the basis of a conservative oil price. The spending figure of 23.21 billion dinars is 10.5 per cent higher than estimates in the past fiscal year of 21 billion dinars , reported gulf news. Revenues are estimated at 20.07 billion dinars ($71.4 billion), up almost 11 per cent on last year’s projections.

Forty-nine MPs voted in favour of the budget while two members rejected it. it passed despite strong criticism from many MPs over increases in spending, particularly on wages and subsidies. During the debate, Finance Minister Anas Al Saleh said public spending had increased six-fold during the past 13 years. Wages for civil servants are projected at 5.6 billion dinars while subsidies mainly on power generation are estimated at 5.9 billion dinars, according to a budget report issued by parliament.

The head of parliament’s budgets committee, MP Adnan Abdul Samad, said capital investment accounts for just 10 per cent of the latest budget. The OPEC member has projected a deficit in each of the past 14 fiscal years but ended each year in the black, accumulating more than $300 billion in budget surpluses.

Oil income in 2014/2015 is projected at 18.8 billion dinars, or 94 per cent of total revenue. Oil revenues were calculated on the basis of a price of $75 a barrel, up $5 from the past year, and a daily output of 2.7 million barrels, according to the report. Like the previous 14 fiscal years, oil revenues are expected to be much higher than the estimates because the actual price is above $100 a barrel and Kuwait’s daily crude production is running at around 3.0 million barrels.

Via : Mubasher

No.of Reads (260)

Time for America’s Middle East Allies to Forge Their Own Destinies.

Baghdad is 900 miles from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 500 miles from Amman, Jordan; 300 miles from Kuwait, and 1000 miles from Ankara, Turkey, countries that are allies of the United States, and armed to the teeth with American weapons. With over 700,000 soldiers, 6000 tanks, 2000 warplanes, and some 5000 conventional and rocket launched artillery pieces between them they vastly outnumber and outgun the forces of the so-called Independent State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that is determined to set up a medieval brutal Caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

If these heavily armed American allies that are minutes away from the killing fields of Iraq choose not to step in and rectify the rapidly unfolding chaos in their midst, why should the United States, some 7000 miles from Iraq spill its blood and treasure in another futile quest to remake the Middle East for them? A futile quest that has over the last decade chewed up the minds and bodies of 56,000 brave American soldiers, including some 4,700 killed.

Over a trillion dollars have been spent over the last 12 years in the disastrous 2003 American invasion of Iraq and its attempt to remake the Middle East. Estimates are that a similar amount will be required over the next two decades to care for the American soldiers who have thankfully survived the war in Iraq and returned to their anguished families.

Shouldn’t the old adage about forcing Israelis and Palestinians to make peace — we cannot want peace between them more than they can — also apply to the Middle East? Of course it should. America cannot want a stable Middle East more than the people that live there, most of whom are awash with petrodollars and can easily afford to spend the billions that will be required to straighten out the mess in their backyard, if they cared enough to do it.

Then there are the consequences of America spending its political and material capital in distant lands under the ever more ephemeral mantle of global leadership. Consequences that directly and negatively impact Americans. For instance, The Financial Times, on April 28, 2014, reported that that the United States will have to spend $3.6 trillion by 2020 to bring America’s crumbling infrastructure to where it should be today. That is almost twice the amount spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Via :  The Financial Times 

No.of Reads (312)

kuwait’s United Real Estate launches $500 mln project in Jordan

United Real Estate Co. (URC), one of the leading real estate developers in the MENA region, said it has launched the mixed-use Abdali Boulevard project which was developed by the Abdali Boulevard Co. (ABC).

The grand opening was held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and His Royal Highness Crown PrinceAl HusseinBin Abdullah II.

The project spreads over 121,000 sq m and a gross land area of 25,540 sqm. Additionally, the development’s components are connected by a 370 sqm pedestrian walkway. The project’s investment cost totals $500 million.

No.of Reads (164)

Iran-Iraq gas pipeline to be completed by end of year.

The construction of a pipeline that will carry natural gas from Iran to Iraq will be completed by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2013), says an official.

Based on agreements signed between Tehran and Baghdad, 7 million cubic meters (mcm) per day of Iran’s natural gas will be delivered to Iraq in the first phase, Managing Director of Iran Gas Engineering and Development Company Alireza Gharibi said on Sunday.

He added that based on an agreement between the two countries, the pipeline will finally carry 40 mcm of Iran’s natural gas to Iraq.The Iranian official stated that the 100-kilometer, 48-inch pipeline will stretch from the village of Charmaleh, located in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, into the town of Naft Shahr on the border with Iraq.

The Iran-Iraq gas pipeline project will be finished by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, after which tests will be conducted on the pipeline and necessary infrastructure will be prepared to increase the volume of gas export from the initial 7 mcm per day to 10 mcm per day, he stated.

Iran has been trying to enhance its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investment, especially in its South Pars gas field.The South Pars gas field, which is divided into 28 phases, is located in the Persian Gulf on the common border between Iran and Qatar. The field is estimated to contain about 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of condensate.

No.of Reads (180)

Italian carrier Alitalia okays Etihad Airways bid.

Italian carrier’s board approves proposal for 49% share buy-out.The board of directors of Italian carrier Alitalia has given the go-ahead signal to the proposal presented by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways for an equity partnership between the two national carriers.

It has given the mandate to negotiate the contract to president and chief executive officer Gabriele Del Torchio, paving the way for Etihad Airways to proceed with its share buy-out plan.

Etihad Airways last month had submitted its plan to buy out 49 per cent of the Italian flag carrier, which may land in a financial crisis in August if a massive capital injection is not done.

The issues, which have to be resolved between the two airlines, include Alitalia’s heavy debts and a need of cutting 2,200 jobs out of a total of 12,800 as part of the deal.There are other issues which need to be resolved, as officials in northern Italy have also raised concerns over the potential impact on Milan’s Malpensa airport, which they fear could be seriously penalised by the deal.

Detailed talks on all those issues were set to continue despite the green light.Del Torchio, quoted by Italian news agency Ansa, said after the talks that negotiations with banks on Alitalia’s debt burden were “continuing in the right direction”.

“It takes time, since it involves a large sum. But everyone clearly wants to reach a solution with Etihad Airways.”On the jobs front, new talks between Alitalia management and unions were set for tomorrow, Italian media said.

Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi warned earlier last week that negotiations would have to be wrapped up by mid-July on the tie-up with Etihad Airways, which he said was prepared to invest up to €1.25 billion in Alitalia by 2018.

Meanwhile, the board of directors also okayed provisions and asset writedowns for €233 million, in preparation for future strategies. Gaining an Alitalia stake would add to a half-dozen holdings that Etihad Airways owns from Serbia to the Seychelles and Australia.

Etihad Airways seeks to funnel more traffic through its Abu Dhabi hub, and the Italian market is attractive to airlines because of a large population and location in the heart of Europe.

Alitalia has sought a new major shareholder after Air France-KLM Group bowed out of a rescue package brokered under Italy’s supervision to keep the chronically-unprofitable airline afloat. Air France said it wouldn’t participate in a capital increase, ceding its role as the largest shareholder.

Etihad Airways said this month that it set specific conditions for an investment, with approval needed from the Italian company before detailed talks begin.

After buying stakes in airberlin, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, and seeking regulatory approval to invest in Swiss-based regional carrier Darwin Airline, Alitalia deal will give Etihad Airways a greater presence in one of the leading European markets.

Etihad Airways will have access to 103 destinations, of which 26 in Italy and 77 in the rest of the world, 186 routes. The airline flies more than 4,700 weekly flights and carried 23.99 million passengers in 2013.

No.of Reads (229)