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Sony has Big Plans for Iraq

Sony has Big Plans for Iraq

By John Lee.

Sony has recently unveiled its extensive plan for expansion in Iraq.

Along with its official business partner, Modern Electronics Iraq (MEI) Sony will look to transform the Iraqi consumers’ experience through launching its entire line-up of latest technology products, introducing experiential Sony-branded stores and setting up authorised service centres in Iraq.

The announcements, which came at an exclusive dealers’ conference in Erbil, highlight the significance Sony places on Iraq as an emerging market in the Middle East with a huge potential for growth.

Iraq is undoubtedly one of the most important markets for Sony. By 2015, we hope to achieve a $350 million share in the consumer electronics space, including the fast-growing mobile phone business,” Sony Middle East and Africa managing director Hiroyasu Sugiyama said at the event.

The numbers certainly look exciting, but our immediate focus is to identify tactics that help us move towards our target. The Sony roadmap for Iraq constitutes a three-pillared strategy based on product, customer and operation.

Recognising the demand for its entire line-up of products in Iraq, Sony aims to synchronise its international launches to include Iraq. From the award-winning Sony Xperia Z smartphone, the Xperia tablet, Vaio notebooks and Bravia 4K TVs to the PlayStation 3 game console and the world’s most powerful audio system, the Shake 7 stereo, Sony will look to reduce wait-time and increase the availability of its products for Iraqi consumers.

Looking to transform the experiential prospects for Iraqi customers, Sony is also set to roll-out its unique world-class branded stores, where all products are displayed in an open and easy-to-touch-and-try layout, with Sony-trained salespersons ready to explain and demonstrate these products.

Posted in Industry & TradeComments Off

Eversheds Advises Citi on Iraq Venture

Eversheds Advises Citi on Iraq Venture

Global law firm Eversheds has advised Citibank [Citigroup] on the registration of its representative office in Baghdad, Iraq, making it the first US bank to establish a presence in the country.

According to Citi’s press release, the representative office in the Iraqi capital will support Citi’s clients in the country, and the New York-based bank will also seek to open two more offices, in Erbil and Basra, in the future.

The Eversheds team, led by Partner Tawfiq Tabbaa (pictured), advised Citibank on all aspects of project.

Tawfiq said:

Iraq is a hub of opportunities for global businesses and is fast becoming an important market in the Middle East.

(Source: Eversheds)

Posted in Industry & Trade1 Comment

Video: Wave of Car Bombs Strikes Iraq

Video: Wave of Car Bombs Strikes Iraq

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A wave of 13 car bombs has struck mainly Shia areas in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 33 people and injuring more than 150, security and medical officials have said.

A car bomb also targeted a market in the centre of southern city of Basra killing at least three people on Monday, security sources told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad:

(Source: Al Jazeera)

Posted in SecurityComments Off

Greek Company wins $26.8m Hospital Deal

Greek Company wins $26.8m Hospital Deal

By John Lee.

Greek company TERNA has reportedly been awarded a $26.8m turnkey contract to construct a 100-bed hospital in Basra.

According to Construction Weekly, the design and build project consists of a general hospital covering a built area of 18,000 m2, including 2,000 m2 for a staff residence and 22 rooms for special care. It will come complete with all electromechanical facilities, medical equipment, furnishings, external surfacing and landscaping.

It will include intensive care units, operation theatres, diagnostic services, acute medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics, disaster medicine and medical education system. The project is to be completed in January 2015.

The project, TERNA’ s first in Iraq, is being carried out through the Governorate of Basra on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

(Sources: Construction Weekly)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Healthcare2 Comments

Iraq to Receive Two Chinese Trains

Iraq to Receive Two Chinese Trains

By John Lee.

Iraqi Railways is to receive two Chinese-build trains within the next two months.

The trains are part of a ten-train, $115-million contract with China to develop railways sector.

The handover of the remaining trains depends on the completion of the Baghdad-Basra-Umm Qasr railway line, which has been delayed due to lack of funds.

(Sources: Aswat Al Iraq)

Posted in Transportation1 Comment

Weekly Security Update 09 – 16 July 2013

Weekly Security Update 09 – 16 July 2013

Assaye Risk Logo (Small) copy

By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

In line with developments last week violence has intensified in Iraq this week with the resumption of multiple high impact attacks across the country, especially in the southern predominantly Shia provinces around Basra who bore the brunt of the violence toward the latter part of the reporting period.

On the international stage the Syrian conflict also continues to have serious transnational implications as actions by the ISI this week have resulted in them becoming more heavily engaged on numerous operational fronts.

Militants linked to al Qaeda in Syria killed a senior figure in the Western- and Arab-backed Free Syrian army on Thursday, an FSA source said, signaling a widening rift between Islamists and more moderate elements in the armed Syrian opposition.  Kamal Hamami, a member of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, known by his nom de guerre Abu Bassel al-Ladkani, was meeting with members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the port city of Latakia when they killed him, Qassem Saadeddine, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, told the international press.

Syrian rebels said on Friday the assassination of one of their top commanders by al Qaeda-linked militants was tantamount to a declaration of war, opening a new front for the Western-backed fighters struggling against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Rivalries have been growing between the FSA and the Islamists, whose smaller but more effective forces control most of the rebel-held parts of northern Syria.  The opening up of another military front on which rebel factions must now combat represents a serious challenge for the rebels in what is an already intense and oft confusing, not to mention draining, battle space.

At this point in time it is difficult to assess quite what the ramifications of these actions will be on Iraq but it is perhaps clear to many that the Shia militias, the Shia dominated government and Sunni moderates could welcome a situation where groups such as the ISI are focused away from domestic insurgency in Iraq and concentrated in an area where their overall influence in the Levant can be eroded at distance.

Posted in Security, Weekly Security UpdateComments Off

BIOGH Issues First Construction Licence

BIOGH Issues First Construction Licence

By John Lee.

The Basra Oil and Gas International Free Zone (BIOGH) and its development managers EPGI have issued its first construction license to Basra Mas Company in relation to an initial 10 year construction programme.

Works commenced on site on the 9th July with handover to Basra Mas who this week began work on 230,000m2 of site clearance with options for another two sections of the same size to be further instructed.

Established in 2005 by local Iraqi businessman Ali Krabit, Basra Mas Company has built a strong reputation in Iraq particularly in the Khor Al Zubair region. It has built up core expertise in contracting and construction with a dedicated and experienced local Iraqi team, and is involved with the import and export of materials and plant to facilitate and deliver projects on time and at world-class quality. The company also continues to develop its engineering and consulting expertise through structured and active collaboration with the Consulting Engineering Bureau of Basra University.

Tim Hawkins, the Head of Production & Planning for EPGI stated:

We are making tremendous progress at BIOGH. The site establishment camp has been delivered and there is now plant on site to undertake the site clearance of the customs zone area in preparation for our new tenants.

“Perimeter walls and specific tenant buildings and facilities will in time follow site clearance works as they are coalesced in the next few months. Tenant interest continues to be strong and we are ramping up our production teams to align with tenant demand.

(Source: BIOGH)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Industry & Trade, Oil & GasComments Off

Currency Class War: Damaged Dinar Notes

Currency Class War: Damaged Dinar Notes

By Waheed Ghanim.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Currency Class War: Damaged Dinar Notes result in Bribery, Injustice

Exchange shops, bank cashiers and savvy housewives are doing big business as they deal with Iraq’s dodgy, damaged, low-denomination notes – for a price. The losers? Pensioners and low-income earners who end up with cash they can barely use.

Every two months Makiya, a 65-year-old Iraqi woman, travels a long way to pick up her pension in cash. She lives 40 kilometres out of Basra and the journey is a difficult one for her. And then to her chagrin, whenever she gets her pension, it mostly comes in low-denomination notes that are damaged, torn or otherwise destroyed.

“The people who come to collect their pensions are not treated the same way as others,” Makiya complains. “To get clean, undamaged bank notes you have to pay the bankers a bribe.”

Additionally Makiya says that if anybody complains about the IQD3,000 that is usually deducted from the payments by the bankers –a service fee taken for no apparent reason, she says – they are punished by being given even more of the damaged or distressed banknotes.

“And then when you get the damaged bank notes you can’t do anything with them because nobody accepts this money,” Makiya says.

The descriptions “talef” and “naqes” are often used by people like Makiya when they talk about money. Respectively the words mean damaged and missing and are terms used to describe the smaller notes – the IQD1,000 notes and the half and quarter dinar notes – that those who can’t afford to pay for better, bigger banknotes end up with.

Posted in Banking & Finance, Construction & Engineering, Security7 Comments

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