By John Lee.

Genel Energy has announced that it “will only proceed with significant investment in Bina Bawi once an agreement is reached on a commercial framework that provides a clear route to monetisation.

In a statement, the company said:

As previously announced, the deadline to meet the conditions precedent relating to the Bina Bawi gas lifting agreement (‘GLA’) was extended until 30 April 2019, as discussions with the Kurdistan Regional Government (‘KRG’) on the commercial framework relating to the development of the licence continued.

“Having reached agreement that the existing GLA does not reflect the commercial realities of the proposed development, Genel and the KRG (‘the Parties’) have jointly agreed to let the GLA lapse on 30 April 2019 and focus on negotiating updated commercial terms based on a staged and integrated oil and gas development. The Parties are progressing the negotiation of a project scope based on a phased approach and ramp up of the gas development, with an initial phase of c.250 MMscfd raw gas capacity, and an accelerated development of the oil scope, where the KRG and Genel will jointly fund the first phase gas development utilising the revenue from Bina Bawi oil.

“The Parties have agreed to focus on finalising the commercial arrangement for this solution as soon as practical. The current production sharing contract (‘PSC’) provides a further 12 month period from 30 April 2019 within which to agree a new GLA. Should no agreement be reached in twelve months, the KRG has a right to terminate the PSC.

“In line with our capital allocation strategy, the Company will only proceed with significant investment in Bina Bawi once an agreement is reached on a commercial framework that provides a clear route to monetisation.

“The deadline for the Miran conditions precedent will be reached on 31 May 2019 and the Company similarly expects that the Miran GLA will lapse.

Meanwhile, analysts at Numis Securities have reportedly upgraded the shares to a “buy” rating.

(Sources: Genel Energy, thisismoney.co.uk)

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By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

6 questions you must ask when obtaining a second citizenship

Citizenship programs offer people a chance to obtain a second powerful nationality that allows them freedom of movement and security for their families, as well as a better way to safekeep their businesses and wealth.

However, many people decide to apply for these programs without carefully understanding the fine print. There are important aspects to each particular Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program understanding them can mean the difference between a citizenship approval or a rejection.

Below are some of the key points to be taken into account when choosing a citizenship program.

Have you ever been rejected visas before?

This may be the most important question to ask before embarking on a citizenship application process. If your citizenship consultant does not bring up this question, consider changing consultancy firms as soon as possible. Any past visa rejections are a primary concern for governments with CBI programs and the application will result in a rejection.   The governments will deny the citizenship if the due diligence reveals that the applicant had been rejected entry to any country which shares visa waver agreements with that particular CBI country, especially when it comes to UK and Schengen states.

What family members can you include under your application?

Including dependents is common, however, it is imperative that applicants know who they can include under the same application. Your citizenship consultant needs to be well versed when it comes to including family dependents. Lack of knowledge in this area can have consequences and will ultimately result in delays and extra money which can be avoided with proper advice.

Dependents are children, spouse and parents of the main applicant or of the spouse who are financially dependent on the main applicant. Children must be enrolled in full time studies and proof financial dependency on the parents. Currently, only one CBI program accepts siblings of the main applicant or the spouse, these are unmarried brothers or sisters regardless of their age.  These unmarried siblings cannot be previously divorced and cannot have children in order to qualify under the same application.

Each CBI program sets its own regulations for adding dependents. The citizenship consultant should be requesting information on the ages of the children and parents, as each program has different requirements. The date of birth of the applicant is important as, at the moment of applying, they should not surpass the minimum age by law. Also, they should find out whether the main applicant is planning to have kids in the future, because some programs such as St. Lucia do not contemplate including newborns after the citizenship has been issued.

Is your nationality banned from applying for the selected program? 

There are specific nationalities that are barred from applying for some citizenship via investment programs. For instance, St. Kitts and Nevis does not allow nationals of North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan to apply for its program. Therefore, applicants need to understand what the options are for them. Other programs do not restrict any nationalities in particular and take applications in a case by case basis, the results will purely depend on the main applicant’s source of funds and a clean track record.

What are your future travel plans?

Each country has a unique visa-free list which can help applicants narrow down the different programs of choice. Consequently, when looking for the correct CBI program, one should know which country they will be visiting frequently. For example, Grenada is the only country with a CBI program that allows visa-free access to China. So, if an individual has business in China, they might want to apply for the Grenadian citizenship. Furthermore, a Grenadian passport allows visa-on-arrival to the UAE, which is a great option for individuals who have business in the UAE.

If to live in Europe is a priority, then Cyprus is the best option that any investor can look for. Upon obtaining a Cypriot nationality, applicants will be able to live in any country part of the EU. They will also have access to world-class education and healthcare. Cyprus also grants visa-free access to over 170 countries including Canada, Australia, UK and the UAE.

Most CBI programs allow visa-free access to the Schengen states except for the Turkish citizenship.

What are the main documents required?

Mainly each submitted file requires applicants to present basic documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, proof of address and medical examination. These documents can be quite easy to obtain but difficulties start when obtaining Police Clearance from their country of origin, their country of residence and any country they have resided in for 6 months in the last 10 years.

Understandably, many applicants cannot obtain police reports as their home countries are troubled with political distress, so they must provide an affidavit, which is a legal document that clearly justifies the reason for not being able to obtain the police report. However, not all CBI countries accept affidavits, which in this case an applicant is required to present a local lawyer’s reference letter that explains the reasons for not being able to obtain the police report from a particular country.

What financial information is required?

Primarily, the source of funds is the most crucial aspect of the application. The applicant can have clean criminal records but if the source of funds is dubious their citizenship will not be approved. One of the Government’s main concern when conducting the due diligence process is knowing how the applicant has generated his or her money and support documents must be presented justifying the same.

Once the due diligence report is concluded, the applicant needs to make the final payment to the Government. It is imperative that the applicant makes the payment from his own bank account or his company’s bank account not from a third party.

Bank transfers can be a complicated process nowadays, especially if the intermediary banks are in the United States. The citizenship consultancy company would need to liaise with the beneficiary bank in order to present the required documents for the funds to be cleared.

When applying for citizenship it is important to do exhaustive research on the citizenship processing companies, before you chose, and carefully investigate their track record. There are a lot of options on the internet, even some of them are listed on Governments websites, however very few of these have thorough experience in overcoming the challenges that a citizenship application can present.

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th April 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD584 (-1.2%) / $629 (-1.1%) (weekly change) (-11.4% and -11.4% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 1.3 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.0 bn ($0.8 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Iraqi Carton Manufactories (IICM) will hold an AGM* on May. 9, 2019 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 6, 2017 due to not disclosing 2016 and 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Kurdistan International Islamic Bank (BKUI) starting Apr. 29, 2019 due to the GA that will be held on May. 4, 2019 to elect 4 original and 7 alternative board members. The bank will resume trading on May. 5, 2019.
  • National Company for Tourism Investment (HNTI) will resume trading on Apr. 28, 2019 after discussing the changes in the company’s business schedule.
  • Region Trade Bank for Investment and Finance (BRTB) resumed trading on Apr. 25, 2019 after electing 4 original and 4 alternative board members.
  • Asiacell (TASC) resumed trading on Apr. 21, 2019 after discussing and approving 2018 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 100% cash dividend (IQD1.00 dividend per share, 12.2% dividend yield).
  • Cross Transactions: 50 mn shares of Gulf Commercial Bank (BGUC) on Apr. 21, 2019, which represent 0.02% of BGUC capital. 32 mn shares of Iraqi Middle East Investment Bank (BIME) on Apr. 21, 2019, which represents 0.01% of BIME capital.

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th April 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD584 (-1.2%) / $629 (-1.1%) (weekly change) (-11.4% and -11.4% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 1.3 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.0 bn ($0.8 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Iraqi Carton Manufactories (IICM) will hold an AGM* on May. 9, 2019 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 6, 2017 due to not disclosing 2016 and 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Kurdistan International Islamic Bank (BKUI) starting Apr. 29, 2019 due to the GA that will be held on May. 4, 2019 to elect 4 original and 7 alternative board members. The bank will resume trading on May. 5, 2019.
  • National Company for Tourism Investment (HNTI) will resume trading on Apr. 28, 2019 after discussing the changes in the company’s business schedule.
  • Region Trade Bank for Investment and Finance (BRTB) resumed trading on Apr. 25, 2019 after electing 4 original and 4 alternative board members.
  • Asiacell (TASC) resumed trading on Apr. 21, 2019 after discussing and approving 2018 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 100% cash dividend (IQD1.00 dividend per share, 12.2% dividend yield).
  • Cross Transactions: 50 mn shares of Gulf Commercial Bank (BGUC) on Apr. 21, 2019, which represent 0.02% of BGUC capital. 32 mn shares of Iraqi Middle East Investment Bank (BIME) on Apr. 21, 2019, which represents 0.01% of BIME capital.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced a new investment opportunity in Iraq:

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

Top Mountain LLC hosted the first annual Business Canvas Erbil conference which was attended by 120 participants and took place in the Dedeman hotel.

The conference was funded by the European Union and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through GIZ.

The event was also sponsored by GroFin Iraq, a financing organization that provides loans of up to $2 million to SMEs in Iraq.

The goal of the conference was to inform the audience about the future of economic development in the Kurdistan Region and promote the services of Top Mountain Business Incubator.

Throughout the conference, speakers and panelists reviewed the challenges and opportunities related to the job market and entrepreneurship.

During his presentation on the future of the startup ecosystem in Iraq, one of the Co-founders of Top Mountain explained that within the next few years startups in Iraq will begin to rapidly multiply and grow as financing and technical skills become more widely available.

This predication is based on the rapid growth in startups that has occurred throughout the MENA region over the last 3 years. Some of the key conclusions reached by panelist and speakers are that companies in Iraq must expand their internship programs to help train the next generation of skilled workers.

Panelists also noted that lack of access to finance is the most critical challenge to SME growth. Despite the challenges facing businesses in Iraq, most of the attendees and panelists remain optimistic and anticipate a bright future for Iraq’s economy.

(Source: Top Mountain LLC)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 18th April 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD592 (+1.8%) / $636 (+1.7%) (weekly change) (-10.3% and -10.4% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 5.2bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD4.0bn ($5.3mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • Iraqi Carton Manufactories (IICM) will hold an AGM* on May. 9, 2019 to discuss and approve 2016 annual financial results. The company has been suspended from trading since Aug. 6, 2017 due to not disclosing 2016 and 2017 annual financial results.
  • Asiacell (TASC) will resume trading on Apr. 21, 2019 after discussing and approving 2018 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 100% cash dividend (IQD1.00 dividend per share, 12.2% dividend yield).
  • ISX suspended trading of Region Trade Bank for Investment and Finance (BRTB) starting Apr. 17, 2019 due to the GA that will be held on Apr. 22, 2019 to elect 4 original and 4 alternative board members.

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced a new investment opportunity in Iraq:

Due to the historical heritage Thi Qar province enjoys, which goes to thousands of years back and admired by many countries around the world, the need for building the Nasriya International Airport is of great importance in order to open Nasriya to the world.

The NIC announces with coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority the investment opportunity to build Nasriya International Airport according to investment law number 13 for 2006 (amended), and the general, international, technical, and operational requirements to establish civil airports stipulated in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The airport is located to the south – west of Imam Ali (PBUH) air force base in Thi Qar province as shown in chart (1). Area of the Passengers terminal structure is 3000m² as shown in chart (2).

Interested foreign and local companies can apply by filling the investment licenses available on our website and submit all required documents to our email address info@investpromo.gov.iq within 15 days from the date of announcing this advertisement.

For more information, please contact the Civil Aviation Authority head quarter

Baghdad International Airport/ third floor

info@icaa.gov.iq

P.O Box: 23006 BIAP

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

US-based investment giant BlackRock has increased its shareholding in Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) to 5 percent, up from 4.89 percent.

Shares in the company have risen 35 percent since the start of the year.

In 2016, GKP announced that it was in default on its debt obligations, which led to a restructuring in which bondholders took control of the company.

(Source: GKP)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London on 10 April, hosting officials from the UK and Iraqi Governments and delegates from the major companies operating in Iraq covering all sectors of the economy.

The conference was entitled ‘Iraq – Financing a Modern Economy’ and was organised in conjunction with the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraq Private Banks League. H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance lead a high level delegation of Government officials alongside Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Mr Abbas Imran Mousa, DG Technical Department, Ministry of Transport, Dr Falah Al-Amiri, Councillor for Oil & Gas supplies to the Iraqi Minister of Oil,  officials from the Central Bank of Iraq, a delegation from the Union of Private Banks and the Governors of Erbil and Sulamania.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan opened the conference alongside Alderman Sir William Russell, H.E. Dr Fuad Hussein, The Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq.

Dr Mehdi Al Alak presented a paper on ‘Private Sector Development and Investment in Iraq‘. Delegates received an exclusive insight into the Government’s planned measures and strategies to realise this ambition.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Iraq Britain Business Council and special awards were presented to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Eng. Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC as a token of gratitude for their contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

Dr Renad Mansour of Chatham House, produced a paper on ‘The present situation in Iraq’ which was commissioned especially for the IBBC conference.

Conference Sessions & Speakers

The Banking Sector in Iraq

Chairman: Gavin Wishart, Consultant

Panellists: Dr Mazen Sabeh Ahmed, Central Bank of Iraq; Mohammed Delaimy, Standard Chartered Bank; UK Export Finance (UKEF); Ali Tariq Mostaf, Iraq Private Banking League; Richard Wilkins, JP Morgan

Stock Market & Investment Opportunities

Chairman: John Kemkers, Eversheds Sutherland

Panellists: Shwan Ibrahim Taha, Iraqi Stock Exchange; Dr Alaa Abdel Hussein Al Saadi, Iraqi Securities Commission; Abdulla al Qadi, Crescent Petroleum

Keynote Address: Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers

Oil & Gas

Chairman: Prof. Frank Gunter, Lehigh University

Panellists: Dr Mark Wharton, Shell; Lawrence Coleman, BP; Bob Dastmalchi, Chevron

Capacity Building in Iraq

Chairman: Ambassador Stuart Jones, Bechtel

Panellists: Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House; Prof. Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester; Samer Al Mafraji, AMS Iraq

The IBBC is especially grateful to the sponsors of the event: Shell, the International Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered, Rolls-Royce and Eversheds Sutherland.

Our Partners, Speakers & Contributors

(Source: IBBC)