News from the MENA region

Saudi Arabia to consider taxing unusued urban land

Supreme Economic Council will study plan as part of efforts to end serious housing shortage

Saudi utility to spend $80bn by 2025 to raise water production

Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corp announces plan to boost desalinated water production in kingdom

Dubai’s Mashreq says ‘no interest’ in UAE assets of StanChart

Mashreq chief executive says he also expects loan growth of between 11-15% this year

Egypt’s EGPC says to buy 65% oil imports from UAE’s ADNOC

State oil company says government has approved one-year deal covering gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel and LPG

Emaar malls IPO to offer one share for every 36 held

Emaar is aiming to sell 2 billion shares, representing 15.4% of the unit’s share capital

Builders, consultants hired for $2.7bn Dubai theme parks project

Dubai Parks & Resorts says 1,500 people now working on site; 30% of phase 1 infrastructure works completed

Ooredoo Kuwait cuts 165 jobs as market share shrinks

About 15% of total workforce is cut as country’s No 3 mobile operator also sees net profits fall

Top instagrammers to visit Dubai for video blog series

Twelve influential instagrammers chosen to visit emirate and embark of specific itineraries as part of the #MyDubai campaign

Saudi corporate earnings growth set to jump before bourse opening

Combined net profits of leading Saudi firms are expected to rise 17% in 2014 and by a further 11% in 2015

Raytheon begins production of laser guided rocket for the UAE

US-based defence firm says it has reached ‘significant milestone’ in $117m contract with UAE Armed Forces

Qatar’s QNB lifts Ecobank stake in $283m deal

Qatar National Bank acquires a further 11% stake in pan-African lender, becoming its largest shareholder

Former Arabtec CEO said to agree to sell stake to Aabar

Source close to Hasan Ismaik says he has finalised sale of at least part of his interest in construction firm

Thai PTT, Saudi Aramco in joint Vietnam petrochemical project

Companies submit proposal to Vietnamese gov’t to build $22bn complex

HSBC’s Saudi Arabia head Khoury leaves bank

Lender confirms departure of chief executive Walid Khoury but no reason given

Sheikh Mohammed pays tribute to tragic national service recruit

Dubai ruler visits family of Mohammed Khalid Khalifa Al Raisi who died during training at Armed Forces Residences

Dubai’s Mirdif to see first freehold property project launch

Dominated by homes to rent, Mirdif Tulip development will offer 116 homes for sale amid real estate boom

Emirates says to bring forward new A380 launch to Mauritius

Dubai-based airline says it will start its second daily A380 service on route from Oct 26 instead of Dec 1

Qatar Airways says to launch non-stop flights to Phuket

Doha-based carrier to boost services to Thailand with flights to holiday hotspot from October 26

Dubai corniche project phase 2 completed, says RTA

Dubai’s transport authority announces plan to open 2.5km of beachfront project later this month

Dubai’s Marka to list shares Sept 25, first flotation since 2009

Retailing and restaurants group says it will make its debut on Dubai Financial Market later this month

Dubai Int’l arrivals to rise by 36% by 2016 after runways upgrade

Senior aviation official says recent runway improvements will increase hourly aircraft arrivals from 33 to 45

Oman mega project set to launch first residential sales

Saraya Bandar Jissah says first homes to be released in mixed-use project on outskirts of Muscat

Deyaar sees ‘great response’ to new Dubai residential project

Developer set to launch sales in second residential tower of Montrose project following successful sales of first tower

Alwaleed-backed Twitter says it plans to raise $1.3bn

Social media giant announces plan to issue convertible senior notes, its first debt offering since market debut

Celebrity chefs confirmed for first Abu Dhabi food festival

Jun Tanaka and Eric Lanlard to be part of inaugural Taste of Abu Dhabi which will launch in November

Qatar Airways to launch Brussels, Shanghai cargo routes

Doha-based carrier announces plan to further extend freighter network to ‘important cities’ in October

Dubai World said to offer incentives to revise $25bn debt deal

Sources say state-owned conglomerate has offered early cash and shares in global ports firm DP World

Saudi Arabia tells OPEC it cut output in August as oil nears $100

Top oil exporter reports production of 9.597 million bpd, down from 10.005 million bpd the previous month

UAE firm develops drone to tackle inventory management issues

Exponent Technology Services says Age Steel will be first company to employ new technology from October

Park Investments launches first Dubai real estate project

Prices of properties at Park Villas in Jumeirah Village Circle will start at nearly $800,000

Jumeirah eyes VENU hotel debut on $1.6bn Dubai tourism island

Dubai hotel operator unveils new hospitality brand; in talks with Meraas for debut on Bluewaters Island

Bahrain to get vote of confidence with first 30-year bond issue

Kingdom has long been seen by many investors as the weakest of GCC countries, both politically and economically

Dana Gas secures $100m loan for UAE offshore gas field

Energy company says facility will contribute the debt component of the financing needed to complete the offshore project

Prince Alwaleed receives Hungary’s highest medal

Saudi billionaire is honoured by Hungary’s Prime Minister during a visit to Budapest

I won’t go naked in Dubai, vows Lady Gaga

Controversial sequence will be cut to comply with local modesty laws

No Saudi ban over Ebola for Nigerians going on haj

Gulf kingdom reportedly not planning to extend ban on pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to Nigeria

Omani fund, others invest $53m in US solar firm

Oman’s State General Reserve Fund named among investors in GlassPoint Solar

Where’s my First Class parachute?

Shane McGinley goes in search of the answer to his plane crash worries

Qatar Petroleum signs $1.4bn contracts with GIS unit

Gulf Drilling International wins five-year contracts to supply drilling rig services to state energy giant

Tebyan, Swarovski team up for ‘beyond luxury’ Dubai project

Developer links up with Austrian crystal retailer to create Sparkle Towers at Dubai Marina

Bahrain’s GFH says to acquire US residential assets

Gulf Finance House announces deal for two properties in the city of Houston worth $75m

Meraas reveals blueprint for $2.7bn Dubai Parks & Resorts project

Developer says phase 1 will include three theme parks – Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and Legoland Dubai – plus themed hotel

Dubai Holding unit says H1 net profit tops $570m

Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group, which runs Jumeirah, DPG and TECOM, says it expects performance to improve in H2

Arab League to back Iraqi, US campaign against ISIL

Iraqi diplomatic source said Baghdad had proposed a draft resolution that would endorse its efforts to confront militants

Saudi builder says to diversify into solar, nuclear energy

Abdullah Abdul Mohsin AlKhodari Sons Co to diversify services as Gulf kingdom looks at new energy sources

Egypt charges Mursi with passing state secrets to Qatar

Former president Mohamed Mursi charged with endangering national security by leaking secrets