1997 03 22 Saturday No. : 06497
IDEX ROLE IN ECONOMY DEVELOPMENT PRAISED
At a press conference yesterday, Khalifa Nasser bin Huwaileel al Mansoori, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company, ADNHC, praised the role played by the recently-concluded International Defence Exhibition, IDEX '97, in developing the local national economy.
He explained that the Company was the most represented national company at the exhibition, being involved in many activities during the course of the event and added that the overall benefits to be gained by this participation were immense, both for the Company and for the economy, and that it was important that other local businesses became more involved as well.
Talking about the specific activities the ADNHC performed during IDEX '97, Al Mansoori gave details of the catering and transportation divisions, including the fact that Al Ghazal Taxis maintained a permanent, on-site fleet for exhibitors and visitors while the catering side sponsored and organised a reception at the newly-opened Officers' Club for 4,500 people.
He went on to say that besides the military aspect of the event, people sometimes forgot the economic side. The ADNHC saw its hotel room occupancy at 100.0% during the show and the knock-on benefits were apparent throughout all the company divisions.
On a related topic, Al Mansoori announced the Company trading figures for 1996, saying that the up-coming annual meeting would ratify the figures. Income for the year increased from Dh 590.0 million in 1995 to Dh 645.0 million in 1996, showing a net profit increase from Dh 153.0 million to D 165.0 million for the current year. IDEX '97 contributed greatly to the Company growth and theses figures will be reflected in the accounts for 1997. Total assets of the Company stood at Dh 1.0 billion at year end.
Al Mansoori gave details of the company's refurbishment plans for various hotels, including the Abu Dhabi Gulf Hotel, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Hilton Hotels and the Inter·Continental Al Ain Hotel. The Mafraq Hotel opened its doors for the first time in 1996 and Sunshine Tours, the Company's tourism division, increased their share of the market place and also exhibited their services overseas.
Talking about the year ahead, Al Mansoori announced that the fleet of cars operated by Al Ghazal Taxis would increase to 300 by the end of this year, the catering division has just signed an almost Dh 50.0 million contract to operate the Officer's Club and the soon-to-be-opened Abu Dhabi Gulf Club would also be under their operating umbrella.
Al Mansoori stated that tourism had increased in Abu Dhabi by 10.0% - 15.0% in 1996 and, of those visitors, over 38.0% were returning, have returned or plan to do so. He also said that Abu Dhabi is still the most economical city in the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council, AGCC, states in terms of the cost of room nights and was one of the cheapest in the world.
In conclusion, he stated that the overall success of IDEX will present an increased awareness of Abu Dhabi, as 53 countries took part and delegates will take home with them the stories of how good the services and the facilities were across the board. (The Emirates News)
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WORLD'S HIGHEST PER CAPITA USE OF WATER
The per capita consumption of water in the UAE - 500.0 litres per day - is the highest in the world, according to Engineer Hassan al Nassai, Manager of the Water Transport and Distribution Division at the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Department, WED. Britain with 330.0 litres per capita, Spain with 300.0 litres, France with 215.0 litres and Jordan with 150.0 litres, follow some considerable distance behind.
According to Saeed Majid al Shamsi, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Electricity, the constant growth of the UAE's population, coupled with a high standard of living, have led to an increase in the demand for fresh water. "In 1995, the consumption of fresh water reached about 372.1 million gallons per day, of which 166.4 million were used in Abu Dhabi."
Al Shamsi predicted that the demand for fresh water by the year 2015 would hit 606.1 million gallons per day, 249.4 million gallons of which would be consumed by Abu Dhabi. "The annual shortage in underground water is estimated at 80.0 million cubic metres. To offset this shortage, 13 desalination stations for well water and 11 for sea water, with a collective capacity of 365.0 million gallons per day, have been set up."
In Abu Dhabi, 125.0 million gallons of sea water are desalinated daily, representing about 50.0% of the water desalinated in the country. As many as 185.0 million gallons of well water are obtained daily in the emirate, said Jawan Hadef al Mazroui, Deputy Director of the Abu Dhabi WED. The Ministry of Electricity and Water put the total production of all sorts of water last year at 120.0 billion gallons, of which 87.2 billion were desalinated sea water, 30.3 billion gallons were fresh underground water and 2.5 billion gallons were salty underground water.
In Abu Dhabi, the WED last year produced 53.6 billion gallons of desalinated sea water, 9.4 billion gallons for fresh underground water and 1.4 billion gallons of salty underground water. In Dubai, the corresponding department produced during the same period 32.0 billion gallons, including 29.7 billion gallons of fresh water. Sharjah produced 16.6 billion gallons, including 6.7 billion gallons of desalinated sea water, 8.8 billion gallons of fresh underground water and 1.1 billion gallons of salty underground water.
The Ministry also produced 12.0 billion gallons of water for the Emirates of Ras al Khaimah, Umm al Qaiwain, Ajman and Fujairah. According to a graph accompanying the item just over 25.0% of daily consumption of water in the capital Abu Dhabi is accounted for by large labour camps and just over 25.0% by five-star hotels, with around an additional 12.0% used by four-star hotels. The balance is utilised, in descending order of amounts, by small labour camps, villas, individual flats and apartment blocks. (The Gulf News)
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UNESCO TO CONDUCT SURVEY ON MUSEUMS
The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, will conduct a survey on the museums and ancient architecture in the UAE in April. Dr Obaid al Hajri, Secretary General of the National Cultural and Science Committee, said that International Museum Expert with the UNESCO, Ahmed Nawar, will visit the UAE from April 5 to 9.
The visit is in pursuit of the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed with the UNESCO for extending assistance in the field of archaeological survey and maintenance of archaeological sites in the UAE. The MOU will help in drawing up archaeological maps, national archaeological records and documentation and preservation of the UAE's national heritage. The UNESCO expert will visit a number of museums in Al Ain, Sharjah and Dubai. (The Emirates News)
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AL NAHYAN FAMILY TREE ON PICTURES
It took Abu Dhabi resident Beatrice Lachaume two years to put together a detailed family tree of the ruling Al Nahyan family going back several generations and covering a span of 250 to 300 years. "It has been a labour of love and I have enjoyed every minute of it," Beatrice, a UAE national and former French citizen, told Emirates News, following receipt of an official clearance as copyright-holder of the project.
The project was launched to mark the 30th accession of President HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan on August 6 last year. It was designed and put together with the help of Aude Labbe, a French interior designer with Emirati nationality, who provided the artistic touch for the colours and design. The 5.0-metre-wide, 1.5-metre-high chart made of aquarelle paper takes the viewer on a long course back in time.
Starting with the initiator of the ruling tribe, the tree shows pictures of Zayed the Great followed by his descendants right down to Sheikh Zayed's grandchildren and some of their offspring. The illustrated model, for which Beatrice was given the copyright from the Ministry of Information and Culture earlier this month, included the display of 171 photographs of members of the Al Nahyan family.
The family tree has a picture of Sheikh Zayed framed within a painting of a falcon. It also narrates a verse from the Holy Quran seeking blessings for the well-being of the Al Nahyan family, while the branches of the family tree are painted in the colours of the UAE flag.
"I have travelled to many places and met with members of the ruling family to get some of these rare pictures. The magic is that every single member that I approached was ready to help when I told them it was a project for Sheikh Zayed. It has been a very rewarding experience," Beatrice said. The Al Ain Museum, the Cultural Foundation, Al Ittihad newspaper and the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, ADCO, have also assisted Beatrice in her project. (The Emirates News)
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GIC DRAWS UP MEGA PLANS FOR 1997
The Gulf Investment Corporation, GIC, will implement six major projects in 1997, will continue to emphasise financing of joint Gulf projects and will look for investment opportunities in member states in collaboration with the private sector, according to Ahmed Humaid al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial and Industrial Affairs and Chairman of the Board of GIC. Al Tayer was speaking on Thursday after the group's 13th General Assembly in Dubai, attended by the six Gulf Ministers of Finance (from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, as well as the UAE).
The Board reviewed the group's 1996 financial results and the progress of its project, with special focus on industry. Several plants have begun production, al Tayer said. "In 1996, we achieved the second-highest net profit since the inception of the corporation. We are pleased with this performance and the huge role the GIC is playing in the Gulf economies. The results of the first two months of 1997 look good and we hope we continue to have better results," Al Tayer said.
The General Assembly also approved the group's 1996 consolidated net income of $ 122.9 million and announced a dividend of $ 52.5 million. Shareholder equity touched $ 1.071 million, following payment of dividents. A return on paid up capital of 16.4% was achieved in 1996 and total assets were $ 10.5 billion against $ 10/2 billion in 1995. The shareholder equity-to-total assets ration improved to 10.2% from 9.8% in 1995. The GIC's risk capital ratios exceeded international regulatory standards and its year-end ratio of Tier 1 capital-to-risk adjusted assets was 15.3%, significantly above the 4.0% Basel guideline.
Dr Khaled Fayez, Chief Executive Officer, said the group approved six industrial ventures last year, bringing total projects to 27. "Our wholly-owned commercial banking subsidiary, the Gulf Investment Bank, GIB, played a prominent role in almost every major lending transaction in the Gulf region and we aim to further improve our profitability in the coming years and work towards achieving our strategic activities," Dr Fayez said.
GIB's 1996 accounts, in which profits in 1996 rose 5.2% over those of 1995, were also ratified at the meeting. "This is another success because, since 1991, GIB's profits have advanced at an annual compound rate of 15.2%," said Ibrahim Abdul Karim, Bahraini Minister of Finance and Economy and Chairman of the Bank's Board. (The Gulf News)
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