Iraq says $4bn needed for new downstream oil investments

In this file photo Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali Al-Luaibi speaks during a news conference in Basra, Iraq. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 February 2018

Iraq says $4bn needed for new downstream oil investments

KUWAIT: Iraq needs $4 billion for new investments in its downstream oil industry, the country’s Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi said on Tuesday, outlining plans to expand refining capacity over the next several years.
Speaking at a conference on reconstruction of the war-torn country, he also said Iraq planned to boost its crude oil production capacity to 7 million barrels per day by 2022, from 5 million bpd at present.
Luaibi said the downstream investment would lift refining capacity to 1.5 million bpd by 2021, with 500,000 bpd of that earmarked for export.
The increase in refining capacity would come from seven projects, some of them new and some involving expansion of existing refineries.
Some would be turnkey projects, in which contractors would hand over facilities to Iraq, while others would be build-operate-transfer deals in which private firms would receive concessions to operate facilities.


Hermes echoes global luxury sales rebound

Updated 13 min 53 sec ago

Hermes echoes global luxury sales rebound

  • Handbag icon reaps benefits of online surge in Asia as pandemic curbs ease

PARIS: Hermes’ comparable sales picked up in the third quarter, rising 7 percent, and the Birkin bag maker said this positive momentum had extended into October after a rebound in Asia and other regions as coronavirus restrictions eased.

Luxury goods manufacturers were hit hard by store closures during lockdowns to combat the pandemic and sales for the industry as a whole are expected to fall by up to 35 percent this year — an unprecedented plunge after a decade of stellar growth.

But a gradual re-opening, even as governments bring in fresh measures to fight rising COVID-19 infections, has helped sales to recover. High-end labels, which used to be more reticent to sell their pricey products online, have also seen web revenues surge.

Hermes — known for its $12,000-plus handbags like the Birkin, which often generates waiting lists — already sells a selection of leather goods online, but said it would make a larger push.

“We are going to gradually increase our offer of products online, except for the very iconic products such as Birkin,” finance chief Eric du Halgouet told reporters.

He said the online channel had now become the group’s “biggest store,” with revenues exceeding those of any of its flagship shops. Sales online grew by nearly 100 percent in all regions in the first nine months of the year.

Hermes’ comparable sales, which strip out the impact of foreign exchange rates and acquisitions, came in at €1.8 billion ($2.13 billion) in the three months to end-September — making it the first luxury brand to post rising overall revenues in the third quarter. Sales of leather goods grew 8 percent in the period while fashion sales were also up, echoing buoyant trends at Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.

“We think this performance reflects the strength of the brand, continued polarization between winners and losers and better insulation from a lower than industry average exposure to tourist demand,” said Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet.

Growth in the third quarter was strong in Asia, where lockdown restrictions were eased first, with sales up 25 percent, while revenues fell by 15 percent in Europe — including a 23 percent drop in France — and by 5 percent in the Americas.

Despite the overall rebound, revenue from Hermes silk scarves were down 20.5 percent in the period. The group said that was due to an unfavorable comparison to a year ago and lower travel retail activity.

Du Halgouet said the positive sales trend of the third quarter had continued into October and the group had not yet seen an impact from new restrictions imposed by European governments as contagion numbers rise again sharply.

But Hermes struck a cautious note for the full-year outlook, saying the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic remains “difficult to assess, as the scale, duration and geographic extent of the crisis evolve every day.”

At constant currencies, sales in the first nine months fell 14 percent to €4.29 billion.