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TMCNet:  Business news in 2013 [Times of Oman]

[January 01, 2014]

Business news in 2013 [Times of Oman]

(Times of Oman Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oman-Saudi direct road to be ready by next year Jabarah bin Eid Al Surari, Saudi Transport Minister, has confirmed that the road linking Oman with Saudi Arabia would be completed at the end of this year, according to the Ekath daily newspaper.Oman aims to ramp up crude oil production The Sultanate is aiming at enhancing crude oil production to 940,000 barrels per day (bpd) and natural gas output to 98 million cubic meters a day this yearOman government plans to divest 19% stake in Omantel Oman government, the single largest shareholder in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), plans to sell a 19 per cent stake in the biggest telecommunication service provider in the country. BankDhofar seeks talks with Bank Sohar board on merger proposal BankDhofar said it is seeking to meet with Bank Sohar to discuss a proposed merger. "The bank is 'currently exchanging correspondence' with Bank Sohar on the potential combination," it said in a statement posted on Muscat Securities Market (MSM) websiteOOC forms JV for mega crude storage facility Oman Oil Company and its subsidiary Takamul Investment Company have formed a joint venture firm – Oman Tank Terminal Company (OTTCO) - to build, own and operate upto 200 million barrel oil terminal, which is going to be the largest crude storage terminal in the Middle East region, in Ras Markaz in Al Wusta region.Al Madina sukuk issue concludes Playing a historic role in the Oman Islamic finance arena, Al Madina Investment has arranged the first corporate Sukuk in the Sultanate for Tilal Development Company (TDC). This Sukuk, with an issue size of OMR50 million, is based on the Ijarah structure, said a company statement. Abdul Samad Al Maskari. Photo - SuppliedOman's Al Madina Insurance to offer 66.7m shares in IPO Al Madina Insurance Company will offer 66.7 million shares in an initial public offering soon in an attempt to change its status to a Sharia-compliant takaful firm. As per the draft takaful regulation, insurance companies have to be public firms to function as takaful companies.

The company has already submitted a draft prospectus with the Capital Market Authority and a final prospectus will be submitted soon. Photo - A.R. Rajkumar/Times of OmanDuqm Port to start commercial operations today Duqm port commenced commercial operation on 9 March, 2013. To mark the official opening, the Ministry of Transport and Communications will conduct a ceremony at Duqm Port in the Governorate of Al Wusta under the auspices of Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications Oman reviewing its foreign investment regulation Oman is in the process of reviewing foreign investment law in an apparent move to check misuse of facilities available for overseas investors. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently started scrutinising joint venture companies to see whether they are fulfilling their promises on capital investment and provide employment for Omani nationals.

Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a signing ceremony in Muscat, Oman on Sunday, 8 December. Photo - A.R. Rajkumar/Times of OmanInvestments in Freezone Sohar reach $240m Freezone Sohar has attracted $240 million within the first phase area, even as authorities are preparing a master plan for developing basic infrastructure for the second phase.

Neelima Vyas.Pic: Jun Estrada/Times of OmanFuel subsidy revamp likely The Oman government is looking at revamping its fuel subsidy, which may result in changes in the retail prices of petrol and diesel in the near future. Haya Water links 20% of Muscat properties to its sewage network Haya Water has linked over 20 per cent of the properties in Muscat to its sewage network, replacing the city's outdated septic tank system and the need for fleets of yellow tanker trucks removing waste water from properties throughout the city.Omran, affiliates to add 3,650 new hotel rooms in five years Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), the investment arm of the government to develop tourism infrastructure, and its joint venture affiliates will add around 3,650 new hotel rooms in four and five star categories in the next five to seven years.India lifts anti-dumping duty on Oman's polypropylene export India has lifted an anti-dumping duty imposed on polypropylene imported from Omani suppliers, especially the Oman Polypropylene.

Indian Ambassador J.S. Mukul,addressing the media yesterday. Photo - Shabin/Times of OmanOman, Iran gas supply deal valued at $60b Iran signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to export gas to Oman from 2015, in a 25-year deal valued at around $60 billion. According to a working copy of the 2007 pact between the two countries, in addition to imports of one billion cubic feet per day of gas from Iran for domestic use, Oman would allocate two million metric tonnes per year in excess capacity at its Oman LNG plant to process Iranian gas for export.Tax Law amendment proposal for Islamic banks submitted KPMG has submitted its recommendations for amending the country's tax law to the Ministry of Finance. The recommendations aim to ensure that Islamic financial institutions are on a level playing field with their conventional counterparts.Ministry plans to amend certain clauses of Labour Law The Ministry of Manpower is in the process of making certain amendments to the Labour Law. This follows a series of requests from Oman Society of Contractors (OSC), the umbrella body of contracting firms in the country, to the government to eliminate certain ambiguities in the law, which are a matter of concern.

Photo - Times FileGovt plans OMR567m medical city near Muscat Oman government is building a major medical city near Muscat with a huge capital expenditure of OMR567 million, which is going to be the second such facility after the proposed International Medical City in Salalah promoted by Saudi-based Apex Medical Group. Salalah medical city's first phase to be ready by 2016 The first phase of the International Medical City (IMC), the $1 billion-healthcare city planned in Salalah, will open for patients towards the end of 2016, even as the project work is going to start in 2014.Muscat-Sohar pipeline work tender in the offing A tender to select an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the first phase development of a 280-km pipeline connecting Sohar and Muscat refineries will be floated shortly. Oman's natural gas production to surge The Sultanate's average daily natural gas production is expected to grow by almost 10 per cent to touch 113 million cubic meters (mcm) a day next year from 103mcm a day in 2013 Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Oil and Gas, addressing Gas Arabia Summit on Monday in Muscat, Oman. Photo - SuppliedSharia – compliant 5-star hotel soon The Sultanate's first Sharia-compliant 'alcohol-free' five-star hotel, Muscat Grand Millennium Hotel, will open for guests in 2014Oman Oil, subsidiaries to invest $15b in Duqm The state-owned Oman Oil Company (OOC) and its subsidiaries are planning to invest a whopping $15 billion in Duqm in various projects.  This investment may also include the capital brought in by the joint venture partners in different projects.

Photo - Hussain Al Muqbali/Times of OmanPanel to issue sovereign sukuk formed Oman government has formed a working committee to issue sovereign Islamic bond or sukuk, in a move to fund infrastructure projects in the near future.Oman signs pact to develop the national one-stop-shop project The Ministry of Commerce and Industry signed an agreement with Nortal Gulf Company from Estonia to develop the One Stop Shop (OSS), Business and Technology Transformation Project — to take a step further in the development of the eGovernment and to support the eTransformation planOrpic plans to select technology provider for $3.5b Sohar project Oman Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) is planning to start work on the front engine engineering design (FEED) and selection of a technology provider for its $3.6 billion integrated Sohar plastics project before the end of 2013.

Musab al Mahruqi, CEO, Orpic. Photo — Jun Estrada/Times of OmanPDO's oil production surges to new record The majority state-owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) said that the company has achieved a record in hydrocarbon production at 1.24 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day last year, surpassing the previous record of 1.21 million boepd in 2001. Proposed centre of excellence to cater to diverse needs of railway A major centre of excellence to cater to the emerging requirements of professionals in the railway sector from within the country and outside, especially from the Gulf region, will be formed in the Sultanate soon.

GCC secretariat plans to form a common railway authority The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is planning to form the GCC Railway Authority to coordinate the implementation of the 2,200-kilometre  long integrated railway project for the region.

Dr Ramiz Al Assar. Photo — Jun Estrada/Times of OmanAl Tamman commissions ferrochrome project Al Tamman Indsil Ferro Chrome, a 50:50 joint venture between Muscat Overseas Group and India's Indsil Hydro Power and Manganese, recently commissioned its 75,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) ferrochrome smelter in Sohar free zone.OMR148m-Oman Aluminium Rolling facility commissioned The Oman Aluminium Rolling Company (OARC) officially opened its manufacturing facility under the auspices of Dr Mohammed Hamad Al Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas. Owned by Takamul Investment Company with a total cost of OMR148 million, the OARC plant is one of the largest added value projects in the aluminium processing industry at the Sohar Industrial Area.

OARC chairman Hilal Al Kharusi.

(c) 2013 Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC Provided by, an company

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