SLG Newsletter: May 2017

Dear Friends and Clients,

Ramadan is at the doorstep.

In the Surah Al-Baqarah [2:185] – Al-Qur’an al-Kareem – it reads that the Holy Scripture was revealed in the month of Ramadan.

All our non – Muslim friends should be aware of the strict rules and customs during this month and should mainly refrain from disregarding these rules because this could lead to unexpected discomfort.

Ramadan is also a time for cleaning up both– body and mind. Let go of unnecessary thoughts, worries and actions and hardly any new action will commence this month. Don’t expect your Muslim friend or business partner to make a decision. Decision-making is on a one-month holiday which also helps to clear the mind.

As far as we are able (and willing) we should follow this tradition and its rules. A highly respectable Catholic top manager of an Austrian renowned company always fasted with his (Muslim) employees – as an homage to the host country, the religion and his staff.

And there is no place for any criticism or even remarks on the way our hosts celebrate Ramadan. We are not called to explain what Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) meant with fasting. Our friends are not reminding us either that the Christmas tree is a Pagan custom to celebrate the winter solstice and has nothing to do with Jesus’ birth. We can only expect tolerance if we are tolerant ourselves. However, Ramadan is a very good opportunity to visit our hosts, get in closer contact with important decision makers (but don’t expect decisions!) and make new friends. So let’s be humble and not conceited, accept as many invitations to Iftars and Suhours as you want and don’t step on the scale before Eid! 


Theodor Strohal

Office News

After 2.5 years, we are saying goodbye to our Managing Director (UAE) Ms Jana Krok by the end of May. We are welcoming Mr Thomas Meier to our team in Ras al Khaimah. He has graduated from Leopold Franzens University in Innsbruck, Austria and after being trained as a lawyer in various renowned Viennese law firms, passed the Austrian bar exam with great success.  We further welcome Ms Verena Nosko, who has graduated from Humboldt University in Berlin with a 2nd state exam and is capable of joining the German bar anytime.

Dubai: Land Department introduced a standard property lease form

In February, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) announced that all new property leases, which are signed in Dubai, must use the new standard lease for beginning in March 2017. The standard form should guarantee the rights of all parties and is written in English and Arabic. On the DLD’s ejari website,, a copy of the new standard form can be downloaded and includes eight standard terms and conditions, such as to pay to use the premises for the intended purpose.

The DLD assured that the new standard form is based on the relevant laws (Law no. 2 issued in 2003, Law 25 issued in 2008, and Law no. 26 issued in 2007).

The forced use of the form continues the tendency of the government authorities to unify legal proceedings and to restrict parties’ privileges. While this may facilitate the work of the authorities, it is reminiscent of other political systems.

This new standard form applies only to Dubai and is not applicable in other Emirates.

Partnership deal between Mashreq Bank and Commerzbank

On the 8th of May, Mashreq Bank announced a partnership with the German Commerzbank. The Mashreq bank will establish a German desk for the German and European clients at their head office in Dubai.  The partnership supports the bank’s plans of being the international strategic partner from European corporates and will promote its banking services further.

Mashreq is the oldest private Bank in the UAE with award winning financial solutions and services and a 50 year history. Today, Mashreq is present in 11 countries outside the UAE with 21 overseas branches and offices across Europe, USA, Asia and Africa. Mashreq’s vision is it to be the region’s most progressive bank.

The shareholders’ structure is reported as follows:

Abdulla & Hamad Al Ghurair Investment LLC 55,212,086 31.1%
Massar Investment Co. LLC 21,285,944 12.0%
Federal Bank of Lebanon SAL 10,500 0.0059%

 Dubai airport improved service level

Since implementation of the new technology at the Dubai International Airport (DXB) the wait times for international passengers has dropped by almost 10% in the first quarter of 2017. The Smart Gates, as the first technology behind shorter wait times, is now available on 120 points across DXB and are very convenient for all UAE residents. The second technology is a motion sensor system with a series of 530 sensors that allows the airport to see the queues in real time and has been installed in terminals 1 and 3 at DXB. The system allows airport staff to track the movement of people, collecting and computing valuable data, like passenger wait times and queue lengths, and the alert all teams in real time to identify the bottlenecks based on those factors and calculate the prevailing levels of service.

With these systems, the airport staffs hopes to improve the overall customer experience and increase the capacity from 90 million in 2016 to 118 million passengers at DXB by 2018.

Have you ever seen a fully booked A380 disembark into busses? I have. That seems only possible at DXB. I wonder when this ordeal will end.

Positive outlook for Dubai’s private sector

Based on the Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index, Dubai’s private sector could be passing through its best operating conditions in 26 months. The index rose from 56,6 to 57,7 at the end of April, led by a continuous upturn in construction (57,9), followed by wholesale and retail (57,8) and travel and tourism (57,0).

Khatija Haque, Head of MENA research at Emirates NBD says, “It is encouraging to see the sharp rise in the construction sector index, as this had lagged both wholesale and retail trade and travel and tourism indices in the first quarter. The latest survey supports our view that investment in infrastructure ahead of Expo 2020 will be a key driver of Dubai’s growth over the next 2-3 years.”

UAE’s Saqr Port signs deal for tug

Saqr Port, part of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Ports, has signed a contract with Damen Shipyards Group for the delivery of a tugboat. The contract was signed at the beginning of April between the two parties.

The tug will be built a short distance away at Albwardy Damen in Sharjah. A speaker of Damen said the tug will be delivered in time for the opening of the new bulk terminal at Saqr Port in mid-2018. Located at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, the port itself is an important part of the regional economy and a major bulk handing port in the Middle East.

RAK Properties income rises

RAK Properties, backed by the Ras Al Khaimah Government, has posted a 25% profit increase for the first quarter despite a slowing property market. The profit for the first three months of the year increased to Dh 18.5 million, up from Dh 14.8 million in 2016.

The profit rise came after a 54% increase in sales, thanks to the handover of completed villas at the Flamingo Villas project in its Mina Al Arab master-planned development. RAK Properties launched the Mina Al Arab Project in May 2006, but was forced to put more than Dh 1 billion worth of projects on hold as the global financial crisis hit the industry in 2009. In all of the UAE’s Northern Emirates, the real estate markets slowed at the end of last year as Dubai’s property slump and the effects of oil prices impacted sales.

Residence permits in Austria

One of our partner offices in Austria is highly specialized in providing resident permits for “high value” foreigners. They provide practical support with the visa application and during the whole visa process, including the required interview at the Austrian embassy. Around 400 permits are granted each year and our partner office has around a 90% chance of success. Of course with such permit you also can travel to all EU countries participating in the Schengen Treaty. The final permit will be granted for 10 years, if all requirements are met.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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