North Africa/Middle East

The billionaire owner of Italian fashion house Cavalli is planning a lavish new tower in Dubai to showcase the brand’s return after a brush with bankruptcy and nearly two years of sluggish sales during the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Dubai-based Damac Properties, told Bloomberg that he may even double down on the planned $545 million structure by building a similar one in Miami. “I am committed to rebuilding the Cavalli brand, to relaunching it on key markets,” Sajwani said in the interview.

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BNP Paribas SA and Citigroup Inc. are among global banks that are finally set to see some of their loans be at least partially repaid after getting caught up in one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest corporate defaults, Bloomberg News reported.In the first major test for the kingdom’s new bankruptcy law, Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co., which has been locked in legal battles and negotiations with creditors over $7.5 billion of debt since 2009, had its proposal to restructure the obligations ratified by a Saudi court, Simon Charlton, Algosaibi’s chief restructuring officer said.
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The United Arab Emirates aims to raise the value of economic activity with Israel to more than $1 trillion in the next 10 years, hoping to work together on everything from healthcare to climate change and energy, the UAE economy minister said, Reuters reported. The Gulf Arab state has signed dozens of memorandums of understanding with its new ally in the year since it became the first Arab state to normalise ties with Israel this century. It was not immediately clear how the two countries expect to reach $1 trillion in economic activity in the next decade.
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Lebanon’s new government held its first meeting Monday with a call by the president to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund to help kick-start its recovery from one of the world’s worst economic crises in more than a century, the Associated Press reported. The 24-member Cabinet’s most pressing mission over the coming weeks will be to help improve conditions in the country of 6 million, including a million Syrian refugees. More than half the population now lives in poverty amid extended power outages and severe shortages in fuel and medicine.
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Lebanon’s new prime minister pledged Friday to gain control of one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns, saying lifting subsidies was a critical priority for the small country’s government formed after a year of political stalemate, the Associated Press reported. It is a momentous task facing the 24-minister Cabinet, which includes fresh faces who are prominent experts in their fields, but which still reflects Lebanon’s fractious politics. The country’s economic crisis, unfolding since 2019, has been described as one of the worst in the world in the last 150 years.
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NMC Healthcare Ltd. said it won approval from creditors for the restructuring process that allows the bulk of the hospital operator’s business to exit administration, Bloomberg News reported. NMC secured 95% of the eligible creditor vote for the deeds of company arrangement proposals, according to a statement from the largest private medical services provider in the United Arab Emirates. A local Abu Dhabi court still needs to confirm the vote, NMC said.
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Israeli airlines are facing new waves of mass layoffs and potential collapse as the global aviation market continues to be pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jerusalem Post reported. With long lists of travel restrictions and dashed dreams for summer tourism due to the emergence of the delta variant, millions around the world are in immediate danger of losing their jobs.
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Egypt will begin issuing sukuk, or sharia-compliant Islamic bonds, in the first half of 2022, the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The exact timing and size of the first offering is yet to be determined. Executive regulations for a new law allowing for issuance of sukuk are expected in the next three months, and the government is planning to form a state-owned company to manage sukuk issuance. Returns on sukuk, which could be offered in local or foreign currency, would be taxed in the same way as Egyptian treasury bonds, the finance ministry said.
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Lebanon’s government agreed yesterday to pay tens of thousands of poor families cash assistance in U.S. dollars from a World Bank loan as the country’s economic crisis deepens, the Associated Press reported. The decision comes as Lebanon is expected to end subsidies for fuel by the end of next month, a move that is expected to lead to sharp increases in prices of almost all products. Lebanon’s parliament approved in March a $246 million loan from the World Bank that would provide assistance for more than 160,000 families.
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Thousands of small and medium Kuwaiti businesses could go to the wall after being walloped by the pandemic, potentially torpedoing a private sector central to the country's efforts to remake its unorthodox and oil-pumped economy, Reuters reported. The government, which spends more than half of its annual budget on the salaries of Kuwaitis who mostly work in state jobs, has encouraged citizens to set up their own businesses over the past decade in an effort to engineer a private sector.
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