Red Red Wine

alex-fergusonTo be connected to the mainland by a 300 mt bridge, developer, Meraas Holding, has announced that Bulgari will manage its new 100-room luxury island hotel and twenty residential villas. The development, along with a marina, is located off Jumeirah 1 andis slated for opening late next year.

Union Properties aims to fill a huge gap in the hospitality sector by targeting the budget traveller. The developer is to build four hotels, bringing an extra 1k rooms into this segment of the market. Currently, it is estimated that 42% of the existing room inventory is taken up by 5-star hotels, with this percentage set to grow to almost 50% over the next three years.

Following previous sales of 111 properties of the Anantara Residences on Jumeirah Palm, Seven Tides released its third phase of a further 47 apartments, ranging in price from US$ 1.2 million to US$ 3.0 million.

Local firms, United Engineering Construction and Acto General Trading have been awarded the US$ 327 million contract to build Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah. Covering an area of 418k sq mt, with five floors of retail space and three levels for parking, it will be constructed by New Mall Limited on a BOT (Buy, Operate and Transfer) structure and will be managed by Nakheel until the transfer date.

Emaar is selling another raft of properties – 55 villas overlooking the golf course – in the Arabian Ranches. No doubt, there will be crowds congregating at the Emaar Pavilion on Saturday morning for these off plan residences.

Repair works at Dubai International are ahead of schedule with the southern runway opened four days ahead of schedule; nevertheless capacity has been reduced by more than a quarter over the 80-day maintenance programme. Consequently, the growth levels seen in April – 6.1 million passengers, up 13.7% year on year – will be pared back over the next two months.

It is not only Dubai International breaking records with RTA announcing a massive 22.8% surge in April Metro passenger numbers to 13.9 million. (Despite this increase, there does not appear to be any reduction in vehicle traffic).

Dubai contractor, Habtoor Leighton Group, has won a big chunk of the US$ 817 million work to be carried out on the Jewel of the Creek development.  The latest contract is valued at US$ 395 million for five mixed use tower blocks of between 15 -19 storeys.

It has been a good year to date for Drake & Scull International with news of yet another successful bid for MEP services. The US$ 30.0 million contract is for work on the Plaza View in Abu Dhabi which has proved to be a valuable market for the Dubai-based company which has total projects of over US$ 1 billion.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has leased two Airbus A319s to Libyan Wings – a new airline based in Tripoli. The Dubai–based company signed a long term deal for delivery this year.

Imdaad is planning to spend US$ 27 million on a material recovery unit in Dubai’s TechnoPark. The facility will be able to recover up to 1k tonnes of recyclable waste daily which will more than double its current capacity.

Ducab is expanding and building its sixth plant in the country in KIZAD (Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi). Due to be in operation by the end of next year, and producing mainly aluminium rods and conductors, the plant will cost US$ 60 million.

DEWA seem to be having some success in reducing utility usage with news that, on a per capita basis, demand for both electricity and water has declined over the past three years, with the former down 4.2% to 15,346 kW and the latter by 8.6% to 40.8k gallons. There is still some way to go to reach the target of a 30% reduction by 2030, per the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy.

Dubai entities are making best use of the favourable environment in the global debt capital market as interest rates remain at historical low levels and Dubai’s credibility heads northwards. Investment Corporation of Dubai’s 10 year 3.51% US$ 700 million sukuk, along with a conventional 4.63% US$ 300 million bond, were three times oversubscribed. Another to make use of the current situation is Emaar Properties that has taken up a US$ 1.5 billion, seven-year sharia-compliant loan facility to restructure its debt portfolio. The current rate of 175 basis points above Libor is a lot better than its original of plus 350 bps. Over the past twelve months, Dubai Duty Free and the RTA have managed to refinance on better terms.

Having lost 6.12% in value the previous week, the DFM opened on Sunday at 4864 points and recovered most of these losses climbing 4.58% to close Thursday on 5087. (On Tuesday, Arabtec accounted for 61.5% of the total daily trade of US$ 708 million; opening the day, the stock fell 2.8% to US$ 1.63 before rallying 11.8% to US$ 1.83, all within the first three hours of trading).

There was bad news for two of Africa’s larger economies. South Africa saw a 0.6% contraction in Q1 following a 3.8% growth in the previous quarter. As the slump in the mining industry deteriorated even further, with activity dropping an annualised 25%, not surprisingly the rand took a beating. Manufacturing also fell – by 4.4% – whilst unemployment levels continued around the worrying 25% level.

Meanwhile, the incoming Egyptian president, Abdul Fattah al Sisi, takes over a depressing economy and a turbulent political climate. One of his main targets would be to reenergise the faltering tourism industry which has seen numbers drop by 35.4% to 9.5 million – and revenue by 53.6% to US$ 5.8 billion – over the past three years alone.

It seems that it is not only many of its customers who are critical of the banks but also Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF. She has reiterated that one of the major threats to the global economy is banks that are considered “too big to fail”. The banks appear reluctant to tighter supervision and stronger regulations and, with implied European government subsidies of US$ 175 billion, there is an urgent need for such institutions to be reined in. However, as the feisty French lady noted that the bonus-motivated industry still prizes short term profit over long-term prudence.

The former Manchester United boss managed to raise US$ 3.8 million when selling some of his wine collection at a Hong Kong auction with one bottle, a 1997 methuselah going for US$ 155k. Because of his fame and popularity – and the fact that some bottles carried his signature – sale prices were between 30% – 50% higher than expected. Sir Alex Ferguson goes well with Red Red Wine

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