Monthly Archives: February 2012

German airline concludes biofuel trial

German airline Lufthansa will be concluding its six – month biofuel trial with its first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight, between Frankfurt and Washington DC.
Lufthansa acknowledged that the future of their biofuel programme depends on their capability to source enough sustainable jet biofuels.

The Boeing 747-400 will be leaving towards Frankfurt bound for Washington DC and will carry a fuel mix of around 40 tonnes of a biosynthetic fuel. The airline predicts that this will reduce CO2 emissions by 38 tonnes; this is approximately equal to six scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Berlin. The company also stated that it is just as reliable as conventional as jet fuel and has, in fact, a higher energy density which allows fuel consumption to be reduced by over 1%.

The January 2012 flight appears to be the last turn in this successful trial, that has led to 1,187 Lufthansa domestic flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg using a 50/50 blend of regular fuel and biosynthetic kerosene in one of the plane’s engines.

Lufthansa has applauded the trial as a triumph. From mid-July to the end of December 2011it used up 1,566 tonnes of bio-kerosene mix, saving approximately 1,471 tonnes of CO2. The company advised that the higher energy density of biofuels resulted in a reduced fuel consumption by more than one per cent during flights, while the fuel also proved to be free of polluting sulphur and aromatic compounds.

“Our burnFAIR project went off smoothly and to our fullest satisfaction,” said Joachim Buse, vice president of aviation biofuel at Lufthansa.

“As expected, biofuel proved its worth in daily flight operations,” Buse added.

“As a next step, we will focus on the suitability, availability, sustainability and certification of raw materials,” he said. “However, Lufthansa will only continue the practical trial if we are able to secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required in order to maintain routine operations.”

Airlines all over the world are under extreme pressure to cut on emissions due to unstable oil prices and their inclusion into the EU’s emissions trading scheme.


A positive 2012 outlook for Dubai property market

The Dubai Land Department has presented figures that have shown a substantial increase in sales, when analysing the numbers from 2011 property transactions.

In total, Dubai realised 35,297 deals in 2011 alone, representing a 16% increase. Dubai’s property market conditions also show some improvement in all aspects, as spending on products that are related to property increased by 20 per cent from 2010 to 2011, these are products such as; property sales, mortgages, ijarah, mortgage portfolios and deferred sales.

Additionally the value of all the deals that were processed in 2011 has increased. In 2010 $33.4 billion was spent on Dubai property, whereas this amplified to $38.9 billion in 2011 – an increase of 14%.

The Department also stated that in terms of the breakdown of these sales, 78.98% of all the property transactions were for flats or apartments.

“The transactions’ quantity, quality and procedures reflect the recovery and growth of the real estate market in Dubai due to the direct support from the local government that spared no effort to achieve market’s stability and growth, enhance the attractiveness of real estate investment along with boosting the confidence of investors.”

Industry experts all stated reasons that resulted in the elevation of Dubai’s property market, highlighting a number of these positive factors;

Vineet Kumar, Head of Business Development at Asteco said

“Financing has remained tough since the property downtown began in the third quarter of 2008 but sentiment has improved as banks began to offer more attractive mortgage rates this year. The government’s declaration that property buyers in Dubai will be given a visa for three years instead of just six months will also help boost investor confidence. Transaction levels have also risen as job security and increased market confidence result in people seeking tenancy upgrades and home ownership,”

In a statement to Zawya Dow Jones Emaar predicted that 2012 will see further positive growth throughout Dubai’s property market. Emaar is one of Dubai leading property developers and the creator of the World’s tallest building.

“Dubai has effectively restructured its economy, following the challenges of the global financial crisis, and is now steadily consolidating its fundamentals. Following the socio-political changes emerging from the Arab Spring, elsewhere in the Middle East, more businesses are looking to establish their regional headquarters or expand their market presence to the UAE and Dubai. The property sector of the city is poised to benefit from this and record positive growth in 2012, across residential, commercial, retail and hospitality,” Emaar said.


Dubai “investment map” to help investor decision-making

The centre for Managing and Encouraging Property investment is drawing up an “investment map” for the real estate sector.

The centre for managing and encouraging property investment ( the investment section of the Dubai’s Land and Property Department ) is currently busy drawing up an “investment map” which will be released in the next few weeks. The map will offer investors guidance in relation to Dubai’s massive real estate sector, the objective of which is to attract more capital and also aid investors in their decision making process.

Majida Rashid, the centre’s director, said

“This map is designed to upgrade the competitiveness of the national economy at regional and global levels and attract local and foreign investors and businessmen who seek to enter the emirate’s real estate market but do not have sufficient information to manage their assets in a way that will ensure an added value for them and for the market as well.”

The map is also said to include a package of special investment opportunities in the real estate sector and a list of projects with “varied uses and specifications.”

“This map will be like a comprehensive investment guide for any investor wishing to enter the property market…that is why the list does not include just any project but only those which meet certain terms and specifications” according to Rashid

He also stated that this map will generally focus on the property projects, which contain specific prerequisites; these include sophisticated infrastructure, proximity of transport facilities such as airports, metro and other land transport means, the reputation of development firms and the fact that any project must be free of any obstacles or challenges.


The Gambia realises economic growth

The real Gross Domestic Growth in The Gambia has picked up by 6 per cent in the past 3 years, contributing to the economic performance of the country and a solid growth registered in the agricultural and telecommunication sectors, according to Mambury Njie the Gambian Finance minister.

 

Minister Njie also added further to the National Assembly that despite the global financial crisis, The Gambia has certainly showed growth in its economy during the past 12 months.

“For the year 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP at 2004 market prices) grew by 5.4 per cent per annum compared to the 5.5 per cent of 2010. This is mainly due to the revised figures for crop production and fishing activities”.

With regards to the fiscal sector, Minister Njie advised that a substantial decrease was noted in revenues as a percentage to the GDP, this resulting to greater shortfalls and obliging the government to apply a number of tax administration reforms and more control on expenditures. The decrease was approx. 17.5 per cent in 2007 to about 14 per cent in 2011.

He said “It is against this background that the Gambia government has embarked on a series of reforms geared towards promoting macroeconomic growth stability, improve revenue mobilisation, and promote efficiency in resource allocation,”

The government has been expressing a steadfastness in maintaining and enhancing sufficient control over spending, by embarking on budgetary controls with the objective of introducing a medium-term horizon in planning and budgeting systems.

“The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) will constitute a budget planning framework that provides incentives for policy makers and budget planners to formulate medium-term budget plans by linking planning and policy formulation with budget allocations; aligning the annual budget decisions with medium term macro-fiscal strategy; restricting expenditures within realistic resource envelope, and improving monitoring and tracking of budget performance,” he said.

The Finance minister, Njie also stated that his ministry wants to aid in expanding the base and improve tax collection; this will be implemented by introducing a Value-Added Tax (VAT) IN 2012, as well as streamlining various tax exemptions, the purpose being to minimise the overall expenditures on tax.


Dubai forfeited freehold properties on auction

The Dubai property market is experiencing a strong interest from buyers in good quality, well positioned and well-designed properties. According to Property Wire the average villa sales growth are at 0.7 and the development market is also showing signs that it is coming out of hibernation.

The Dubai Land Department (DLD) has started auctioning freehold properties forfeited from defaulters. In a first major auction, five properties in The Springs and Jumeirah Islands sold by November 28.

HumaidOmran Al Shamsi, Head of Auctions, DLD, told XPRESS: “We are auctioning freehold properties in Dubai. Some of these have been mortgaged to banks. The auctions are a way to clear the market. These properties come through Dubai courts for auction and the proceeds go back to the courts. They have a process in place to return it to the banks.”

Five properties that were auctioned in November, four of these were sold at a higher price than the expected base rate.

Of these was a1,800-square-footsprings villa which went for Dh1.306 million against a base price of Dh1.1 million. It was purchased by an Indian businessman VimalBansal who stated “This property is for my personal use and since I felt the price was right, I successfully bid on it.”

A more detailed example of what occurred during the auction is as follows. A 3,511-square-foot three-bedroom (Type 3E) villa in Springs 11, with a partial lake view, was sold for Dh1.82 million against a base price of Dh1.5 million. An unanticipated bid was for a property in Jumeirah Islands that was sold for Dh5.4 million against a base price of Dh3.5 million; this was a 10,637square-foot four-bedroom villa, which also has a separate study room. It went for.

The buyer of this marvellous property, Amar S. Dhir of Castles Plaza Real Estate said, “This is a good property in a good location and hence it went for such a high bid. We will be re-selling the property as soon as we get the papers,”

It is clear that buyers can start expecting more auctions in the near future.

“The properties being auctioned have been passed by the courts. This means that the docket of defaulting properties is finally starting to clear. If that is the case, it is a positive development.” LudmilaYamalova, Managing Partner, HPL Yamalova&Plewka

“On November 28, we auctioned a property at the Land Department. There are a few properties repossessed by ADCB that are being lined up with the Land Department for auction. The DLD public auction is a welcome step for all UAE banks. This will instil better confidence in the mortgage market and give rise to structured lending practices. The proceeds from the auction will be applied to offset the loan outstanding, including charges, and provisions reversed.” SundarParthasarathy, Executive Vice President, Head-Consumer Assets, Consumer Banking Group, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB).