Demand growth continues to show that Mercedes still
the leading luxury car in the Middle East with a range of exciting and
technologically advanced vehicles in each market segment that meet all
the needs of increasingly demanding customers,' said Nicholas Speeks,
President and CEO, DaimlerChrysler Middle East.
Emphasizing Mercedes-Benz leadership in the region,
June was another double-digit growth month with over 1,000 vehicles
sold, the sixth month in succession this year that sales have
"With the premium market continuing to expand,
the highly successful introduction of the second generation M-Class,
new engine variants and Sports Editions of the C-Class and E-Class
plus a new S-Class, the region's best selling luxury sedan with an
over 40 percent market share in its segment, due to arrive in
September, I am confident that we will increase our lead in the luxury
car segment in the second half of the year," said Speeks.
ALFARDAN Automobiles, the exclusive BMW, Mini and
Rolls-Royce importer in Qatar, has delivered a fleet of new BMW 7
Series cars to the Four Seasons Hotel Doha.
Hotel visitors can now experience luxury 24 hours a
day with the 2006 BMW 7 Series chauffeur-driven services.
The deal reflects Alfardanís ongoing commitment to
provide its Qatar customers with quality services and is part of its
strategic agreement to enhance its market share within the hospitality
industry, according to the company.
"We are delighted to partner with Four Seasons
Hotel Doha and to offer our customers a service known for its high
quality. Our partnership aims at providing customers and guests with
world class luxury services," said Ahmed Sorour, Senior Vice
President of Alfardan Automobiles.
"We are looking forward to further enhancing
our partnership with the Four Seasons Hotel in the future. The hotel,
like BMW, is known for its high standards and quality services."
Commenting on the agreement, Simon Casson, general
manager of the hotel, said: "We are excited to be able to offer
another great 'Four Seasons Experience' to our guests in Doha. We look
forward to a long term working relationship with Alfardan Automobiles
where we are able to build on each other's expertise to offer truly
exclusive products and services".
The decision to choose the new BMW 7 Series fleet
reflects BMW Group's worldwide reputation and market position in the
premium luxury car sector, as well as being the preferred VIP
vehicles, the company said. The BMW 7 Series features optimized
suspension technology, up-rated drive control system, and equipment
raised to a new, unprecedented level. The BMW 7 Series 2006 model is
the most successful in the history of BMW, it said. The new BMW 7
Series will be on hand to welcome the hotelís guests as they arrive
at Doha International Airport. They will also be used to transport
guests throughout Doha.
The BMW 7 Series Cars will be driven by trained
hotel drivers. When using the chauffeur drive service, guests will be
offered refreshments while onboard as well as have access to
information about the city and the hotel. BMW new 7 Series has a
proven record of high sales since it was launched last June, officials
said, adding that all shipments of the New 7 Series to date had been
sold. In addition, five coming shipments are all reserved.
DOHA STOCK MARKET
A regulatory body to manage Doha Securities Market
(DSM) is to be set up shortly; the draft law on the formation of the
proposed regulatory body has been cleared by the Advisory Council.
Once set up, the Qatar Securities Markets Authority
will be responsible for market surveillance, companies listing,
regulating listed firms and issuing license to brokerage firms.
The draft law also proposes a separate entity for
running the trading floor. To be known as Doha Securities Market
Company, it will be responsible for providing IT infrastructure and
administrative backup that are required for brokerage firms and
investors. As the market regulator, the Qatar Securities Market
Authority will be responsible for overall surveillance and ensuring
that listed firms complied with the bourseís regulations. The apex
body would also examine pre-listing processes and facilitate listing
The proposed authority would deal with issuing
licenses to brokerage firms.
On the other hand, the Doha Securities Market
Company would focus on setting up trading and the IT and
administrative backup required for listed firms, brokers and
The Qatar Securities Market Authority would be
headed by a chairman to be nominated by the Cabinet. Besides a
vice-chairman, the body would have a minimum five members and a
maximum seven. The Cabinet will also appoint them. Administrative head
of the apex body would be a chief executive who would not be on the
board of directors.
Doha Securities Market Company would have a capital
of QR20mn. All the current assets of Doha Securities Market would be
transferred to the Doha Securities Market Company.
IRAN MODERNIZES BAMIAN AIRPORT
Iran has provided the central Afghan city of 'Bamian'
with weather-related instruments, said Head of Afghanistan Province
The equipment valued at $60,000 was installed by
Iranian road and transportation ministry officials. The equipment and
accessories are useful in facilitating safe landing of airplanes at
Bamian. Earlier, the Bamian airport could not relay weather
information to pilots intending to land at the airport. Bamian has the
highest altitude among Afghan cities and it was the sight of giant
Buddha statues attracting the most number of tourists in the country.
Some 50 Iranian trade and service companies are
currently active in Afghanistan, involved in production of potable
water, medicine, polyethylene pipe, electrical switches, concrete,
computer and liquid gas cylinder filling device as well as wood
industry, construction of houses and restaurants and establishment of
dental clinics. Out of the total 35 countries currently investing in
Afghanistan, Iran stands fourth.
The two countries have been enjoying constant trade
exchanges for a long time, with the exception of a short period during
the Taliban rule.
Since the present government took office in
Afghanistan after two decades of detrimental conflicts, measures are
being taken towards political stability and development of national
economy. Trade volume of Iran-Afghanistan transactions has reached
$260 million a year.
Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance
Safdar Hosseini was quoted saying on the sidelines of ceremonies to
ink the document of the first Tehran-Kabul Economic Commission meeting
that the agreement will pave the way for further increase in trade
relations between the two countries. Hosseini said Iran had, following
the establishment of new government in Afghanistan, granted the
country $500 million, adding that a headquarters has been set up,
operating under the supervision of Iran's first vice president, to
expedite the implementation of development and reconstruction projects
by the Afghan government. Establishment of the Dogharun-Herat road and
Milak Bridge, the power, irrigation, agricultural and
telecommunications projects, as well as technical and vocational
training are among the projects implemented in cooperation with the
DUBAI'S NON-OIL TRADE GROWS 64 PC IN 2005
Dubai's non-oil global trade is set to grow 64
percent this year if the emirate's impressive first half performance
is taken as an indication.
The emirate's global non-oil trade, which recorded
a 41 percent surge in 2004 to Dh.215.72 billion, from Dh.153.064
billion in 2003, received a major boost in the first half with export,
re-exports and imports showing major increase in the backdrop a
According to official statistics released by Dubai
Customs, which handles some 80 percent share of the total
international non-oil trade of the UAE, is geared to register such
growth rate if the buoyancy in trade continues at the same level for
the rest of the year.
This indicates rapid growth achieved in Dubai in a
relatively short period of time, and the future targets the emirate
can achieve in international trade. Over the past four years, Dubai
has been recording an average 25 percent growth in global non-oil
Dubai's total non-oil trade, also including the
turnover of the free zones, reached Dh.351.404 billion in 2004,
compared to Dh 252.072 billion in 2003, an increase of 39.4 percent.
Ports, Customs and Free Zones Corporation is also expecting for itself
a remarkable revenue growth due to its consistency in responding to
changes in the economy, and the fact that it has developed the ports
to comply with the requirement of the period.
Different factors contributing to this expected
growth include the booming real estate market across the AGCC region
in general and the UAE in particular. The rally on stock markets and
the increase in the number of international companies that are making
Dubai their regional headquarters also have a strong impact. The
number of registered companies in Jafza (Jebel Ali Free Zone
Authority) has jumped to 5,000 in the first half of this year.
The year 2004 was marked by a noticeable activity
in the re-exports field, which contributed to 26.4 percent to the
emirate's total (excepting free zones), a fact that strengthened
Dubai's position as a trade hub in the region. These numbers have
risen 51.1 percent compared to 2003 to reach Dh57.037 billion during
the last year compared to Dh.37.748 billion the year before, while
exports, which were 4.5 percent, saw a remarkable growth of 45.5
percent to reach 9.643 billion in 2004 compared to Dh6.5 billion in
On the other hand, imports which consisted 69.1
percent, increased by 37.1 percent to reach Dh.179.046 billion during
the last year compared to Dh.108.723 billion the year before that.
This is due, mainly, to the leap within the construction sector and
the increased needs for building materials in order to comply with the
requirements of the gigantic projects and developments in Dubai,
combined with the increased budget the government designated to the
infrastructure development in accordance with the dramatic increase in
oil prices that exceeded the expected limits for 2004.
Other factors included the population growth,
steady increase in the number of the companies setting up in the
emirate and growth within other sectors including tourism, fairs,
exhibitions, festivals, among others.
In the same way, the area of Dubai's commercial
cooperation has spread in 2004 to include new regions and countries in
the five continents. The number of states having trade agreements with
the emirate has risen to 210, taking in to consideration the programs
adopted by the UAE government to liberate the economy and setting new
free zones, in and offshore, which had remarkable positive effects on
the emirate's reputation internationally.
"Russia is interested in developing economic
relations with Iran. We are very interested in cooperation in oil and
gas production, railroad building, the launch of the Zohreh satellite,
the construction of pipelines and also in the foodstuffs and light
goods industries," said Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the
Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power and co-chairman of the
Russian-Iranian intergovernmental cooperation commission.
"Recently held election of the new Iranian president would not
affect bilateral cooperation. An intergovernmental agreement regulates
our cooperation with Iran and the change of leadership will not affect
Russian-Iranian cooperation," Rumyantsev said. He also said that
countries lacking a developed nuclear power sector will not gain
anything by developing a nuclear fuel cycle themselves.
The issue of oil exploration in the Caspian Sea,
once getting lots of news coverage, was marginalized for a long time,
subsequent to gas discovery in the oil wells of Meisam and Meqdad in
Iranís coast in 1990 and 1991.
In addition, the legal regime of the Caspian Sea
and Iranís border line are yet to be determined, 1921 and 1940
historical ëagreementsí are still presented as the documents in this
regard. Presently, Iran does not approve the border line determined
for it, because the division does not include in the main share of oil
resources held by the country.
However, despite problems, the agreement on oil
exploration in the Caspian Sea was made, pursuing the purpose of oil
production by Iran in the next couple of years.
SEISMOGRAPHY IN CASPIAN SEA
Due to a new contract made between Oil Exploration
Company and Khazar Oil Company, Pejvak ship will perform three
dimensional seismographic operations in the Caspian Sea. The two
dimensional seismographic measurements have already been taken by a
consortium comprising Shell Co. and Bowlazma.
GAS EXPORT TO ARMENIA
Iran and Armenia have signed a contract according
to which the former would export gas to Armenia, and in return, it
would import electricity. Based on an agreement made between National
Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) and Tavanir Co., the imported electricity
would be connected to the national grid.
The NIGC has the task of implementing the
construction operations and commissioning of gas pipelines for export
purposes, starting from Tabriz's pressure station to Norduz village
located in Iran-Armenia border. In Armenia, Sanir Co., affiliated to
Iran's Energy Ministry, is in charge of the pipeline construction to
Karajan and commissioning it.
In Iran, the construction of this gas export
pipeline is delivered to the domestic contractor on the EPC
(engineering, procurement and construction) basis, and in Armenia, the
pipeline construction has been launched since February 2005. The
Iranian contractor is presently equipping the workshop; the required
pipes have been purchased, and the construction operations have been
launched in four zones. The main contract has been signed by the NIGC
and Armenia, and a trilateral operational agreement for commissioning
the pipeline is about to be finalized among the NIGC, National Iranian
Gas Export Company and Armenia Republic. According to the agreement,
the construction operation of the pipeline in Iran would be completed
by January 2007, and then the commissioning would follow.
The part of the pipeline passing via Iran is 113 km
long and 30 inches in diameter. It may be mentioned that 60 percent of
the pipeline construction operation is carried out in the mountainous
and hard-to-pass regions.
The pipeline passing via Armenia is 42 km long with
a diameter of 28 inches. It transfers gas from the border point with
Iran to Karajan. The received gas in Karajan is injected to internal
gas distribution network in Armenia.
The two countries have agreed on the figure of 200
million cu. m as the volume of the gas export per annum, equal to
300,000 to 400,000 cu. m per day.
GAS SUPPLY TO NAKHICHEVAN
The supply of gas to Nakhichevan would be carried
out on the swap basis with Azerbaijan Republic. The NIGC takes the gas
from Azerbaijan in the border point of Astara and delivers it to
Nakhichevan on Jolfa border. The construction operation of this
project is being implemented and would be completed by October 2006.
The 32-inch gas pipeline between Neka and Sari
would soon be completed by Iran Oil Engineering and Construction
Company (IOEC), affiliated to National Iranian Oil Products and
Distribution Company (N.I.O.P.D.C). By implementing this project, the
capacity of transferring crude oil to Tehran would increase to 370,000
barrels per day (bpd). The amount of the crude oil swap was put at
65,000 bpd on average in the last month with the renewal of the swap
contracts by Nikoo Co.
Capacity of transfer pipeline of
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan at 50 million tons per annum (one million bpd),
explaining that this pipeline is 1,800 km long and is like a reservoir
with the capacity of 10 million barrels. In other words, the pipeline
itself is the first consumer and its operation has had no impact on
the amount of the oil swap via Iran.
NEGOTIATIONS WITH TOTAL
Negotiations have been made with the French Total
Co. on transferring gas within two stages. The first stage transfers
crude oil to a maritime terminal in Kazakhstan via a pipeline, and
then, it is carried to Neka by using the 63,000-ton ships. The second
stage includes in the continuation of the pipeline to the Persian
Gulf, he said. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed
with Total Co. on this pipeline named KTI
CASPIAN SEA EXPLORATION CONTRACT
A contract on oil exploration in the Caspian Sea
has been signed, and presently the required equipment for drilling two
wells has been purchased. For drilling the wells, North Drilling
Company would enjoy cooperation of a foreign partner possessing enough
experience in this field, since drilling wells in the deep waters is
the first experience in the country.
With regard to cooperation with the foreign
companies in the Caspian Sea project, an international company has
made a proposal and an MOU would be signed upon the agreement by the
A proposal has also been made on the presence of a
third company in the oilfields disagreed by Iran, Turkmenistan, and
Azerbaijan. However, the exploration operation would be carried out in
these fields, if an agreement is reached.
Alborz platform is made in order to launch drilling
operations for the exploration wells in the Caspian Sea as well as
determination of the legal regime of Caspian. It is the only
alternative for developing the oilfields in this sea. Khazar Oil
Company is presently carrying out the construction of the platform and
drilling wells. In addition, the Foreign Ministry and the Supreme
National Security Council have emphasized to assist the Oil Ministry
on determination of the legal regime of the Caspian Sea.
The time of oil production in the Caspian Sea
depends on the results of drilling two exploration wells. If the
results are successful, the project developing the seaís oilfields
would be launched through drilling the development wells.
PERSIAN GULF SECURITY
Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani has said that Iran-Saudi Arabia ties are essential for
maintaining security in the sensitive Persian Gulf region.
In a meeting with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to
Tehran al-Morshed al-Berek, Rafsanjani assessed ties between Tehran
and Riyadh as satisfactory, saying that the expansion of ties is to
the benefit of the region and the world of Islam.
Referring to Iran and Saudi Arabia as two major
poles of the Islamic world, he noted that terrorist operations in some
countries have exposed Islam and Muslims to threats, accusations and
Cooperation among Islamic countries is needed to
help prevent the deterioration of the situation, Rafsanjani
underlined. No appropriate approach has been taken in the campaign
against terrorism, adding important countries should step up extensive
and intensified efforts in a bid to uproot this phenomenon.
On the current situation in Iraq, Rafsanjani said
that neighboring countries, particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia can
help the Iraqi nation and government make political, economic and
Saudi officials are willing to expand ties with
Iran and believe positive relations between the two countries will
benefit the Muslim world, the ambassador noted.
SAUDI MILLIONAIRES WARNED
Saudis have started realizing that for a safe
investment they should prefer domestic market following a bad
experience after the event of Sept 9/11 some of them losing heavily
through overseas investments.
According to reports, Turki Faisal Al-Rasheed,
chairman, Golden Grass Inc. engaged in wheat, barley, peanuts and
production of other crops, had incurred a 38 percent loss on his
investment following the advice of a consultant working for a
During the same period, the returns on his
investment in Saudi mutual funds averaged 50 percent in the post 9/11
Al-Rasheed said he found it necessary to warn Saudi
investors against falling into what he described as "the trap
laid by international investment firms" which are targeting
78,000 Saudi millionaires with lucrative offers.
One of the factors on which overseas financial
institutions have capitalized is the Saudi tendency to keep things
under wraps when they incur a loss. He said they regard the loss of
money as the loss of face, he remarked. This suits to banking
institutions as they can go about making glib promises to the target
audience without facing awkward questions.
Recalling his own experiences, he said when he was
first approached by the representative of the London-based bank; he
had been promised attractive returns on his investment. He was also
told that the money would be invested in a low-risk fund. However, it
turned out to be a moderate-risk fund. "After a great deal of
time and effort, I was able to escape from their clutches after losing
38 percent on the invested amount," he added.
When he took up the matter with the multinational
firm, he received their response which read in part: "Your
account has always operated on an advisory basis. This means any
decisions regarding investments or any other aspect of your account
are entirely your responsibility. As such, monitoring of your account
is limited as we rely on your specific instructions before we can take
The Golden Grass chairman said his account with the
London-based international bank was classified as moderate. However,
it did not have any minor growth of the principal; instead, it ended
up after four years with losses of 38 percent of the principal fund.
Al-Rasheed said it is difficult to understand why
one should pay for the advisory services rendered by financial
consultants if the account holders are eventually held accountable for
the loss they incur. By contrast, the bank claims the credit if the
mutual fund is performing well. The financial market was doing well in
the Gulf States, though returns were not too high yet it is safe to
invest in the domestic market.