VENTURES AFRICA – Ahmad Julfar, CEO of Etisalat, UAE’s biggest telecom operator, has said he is still awaiting Vivendi’s decision on its offer for 53 percent of the French telecoms giant’s shareholding in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom.
Earlier this year, the Abu Dhabi state-owned Etisalat, said it had organised an $8 billion “dual-tranche” credit facility to pay for its acquisition of Vivendi’s stake in Maroc Telecom.
This followed Vivendi’s announcement of plans to divests its 53 percent stake from Maroc, Morocco’s biggest telecoms company and use the proceeds of the sale to shrink its debt.
Asma Invest plans to finance projects worth $230 million in Morocco, across several sectors, according to its managing director.
The company, also known as the Saudi-Moroccan Investment Company for Development, says it is looking at “large projects” to be executed by 2015.
Investments will run across several sectors including real estate, tourism and agriculture, the company’s managing director, Mohammed Yasin, told Al Arabiya today.
“We already started working on two big projects in Casablanca and Ifrane, with a total worth of $90m, as the company’s focus will be directed towards large-scale projects,” he said.
Yasin stated that the company decided to take the leap following 20 years of experience in numerous projects and ventures.
The investment company was created in 1992 with a registered capital of 400m Moroccan dirhams, which was increased to 800m Moroccan dirhams in 2010.
The corporation’s capital is shared equally between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the Treasury of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The sovereign, rated BBB-/BBB-, has set a final level of 220bp over US Treasuries for a tap of its USD1bn 4.25% December 2022 note and of 237.5bp over US Treasuries for a tap of its USD500m 5.50% December 2042 note.
Initial guidance levels were 220bp area and 237.5bp area over US Treasuries respectively.
The size of the reopening is still to be determined.
Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Natixis are the leads on the 144A/Reg S transaction, which is expected to price Wednesday.
Ritz-Carlton hotels are popping up in prestigious, exotic locations all around North Africa lately, with properties under construction in Marrakech, Morocco (around the Jenan Amar Polo Fields); within the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat; and east of Tangiers on the Mediterranean atTamuda Bay. And over in Japan, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto will open in early 2014.
Photo: Pete Turner | Getty Images
Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa will moderate to 3.1 percent this year before recovering to 3.7 percent in 2014, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its economic outlook for the region on Tuesday.
The expected slowdown – which follows growth of 4.7 percent in 2012 – will be driven by scaled-back oil production in countries exporting the commodity, which include Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, the organization said.
The region’s oil importers – Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Sudan, and Tunisia – are expected to see a modest recovery, although the IMF said disparities between the two types of economies were “expected to narrow” this year.
Paul Gamble, director in the sovereigns group at Fitch, told a briefing this week that the ratings gap has never been bigger and that:
If you look at the outlooks, it has the potential to widen further.
By Scott B. MacDonald
At the end of May 2013, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is holding its annual meeting in Marrakech, Morocco. The central theme of the meeting, the AfDB’s 48th since its founding, is “Structural Transformation in Africa.” This comes against a backdrop of recent media coverage praising Africa’s “economic boom,” much of which strongly suggests a break with its past of misconceived and poorly executed macro-experiments and consequent socio-political upheaval. Over the last 10 years, Africa has witnessed a curtailment of political violence and wars, economic growth has proliferated throughout the region, and the continent is now more integrated into global trade and investment networks than ever. A number of African countries have also been able to obtain credit ratings and issue bonds in international capital markets, including Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal. What is significant about the upcoming AfDB meeting is that the region is actually on the right track and there is a broad consensus of what needs to be done to keep it that way.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) will host a workshop on infrastructure and diaspora bonds in Africa during AfDB’s annual meetings in Morocco on May 29, 2013. One of the main objectives of the seminar to be at held at the Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakech, themed “Financing African Structural Change – Infrastructure and Diaspora Bonds” is to raise awareness of all stakeholders in the role that infrastructure and diaspora bonds can play in catalyzing financing to address the existing infrastructure gap in Africa.
With the widely cited and largely conservative continental infrastructure gap of USD 93 billion per annum, the urgency for innovative financing was never more palpable. “The resources required to develop and maintain modern infrastructure far exceeds the funds available to African governments through taxes, bilateral or multilateral aid or any other traditional source of funds. This raises the question of what new sources of capital can be mobilized and how to attract them to finance Africa’s infrastructure needs. Using innovative financing tools like infrastructure and diaspora bonds will be critical to ensuring continued economic growth across the continent”, said AfDB Group Treasurer, Mr. Pierre Van Peteghem, the event’s moderator. (more…)
Etisalat and regional rival Ooredoo both made binding bids for the stake in late April.
But Etisalat has yet to hear back from Vivendi, the UAE firm’s CEO Ahmad Julfar told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.
Etisalat has not bid for the Morocco government’s 30 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, Julfar said.
Under Morocco financial rules a buyer could be obliged to launch a bid for the free float shares.
Two United Arab Emirates banks raised $1.3 billion from bonds sales and Morocco plans to boost the size of its existing dollar-denominated notes as Middle East issuers take advantage of falling borrowing costs.
Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES) sold $1 billion in bonds that don’t mature, the second sale by the Dubai-based lender this year, according to four people familiar with the matter. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB) returned to the bond marketfor the third time this year, selling $300 million in 10-year securities, two people said. Morocco hired Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc. and Natixis to manage its sale, one person said.
“It’s a good time to tap the debt market and take advantage of the low yield levels at the moment,” Hakim Azaiez, the head of investment at GCA Asset Management in London, said by e-mail today. “There is also a factor that interest rate may rise and that would be another reason for this flow of issuance.” (more…)
Morocco plans to launch tenders for 4G mobile phone licenses by the end of the year, the Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT) said on Tuesday in a statement carried by state news agency MAP.
Morocco wants to be one of the first African countries to get the fourth generation (4G) telecom services, the statement said.
Chariot Oil & Gas says it seeks to continue to de-risk its asset base whilst maturing multiple prospects for drilling. And it says it also remains fully committed to creating transformational growth for shareholders. Chariot says that over the past year it has acquired substantial datasets that have served to significantly enhance the team’s understanding of its acreage and further develop its prospect inventory. Chief executive Larry Bottomley says: “We have also diversified our risk portfolio through the acquisition of acreage offshore Morocco, Mauritania, and, more recently, Brazil. In doing so, we are building a balanced portfolio of high potential assets as well as further exposing the company to additional transformational prospect opportunities. “Whilst no drilling will take place during 2013, this will be a busy year of development and growth as we look to de-risk and mature the portfolio through the evaluation of our extensive 3D seismic databases and integration of well results, including those of nearby third-party drilling activity. “We are focused on preserving our cash through prudent asset and prospect selection and through seeking partners who will provide access to third party funding as well as further validation of the potential of our assets.”
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company has plans to venture into a large-scale investment project in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the very near future, an official source told Zawya.
According to the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, the company is looking at the Moroccan city of Tangiers, where it plans to construct a five-star conference hotel complex comprising 300 rooms. Individual villas will surround the main building, with vistas overlooking the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in addition to an 18-hole golf course, a beach club and a retail commercial center.
The source added that the total cost of the project has been estimated at around USD 300 million, but did not confirm whether the investment firm will be responsible for managing the property, which will be part of an international hotel chain.
The hotel will be the first project for Qatari Diar in Morocco. The company has investments in over 35 countries worldwide, valued at more than USD 45 billion.
Earthport, the cross-border payments service provider, today announced the roll out of a fully automated payment service into Morocco. The route is the first low value payment service for Earthport in North Africa and will enable the company to expand its network infrastructure into the region. Clients will be able to benefit from more competitive and transparent payments services, while leveraging Earthport’s local clearing capabilities to offer more cost efficient, low-value payments.
With more than three million people in the diaspora, Morocco is one of the top remittance destinations on the African continent and the second largest remittance country in North Africa with an estimated $6.4 billion worth of payments received in 2010.
The expansion into Morocco comes in response to the growing demand for low-cost payments into the region. The route will enable Earthport’s clients to quickly launch new payments services into the country and deliver faster, more cost efficient and more transparent remittance transfers.
Morocco is finalising a new securitisation law that will allow the state and companies to issue sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of bonds. Preparations for a corporate and a sovereign sukuk are already underway, according to Islamic finance experts.
Sukuk are Islamic financial certificates that represent ownership of tangible assets (as opposed to ownership of debt). Global sukuk issuance increased by 64 per cent last year to reach $138bn, according to rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
Only a few African countries such as Sudan and the Gambia have issued sovereign sukuk, according to S&P, but several have started considering the financial instruments, including South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia.
The introduction of sukuk in Morocco will involve reform of the country’s securitisation law, which was enacted in 2002 and amended in 2010 to broaden the range of eligible assets and allow institutions other than banks to use securitisation, according to Al-Khawarizmi Group, an independent Islamic finance consultancy that published a study on the potential of sukuk in Morocco in December 2012. (more…)