Number of FM radio stations in Arab world rises 50 percent

April 7th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by admin  

(Gulf Business Capsule)

Dubai, April 7 (IANS) The number of frequency modulation (FM) radio stations in the 18 Arab countries increased to 316 from 211 in February last year, a 49.76 percent rise. Liberalisation in several Arab countries was a key factor in fuelling the boom in private FM radio stations, the Gulf News said citing a report by the Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group.

Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon have the highest number of private radio stations, while Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman have allowed private radio stations only in 2003, 2004, and 2006 respectively, the report said.

In addition to the liberalisation of the sector, the need to broadcast in multiple languages to cater to the huge expatriate population enhanced the number of FM radio stations even in countries where private FM radio stations did not exist.

“The UAE (United Arab Emirates) hosts FM radio stations broadcasting in Arabic, English, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu and Filipino languages,” the report quoted Firas Al Farr, Arab Advisors research analyst, as saying.

There are 157 state-owned radio stations, 150 private FM radio stations and nine regional radio stations that broadcast in multiple countries in the 18 countries covered by the report.


Interiors fit-out firm hopes to raise $516 mn from IPO

Leading UAE-based interiors fit-out company Depa has commenced its initial public offering of up to 278,906,161 shares (including the over-allotment option) in the form of shares and global depository receipts (GDRs), each representing five shares, with an indicative price range of $1.50 to $1.85 per share and $7.50 to $9.25 per GDR.

The company expects to raise 1.9 billion dirhams ($516 million) from the IPO.

“We will use the new proceeds to enter new markets and further strengthen our position in existing markets through acquisitions in line with our strategy of vertically integrated manufacturing and procurement,” Depa chief executive Mohannad Sweid said in a statement.

“Depa has a solid financial track record and investors will benefit from a high level of contracted backlog and a high quality project pipeline.”

The deadline for subscription orders is April 13 while offer price and allocations is expected to be on or around April 18, 2008.

The offering represents approximately 41 percent of the issued share capital of the company (or approximately 43 percent if the over-allotment option is exercised in full).


Saudi pharma market worth $1.3 billion

Saudi Arabia’s pharmaceutical market is estimated to be worth more than 5 billion Saudi riyals ($1.3 billion), which makes the country one of the largest markets for medicines in the Middle East.

The country consumes 85 percent of pharmaceuticals imported into the GCC market, according to Saudi Health Minister Hamad Al-Manie.

He said some 10 Saudi companies have captured 50 percent of the market.

Addressing the first meeting of the United Company for Purchasing Medicines and Medical Equipment (UCPMME) in Riyadh, Al Manie said that 21 percent of medicines and medical equipment needed by the country are locally manufactured.

“Subsequently, a feasibility study was carried out on this project and a set of guidelines and procedures have been enumerated for the proper functioning of UCPMME,” the Khaleej Times quoted him as saying.

“…The company should not only deal with purchasing medicines and medical equipment from different countries, but it also has a responsibility to distribute them properly and on time,” he added.

He urged the private sector to support the successful running of the organisation, and hoped to make UCPMME a public company in the near future.

He said that UCPMME was solely funded by the government and that its capital would soon be increased through an IPO.


Agility bags $20.6-mn Kuwait petro logistics contract

Leading global logistics provider Agility has bagged a contract worth 5.5 million Kuwaiti dinars ($20.6 million) from the Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC).

Under the terms of the five-year contract, Agility will provide KNPC with logistics solutions covering door-to-door freight forwarding, customs clearance and transportation.

The supplies handled by Agility for KNPC include raw materials, spare parts and other equipment.

Agility was the only company picked from 12 international participants that bid for this prestigious contract.

“The oil and gas sector in Kuwait is growing rapidly, both locally as well as internationally,” Dakheel Abdullah Al Dakheel, Agility’s Kuwait director for sales, said in a statement.

“At Agility, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of specialised logistics services to suit all the requirements of the oil and gas industry. This, combined with our presence in over 100 countries around the world, makes us an ideal partner.”

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