Kuwait’s URC appoints ERA Egypt as sales agent for Aswar residences

Kuwait’s United Real Estate Company , the MENA region’s leading real estate developer, announced the appointment of ERA Commercial Egypt as the sales agent for URC’s Aswar Residences, a private gated community in the emerging urban area of New Cairo.

Due for completion in Q1 2015, the familyfriendly, residential community consists of 75 villas and incorporates a number of amenities such as landscaped gardens, an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, walking and biking paths and kids playing areas. The project’s location, size and layout focuses on providing homeowners with space, privacy and convenience within a secured community.

Aswar Residences offers buyers 3 types of villas at various sizes with built up areas ranging from approximately 530sqm, 630sqm and 765 sqm. The basement level of each villa includes a multi-car parking garage with additional living space. All villas have a private garden and roof top terrace, overlooking the community gardens.

Commenting on URC’s appointment of ERA, URC’s Vice President of Sales and Leasing, Bashar Abdul-Majied, said, “ERA was selected by URC for their expertise in the property market, where their network of clients will allow for the project to maintain its position as a family-oriented and private residential community.” The development will have a show-villa on site for prospective buyers to visit and view.

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Kuwait Petroleum said to eye stake in Indian refinery.

Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) aims to pick up a significant stake in Indian Oil Corp’s Paradip refinery and supply about 60 percent of the oil needs of the plant, set to start up later this year, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Gulf oil producers want to lock in customers in Asia, which is experiencing a wave of refinery expansion, as the US shale boom has hit demand for their oil in Western economies.

India, the world’s fourth largest oil consumer, imports about 80 percent of its oil needs and plays a growing role as a regional refining hub.The South Asian nation imports around 16 million tonnes of crude a month – more than it consumes – and exports about a third of that as refined products.

State-run IOC, the country’s biggest refiner, aims to start crude processing at its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) coastal refinery in the eastern state of Orissa by the end of this year.”Kuwait has sought a 50-percent stake in the refinery and the proposed petrochemical plant, along with marketing rights for fuels,” said one of the sources, adding that IOC might settle for a smaller stake and keep control of the refinery.

This source said KPC wanted to reserve the right to later sell a part of its stake in the Indian project to any international oil company.The sources who spoke to Reuters declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic. IOC Chairman B Ashok did not respond to telephone calls from Reuters seeking comment, while a KPC spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kuwait wants to strengthen its role in India’s oil gas sector and wants to lease a part of its strategic storage, being built to hedge against energy security risks. Kuwait was India’s fourth biggest oil supplier in fiscal 2013/14, supplying about 409,000 bpd.

“KPC has several interests and opportunities in India and this is one of the main ones,” said a second source. “India is always on the radar. KPC is interested in Paradip but both sides haven’t agreed on the details yet.”IOC, along with subsidiary Chennai Petroleum, controls about a third of India’s oil refining capacity of 4.3 million bpd.

KPC and IOC officials had a meeting in India during the last week of August to discuss KPC’s participation, two of the sources said. KPC will acquire a stake through its overseas downstream subsidiary, Kuwait Petroleum International.Kuwait wants a potential joint venture with IOC to sign a deal for long-term crude supply with KPC, they said.The new refinery will cater to rising demand for fuel as India is keen to boost the share of manufacturing in its economic expansion.

Paradip is IOC’s most complex refinery and capable of handling cheaper grades that are more difficult to handle. The refinery will have a potential to produce about 6.3 million tonnes of diesel and 3.6 million tonnes of petrol, which will largely be absorbed by the domestic market.

Via: Reuters

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KWD265m hospital expansion contract signed – Project finished in four years.

The Health Ministry signed a contract yesterday for designing, equipping and maintaining the new Farwaniya Hospital expansion project at a cost of KD 265 million. Health Minister Ali Al-Obaidi said during the signing of the contract with Sayyed Hameed Behbehani and Sons Co that the hospital includes all specialties, allied medicine as well as school health services, in addition to a dentistry building which will have 100 specialized clinics as well as 30 clinics for school health. The project includes physiotherapy and outpatient buildings, in addition to 27 operation theaters and 233 ICU beds, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported. Obaidi said the project is expected to be finished within four year.

New projects Currently, there are approximately 15 public hospitals in Kuwait (not counting the armed forces hospital) with a 5,350 bed capacity. The Ministry of Health plans to construct eight new hospitals to raise total bed capacity to around 11,000 by 2016. Farwaniya Hospital’s expansion is part of ambitious projects that include a new hospital expansion in Jahra, expansions of the Amiri and Adan Hospitals and a revamp of Al Razi and Ibn Sina hospitals as well as the construction of the new Jaber Al Ahmed Hospital.

The Jaber Ahmed Al-Jaber Al- Sabah Hospital in South Surra will include a 1,500 bed hospital, staff and doctor’s residency building, services and power building, laundry building, engineering workshop, medical gas building, ground water tank, a multistorey garage, and a 3-storey underground car park building having capacity of 7000 cars. The Jahra Hospital expansion project includes the construction of 1,171 bed hospital with seven distinct buildings including the main building, a dental center, an administration building, a service center, two car parks, one for public with a capacity of 2900 cars and one for hospital staff with a capacity for 1660 cars. In late July, Burhan International Construction Company, part of the Al Wazzan Group, won the main tender for the construction of the Jahra Hospital, expected to cost around KD 360 million.

Healthcare insurance Kuwait also plans to reform the public healthcare insurance by establishing a public-private health care company that will issue all health insurance for expatriates. Currently, all expatriates are required as part of their residency to pay for state health insurance. Kuwait has also taken measures to begin separating public health care services provided for locals and expatriates, with evening hours now assigned for expats and morning hours for locals in the Jahra governorate health sector. There is also a growing private health sector, with more than 20 private hospitals and clinics providing a range of services for both locals and expatriates in Kuwait.

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Kuwait Energy appoints Honeywell Inc to treat natural gas in Iraq.

Awholly-owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc , was recently selected by Kuwait Energy Company to treat natural gas and recover high-value natural gas liquids (NGLs) at the SIBA gas field in Iraq.

With production expected to begin in 2015, Kuwait Energy Company will use UOP modular equipment to process 110 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas. The UOP modular units are relatively more competitive than other available units in the market. In addition to superior quality control, the units allow construction of equipment to complete and enter service up to 11 months faster than other approaches.

UOP modular equipments reduce field construction time and expenses for customers and allow customers to quickly process gas, thus reducing operating costs. Over the years, UOP has been creating world-class solutions for the natural gas industry and the modular equipments can be shipped to remote locations. UOP has already supplied technology to more than 3,600 individual process units for gas processing globally.

Honeywell, the parent company of UOP, is a global diversified technology and manufacturing firm with a wide range of aerospace products and services, control, sensing and security technologies for buildings, homes and industry. It also produces turbochargers, automotive products, specialty chemicals, electronic and advanced materials, process technology for refining and petrochemicals, and energy efficient products and solutions for homes, business and transportation.

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Kuwait signs $2-B oil supply contract with Philippines’ Petron Corp.

State-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC) has inked an annual contract with Philippine refiner Petron Corp to supply an estimated $2 billion worth of oil in 2015.

The KPC-Petron deal comes on the back of a 10-year supply agreement between Kuwait and China last week as the OPEC producer entrenches itself as a key oil supplier to Asia.

KPC will supply 65,000 barrels per day of oil to Petron in the contract which is renewed automatically each year unless one of the parties seeks to cancel the contract, KPC’s managing director of global marketing Nasser Al-Mudhaf was quoted as saying in the report.

KPC hopes to increase the term volume to 100,000 bpd and is also looking to sell the crude on a delivered basis, he said.

“Entering the Philippine market is considered an achievement for the Kuwaiti oil sector,” Al-Mudhaf said, noting that the country is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia.

Petron is due to complete an upgrade at its 180,000 barrels per day refinery by end-2014 which allows it to process more Middle East crude and boost its petroleum output by 40 percent.

Source : KUNA

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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.

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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 (176)

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 (192)

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.

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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.



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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.

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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.

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“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.

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