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Industry stalwarts set to headline region’s first financial restructuring summit this September

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Industry stalwarts set to headline region’s first financial restructuring summit this September

-Over 200 industry leaders are expected to converge at the two-day summit in Dubai that will see a keynote address by H.E. Dr. Fahad Alshathri, Deputy Governor – Supervision, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority.

Middle East Global Advisors, a leading financial intelligence platform spearheading the development of knowledge-based economies in the MENASEA markets, will convene The Corporate Restructuring Summit (CRS) 2018,the GCC region’s first Debt Restructuring and NPL-focused Summit, on September 05-06at the Sheraton Grand Hotel inDubai, UAE.

Addressing the theme of “Optimal Management of Financial Restructuring & Non-Performing Loans”, the summit’s vision is to facilitate an enabling environment to address the key challenges of restructuring and strategic reorganization of finance and debt-related issues. The critical insights thus gathered will thereby enable organizations with new perspectives to effectively tackle corporate credit challenges.

With IFRS-9 and the pressure from NPLs creating a strain on banks and leading corporates increasingly defaulting on loan re-payments, corporate workouts and financial restructuring have become the norm to aid organizations with troubled balance sheets to combat debt delinquencies and defaults across key sectors comprising contracting, insurance, real estate and energy, amongst others. According to a recent prediction by Moody’s Investors Service, non-performing loans could reach 5.5 or 6% of total gross loans in the UAE, an increase from the 5.3% recorded in June 2017, a figure that stands at the higher end of the scale as compared to its Persian Gulf Arab Counterparts.

Economic stability continues to be a high priority area for the UAE with a notable recent development being UAE Vice President and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordering the formation of a committee to oversee the financial restructuring of companies in the country.

Key Industry Veterans from leading banks and corporates will headline The Corporate Restructuring Summit 2018 as it aims to spearhead discussions gravitating around the two high-stake areas of effective NPL management and debt restructuring. The confirmed industry leaders at the summit include H.E. Dr. Fahad Alshathri,Deputy Governor – Supervision,Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority;Majed Essa Al Ajeel,Chairman,Kuwait Banking Association & Burgan Bank; Simon Charlton,Chief Restructuring Officer & Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi& Brothers; Dr. Nasser Saidi,President, Nasser Saidi& Associates; Christopher Maclean, Group Chief Risk Officer, Al Rajhi Bank;Manoj Chawla, General Manager – Risk, Emirates NBD; Murat Sultanov,Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Finance Competitiveness & Innovation (FCI) Global Practice, World Bank Group; John IossifidisCEO, Noor Bank; Naveed Kamal,Managing Director,Citi Bank N.A.; Ravi Murthy,Group Chief Financial Officer,Arabtec Construction LLC& Bruce Wade, Chief Risk Officer, National Bank of Bahrain, among others.

Speaking ahead of the summit,Simon Charlton, Chief Restructuring Officer & Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi& Brothers,said,“As Saudi Arabia looks forward, with Vision 2030 and the incredible pace of social and economic change, attracting foreign investment is likely to be important. Of course, no one invests looking for trouble, but it can happen and when it does investors and other stakeholders want to know there is legislation and more importantly a viable process to unwind situations and extract value while preserving jobs, livelihoods and allowing good businesses to survive. Perhaps somewhat in the shadows of some or the more headline grabbing changes Saudi Arabia has come a long way in implementing new legislations including new enforcement law, arbitration law and the now a bankruptcy law and to a certain extent we have served as the petri dish and testing ground for this dramatic advancement and change. As the economy develops and the traditional family businesses change and restructure, I am hopeful that we will achieve our goals and also set a pathway for others to follow and as encouragement for foreign investment in Saudi Arabia.”

Expressing his views on GCC’s corporate restructuring environment, Nasser Saidi, President, Nasser Saidi& Associates, said,”Global debt across governments, non-financial corporations and households surpassed $160 trillion as at the end of 2017, while the GCC’s regional debt market accelerated to around $70 billion in issuance, supported by the sovereigns. As we gradually exit the era of quantitative easing, into one with looming trade wars, volatile energy and commodity markets, and rising debt, we need to brace ourselves for loan defaults and potentially more restructurings. Corporate restructurings are often associated with job losses, but it is important to understand that is also associated with positive growth via increased investment and capital productivity in the medium term, outpacing the immediate negative effects. The GCC region is in an era of transformation.”

Speaking on the importance of widening SME access to finance,Murat Sultanov, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Finance Competitiveness & Innovation (FCI) Global Practice, World Bank Group, said, “Access to finance for firms especially small and medium ones is quite constrained in the developing world. Modern secured transactions and collateral registry platforms are proven tools to increase access to credit for unserved and underserved companies and entrepreneurs leading to better quality of loan portfolios for banks, lower NPLs, higher recover rates in case of default and greater financial system stability overall. The presentation will focus on showcasing World Bank Group’s recent experiences and practices in promoting movable asset based lending reforms globally and in the MENA region”.

Fresh from a major corporate restructuring, Ravi Murthy, Group Chief Financial Officer, Arabtec Construction LLC, said,“In business, poor performance or bad management leads to bankruptcy. Attempt should be made to avoid this situation and the only available option is restructuring. Only financial/ Balance Sheet restructuring OR organizational restructuring may not bear desired results. There must be a balanced combo of Financial as well as organizational/management restructuring.”

The two-day summit will see keynote addresses by H.E. Dr. Fahad Alshathri, Deputy Governor – Supervision, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and Dr. Nasser Saidi, President, Nasser Saidi& Associates;an exclusive interview discussing the financial restructuring of the Al Gosaibi Group with Simon Charlton, Chief Restructuring Officer & Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi& Brothers; CEO panel on resolving GCC’s challenge of accumulating bad debt and key panels on debt resolution, insolvency, effective NPL management, trends in consolidation and restructuring, among others.

The summit is expected to draw participation from over 200 prominent banks, corporates, legal-advisory firms, hedge funds, investment banks and debt restructuring specialists from across the GCC onto one platform by spearheading actionable debate, impactful change and high-level outcomes.

To find out more about CRS 2018, please visit:http://www.corporate-restructuring2018.com/

Join the global conversation on Twitter at:@CorpRS #CorpRestructure18

ABOUT THE CORPORATE RESTRUCTURING SUMMIT (CRS)
The Corporate Restructuring Summit (CRS 2018) is an initiative of Middle East Global Advisors, the first of its kind that aims to explore innovative approaches to corporate debt restructuring and NPL management in context of the complex market dynamics in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The summit will gather banks, corporates, legal-advisory firms and debt restructuring specialists from across the GCC onto one platform by spearheading actionable debate, impactful change and high-level outcomes.

To find out more, visit www.corporate-restructuring2018.com or follow us on Twitter @CorpRS

ABOUT MIDDLE EAST GLOBAL ADVISORS (MEGA)

Connecting markets with intelligent insights & strategic execution since 1993

Middle East Global Advisors (MEGA) is the leading gateway connectivity and intelligence platform to Islamic finance opportunities in the rapidly developing economic region that stretches all the way from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East- The Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) connection. For 25 years, our exclusive focus on achieving business results for the Islamic finance industry has enabled us to create significant value for the leading players in the Islamic banking, finance and investment markets.

Visit us at www.meglobaladvisors.comor follow us on Twitter @meglobaladvisor

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 1

By Sonia Elks

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.

“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.

“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.

While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.

Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.

But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.

The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.

The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.

“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.

“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says

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Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says 2

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Digital health checks will be vital to a recovery in foreign travel from the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s Heathrow airport said on Wednesday, after a collapse in passenger numbers saw it plunge to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) loss last year.

The UK government said on Monday trips abroad could restart in mid-May as its vaccination campaign kicks in, sparking a surge in holiday bookings.

It is also looking into a digital health passport or app to help ease restrictions, while conceding the benefits have to be weighed against potential risks to civil liberties.

But Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said digital technology, and international agreements, would be vital to reviving a travel industry on its knees.

“It’s absolutely critical and that’s one of the main things that government needs to work on,” he said, when asked about a digital health app.

At present, paper checks on COVID-19 test results and passenger locator forms take 20 minutes per traveller at Heathrow, making travel near impossible should passenger numbers rise from current low levels.

Britain’s biggest airport said it was “very likely” people would be able to go on their summer holidays, but expects passenger numbers will take time to recover.

The airport, west of London, is forecasting 25 million passengers in the second half of the year, meaning it would be operating at about 50% capacity.

Heathrow, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority, China Investment Corp and others, last year lost its title as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris after its flight schedules shrank more than those of its rivals.

Passenger numbers plunged 73% to 22 million people last year, with half of those travelling during January and February, before the pandemic shut down global travel in March.

Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity, giving it sufficient resources to keep going with low levels of traffic until 2023, despite the 2 billion loss before tax for 2020.

The airport urged the government to provide business tax breaks for big airports, something only available to smaller airports so far, and to extend the furlough job support scheme to help it financially before the recovery takes off.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young. Editing by James Davey and Mark Potter)

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Britain’s Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic

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Britain's Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Heathrow Airport plunged to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) annual loss after passenger numbers collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s during the pandemic.

Heathrow called on the government to agree a common international travel standard to allow passengers to start flying again in the summer and to provide business tax breaks for airports to help them ride out the crisis.

The airport, west of London, is hopeful that travel markets will reopen from mid-May after a government announcement on easing lockdown on Monday.

Still Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow last year lost its title as the busiest in Europe to Paris as its flight schedules contracted more than its rival’s.

The airport said on Wednesday that during 2020 passenger numbers shrunk 73% to 22 million people, with half of those people having travelled during January and February before COVID-19 shut down global travel.

The airport sunk to a 2 billion loss before tax on revenues which were down 62% to 1.18 billion pounds, but Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity and that could keep it going until 2023.

The airport is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp, among others.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton and James Davey)

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