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PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.


PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.


PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.


ABU DHABI, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Der International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC, Internationaler Fonds für den Schutz der Kragentrappe) hat auf dem Fes Meknes Economic Forum, das in diesem Jahr vom 10. bis 12. Mai zum ersten Mal in Fes, Marokko stattfand und von der Industrie- und Handelskammer von Fes Meknes organisiert wurde, eine Ehrenauszeichnung erhalten. Der IFHC wurde ferner für seine bedeutsame Arbeit bei der Entwicklung von Gemeinden, die sich neben den beiden Houbara-Brutzentren in Missour und Enjil befinden und für sein Engagement zum Angebot von Infrastruktur, sozialer und wirtschaftlicher Unterstützung in diesen entscheidenden Gebieten gewürdigt. Durch die Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen für Ortsansässige in den Houbara-Brutzentren hat sich der IFHC als erstklassiger sozioökonomischer Partner in Marokko erwiesen. 92 Prozent der Mitarbeiter sind Marokkaner. Der Fonds wurde ferner für die Nutzung neuester Technologien gewürdigt, die zur beruflichen Fortbildung der Mitarbeiter des Fonds beigetragen haben. Im Besonderen hat der IFHC mit dem Bau von Straßen und Brücken durch die Regierung der VAE, die den IFHC und seine Projekte in Marokko schon immer sehr unterstützt, stark zur Infrastruktur in der Nähe der beiden Zentren beigetragen. Außerdem hat der Fonds den Bau von Dämmen an mehr als einem Standort, einen Flughafen in Bouarfa sowie Sanitärprogramme in Kliniken unterstützt. Der Fonds hat außerdem durch Unterstützung des Baus von Häusern und Moscheen und durch die Bereitstellung von Wasser und Strom in den Dörfern Tendrara und Ain Echchair zur Weiterentwicklung der Gemeinden beigetragen. Anlässlich der Preisverleihung sagte H.E. Majid Al Mansouri: „Es ist uns eine große Ehre, dass wir heute auf dem Fes Meknes Economic Forum anwesend sein und diese Auszeichnung für unsere Arbeit in Marokko entgegennehmen können. Unsere Beziehungen mit den lokalen Gemeinden bleiben stark und sind eine unserer Prioritäten. Sie sind Teil unserer gemeinsamen Bemühungen mit der Regierung Marokkos, die uns bei allen unseren Initiativen immer unterstützt hat. Wir fühlen uns den Einwohnern Marokkos gegenüber verpflichtet und werden weiterhin dafür sorgen, dass sie kontinuierlich die sozioökonomische Mitarbeit des Fonds erhalten werden, der ohne ihre engagierte Arbeit nicht so viel erreicht hätte. Es gibt langjährige Beziehungen und eine historische Verbindung zwischen den VAE und Marokko, und wir sind sehr dankbar für die Arbeit, die die Regierung und Einwohner geleistet haben.” Er sagte außerdem: „Der International Fund for Houbara Conservation arbeitet auf die erfolgreiche Vollendung der in den 70er Jahren begonnenen Bemühungen von Scheich Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan und die Strategie Seiner Hoheit Scheich Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Präsident der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate, zur Rehabilitierung der Kragentrappe in den VAE, auf der Arabischen Halbinsel und in anderen Ländern im Verbreitungsgebiet des Vogels hin. Damit wird die Vision Seiner Hoheit Scheich Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Kronprinz von Abu Dhabi, Stellvertretender Oberster Befehlshaber der Streitkräfte der VAE und Vorsitzender des IFHC-Vorstands, für Nachhaltigkeit für diese Vögel, ihre Aufzucht in Gefangenschaft und Freilassung in der Wildnis ergänzt.”


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.reuters.com

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's government-owned power utility has closed a 3.2 billion dirham ($872 million) financing package for what will be the world's largest solar power plant, the utility's top official said on Wednesday.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Syrian families of opposition fighters gather at a staging point in the capital's Barzeh neighbourhood on May 8, 2017, as they wait to be evacuated (AFP Photo/Saria ABU ZAID) Damascus (AFP) - Syrian rebels and their families started to leave a district of Damascus for the first time on Monday, bringing the government closer to recapturing all of the capital. The evacuation began days after regime backers Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey signed a deal to implement "de-escalation zones" where the government and opposition will halt hostilities. Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday rejected any role for the United Nations or international forces in monitoring the zones. Hours later the UN announced a new round of peace talks on Syria would begin in Switzerland on May 16. The deal to evacuate Barzeh district mirrors similar agreements for opposition-held territory elsewhere, allowing fighters safe passage in exchange for surrender. State television cited the Damascus provincial governor as saying a first wave of 1,022 people, including 568 fighters, had left Barzeh on Monday. The channel said the evacuation would take five days, but that rebels who chose to stay could do so if they registered with the government. Those leaving will head to the rebel-held province of Idlib, in Syria's northwest. The deal was struck late Sunday night, and dozens of people gathered in Barzeh from Monday morning. An AFP photographer saw rebel fighters carrying light weapons looking on as children and women in brightly-coloured headscarves pulled their suitcases and duffel bags. A source from the pro-government National Defence Forces said rebel fighters would be allowed to take their "personal weapons" with them. Negotiations were ongoing for a similar deal in the district of Qabun, in Damascus's northeast, which forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been shelling heavily for weeks. "We are working on Qabun and there is the Yarmuk camp, where talks are under way for the evacuation of armed groups," said Muallem. Assad's government controls all but six districts of Damascus: Barzeh, Qabun, Jobar, Tishreen, Tadamun, and Yarmuk camp. The evacuation is a first in the capital, but it follows a model of "reconciliation deals" implemented across the country. The government touts such deals as the best way to end the six-year conflict, which erupted in March 2011 with anti-regime protests and has killed more than 320,000 people. But the opposition says it has been forced into them by heavy government bombardment and siege tactics. Monday's departures began as battlefronts quietened in Syrian territory included in four "de-escalation zones" agreed by Russia, Iran and Turkey. The agreement, struck in the Kazakh capital Astana, excludes Damascus city. It mandates an end to hostilities, including air strikes, in specified zones for six months. The deal came into effect on midnight Friday, with fighting subsiding, but the co-sponsors have until June 4 to submit maps finalising the borders of the zones. It calls for continued fighting against the Islamic State group, which is largely absent from the areas where the zones will be implemented, as well as former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front. Fateh al-Sham has a powerful presence in Idlib province, which is included in the zones, where it is allied with other opposition groups. The deal says the "de-escalation zones" would be bordered by security areas with checkpoints and observation centres "ensured by the forces of the guarantors by consensus", but that "third-party" monitors could also be deployed. But on Monday, Muallem rejected UN or international monitors. "We do not accept a role for the United Nations or international forces to monitor the agreement," he said. He added there could be a role "as the Russian guarantor has said, for military police", but it was unclear if he was referring to Syrian or foreign units. Russia meanwhile said it had tabled a draft UN Security Council resolution backing the safe zone deal. A source at the UN told Russia's Interfax news agency that "a vote on the draft will take place possibly this week". Western diplomats expressed reservations, saying it was premature to endorse the Astana deal until final arrangements for the proposed "de-escalation zones" were agreed. The agreement has been received with caution by Washington, with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis saying it was being studied. "Does this proposal have a hope for ending this war? We'll have to look at it. The devil is always in the details, so we are going to have to look at the details," he said. Russia has said warplanes belonging to the US-led coalition fighting IS will be barred from operating in the four "de-escalation zones". US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov are set to discuss the agreement when they meet on Wednesday in Washington.

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