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GULF STATES – ECONOMICS & FINANCE
Emirates launches special fares on UAE’S national day

Emirates airline has launched special fares to mark the UAE’s National Day celebrations this year.

A number of UAE residents will fly out of the country next week due to the long weekend on the eve of National Day holidays. The Dubai carrier has asked passengers to leave early for the airport due to a heavy rush of passengers from November 28 until next week.

The Dubai-based carrier has launched discounted fares to a number of countries across Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Australia. Interestingly, promotional airfares include popular destinations for tourists such as Bali, Seychelles, London and others.

‘Landmark’ dh1b logistics facility opens in Dubai

Landmark Group, owned by Dubai-based billionaire Micky Jagtiani, on Wednesday opened a Dh1 billion fully-automated distribution and warehousing centre in Jebel Ali Free Zone, which is said to be the largest in the region, enhancing Dubai’s position as a hub for logistics and trade.

Renuka Jagtiani, chairwoman and CEO of Landmark Group, said that the group is committed to this market. “Through the years, we have seen Dubai emerge as a global and economic business hub, giving us the opportunity to innovate and invest in the most advanced technology and processes for our business. Today, innovation drives economic growth and development, greatly influencing the modern industry,” she said.

Despite a slowdown in the brick-and-mortar business, retail companies are investing in their logistics supply chain, as demand from online platforms continues to remain strong.

Landmark’s new facility, spread across 700,000sqft, will meet the needs of group’s 2,300 outlets across nearly four dozen brands in the region.

It was inaugurated by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority.

“Customers are looking for speed, transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. A new approach is necessary to meet their demands along the supply chain. By promoting technological advances that benefit the industry, the economy and the community in which we operate Landmark Group and DP World are united in our journey,” Bin Sulayem said.

The distribution centre will process 300 million units per year, inter-changeably handling pallets, cartons, pieces and garments-on-hanger.

“In a fast-paced retail world where the need for speed, flexibility and agility in the market is higher than ever before, our facility has been designed to meet the changing market needs, increase productivity and cater to the business of tomorrow,” said Mihin Shah, chief supply chain officer of Landmark Group.

Also present at the opening of the facility was Rahul Jagtiani, group director for digital at Landmark Group.

The distribution centre plans to meet 50 percent of its energy requirements through an 8.2 MWP rooftop solar system.

UAE insurers’ profits to stay good in short, medium term

UAE insurers will continue to demonstrate good profitability in the short to medium term as total gross premiums written by firms in the third quarter of 2019 grew 10 percent to Dh18.8 billion compared to Dh17.1 billion in the same period last year.

Of the 30 companies considered, 18 displayed an increase in premiums while 12 saw a decline, Badri Management Consultancy said in its quarterly report.

The written premium of the top five companies amounted to Dh10.6 billion, which makes up 57 percent of the market share for the third quarter. Adnic, Orient and OIC have maintained their positions in the top ranks.

Total net earned premiums written by listed insurance companies in the three-month period stood at Dh7.28 billion, a decrease of 0.8 percent from Dh7.34 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.

The earned premium of the top five companies was Dh4.1 billion, which makes up 56 percent of the market share.

Profit growths have declined over the period. In the third quarter of 2018, profit for the listed companies was at Dh1.42 billion; the current quarter resulted in profits of Dh1.37 billion, a 3 percent decline from the corresponding period of 2018.

Moody’s Investors Service said amendments to the UAE’s unified motor policy, allowing insurers to discount their motor insurance prices, contributed to the deterioration in insurers’ underwriting performance. Higher frequency of medical claims reported and medical price inflation was also a reason for the weakening of the underwriting results.

“Continued price discounting and slower economic growth will be a headwind for premium and profitability growth in the remainder of 2019 and 2020,” said Harshani Kotuwegedara, associate analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

“We anticipate that UAE insurers will continue to demonstrate good profitability in the short to medium term, despite some pricing pressure. The top 10 players will likely continue to report 7-9 percent premium growth in the short to medium-term, and combined ratios below 95 percent. The smaller players will face tougher competition, with pricing pressure adversely affecting both growth and profitability margins,” Kotuwegedara said.

 

Crowe UAE, Alnazaha association ink agreement

Crowe UAE is the first organisation to sign an MoU with the AlNazaha Association for joint cooperation and sharing experience in the field of integrity and anti-fraud concepts in the UAE.

To kickstart the initiative and to mark International Fraud Awareness Week, Saad Maniar, senior partner, and Nadeem Maniar, director for fraud and forensic cervices at Crowe UAE, visited Zayed University Dubai and Abu Dhabi Campus to conduct two outreach events reaching out to more than 120 students. The topics discussed were integritye Ethics and anti-fraud with bright students who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Maniar will be representing Crowe UAE in the executive committee of AlNazaha to support and promote the objectives.

Naeima Almenhali, chairperson of the AlNazaha Association, said: “One of our main objectives is to establish strategic partnerships for the purpose of collaboration and exchange of the experiences in integrity and anti-fraud concepts among the UAE community. I truly believe that Crowe UAE will support us to achieve our objectives”

Maniar said: “Collaboration with the professionals and working towards a common goal of fighting fraud together would help organisations to achieve their objectives. We at Crowe UAE truly believe in our value of sharing and giving back to the society. I am very happy to be part of the initiative of AlNazaha, it is a great opportunity to serve the UAE and to take this excellent initiative ahead.”

Spicejet’s RAK flights to start from end-December

Passenger carrier SpiceJet will commence flight operations to Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE from the end of December, but its wait to establish an airline there might happen only in 2020.

“We have applied to establish an airline there [Ras Al Khaimah]. Everything depends on regulatory approvals,” the airline’s chairman and managing director Ajay Singh told IANS. “Flights from India to Ras Al Khaimah will commence soon. We expect the first flight to start from the end of this year. There is a huge market potential there.” Flights to Ras Al Khaimah assumes significance due to the heavy labour traffic from India to the emirate and beyond.

At present, a bilateral air service agreement between Ras Al Khaimah and India,allows for four flights per week. Out of these, two are already operated by Air India Express. On the size of the new airline, Singh said that initailly SpiceJet will lease out four to five aircraft to the newly-formed passenger carrier.

The RAK-based airline plans to launch flights to Eastern Europe, other cities in the Middle East and Africa from Ras Al Khaimah, but its plans depend heavily on the timely return of the 737 MAX.

Lately, SpiceJet has implemented an aggressive international expansion plan. Nonetheless, the foray was halted due to the grounding of the 737 MAX. Now with the expected return of the aircraft from early next year, the airline seems to be shoring up its plans.

So sure is SpiceJet on the return of the MAX by early 2020 that the company will cap its total passenger fleet to 119 aircraft until early 2020. It expects to get 25 or more aircraft at its disposal just after the plane gets re-certified for operations. The airline has a firm order of more than 150 Max aircarft.

Besides organic expansion, the airline this week entered into a codeshare and interline agreement with Dubai-based Emirates airline, pending government approvals.

Dh10.8 Billion Abu Dhabi midfield terminal to open soon

The new Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal project has achieved more than 97 percent completion and is expected to open in the near future, according to authorities.

Brian Thompson, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), said the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) at Abu Dhabi International Airport, which will set the benchmark for all airports over the next 20 years, is under operational readiness and testing and that the date for the grand opening of the new terminal will be announced next year.

“We are in the final stages of completion of the Midfield Terminal, including operational readiness and testing. We are keen on giving our passengers the greatest experience ever and we want to ensure that we are 100 percent ready at the time of opening,” said Thomson without giving specific timeline for the opening of the new Dh10.8 billion airport terminal.

He made these comments at a media briefing on the new terminal on the sidelines of this week’s ACI Exchange 2019 conference being held at Adnec in Abu Dhabi where the global aviation industry is gathering to explore the future of airport innovation.

The new terminal project which spans a massive 742,000sqm floor area is expected to boost the aviation sector in the UAE. It will have a capacity to handle 45 million passengers annually.

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