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Abu Dhabi fund, CVC, among suitors for $1b NMC

Abu Dhabi state-owned holding company ADQ and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners are among the suitors that have shown interest in NMC Health’s core hospital business, sources told Reuters.

Hospital operators in the region have reported higher profits for last year as the Covid-19 pandemic led to higher in-patient occupancy.

NMC has hired advisers for the sale of NMC’s healthcare business in the UAE and Oman, which sources said could generate around $1 billion.

ADQ is serious about the transaction, which would make sense for the nascent wealth fund, whose portfolio includes Abu Dhabi Health Services Co (Seha), two sources said. They declined to be named as the matter is not public.

Saudi Arabian healthcare operator Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group (HMG) has been invited to the process, said one of the two sources and a third source.

Hospital chain operator Mediclinic is also in the running, one of the sources said.

Oil up as Opec+ considers rollover

Oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by expectations that Opec+ producers might decide against increasing output when they meet this week, while signs of progress in the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the United States gave further support.

Brent oil was up $1.28, or two percent, to $63.98 a barrel by 1050GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $1.17, or two percent, to $60.92 a barrel.

“The fundamentals of the oil market suggest further strength as oil demand grows with the recovery and leisure and travel activity is likely to bounce,” said Norbert Racker, analyst at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

“We see oil prices pushing temporarily above $70 by mid-year,” he added.

Oil prices jumped after Reuters reported based on three sources that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, a group known as Opec+, are considering rolling over production cuts from March into April rather than raising output.

UAE phone bill payment delays to affect residents

Paying telephone and Internet bills on time has become even more important for UAE residents as delays can affect their credit score.

The two telecom operators in the UAE, Etisalat and du, will rely more on Al Etihad Credit Bureau’s (AECB’s) reports and scores to assess an individual’s or company’s ability to meet future payments.

The two telecom firms are the largest entities in the UAE to provide outstanding bills and payment history on a regular basis on individuals and companies in the UAE to the AECB.

With the addition of both Etisalat and du’s data, the AECB’s customer information database stands at 9 million individuals and 600,000 companies.

“With both Etisalat and du historic and current bill payment information submitted to the AECB, it is now critical for both individuals and companies to maintain timely payment schedules and avoid defaults … Essential telecommunications services payment patterns are going to show on credit reports and will undoubtedly impact one’s creditworthiness and ability to avail the attractive products and services offered within the industry,” said Marwan Ahmad Lutfi, CEO of AECB.

DLD and Dubai FDI join hands to attract FDI

Dubai Land Department (DLD) and Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of Dubai Economy, joined forces to lay down a general framework that would enhance the attractiveness of investment in Dubai by attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), expanding the scope of promotions and knowledge sharing as well as organising joint activities that will directly serve the strategic objectives of the emirate. To achieve these objectives, the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) defining the relevant areas of cooperation and laying out a roadmap.

In the presence of Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of DLD; Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy; and a number of officials from both parties, the MoU was remotely signed by Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI; and Majida Ali Rashid, CEO of the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management sector at DLD.

Etihad inks mou with hub71

Etihad Airways, the UAE national airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, to support the expansion of entrepreneurs innovating in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement makes Etihad the official airline partner of Hub71 which will offer more than 100 global startups within its tech community special rates and access to a dedicated booking platform to simplify their travel needs.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said, “Etihad is looking forward to collaborating with Hub71, a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme. Together, both entities will play a vital role in supporting the Emirate’s development by investing in business, innovation and people.” The MoU, he said, will support the government’s efforts in diversifying the economy by rewarding businesses who choose to develop innovative technologies in Abu Dhabi.

Through the partnership, Etihad will tap into Hub71’s dynamic, fast-growing community and global network of partners to engage with its startup founders and entrepreneurs to launch innovation-driven activities. The airline will also explore mentorship opportunities, workshops, and community events.

Brazilian firms close over $33 mn business deals at Gulfood

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) has announced that participants from the country closed business deals estimated at a total of $33.2 million at the recently concluded Gulfood 2021 in Dubai.

Various pavilions of Brazil showcased at the exhibition eye prospects of reaching $236.7 million in the following months, according to Apex-Brasil.

Nearly 50 Brazilian companies participated in Gulffood 2021, the largest beverage and food industry event in the Middle East.

The Brazilian participants present at Gulfood 2021 noticed a change in the smaller quantity and flow of people due to access and circulation restrictions as pandemic containment measures. But this did not impact negatively on the business aspect.

“The Brazilian companies left the event very satisfied. The fact that the big players decided not to go was an enormous opportunity to diversify markets in the region and to prospect buyers”, says the president of Apex-Brasil, Sergio Segovia.

Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan explore means to strengthen partnership

Khalifa Al Qubaisi, Deputy Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), received at the Fund’s headquarters Zhaslan Madiyev, Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reform of Kazakhstan.

The meeting was attended by Rashed Al Kaabi, Director of Investment Department at ADFD and senior Kazakh government officials. They explored ways to develop the strategic and mutually beneficial relations, especially through infrastructure and investment projects.

Al Qubaisi highlighted the relations between the Fund and the government of Kazakhstan that had withstood the test of time. He pointed out that the Fund had supported Kazakhstan in its effort to achieve its sustainable development goals through financing strategic projects.

He added that the visit of Madiyev complemented the strong relations between the two. “More importantly, it presented an opportunity for the concerned parties to reinforce and develop their relations and expand cooperation through promotion of joint investments. As we discussed ways to further expand our cooperation in terms of economic development, we also explored potential areas for investment that would benefit our countries as we move forward.”

Madiyev explained that the Fund’s efforts were a testimony to the UAE’s commitment to promote sustainable development goals all over the world, as he expressed Kazakhstan’s desire to develop the relations with the Fund in the interest of both the UAE and his country.

Dubai tourism intensifies efforts to promote city as safe destination

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has provided a positive outlook of the industry at a meeting held with key stakeholders and partners and highlighted the robust new safety measures deployed across sectors and new initiatives taken to further enhance the city’s position as a safe destination for global travellers.

Given the strong momentum created by a second-half rebound in 2020, the meeting also explored ways of building on the gains during 2021, a landmark year that will feature the UAE’s 50th-anniversary celebrations and the region’s first World Expo hosted by the UAE.

Presided by Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General, Dubai Tourism, the meeting was held as part of regular dialogue with key industry leaders, paving the way for Dubai Tourism to exchange insights with stakeholders and work with them in aligning on initiatives and strategies.

Almarri commented, “Under the guidance and visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, our commitment to safeguard the health and wellbeing of citizens, residents and visitors formed the cornerstone of our recovery strategy since the start of the pandemic.

“We are deeply appreciative of the latest precautionary measures established by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, allowing us to further intensify efforts in cooperation with our stakeholders and partners to ensure Dubai remains open and maintains its position as one of the world’s safest destinations.”

UAE to have its 1st ai driver evaluation hub

The UAE is all set to have its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) driver evaluation hub using the latest technology that will enable a data-based driver evaluation enhancing the existing procedures with a much deeper, biometric, insight into the drivers’ behaviour.

Similar in magnitude of analysis to the medical tests, the smart AI system aims at qualifying each driver KPIs on the basis of their detailed psycho-physical characteristics and ability to cope with critical road scenarios within less than 30 minutes.

Dubai-based company Location Solutions is officially entering into an exclusive partnership with Slovenian hi-tech companies AV Living Lab and Nervtech, to bring the first AI Driver Evaluation Hub to the UAE this year.

Improving the human factor in traffic will eventually enable happier and safe experience for the road participants and help improve the situation with the traffic congestion in Dubai. In doing this, Location Solutions strives to help achieve the goals of UAE Vision 2021, RTA Vision 2024 and bring closer the vision of zero-casualty and knowledge-based society in Dubai and the UAE.

DP World implements Zodiac at CT3

DP World, UAE Region, the leading smart trade enabler, has announced the completion of implementing ZODIAC, a terminal operating system (TOS), in Jebel Ali Port’s Container Terminal 3 (CT3). The move represents an additional step to fulfil DP World, UAE Region’s vision to lead smart transformation in its ports and logistics hub. The fully automated system includes advanced solutions for remote control of the port’s facilities.

With this achievement, CT3 will be able to integrate with any terminal that uses the same automation system. Thus, enhancing its ability to ensure smooth operations even during crises, providing businesses with complete support to access the global supply chain with high efficiency and capacity.

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