Gulf Industry magazine helps you catch up with the numbers behind economic and industrial developments in the region.

April 2016

Abu Dhabi plans $128m projects

The Abu Dhabi government is set to pump in more than $128 million on major infrastructural projects including new internal roads, parks, multi-purpose courts, reservoirs and pumping stations in the UAE capital.

“The first project includes road works, and soil improvement, besides building all pavement layers, including the final layer, road markings, installing traffic signs, and building parking lots and entrances for land plots,” said Musabbah Mubarak Al Murar, acting general manager of Abu Dhabi municipality.

Developing infrastructure components and facilities in Abu Dhabi is a key priority and a strategic objective in the municipality’s agenda, he added.

The other key projects include the setting up of storm-water drainage networks and a street-lighting network besides the construction of seven electric transformer substations and conduits for communications, irrigation and power networks.


30pc of MEA fleets set for big purchases

The Middle East and Africa region has the second-highest new purchase rate for helicopters among global regions, with up to 30 per cent of respondent fleets slated for a near-term replacement or addition of a new helicopter, a report said.

More than 60 per cent of planned new helicopter purchases are intermediate and medium twin-engine models, added the 18th annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook from Honeywell, a diversified technology and manufacturing leader.

Globally, the report forecasts 4,300 to 4,800 civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2016 to 2020, roughly 400 helicopters lower than the 2015 five-year forecast.

“The current global economic situation is causing fleet managers to evaluate new helicopter purchases closely, and that’s why we’re seeing a more cautious five-year demand projection compared with previous years,” said Carey Smith, president, Defence and Space at Honeywell Aerospace.

The survey showed new purchase-plan rates were stable, but operators cited fewer total new model purchases over the five-year period, leading to a more cautious near-term outlook.

Helicopter fleet utilisation generally declined compared with last year. Over the next 12 months, usage rates are expected to improve but at a reduced rate.


Mideast carriers post strong freight growth 

MIDDLE Eastern carriers resumed their strong growth trend in air freight with freight tonne kilometres (FTK) expanding 8.8 per cent in January this year, compared to the same period last year.

The freight load factor (FLF) was broadly stable, declining just 0.3 percentage points to 39.2 per cent. The region’s airlines continue to enjoy strong growth, helped by large-scale network and fleet expansion, said an International Air Transport Association (Iata) report.

Global air freight markets in January showed a rise in FTK of 2.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

This continues the improving trend witnessed toward the end of 2015, and is the fastest pace since April of last year. The freight load factor fell 1.8 percentage points, however, indicating that yields are likely to come under further pressure.

Total FTKs in January surpassed the previous all-time peak reached in February 2015. Banks revenue growth back to single-digit 

THE banking industry in the GCC grew at a lower rate in 2015 than it did in 2014 with just a 7.2 per cent increase, stemming almost exclusively from major customer segments such as retail and corporate banking, a report said.

Based on the banks’ 2015 annual results released in the first quarter of 2016, the newest study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is part of BCG’s annual banking performance indices measuring the development of banking revenues (operating income) and profits for leading GCC banks.

The index covers the largest banks in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and in the UAE.

“The 2015 BCG index includes 45 banks from across the GCC, capturing about 80 per cent of the total regional banking sector,” said Dr Reinhold Leichtfuss, a senior partner & managing director at BCG’s Middle East office.

In 2015, Oman banks led the pack in terms of growth numbers with 9.6 per cent in revenues and 10.5 per cent in profits. In parallel, UAE banks’ revenues grew by 8.1 per cent and Kuwait banks recorded an 11.4 per cent profit growth. The spread of revenue and profit growth rates between the GCC countries was significantly smaller than that of last year, ranging from four to 11 per cent. 

In 2015, the development of loan-loss provisions (LLPs) varied significantly between the countries, resulting in total, in a small increase of 0.6 per cent. The two biggest countries, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, ended up with a small increase of two per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively. Whereas Bahrain banks grew LLPs by 39 per cent and Oman banks by 21 per cent. This is compensated across the GCC by a strong decline in Qatar and Kuwait.


UAE food sales on the rise

UAE fresh food sales are expected to increase from around 2.8 million tonnes in 2015 to around 3.6 million tonnes in 2019, marking a rise of 28.5 per cent, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Meanwhile the retail value of packaged food sales is forecast to rise from around $4.35 billion in 2015 to around $6.38 billion by 2019, the statement added.

KPMG, in its UAE Food and Beverage Survey, said that 66 per cent of respondents eat dinner out at least once during the week. Casual dining restaurants, quick service restaurants and food courts are the most popular F&B choices for UAE residents.

More than 1,600 F&B outlets could open by 2019, according to the report by KPMG. The firm estimates the F&B sector will grow an average of 4 per cent annually over the next 
three years.


Chemical M&A deals values up 30pc

GLOBAL chemical M&A deal values rose by 30 per cent last year to $110 billion, a fourth straight annual increase, laying the ground for an all-time record spike in 2016 according to the fifth edition of AT Kearney’s Chemicals Executive M&A Report. 

The report provides an outlook for Chemicals M&A and analyses the progress of chemical M&A activity over the last decade.  In the last 10 years  Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates have been prominent Chemicals M&A players in the region. Despite this, deal activity in the Middle East and Africa was small compared to global figures with an approximate total deal value of $1 billion. 

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