Four Middle East banks have joined together as a syndicate to offer a $150 million loan to India-based Jet Airways. The four banks in the consortium include: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, Commercial Bank International PJSC, Ahli United Bank B.S.C and Arab Banking Corporation B.S.C.
Jet Airways CEO Cramer Bell explained:
“It is time to re-energize and re-establish ourselves as the country’s leading full-service airline. We will continue to build on this strong foundation as part of our three-year turnaround plan. This syndicated loan facility will be instrumental in underpinning the airline on this progressive path.”
Prior to the $150 million loan agreement the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways PJSC and Jet Air joined forces when Etihad invested in Jet Airways with a 24 percent equity stake and 50.1 percent share in Jet Privilege Limited.
“The partnership between the two airlines will be mutually beneficial across multiple areas including network growth, operational synergies, revenue enhancement and cost optimization,” the company said.
Jewelry from Malabar Gold
One of the fastest growing outlets for jewelry in the Middle East, Malabar Gold, announced that it will soon be investing about $700 million to expand its operations so that it will be able to increase its annual sales to three times what they are today.
MP Ahamed, the chairman of the India-based Malabar Group, said on Sunday that this move will make the company the largest jewelry chain in the world, and the number one jewelry brand.
The ambitious plan includes eventually having 220 stores globally, up from 64 today. The hope, according to Ahamed, is that Malabar will employ 15,000 people, up from 6,000 at present. In what will be the third major expansion in the twenty years since the founding of the company, Malabar Gold is rebranding to “Malabar Gold & Diamonds,” looking forward to an increased effort in selling diamond jewelry. The company’s logo was also changed to appeal to a more diverse clientele base and give the company a more updated look and feel.
The company’s new motto is “Celebrate the Beauty of Life.” According to Ahamed, the new motto, the re-branding, and the expansion is all designed to achieve one major goal; to raise the international profile of the group.
"We are undertaking this change to help propel our brand to greater heights and to better serve our discerning customers," commented Ahamed.
China Imports Oil From Oman
As tensions in the Middle East continue to rise, concern about the political stability in Oman is mounting. Unrest in the sultanate has not yet reached the levels seen in countries such as Libya or even Bahrain, with only 2 deaths which can be attributed to clashes between demonstrators and security forces, but there are fears that the situation in Oman will worsen.
China and Asia Worried
The majority of oil exports from the Middle East go to China and Asia who are especially worried that Oman will join in the general grassroots uprising spreading like wildfire throughout northern Africa and the Middle East, breeding fear in the east that the supply of oil from Oman may be disrupted.
Oman is not a member of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) but it does have the largest supply of oil reserves of any country in the Middle East which is not a member. In 2010 Oman produced 863,000 barrels per day of total petroleum liquids, almost all of which was crude oil. Over the past three years oil production there has increase by more than 20%.
Can Saudi Arabia Fill In for Libya?
At the moment there is nothing but uncertainty about how much the flow of oil from Libya will be disrupted due to the war raging there. Saudi Arabia has said that it can increase output to cover the Libyan deficit of oil deliveries, but to what extent it can do this is a big question.
West Looking East with Concern
The main importers for the oil from the Middle East and North Africa are Asia and China, who are watching the developments in the region with growing concern. Most likely, if the situation worsens and oil supplies are severely disrupted, China and Asia will turn to Mexico for their oil, leaving countries such as the US, Great Britain and Europe to fend for themselves.
Investment Options Asia is reporting that Ahmed bin Abdul Nabi Makki is visiting India tomorrow to sign a final agreement with India on investing in India through the Oman Investment Fund:
Minister of National Economy and Deputy Chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Ahmed bin Abdul Nabi Makki tomorrow ‘s visit to India to sign the final agreement with the Indian Oman Investment Fund – worth 5.1 billion dollars.
An official source in Oman to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) , who preferred anonymity said that the Fund will provide support for bilateral trade and joint investment between the two countries , pointing out that the agreement would help both countries to ensure the financing of a number of projects.