Pac Brands’ Bonds Moving to Middle East

 Bond's ads (taken for General Display Co.)

Bond’s ads (taken for General Display Co.)

The popular Australian underwear brand, Bonds, is making plans to enter the Middle Eastern marketplace. Pacific Brands, owner of Bonds, announced that it is hoping to open 20 stores around the Middle East all dedicated to the 100-year-old label.

The move is part of a greater push by Pacific Brands to expand the range of the groups clothing globally. The company has signed a licensing agreement to open stores in shopping centers, although the exact locations have not yet been released.
The first store should be open for business before the end of 2016.

The news of the expansion comes as Pac Brands returns to profitability after two years of not paying dividends to its shareholders. The company has been struggling for the past few years, and the positive announcements are indications that the company has made great headway towards success.

David Bortolussi, CEO, explained that the new, improved performance of Pac Brands came after the company sold off its non-core brands such as Hard Yakka and Volley shoes. This allowed the company to focus more efficiently on higher growth in the underwear and linen markets.

“Our change in strategy in the past 18 months to exit the underperforming businesses to focus on the higher quality part of our portfolio is delivering,” said Bortolussi.

Rolls Royce Engines to Power Boeing Dreamliners for Oman Air

Peter Hill CEO of Oman Air

Chief executive officer of Oman Air, Peter Hill announced that his airline has ordered Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines for the half dozen Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which were recently ordered from Boeing.

First Airline to Use Trent 1000

According to the announcement Oman Air is the first airline in the Middle East to choose this particular engine. Last month the RR Trent 1000 powered the first 787 Dreamliner which was commissioned into service.

CEO Peter Hill said,

“We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with Rolls-Royce through the selection of Trent technology, for next generation aircraft, that offers both efficiency and environmental advantages.

“In line with our expansion plan, which saw us receiving the first two Embraer E175 aircraft this year, we have now confirmed our order for the next phase of our fleet strategy. The 787 Dreamliner achieves new levels of fuel efficiency, a significant portion of that improvement provided by engine technology which also reduces emissions and noise.”

 Service in 2015

Today Trent 700 engines power Airbus A330 aircraft for Oman Air. These planes are supported by a TotalCare long term service agreement with Airbus. The six new Boeing 787 Dreamliners are scheduled to go into service in the year 2015.

Carillion Increasing Investment in Middle East

One of Britain’s leading investment firms,  Carillion, has decided to pull back from the lackluster construction market in the United Kingdom and refocus its efforts towards Middle Eastern markets, especially in Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Doubling Revenues

Carillion’s latest plan calls for a doubling of its Middle East revenues to £1 billion during the coming five years. It should not be too hard for Carillion to get a piece of the action as the United Arab Emirates begins to develop $1 trillion worth of infrastructure over the next twenty years and Qatar pumping $149 billion into its construction economy in preparation for the 2022 FIFA football World Cup. Carillion has already begun bidding for contracts to construct shopping centers, rail networks, hospitals and schools all throughout the region.

Carillion Building NYU Branch in Abu Dhabi

The British based investment firm already earns quite a sizable portion of its operating profits in Middle East ventures, and is poised to increase considerably in the near future, with about £11.8 billion worth of deals pending. Carillion is already the owner of the contract to build the Abu Dhabi campus of New York University, worth an estimated £650 million.

Middle East Development Heading Full Steam Ahead

Carillion owns 49% of Carillion Alawi in Oman where the Sultanate has discussed plans to invest $10 billion in development of schools and hospitals over the next five years.

This year Carillion expects their revenues from Middle East investments to total about £500 million. Operating margins are expected to decline during the next several years from over 9% to only 6% due to tough competition for contracts.

“We’ve always said it will take two to three years for growth to come through but we now have a strong bid pipeline and if we win our fair share we will deliver double digit growth,” said John McDonough, chief executive for Carillion.

Codeshare Deal Forged Between BMI and Oman Airlines

British Midland AirwaysCodeshare Deal Finalized

The second largest airline based in Heathrow Airport in  London, British Midland International, BMI Airways, has sealed a codeshare deal with Oman Air which is designed to allow passengers to reserve flights from the UK to the airport in Muscat.

The new arrangement will include flights originating in the British cities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Belfast and Manchester which stop in Heathrow and switch to one of Oman Air’s Airbus A330 planes at Terminal 3 and head out to the Gulf sultanate of Oman.

Extending Global Reach for BMI

Joerg Hennemann, BMI commercial officer praised the deal: “Our new codeshare with Oman Air further extends our global reach and will enable seamless and convenient travel connections for customers of both airlines between the Sultanate and key regional cities of the UK.”

Everyone Benefits

Peter Hill, chief executive officer of Oman Air also believes the codeshare deal will benefit both parties greatly, explaining that the codeshare partnership “will not only extend the range of options open to each airline’s customers, but will also encourage visitors to both Oman and the UK and promote tourism between the two countries.”

Other Middle Eastern countries serviced by BMI are Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jeddah, Riyadh, Damascus, Dammam, Tbilisi and Tehran.

Britain Stages Rescue Missions for Britons Stuck in Libya

British nationals who found themselves stranded in Libya as a result of the escalating crisis there were rescued last night in the second daring mission conducted last night by members of Britain’s Special Air Service and Special Boat Service. 150 people were taken to Malta aboard three RAF Hercules airplanes after meeting at remote locations in the Libyan desert.

There is a bit of confusion about how many of those rescued are actual Britons, but after a night in a Malta hotel those with British passports will be flown back to their homes in England.

This latest action brinks to five the number of rescue flights which the British government has ordered this past weekend. The British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said,

“Three RAF C-130 Hercules aircraft have successfully evacuated around a further 150 civilians from multiple locations in the eastern Libyan desert. The first and second aircraft have landed in Malta and the third is due to arrive shortly. The aircraft have picked up civilians from a number of nations including Britain.”

Zamil Joins With Severfield-Rowen to Build in Saudi Arabia and Middle East

The biggest manufacturer of structural steel in the United Kingdom, Severfield-Rowen, has teamed up with Zamil Steel Industries with the intention of providing improved design, fabrication and construction capability of structural steelwork. The focus of the partnership will be to make available to clients in Saudi Arabia and the more expansive Middle East, specialized steel structures.

Zamil Steel Industries is a sector business of the Zamil Industrial Investment Company which announced the strategic partnership last week. Together they hope to develop and build projects requiring intensive engineering content, such as airports, stadiums, train stations, museums, power plants, high-rise buildings and the like.

"This agreement is the result of ongoing collaboration between Zamil Steel and leading international companies to execute steel structures and buildings projects in the region. It is also a distinctive addition to Zamil Steel's capabilities in the design, manufacture and installation of mega-projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, GCC States and the Middle East," said Adnan Al-Mansour, President of Zamil Steel.

Oman and Great Britain Building Deeper Ties

Oman and U.K. Foster TiesOman (Muscat) – Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali al Balushi , Secretary General of the Finance Ministry received at the Finance Ministry ‘s HQs’ Lord Alderman Nicolas , Mayor of London who is currently visiting the Sultanate on top of a delegation comprising executives and representatives of a number of U.K banking and investment companies.

There was discussion in the meeting on the various ways of developing and enhancing the bilateral cooperation and the current relations between Oman and Great Britain, especially in the financial sector and joint investment fields.

Lord Nicolas Alderman highlighted to the guest the efforts and achievements made by the Sultanate’s government in the field of diversifying sources of national income and enhancing the role of national economy . He also highlighted the financial policies adopted by the Sultanate’s government to improve the financial performance and ensure that the financial sector has all the potentials that contribute to the development process in the Sultanate.

He also covered the development plans of the government and the ongoing efforts to prepare the state budget for 2011 and the 8th five year plan scheduled to kick off at the beginning of next year. He also covered the development programs adopted by the government to increase the contribution of the non-oil sector in the GDP and its endeavors to develop and construct a number of new ports and airports. He also covered the efforts underway to develop the oil & gas based industries.

Al Balushi pointed out that the inflow of foreign investments and investors to the Sultanate is good; thanks to the financial and economic stability of the Sultanate. He also reviewed the underway projects in Al Duqum area, as well as, the development plans to convert the area into an economic zone that will contribute to the growth of the national economy.

On the other hand, Yahya bin Said al Jabri, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) received in his office Lord Nicholas Alderman.

The meeting reviewed aspects of existing cooperation between the two countries, in addition to, touching on investment opportunities in Oman’s capital sector by acquainting them with the legislative and auditing infrastructure for the sector, as well as, reviewing the latest developments witnessed by the CMA at the local and international levels.

The visit’s program included lecture directed towards familiarizing the British delegation on the capital market sector. This lecture touched on legislative and auditing systems of the capital market sector, their stages of development and available investment opportunities. This is in addition to familiarizing them with facilities offered by Muscat Securities Market (MSM) for local and foreign investors.

The meeting was attended by Ahmed bin Saleh al Marhoon, MSM Director General, Abdullah bin Ahmed al Nabhani, General Manager of Muscat Clearance and Depositary Company, senior officials at CMA, MSM and Muscat Clearance and Depositary Company.