News from the MENA region

Saudi Arabia to link foreign investment to infrastructure projects

Senior economic official says Gulf kingdom will use mega transport, healthcare, industrial projects to attract investment

Qatar 2022 World Cup may not need cooling systems after all

Organising committee exec says demand for cooling in stadia will be lower for a winter World Cup tournament

Qatari investors to pay $5bn for stake in Chinese petchems giant

QID Group and Hamad Bin Suhaim Enterprises ink deal for 49% stake in Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group

Saudi Arabia underperforms Gulf as banks slide on fee worries

Most Middle East stock markets edge up but banks and petrochemicals drag down Saudi Arabia

Dubai’s Damac says Q1 sales boosted by foreign buyers

Managing director Ziad El Chaar says sales hit $762m in the first three months of the year, higher than Q4 2014

Qatar Airways set to upgrade services to key Indian city

Doha carrier says it will significantly increase capacity on its flights to Bengaluru from August 1

Putin letter to Arab summit triggers strong Saudi attack

Saudi Arabia accuses Russian President of hypocrisy over support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad

Some Qatar hotels face legal threat over rate hikes

Qatar Tourism Authority warns hotels after reports of 400-1,200% increases in room rates

No decision yet on Yemen ground troops, says Saudi Arabia

Country’s ambassador to the United States says Gulf kingdom is keeping its options open as air strikes continue

Kuwait’s Agility trims 2014 dividend despite 10% Q4 net profit gain

Gulf’s largest logistics group says net profit for three months to Dec 31 rose to more than $45m

Saudi-led air strikes target fresh Houthi advance on Aden

Saudi navy also evacuates diplomats from the southern port city as offensive against rebels continues

Saudi-led alliance sees a month of Yemen strikes, maybe longer

Gulf diplomatic official says operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen could last as long as six months

Dubai’s DEWA says water connections up 30% amid rising demand

State utility says increase in demand is led by new developments and growth across all economic sectors

Riyadh named Middle East’s top financial centre

Z/Yen Group’s 17th Global Financial Centres Index ranks Riyadh 14th globally ahead of Doha and Dubai

Bahrain, Dubai firms invest in Asteco franchise deals

Real estate company says it has added its first GCC franchise outside of the UAE and its third in Dubai

UAE’s Aldar says Al Merief project sells out in a week

Developer says sales in Emirati-only residential project generated more than $163m

Saudi Arabia decides to restore ambassador to Sweden

Saudi Arabia withdrew its envoy earlier this month over Swedish criticism of the monarchy’s treatment of women and dissidents

All villas now sold at Dubai’s $1.9bn Living Legends project

Developer Tanmiyat also says two-thirds of apartments sold at project which was halted in 2008 due to global financial crisis

Singapore’s Alila reveals plan for second Oman luxury resort

Hotel operator says Alila Salalah is conceived as an ecologically sensitive destination resort

Most crimes by Dubai labourers are ‘result of ignorance’

Dubai launches new awareness campaign to help labourers understand the law in bid to cut ‘non-deliberate’ crimes

French firm wins deal to clean up Qatar lagoon

Egis is hired to rehabilitate Al Karaana lagoon which is raising serious environmental problems

Revealed: average GCC exec monthly salary is $11,211

New survey also shows that average wage rose by nearly 8% in the Gulf region last year

Saudi’s CPC inks $500m deal to build five Egypt SME cities

Construction Products Holding Co signs agreement to build industrial cities for small businesses

Saudi’s Dar al Arkan says land tax unlikely to hurt business

One of kingdom’s largest listed property firms unfazed by cabinet decision to impose tax on undeveloped land

UAE’s inflation edges down from near 6-year highs

February rate falls to 3.6% despite continuing upward pressure from cost of housing, utilities

Saudi Arabia’s bourse tumbles on worries about valuations, Yemen

Broad sell-off sees main Saudi index sinking by 5%, its biggest daily drop in three months

Abu Dhabi Airports chief steps down to take UK gov’t role

CEO Tony Douglas to become chief executive of Defence Equipment & Support at the Ministry of Defence

Kuwait’s KIPCO says aiming to double net profit by 2018

Kuwait Projects Co also says it has no plans to sell or list its pay-TV business OSN

Saudi hardware retailer SACO to launch share sale in April

Subscription for the initial public offering will open on April 22 and run until April 28, says Capital Market Authority

Dubai launches phase 2 of Healthcare City, to cost up to $1.36bn

Second phase will feature new medical, hospitality and retail facilities; bicycle and jogging tracks also included

UAE central bank expands Islamic banks’ access to its funds

Islamic banks will be able to obtain central bank liquidity in the same way that conventional banks do

Fancied California Chrome ready for $10m Dubai World Cup

Trainers say the Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion has been working well since arriving in Dubai

French builder Vinci to sue over claims of forced labour in Qatar

Construction giant denies allegations it has violated rights of migrant workers helping to build World Cup stadia

Dubai’s MAF hires new CEO for properties division

Bertrand Julien-Laferriere named as new boss of unit which manages portfolio worth $10bn

Ras Al Khaimah said to launch $1bn, 10-year sukuk

Document shows that the emirate garnered orders worth about $2.5bn for sukuk

Revealed: avoid potential arrest in the UAE with simple police check

UK-based charity claims detentions for alleged unknown crimes has become ‘a common issue’ in the UAE

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approves tax on undeveloped land

Cabinet hopes policy will help to end a shortage of affordable homes and spur economic growth

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos returns home after medical treatment

State TV reports that ageing ruler is back in sultanate after eight months in Germany