With in Six months, Saudi contractor MMG changed its CEO.

Saudi contractor Mohammad Al Mojil Group (MMG) has announced that its board of directors has decided to terminate the contract of CEO Stewart Macphail, who had been leading a battle to turnaround the ailing business for the past two years.

The company has appointed William Milligan as its CEO with immediate effect.In a statement, MMG said: “This resolution has been made to address the company moving forward with continuous improvement and phased re-structuring plans by strengthening both technical and engineering capabilities of executive and senior management”.

It added that Milligan “has outstanding leadership qualities within the oil & gas and Power Sectors, with 20 years-plus experience in executive management roles in Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, Asia and Australia.

“The board wishes to thank Mr. Stewart Macphail for his efforts and contribution to the Company during his period of tenure.”

Macphail was a company turnarounds specialist who was drafted in after the company had replaced its previous CEO Ibrahim Zadeh after just six months in the role. The firm experienced a series of disastrous financial results in 2011/12.

In an interview with CW last August, Macphail said that the company had taken “too many risks on too many large projects”, which had led to it losing money on 13 of the previous 14 projects for which it had bid.

He embarked on a strategy of unwinding itself from loss-making contracts and from seeking revenues by supplying services in areas like fabrication, scaffolding and worker accommodation.

It seemed to be paying off. The company finished 2012 declaring a loss of $353mn on revenues of $373mn and its accumulated losses had reached over $550mn, with liabilities outweighing its assets by $261.2mn. A vote to break-up the company was dismissed by shareholders at an EGM in November 2012.

MMG still declared a loss of $34.7mn last year, but this was less than a tenth of the 2012 figure and it had extricated itself from many of the disastrous deals that had caused its decline. It also embarked on a strategy of utilising company assets like fabrication yards and accommodation to provide services to other contractors.

However, talks with lenders and stakeholders about restructuring its balance sheet had not been successfully concluded and the firm’s shares have remained suspended from the Saudi stock market since July 2012.

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NASA Selects Kuwait For Research On Soil Humidity.

Director of the research division of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) Dr Esam Al-Sayyed Omar said Thursday the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Kuwait among a few number of countries for its program to conduct researches on soil humidity. “The selection is based on the availability of technical and human resources necessary for such a research mission,” he told KUNA on the sidelines of a KFAS lecture on “climate maps of desert environment in Kuwait, the Arabian Peninsula and other parts of the world.”

“The program, the first of its kind in Kuwait, aims to gauge the ratios of humidity in the desert soil and compare them with the weather readings received from satellites; it falls in the framework of a cooperation agreement between KFAS and the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),” Dr Omar pointed out. “KFAS maintains friendly exchanges with prestigious organizations in the advanced countries with a view to building the capacity of Kuwaiti researchers and keeping abreast of the latest developments in the various scientific researches,” he affirmed.

On the lecture, he said it was delivered by Dr Hala Al-Jassar, professor of physics at Kuwait University, in the run-up to NASA launching of a new satellite designed for taking accurate data on climate. “The readings of the new satellite will be available to Kuwaiti researchers in order to enable them conduct further climate researches,” Dr Omar went on. He commended the cooperation between KFAS and MIT in such projects as the sustainable building program which aims to develop quakeresistant construction materials and energy-efficient buildings.

Meanwhile, Dr. Al-Jassar said the team of researchers, led by her, will conduct joint field researches with NASAbefore the launching of the new satellite, called MSAB, in November, 2014. “This is the second KFAS-funded joint research project,” she said, adding that the researches will be conducted in collaboration with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, the MIT and the New York University (NYU).

Via : Kuwait News Agency

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Do Not Panic ’‘No Corona Virus Patients in Kuwait”…..

Corona Virus

Jahra Hospital Director Dr Shihab Al- Mohandi has vehemently denied allegations that some children have been found to be infected with Corona Virus, reports Al- Rai daily. Al-Mohandi made the statement after rumors on the purported discovery of Corona Virus cases spread through various social networking sites. He asserted the hospital has not received any Corona Virus patient, indicating the children who were admitted recently had flu and the necessary precautionary measures have been taken to prevent spread of the virus.

He added the grandmother of the children also suffered from flu and she was confined at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital where some of the workers suspected her of having Corona Virus due to the symptoms she exhibited. He went on to say there is no reason for the public to panic because the ministry has taken all the required measures to prevent Corona Virus outbreak in the country. He then advised the people to verify information first before believing posts on social networking sites.

The Directorate of Moral Guidance and Public Relations of the Army General Staff has issued a statement concerning the health status of retired Staff Major-General Salem Al-Serour, reports Al-Seyassah daily. This came following reports published on the social networking websites since Major-General is one of the symbols and Kuwait military personality who has contributed to the development of the Kuwait Army and has played a prominent role with his brothers in the Army to defend the homeland during Saddam’s brutal invasion and liberation of our land. The statement added the Defense Ministry does not forget its sons of — officers and non-commissioned officers — whether retired or on not. The statement added, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah had given instruction to send him abroad for medical treatment.

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Kuwaiti researcher wins Arab award for work on irrigation.

Kuwaiti researcher and academic Dr. Fawaz Al-Enzie won an Arab award for his work on irrigation.

Speaking to KUNA on his achievement, Dr. Al-Enzie, also acting dean of computer science and engineering at Kuwait University (KU), said that the award was given to him by the Arab water ministerial council.

He indicated that his research focused on lessening water consumption in irrigation and combating desertification in Kuwait.Al-Enzie said that the idea was to enable wild plants to grow and seek water using a vessel called the “water box”.

“The plant will sustain itself using water stored in a plastic container until its roots reach the natural water resource,” he said.This project was executed in cooperation with Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), said Al-Enzie, noting that the research had achieved positive results through computer simulation.

He hoped that a project based on the research would be launched in the next two years with the focus shifting to solving irrigation problems in the Middle East region.

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Kuwait Oil Company frees 70 million sq/m of land for residential blocks.

The state-run Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has handed over up to 70 million sq/m of land suitable for residential purposes to the Municipality, the Minister of Communications and Municipal Affairs said yesterday.

The land located south of the area of Saad Al-Abdallah on the Sixth Ring Road motorway can accommodate 43,000 housing units, he said in a press statement. The fact that the area is adjacent to a motorway is a positive sign, along with its proximity to public utilities and services, he added.

The location will respond to 50 percent of the applications made by locals for housing the state offers for no charge, but requires the efforts of the Public Authority for Housing Welfare in rehabilitating it for the goal.

  Via: KUNA

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Ministry of Interior Kuwait,Permits Use Of Safety Lanes On Certain Roads At Specific Times

Ministry of Interior has permitted the use of safety lanes on certain roads at specific times to reduce congestion.

In a statement, the ministry indicated roads specified for this purpose include King Faisal Expressway from the Sixth Ring Road, King Abdul-Aziz Road from the Sixth Ring Road to First Ring Road, and Al- Maghrib Highway from King Fahad Road to the First Ring Road.

The permitted timings are 6:00am-9:00am and 12:30pm-3:30pm, noting the times specified are the busiest in the country because Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees and students leave and return from the schools, institutes and universities during the period.

The statement added the decision was based on directives from the Interior Minister and Acting Minister of Awqaf Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary Lieutenant General Suleiman Fahad Al-Fahad.

The road users can only use the safety lanes during the specific period and at specified locations to follow regulations, reiterating the lane is originally for ambulances, fire engines, police cars and civil defense but other vehicles can use it now, as instructed, and the speed limit is 45 km/h.

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Iraq sues Turkey over Kurdish oil shipments.

Baghdad launched legal action against Ankara Friday after oil from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was exported to international markets without the central government’s consent, potentially worsening already-poor ties between the neighbors.

The sudden decision to call for arbitration by Iraq, which came after shipments began on Thursday evening, is the latest move in a years-long row in which Baghdad has insisted it has the sole right to export Iraqi crude.

The dispute over the exports, which the US has said could further destabilize Iraq, also throws into doubt Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s bid for re-election after polls last month, with his campaign expected to hinge on whether or not he can secure Kurdish backing.

The central government’s oil ministry said in a statement that it has “filed a request for arbitration against the Republic of Turkey and its state-owned pipeline operator BOTAS … with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.”

“By transporting and storing crude oil from Kurdistan, and by loading that crude oil onto a tanker in Ceyhan, all without the authorization of the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, Turkey and BOTAS have breached their obligations under the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline Agreement,” it said.

The ministry said it was asking the ICC to order Turkey and BOTAS to “cease all unauthorized transport, storage and loading of crude oil,” and added it was seeking financial damages of more than $ 250 million.

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Iraqi oil strong competitor in the region-Kuwait Petroleum.

The Kuwaiti Petroleum Company (KPC) said the Iraqi oil as a strong competitor and has an impact on all exporting countries in the region because of its increased production, according to the National Iraqi News Agency.

A statement of the Foundation quoted the Managing Director of the Global Marketing at KPC, Nasser Al-Mudhaf as saying that there is a strong influence from Iraq under the prices and quantities produced with the facilities, adding that the Iraqi oil is a strong contender in the region.

Iraq is seeking to increase its oil production to more than four million barrels per day in 2014 , while Oil Minister Abdul Karim Abdan announced the preparation of plans to raise its oil exports to 3.4 million barrels per day, including 400 thousand barrels from fields in the Kurdistan region.

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New Madinah airport to be ready by 2015.

New Madina Airport-1

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman reiterated the importance of completing expansion works on the Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport on time during his latest inspection visit, where he was briefed on the progress made thus far.

Prince Faisal also inspected a prototype model of the project and was keyed in on pivotal aspects of the project by Muhammad Al-Fadel, the airport’s general director.Al-Fadel said that 83 percent of construction has so far been completed. “The first phase of the project will be completed in early January 2015,” he said.

The said the airport would accommodate nearly eight million travellers annually once it operates.Madinah receives an estimated 11 million visitors per year. Aviation traffic is slated to increase by 27 percent with the new expansion.”Upcoming phases include increasing airport capacity to 14 million passengers a year, while the third phase will see the premises accommodate almost 27 million people,” he said.

Prince Faisal bin Salman also discussed technical aspects of the project with engineers.The new airport is poised to drastically enhance the city’s economy, increasing commercial trade to more than SR400 million.

The new airport also will accommodate major airliners, including Turkish Airlines, Flynas and Emirates Airlines. Madinah Airport is considered the third most important gateway to the Kingdom and the second most important airport during the Haj and Umrah pilgrimage seasons.

Construction and expansion efforts are made under the direct supervision of the chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

 

 

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Ministry of Health-Kuwait engaged Gulf Consult to design new ” Al Razi Hospital”.

Gulf Consult - Al Razi Hospital 02

Gulf Consult were engaged by the Ministry of Health to undertake the Concept Design for the new Al Razi Hospital.

This new Al Razi Hospital is proposed as an addition to the existing Al Razi Hospital within the Al Sabah Hospital Campus in Shuwaikh, Kuwait. This addition will be an Orthopedic Hospital with all new state of the art facilities within a multistorey 12 floor building and will include 240 beds.

The site allocated for the hospital expansion adjoins the existing hospital and is a 2,913 m2 L-shaped plot, approximately 50 m from Jamal Abdul Nasser street.

The new extension comprises of mainly physiotherapy and radiology department with 10 floors of inpatient wards. The basement is allocated for future expansion. The total built up area is 33,410 m2 including the central plant and medical gas building structures.

The conceptual planning is generally based on providing defined circulation routes for patients, visitors, materials and waste.

 Project Data : 

Location Shuwaikh, Kuwait
Client Ministry of Health
Services Concept Design/Design Build
Cost

KD 32.0 million

Data
Floor Area : 33,410m2
Floors : Ground + 10
Beds : 240 Beds
Status Design Stage

 

 

  No.of Reads (288)

China’s biggest bank gets final approval for Kuwait branch.

China’s biggest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, has received final approval to open a branch in Kuwait, which wants to free up its banking sector.In March, Kuwait said it would allow foreign banks to open multiple branches to spur growth. Analysts said it was unlikely that many banks would take advantage of the offer unless the government accelerated long-postponed infrastructure projects.

Allowing foreign banks to expand in Kuwait will encourage competition and the development of banking products and services, governor Mohammad al-Hashel said in a statement on the central bank website.He said the central bank had put ICBC in the official register of foreign banks after it got approval from the Finance Ministry to open a branch.

ICBC got approvals last year from Kuwait’s central bank and cabinet. It will be the bank’s fourth branch in the Gulf Arab region after Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.ICBC’s chairman said earlier this year his bank could be a “liaison” between Chinese companies and Kuwait, according to a report on Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA. Jiang Jianqing said he welcomed opportunities for investment in Kuwait’s development plan, KUNA said.

The development plan, first announced in 2010, seeks to spend billions of dollars on major infrastructure projects such as roads, a new airport and refinery.Foreign banks in Kuwait, a major oil exporter, include regional lenders such as National Bank of Abu Dhabiand Qatar National Bank, as well as international heavy weights BNP Paribas, Citigroup and HSBC .

 International names have been able to operate in the country since 2004 but, until this year, had only been able to open one branch. This is ICBC’s first branch.Other restrictions on foreign banks in Kuwait have limited them to offering investment banking services and banned them from competing in the retail sector. It is not immediately clear when these restrictions might be eased.
Via : KUNA

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Net GCC foreign assets set to hit $2.3t at end-2014.

Kuwait Economy

The Washington-based global association of financial institutions said the region’s gross financial assets are also on course to rise to $2.8 trillion by year-end as a result of continued large surpluses.However, the IIF warned that the GCC countries’ fiscal stress could surge over the medium term if oil prices drop sharply while government spending continues to rise.

“Assuming an average Brent oil price of $105 per barrel in 2014 [as compared to $108 per barrel in 2013], the GCC’s external current account surplus, while declining, is expected to remain large at $287 billion in 2014. The consolidated fiscal surplus will also narrow from 10.6 per cent of the gross domestic product in 2013 to 8.3 per cent in 2014, reflecting slightly lower oil prices and higher expenditures,” it said in its regional overview.

This year, overall growth of the GCC is projected to be around four per cent as oil production remains restrained due to increased global supplies and tepid growth in demand, the IIF said. Growth moderated from 5.5 per cent in 2012 to 4.2 per cent in 2013, largely due to a slower rise in crude oil production. Non-hydrocarbon real GDP growth, a more representative measure of economic activity, remained robust at 5.4 per cent in 2013, driven by higher public spending and stronger private sector activity.

The IIF in its review showed GCC countries to make further progress in economic diversification.“Although hydrocarbon sector’s contribution to GDP has declined steadily, the budget dependence on oil revenues continues to be high,” said George Abed, senior counsellor and director for Africa and the Middle East at the IIF.

GCC private sector growth is projected to rise further to 6.2 per cent in 2014 from 5.9 per cent in 2013, supported by buoyant domestic demand and both private consumption and investment expenditures. Government-sector growth is projected to slow to 3.5 per cent in 2014 from five per cent in 2013 as authorities across the GCC move to begin to rein in expenditure growth, which had been resurgent for nearly a decade.

Economic diversification in the GCC, the IIF noted, continues as signalled by the steady decline in the share of the hydrocarbon sector’s contribution to real GDP from 41 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent now. “However, GCC countries have not done as well in diversifying their domestic revenue base as the oil and gas sector’s contribution to budget receipts remained high at 84 per cent on average in the last three years,” it said.

Inflation is projected to remain subdued at about three per cent in 2014, reflecting both the absence of global inflationary pressure and the openness of the economies. However, in Qatar and the UAE, some price pressures could emerge, driven by a rapid increase in housing and related costs. The UAE is projected to see a rise in average inflation from 1.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent as the property market recovers and the deflationary impact from rent declines is reversed.

In a recent forecast, the International Monetary Fund had predicted GCC economic growth to be 4.4 per cent in 2014 as oil production rises and the non-oil sector benefits from the large infrastructure projects being implemented. However, because of the volatility inherent in oil prices, the IMF expects downside pressures during 2014, as well as longer-term structural challenges. The IMF has said that most GCC economies continue to have “substantial buffers” to cope with short-lived oil price shocks despite an expected drop in their current account surpluses.

The IMF also had noted that most GCC countries have accumulated large official external assets and would be able to comfortably weather temporary declines in oil income. Total public external assets in the GCC are estimated at nearly $2 trillion, which could be used to make up for any shortfall in oil revenue.

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Kuwait’s real estate sales hit KWD 351 mln in March

NBK Capital MENA Research stated in its weekly report, that Kuwait’s real estate data for March showed sales totaling KWD 351 million, up 20% y/y.The investment arm of National Bank of Kuwait said March monthly sales are the highest this year, closing the 1st quarter with sales totaling KWD 923 million.

Sales were up across all sectors with an exceptional performance by the commercial sector. The residential and investment sectors remained solid, and the real estate sector is expected to have another strong year. Sales in the residential sector reached KWD 177 million in March, a 19% y/y increase. Although there was a 10% y/y decline in the number of transactions to 439, this was more than offset by a rise in the average transaction value. The latter increased 32% y/y to KWD 403,000.

It is worth noting that despite strong year-on-year increases in sales, the number of transactions has been dropping (year-on-year) in past months – a possible reflection of the short supply of residential properties available on the market.In terms of location, 34% of transactions were in Al-Ahmadi governorate, followed by Mubarak Al-Kabeer with 25% of transactions.

Sales of land plots – as opposed to finished buildings – accounted for 57% of all residential transactions in March. Quarterly, Al-Ahmadi also led the governorates with 33% of all transactions in the first quarter followed by Mubarak Al-Kabeer, which has been seeing increased activity in the Abu Fateera and Funaitees areas.

Sales in the investment sector stood at KWD 132 million in March, up 9% y/y. The sector also saw a 53% y/y increase in the number of transactions, recording 195 transactions by the end of March. The increases reflected on the average size of transaction which dropped 29% y/y, to KWD 680,000. In quarter analysis, the investment sector sales grew 35% compared to Q1 of 2013.Individual apartments made up more than half of all transactions in the investment sector – the majority in Mahbola. Whole buildings came in second, accounting for 32% of transactions, followed by plots with an 11% share.

Sales in the commercial sector soared 92% to KWD 42 million in March, from KWD 22 million a year earlier. The sector recorded 12 transactions, with one plot in Jahra selling for KWD 11 million. Sales in this sector are often uneven month-to-month. While the sector’s performance in the first two months of 2014 seemed to be cooling, March sales confirmed a strong bounce back.

March also witnessed two significant transactions classified by the Ministry of Justice as ‘coastal line’ properties. The first is a 4,000 m2 residential plot in Messila sold for KWD 9 million, while the second was a 3,700m2 commercial ‘shops’ transaction in Mahbola, for KWD 7 million.Kuwait Credit Bank approved KWD 29 million in loans in March, down 16% from a year ago.
The past year has nevertheless been a very active year for the bank. The slowdown in the past couple of months may be linked to a slowdown in the distribution of plots.

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Kuwait signs $3bn LNG supply deal with British Petroleum.

Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC),

Kuwait signed a five-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deal with BP on Tuesday, worth an estimated $3 billion, as it seeks to meet rising energy demand to power air conditioning during scorching Gulf summers.

Kuwait, a major OPEC oil producer, already signed a $12 billion LNG supply deal with Royal Dutch Shell on Sunday and will also import gas from fellow Gulf state Qatar.The BP deal, signed by state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), will help Kuwait run its power plants through the hottest time of the year.

KPC expects Kuwait will import a total of around 2.5 million tonnes of LNG, natural gas frozen to a liquid for transport on tankers, per year over the next few years through such contracts, said Nasser al-Mudaf, head of the company’s international marketing division.

He was referring to the deals with Shell, BP and state-run Qatar gas.Kuwait began importing LNG in 2009. Over the previous four years it signed deals with Shell and Swiss-based trader Vitol to supply it during the peak power demand period from April to October.

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