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Gulf Daily News Monday, 24th November 2014
Financial centre seeking regional expansion
MARRAKESH: Casablanca’s inter- Casablanca Finance City.
national financial centre will launch a
“Now they will be able to stay in
business arbitration body this week in Africa and find professional services
an effort to expand its footprint in the here,” he said on the sidelines of a
region, an official involved with the business conference.
project said.
Morocco’s government began
“In the past, African companies developing Casablanca Finance
might go to Paris, Brussels or Geneva City in 2010 as a banking centre for
to resolve their business disputes,” French-speaking Africa, in the same
said Said Ibrahimi, chief executive way that Johannesburg and Mauritius
moojama Financial
amplified 25cm
x 17_1cm
fa.pdfEnglish-speaking
1
10/12/14
4:43
PM
of the Moroccan
Board,
a serve
countries
on
public-private body which oversees the continent.
Financial companies, professional
services firms and regional headquarters of multinationals can become
members of the centre, receiving tax
concessions and other benefits such
as fast-track visa procedures for staff.
In setting up an international arbitration body, Morocco is following
the example of the Middle East’s top
banking hub, the Dubai International
Financial Centre.
Dubai’s arbitration body and the
DIFC court system are reasons for
multinationals to locate themselves in
the DIFC; they encourage lawyers and
other professional service firms to set
up shop in the emirate, bringing down
costs and helping to create an ecosystem which attracts more financial
companies.
Ibrahimi said experienced arbitrators would be invited from around
the world, including Europe and Asia,
to serve in Casablanca’s arbitration
body, in much the same way as the
DIFC employs many foreign judges
for its court system.
About 60 companies, including
arms of major foreign banks such as
BNP Paribas, are currently members
of Casablanca Finance City and the
number is expected to rise to 100 by
the end of 2015. A 100-hectare zone
in Casablanca is being developed to
physically house firms, and the first
ones are expected to move in by 2016.
Mobily top
official is
suspended
DUBAI: Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest telecoms network operator, said yesterday it has suspended its chief executive
Khalid Al Kaf and put his deputy Serkan Okandan in temporary
charge pending an investigation into accounting errors.
Earlier this month the company announced a restatement of
its results which it blamed on accounting errors, wiping out 1.43
billion riyals ($381 million) of previously reported profits and
sending its share price tumbling.
Kaf will be suspended until Mobily’s audit committee completes its investigation into these errors, the company said in a
statement.
Kaf was the Gulf’s longest-serving chief executive in the sector,
taking the helm at Mobily in 2005 after 19 years at UAE’s Etisalat,
which owns 27.5 per cent of
Mobily.
On November 5, Etisalat
cut its own profits by 162m
dirhams following Mobily’s
results restatement.
Okandan, Etisalat’s chief
financial officer, was appointed as deputy CEO of Mobily in
CAIRO: Egyptian real estate October, while Etisalat’s chief
company Amer Group plans executive Ahmad Julfar is also
to split into two companies a director of Mobily and chairin an attempt to create more man of its Risk Management
opportunities for its devel- Committee. Another senior
opment business and boost Etisalat executive Essa Al
trading in its shares.
Haddad also sits on Mobily’s
The firm, which owns board, according to Etisalat’s
hotels, restaurants and shop- 2013 annual report.
ping malls, said in a stateMobily’s share price has fallment that it would be divided en 36pc since late October,
into a development business when rumours began to circucalled Amer Holding Group late that something was amiss
and a smaller company with the company’s results,
named Porto Holding.
wiping out 6.56bn riyals from
“The goal of the division the value of Etisalat’s stake.
is to obtain the true value
The company began operof the company’s shares in ations in 2005, ending Saudi
the market by shedding light Telecom Company’s monopon all activities in a clear oly, and it turned profitable
manner,” chairman Mansour the following year, marking the
Amer said.
start of the operator’s remarkHe said that Amer Holding able rise.
Group would be responsible
Its annual profits more
for all real estate and hotel than quadrupled from 2006 to
investment services, along 2009 to reach 3bn riyals that
with its restaurants and com- year.
mercial centres, while Porto
Mobily reported a record
Holding would include all of annual profit in 2013 of 6.68bn
the company’s “Porto” pro- riyals, up 11pc from the previjects, which include several ous year, although that result
resorts and spas in the Ain has now been cut in the restateSokhna area on the Red Sea.
ment.
Amer Group
to split into
two firms
`