Registration number SBBB 492
From The Chair Welcome to the summer edition of the Forum magazine and my first edition as BBBF Chair. I would like to thank you for your generous support in our recent elections and kind words of encouragement. I am very honoured to serve as Chair and I am delighted to have the full support and energy of an experienced and dedicated Committee. We are all looking forward to serving you and building on the solid foundations that previous Committees have laid.
and business interests and opportunities that exist between Britain and Bahrain. The very special relationship between our two islands was brilliantly captured by HRH The Duke of York during our highly successful April lunch. Prince Andrew concluded his speech by saying that the BBBF acronym more accurately stands for â€œBetter Business Between Friends.â€? I could not agree more and I think that the success of the recent Curry evening that HE British Ambassador Jamie Bowden kindly hosted in April perfectly demonstrates this thriving friendship.
We are also delighted that our membership continues to grow and I am pleased to see that we now have almost 400 active members. This is a strong reflection, despite the global economic turndown, of the interest and deep understanding, friendship
However, we should never rest on our laurels and the Committee is actively seeking new ways to enhance the quality and type of networking opportunities and mediums available to our members and guests. To this end, on May 28th, we held
our first Business Breakfast meeting, in honour of a heavyweight delegation of prominent barristers and lawyers from the Bar Council of England and Wales. Almost 100 members braved the early morning start and the breakfast was a resounding success. The current global economic downturn presents a perfect opportunity to strength relationships, establish new business networks and contacts. One thing for certain in tough economic times, is that a business can do one of two things; it can either expand or contract, but it can never stand still. So I encourage all our members to continue to support our forthcoming events. A special thank you to Standard Chartered Bank, Platinum corporate sponsors, who continue to be a great
source of financial support and encouragement. You will also see an increasing number of sponsors who have kindly advertised in the Forum magazine. We would encourage our members to support those companies with their custom. We hope that you enjoy this Forum edition and the Committee is looking forward to seeing you, and your guests, at forthcoming BBBF functions and hearing more about how we can serve you better. As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, a number of you will be taking well earned breaks which I hope you enjoy and return to the island suitably refreshed. Please see Page 3 for details of our future events. With kind regards Khalid Al Zayani
The 2009-10 BBBF Executive Committee
Chairman Khalid Al Zayani
Deputy Chairman Austin Rudman Mob: 3969-9475
Treasurer Patrick Dornan Mob: 3924-3739
Secretary Bill Frost Mob: 3963-5110
Member Rob Grey Mob: 3966-3452
Member Rebecca Eriksson Mob: 3953-6989
Member Jill Boggiss Mob: 3996-3026
Embassy Representative Rebecca Topping Mob: 3975-0496
BBBF Tel: +973 1781 3488, Fax: +973 1781 3489, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Bahrain British Business Forum, P. O. Box 10051, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
From Her Majesty’s Ambassador authorities have approved export certificates which will enable the export of sheepmeat from the UK to Bahrain, opening a new market for a quality British product.
On his official visit to Bahrain in March, HRH Duke of York suggested a new strapline for BBBF: “Better Business Between Friends”. In the midst of a global recession, the extent of which may still not be fully known in the Gulf, we could be forgiven for thinking any business is good business. But the picture for British business in Bahrain is less gloomy than that: Exports from the UK to Bahrain increased by 28% in 2008 from 2007. They were down slightly in early 2009 compared with 2008, but have declined at a slower rate than the value of UK exports to most other global markets, and are still much higher than in 2007. We also know that the overall Bahraini market has contracted, so the UK’s market share is up on 2008. In the past few weeks, the Bahraini
However, the biggest, most tangible, highlight for British business in Bahrain came earlier this week with the announcement that Rolls Royce will supply engines and long-term maintenance for Gulf Air’s fleet of new Airbus A330s. With a contract value of US$1.5billion, this is a huge boost for Rolls Royce and UK-Bahrain business ties. The win reflects an excellent bid from Rolls Royce and continues a long relationship between Rolls Royce and Bahrain – good business between friends. The past few months have seen an unusually high number of senior level visits to Bahrain from the UK – HRH the Duke of York as the UK’s Trade and Investment Representative, to promote British business; the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Peter Mandelson for extensive talks with the Bahraini Government on a range of political and business issues; and the Foreign Office Minister Bill
Rammell MP to discuss the bilateral relationship and regional affairs. The Embassy has been working to maintain awareness that the City of London is still the leading centre of international financial activity in the world. In particular, we are highlighting the UK as a global centre for Islamic Finance, a growing sector within financial services estimated to be worth US $736 billion globally and providing an essential service to Britain’s two million Muslims. Islamic Finance is a leading opportunity for the UK and Bahrain to share expertise and develop business links of mutual benefit. The British Embassy will continue to monitor the sector in a bid to facilitate more business between our two countries, for example through the next World Islamic Banking Conference to be held in Bahrain in December. Our most recent business delegation from the Bar Council of England and Wales also focused on expertise in legal and financial services, specifically dispute resolution services. The Bar Council spoke to the Bahrain British Business
BBBF Diary Dates Tuesday 16th June
Tuesday 18th August
Speaker; Nicola Pero (President of Central Bank of Bahrain) Venue: Golden Tulip Hotel Time: 12noon for 1pm Cost: Members BD10, Guests BD12
Speaker: Gert Rieder (CEO Batelco) Venue: Golden Tulip Hotel Time: 12noon for 1pm Cost: Members BD10, Guests BD12
Tuesday 21st July
Tuesday 15th September
Speaker: to be advised Venue: Golden Tulip Hotel Time: 12noon for 1pm Cost: Members BD10, Guests BD12
Ramadan Evening Venue: British Club Time: 7pm
Forum, and brought ten leading barristers practising in specialist fields including construction, banking and finance, and general commercial disputes. They clarified that although they cannot serve in Bahraini courts or advise on Bahraini law, their arbitration services provide a cost-effective solution to resolving disputes, such as breaches of contract or loan defaults, under international law. During their visit, the Bar Council held a separate seminar and reception at the British Embassy aimed at a legal audience; visited the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (currently under development); and held a series of meetings with the Ministry of Justice, CBB, EDB and local lawyers, all looking at how barristers’ services in England & Wales can help business progress more smoothly in times of stress. I think this adds up to “Better Business Between Friends. And the growing BBBF membership and the Chairman’s aim to increase the number of Bahraini members shows that the goodwill to match the business ties is there.
Jamie Bowden British Ambassador
All members of the Bahrain British Business Forum would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mr Khalid Al Zayani and his family on the death of his beloved father, Mr Rashid A. Al Zayani, one of the great figures of the Bahraini business community. Forum
Country Manager Robeco Tel: 1751-7820 Mob: 3995-1545 email@example.com
Group Business Development Manager YBA Kanoo (Holdings) WLL Tel: 1722-0886 Mob: 3997-0194 firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Development Kulacom Communications SPC Tel: 1781-1012 Mob: 3692-4444 email@example.com
Partner BDO Jawad Habib Tel: 1753-0077 Mob: 3657-1101 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Professional Services & Operations Knight Frank Middle East Tel: 1769-3810 Mob: 3888-3944 email@example.com
Snr. Manager Operations Robeco Tel: 1751-7820 Mob: 3943-3678 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Operating Officer Bahrain Financial Exchange Tel: 1651-1511 Mob: 3666-1352 email@example.com
CEO Robeco Tel:1751-7820 Mob: 3967-6228 firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Director Davis Langdon LLP Tel: 1758-8796 Mob: 3635-0095 email@example.com
Head of Middle East Charles Russell LLP Tel: 1713-3200 Mob: 3604-3160 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Majdi Ismail
Senior Corporate Associate Charles Russell LLP Tel: 1713-3200 Mob: 3604-3161 email@example.com
Head of Infrastructure Scott Wilson Tel: 1755-6634 Mob: 3607-7382 firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to New Members Brian Johnson
Lift Escalator & Faรงade Access Consultant Dunbar & Boardman Partnership Tel: 1779-0090 Mob: 3969-3217 email@example.com
Projects Manager Scott Wilson Tel: 1755-6634 firstname.lastname@example.org
Conference Centre Manager Regus Business Centres Tel: 1650-0702 Mob: 3652-8280 email@example.com
Head of Operations Kulacom Communications SPC Tel: 1781-1013 firstname.lastname@example.org
Partner BDO Jawad Habib Tel: 1753-0077 Mob: 3657-1102 email@example.com
General Manager Mercure Grand Hotel Tel: 1759-4400 Mob: 3979-9800 firstname.lastname@example.org
Program and Project Director Scott Wilson Tel: 1755-6634 Mob: 3606-6537 email@example.com
Chief Technology Officer Kulacom Communications SPC Tel: 1781-1012 Mob: 3633-1423 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Property Development & Leasing Knight Frank Middle East Tel: 1769-3810 email@example.com
Kulacom Communications SPC Tel: 1781-1012 Mob: 3678-9337 firstname.lastname@example.org
Country Operations Manager Abnormal Load Engineering Tel: +966 3 363 6433 email@example.com
Client Executive Ryan Business Solutions WLL Tel: 1769-3178 firstname.lastname@example.org
Benefits for BBBF Members Benefits for all our members may be obtained on production of their Membership card at the concerned outlet. We would like to hear your feedback concerning these discounts. Please do not hesitate to offer your services to our members by contacting the BBBF office. If any member has any difficulty obtaining a discount, please contact the BBBF office so we can rectify the situation. Al Faris Auto Centre Special discounts on parts and services. Contact: Yousif Eid Tel: 1787 7222 Email: email@example.com Azrek Search Associates 20% discount on search and headhunting services. Contact: Rory Adamson Tel: 1758 3885 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org AXA Insurance 10% discounts to members on personal lines insurances.(excluding medical) Contact: Stephen Wagstaff Tel: 1758 8222 Email: email@example.com Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Company (BKIC) Special schemes have been arranged with Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Company (BKIC) for BBBF members for the following classes of insurance: House & Contents, Domestic Servants & Motor Insurance. Special terms are available on production of your membership card. Conscious Connections 5% discount on Crystal Therapy and Awareness, 10% discount for group bookings and group workshops. Contact: Julie Lomas Mobile: 3960 6712 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dessange 15% discount to BBBF Members. Contact: Louise Moy Tel: 1771-3999 Email: email@example.com DHL 25% discount from the cash tariff for any personal shipments being sent from Bahrain to anywhere in the world available on production of your membership card. Available until 31 Dec 09. Contact Andy Broughton DHL Service Point locations: Umm al Hassam 1781 4726; Budaiya 1733 9696; Seef 1732 8328; Muharraq 1733 9609. Hasan Mansouri 10% discount to members at Mansouri Mansions Hotel and Country Club. Contact: Karim Mansouri Tel: 1772 8144 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Morgan Price International Healthcare 15% discount on GlobalHealth Individual Insurance Plans on published rates. Contact: Samy Ebrahim Tel: 1753 3151 or 3940 4160 Email: email@example.com National Hotel Services (NHSC) 5% on beers, 15% on wines and spirits with the exception of products already on special offer. Contact: Ian Bricklebank Tel: 1781-5929 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Royal Over-Seas League The Royal Over-Seas League has clubhouses in London and Edinburgh which include hotel-style accommodation. A quarterly journal issued to members free of charge. Reduced rates for BBBF members. Application forms for membership are obtainable from the Membership Secretary at: Royal Over-Seas League, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St Jamesâ€™s Street, London SW1A 1LR Tel: 0044 20 7408 0214 Fax: 0044 20 7499 6738 Email: email@example.com Spa Arabia by Betsy 25% Discount on all Spa, Beauty and Hairdressing Treatments and 15% Discount on all Spa Shop Purchases. The Spa Treatments are for ladies only but male members can visit and make purchases from the Spa Shop.( Skin Care, Hair Care, Cosmetics, Sun Care, Aromatherapy Oils, etc and Skin and Hair Consultations) They can also purchase Gift Vouchers at 25% off discounted rate. Conditions are: Discount on full price treatments and products only; Discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offers. Contact: Betsy Mathieson Appointments can be booked on Tel 3961 3739 Speedy Motor Services Discount of 15% on all servicing; maintenance; and repairs on all vehicles for all BBBF Members on production of their membership card when booking in their vehicle at our Isa Town Workshop. 20% discount on all self drive hire cars through Europcar. Contact Stephen Connor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 17682999 Ext 228 The MakeOver Experience 10% discount to BBBF members on all individual and group courses, with occasional extra special offers and prize draws. Additional discounts to BBBF corporate members for customised training courses. Contact: Dr. Leila Edwards Tel: 1759 2019 Mob:3966 7623 Email: email@example.com
This edition of the BBBF Forum magazine was compiled by Andrew Mead at Mead Management Services Ltd. email: firstname.lastname@example.org UK Mob: 0044 7940 559 925 KSA Mob: 00966 506 271 151 Bahrain Mobile: 00973 3638 7595 and produced in cooperation with Krishnan Surendran at Jumana House, Riyadh, KSA Tel 009661 402 4785 Fax: 00966 10 405 9861 If you would like to contribute to a future edition please telephone or send an email to email@example.com A full page advert is charged at BD300. A half page advert at BD180, A quarter page advert at BD100 A small panel at BD50 Please note: The BBBF nor its agents do not warrant the services of any of the individual or corporate members of the BBBF. The views and opinions expressed by independent contributors must not be regarded as those of the BBBF or its agents. Publication of any article or advertisement does not imply any endorsement of the views, products or services described therein.
Why Join The BBBF? BAHRAIN The Pearl of the Gulf has had a long standing relationship with Britain and is still a major trading partner. BRITISH Trade with Bahrain is now subject to significant competition in this era of globalisation particularly from countries in Europe and from the USA.
Membership directories are distributed to members of visiting Trade Missions and are available to businessmen visiting Bahrain through the Embassy and business centres in five star hotels. Simply click on “Sign Up” on our website www.bbbforum.org complete the application form and click submit. Sounds simple, it is, it must be worth it.
BUSINESS between Bahrain and Britain must be promoted in order for Britain to maintain its dominant position. The BBBF has been formed to help in whatever way it can to do this and through its close cooperation with the British Embassy seeks to promote exchange of trade and good relations between Bahrain and Britain.
Cost of membership Individual Membership: BD 50 per annum, with an additional BD20 once-only registration fee.
FORUM Is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as, “an assembly or meeting to discuss topics of public concern”. The BBBF provides through its monthly meetings a platform for networking amongst its members and the exchange and dissemination of useful business leads and opportunities. In addition, in return for a modest subscription, members receive the benefit of inclusion in an annual directory describing the products and services they have to offer and a listing on the BBBF website again with a description of activities, contact numbers and useful links.
Corporate Sponsorships Three levels of sponsorship are available:
BBBF Membership Application
Corporate Membership: BD150 per annum (up to 5 individuals) plus BD 40 for each applicant up to a maximum of 10, with an additional BD 50 once-only registration fee.
Platinum: BD 2500 each year for three years Gold: BD 2500 for one year Silver: BD 1250 for one year Sponsor packages include a variety of advertisement opportunities in the Membership Directory, the Forum magazine, the BBBF website and at the regular lunch meetings. Full details are available on request.
Corporate Membership please complete separate form for each applicant
Please complete the membership form and send it to: Individual Membership BBBF Administration Manager ax: (00973) 1781 3489, Manager,, FFax: or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information call (00973) 1781 3488, W eb site: www .bbbforum.org Web www.bbbforum.org Company Name
Website address of business (if applicable)
Title and full name (Surname first)
Describe how you / your company contribute to substantial business interests in Bahrain (Maximum 150 words)
Position in business Nationality
Date of Birth
CPR Number Address of business (P.O.Box & Town) Business telephone
I agree to abide by the BBBF Constitution & Internal regulations. Applicants Signature
Please note that the granting of individual or corporate membership is subject to BBBF Committee approval.
Better Business Between Friends Duke of York enjoys a two day visit to Bahrain His Royal Highness the Duke of York visited Bahrain from 18-19 March as part of a regional tour in his capacity as the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. The tour, which included Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, was aimed at strengthening trade relations between the UK and the Kingdom of Bahrain. During his two day visit to Bahrain the Prince met with
His Majesty King Hamad and had discussions with his host, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Deputy Supreme Commander in Chief. His programme included meetings with the Chairman of the Economic Development Board (EDB), where he discussed Bahrain’s Economic Vision and Bahrain’s economy, access to GCC and Middle-East
markets and the availability of a skilled local workforce. During the visit to the EDB the Duke of York also met with senior EDB management including Martyn Forrest, Executive Director, Public Sector Reform, Stephen Harrison, Executive Director & International Advisor and Rana Faqihi, Manager, Projects & Government Reform. The Duke of York also visited
the UK Pavilion at the Middle East Oil show where he spent time meeting with exhibiting British companies as well as representatives from companies in the region including BAPCO and ARAMCO. During a lunch held by the BBBF, Prince Andrew praised the work of the BBBF in promoting business and proposed the forum adopt the catchphrase - Better Business Between Friends.
British Secretary of State, Lord Mandelson, praises UK/Bahrain relations The BBBF hosted lunch for Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Mandelson in April. Speaking at the lunch, Lord Mandelson called for a shake-up of the world’s financial systems to prevent a repeat of the recent market difficulties. “Each of us has a contribution to make, but everything that we do will be strengthened and multiplied if we work together, collaboratively as members of the international economic community” he said. That is why it is very important that we have agreed to greatly increase the resources available to the IMF to expand reserves that emerging economies can draw on to continue to make their contribution to global growth.” Lord Mandelson held meetings during his visit with His Majesty King Hamad, Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Lord Mandelson praised British relations with Bahrain and said the country could play a key role in helping solve the global credit crunch. “Bahrain’s financial system and the way it is regulated offers many positive lessons for the rest of the world” he said, adding that Islamic Finance could also have an important role to play in the economic recovery. Forum
Standard Chartered Bank supports WWF’s Earth Hour across the Middle East Standard Chartered Bank joined people, businesses and iconic buildings in the Middle East on Saturday 28 March 2009 for the second year in a row when they switch off their lights for one hour - WWF’s Earth Hour, showing support for a global mandate on climate change. Over 4,000 staff members across Standard Chartered UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan together participated by switching off computers before leaving their desks on the Thursday before Earth Hour, aiming to make a powerful statement about energy consumption in the region - the greatest contributor to climate change. Shayne Nelson, Standard Chartered Bank Regional CEO, Middle East and North Africa said, “With the backdrop of global economic challenges, it is easy to put climate change on the back burner. At Standard Chartered, we believe that with our wide network in the Middle East, we can make a credible difference to the environment. We encourage our staff to lead by example by symbolically switching off and unplug all non-essential
equipment and lights in the office and at home for Earth Hour, and to incorporate these simple actions into their lifestyle as a sustainable approach to tackling climate change.” “In our capacity as advisors, lenders, investors and insurers we recognise the instrumental role that financial institutions play in catalysing the shift to a low carbon economy. In January 2009, we led discussions on pertinent topics concerning climate change and renewable energy at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Today, through this initiative, we are reaffirming our commitment to climate change ahead of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. The Bank is proud to support the EWS-WWF - led initiative in the UAE and commend the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Dubai Municipality’s endorsement of the event. We encourage all organisations in the UAE and the region to join us in the campaign and help raise awareness about global warming.” Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the planet, and demands
urgent global action. Unless action is taken to prevent average global temperatures rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, there is a high risk of severe and irreversible changes in the planet’s natural systems, which will be devastating for people, economies and nature. A billion people are expected to sign up to Earth hour in 2009, and this year’s event is a lead up to the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Standard Chartered is supporting WWF’s movement to convince governments across the world to agree to take effective action to tackle climate change when they meet at the summit.
Standard Chartered is committed to building a sustainable business in the Middle East that continues to be high performing and views all actions in terms of their environmental impact, and economic and social contribution. The Bank’s environmental commitment is underpinned by its pledge at the Clinton Global Initiative to finance USD810bn of renewable and clean energy projects by 2012. To find out more about Earth Hour please visit www.earthhour.org. To read Standard Chartered Bank’s Sustainability Review, visit: www.standardchartered.com/ sustainability/en/index.html
Standard Chartered Saadiq voted ‘Best International Islamic Bank 2009’ Standard Chartered Saadiq, the Bank’s Islamic banking unit, has been named ‘Best International Islamic Bank’ for 2009 by Euromoney. A number of significant deals the Bank closed throughout 2008 including the first Sovereign Deal for the Government of Pakistan and a Project Finance Deal for Al Ma’aden Phosphate Company, contributed to the win. 10 Forum
Standard Chartered’s Group CEO Saadiq, Afaq Khan, commented, “The Bank remains focused on delivering shariah-compliant financial products and solutions seamlessly across our geographic footprint. To be voted ‘Best International Islamic Bank’ is testament to our team’s ability to combine Shariah expertise with strong business understanding to meet with
our customers business needs. The trust and the partnership with our customers and product partners have provided us the ability to deliver on a number of industry firsts that now serve as a benchmark across the markets for future similar deals.” Standard Chartered Saadiq celebrated its first anniversary as a global
Islamic banking brand last year offering solutions to SMEs including Cash, Trade Finance and Forex, and product offerings to individuals including mortgages, personal and auto finance, as well as third party distribution of Islamic funds. In 2008 Saadiq was presented with14 additional awards for major achievements in the Islamic banking field.
Financial News The appetite of the world’s wealthy for property remains strong, despite price falls, according to new survey results. But philanthropy is set to suffer. The 2009 Wealth Report is the third collaboration between Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, market leaders in high-value property consultancy and wealth management respectively. In the report the companies expertise in the property and financial sectors has been combined to provide insight into the wealthy and their relationship with the prime property sector. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the prime global residential markets and looks at the importance of residential property as an asset class. It reports on pricing trends across the global prime residential market and looks forward, with the aid of market-leading thinkers and commentators, at the big trends set to impact on the property markets in the future. Key highlights include:
· Over 90% of high net worth individuals’ (HNWIs) property portfolios fell in value last year · Only 5% of HNWIs are “very concerned” about the fall in value · Property, on average, accounts for 30% of HNWIs investment portfolios · Almost 55% of HNWIs plan to increase their exposure to residential property as an investment over the next two years · Two thirds of wealth advisors believe HNWI philanthropic activity will fall due to the credit crunch Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, commented: “Even though our Attitudes Survey, which monitored the decisions and attitudes of 2000 of Citi Private Bank’s richest clients, shows that the vast majority of HNWI property portfolios has fallen
in value, the rich seem less concerned about this than the decline in other investments. “Only 5% say they are “very concerned” about the falls and 55% plan to invest in residential property within the next two years. At the same time, the survey shows that confidence in equity and hedge-fund investments has declined significantly. Almost 100% of those represented by the survey had reduced their exposure to hedge funds. “Transparency and the desire to mitigate risk is naturally at the top of many investor’s agendas at the moment. The tangible nature of property means it is still viewed as a good long-term opportunity compared with more opaque investment classes that the credit crunch has revealed to be far riskier than many believed. “Survey respondents were also asked how their clients’
attitudes to philanthropy would change in view of the credit crunch. Although 80% said they had witnessed a growth in giving in recent years, two-thirds believed philanthropic activity would now decline. Those who remain committed to charitable endeavours are expected be more focused in relation to their giving and will want to wield greater influence over how their money is spent.” Knight Frank has been providing clients with Middle Eastern advice for the last seven years, and has now established Knight Frank Middle East, headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Knight Frank Middle East is headed by Don Bradley, who has 26 years’ Middle Eastern property consultancy experience including acting on behalf of institutional and private investors. Current clients include major developers in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE.
Islamic investment banks will have an important role to play in 2009 As market conditions begin to show signs of improvement, investors are increasingly looking for Sharia compliant investment opportunities, says CAPIVEST, the Bahrain based Islamic investment bank. Recently, banks have started seeing signs of a return of business confidence, both regionally and internationally, with investors now looking for more transparent and ethically structured products. For many investors this means that they will be opting for Islamic Investment products. 12 Forum
There has been exponential growth in Islamic Finance over the last few years with assets under management reaching US$ 660 billion in 2007 up from just over US$ 200 billion in 2003, and they are now expected to reach US$ 1,200 billion in 2012 (Oliver Wyman 2009 – Next Chapter in Islamic Finance). This growth is also linked to banks diversifying their activities away from a straightforward lending facility and moving to develop a full range of treasury products. Hasan
Executive Director of Treasury & Financial Institutions at CAPIVEST, said: “Investment products that adhere to Islamic principles offer today’s investor some clear benefits. The ban on interest, investments in highly leveraged assets, speculation, trading debt and complex structured products takes out many of the risks that led to the collapse or meltdown of some prime banks. Business risk is associated with reward and it is not possible to build a portfolio of toxic assets.
Abdulhakim Khalil Al Mutawa, Sakana Chairman
Most investments do not provide protected returns, but investors are looking for investment institutions to share the risk and back their own products.”
Bahrain’s financial sector in enviable position Bahrain is well placed to weather the current financial downturn, says HSBC’s Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Keith Bradley on a recent visit to the Kingdom. According to Bradley, liquidity problems faced by financial systems in the US and parts of Europe have not been experienced to the same extent in the Middle East. Bradley believes that within the region, “Bahrain has faced less of a liquidity problem than most… because the Kingdom has an older and more established financial services sector”. During his trip, Bradley visited key commercial clients to discuss strategic opportunities as he believes this is a period in which companies can take advantage of the low asset prices and opportunities created by the downturn to expand. He also hosted a media roundtable to discuss the current economic
environment and its impact on the region’s financial sector. “The Middle East region will bounce back faster than the West, as its financial systems are fundamentally strong”. The success of HSBC’s recently concluded USD 18.7 billion rights issue was also discussed, with Bradley emphasing the Bank’s commitment to increasing the region’s share in HSBC’s global business through continued support for business expansions. His visit also coincided with the launch of HSBC’s newly enhanced Business Internet Banking (BIB) system. The result of a USD200 million global investment, HSBC’s BIB system provides users with new functionalities including one time password generation as part of enhanced security features and new transaction capabilities which allow single and dual approval controls.
Bahrain in MoU with Japanese Bank The Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) has signed a MoU on a comprehensive strategic partnership with the Bahrain Government. Japanese Ambassador Takeshi Kondo welcomed the announcement, saying that the MoU will further strengthen bilateral relations and co-operation between the two countries. He is confident that this partnership will bring forth tangible results in developing economic and industrial opportunities for the mutual benefit of both countries.
JBIC president and chief executive officer Hiroshi Watanabe, who was on a visit to Bahrain, signed the MoU with Finance Ministry Under-Secretary Aref Al Mulla. Both parties agreed to pursue mutual co-operation for strengthening economic relations between Japan and Bahrain. Specifically, consultation meetings will be held on a regular basis to exchange information, which includes Bahrain’s new projects for which both countries can cooperate.
Citibank and Alico launch ‘Income for Life’ Annuity plan
In cooperation with the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO), the Global Consumer Group (GCG) and the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Wealth Management divisions of Citibank Bahrain launched in May a unique annuity product, “Income For Life”, as an addition to the existing range of Bancassurance products being offered by ALICO via Citibank. Issued by ALICO and distributed by Citibank, Income For Life annuity plan offers clients an income for a lifetime to help them meet their diverse financial needs. The plan provides a fixed regular income by investing into a range of investment funds, with each client’s premiums getting allocated based on specific risk/return appetites. The Bank has been offering a wide range of Alico’s existing insurance and savings solutions which include variable universal life products, medical and group life, pensions and annuities besides traditional life insurance. Mr. Ashish Bhugra, Country Manager, Citibank Bahrain said: “Our endeavour is to continue to provide the best services and products to our customers. With the launch of Income For Life plan together with ALICO, we
provide an element of financial stability to customers in order to safeguard their future and to give them more financial freedom.” “ALICO is proud to partner with Citibank in launching this unique proposition,” said Mr. Fadi Chammas, ALICO Gulf’s Deputy General Manager. ”The plans have been specifically tailored to address the needs of the growing Bahrain market.” Citi has been in the Middle East for nearly 50 years and currently offers consumerbanking services in Bahrain, UAE and Egypt. In the Kingdom of Bahrain alone, Citibank, the consumer banking arm of Citi, has had a presence for the past 20 years, and is expanding its major operations within the country. The bank is currently a major player in the Bahrain Credit Card market and a leading provider of Banking, Wealth Management and Consumer Credit services. Over the past few years, Citibank has launched a comprehensive suite of products & services that include innovative Structured Notes, Mutual Funds, Islamic investment options, Hedge Funds, MultiManager funds, Unit Linked Insurance plans and CitiBest Current Account that pays interest of up to 2.5% p.a. Forum
Financial News AXA Bahrain’s first ever Medical Service providers Forum AXA Insurance Bahrain held their first Medical Service Providers Forum on 21st April at the Sheraton Hotel. Stephen Wagstaff, Country Manager, welcomed and thanked all the providers for their continued and much valued support. During his presentation he talked about the successful growth of AXA and its stability in this turbulent economic climate. He mentioned the forthcoming web solution which will enable the providers to access patients’ eligibility for direct billing in their particular centre or hospital. There will also be an implementation for on line pre-authorization request. Dr. Gilbert Dimayuga, Regional Head of Medical Board came from Dubai to talk about AXA’s 24/7 Medical Board which now
comprises 15 permanent doctors for the Gulf region including AXA Bahrain’s resident doctor, Dr. Shabana Shahid. The board is giving continuous service to both providers and clients. He also confirmed that in emergency cases the turnaround time for approval can be as fast as 20 minutes extending to 24 hrs for nonemergency cases. Asmita Kokal, Head of Network Dept. (Gulf) made a presentation covering the rapid expansion of the network throughout the Gulf region. She also reviewed the current guidelines on claims submission, processing, and settlement. The Providers were made aware that there will soon be a new web tool which will enable AXA’s customers to see the detailed services offered by the providers in their different specialities.
During the Q & A session it was mentioned that AXA feels very positive with regards to the future compulsory health insurance and confirmed its total commitment towards its implementation. Following the presentations and Q & A session a raffle was held and the prizes were won by: Tom Varghese Pothen, Financial Controller from Al
RSA Asia & Middle East posts 43% premium growth premiums by 59%. Overall, the Middle East which includes UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, grew its premiums by 50%. RSA was also awarded ‘General Insurer of the Year’ for the second year running during 2008.
The RSA Asia & Middle East region announced a strong set of year-end results for 2008, reporting a profitable growth of 43 per cent (30 per cent on constant exchange) in premiums compared to 2007. Commenting on the full year results, Scott Pickering, CEO Asia and Middle East said “These are a tremendous set of results and demonstrate the positive impact of our continued focus on delivery and sustainable profitable performance” . The results have been led by the Middle East operations which delivered 14 Forum
another year of profitable growth driven by the UAE business that grew its
In Greater China, the business grew by 8%. This includes a commendable contribution from RSA’s Mainland China business which produced a 24% premium growth compared to the previous year. The Group also received regulatory approval to expand in China with the establishment of a branch in Beijing in 2009.
Kindi Specialised Hospital; Dr. Ebtisam Al-Dalal, Consultant Periodontal Medicine from Al Kindi Specialised Hospital and Mohamed Gayaz Ullah from Bahrain Medical Laboratory Before ending the well attended event with a dinner, the AXA team expressed its gratitude for the guests’ contribution/feedback and promised to continue being attentive, reliable and available at all times. RSA’s Singapore operations contributed to the regional results with strong premium growth of 10% during 2008. Royal Sundaram, the associate company of RSA in India continued to build momentum with a premium growth of 28% compared to the prior year. Scott Pickering added, “Across the Group, our objective is to continue delivering sustainable profitable performance. We remain confident of the attractiveness and long term potential of the Asia & Middle East markets. It is going to be a demanding year, but I believe there will be market opportunities for us to take advantage of in 2009”
Air Industry News Gulf Air to launch flights to Aleppo, Alexandria and Salalah this summer From the 1st July through to 12th September, Gulf Air will also fly three times per week to Salalah in Oman.
Departing every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Gulf Air will fly to Alexandria commencing 22nd June 2009.
Salalah is the birthplace of Sultan Qaboos bin Said who is said to be a regular visitor.
A twice per week service to Aleppo in Syria starts on July 2nd. While Damascus was always the ‘holy’ city, the seat of rulers and wary of foreigners, Aleppo, Syria’s second city, has been one of commerce since Roman times. While both cities claim the title of ‘oldest continually inhabited
With a population exceeding 4 million, Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and as well as being the country’s largest seaport is also an important tourist destination. Alexandria, known as “The Pearl of the Mediterranean” is one of the most beautiful summer destinations, offering the best of Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern culture.
a tropical climate through most of the year, attracting visitors from across the Gulf countries who often flock to the region to escape the harshness of the heat at home.
city in the world’, it’s in Aleppo that the legacy of history feels more immediate. “Summer is always a peak travel period as many residents, including a large number of expatriates, look to spend quality vacation time in these popular destinations,” says Gulf Air Director of Sales Mr. Kyle Haywood. “For this summer season, we chose to introduce special flights to these popular leisure and cultural spots in response to positive customer feedback.”
Known as the perfume city of Arabia, Salalah has some of the region’s pristine beaches along the shores of the Arabian Sea in a tropical setting and the region enjoys
British Airways back in Saudi Arabia Bahrain Air opens office in Jeddah After a four-year hiatus, British Airways (BA) has returned to Saudi Arabia with the first of its five weekly flights to both Riyadh and Jeddah from its base of operations at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The resumption of operations in the Kingdom form the core of the airline’s Middle East expansion strategy, with the Riyadh and Jeddah services taking BA’s regional summer schedule to 66 weekly flights from eight GCC destinations, a 35% increase on the same period last year. “Resuming these flights makes commercial sense,” said Robert Boyle, BA’s commercial director. “The oil market is increasingly important globally and inward 16 Forum
Bahrain Air has opened an office at the Nakheel Centre in Jeddah having appointed Elaf Aviation as its GSA for Western Saudi Arabia.
investment into Saudi Arabia has risen considerably in the last couple of years.” Boyle added that liberalization in the aviation market between Britain and Saudi Arabia had also contributed to the carrier’s decision. The British and Saudi governments agreed in June to increase the maximum number of weekly flights that each country’s airlines can operate between the two states to 35 from 13.
“We are strengthening our presence in Jeddah with our three times weekly service which will be expanded to a daily service later in the year” Ibrahim Al Hamer, managing director of Bahrain Air told a meeting of travel agents and media staff at the Elaf Aviation’s office. Al Hamer went on to say that the 15 month-old “affordable” airline with economy and premium class seats had plans to operate to Riyadh saying “We will be operating to 26 destinations by the year-end and are studying prospects of operating to
Dhaka, Chittagong, Karachi, Lahore, Addis Ababa and a host of other destinations. One of the strategies also under consideration was to make available charter flights for groups, especially Umrah and Haj groups. “Our airline comes in between a low cost and and a fully fledged airline” said Al Hamer adding that the airline did not believe in any price war to meet the challenges of the current global slowdown in passenger traffic.
Air Industry News bmi opens brand new international lounge in Heathrow’s Terminal One
bmi, the number one airline out of London Heathrow’s Terminal 1, has announced the opening of its new international lounge, bmi Number One Heathrow. The flagship lounge has been conceived with customer comforts in mind and provides a stylish environment in which to work, relax, dine and refresh.
bmi Number One Heathrow is open to bmi Business Class, Diamond Club (Gold and Silver) and Star Alliance Gold customers travelling to bmi international destinations. Located above Gate 5 in Terminal 1, bmi Number One Heathrow has a unique layout. It does not feature a reception desk – instead customers are welcomed inside by members of the Lounge Team. The space is divided into informal zones that cater to the varying needs of the international traveller – the emphasis being on providing a sense of comfort and familiarity.
stunning custom-made black Aga where steaming hot soup is available all day as well as a range of delicious food around the clock. From 1 July bmi will be launching their new dining-on-the-ground service for their evening flights where customers can choose to enjoy a tasty evening meal in bmi Number One Heathrow enabling them to relax and sleep once on board.
Customers are welcomed in to bmi Number One Heathrow where style and comfort are paramount. A range of different chair designs allow travellers to rest, work or even nap in daybeds. Great views over the runway add to the experience.
shaped bar and enjoy a choice of branded beverages including Fullers London Pride ale and English rosé wine in keeping with the strong British theme.
An informal, but sophisticated British pub environment is created in The Local where customers can unwind around a welcoming leather-buttoned horseshoe
bmi Number One Heathrow is the perfect stop for bmi customers connecting to any of bmi’s international destinations where they can choose to relax, refresh or rehydrate between flights and enjoy some homely British comforts. “bmi has created a new series of partnerships for the opening of the lounge that showcase Britain’s finest. Mark Hix, renowned and award-winning champion of British food is exclusively featuring his new line of salad dressings and ice cream on bmi’s midhaul Business Class menus and in bmi Number One Heathrow. The Hix branded ice-cream will be stocked in a freezer where bmi customers can help themselves to Hix’ generous pots of either ‘Credit Crunch’ (caramel and honeycomb chocolate), rhubarb crumble or blueberry and Dorset Honey flavours. What better way to spend an idle hour waiting for your connecting flight than enjoying a sweet treat in the comfort of bmi’s flagship lounge,” bmi reported. 18 Forum
The Study offers a work oriented environment with desk seating as well as a boardroom-style table and free Wifi is available. The Cafe is centred around a
The styling and design throughout the lounge also emphasises Britain’s best, both traditional and contemporary. Chairs are by Tom Dixon – an innovative UK designer, while there are original works of art by an award-winning graduate of the Royal Academy of Art, Phil
Shaw. Materials and colours are rich and sensual – reinforcing the indulgent, yet welcoming atmosphere. The new international lounge is the latest in a series of innovations from bmi. The airline recently launched its new Chauffeur Drive and Premium Check-in area at London Heathrow’s Terminal 1 to provide a fast and hassle free check-in service for Business Class and Premium Economy customers as well as bmi Diamond Club Gold and Silver card holders. bmi is the only airline at London Heathrow to offer Business Class customers a 30 minute check-in promise, enabling them to arrive at check-in as little as 30 minutes before their flight departs with the guarantee that they will make their flight. Premium leisure customers can also experience a more personal service when using the Premium Check-in area with bmi staff collecting luggage and travel documents from customers on arrival so that they can complete the check in formalities whilst they sit back and relax. All bmi flights operate from London Heathrow Terminal 1. In addition to benefits including online check-in, travellers will also be able to take advantage of Diamond Club, the UK’s most generous frequent flyer programme, and bmi’s Company Rewards programme for SMEs (small and medium enterprises). Diamond Club destinations miles can be spent on flights with Star Alliance member airlines, hotel accommodation and on a range of gifts and treats.
Bahrain Construction Update Kingdom’s first Steel Reinforcement Bar Mill obtains Government approval and commences production Bahrain’s first rebar manufacturer, Universal Rolling (UNIROL), commenced production of rebars of different sizes. The mill that took 4 years to build in the Hidd Industrial Area has utilised state of the art technology in steel rolling and manufacturing in addition to the latest quality control systems and it’s in-house laboratory in order to guarantee the highest level of quality and compliance with British Standard BS 4449:97 grade 460, and American Standard ASTM A615 grade 60. In a statement by UNIROL’s Managing Director, Mazen Almahroos, he stated: “The commencement of production at our plant comes
after big efforts made jointly by our team of Bahrainis and expats in addition to the support received from Government agencies that made our success possible. This new industrial entity will reflect positively on the lives of Bahrainis working with us, and on the real estate sector specifically, and the local economy as a whole”. “Currently the factory is running at only a portion of its 200,000 ton per annum production capacity, with capability of covering a huge part of the local demand of the Kingdom for this strategically important product. UNIROL currently employs 130 people and that number is set to increase to 200 within the coming months
as production is ramped up”. Almahroos continues: “We will work in the coming months on training Bahrainis in order for them to play a bigger role in this new industrial entity.” He spoke about the quality of the locally manufactured
rebars and confirmed that the samples taken from the trial production were tested by Ministry of Works and conformity to internationally recognised standards has been confirmed. Furthermore, engineers from the Ministry visited the facilities of UNIROL and
issued their unconditional approval for use of Bahraini steel produced by UNIROL for Government/ Ministry of Works projects. As a result, UNIROL started to market its steel in the local market and successfully supplied to some high profile projects around the island.
When asked about the importance of this steel product to Bahrain, Mr. Almahroos said: “We all remember what happened during the construction boom in 2008 when some projects came to a sudden halt due to lack of steel and cement. Imports were limited due to the ban of steel exports from Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s exports were limited due to Qatar’s own needs. The existence of a local producer guarantees to a great extent that Bahrain will not go through what happened in the past again. We would like to see Bahrain more dependent on itself rather than on imports especially when it comes to our development projects. Furthermore, our local labour force would benefit from direct and indirect jobs created in such strategic fields. UNIROL is owned by Bahraini and Saudi businessmen in addition to International Investment Bank which specialises in direct investment in diverse fields, part of which are light to medium industrial projects.
Ground-Breaking Ceremony takes place at Durrat Al Bahrain between Energy Central Company and Nass Contracting Co. W.L.L. At a recent ground-breaking ceremony that took place at Durrat Al Bahrain, a contract was awarded by Energy Central Co. (ECC) to Nass Contracting Co. for building infrastructure and ancillary works for a sea water desalination plant at Durrat Al Bahrain. The plant will meet the irrigation demand at Durrat Al Bahrain, a prestigious mixeduse residential and resort development in the south of the Kingdom of Bahrain, with a total investment value of US$ 6 billion. Khalil Issa, CEO of Energy Central Company commented on the groundbreaking, “Having been awarded a 25-year concession to design, build, and operate the seawater desalination plant at Durrat Al Bahrain, ECC is clearly following a path of consistent development and implementation of the project. The signing of the contract with Nass Contracting is a definitive symbol of our stable footing in the midst of the current global scenario. We are witnessing growth and participating in the growth first hand.” Equipment for the first phase of 12,000 cubic metres daily of desalinated water is already under manufacture and this contract includes buildings to house the plant together with storage tanks, pipelines, offices and site works. The facilities have been designed for phased expansion of the desalination plant in line with the
David Anthony GM Nass,Ghazi Nass Director Nass, Abdulla Al Zamil CEO Zamil, Khalil Issa CEO ECC 2 landscaping requirements of Durrat Al Bahrain.
development, as well as our own.”
Construction of the building, infrastructure and ancillary works by Nass will commence immediately with strategic areas scheduled for early completion by September 2009 in order to permit installation of the desalination and electrical equipment. Pre-engineered buildings have been selected to minimise the construction period so that the new plant can be in service before the end of the year and augment the present temporary facility.
Energy Central has adopted a fast track innovative procurement strategy in order to meet the requirements of this project that includes early contract mobilisation to start on 2nd March. This contract award signals further growth development for Energy Central as a rapidly developing utility provider. It also clearly demonstrates the progress in establishing utilities at Durrat Al Bahrain.
David Anthony, General Manager of Nass Contracting commented on the signing, “It gives us great pleasure to be signing this contract with ECC to provide the construction portion of this immense and exciting project at Durrat Al Bahrain. This is saying a lot for the strength of the project, Energy Central’s role in the
Last year Energy Central signed a 25 year concession agreement with Durrat Al Bahrain to design, build and operate a sea water desalination plant serving the irrigation needs of the entire Durrat Al Bahrain. The desalination project will operate using reverse osmosis technology and the total capacity when all phases are completed will be in excess of 32,000 cubic metres daily. Forum
Bahrain Construction Update Scott Wilson Ltd. announces it’s revolutionary Environmental Monitoring and Management System Scott Wilson Group, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary design and engineering consultancy firm, specifically designed and implemented DIANA, a first of its kind online system to provide automated real-time updates and analysis for Diyar Al Muharraq. It is one of Bahrain’s largest mixeduse master-planned projects, and a leading environmental development, is the first project in the GCC to commission and adopt an online environmental management system as part of its Environmental Management Plan (EMP). Scott Wilson’s Environment Division once again proved it’s expertise in providing sustainable and integrated
planning for projects in the natural environment. Through DIANA, strategically placed environmental monitoring stations around the Diyar Al Muharraq reclamation area provide DIANA’s specialised computer programs with a steady stream of data, which is analysed and compared against the set quality assurance standards and regulations. If these are breached, the system informs the operators and concerned regulatory bodies, such as the Directorate for Environmental Assessment and Planning (DEAP), for action, and saves both time and money. Diyar Al Muharraq’s CEO,
Aaref Hejres, said: “One of the aspects that truly sets Diyar Al Muharraq apart is our unwavering commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. As such, we partnered with some of the world’s leading organisations who we also know are committed to raising the bar for the necessary environmental measures essential for a project of this magnitude. We have had much interest from both Parliament and the Government of Bahrain for initiatives like DIANA, which are being adopted for the first time in the Kingdom through Diyar Al Muharraq.” Justine Carr, the Head of our Environment Division at Scott
Wilson commented, “Due to the size of the Diyar Al Muharraq Project (for which our company produced the original masterplan and concept design) and the complex nature of its dredging and reclamation works, Scott Wilson recognised the need for such a system to provide real time environmental monitoring and management. The trend towards responsible sustainable coastal development is on the rise across the region, and we expect that other projects will also use this system in Bahrain and elsewhere within the GCC.” Scott Wilson recognizes regional challenges and adopts or creates long lasting solutions.
Diyar Al Muharraq on track despite global crisis Diyar Al Muharraq, one of the largest mixed-use in the Kingdom of Bahrain, showcased the progress of the unique BHD1.2 billion (US$3.2 billion) development at Cityscape Abu Dhabi in April. With around 30,000 properties housing over 120,000 people planned on when finished, Diyar Al Muharraq’s construction is moving at a brisk pace with reclamation of phase 1 nearing 97% completion. Diyar’s participation at Cityscape Abu Dhabi offered potential investors, developers and buyers at the exhibition a chance to explore the many facets that make this development unique, and enabled the developers to share their vision and progress with international and regional investors, innovative 22 Forum
developers and other key stakeholders of the industry. Aaref Hejres said: “Being one of the most renowned property exhibitions for 2009, Cityscape Abu Dhabi gave us an ideal platform to display the progress of Diyar Al Muharraq to the region and promote it to the GCC and wider Middle East markets. We have masterplanned a model city on the northern shore of Muharraq where people of all strata would be able to find an ideal home.” “We are proud that, despite the global crisis, our demand driven development is on track. Being a city for the people, we are looking forward to launch the first phase of affordable houses for the community later this year,” he added. The development will offer a selection of freehold
properties accessible to buyers across various income levels, and its extensive and varied indoor and outdoor leisure, commercial and retail facilities will open up a new way of living for residents and all the people of Bahrain. Diyar Al Muharraq’s masterplan maps out a selfcontained city with many accessible landscaped public spaces, incorporating around
40 kilometers of waterfront which includes sandy beaches and a marina. This will be among the largest publicly accessible waterfronts in the Kingdom. The development also includes provision for numerous community spaces and facilities, hotels, Bahrain’s largest shopping mall, first-rate business district, which are all underpinned by world-class infrastructure.
BBBF Internal news BBBF Chairman Khalid Al Zayani welcomes Mr Desmond Browne, QC to the first BBBF business breakfast At a breakfast meeting on 28 May over 100 members of the BBBF met a delegation from the Bar Council of England and Wales who ran a panel discussion after speeches from Desmond Browne QC and Michael Brindle QC who outlined their hopes for building strong connections with the business community in Bahrain. The
main message for businesses here in Bahrain is that using the advisory or advocacy services of British Barristers is both logistically possible via email or phone contact, personal and direct, in terms of dealing with an individual, and offers a wealth of specialist expertise through the Bar Council network.
As the fallout from the credit crunch is felt throughout the region, particularly in the construction sector in the UAE, there is an expectation that there may be disputes, loan defaults and contracts that may be broken and that cost effective resolution of these issues will be needed. The message from Desmond Browne, Chairman of the Bar Council, is “A barrister’s core
skill of advocacy crosses borders very easily and international arbitration works as well here in the Middle East as it does in the UK”. “The purpose of the BBBF is to strengthen ties between the UK and Bahrain and to offer very valuable connections and useful business ideas to our members; this meeting is a
good example of how this is working. The Bar Council has shown their commitment to Bahrain by holding working sessions with the legal and business community. We have had a really interesting exchange of knowledge and experience” said Khalid Al Zayani Meetings have been held with key representatives from the government, regulatory agencies, the courts, the business community and a
number of leading local law firms. These meetings have been designed as a chance to brief business and those involved with the legal profession in Bahrain and provide them with a greater understanding of the English Bar and the legal services it provides, notably in the context of the current worldwide economic crisis. Desmond Browne QC, Chairman of the Bar Council said:
“This second visit by a Bar Council delegation to Bahrain has built on the relationship with the Bahrain legal community that was so successfully forged last year. Naturally the Bar Council believes that the advocacy and advisory services that barristers offer can be of real assistance in Bahrain. But we also want to do what we can to assist with seminars, advocacy training, and exchange visits between
young English and Bahraini lawyers. As regards the business community, these days the Bars’ services are directly accessible by phone or email to any inhouse lawyer needing rapid advice or arbitration services.” The delegation is a part of a mission which has included Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The trip builds on a successful initial visit which took place in 2008
Businesses Require an Information Management Policy in Order to Benefit form Liberalisation and Improve Effectiveness The General Director of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Mr. Alan Horne gave a presentation at the Bahrain British Business Forum’s (BBBF) April meeting held at the Regency Intercontinental Hotel. At the event, which was attended by more than 90 members from the business sector, Mr. Horne talked about the effect of the liberalisation of the telecommunications market and the advantages to businesses. In his presentation Mr. Horne encouraged businesses and government bodies to take advantage of liberalisation and the availability of choice by setting an Information Management/ICT Policy. “Such policy will enable businesses to better understand their ICT needs. This will then enable them to go to tender in order to obtain the most appropriate solution and value for money. This is particularly true in these times of financial difficulties.” Mr. Horne said. TRA aims to ensure that telecommunications
services, particularly Broadband, are readily accessible and competitively priced and, thereby, contribute to economic growth and providing a stable base for businesses. “Last week we have issued a consultancy project to provide an assessment of the future telecommunications needs of Bahrain so as to ensure appropriate policy is taken to achieve competitive high speed broadband services at internationally competitive prices to support economic and social goals as outlined in the 2030 economic vision for Bahrain” said Mr. Horne. Speaking about public concerns regarding radiation, Mr. Horne laid to rest the public perception and concerns over radiation from mast. He stated that Bahrain was the first country in the region to publish a standard for radiation levels with the Ministerial Order No 4 of 2009. The ministerial order specifies the maximum safe level of different frequency bands. Mr. Horne explained that TRA had just completed measurements at 11 different sites and will continue to monitor levels
closely. He invited every one to contact TRA if they wished to have their location checked. He went on to say “Our measurement indicate that radiation levels from telecommunications radio masts are around 800 times lower than the maximum safe level set out in the Ministerial Order”. “By promoting a more competitive marketplace TRA has established a
reputation for representing the needs of both private and business consumers. Our experience in Britain tells us that strong regulation makes for a healthy and vibrant business environment and all businesses benefit from easy, cost effective communications. The changes in the marketplace will bring sustainable benefits to Bahrain’s growing economy and is a key part of the 2030 economic vision” said Austin Rudman, Deputy Chairman of BBBF.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was established by Legislative Decree No. 48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law. TRA is an independent body and its duties and powers include, among other things, protecting the interests of subscribers and users and promoting effective and fair competition among existing and new licensed operators. More information regarding TRA can be viewed at www.tra.org.bh
Love Bahrain Litter Free Everyone can help the campaign MICE Management, Bahrain’s foremost PR and Event management specialist for the last 12 years has been appointed to undertake a national campaign for to create awareness within the community about keeping a clean environment and using the proper receptacles for rubbish. The campaign has been launched under the title ‘Love Bahrain Litter Free’, and is urging the support of the whole community to make Bahrain a clean and tidy place to visit. Cleaning companies Gulf City Cleaning Services, which has the contract for Manama and Muharraq, and Sphinx Cleaning Services which has the contract for North and Central Districts appointed MICE Management in January
Rob Grey, Director Communications & Development American Mission Hospital
and the campaign officially started the in February 2009. MICE is creating awareness by writing stories in newspapers and magazines, and working with local companies to ensure that the message gets to their employees, their customers and suppliers via communication with them. The agency has asked that everyone follows the guidelines for a cleaner Bahrain, as follows :
1. PUT LITTER IN THE BIN! - Do not throw litter randomly beside the bin – please place it securely inside a bin (preferably one with a lid on it) and ensure the lid is on This avoids unwanted scavengers, such as cats, mice, rats and flies which can all spread disease. 2. BE AWARE OF DAILY COLLECTIONS - To avoid litter creating unwanted odours, try to co-incide your time for putting litter in the bin near to the time for collection. 3. SWEEP OUT & BIN IT - If you are sweeping out a home or retail premises then collect the swept up material and put in it the bin also. Don’t sweep your rubbish or dust onto the streets as your street has more than likely just been cleaned. 4. DON’T THROW LITTER FROM CARS - Please take care of the environment and ensure that you have a bag for waste inside your car that is then put into a proper receptacle when full. 5. IN PUBLIC PLACES - Be a friend of the ‘Love Bahrain Litter Free’ campaign and ensure that your rubbish goes in a bin. Even if you are out at the beach or on a picnic, ensure that you take your rubbish home and put it in the bin. 6. COUNTRYSIDE PROTECTION - Avoid danger to wildlife. When taking a walk in the local beauty areas, ensure that you do not leave your litter behind. Take it with you and then … you’ve got it … ‘put it in the bin’. 7. BE RESPONSIBLE - Put all of your litter in a bin and encourage others to do so to ensure a clean and healthy environment in our towns and villages. 28 Forum
Healthy employees and the wellness culture
According to the Wall Street Journal, healthy employees and their participation in Employee Wellness Programmes are more important now than ever. Whatever talk there is of deflation healthcare costs continue to increase, even with the troubles in the economy costs of employer offered healthcare keep continuing to grow and it doesn’t look like changing. As an example during 2008, American corporations saw an increase of 10% in healthcare costs. How does that relate to the situation in Bahrain and the Gulf? Well the good news is that some drugs fell in price through exchange rates. The bad news was that other costs such as those for equipment, staff, accommodation, cleaning and government fees all increased and as a result medical costs rose by between 7% and 9%.This increase in healthcare costs plus the current financial difficulties is causing some companies to reduce their health benefits or even consider removing them.
Is there an alternative? There may be in an Employee Wellness Programme for Healthier Lifestyles Employee Wellness Programmes can reduce costs in two ways. First of all sick days drop so the absenteeism record improves, and consequently the number and quantum of medical claims falls. Secondly productivity improves.
So how do they work? Step 1. Ask your medical provider to carry out employee health screening to establish basic medical fitness by measuring BP, BMI, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ideally this should include talks on lifestyle topics such as smoking, diet and exercise, diabetes and wellbeing in general.
Step 2. Review the health risk assessment that you receive. There will be a confidential one for employees and an overall summary for the company.
Company Wellness Programmes Yield Big Results Faced with only 26% of employees participating in their employee health and wellness programme, Johnson & Johnson offered employees a $500 discount on medical insurance costs if they completed a health risk profile. The number of employees participating in the Johnson & Johnson corporate fitness programme jumped after they offered the incentive — to more than 93%.
Step 3. Create a wellness programme within the company to work towards a healthier lifestyle. Companies need to identify potential team members who can be champions of wellness. It is essential that the team represents the demographic diversity of workers within the company. Employees also need to be incentivised for participating in a wellness programme by rewarding them for achieving certain objectives related to weight loss or participating in an activity such as a charity run.
quantify the healthcare cost savings that will result from specific levels of lifestyle modification and health risk reduction. So the programme must include goals/ objectives in terms of reductions in sick days, claims costs or by aiming for reductions in health risks. That way management support will be provided.
Step 4. This programme will only work if companies can
Step 5. There will need to be an ongoing relationship with
your medical provider to provide simple periodic checks on employees, and an annual audit to measure progress.
What about the bottom line? Employee Wellness Programmes provide many advantages to a company’s bottom-line. Actual statistics from Prudential
Insurance show a medical benefit expense of $312 per individual enrolled in an Employee Health Promotion Initiative compared to an expense of $574 per worker that wasn’t enrolled. Another company showed member absenteeism dropping by 18%, thus greater production and less healthcare costs overall. Remember the healthier your employees, the lower the overall healthcare costs for a company. If you are self insured just one lengthy hospital stay can almost deplete a small business’ healthcare budget. If you are insured why not use the improved health of your employees to negotiate a discount with your insurer. Such can be the benefits of a healthy workplace and performance culture.
Business Opportunities in Yemen enjoy a privileged status in their export dealings with Yemen, thus an opportunity for British exports through Bahrain. Key sectors for such exports include construction, manufacturing, oil and gas services financial services, education, investment, white goods and technical expertise.
For the last two decades it has been very difficult for the majority of British Companies to market their products and services into the Republic of Yemen, a country with a population in excess of twenty million people, second only to Saudi Arabia in the Arabian Peninsula. Due to recent political history, the country has tended to look to Russia and China for most of its imports. In fact, many Yemenis have attended universities in Russia and Eastern Europe and for these Russian is their second language with English third. It cannot be denied that the country is going through a very trying period of inter-tribal strife and political insurgency; in addition, there has been an element of business corruption and intrigue. Unemployment among the young is extremely high and the per capita earnings are the lowest in the region. This has resulted in an extremely low level of expatriate labour and most jobs being held by Yemenis. The population is a mix of “pure” natives consisting of many tribes, and “African” immigrants who arrived several generations ago from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. Most of these “African Yemenis of Kenyan and 30 Forum
Ugandan descent” have traditionally sent their children back to the home countries for education with the result that many of these hold senior positions in the private sector businesses. Despite having oil resources the infrastructure is still very underdeveloped. Outside the capital, Sana’a, most houses are still constructed using bricks made of mud and straw. Hence, the destruction witnessed in the storms of October 2008. Road Construction, even in the capital, is fairly primitive and the transport system leaves much to be desired. Bureaucracy and red tape abound and patience and diplomacy are essential for people wishing to do business with the country. But, for British Companies with bases in the Kingdom of Bahrain there is now some light at the end of the tunnel. Recently the President of the Republic of Yemen and His Highness King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to encourage trade between the two countries. This followed a similar memorandum between the two Chambers of Commerce signed the previous month. Businesses in Bahrain now
It is interesting to note that due to the high altitude (the capital is 2,400 metres above sea level and the greater part of the country averaging around 1,000 metres) the climate is extremely temperate. This has enabled the country to develop its agricultural resources and with the right investment the country could become the food basket for the rest of the peninsula – especially if their vision of joining the GCC becomes a reality. Sadly, some of the agricultural land has been turned over to the growing of Qat, a hallucinatory drug, the sale of which appears to be controlled by influential persons. This is the curse of the population and is one of the major factors of the extreme poverty seen in many areas. Security is another concern for visiting businessmen and in this respect advice should be sought before planning a promotional visit. There are certain parts of the country that need to be avoided no matter how lucrative the business opportunities may appear. And in travelling outside the capital it is wise to engage the services of the military as escorts. Having two heavily armed soldiers in the vehicle seems to be a detriment to potential problem-makers. Or maybe it is the case of paying your dues.
Although not as much a goldmine as other countries in the region thirty years ago, there is undoubtedly a market for British products and services. Many of the senior businessmen recall the quality offered by British manufacturers in the olden days, have become derisive of products presently available to them from other countries, and would welcome the opportunity to do business indirectly once again with Britain. The writer of this article, a long time member of the BBBF, has been travelling to Yemen from Bahrain on a regular basis for the last two years and has been able to establish a good market for his particular sector in the oil and gas industry. He has also recently introduced another Bahraini company, specialising in oil and gas technical training, to the market, as well as helping to forge commercial links between a Bahrain media organisation and a local Yemeni business partner. Should you wish to find out more information please contact Dr Joseph Dunn at email@example.com or on +973 39558879.
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Hotel News Pathways Development Centre - Northern Gulf Region Room to Grow is part of InterContinental Hotels Group commitment to match its employee’s ambitions and help them build a career path and grow their skills. As part of this promise InterContinental hotels in Northern Gulf (including Crowne Plaza Bahrain, InterContinental Regency, Crowne Plaza Kuwait, and several hotels in Saudi Arabia) ran a special development centre during May at Crowne Plaza Bahrain. The Pathways Development Centre is a strategic programme, designed to identify and develop potential future managers, and has been run regularly throughout the Middle East and Africa over the last few years but
this is the first time the course has been run in Bahrain specifically for nationals. Candidates from Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi hotels were invited to present to a selection panel and then 16 high potential delegates were selected as the lucky ones to attend in May. “Apart from the fabulous development opportunities this will present to some of our high performing Bahraini team members, this also will support IHG’s localization programmes and it really emphasizes our commitment to developing locals within the company and helping them to progress in their careers” said General Manager Ivor E Prestwood.
be an opportunity for the Bahraini, Kuwaiti, and Saudi nationals to identify their strengths and their areas for improvement with the help of senior managers from around the Middle east – including several General Managers and Area Training Managers.
The development centre will
Over the two days, the
participants undertook several activities and were assessed and observed by the highly qualified assessors. They were also be given feedback on how they can improve and which competencies they need to develop. They will then be given help in preparing a career and personal development plan.
BITE draws 13000 visitors (MEEM), expressed his satisfaction over the positive response the exhibition drew from visitors, participants, hosted buyers and media.
The three-day Bahrain International Travel Expo 2009, which concluded on May 16, received about 13,000 visitors, according to the organisers. Numbers were down on the 18,000 for 2008 but the event provided Bahrain another opportunity to showcase itself to visitors from around the world. Jamil Wafa, founder and chairman of Magnum Holdings, the parent company of Magnum Events and Exhibitions Management 32 Forum
“Many international tourism boards who exhibited at BITE 2009 echoed Mr Wafa’s sentiments. They have expressed their keen interest in returning next year with bigger stalls, more information, and cultural shows representing the rich culture and heritage of their countries,” a statement said. “BITE is not only an important international annual event for the global travel industry, but also for international MICE organisations and consumers who find great value in the many exciting packages and deals offered at the expo,” said Wafa. “BITE has definitely put
Bahrain on the world map and on the annual itinerary for the travel industry,” Wafa added. As part of BITE’s MICE hosted buyers programme, 55 high-profile MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) buyers, corporate event managers and travel writers were flown in from around the world. They were taken on
several visits and excursions across the Kingdom. BITE has grown over the past five years from a show in 2005 with 14 countries, 40 exhibitors over 1100 sqm area to 44 countries, 120 exhibitors over 8000 sqm space in 2008. BITE 2010 will be held from May 13 to 15 at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre.
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Hotel News Ritz-Carlton recognised for “The Best Hotel Garden”
Friendship bridge to bring influx of foreign buyers According to Qatar’s Peninsula newspaper, developers in Bahrain are awaiting the completion of the upcoming Doha-Manama causeway in 2013 to see a real estate boom as demand for property for foreigners is likely to surge. Developers in Manama are mostly focusing on affordable housing and currently on offer are apartments of a minimum of 77 square metres with prices beginning from a low of BD700 per square metre. Middle-income expatriates from Qatar can hope to buy apartments in Bahrain for investment or their personal use as the prices of residential units range from as low as BD50000, with banks offering long-term soft mortgage loans.
Left to Right: Bernard N. Viola (general manager) and Dayananda Hippola (landscape gardener) The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa has been recognized with the Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa Cup at this year’s Riffa Views Bahrain International Garden Show, staged at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre. The annual event is the largest lifestyle and garden show in the Kingdom and was held under the patronage of H. M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and supported by his wife and chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women, H. H. Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa. “We are extremely honored to receive such a prestigious 34 Forum
recognition for our resort at one of the most important events in Bahrain, the Riffa Views International Garden Show. The award recognises the exceptional efforts and the creativity of our gardeners and florists, who continuously strive to provide the most beautiful flower gardens and landscaping for our guests,” says Bernard N. Viola, general manager. The beachfront Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa which features 245 rooms and suites, has won many awards including the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award which recognises outstanding customer service.
There are currently 15 to 20 high-rise residential towers being built in Bahrain, where apartments are sold on freehold basis and residency visas are issued for 99 years in one go unless an owner sells off or transfers a property. One can also work and do business in Bahrain if one has a 99-year residency visa, said a developer who was in Qatar to take part in the mega real estate exposition.
Jamal Al Issa, VicePresident of MJM Group, a Kuwaiti investment company which is developing residential property for foreigners in Bahrain, told the Peninsula that his focus was on middle-income users, among them long-time expatriates from Qatar and other GCC states. Sounding excited about the upcoming Manama-Doha causeway, he said he hoped a lot of Indians, Britons, Pakistanis and even Americans based in Qatar and other GCC countries would like to buy properties in Bahrain once the causeway opens in 2013. Expatriates in Qatar can seek mortgage loans for properties in Bahrain as well. “In our first phase, we are building 253 apartments, some 85% of which are already sold off,” said Al Issa. The maximum price per square metre in his project is equivalent to BD900, he said, as opposed to average prices of properties for foreigners in Doha starting from around BD1500 per square metre. The apartments in the first phase of the MJM project will be ready for occupancy by early 2012.
BBBF Members invited to try out a stylish new venue The Marriott Executive Apartments have unveiled the Skyw@lk Café. It’s described as a cozy stylish café restaurant, offering mouth-watering International and Mediterranean inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, coupled with prompt and friendly service and complemented with unlimited high-speed Internet access. Strategically located at the lobby level of the apartments, the Skyw@lk Café is Manama’s new hideaway, offering a delightful menu with affordable prices. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy 5-star quality food and services with very reasonable prices ranging from BD 2 to BD 6 per item. The decor reflects an elegant modern mood with a café style touch, thanks to the combination of laid back ambience and classy modern
International and Mediterranean interiors. “This is not a place to come if you are looking for a standard café or ordinary restaurant. This is a special venue for exceptional people,” said Alwin Karkada, Food & Beverage Manager.
The restaurant is open to the public and is an ideal venue for a quick lunch, coffee break, or even a romantic dinner for two. To suit the demand from the fast paced business environment, this 80-seated restaurant offers an ideal atmosphere to host a business lunch or afternoon
tea while having a casual and relaxed meeting. “It is also very convenient for business people who wish to enjoy their break time while doing business. The entire area has WiFi access and we provide some pc’s with a set of printing facilities so that they still stay connected to the world,” explained Alwin. Additionally, for corporate or group booking inquiries, the restaurant offers some special packages for functions such as meetings, corporate luncheons or group dinners. Guest can enjoy varied selections of lunch or dinner buffet combined with a meeting at it’s Resident’s Lounge. Speaking from his office, Director of Sales Marwan Haddad said, “As part of our effort to build good relationships with business communities in Bahrain, we are offering 15% discount to members of the BBBF.” Forum
It’s holiday time Some travel tips from American Express Blue skies, white sand, breathtaking rock formations … if you are planning a holiday this summer; ensure you have a hassle free vacation with an ideal travel companion - your Credit Card. Most people would never think of travelling without Credit Cards - and for many good reasons. Credit and Charge Cards can certainly give you an edge while on the road, providing greater security and convenience than carrying cash. Cards of today come with varied benefits ranging from confirmed hotel reservations, emergency Card replacement to insurance covering travel accidents and lost baggage. It is important to check if the travel benefits of your Card are comprehensive enough to ensure you have a smooth travel. To make your holiday a memorable one, here are some travel tips from American Express, a leading name in the world of premium payment Cards:
1. Before you leave, make a list of your Credit Cards and the international phone numbers to call in case they are lost or stolen. Keep in mind that the toll-free numbers that are normally accessible from your home country may not be valid in the country you are traveling to. Ask your Credit Card issuer for the appropriate toll free numbers 2. Make sure you have checked your Credit Cards’ expiry dates and their Credit limits. Ensure you know your PIN numbers for withdrawing cash 3. Purchase your airline tickets using your Card. If luggage is lost, or your trip is cancelled, you will have the receipt as proof of purchase. This will also allow you to benefit from free travel insurances and services offered by your Card. 4. When using the Credit Card online, always ensure that the website is reputable and uses some form of web security
5. Inform your Card company about your travel plans, so that you have no problems when you use your Card overseas 6. Use the security box or safe provided by the hotel. When sightseeing or going to the pool or beach, do not carry all your valuables with you. Never leave Cards unattended in the hotel room, at the pool, or in a vehicle 7. Keep sales receipts as proof of purchase and for reconciling your account when you get home. Contact your Credit Card provider right away if you see a charge you do not recognize or if you notice any inconsistencies 8. When you make a purchase overseas, make sure you double check the bill to ensure you are being charged the correct amount. After paying for your purchase, make sure you take your Credit Card back 9. Most Charge and Credit Cards offer fraud protection. American
Express Cardmembers are not held responsible for any unauthorised charges on their account. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your Card, please notify your Card Company as soon as possible Charge Cards are becoming an increasingly popular choice of travellers who load up on a lot of travel in a short time. The American Express® Green and Gold Charge Cards are prepared for every contingency and are among the most premium payment solutions available in the market. For example, if a bag is lost or stolen, there is hope. Baggage insurance will go a long way in helping to counteract that sinking feeling that comes with the realisation that a bag is lost. Many Charge and Credit Cards offer baggage insurance as a benefit to their customers. American Express, for example, provides a fee-free baggage insurance plan on many of its Card products – as well as several insurance plans that offer added levels of protection. Undoubtedly, Cards have become a blessing in disguise for travellers. From travel accident insurance and free access to airport lounges and booking holidays, paying for hotels, flights etc., so ...next time you plan a trip, follow these simple tips for stress free travel.
Bahrain News Condor appoint new manager
Cards conference to come to Bahrain
EY strengthens market position with key hires and promotions
The Chief executives of MTI Consulting & Veritas Investments signed a MOU at the offices of Veritas Investments recently.
Condor Technology announces the recent appointment of Kamel A. Hubail as General Manager of Sales & Marketing. Kamel brings a wealth of experience for such a young Manager and is a major coup for Condor. His knowledge of the local market enables Kamel to target the customers most likely to benefit from the many Telecommunications solutions in Condor’s portfolio. A few of the key milestones in Kamel’s career are as follows:• Recipient of Fulbright Scholarship from the Department of State • Studied at Beloit College in Wisconsin, USA • Worked as a Sales Manager for Energy City, Doha, Qatar 2006 • Worked as a Corporate Manager with Kalaam Telecom 2007 • Currently working with Condor as GM sales and Marketing. • Currently studying Leadership Skills for Manager at BIBF offered by UK Management Center • One of the founders of the Arabic Club in the U.S.A and was Vice President for One year. 38 Forum
The MOU was signed with the intention of jointly developing a Cards Conference here in Bahrain between October 20th and 21st, with the venue still to be determined. The conference will address the issues financial institutions operating card services face within the Gulf Region. Hilmy Cader, MTI’s Global CEO commented that “despite the macroeconomic issues globally, the Gulf offers a sea of opportunity for organisations that embrace a trim and fit configuration, and this forum will specifically address this issue from a card services perspective.” Mr. Premal Patel of Veritas Investments, who has vast experience working within the cards industry, believes that “with the right tools, organisations can seize the upside by looking beyond conventional models”, in which he referred to the success of premium card products and pre-paid cards globally as prime examples. The MOU not only signifies the value of bringing the card service industry together to discuss strategic and operational based issues to fight falling revenue, but the increasing attractiveness of Bahrain as the Middle Eastern location of choice for financial services conferences.
Bryan Mandy (above left) has 10 years financial services experience and has joined the Bahrain office from Ernst & Young’s established UK practice. His main focus will be to support the continued growth of our assurance services within Bahrain, primarily focused on investment banks and asset managers, as well as supporting the Bahrain office’s quality and efficiency improvement programmes. Since his arrival, he has initiated a series of breakfast briefings for clients and has acted as office coordinator for a recent Ernst & Young global campaign, Opportunities in adversity, which centres on diagnosing where management teams are in relation to current market stress and depending on the result of this – offering alternatives as to how they can address the issues they identify. Jill Boggiss takes on a broader business development role, managing a team who are responsible for marketing, business development and priority accounts for the Bahrain office. Jill joined Ernst & Young from an international communications consultancy. She moved from the UK, where she had a global development role for Citi, and has many years of experience in both corporate communications and employee engagement. She
has recently joined the BBBF committee and will apply her experience to create a BBBF PR and marketing plan. John Hollister, who has more than 25 years experience in ICT and the public sector, has joined the Program Advisory Services team. Mr Hollister will identify new opportunities, work with existing customers, and respond to larger bidding opportunities. Mr Hollister and the PAS team will pioneer new ways of working collaboratively with public sector bodies. These innovative models will help tackle the challenges facing public sector organisations to meet efficiency targets and deliver personalised public services to individuals. The Middle East practice of Ernst & Young is an independent professional services firm, which has operated in the region since 1923 and is a full member of Ernst & Young Global. For over 80 years, we have evolved to meet the legal and commercial developments of the region, helping businesses achieve their potential. Across the Middle East, our 3,700 people are united across 18 offices and 13 Arab countries, sharing the same values and commitment to quality. For more information, please visit www.ey.com/me
Bahrain News International Business Wales As the In-Market Partner for International Business Wales (part of the Welsh Assembly) Joe Dunn has recently completed his first project which involved market research for a truck body manufacturing company based in North Wales. The project was initiated from an enquiry from a local Bahrain haulage company who were seeking for retrofit product for attachment to their existing heavy goods vehicles. The research indicated that there is a considerable market for that particular product both in Bahrain and in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. During the project it also became apparent that there could also be an opportunity to link with a local company to manufacture and distribute some of the other products from the range including monocoque tipper truck bodies. Negotiations are now in progress between the company in Wales and a revered Family Business here in Bahrain. For more information about International Business Wales contact your local In-Market Partner. In Bahrain, Dr Joe Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org in Saudi Arabia, Andrew Mead at Andrew@sbtd.co.uk in Qatar David Chaddock at email@example.com in Abu Dhabi, Jane Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org or for the ME region email@example.com 40 Forum
Davis Langdon Office Relocation Due to the development of its business in Bahrain, Davis Langdon are pleased to announce the opening of their new office in Al Saffar House in the Seef area of Manama. This is the latest step in Davis Langdon’s continued growth in Bahrain and it will enable the firm to further strengthen its capability to enhance it’s services and expertise in the region. Spencer Wylie one of the Directors of the office said, “This new office allows us to meet the exciting potential for growth in Bahrain and further strengthens our relationship with local Clients and our position as a truly Global Construction Consultant firm. It will provide the firm with
additional space in order to accommodate our growing regional Client base and the continued expansion of our Construction Consultant business in Europe and the Middle East.” In conjunction with the expansion, Davis Langdon are also delighted to announce the arrival of a third Director to Bahrain. Paul
Ralph, with over 5 years Middle East experience, has transferred from our Dubai office to join the current management team of Spencer and Stephen Gee and focus on business development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia For more information, contact Spencer Wylie on +973 1758 8796.
New partners at BDO Jawad Habib BDO Jawad Habib recently appointed Rupert Dodds as the Partner responsible for Risk Management & Internal Audit division of the Firm. Prior to joining, Rupert was Risk Advisory Services Partner in a big 4 firm in New Zealand. Rupert handled Internal Audit, IT Advisory and Financial Risk Management services to a varied client base, comprising major public and private sector companies. Rupert has strong experience in Financial Services, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications and Public Services. He has over 28 years experience in managing and advising clients and is up to date in current practices in governance, risk management and assurance.
Rupert is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified in The Governance of Enterprise IT. “We are happy to appoint Rupert to this very important position,” said Jawad Habib, Senior Partner, BDO Jawad Habib. “Rupert’s knowledge and experience will contribute to maintaining the high standards of our Risk Management & Internal Audit services, as well as strengthening our BASEL II assignments,” he added. Also on the team is Prakash Kurup (Kash) who has recently joined the Audit and Business Assurance
Services division of BDO Jawad Habib as its Partner. Prior to joining, he was an Audit Partner for over 20 years in a top 40 UK firm of Chartered Accountants. He brings with him extensive experience in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, education, construction, property development and investment, professional services, outdoor advertising and charities. Kash is a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. He also has an MBA degree from Open University, UK. Both partners have joined the BBBF and are pictured on pages 4 & 5.
The Globe Cocktail Lounge Enjoy a relaxing drink before ordering from our extensive Concorde Restaurant menu or try one of our famous cocktails in a comfortable setting. This refurbished lounge is located opposite the Coffee Shop.
Belgrave Arms Decorated in a traditional pub style this bar is opened from 12 noon until 11pm.
The John Clarke Lounge Comfortably furnished and decorated in cool pastel shades, it’s the ideal place to meet friends or just relax. Situated adjacent to the Coffee Shop, refreshments and snacks are easily available.
The John Clarke Bar A quiet, smoke free environment with a pleasant atmosphere, situated off the above lounge.
The Sports Bar is adjacent to the poolside area and is open from 12 noon on SaturdayThursday and from 11am onwards on Fridays and on public holidays.
Coffee Shop Adjacent to the Lounge, the Coffee Shop is open seven days per week from 10am until 10.30pm.
Concorde Restaurant The Restaurant seats 85 persons and is open for lunch from noon until 3.30pm and for dinner from 6.30pm until last orders at 10pm daily except Fridays when the Restaurant closes at 3pm.
Poolside There is a swimming pool, children’s pool and poolside kitchen. Waiter service is available with a varied menu. Surrounding the pool are sun-loungers, chairs, tables and adjacent there is a lawn where one can relax and sunbathe, eat or drink and at the same time watch the children on the sanded area which has children’s play equipment.
Library Situated above the changing rooms, access may be gained by the adjacent stairs. It has approximately 7,000 volumes in the adult library and 2,500 in the junior library, with regular additions.
Gallery Bar Situated along from the Library, this room is used for private parties, seminars, small functions etc. Members may book this room for private functions.
Windsor Room A large hall used for entertainment and indoor games such as badminton, aerobics and social functions. An excellent stage and dressing rooms add a professional touch to shows and productions. A function bar services the hall and buffet lunch is provided on Fridays from noon until 3pm.
Health Club – “Velocity Fitness Studio” Here we have state of the art facilities – all you need to keep fit. Our highly trained, dedicated fitness instructors will be only too pleased to help and advise you on your personal fitness needs. Our Mission Statement “To meet and exceed members’ expectations through quality service and instruction and to provide a safe and motivating environment”.
Sports & Leisure Activities For raqueteers, we have two flood-lit tennis courts and an active tennis league for those who enjoy the competitive edge. For the very fit and would-be very fit, our squash courts have excellent facilities. Other sports activities include Cricket, Darts, Cycling, Football, and Aqua Aerobics. Other activities of interest available are Drama, Line Dancing, Badminton and Tae Kwon Do.
Bahrain News G4S Security Services 2009 Happy Day
On a perfect spring day on the 3 rd March 2009, G4S Security Services held their second annual Happy Day event in Bahrain. This event being part of the Regional G4S Happy Day initiative held simultaneously all over North Africa, Middle East and South Asia with some 10,000 underprivileged guests being entertained that day.
By kind permission of HE Jamie Bowden British Ambassador, the gardens of the British Embassy were opened to more than 60 guests plus their helpers from the disabled community in Bahrain. Our gratitude to the Embassy staff, Dreena Rogers, St Christophers School students, G4S staff, entertainers and Krazy Kevin who treated the
Business Incubation Services The PITT Group is currently engaged in assisting a British company to move its regional base from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain. The company recently had a stand at the MEOS (Middle East Oil Services) Exhibition here in Bahrain and realised that this country has become the epicentre for service companies operating in the Arabian Peninsula. Hence 42 Forum
the decision to move their base from Abu Dhabi, where they were hampered by many restrictive practices, to Business Friendly Bahrain. Although the company is relatively small in local terms, it does have a number of key clients (partners) globally and their offices in Bahrain will be responsible for servicing them.
guests to a morning of fun, music, refreshments and gifts. The Happy Day initiative gives G4S the opportunity to give something back to the local community in which we do are day-to-day business and is also a great aid to staff development in community issues. As the largest security provider in
Dr Joe tells us that The PITT Group are receiving more enquiries from British companies already established in the United Arab Emirates who are considering transferring to this country based on the current advertising campaign initiated by the Bahrain Economic Development Board for Business Friendly Bahrain. It is true to say that, despite the many local
the world with over 550,000 employees in 112 countries this type of initiative is incredibly important to cement our relationship with the local communities in which we operate. Photos say much more than words and the enjoyment on the faces of the children was indeed confirmation that the day was a great success.
complaints targeted at certain government organisations in Bahrain, in general there is a lot less red tape and bureaucracy here than elsewhere in the region. For more information about Business Friendly Bahrain contact the Bahrain Economic Development Board on +973 1758-9999 or Dr Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proud of and committed to Bahrain workforce DHL Express enjoys a longstanding, historic connection with Bahrain, which was one of the first places of operation for the Express company in the 1970s. Today it is home to the Middle East hub and our Middle East Airline. With 15 countries in the region and connection to 220 countries globally, the MENAT region is a vital logistics hub between East and West. And Bahrain serves as a gateway from Europe to Asia, as well as to Africa and Russia. Recently our DHL Aviation Division based in Bahrain has earned International Air Transport Association (IATA) certification. The IATA Operational Safety
Audit (IOSA) programme is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system created to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses quality audit principles and is designed to standardise audits so they are performed in a consistent and stringent manner. Currently 30 airplanes land and take off from Bahrain Airport on a daily basis transporting goods as diverse as bank documents, medical supplies, live animals and heavy machinery. Bahrain’s special location provides an excellent and stable base for DHL Express and a diverse and culturally rich
Freshfields advises Bahrain’s NOGA on joint venture with Occidental and Mubadala Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is advising Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) on a 20-year Development and Production Sharing Agreement with Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Mubadala Development Company, a business development and investment company in Abu Dhabi, for
further development of the Bahrain Field. Under the agreement, which is the largest ever undertaken in Bahrain, Occidental, Mubadala and NOGA will form a new joint operating company that will implement a development plan to dramatically increase the Bahrain Field’s production of both oil and gas.
environment to operate in. The service offered by DHL Express in Bahrain includes all Time and Day Definite products, ad hoc shipment requests, EasyShop, a fast, reliable and secure solution enabling customers to benefit from international shipping at low delivery prices as well as a recently upgraded internet tracking system. The commitment to the Kingdom shows also through the recent appointment of Garry Kemp as area director to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) who will be located at DHL Express’ MENAT Area office in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
DHL Express continues to commit to the Kingdom of Bahrain and is certain that with the right strategic measures in place, it will retain its market leadership in the Kingdom and the whole Gulf region. Due to DHL’s global presence and the strength of its integrated offering, which includes sister companies DHL Exel Supply Chain, Global Forwarding and Freight, the company is well placed to manage the challenges presented by the current global economic downturn. As the only company to win two awards from the Ministry of Labour in 2007 for its exemplary efforts in the area of Bahrainisation, DHL Express is proud of and keenly committed to its Bahraini work force.
Freshfields expands presence in Bahrain The Bahrain office of international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has strengthened its local base by relocating to the Kingdom’s state-of-the-art World Trade Centre.The Bahrain team, headed by Harnek Shoker, is prominent in the region and is preferred international counsel for the Government of Bahrain and some of the most high-profile investment houses in Bahrain and the region. Commenting on the recent move, Harnek Shoker (pictured) of the firm’s Bahrain office said: “Moving our practice to such a prestigious location underlines Freshfields’ commitment to our significant and high profile activities in Bahrain, and in the Middle East as a whole. We are delighted to
strengthen our presence in the Kingdom, which will enable us to continue to build on our reputation as a leader in this important market.’ With immediate effect, the firm’s contact details are as follows: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP Bahrain World Trade Centre, East Tower, 37th Floor, PO Box 20184, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain T +973 1713 4333 F +973 1713 4300 Forum
Bahrain News British Council Bahrain in collaboration with Bait Al Qur’an launches ‘My Fathers House’ exhibition educational packs and events for schools and colleges. It is part of the British Council’s goal to demonstrate the role of cultural relations in raising awareness, building understanding, creating opportunities and improving trust between countries of the Middle East and the UK. Hannah Henderson, Regional Creativity Manager in the Middle East said: ‘Cultural Heritage and architecture are the symbols of our identity. In this collaborative project between Middle East and UK artists My Father’s House asks us: how do we see where we live?
‘My Father’s House’ is the British Council’s photography exhibition which examines the influence of architecture on cultural heritage and aims to stimulate debate on the role buildings play in shaping a nation’s culture.
My Father’s House has begun its year long tour of six countries in the regionOman, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – In Bahrain My Father’s House was inaugurated under the patronage of Her Excellency Shaikha Mai Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture and Information, on 21 March at Beit Al Qur’an in Manama. Plans are underway for My Father’s House to be shown in the UK following its tour of the Middle East. Five emerging Middle East 44 Forum
artists and three UK photographers – including Winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2007 Tim Hetherington – have used large-scale photography, audio-visual media and film to examine how the built environment reflects the people, the community, society and the nations of the Middle East in the My Father’s House exhibition. The exhibition has been the centrepiece of the ‘My Father’s House’ project which also includes related activities for the general public such as an online photography competition and photographic treasure hunt for families, workshops for emerging and professional photographers, talks by the ‘My Father’s House’ artists, seminars and conferences on architecture and heritage,
‘How does that built environment reflect its people, their community, society and the country? What is the effect of the drive towards modernisation on those traditional aspects of society - its local customs, eco-systems and economies? What is being lost? Where are the unrecorded, personal histories? How is the built environment valued and used? And who are its guardians? These are some of the critical questions that My Father’s House explores. ‘We are delighted to be working with these artists from the Middle East, giving them the opportunity to respond in their own very individual ways to the theme of My Father’s House. The British Council has an international reputation for nurturing young creative talent. We hope that the workshops provide an occasion for other emerging
talents to learn and exchange ideas and that all the supporting activities will inspire each of us to reflect and take a fresh look at our surroundings and the impact they have on our culture.’ Rayyah Fathalla, Arts Manager at British Council Bahrain, said: “My Father’s House is, in a sense, a commentary on the dynamics of the Arabian Peninsula’s development. It is a culmination of eight distinct views from the Middle East and the UK on the subject of urbanization and its consequences, expressed beautifully in the form of photography and film. The images are touching and evocative; their candour makes us aware of the impact such rapid change has upon our environment and cultural identity.” The artists showing specially commissioned works in the My Father’s House exhibition are: Wed Abduljawad - Saudi Arabia Hafiz Ali - Qatar Boushra Almutawakil - Yemen Lamya Gargash - United Arab Emirates Camille Zakharia - Bahrain and Oman Tim Hetherington - UAE and Yemen Tim Loveless - UAE and Oman Hazel Thompson - Qatar and Bahrain Inspiration for the specially commissioned works comes from the oral tradition of storytelling, cinema, households, changing landscapes, archaeological and restoration projects and the role of women in shaping their societies.
Helping young people clean up and green up MWH Khonji delivered an environmental slant at heritage clean up event region, MWH carries out a range of civil engineering contracts for clients who value the company’s innovative approach, engineering expertise and its commitment to delivering sustainable solutions that enhance the environment. Joao Barroso, an environmental engineer with MWH Khonji, delivered the presentations to the young people together with his colleagues Eman Radhi and Hasan Bu-Safwan.
Young people from schools across Bahrain marked UNESCO’s International Day for Monuments and Sites by cleaning up an ancient burial mound, learning more about climate change and how they can help to build a better world. MWH Khonji, a leading engineering firm operating in the wet infrastructure sector in Bahrain and a champion of action to combat climate change, joined forces with the National Museum of Bahrain to deliver the event on the weekend of April 18th and 19th. For MWH Khonji, the heritage event was its first environmental awareness initiative under its new name following a re-branding of the joint venture between MWH and Ismail Khonji Associates, formerly known as Watson Khonji. About 50 students aged 16 participated in the clean up
at the site of an ancient burial mound at Hamad Town. The students divided their time between collecting and sorting waste including paper, plastic bottles and general litter and participating in an interactive session staged by a team of experts from MWH Khonji who wanted to find out what they knew about the relationship between waste, the need to recycle and climate change potential. The students saw the waste being collected by a nongovernment organisation that recycled it, giving the profits to needy people in Bahrain.
spoke to them about the impact climate change can have on world heritage sites including the threat posed by rising sea levels. Lesley Desport, MWH Khonji Business Director and BBBF member, said: “We were delighted when the Ministry of Education, through the Globe initiative, put us in touch with the National Museum and offered us the opportunity to get involved and help sow the seeds of environmental care and action to combat climate change.” As a major player in the
Joao said: “Our Mission at MWH Khonji is to “Build a Better World” and MWH has signed up to the Clinton Global Initiative. This involves a Climate Change Commitment to reduce carbon emissions, to help our clients do the same and to educate local communities on climate change and the need to take action. “The heritage event provided an ideal opportunity to inspire young minds about the need to care for the environment and to take action to tackle climate change. The young people of Bahrain are the decision makers of the future and we need them to do the right thing for the environment,” he said.
The following day the young people gathered at the National Museum to hear a presentation from the MWH Khonji team on climate change awareness and how recycling and other measures can help to reduce the impact of climate change. An expert from Bahrain University also Forum
Bahrain News BWTC Turbines officially certified by Bahrain’s electricity distribution directorate The Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC) has announced the official certification of the building’s wind turbines by Bahrain’s Electricity Distribution Directorate (EDD). The three 29-metre diameter turbines are now set to auto-mode meaning they are supplying power to the office towers. The turbines were inaugurated in April of 2008, since then they have been undergoing daily safety and regulatory testing, and were commissioned to mark Bahrain’s National Day in December 2008. The BWTC’s turbines are the first in the world to be integrated into a large scale commercial development, and are predicted to provide 11-15% of the power needed to operate the offices of the 50 storey twin towers. Mr. Peter Longstaff, Senior Project Manager at Atkins (Architectural Designers and Engineers of BWTC) commented: “The official certification from the EDD
means that the turbines are now fully operational and are supplying power to the development set to automode. In order for the turbines to work there are certain criteria that need to be met. Namely, the correct balanced wind speed falling between 4 to 19 m/sec flowing from the Northeast or Northwest direction. “For the purpose of understanding power supply, the twin towers can be categorised into three horizontal levels with each floor level having a direct alignment to the corresponding turbine. It is worth mentioning here that the three turbines are running at variable speeds which is due to changeable wind speeds at each location.“ He added “Taking all of these technical elements into consideration and keeping in mind the building cleaning and maintenance requirements, we envisage that the turbines may run, on average, approximately 50%
of the time.“ Mr. Bob Addison, Country Manager of DTZ (BWTC’s Managing and Leasing Agents) commented: “By mid 2009, we expect that all tenants will be moved in and operating in the office towers. MODA Mall a highend boutique shopping mall, complements the development showcasing a tenant portfolio that is handpicked to offer its clientele with a unique and exclusive shopping experience, is now also fully operational. BWTC is truly a landmark development in terms of sustainable architecture, and we should all be proud of Bahrain as the location for the world’s first wind turbines in a commercial development.” This milestone follows the BWTC’s most recent accolade, when it was named “Best Tall Building” in
the Middle East and Africa region for 2008 by architecture’s leading body dedicated to the field of tall buildings, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Designed and engineered by Atkins, the award confirms the building’s elite position as one of the most iconic buildings in the world. In November of 2008, BWTC also became a “Blue Monument”, as it lit up in blue in support of World Diabetes Day, joining over 800 other global landmarks from 160 countries. Visitors to the BWTC now have access to a plethora of brands which have never been seen before in Bahrain through the project’s exclusive MODA Mall, with the likes of Fendi, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Christian Lacroix and many more now open for business.
The Capital Club Bahrain announces appointment of Executive Chef The Capital Club Bahrain has announced the appointment of Cyrille Troesch as Executive Chef for the club. With over twenty years of experience in the hospitality industry, Cyrille, along with his dedicated and professional team, will ensure that the region’s gastronomy lovers experience exceptional culinary indulgence. Commenting on the appointment, Guy Guillemard, Chief Executive, Signature Clubs International – parent company of the Capital Club Bahrain, said: “We are delighted to have Cyrille onboard. He has a genuine love of gourmet cuisine and brings to his new role a wealth of experience,
which will be key in enabling us to achieve our aim of becoming Bahrain’s premier meeting place for the region’s business community.” Prior to joining the Capital Club Bahrain, Cyrille worked in numerous Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world where he combined first-rate ingredients and hospitality practices with personal flair to create a unique vision in dining which placed these restaurants among the premium cuisine establishments of the world. Cyrille’s gourmet devotion started early as he grew up in Provence, Southern France, which is renowned for gourmet cuisine. He has experience working with
U.K.); and Raymond Blanc as Head Chef (Le Petit Blanc, Cheltenham, UK.). The well travelled chef enjoys being in Bahrain: “I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who share a genuine love of the gourmet cuisine and am honoured to deliver this dining experience to all the distinguished members of the Capital Club Bahrain. I am also delighted to have a strong Arabic kitchen team at the club” said Cyrille. some of the most distinguished chefs in the world including: Gerard Boyer (Les Crayeres, Relais Chateaux, 3*Michelin, Reims, Champagne); Michel Roux (The Waterside Inn, Relais Chateaux, 3* Michelin, Bray, Berkshire,
Situated in the Bahrain Financial Harbour, the Capital Club Bahrain is designed to offer its members exceptional meeting, networking and entertaining opportunities. The club is affiliated to 240 clubs around the world.
Bahrain News TNT and Con-way partners to provide cost efficient service BBBF member Ahmed Gamal writes in to tell us that TNT and Con-way Freight have announced a partnership to link their respective road networks in Europe and the USA and offer cost-effective express freight services between Europe and the United States. The agreement establishes Con-way Freight as TNT’s primary road transportation partner for deliveries of ‘Economy Express’ shipments across the USA. Con-way Freight is North America’s leading less-thantruckload (LTL) freight transportation company. It offers a day-definite service to 99% of all zip codes in the continental United States. Similarly, Con-way Freight’s network will be linked to TNT’s global air network and Express Road Network, which reaches over 35 countries in Europe and covers the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Brazil. The new service is being launched initially for heavy freight shipments originating
And Finally e-books in the news again. Amazon.com is making major strides in the ebook market, but another Internet giant seems poised to offer some healthy competition.
in Europe with a destination to any city in the United States. Other markets will be brought on-line later this year. The partnership also offers both companies the opportunity to explore and develop an expanded range of international freight services under their own brands, utilizing the network connectivity established between Con-way Freight in the USA and TNT in the rest of the world. All in all, this is a very exciting development. We can now safely say that we operate the world’s largest scheduled and interconnected road network for Economy Express shipments in the world!
Google is planning to enter the e-book market with a program that would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their latest titles directly to consumers, according to The New York Times. Some publishers are concerned that Amazon’s prices are too aggressive and may welcome Google if it sells digital books at better margins. Amazon peddles best sellers, on average, for $9.99. That’s less than the $26 at which bookstores typically sell hardcover editions. Google reportedly would allow publishers to set their own prices for e-books. As Michael Gartenberg, a VP at Interpret, said Amazon’s pricing strategy doesn’t hurt publishers. Amazon may sell the hard covers at $9.99 in digital format, but Amazon takes a loss when publishers won’t lower their prices. What’s more, he said, the pricing strategy is vital to educating the market. “The lesson we learned from iTunes is when you are trying to teach consumers a new paradigm, uniform pricing makes a lot of
sense,” Gartenberg said. “Once you are five or six years down the road and you’ve taught consumers the notion of buying music at 99 cents and downloading it to your computer and transferring it to your phone or media player, you can get into things like variable pricing.” Now Google is becoming an e-tailer rather than a conduit for free content. Instead of pointing consumers to Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to purchase hard copies of popular copyrighted books and letting users search though its book-scanning project, Google could possibly begin competing to sell those titles. Gartenberg has questions: How consumers will read the e-books? On a computer? Is Google going to get into the hardware business and build an ebook reader? Will the company build an e-book application for Android? “Given Google’s track record in their past forays of selling content, it’s nothing at the moment for Amazon to lose sleep over,” Gartenberg said. “The problem when an 800-pound gorilla jumps into the pool is it tends to make waves, but that doesn’t mean the gorilla knows how to swim very well.”