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PRO Partner Group Regional News and Updates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Wider UAE, Oman & Qatar

  • Oman and Britain sign investment partnership as trade deal with GCC approaches -

    Oman and Britain signed a Sovereign Investment Partnership deal on Wednesday, agreeing to work more closely on increasing high-value investment into both countries as the UK draws nearer to a trade deal with the GCC.

    The new pact between the UK’s Office for Investment and the Oman Investment Authority was signed in London by the UK’s Minister for Investment, Lord Gerry Grimstone, and the President of the Oman Investment Authority, AbdulSalam Al Murshidi, with the aim of strengthening economic ties between the UK and Oman.

    The partnership also strives to identify and support commercial investments in areas such as clean energy and technology - a key part of the nations' £1 billion-a-year trading relationship.

    The signing follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s meeting with the Sultan Haitham of Oman at Downing Street in December, where he discussed efforts to boost Britain’s and Oman’s economic recovery from the pandemic, investment opportunities in green and renewable technology, and the new UK-GCC free trade agreement, which is under discussion this year.

    For the full article click here

  • Abu Dhabi stock market gets to have the 'FTSE' co-branding from today -

    From 10th January the Abu Dhabi stock market will have a FTSE touch.

    This means the ADX General Index, the main one for the Dh1.5 trillion market cap stock exchange, will be branded as ‘FTSE ADX General Index’. This follows an alliance between ADX and FTSE Russell to develop co-branded indices. FTSE Russell is owned by London Stock Exchange Group.

    Thus, the ‘FTSE ADX’ sector indices will take the place of the existing sector indices. ADX is the first exchange in the region to make FTSE Russell its index administrator. The FTSE Russell has nearly $16 trillion benchmarked to its various indexes.

    Further new indices will be co-developed under the partnership to support ADX’s “vision of introducing new tradable index products on its market”. The exchange launched single stock futures in the fourth quarter of last year following an agreement sealed in September with Nasdaq in September to deliver matching, real time clearing and settlement technology as ADX broadens its asset class offerings.

    “Our partnership with FTSE Russell is part of ADX’s wide-ranging strategy to develop a dynamic exchange, which includes investment in state-of-the art market technology and increasing the opportunity set for investors and issuers,” said Saeed Hamad Al Dhaheri, CEO and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. “The new range of FTSE-ADX indices will provide robust benchmarks and support the listing of index derivatives, ETFs other index-based products on the exchange.”

    For the full article click here

  • UK firms are increasingly seeking business growth in the Gulf -

    UK-based businesses have been expanding their operations across the Gulf as a result of Brexit-fuelled global geographic growth, according to new research.

    Lumina Capital Advisers noted the growth in UK to Middle East and North Africa (MENA) cross-border trade and deal activity between 2018-2020, fuelled by Brexit and revenue diversification opportunities. Its report predicted that 2022 is likely to be a record year for cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

    Lumina said that since 2018, the Middle East’s contribution to overall revenue for UK companies has increased by 1 percent year-on-year. It added that in 2020, the MENA region generated 14 percent of revenue for FTSE listed companies, compared to 13 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2018.

    Lumina Capital Advisors said it anticipates that this growth will continue in 2022, with the percentage of MENA revenues generated by FTSE listed companies exceeding 15 percent by year-end.

    Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala’s £10bn commitment into UK clean energy and tech sectors and SABIC’s Teeside investment provide recent examples of the GCC’s push into ESG. Saudi-based PIF’s investment in Newcastle Football Club is also seen as an opportunity to both raise the profile of the region and bring ties closer with the UK.

    George Traub, managing partner, Lumina Capital Advisers, said: “The recent free trade agreement negotiations between the GCC and the UK will have a significant impact on future M&A activity. The reduction in trade barriers and establishment of a more secure regulatory environment will encourage UK firms to the region as the GCC looks to imports skills not currently available to them.

    For the full article click here

  • Central bank projects 4.2% UAE GDP growth in 2022 -

    The UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2022 and non-hydrocarbon real GDP to increase by 3.9 per cent, according to the Central Bank of UAE.

    The Quarterly Economic Review of the CBUAE for Q3, 2021 has forecast a 2.1 per cent GDP growth in 2021 with the real non-hydrocarbon GDP projected to increase by 3.8 per cent.

    According to central bank data, the UAE’s oil production increased by 9.3 per cent year on year and by 4.3 per cent quarter on at the close of the third quarter in line with the agreement by OPEC+.

    CBUAE expects continued increase in public spending, positive outlook for credit growth, higher employment and better business sentiment, as Dubai

    World EXPO continues to take place in Q1 2022. Furthermore, being a major tourism, transit and trade hub in the region, the UAE is expected to benefit from the removal of travel restrictions and events such the FIFA World Cup which is planned to take place in Qatar in Q4 2022.

    For the full article click here

  • Ras Al Khaimah allows businesses to operate from free zone and mainland with one office -

    Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) will now allow licensed businesses to operate out of one office from within the free zone as well as on the mainland. This comes after RAKEZ launched its dual license structure.

    License holders will be able to distribute their products and offer services in the free zone and mainland areas with a free zone license and a ‘Branch of a Free Zone Company’ license issued by the emirate’s Department of Economic Development. This will allow investors 100 per cent foreign ownership and the eligibility to bid for government contracts.

    “This package opens up a new market for their business, and substantially expands their accessibility and reach; all whilst reducing the red-tape requirements of the past,” said Ramy Jallad, RAKEZ Group CEO. “We are glad to have teamed up with RAK DED for another initiative that roots from our shared goal of further developing Ras Al Khaimah’s vibrant economy.”

    Commenting on the initiative, Abdulrahman Alnaqbi, Director-General of RAK DED, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with RAKEZ on yet another great initiative for the benefit of global investors who chose Ras Al Khaimah to base their operations.”

    For the full article click here

  • Dubai launches 'talent pass' to attract professionals from around the world -

    Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZ) has launched a "talent pass" freelance licence category to attract global media, education, technology, art, marketing and consultancy professionals to the emirate.

    This initiative will further boost the free zone's business environment and strengthen Dubai’s position as a global destination for innovators and talent, DAFZ said in a statement on Sunday.

    The talent pass will enable freelancers to obtain a three-year residence visa and allow them to rent commercial office space in the free zone that offers flexible costs and remote services.

    License holders will have access to the free zone’s customers, who range from international companies to small and medium enterprises as well as entrepreneurs. They will also have access to the free zone’s digital platform that allows them to contact customers for easier access to work, contracts and services.

    The free zone is home to more than 1,800 companies in over 20 economic sectors, with multinationals making up more than 30 per cent of those businesses.

    The free zone has already signed a preliminary agreement with Dubai Culture and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to launch the new licence category.

    For the full article click here

  • UAE-based company NPCC confirms $2.23 billion contract award from Saudi Aramco -

    United Arab Emirates-based offshore engineering and fabrication giant National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) has confirmed the award of two sizeable offshore contracts from Saudi Aramco for work on its Zuluf expansion project.

    National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), the parent company of NPCC, told the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in a statement on Monday that “it has been awarded an 8.2 billion emirati dirhams ($2.23 billion) contract by Saudi Aramco.”

    NMDC said the contract award involves “two packages of the Zuluf marine field,” without further elaborating on the details.

    “The project is expected to be executed over three years,” it added.

    NPCC is a key member of Aramco’s coveted long-term agreement (LTA) with a group of international offshore contractors.

    For the full article click here

  • UAE's Alpha Dhabi increases stake in Aldar to 30% -

    UAE-based conglomerate Alpha Dhabi (ALPHADHABI.AD) said on Monday it has increased its stake in Abu Dhabi developer Aldar Properties (ALDAR.AD) to 29.8% after acquiring an additional 17%.

    The increase in ownership came after Alpha Dhabi acquired the entire share capital from three companies: Sublime 2, Sogno 2 and Sogno 3, the company said, without providing any details on the deal value.

    Alpha Dhabi also increased its stake in National Marine Dredging Co (NMDC.AD) by 3.38% and acquired 25.24% of Al Qudra Holding as part of the acquisition.

    For the full article click here

  • Amendments to UAE Commercial Transactions Law - UAE cheque rules to bring more clarity and flexibility in cheque transactions -

    The UAE’s new law on decriminalisation of bounced cheques that became effective on Sunday has come as a great leap forward in updating the banking laws in the country in sync with the global best practices.

    While the amended law consolidates the principles of justice by striking a balance between the interests of the cheque beneficiary and the drawer, the focus is clearly on operational flexibility of cheques in financial transactions.

    The provision for partial payment of the cheque in the event of insufficient funds has come as a flexible alternative for payments and reducing criminalisation of cheque bounces.

    In essence, in letter and spirit, the changes to the law has come as a flexible alternative, streamlining procedures for collecting an issued cheque’s value in favour of the beneficiary while minimising criminal procedures.

    Going forward, criminal procedures and hefty fines on non-compliance will be exceptions rather than a rule and should act as a deterrent to those likely to violate the new rules.

    For the full article click here


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