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Rotana announces Five-Star Hotel in Baghdad

By John Lee.

UAE-based Rotana Hotels has signed a hotel management agreement with Al Ibaa Company to operate a five-star property in Baghdad.

Effective 1 February 2019, Rotana will operate the city’s famed Babylon Hotel under its new brand name Babylon Rotana Baghdad.

With a prime location next to the high-security Green Zone, close to the banks of the famous Tigris River and just 30 minutes’ drive from Baghdad International Airport, Babylon Rotana will offer long and short-staying guests alike all the comfort required for a pleasant and memorable stay experience.

Boasting avant-garde architecture, the hotel features 284 spacious and modern rooms and suites with stunning views of Baghdad’s skyline and the majestic Tigris River. The hotel’s striking pyramid design and extensive gardens are truly fitting to the Babylonian heritage of the city.

Imad Al Yasri, Chairman, Al Ibaa Company, commented:

“It gives us immense pleasure to partner with Rotana to operate our five-star property in Baghdad, and we are excited about the planned upgrade and refurbishment of the hotel. We are confident that the partnership with Rotana will present a compelling value proposition for our guests, employees, and stakeholders, and further drive our business growth. We look forward to working closely with Rotana to enhance the overall performance of the hotel, thereby contributing to the development of a thriving hospitality market in the capital city.”

Commenting on the agreement, Guy Hutchinson, Acting CEO, Rotana, said:

“At Rotana, we are delighted to have made a strong start to the New Year with the signing of the agreement to operate the Babylon Rotana Baghdad. This new milestone is closely aligned with our vision to further deepen our footprint in the region and cement our leadership position in the hospitality sector.

As a result of its ambitious reconstruction efforts, Iraq has achieved tremendous progress in accelerating economic growth and development and improving the security environment in the country over the last few years. Likewise, the capital Baghdad has been experiencing a robust increase in the number of corporate and leisure travellers, thanks to its greater financial stability and rebounding tourism sector.

“With these prospects, the country is increasingly becoming an attractive market for hospitality investments. At Rotana, we will continue to seek new opportunities to further enhance our presence in this market.

Considered one of the city’s top dining destinations, the hotel’s offerings include five dining venues and a range of authentic regional and international cuisines, with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. To cater to the needs of corporate travellers, the hotel offers an extensive business centre, fully-equipped meeting rooms and event venues, and a ballroom that can host up to 600 guests.

The hotel also features a host of entertainment and leisure offerings, including tennis courts, Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club, temperature controlled indoor and outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pools, and kids’ play facilities.

Babylon Rotana Baghdad will join the company’s three operating hotels in Iraq, including Erbil Rotana, Erbil Arjaan by Rotana, and Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana, bringing Rotana’s total inventory into 838 operating keys. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Rotana will open Slemani Rotana, Sulaymaniyah, adding 240 rooms to the country’s growing hospitality inventory.

(Source: Rotana)

Contract Awarded for Trucks

By John Lee.

A company has won a tender to supply two truck tractors with low-bed trailer to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Iraq.

The contract with US-based Al-Kasid Commercial Agencies Ltd is valued at $269,300.

According to the company’s website, Al-Kasid Commercial Agencies Ltd is the official distributor in Iraq for Hyundai Motor Company (commercial vehicles and buses) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (construction machines and forklifts).

It also has a joint venture with GB Auto for the distribution of Hyundai passenger cars in Iraq.

(Source: UNGM)

IBBC in Productive Trade Mission to Baghdad

Iraq Britain Business Council completes productive trade mission to Baghdad

IBBC recently completed a productive mission to Baghdad, meeting with high-level government officials and British authorities in Iraq. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq led the delegation alongside Mr Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC, Mr Christophe Michels, Managing Director of IBBC and Mr Vikas Handa, IBBC representative in the GCC.

IBBC was joined by numerous member representatives, including from Al Bilal Group, Al Burhan Group, Al-Nukhba OFS, ARCHS, Constellis, Dar Group, EY, Gulftainer, G4S, Khudairi Group, International Islamic Bank, Kuwait Energy, Management Partners, Menzies Aviation, Mosul University, National Bank of Iraq, Ratba’a Contracting, Serco, Shell, Standard Chartered Bank and Turnkey LLC.

The delegation visited soon after the election of President Dr Barham Salih, who took time out of his busy schedule to meet Baroness Nicholson and the IBBC leadership who were joined by HMA Jon Wilks. Dr Salih has been a close friend of the IBBC for many years and recently spoke at the IBBC Cumberland Lodge Conference in July.

On Sunday 7 October the delegation held meetings with the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Mr Ali Mohsen Ismael Al Alaq, H.E. Mr Adbuallah Luabea the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Fayadh Neema, Senior Deputy Minister of Oil and Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission. The delegation were hosted by the Iraqi Federation of Chambers of Commerce in the evening for dinner.

On Monday the delegation met with Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Dr Hameed Ahmed Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Dr Sabah Mushatat, Economic & Investment Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr Mudher Mohammed Saleh, Finance Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq and with Ján Kubiš Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.  In the evening Ambassador Jon Wilks hosted a reception for the delegation and Iraqi dignitaries at his residency.

Before leaving Iraq, Christophe Michels visited Serco, who are working with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority at Baghdad International Airport. Serco supports the Iraqi authorities in managing the entire spectrum of air traffic control in Iraq including the increasing number of international overflights.

(Source: IBBC)

Air Arabia launches fourth Iraqi Destination

Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), has announced the launch of non-stop service to the city of Sulaymaniyah in the north of Iraq.

The new service from the carrier’s primary hub in Sharjah marks Air Arabia’s fourth destination in Iraq and 152 worldwide. From November 6, 2018, Air Arabia will offer two weekly flights to Sulaimaniyah, making it convenient for passengers travelling between both cities.

Offering convenient timings, the three-hour flight will operate twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The outbound flight on Tuesday’s will depart from Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) at 05:00 and land in Sulaimaniyah International Airport (ISU) at 06:55 local time. The return flight will leave Sulaimaniyah at 07:35 and land in Sharjah at 11:05 local time.

On Fridays, the flight will depart from Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) at 15:00 and land in Sulaimaniyah International Airport (ISU) at 16:55 local time. The return flight will leave Sulaimaniyah at 17:35 and land in Sharjah at 21:05 local time.

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, said:

“We are pleased to launch this new service to Sulaimaniyah, our fourth destination in Iraq, after Baghdad, Najaf and Erbil. We continuously seek ways to enhance airline connectivity with Iraq, given the growth in business ties between the two nations. The additional route is a testament to Air Arabia’s commitment to providing affordable air travel to our growing customer base.”

(Source: Air Arabia)

Baghdad Firm wins UNOPS Order

By John Lee.

A Baghdad-based company has won a tender to supply and deliver garbage compactors, loaders and truck tractor with low-bed trailer to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Iraq.

The contract with Al-Nuwaira Trading Agencies Co. is valued at $320,000.

(Source: UNGM)

EY Iraq collaborates with Morgan International

EY Iraq has announced its collaboration with Morgan International – a   leading provider of international professional certification and diploma programs in the areas of accountancy, finance, human resources, marketing and logistics – to enable the provision of professional training in Iraq for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) credentials.

The collaboration will ensure a wider spread of high-level qualifications available throughout covered territories, thus enhancing the skill set of professionals within the auditing, tax consulting and other advisory services arenas – in line with the EY slogan: ‘Building a better working world’.

(Source: Press Release)

Trade Bank in talks to Buy a Gulf Lender

By John Lee.

The state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) is reported to be in talks to buy a Gulf bank with branches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

Chairman Faisal al-Haimus told Reuters that talks are underway and the purchase is expected to be completed in six to eight months. The name of the bank was not disclosed.

According to the report, Haimus was in Abu Dhabi to sign a 100 million euros ($115.5 million) loan agreement with Germany’s Commerzbank to enable it to support small and medium sized projects in Iraq.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

Aggreko signs Contract with North Refineries Company

UK-based Aggreko (Middle East) and Iraq’s North Refineries Company have signed a contract for rental of temporary power generators to supply 15MW of power to Baiji Refinery as a first stage.

For Aggreko, the world’s largest supplier of temporary power, which also supplies South Refineries Company with 25MW,

This contract will help broaden the partnership between Aggreko, the world’s largest supplier of temporary power, and the Ministry of Oil and its affiliate companies, and is a demonstration of the collaboration between both entities.

Aggreko also supplies South Refineries Company with 25MW of power.

(Source: Eurogulf)

New Satellite Broadband Service for Iraq

A new low-cost satellite broadband service will be launched across Iraq and Afghanistan as Belgium’s SatADSL, a provider of professional VSAT services via satellite, and UK-based Talia agreed to expand their long-term partnership.

The two companies’ current agreement lets SatADSL link directly to Talia’s teleport to provide services across the whole of Africa, with Talia’s equipment providing high performance and low-cost per megabit. Under the new deal, SatADSL will also be able to access Talia’s new platform in Jordan Media City, enabling it to offer Ka-band services across Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We are taking our relationship with Talia to the next level by using its facilities to offer our innovative services across Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Caroline De Vos, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at SatADSL. “The use of Ka-band High Throughput Satellite capacity, combined with Talia’s equipment means the services we provide can be quickly and easily installed by users and offered at an extremely competitive price, taking a significant step towards bridging the digital divide.”

By connecting its Cloud-based Service Delivery Platform (C-SDP) to Talia’s hub, SatADSL will be able to offer the full range of services available on its platform in Iraq and Afghanistan, including vouchers, VNOFlex, Wi-Fi Hotspots, etc. The C-SDP is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution which enables operators to deliver a full range of satellite-based connectivity services without investing in physical infrastructure. SatADSL expects to have worldwide coverage by the end of the year, further expanding the reach of its C-SDP.

To enable connectivity, Talia uses capacity on the Arabsat 5C Ka-band satellite, located at 20o East. Talia is offering its services based on the Newtec Dialog® multiservice platform which features small VSAT antennas (75cm) on the remote site to create a new lower price point for Internet access and innovative setup guides for self-installation via a smartphone app. A variety of Newtec’s broadband satellite modems have also been deployed, supporting different bandwidth allocations to ensure optimal bandwidth usage. This includes Newtec’s dynamic Mx-DMA technology to achieve the efficiency of SCPC with the dynamic bandwidth allocation of MF-TDMA.

“We see this next chapter with SatADSL as building upon what has so far been a hugely successful partnership in Africa, enabling many developing countries to have access to affordable fast satellite Internet,” said Jack Buechler, VP Business Development at Talia. “Just as in Africa, the services which SatADSL will provide in Afghanistan and Iraq, using our infrastructure will help bridge the digital and economical divide and transform societies for the better.”

(Source: Talia)