Abraaj exposure drags Air Arabia to a $166m 2018 loss

Air Arabia added 26 new routes to its global network in 2018 from its operating hubs in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt. (Shutterstock)
Updated 15 February 2019

Abraaj exposure drags Air Arabia to a $166m 2018 loss

  • Air Arabia said it faced impairment charges of 1.13 billon dirhams, mainly due to exposure to Abraaj-related investments
  • Dubai-based Abraaj was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors

DUBAI: Air Arabia suffered a 609.5 million dirham ($166 million) loss in 2018 as it took impairments on its exposure to collapsed private equity firm Abraaj, knocking its shares on Thursday as analysts said its dividend could be hit.
The Dubai-based carrier, whose stock fell by more than 7 percent on the results, had posted a net profit of 630.6 million dirhams in the same period a year ago.
Air Arabia said it faced impairment charges of 1.13 billon dirhams, mainly due to exposure to Abraaj-related investments.
“While Air Arabia’s liquidity status and profitable operations remain intact, this step aims to serve the best interests of the company and its investors,” it said.
Dubai-based Abraaj was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors, including the Gates Foundation, over a $1 billion health care fund.
“While we expected this to happen, this will affect Air Arabia’s ability to pay dividends,” said Nishit Lakhotia, head of research at Bahrain-based SICO.
“Further, this has affected its balance sheet and possibly will imply a higher rate for airline purchase or leasing.”
Air Arabia added 26 new routes to its global network in 2018 from its operating hubs in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt, it said in a statement on its website.
The carrier took delivery of three new aircraft and ended the year with a fleet of 53 Airbus A320 aircraft operating to over 155 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Abraaj’s liquidators are in the process of determining the value its assets to settle liabilities, said Air Arabia, which last month revealed that it has begun legal proceedings against Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi in Sharjah.


Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

Updated 14 August 2020

Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

  • Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store
  • Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games

NEW YORK: Apple and Google dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.
Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in game accoutrements like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post Thursday that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.
Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said in statement.
Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment. Epic’s Fortnite Twitter account said the company would debut a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. It has also filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.