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Cementing ties with France, UAE places $19 bln order for warplanes, helicopters

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DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates ordered 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters on Friday, deepening economic and political ties with France through an arms contract worth 17 billion euros ($19.20 billion).

The largest ever overseas sale of the French warplane was sealed as French President Emmanuel Macron began a two-day trip to the Gulf, during which he will also visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“This contract is historic,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said in a statement.

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The French presidency said deal, signed at a ceremony between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ) and Macron on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020, is worth $19 billion.

“This contract cements a strategic partnership that is stronger than ever and directly contributes to regional stability, the French presidency said in a statement.

Macron’s visit comes at a time when Gulf Arab states have voiced uncertainty about the United States’ focus on the region even as they seek more weapons from their key security ally.

The French leader has forged a good relationship with MBZ with investments flowing between the two countries. Paris has a permanent military base in the Emirati capital.

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Shares in Dassault Aviation SA , the Rafale’s maker, rose more than 9%.

It is the biggest bulk purchase of the Dassault-made Rafale, other than by the French army, and comes after deals in Greece, Egypt and Croatia this year.

Abu Dhabi also ordered 12 Caracal helicopters. It is the French code name for the H225M, the multirole military version of the Super Puma.

The on-off negotiations for the Rafale fighter jets took more than a decade with Abu Dhabi publicly rebuffing France’s offer to supply 60 Rafale jets in 2011 as “uncompetitive and unworkable.” Abu Dhabi already has French-built Mirage 2000 warplanes.

Defense sources said the Rafale would replace the Mirage 2000 fleet but is unlikely to displace the American-built F-35 as the UAE continues to hedge its security with two major suppliers, France and the United States.

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The deal could nonetheless be seen as a signal of impatience as the U.S. Congress hesitates on approving an F-35 deal amid concerns about the UAE’s relationship with China, including the prevalence of Huawei 5G technology in the country.

Paris is one of the UAE’s main arms’ suppliers, but it has faced increasing pressure to review its sales because of the conflict between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has become one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

“France is going ahead with these sales despite the UAE playing a leading role in the atrocity-marred military operations led by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.”The French president should denounce the human rights violations in these three counties. ($1 = 0.8856 euros) (Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Tim Hepher, Karishma Singh, David Evans and Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Bloomberg names Green ME of finance for Americas

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Rick Green

Rick Green has been named managing editor for finance in the Americas at Bloomberg News, effective July 11.

He is currently senior editor for markets at Bloomberg.

Green was previously a team leader for distressed company news. He was also corporate finance editor and a senior editor on the U.S. finance team.

Before Bloomberg, Green was assistant managing editor for business and technology at Newsday. He also worked at BusinessWeek magazine as a senior editor and at SmartMoney magazine.

 





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Liberty Steel secures time with Greensill as debt rstructuring continues

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Liberty Steel Group has entered a standstill agreement with Greensill Bank.

It pauses all enforcement actions between the South Yorkshire headquartered business and the subsidiary of the collapsed financial institution as it focuses on recovery.

Greensill Bank, part of Greensill Capital, is Liberty’s largest creditor on the business’s debt facilities, provided in 2019.

Read more:£26m British Steel Special Profiles upgrade given the go-ahead

The agreement lasts until October 31, with potential to extend until the end of the year.

Liberty said it will enable the company to develop a longer term sustainable financing structure, with detailed due diligence and information exchange continuing between the two parties.

A Liberty spokesperson said: “Today’s standstill agreement with Greensill Bank demonstrates we are getting close to a consensual debt restructuring that is in the best interests of all our stakeholders.

“We are working intensively towards a settlement with our major creditors in a timeframe which would obviate the need for a legal battle. Our core businesses continue to perform well and are operationally strong despite some economic headwinds.”

HMRC had filed then withdrew a winding up petition for Liberty earlier this year as progress with creditors was made.



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At Close of Business: Jordan Murray talks an Australian republic

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Journalist Jordan Murray discusses revived debate over the possibility of an Australian republic.



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