Monday, December 11, 2017

GULF NOTES, the week ending 5 September 2009

September 8 2009

The first classes started at Saudi Arabia’s much anticipated King Abdullah University for Science & Technology, a university as much as a new city north of Jeddah. The UAE’s education ministry ordered all public and private schools to raise the UAE flag and play the national anthem during morning assemblies.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp approached Prince Alwaleed’s media Rotana empire with a 20% purchase offer. The Saudi company hosts Fox Channels in Saudi Arabia.

JP Morgan bestowed an “overweight” rating on Abu Dhabi-based developer Aldar because of “the company’s strong government support.” Abu Dhabi government-backed investor Aabar Investments recorded a $594 million loss in the year’s second quarter, after recent purchases into Daimler and Virgin Galactic.

Despite the global crisis, MasterCard reported consumer spending has not declined in the UAE, where it is “way more positive than the rest of the world.” Dubai overtook Las Vegas in having the largest average hotel size. Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park with the world’s fastest roller coaster, was reported to be on track for a 2010 opening. Pre-qualification began for contractors with more than $1 billion in annual sales to bid on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project.

British engineering consultant Halcrow reported its 57% drop in profits this year was a result of unpaid work in Dubai.

An Abu Dhabi developer said it was close to breaking ground on “Times Square,” a $1.4 billion development outside Lahore, Pakistan. Developer Qatari Diar boasted it had investments in 35 countries worth more than $60 billion. The UAE’s largest contractor, Arabtec, was hopeful its contract to build Gazprom’s St. Petersburg headquarters would be realized. Dubai-based construction firm Al Habtoor won a $244 million contract to build water stations in Qatar.

Construction workers working for Al Habtoor went on a one-day strike at Jebeli Ali port and across town in Deira, demanding better wages. Al Habtoor responded that higher wages required higher productivity. The UAE announced implementation of the Wage Protection System, as a means to ensure laborers are timely paid.

Dubai realtors found “marginal” increases in property prices near the soon-to-open metro stations. Despite the emirate’s receiving a “sudden exodus of engineers, technicians and other expatriate workers from Dubai.” Abu Dhabi’s rental rates have stopped rapidly increasing. Most investors in the $5.4 million Awali City project in Ajman have not made payments in eight months; the developer’s marketing manager: “We are in talks with everyone to find out their plans.”

Dubai transit chief said the metro’s price was 75% higher than original estimates, because of added stations and rail length. After the 09-09-09 launch, nineteen metro stations will open incrementally through February, 2010. The Supreme Haj Committee announced the $1.7 billion monorail project overseen by the China Railway Company and linking Meccah to the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa will be ready by next year’s haj.

Water resource experts predicted that the Gulf, as a result of the increasing number of desalination plants, could become too salty to sustain further desalination.

Gulf News September 2, 2009 / The National September 3, 2009 / The National September 2, 2009 / The National September 2, 2009 / Business 24/7 September 2, 2009 / The National September 5, 2009 / The National September 2, 2009 / The National September 5, 2009 / Financial Times, September 1, 2009 / Khaleej Times, September 3, 2009 / The Peninsula September 2, 2009 / The National September 3, 2009 / Arabian Business September 2, 2009 / The National August 31, 2009; Arabian Business September 2, 2009 / Gulf News August 31, 2009 / Business 24/7 September 2, 2009 / Business 24/7 September 1, 2009 / Arabian Business August 31, 2009 / The National August 31, 2009 / The National August 31, 2009 / Arabian Business September 1, 2009 / The National August 31, 2009.

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