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Bank Muscat SME workshop on financial analysis evokes good response

MUSCAT, 11 May 2014 – A series of workshop on ‘understanding and utilising financial analysis to make business decisions’ organised by Bank Muscat for the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector evoked strong response from existing and prospective entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs in the capital region attended the workshop on the first day at the bank’s head office, followed by another session at Al Nahdah Resort, which was open for all entrepreneurs in Batinah region. Aimed at expanding and strengthening avenues for SME development in Oman, the workshop organised by al Wathbah, Bank Muscat’s SME department, concludes on 13 May at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Salalah, to be attended by entrepreneurs in Dhofar governorate.

Ilham Al Hamaid, AGM – SME Credit, Marketing and Regional Corporates, said: “Bank Muscat regularly organises workshops and seminars across the Sultanate to facilitate unique learning opportunities to address the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and thereby create an environment favourable for SME success. The issue of understanding and utilising financial analysis to make business decisions is a key factor for the success of SMEs. We are happy that the workshop participants have benefited from the learning experience. In an environment where competition is becoming tougher, understanding successful business strategies is vital for SMEs to survive and grow.”

Rami Camel-Toueg, a Certified Management Consultant from the Institute of Management Consultancy in the United Kingdom, conducted the workshop, highlighting different types of cost; steps to control cost and avoid cash shortage etc., essential to run successful SMEs.

Over the years, Bank Muscat has taken several strategic steps to strengthen the SME sector in Oman. The bank regularly conducts workshops and seminars to help SMEs identify business opportunities and tackle challenges. Serving as building blocks for existing and prospective entrepreneurs, these initiatives assume importance in the backdrop of the priority accorded by the government to develop the SME sector in Oman.

al Wathbah, Bank Muscat’s SME department, offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions for SMEs. The first-of-its-kind initiatives launched by al Wathbah include an innovative SME financing programme not requiring collateral guarantee. The al Wathbah SME Non-Collateral Programme is a bold step affirming the bank’s commitment to encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Oman.

In line with the national objective to promote development of women in business, the bank has also launched several initiatives benefiting women entrepreneurs, including a

dedicated web portal, al Wathbah Businesswomen’s Forum, which brings together businesswomen to benefit from each other’s expertise and experience.

Al Wathbah Business Zone at the bank head office is a unique facility that can be used free of cost by Bank Muscat SME customers who do not have their own office space. The SME Credit and Marketing Department is available to help aspiring entrepreneurs tap the bank’s expertise developed over the past 32 years to deal with all aspects ranging from conceptualisation to setting up of successful SME units.









Ooredoo and Leo Messi Boost Programme for Children’s Health to Three New Markets

Ooredoo and Leo Messi Foundation Expand successful Mobile Health Clinics Initiative from Indonesia to Myanmar, Tunisia and Algeria


Barcelona, Spain and Doha, Qatar

Ooredoo and the Leo Messi Foundation today announced a series of new initiatives that will transform their ongoing mobile health clinic programme in Indonesia into a global force for better healthcare in the developing world.

The Ooredoo Mobile Health Clinics Initiative provides healthcare services in rural areas that do not have easy access to medical facilities. Launched in partnership with the Leo Messi Foundation in 2013, the programme aims to reach two million children by 2016, focusing on Ooredoo’s markets in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Ooredoo’s company Indosat originated the mobile health clinic programme in Indonesia. Following today’s announcement, Ooredoo and the Leo Messi Foundation will expand the initiative to Myanmar, Algeria, and Tunisia, with dedicated mobile clinics for each country.

At a ceremony in Barcelona, Spain, held one year since the programme’s launch in Qatar in 2013, Ooredoo Chairman H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani and football star Lionel “Leo” Messi formally announced the expansion to the three new markets.

H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman, Ooredoo, said: “On behalf of Ooredoo, I’d like to thank Leo Messi for his personal involvement in our Ooredoo Mobile Health Clinics Initiative and we are excited about his commitment to visit these markets and see the mobile clinics in action. As our Global Brand Ambassador, he shares our vision for enriching people’s lives and promoting human growth. The clinics have already made a striking impact in Indonesia, and we believe there is huge opportunity to promote better health for children in Myanmar, Algeria, and Tunisia in the months and years ahead.”

Football star Lionel “Leo” Messi said: “I’m proud to be a part of this initiative. Children all around the world deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams and aspirations, and helping them to be healthy is one of the best ways we can ensure they have a good start in life. Ooredoo is a great partner to reach young people in the most deprived communities and provide real tangible hope and assistance.”

In Indonesia, 16 mobile health clinics have provided free healthcare services for more than 600,000 people. The mobile health clinics have been particularly effective following natural disasters and emergencies, and have now expanded their activities to include providing medicine, vaccinations, and education on infectious diseases for children and their families.

Messi founded The Leo Messi Foundation in 2007 to support a wide range of healthcare initiatives, treating Chagas disease, malaria, children cancer, refurbishing hospitals, and offering medical scholarships focusing on cancer research and paediatrics.

By partnering with Ooredoo, the Foundation is further extending its reach. Ooredoo and the Leo Messi Foundation are working together to ensure that the services provided by the fleet of mobile clinics match to the healthcare needs of each individual market. In addition, Messi’s support provides much-needed visibility and profile, thanks to the branded logos of the Leo Messi Foundation and Messi’s image on the outside of the vehicles and the doctors' medical kits.

In order to ensure that the mobile health clinics provide the right mix of support in each country, Ooredoo is forming partnerships with leading NGOs and private sector organisations, both in countries with developing healthcare infrastructure, such as Myanmar, and those with highly-developed healthcare infrastructure such as Qatar.

In Qatar, Ooredoo has a strong history of supporting health initiatives for its wide demographic of customers. Projects include annual health camps for expatriate workers, sponsorship of educational lectures, and funding two major health centres in Doha.

In Myanmar, up to eight mobile health clinics will travel to rural and remote districts of the country, providing natal care, as well as prevention and treatment for routine infectious diseases and childhood illnesses.

In Algeria and Tunisia, Ooredoo will deploy fully-equipped vehicles to isolated villages and under-served areas, delivering community-based healthcare and first aid. The Red Crescent will provide doctors and nurses to manage daily operations and operate the health clinics.

At the event, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani and Leo Messi were joined by Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo; Waleed Al Sayed, COO, Ooredoo Qatar; Alexander Rusli, President Director and CEO, Indosat; and Joseph Ged, CEO, Ooredoo Algeria.

Bank Muscat to announce 2nd batch of FIFA World Cup™ package winners

MUSCAT, 10 May 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, in association with Visa, is all set to announce the second batch of 23 winners to experience the thrills and excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.

In all, 66 all-expenses-paid packages are on offer for al Mazyona customers, credit and debit cardholders, asalah Priority Banking and mobile banking customers to witness the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ matches, including the finals, in Brazil. In the first draw, 16 customers won the packages. The exciting promotion started on 1 February and runs till 31 May. The all-expenses-paid 2014 FIFA World Cup™ packages include airline tickets, match ticket, 4-day and 3-night hotel accommodation and sight-seeing in Brazil.

Bank Muscat, in association with Visa, has been granted an exclusive positioning among 20 global banks chosen as official Retail Bank of 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Bank Muscat is the only financial institution in Oman to receive this unique privilege.


Importance Of More Unifications Of Gulf Countries Discussed

Albert Fahil

Omantel announced this week that it has recorded an increase of 18.1 percent in net profit within the 1st quarter of 2014. Last year Omantel’s profit for the period was RO29.1Mn and for the 1st quarter of this year, the profit is RO34.4Mn. Meanwhile, Omnivest, too, announced this week its profit for the first quarter of the year. The profit, RO7.85Mn is slightly higher than the profit of the corresponding period of the last year (2013) which was RO7.81Mn. The Group announced that its success is mainly attributable to its investments in capital market, associated companies, banking subsidiary and other main investments.

In mid week Qatar Airways authorities stated that they cannot reach the status of the Airports in Dubai. The airport referred the statement to Hamad International Airport (Formerly New Doha International Airport). According to the statement, Dubai International Airport, which commenced work 20 years back, is way ahead when compared with the Hamad International Airport. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services shows in its ‘Risk Are Unlikely to Dent Qatari Banks’ report, that profits of Banks in Qatar will remain strong in the next 12 months. The main factors for the stable profits are low cost bases and government backed investment, stated senior official, report shows.


Ahmed Al-Musalmi named CEO of the National Bank of Oman

Muscat, Oman; May 10, 2014: The National Bank of Oman (NBO) today announced the appointment of Ahmed Al-Musalmi as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Al-Musalmi, who served as NBO Deputy Chief Executive Officer Since 2011, takes over from Salaam Al-Shaksy who is leaving the bank after four successful years to pursue new personal and professional interests.

As Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Bank of Oman, Mr. Al-Musalmi, worked closely with Mr. Al-Shaksy to transform the bank. In his new role, Mr Al-Musalmi will continue to drive forward the National Bank of Oman’s long-term strategy for sustained growth.

National Bank of Oman’s Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Mahfoodh Al-Ardhi, said: “I would like to personally thank Salaam Al Shaksy for his contribution and service to the National Bank of Oman. His leadership during the transformational period for the bank has been fundamental to our success.”

Mr. Al-Ardhi added: “I am delighted that Ahmed Al-Musalmi has been appointed to lead the National Bank of Oman as we enter the next stage of our growth. This is a very exciting time for the bank as we roll out the next phase of our strategy. A highly qualified and well rounded banker, Ahmed has demonstrated great leadership and made a significant contribution in redefining the strategy of the bank. His deep knowledge of the National Bank of Oman allied to his broad range of financial industry experience make him uniquely well qualified to take on this role.”

Mr. Al-Musalmi has 20 years of extensive hands-on experience across the finance industry, including retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, treasury, financial management, operations management, trade finance and several other sectors.

Ahmed is a Harvard Business School Graduate of AMP. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, with distinction, from the University of Luton in the UK; International Diploma in Financial Services; Chartered Market Analyst with Financial Analyst Designate; Chartered Portfolio Manager; and Chartered Wealth Manager. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Financial Management. He also attended a high performance leadership program with IMD-Switzerland.

Records tumble at ATM 2014

Largest ever travel trade event in Middle East welcomes record number of visitors up over 10% on 2013 figures - sellout show mirrors industry growth and confidence

Concluding four days of travel trade business, Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014, which comes to a close today (8 May), reports that visitor numbers topped 23,000, up by over 2,100 or more than 10% on 2013 figures.

The record-breaking show, now in its 21st year is the largest travel trade exhibitor showcase in the Middle East, accommodated over 2,700 exhibitors with 120 first-time participants, 68 national pavilions and a packed schedule of 40 seminar and tech theatre sessions.

“The preliminary figures for this year’s show underscore Arabian Travel Market’s relevance to the regional travel and tourism sector and reflect the healthy performance and confidence of the industry and its vital role as a major economic driver for the region,” said Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.


EIIB-Rasmala Announces 2013 Full-Year Results

EIIB-Rasmala transformation plan delivers tangible results with strong increases in revenue and assets under management and a return to profitability

London, 8 May 2014: European Islamic Investment Bank plc (‘EIIB-Rasmala’ or ‘The Group’), the London-listed specialist investment banking and asset management group focused on the growth markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has announced its full-year financial results for 2013. The Group is traded on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Key financial highlights for the period ended 31 December 2013 were as follows:

·         Operating income increased strongly to £10.2m (US$16.9m) in 2013
·         Profit before tax from continuing operations increased to £1.5m (US$2.5m)
·         Net profit to equity holders increased to £0.14m (US$0.23m) after tax expenses and a loss on discontinued operations
·         Assets under management including capital seeded by the Group increased by 25% to £712m (US$1.2b)

·         The Group maintained its strong capital adequacy, regulatory and liquidity ratios. The Regulatory Capital of the Group at 31 December 2013 stood at £101m (US$167m)


Bank Muscat honoured for impactful CSR initiatives

MUSCAT, 7 May 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, was honoured by the Ministry of Social Development in appreciation of the partnership with the ministry and impactful initiatives in support of the community. The ceremony held under the patronage of H.E Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Minister of Oil & Gas, was attended by dignitaries, senior government and private sector officials.

Bank Muscat is the first bank to establish a full-fledged Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department in Oman. Considered among core values, the CSR policy stems from the bank’s commitment to social responsibility encompassing all-round development vis-à-vis society, environment and economy.

Endowed with a global outlook, Bank Muscat remains Omani at heart, truly a classic case of service without boundaries. The bank has developed several programmes that promote community building. The CSR programmes are focused on developing youth through educational support, training and sports, investing in homes for low-income and social welfare families etc.

Bank Muscat has established a leadership position in CSR in the Sultanate with impactful projects that stand out for its core values. The ‘Jesr al Mustaqbal’ (Bridge to Future) youth scholarship programme is targeted at students belonging to social welfare and low income families, selected to study in their chosen fields, including Banking, Accounting, Information Technology and Finance. The scholarship programme was launched in execution of the directive of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to provide relevant educational and training opportunities to Omani youth to develop employable skills. Scholarships are available to low-income students from all regions of the country.

The Tadhamun programme was launched by the bank in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development to extend support to social welfare and low income families in the Sultanate, mainly through distribution of household goods and appliances.  Reflecting the corporate ethos, the bank seizes every available opportunity to channel resources for creating sustainable, positive changes in communities by investing in their welfare to equip them for a better life. Over the years, the Tadhamun programme has benefitted numerous social welfare and low-income beneficiaries.

The bank launched the unique Green Sports initiative in 2012, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports Affairs, to promote Oman as a sporting nation, as part of which sports teams/clubs across Oman are supported to green their playing fields. The bank recognises that local clubs wield immense influence on neighbourhood communities, especially youth, therefore clubs with modern infrastructure facilities can help raise sporting heroes for the country. Green Sports not only encourages youth to excel in sports, but also promotes a healthy lifestyle and environmental protection in Oman.

The bank has also made great strides to reduce its environmental impact. This includes e-banking and mobile banking services to reduce environmental footprint and enhance customer service.

Bank Muscat to host SME workshop on financial analysis

MUSCAT, 6 May 2014 - Offering yet another opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to equip themselves for establishing successful SMEs, Bank Muscat SME department is organising a series of workshop across the Sultanate on ‘understanding and utilising financial analysis to make business decisions’.

The first workshop targeted at women entrepreneurs will be held at the bank’s head office on 10 May. The second workshop, open for all entrepreneurs in south Batinah region, will be held on 11 May at Al Nahdah Resort. The third workshop organised for entrepreneurs in Dhofar governorate will be held on 13 May at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Salalah. Rami Camel-Toueg, a Certified Management Consultant from the Institute of Management Consultancy in the United Kingdom, will conduct the workshop, highlighting different types of cost; steps to control cost and avoid cash shortage etc., essential to run successful SMEs.

Ilham Al Hamaid, AGM – SME Credit, Marketing and Regional Corporates, said: “Complementing the government efforts to promote the SME sector, the bank’s initiatives focus on creating a favourable environment for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. The workshops and seminars organised by the bank impart the best practices worldwide, aimed at equipping entrepreneurs to successfully establish their business operations.”


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