Positions are set to rise as Willmott Dixon lands a £40m contract in London to build the next phase of the Greenwich Millennium Village development. More than 200 homes will be constructed on the mixed-tenure housing scheme, scheduled to conclude in spring 2015. Joint venture Taylor Wimpey Central London and Countryside Properties are aiming to develop up to 1,800 homes at the Greenwich Millennium Village over the next 15 years.
Thursday 1 November 2012
DOHA: Qatari banks are bulking up to play a role in funding the country’s massive infrastructure expansion. But in a country which is already overbanked by some measures, they may risk becoming too big.
Doha Bank, Qatar’s fifth-largest lender by market value and part-owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, announced plans in October to increase its share capital by 50 percent in the first quarter of next year, raising about $ 1.6 billion.
Other Qatari banks have tapped debt markets this year. Qatar Islamic Bank, the country’s largest Islamic lender, returned to the global debt market after a two-year absence with a $ 750 million sukuk sale earlier this month.
Qatar International Islamic Bank followed a week later, pricing its debut $ 700 million, five-year sukuk. Doha Bank also raised $ 500 million from a bond sale in March.
“For the infrastructure projects, local banks want to be in the game, and they will be given priority by the government,” said Robert Pramberger, acting head of asset management at The First Investor in Doha.
“They need to get the money from somewhere, and they’ll want it to be an equal combination of debt and equity.”
An analyst with a Qatari bank said he believed the central bank would want to make sure that local lenders took a large slice of the infrastructure business, rather than leaving it to foreign banks.
“There will be a huge incentive for local lenders to raise capital to meet the demand. Banks here are hoping to make quite a lot of money.
“I’m sure the central bank and other authorities are encouraging local banks to bolster their balance sheets, so that they can take advantage of project bonds and other opportunities.”
The Qatari government has allocated 40 percent of its budget between now and 2016 to fund a string of mega-projects, including $ 5.5 billion for a deepwater seaport, $ 20 billion for roads and a $ 17.5 billion new airport.
It also aims to build a $ 36 billion metro in Doha that will link stadiums for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, as well as a 490 km rail line linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain through Qatar as part of a planned regional network.
Infrastructure spending will average over 10 percent of gross domestic product ahead of the World Cup, with activity in the construction sector likely to peak around 2015, the state planning authority has said.
“Qatari banks have a great opportunity with the financing of infrastructure projects,” said a second analyst with a Doha-based bank. “They will have a major home-player advantage in pricing the risk of particular loans, and understanding when and if there is an effective government guarantee to a project and when there isn’t.”
Exploiting this advantage will not be simple, however. Qatar National Bank (QNB), the country’s largest bank, had total assets of $ 96.4 billion at the end of September, the bank said — much smaller than levels of around $2 trillion for the top international banks. Commercial Bank of Qatar, the second biggest, had assets of $ 21 billion.
“Every contractor will have to post a performance bond, and most local banks won’t be able to carry that themselves. They’ll need working capital to get into the performance bond business,” the second analyst said.
Also, Qatari banks are likely to face stiff competition for infrastructure business from regional rivals.
“Many other banks in the region are well-capitalized and will be looking for a slice of the action, so they are likely to face more pricing pressure than they have been used to in the past,” the first analyst said.
As a result, Qatari banks may have to band together into syndicates with foreign banks to enable them to meet the financing requirements. Other Gulf lenders may play a prominent role in the syndicates, as Western banks hold back because of financial pressures back home.
“These projects are of a huge size, and they can’t be done on an individual basis. I think you’ll see the rise of regional syndicates, as opposed to international syndicates, for all of the projects leading up to 2022,” said Commercial Bank of Qatar group chief executive Andrew Stevens.
“Many international banks, especially those in the West, are preoccupied with internal matters, particularly deleveraging as well as looking at their own capital adequacy requirements. That would preclude them from participating in some of these big projects.”
But Qatari banks’ growth will carry risks. There are 18 banks operating in a nation with a population of only 1.8 million, including four Islamic banks and seven foreign-owned lenders such as European behemoths HSBC and BNP Paribas.
Average return on equity for banks in Qatar fell to 18.6 percent in 2011 from a peak of 30.4 percent in 2007, according to data compiled by QNB — still a comfortable level by current Western standards, but a worrying trend if it continues.
“At the moment, any growth banks are engendering in the private sector is minimal, and is likely to be taken from one another. There’s a fair degree of competitive pinching going on,” Commercial Bank of Qatar’s Stevens said.
“We’re overbanked. There are too many banks. We need a larger share of the business, and it’s a very competitive market.”
While government spending continues rising through 2015, there may be enough business for everyone in the crowded market. But as pre-World Cup infrastructure projects start to wind down late this decade, banks may begin to feel heavy pressure on their profits.
Stevens said one solution to this prospect would be consolidation of the industry, with banks streamlining or merging some operations. But so far, he said, there has been no sign that banks are willing to begin this.
Pramberger said that for now, the banking cake in Qatar would be large enough for everybody, but “consolidation will be a topic at a later stage, once the infrastructure build slows down.”
The first Qatari bank analyst noted that growth in demand for lending would not continue indefinitely in Qatar, and that authorities might eventually have to step in to encourage consolidation in the banking sector.
“At some point, banks will have to ask themselves whether there is scope for all of them. And the central bank will have to encourage some sort of rationalization of the industry.
“There will come a point where they want to make sure the banks are as efficient as possible.”
RIYADH: ARAB NEWS
Monday 29 April 2013
A second industrial park will be connected to an existing project in Dammam. A SR 31 million contract has been signed with a Saudi company by Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, minister of trade and industry, and the chairman of the Industrial Parks Commission (IPC) for the project.
Saleh Al-Rashid, director general of the IPC, who was present on the occasion, said the project would be completed within 10 months.
It involves work to construct a three-lane road in each direction, as well as lighting and concrete protection for the desalination water pipeline.
The total area of the second industrial park in Dammam, strategically located close to the Dhahran-Hofuf Highway, is around 48 million sq. meters. It is situated close to the production sites of raw materials such as petroleum derivatives. It is also close to the Dammam port and the investors’ service center.
The Industrial Parks Commission, established in 2001, is charged with developing industrial lands and attracting private sector investors. It has established a number of industrial parks in the Kingdom and is developing a number of other promising parks. It now supervises 29 industrial parks that are either complete or still under construction.
The commission hopes that there will be 40 industrial parks by 2015 built on developed land spanning a total area of 160 million sq. meters.
RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Monday 29 April 2013
Prince Muqrin, second deputy premier, chancellor and special envoy for the king, inaugurated the 500-bed, state-of-the-art Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital yesterday on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The name of the hospital at the time of construction was Eastern Riyadh Hospital, which was changed to Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital on a special directive issued by King Abdullah in November 2011.
The SR 455-million hospital is built on an area spanning more than 120,000 square meters.
Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the hospital has been built on par with the best global designs and that it complies with the highest standards of global quality health care services. Situated in the Al-Rayan district, it has five floors. It has 15 operation theaters and one for emergency surgeries.
Other facilities are a radiology unit, a mammogram screening section, a center for burns, a laboratory, a blood bank, a physiotherapy unit and rehabilitative treatment. The emergency department has 102 beds and is the largest in the region. The dialysis unit has 52 dialysis machines.
Director General of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council Tawfik Khoja said yesterday that the new facility will be a beacon for health care service in the Gulf. Thanking King Abdullah and the Ministry of Health for completing such a gigantic project, he said the hospital would greatly benefit the public.
The Dean of the College of Medicine and Supervisor of the University Hospital, Mubarak bin Fahad Al Faran, said the entire medical institution, with fully equipped operation rooms and all its facilities, will be a pleasant and useful addition to a host of health projects managed by the Ministry of Health.
Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News that it is one of the largest hospitals and strategically located to serve citizens and residents in the eastern and northern parts of Riyadh. “The hospital is built and designed according to the US code, which is one of the most important specifications for fulfilling the needs of the beneficiaries of the service,” he said.
RIYADH: ARAB NEWS
Monday 29 April 2013
The agreement was co-signed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah representing the Kingdom and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the council Fahd Al-Mubarak representing the council.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait are the four members in the monetary council, the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday.
The council aims to launch a single currency at least by 2015, according to earlier reports.
The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council in its 29th session in Muscat in 2008 approved the Monetary Union Agreement and the Statute of the Monetary Council, which developed the legal and institutional framework for the Monetary Union and identified the goals and tasks of the Monetary Council.
The member states of the Monetary Union Agreement ratified the agreement, and, as a result, the Monetary Agreement entered into force on Feb. 27, 2010.
“Hoy en día, la solución de los problemas ecológicos constituye una de las condiciones clave para el desarrollo sostenible de los países. Hay que observar estrictamente los principios establecidos en los acuerdos internacionales, incluida la Declaración de la Cumbre de Muskoka del “Grupo de los ocho”. Es necesario implantar modernos estándares ecológicos y tecnologías “verdes” en la fabricación, energía y transporte. Utilizar más las fuentes alternativas de energía. Espero que sus sugerencias y recomendaciones resulten útiles en la práctica y sirvan para reforzar la seguridad ambiental global.”
Vladimir V. Putin http://www.ecocongress.info/5_congr/speech/Putin_18.05.12.pdf
El FORO ECOLÓGICO INTERNACIONAL RUSIA-EU 2013, que se celebrara próximamente en Marbella, en el Hotel H10 Andalucía Plaza, tenemos el placer de informarle de las diferentes jornadas que tendrán lugar a lo largo de los 2 días del Foro, y nos gustaría contar con su presencia en la Inauguración y la Apertura Oficial.
El evento cuenta con el apoyo del Ministerio de Energía de la Federación Rusa, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas en Rusia, la Unión Internacional de Asociaciones Técnicas y de Ingeniería, Russian Sustainable Investments Iniciative, Universidad Superior de Ciencia y Tecnología y la Cámara de Comercio de la Federación Rusa.
El objetivo del Foro consiste en el estudio de la experiencia tecnológica europea avanzada en la esfera de la ecología y eficiencia energética con el fin de crear una base para el desarrollo del mercado de inversiones estables en Rusia, así como de la infraestructura urbana de transporte.
Los participantes del I FORO ECOLÓGICO INTERNACIONAL RUSIA-EU, entre ellos políticos, alcaldes, funcionarios públicos, empresarios, representantes del sector de energía y transporte y expertos de Rusia y la UE, podrán conocer nuevas tecnologías y explorar soluciones a los problemas ambientales que enfrentan las ciudades de Rusia y Europa. Además, los participantes europeos podrán presentar sus nuevas tecnologías y establecer contactos directos con inversores rusos.
Asimismo, como la actividad paralela, el día 3 y 4 de Mayo de 2013, en los campos de golf Rio Real Club de Golf y Los Flamingos Club de Golf, se jugara el III Torneo Internacional de Golf.
Los eventos se clausuran con una cena de gala en el Hotel H10 Andalucia Plaza, donde se efectuara la entrega de premios a los ganadores de los torneos, se anunciaran los resultados del I Foro Internacional Ecológico y se efectuara una subasta a favor de la Asociación Aspandem.
Esperemos que sea de su interés y quedamos a la espera de su respuesta,
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Posted: 26 Apr 2013 12:00 PM PDT
Formal contracts have now been signed by Miller Construction which will see the firm develop a new £44 million hotel for the city centre.
The work will come as the first part of the Stephenson Quarter project, which is set to feature a four-star hotel, a conference centre a 35,000 sq ft office block and a multi-storey car park.
Construction work could start as early as May, with targets for completion outlined as May 2015. The scheme will be located close to Central Railway Station on a 10-acre site.
Once complete, it is hoped that the development will connect the quayside area to the city centre. The hotel construction comes as part of a wider regeneration project for the area, featuring involvement from Newcastle City Council, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Silverlink, Aviva, Royal Bank of Scotland and Miller Construction.
It will mark Miller Construction’s second involvement in projects in the wider area, as the firm has already announced an £8.6 million contract at the neighbouring railway station.
Regional managing director of Miller Construction, Ian Jubb said that the company is “delighted” to have been appointed to a second major development in the north east city.
“The Stephenson Quarter project will help to bring new life to the city centre and support the overall vision to regenerate the city centre whilst retaining the heritage and proud history of the area. We look forward to delivering these prestigious projects to the highest standards whilst keeping the city centre ‘open for business’ during the construction phases,” he said.
Managing director of Silverline David Clouston said that the company had been working on the scheme for more than 10 years and it had often been
Posted: 26 Apr 2013 10:00 AM PDT
The UK has seen an increase in workloads over quarter one of this year, according to the UK Construction Market Survey from RICS.
Total workloads saw an uptick in the first three months of 2013, and workload expectations are positive for the coming months.
However, in Wales, it’s a slightly different story, with the construction sector seeing a decline in workloads during the first quarter of this year.
While this might make people instantly think the industry is in line for more doom and gloom, RICS moved to reassure the industry, and indeed Welsh construction workers, that optimism is present in the industry.
Spokesperson and Chairman for RICS construction Wales Neil Brierley said that conditions are challenging across the industry, but there is underlying hope of a moderate in-year increase in activity in 2014.
“If we are to see the anticipated recovery over the course of the year there is a clear need for the financial institutions to be more supportive. There remain opportunities for alternative funding vehicles to enter the market, and plug the void that is currently being left by the banks,” he said.