BUSINESS ALWATAN DAILY 13 IN REGION MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 Abu Dhabi rents decline 6-7% in Q4 2010, says report Al Maabar also include residential apartments and high- to 30 new hotels, split between our brands,” which are in Abu Dhabi, he said after a signing “We are gaining share in the region even to push ahead with end shops. Roeland Vos, president, Europe, Africa & Mid- ceremony. Starwood, which owns such brands though occupancies went down. Occupancies “There is tremendous demand for hotels in dle East told reporters. as Sheraton, St. Regis and W hotels, is bullish are flowing back, we are seeing opportunities MENA projects Jordan from wealthy residents, expats and tour- In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone, about prospects for the region’s hospitality sec- with some markets coming strongly,” he said. ists and banks are willing to finance,” Yousef nine properties are under development, four of tor despite the industry downturn since 2008. -Reuters Al-Nowais told reporters in Abu Dhabi. Al Maabar owned jointly by Abu Dhabi’s ABU DHABI: New supply in Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and leading pushed rents and leases down as much as seven property developers, including Aldar Proper- percent in the fourth-quarter (Q4) of last year ties, will build 350 to 400 townhouses and re- with further easing expected in 2011, the latest lated facilities costing $250 million in Aqaba, report from a property management firm said Jordan as part of a larger development called on Sunday. Marsa Zayed. Price-driven demand, reduced company “The bigger development depends on when housing allowances and landlords being flex- the land will be given to us by the Jordanian ible with rates contributed to the decline, the authorities. It is linked to the port,” he said. report from Asteco said. The first phase of the Bab Al-Bahr mixed- easing rates for apartments in Abu Dhabi’s use project in Rabat, Morocco comprising 220 outskirts fell by an average of seven percent, units is sold out with the second phase to start while within the city it dropped by six percent soon, he said. during the period. Rents for villas declined by In Tripoli, Libya the $300 million Al-Waha five percent, the report said. development will start in first quarter 2011. “Many new opportunities will arise in In Iraq, negotiations are underway for a com- 2011. Buyers and tenants will have a wide munity project with an agreement to be signed range of choices shortly,” Elaine Jones, chief within a month or two, he said. A parachuter is executive of Asteco, said in the report. Al Maabar has about $1 billion worth of pictured in front The long-awaited first phases at Reem Is- projects under development currently, said of UAE’s sky- land and new supply at Al Raha Beach are ex- Chief Executive Abdallah Hageali. Al Maabar’s scrapers during pected to come to the market soon, adding fur- shareholders include Mubadala, Aldar Prop- the Gulf emirate’s ther downward pressure on resale and rental erties, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra, Reem 2nd International rates in Abu Dhabi, she said. Investments and Reem International, all Abu Parachuting Office rents continued their downward Dhabi-based companies. Championship trend from the last quarter, losing seven per- on Jan. 7, 2011. cent across the sector, the report said. 20 new hotels in Middle East by 2016 New supply In other news, Abu Dhabi’s Al Maabar will In related news, Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Abu Dhabi invest 300 million US dollars in a luxury ho- Worldwide Inc. plans to open at least 20 new pushed rents and tel in Jordan and move ahead with its planned hotels in the Middle East in the next five years, leases down as projects in the Middle East and North Africa with four in Abu Dhabi, its regional president much as seven (MENA), its managing director said on Sun- said on Sunday. percent in Q4 day. Currently, the hospitality major owns or of last year with The 270-room hotel in Amman to be manages about 50 hotels in the Middle East further eas- branded St. Regis from the Starwood stable through its nine brands. ing expected in will be ready in first quarter of 2014 and will “Between now and 2016 there will be 20 2011. (AFP) Standard Chartered sees Mixed outlook for Mideast private equity deals up Islamic finance industry: Ernst & Young DUBAI: British-based international vesting in equity or senior debt. There are DUBAI: Islamic financial institutions are at their operating costs are, in many cases, higher than compliant products offered by Islamic financial in- bank Standard Chartered’s private equity a lot of companies in this region that can’t cross roads entering 2011, noted Ernst & Young in their conventional peers. Future opportunities may stitutions. arm expects to complete two transactions take any more senior debt and perhaps a press release on Sunday. The industry is expected no longer come from traditional captive clientele. in the Middle East in 2011 and does not they don’t want to offer equity for per- to continue to show resilience in the face of a chal- Instead, Islamic financial institutions urgently need New direction for the industry rule out another 100 million US dollars sonal reasons,” Labib said. lenging economic scenario. This is despite the fact to upgrade their business models to tap mainstream Ernst & Young’s World Takaful Report highlight- investment during the year, a top execu- that growth levels of the Islamic finance industry, at segments. Ashar Nazim added, “Decision makers at ed the fluid nature of the takaful industry, as well tive said on Sunday. Better year ahead more than 20 percent per annum for the past sever- Islamic financial institutions need research and tools as tremendous growth potential. The industry is ex- Taimoor Labib, the bank’s private eq- The executive said he expected the al years, came under tremendous pressure in 2010. to assist in making informed decisions on the future pected to grow three-fold from an estimated nine uity head for the Middle East and North pace of private equity investment activity Ashar Nazim, Executive Director and Middle growth trajectory of their businesses. Implications billion US dollars in 2009 to $25 billion by 2015. Africa (MENA), said the deals could be in the region to slowly pick up after suf- East and North Africa (MENA) Head of Islamic of Shari’a rulings on governance, product structures “The biggest challenge for the takaful operators is in sectors such as retail, manufacturing fering in the last few years as sellers begin Financial Services Group at Ernst & Young says, and markets need to be appropriately incorporated to bring out the differentiation, its unique Islamic and healthcare as the emerging markets- to lower their expectations and the over- “Having achieved the critical volume estimated at at the planning phase itself.” proposition, for its stakeholders. This was the key focused lender tries to capitalize on its all investment climate improves. one trillion US dollars in Islamic assets, the question Ernst & Young was voted the Best Islamic Advi- message for the industry during 2010,” said Ashar. banking relations in the region. Middle East private equity investment reverberating across board rooms, and among users sory Firm and also won the award for Best Islamic Ernst & Young’s Islamic Funds and Investment “We would like to complete another plunged by 80 percent to $561 million in of Islamic financial services, is about differentiation, Research at the 2010 Islamic Business and Finance Report 2010 confirmed that more than half the two deals this year but they have to be 2009, Gulf Venture Capital Association or the lack thereof, that Islamic financial institutions Awards organized by CPI Financial. Ernst & Young’s Islamic fund managers may be operating with less the right deals. There is no reason why (GVCA) data showed, and deal activity have on offer. Effectiveness of the existing Shari’a Islamic Financial Services team was acknowledged than the minimum assets under management need- we can’t do another $100 million type of was thin in 2010 too, with investors back- governance framework, as well as synthetic prod- for its original thought leadership to help steer the ed to remain viable. The opportunity is for global deal,” Labib said. ing out from capital calls, sellers demand- uct structures commonly in use are especially under industry through the difficult business environ- fund managers as well as for consolidation within The British bank recently completed ing higher prices than buyers were willing discussion.” ment. Ernst & Young also recently joined hands the industry. Islamic endowment, or Waqf, with an a $75 million mezzanine investment in to pay and increasing competition from with Accounting and Auditing Organization for Is- estimated $105 billion wealth pool, was highlighted Bahrain-based Jawad Group, its first pri- family groups hampering growth. No longer business as usual lamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the leading as a key emerging sector that could potentially stim- vate equity transaction and the largest of “I think the market is improving. Most Scarcity of data and under-investment in ana- standard-setting body for Islamic finance industry, ulate strong liability generation for Islamic banks, its kind in the region, according to Labib. of us in the business feel more optimistic lytical tools means that Islamic banks’ focus re- to provide product and contract certification that as well as help revive the Islamic fund management Mezzanine debt funding is among the now than perhaps last year,” Labib said. mains limited to a handful of asset classes while would strengthen universal acceptability of Shari’a industry. lowest-ranking and riskiest forms of debt “There are quite a few firms who have and therefore can offer higher returns and been sitting on deals and are trying to fin- become an attractive alternative in buoy- ant markets. Labib told Reuters in an interview ish them up and we expect more deals to be announced by other groups.” The private equity industry in the SEI Sharia investment that he saw ample opportunities in the region for mezzanine deals, which act as an effective balance between senior debt Middle East has both international heavy- weights such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company and Carlyle Group along solution launches on Allfunds platform and equity. with local players like Abraaj Capital and KUWAIT: SEI Investements, a leading global Committee. These funds include the SEI Islamic “Historically, people have been in- Citadel Capital. -Reuters provider of outsourced asset management, invest- US Equity, SEI Islamic Pacific Basin Equity, SEI ment processing, and investment operations solu- Islamic European Equity, and SEI Islamic Emerg- tions, announced in a press release on Sunday a ing Markets Equity Funds. partnership with Allfunds Bank to offer a greater The Funds use SEI’s Manager-of-Managers choice of investment solutions for Sharia inves- process to select, combine, and monitor some of Saudi Arabia needs to boost its tors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The agreement brings together SEI’s Sharia the world’s leading investment managers. The SEI Islamic Investment Funds are domiciled in Dublin asset management capabilities and Allfunds’ plat- and offer daily liquidity. food reserves, says officials form and intermediary services to give banks, wealth managers, and insurance providers the op- Commenting, Jahangir Aka, Senior Executive Officer, SEI Middle East, said, “We are pleased to portunity to access world-class Sharia-compliant offer the SEI Islamic Investment Funds through RIYADH: Saudi Arabia needs to build up its strategic food reserves as a funds and deliver more efficient and diversified the Allfunds platform to enable wealth manage- buffer against rising global prices for basic commodities, executives and cham- investment choices to their clients. ment providers to present a broader range of ber of commerce officials said on Sunday. Launched in May 2007, the SEI Islamic In- investment choices to their Sharia clients. Diver- Like other Gulf Arab states the kingdom and top oil exporter of the Or- vestment Funds provide investors with a Sharia- sification remains important for the Sharia inves- ganization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had suffered when in- compliant program of four global equity funds tor and the SEI Islamic Investment Funds are ternational food prices spiked in 2008, forcing up its import bill. It has since with oversight from Hong Kong and Shanghai designed to provide global equity exposure to a Jahangir Aka, Senior Executive Officer, SEI In- sought to lease and buy farmland in developing nations to improve its security Banking Corporation (HSBC) Amanah’s Sharia Sharia portfolio.” vestments Middle East of food supplies. The United Nations’ food agency, Food and Agriculture Or- ganization (FAO) said earlier this month that food prices hit a record high last month, above 2008 levels when riots broke out in countries as far afield as Egypt, Cameroon and Haiti. Samsung begins marketing activities at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 As a means to address these sharp increases the biggest Arab economy should boost reserves for nine basic commodity foods, such as wheat, soya, KUWAIT: Samsung Electronics., Ltd, a global in 12 matches. In addition to these efforts on the perience, along with exciting hands-on demos and sugar, barley, oils and rice, said Saad Al-Kharif, head of the Food Security Com- leader in the consumer electronics industry, an- ground and via mobile, Samsung is also running an digital applications customized for the AFC Asian mittee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Strategic storages nounced in a press release on Sunday that it reit- online promotion, ‘Be Proud, Support Your Coun- Cup 2011. Other activities include an interactive are needed to secure food supplies and fight price fluctuations,” he told report- erates its support for Asian football fans through try’, on its Samsung Mobile Middle East and North football quiz, photo opportunities and an applica- ers, adding that a drought in Latin America was fuelling food prices. its continued partnership with the Asian Football Africa (MENA) facebook community (www.face- tion to measure how loud fans can cheer for their Argentina and Brazil are among some nine countries from which the king- Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2011. book.com/samsungmobilemena). favorite teams. dom imports grains, he said. As the AFC Asian Cup 2011 Official Sponsor “This is our second time as official sponsor for The government has commissioned a study into setting up such reserves for the Mobile and Semiconductor category, Sam- the AFC Asian Cup, and Samsung is proud of its ‘Samsung Scouter’ and the chamber wants it to now go ahead and also include the private sec- sung will offer AFC Asian Cup crowds exciting on- continued association with this prestigious event, a newly launched mobile application tor. site, as well as off-site, activities through its mobile which demonstrates our passion for the game of Samsung Scouter is an Android-Bada applica- “We are encouraging the government. We are trying to encourage them,” and online technologies to enhance their experi- football. We hope our latest mobile technology tion which has been specially created for the AFC Al-Kharif said. ence and fun at the tournament. and mix of on-site activities will bring a new level Asian Cup 2011 to provide real-time commentary Such storages could build up reserves for at least six months or longer, Activities include the Samsung Galaxy Fan of excitement and experience to football fans and on matches, tournament highlights and in-depth said Khalid Al-Rwis, head of the department of agricultural economics at King Café featuring interactive and hands-on demos of connect people across Asia,” said Gyehyun Kwon, player performance analysis and comparison such Saud University in Riyadh. Samsung’s latest mobile technology, and a newly Vice President (VP) and Head of Worldwide Sports as pass accuracy, ball possession and sprint speed. Saudi Arabia would need by 2015 some three million tons of wheat and launched mobile application called Samsung Marketing, Samsung Electronics. With Samsung Scouter fans can access information 1.2 million tons of rice, he said, citing a recent study of his college. Scouter, which will bring AFC Asian Cup action that even sportscasters don’t provide, bringing the In an effort to save water resources, the desert kingdom abandoned a 30- closer to football fans Samsung galaxy fan café stadium experience to life. Exclusively available year wheat cultivation plan and has reduced the amount of wheat it purchased The presentation of the Samsung ‘Man of the Samsung will fuel football fever by bringing on the Samsung GALAXY Tab, Galaxy S, Wave I from local farmers by 12.5 percent a year since 2008. Match’, rewarding the most outstanding player football enthusiasts together at its Galaxy Fan and Wave II smartphones the mobile application In 2009 Saudi Arabia also set up a company with a capital of three billion of the game, is one of the key promotions taking Café located within the AFC Fan Zone area. The can be downloaded from the Samsung Apps Store Saudi riyals to invest in farmland abroad. -Reuters place within the stadium, and Samsung will also Galaxy Fan Café will offer visitors a fun and re- (www.samsungapps.com) for the duration of the provide support for the Player Escorts program laxed atmosphere to enjoy the AFC Asian Cup ex- tournament.