News from the MENA region

Kuwait’s Agility plans up to $100m Africa spend in 2015

Senior executive says Ghana, Mozambique, Angola and Nigeria among target investment markets

flydubai announces major Iran flights expansion plan

Low-cost carrier says it will launch flights to Ahwaz, Hamadan, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz next month

Germany’s Siemens wins $400m Dubai power plant deal

Industrial giant is hired by Dubai utility DEWA to expand M-Station project; completion slated in 2018

Dubai theme park developer says senior exec team roles filled

Dubai Parks and Resorts completes formation of senior management team to drive mega leisure project

London to host first Dubai Property Show amid rising demand

Event to be held at London Olympia as Dubai is named third most preferred investment destination by Brits

Bahrain launches criminal probe into main opposition group

Criminal investigation is opened into al-Wefaq group; accused of trying to undermine national security

Oman’s Bank Dhofar working with advisers on capital plans

Sources say bank is studying options to raise its reserves including selling capital-boosting bond

Deposed Egyptian president Mursi to face military court

Mursi was ousted by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after mass protests against his rule in 2013

France in ‘final stage’ of talks to sell Rafale jets to Qatar

Senior French source says negotiations are advanced in deal to sell up to 36 warplanes to Gulf state

UK businessman slams Emirates after lost luggage court battle

Dubai airline is ordered to compensate Abrar Khan who criticises carrier for ‘failing to address his pleas for assistance’

UAE fighter jets strike ISIL-controlled oil refineries

F-16 jets based in Jordan carry out air strikes aiming to dry up ISIL’s sources of funding; all return to base safely

Etisalat’s Egyptian unit signs $120m loan deal

Telecom subsidiary Etisalat Misr agrees three-year loan with HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Kuwait to boost drilling rigs, crude capacity despite low oil price

Head of state-run Kuwait Oil Co says plans to deploy 120 oil and gas rigs by the start of next year

Doha Centre for Media Freedom announces exec shake-up

Executive committee of non-profit group is restructured more than a year after previous head was sacked

UAE banks’ profit growth to dip on weaker economy – S&P

Standard & Poor’s says lower oil prices will lead to reduced demand for new lending from companies

Egypt lines up $6.8bn of Kuwaiti investment for energy projects

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab signs memorandums of understanding with Kuwaiti companies

Saudi Arabia condemns deadly attack in Copenhagen

Two civilians died in attacks in Danish capital on Saturday and five police were wounded

Oman’s Omantel posts 11% fall in Q4 net profit

Former telecoms monopoly says it made net profit of nearly $69m in three months to Dec 31

Impact Hub Dubai to focus on innovation throughout 2015

A new series of events for entrepreneurs will kick off at The Impact Hub Dubai, a Dubai-based incubator and innovation hub

New strategic cooperation to boost regional SMEs

A deal between the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the Dubai Economic Council aims at enhancing strategic cooperation and boosting the region’s SME sector.

Dubai’s Jumeirah to nearly double hotel portfolio by 2018

Company president says Jumeirah will have 42 properties in three years compared to 22 today

‘Clear bias’ against Qatar, says World Cup committee chief

Hassan Al Thawadi says forced to fend off ‘inaccurate’ allegations of corruption amid intense media focus

Dubai eyes use of driverless cars at Expo 2020

Transport authority RTA commissions study into autonomous vehicles as part of smart tech strategies

Dubai’s AZIZI eyes new projects after 2008 crisis cancellations

AZIZI Developments plans new residential, hotel projects, six years after being forced to cancel developments amid global crisis

UAE restaurant brand unveils franchise plan for expansion

Reem Al Bawadi Restaurant & Café says it wants to open eight new outlets over next two years

Crowdfunding concept offers Emaar’s Old Town Island to investors

DURISE says investors can invest as little as $5,000 to own part of prestigious property at Souq al Bahar

S&P cuts ratings, outlook on some Gulf states amid oil slump

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s takes action on Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman ratings as oil remains below $60

Saudi Arabia’s inflation set to remain stable in Q1

Central bank says state handout ordered by King Salman may push up some domestic prices

Saudi Arabia evacuates embassy staff from Yemen

Gulf kingdom suspends all work at its embassy due to deterioration in security situation

Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC inks $500m deal to develop UAE oilfields

Technical agreement is signed with US-based Occidental Petroleum to develop al-Hail and Ghasha fields

Meraas facing naming dispute over new Dubai retail concept

Lawyers for London shopping centre Boxpark reportedly ask Meraas to drop name for ‘copycat’ project

Dubai’s DWC registers record freight volumes in 2014

Dubai Int’l runway closure also boosts passenger numbers in first full year of Dubai World Central operations

Gulf cities named among world’s least sustainable

Doha, Jeddah and Riyadh all languish in bottom 10 of Arcadis index while Dubai is best placed at 31st

US firm wins $166m deal to revamp Saudi airbase

Gilbane Federal will design and build new facilities and carry out upgrades at King Khalid Air Base

Libya’s decline and fall

Despite promise of a new future after the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s spiral into civil war is seemingly endless. Foreign investors who are waiting on the sidelines say there is no hope of a change for the better soon

Dubai hotels set to post occupancy, revenue declines in Jan

Latest STR Global data reveals drops in key measurements although occupancy remains above 85%

Qatar banks see assets base rise by $25bn in 2014

KPMG report says collective asset base of all listed banks has increased by 12%

Egypt releases two Al Jazeera journalists but case not dismissed

Court says case against Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed is still pending despite release from jail

Stock market volatility hits Q4 profits of Dubai’s SHUAA

Financial services firm posts loss in Q4 but 2014 net profits rise ten-fold compared to previous year

Total CEO hails Abu Dhabi concession as ‘blockbuster’

Chief executive Patrick Pouyanne does not deny the French oil major may have coughed up over $2bn to sign the deal

Emirates urges rethink in dispute over Manila flights

Dubai airline says removal of third daily flight will negatively impact consumers, overseas workers, economy

US news anchor suspended over false Iraq claims

NBC’s Brian Williams taken off air without pay for six months after claiming he came under fire in helicopter

Etisalat unit set to win Egyptian landline licence ‘within weeks’

Etisalat Misr is one of three mobile operators poised to be granted licence from Egyptian government

Dubai’s Emirates NBD raises $348m via kangaroo bond

Dubai’s largest lender prices seven-year kangaroo bond, longest maturity from a Middle East issuer

Court ruling halts Abu Dhabi-backed Real Madrid stadium revamp

Spanish football giant says High Court ruling affects IPIC-backed plans to expand Santiago Bernabeu

Emirates says to hire over 11,000 new staff in 2015

Group comprising airline and air services provider dnata to increase workforce by 6% by March 2016

Dubai launches $1m award to find best AI, robotics use

Crown Prince announces $1m prize for best international entry; contest to focus on uses in education, health and social services

Dubai’s du sees competition in fixed-line services within months

Telecom operator says long-delayed deal on network sharing has been agreed, effective by year-end

UAE sets up new council to tackle gender gap

Sheikh Mohammed reveals plans to establish the UAE Gender Balance Council to promote role of women

UAE jet fighters resume strikes on ISIL targets

General Command of the UAE Armed Forces says F-16s hit their targets and returned to base safely