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Middle East Airlines Add More Aircrafts, Destinations, Facilities

The works on some new airport projects in Oman are now accelerated and new airports are earmarked as the aviation sector development of the Kingdom receiving a high attention of the government. The planned and being constructed airports in the Kingdom include Sohar, Duqm, and Adam Ras al Hadd. In addition, the Muscat and Salalah airports expansions are accelerated. It is reported that $6.1 billion has been allocated for regional airports and the expansion of two major airports. The works of airports is to be finished by 2015.

Meanwhile many regional and major airlines add new destinations to their flight schedule this year. Etihad will fly to Belgrade, Washington DC, Ho Chi Minn, Amersterdam, Sana’a and Sao Paulo. The airline has ordered 56 new aircrafts this year at the cost of $25.2 billion. Emirates, which is the owner of largest aircraft operator, has also put orders for 150 Boeing 777X, plus 50 purchase rights. The order also includes 50 Airbus A380s. Flydubai has scheduled 16 new destinations and introduced business class to its fleet. Sharjah Air Arabia also adds 8 new destinations to its flight operations this year.


Bank Muscat conducts fire evacuation drill at head office

MUSCAT, 1 January 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, as part of its Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) exercise, successfully conducted a fire evacuation drill at the head office. The exercise involved the evacuation of over 1400 staff and retail outlet employees in less than 5 minutes.

Significant coordination and preparation were made to ensure that the exercise, which lasted 30 minutes, was a success. Safety of customers, employees and suppliers has always been a priority for bank muscat, which conducts drills to test its fire evacuation preparedness.

Featuring intelligent design, practical in all aspects, the bank’s purpose-built headquarters incorporates the latest technology and architectural features, meeting the key requisites in terms of functionality, security and BCP requirements.


National Bank of Oman Concludes two workshops on “Advanced Collection Techniques”

Muscat, January 2014: National Bank of Oman Academy of Excellence, the training arm of National Bank of Oman, recently concluded two workshopson “Advanced Collection Techniques” for its staff inRemedial and Collections department.

The Bankhas one of the largest collections team amongst banks in the country and prides itself on its operational excellence, customer service and turn-around-times (TATs).

In an increasingly competitive environment, in which every customer is hard won, every touch-point with the customer will influence how they see the organisation. This requires a demonstration of exceptional interpersonal skills and the conveying of a professional and positive image of the company.


Bank Muscat hosts money skills training for SQU students

MUSCAT, 31 December 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, in association with VISA Inc., organised a first-of-its-kind financial literacy programme for first year students of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The ‘My Money Skills’ training initiative stems from the bank’s commitment to promote financial literacy to students as part of its social responsibility.

Bank Muscat is the first bank in the GCC region to introduce the ‘My Money Skills’ programme for students in association with VISA. Attended by about 50 students, the week-long training focused on educating students on how to handle their finance with prudent spending and savings habits. The key aspects of the training included identifying personal financial goals and planning a budget to achieve these goals. On completion of the training, all participants received certificates.

Tariq Atiq, AGM – Cards & eBanking, said: “Bank Muscat is proud to join hands with VISA to launch yet another unique initiative benefiting youth who represent the future of Oman. The ‘My Money Skills’ programme reflects the bank’s commitment to responsible banking aimed at contributing to the country’s development. Prudent financial management is the key to laying a strong foundation for success in life. The financial management skills acquired in the training programme will be helpful for students to judiciously manage their finance.”


Bank Sohar Announces Launch of Debt Syndication for MISCO Steel Project


Hosts meeting with prospective investors and local & international Banks in the Sultanate
Muscat | December 30, 2013: Achieving yet another milestone in continued growth of the industrial sector in the Sultanate, Bank Sohar has announced the launch of a debt syndication facility for the Greenfield Steel Project by Moon Iron & Steel Company SAOC (MISCO), being set up in phase 7 of Sohar Industrial Estate. This follows a formal signing ceremony with Moon Iron & Steel Company (MISCO) in November 2013, whereby the Bank was appointed as the sole arranger for tying up the entire project debt requirement of USD 257 million.

Mr. Mervyn Fernando, DGM & Head Corporate Banking commented on the announcement, “At Bank Sohar, we are proud to be associated with this project as it will not only be a significant contributor to the industrial sector in the Sultanate, but will bring all-round development and increased employment opportunities for locals. As part-financers, we are pleased to announce that the initial meeting was a success with all local banks and a few foreign banks operating in the Sultanate showed keen interest as well. Bank Sohar is committed towards supporting viable industrial projects in Oman and we look forward to coming up with similar initiatives in future to support this vision.”

Bank Sohar hosted a kick-off meeting on December 23, 2013 at The Chedi, Muscat as the sole arranger and part lender of the Greenfield Steel Project. Interested parties and institutional investors gathered to learn about the new project, while the investment benefits from participating in the debt syndication programme were highlighted through a series of detailed presentations by the bank. The Greenfield Steel project has been fully evaluated by the Project Finance & Syndication Department of Bank Sohar, with an Information memorandum (IM) being formalised, which describes the project and the terms of the proposed debt syndication. The IM was shared with other interested parties to identify their appetite to participate in the funding requirements for the Greenfield Steel project.

The welcome address at the evening’s event was delivered by Mr. Ali Abdul Hossain Al Lawati, Chief Manager, Corporate Banking. Thereafter, Mr. Sanjeet Kumar Verma, Head of Project Finance & Syndication showcased a detailed presentation of the Projects terms of transactions. He also mentioned that the project co-ordinates have been mostly tied up, contractual structures are in place, most of the statutory clearances have been obtained and the company has also entered into firm arrangements for procurement of raw materials and off-take of finished goods.

Finally, Mr. Mervyn Fernando, DGM & Head Corporate Banking delivered the vote of thanks to all the guests for being a part of the event, and lending their support. He also discussed challenges of the project at macro level for Banks operating in the Sultanate and a need to operate with a healthy competitive environment.

As one of Oman’s most dynamic financial institutions, Bank Sohar is consistently working toward promoting the industrial sector in the Sultanate, to strengthen the economy as well as provide increased opportunities for development within the country.

Bank Muscat launches first-of-its-kind Zaffaa marriage loan

MUSCAT, 30 December 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, has launched a first-of-its-kind banking product in Oman aimed at supporting youth during marriage. The new Zaffaa marriage loan addresses a long-felt social need, extending a helping hand to Omani youth requiring financial support to conduct their marriage.

Zafaa is targeted at unmarried Omani youth. As per the 2010 census figures, around 58 per cent of Omani nationals comprise youth spread across all regions of Oman. Zaffaa caters to this segment as there is a big demand for such a product in Oman.

Omani nationals above 18 years, both men and women, are eligible to apply for Zaffaa. The maximum loan amount is RO 20,000 with 5-year tenure for repayment. For eligibility, the minimum monthly salary requirement is RO 250 for government and quasi government employees and RO 500 for employees of Tier 1, 2 companies.


Bank Sohar Sponsors Sayyid Abbas Golf Trophy 2013

Muscat, December 30, 2013: Bank Sohar, in line with its commitment towards actively promoting competitive sports in the country, has once again sponsored Sayyid Abbas Golf Trophy for 2013. The sponsorship marks the fourth consecutive year that Bank Sohar has sponsored the popular tournament which is held at the Ghala Valley Golf Club every winter.

The Sayyid Abbas Trophy is a two-day winter tournament which follows a 36-stroke-hole competition format. It is the longest running championship at Ghala Valley Golf Club and has generated immense interest from members and golf enthusiasts alike. Representing Bank Sohar at the event was Mr. Musatafa Ali Mukhtar, the Senior AGM and Head of LCB.

Dr. Mohammed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, CEO of Bank Sohar said, “Partnering with the Ghala Valley Golf Club and the Sayyid Abbas Golf Trophy is not just a powerful way to deepen community relationships; it is also a great way to raise the profile of Golf in Oman. Golf has been attracting men and women of all ages in the country and competitions such as the Sayyid Abbas Trophy certainly provide a good opportunity for players to improve their skills at the game.”


Meethaq Shari’a Board reviews branch operations

MUSCAT, 29 December 2013 - The Shari’a Supervisory Board of Meethaq Islamic Banking from Bank Muscat visited the Meethaq branch in Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) as part of the strategy to review branch operations. The Shari’a board members who visited the branch included Sheikh Essam Muhammad Ishaq, Sheikh Majid Al Kindi, Abdulqader Thomas and Dr. Saeed Al Muharrami.

The board members interacted with the branch staff to evaluate important operational aspects and discussed Meethaq activities and strategy for branch operations in the coming period.

The state-of-the-art Meethaq branch network in Oman reflects Bank Muscat’s focus to redefine Islamic banking operations in Oman. The Meethaq branches are designed to create a unique ambience and banking environment in line with the Meethaq brand values of true Partnership, Transparency and Trust.

Meethaq strives to fulfill the needs of customers with innovative Shari’a based products and the branch network is yet another proof of its commitment and dedication to meet customer expectations for Islamic banking. Meethaq is well positioned to provide Islamic financial expertise to diverse segments and thereby promote the good of society as a whole.


Bank Muscat SME forum reiterates commitment to women empowerment

MUSCAT, 28 December 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial institution in the Sultanate, hosted SME businesswomen as part of activities linked to its al Wathbah Businesswomen’s Forum. The forum is the first-of-its-kind online networking platform launched by the bank to encourage and promote women empowerment, especially through business networking among women entrepreneurs. The session addressed by successful women entrepreneurs was attended by a large turn-out of existing and prospective businesswomen drawn from diverse fields.



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