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Exxon to revive share buyback plan over record profits in Q3



Exxon Mobil Corp, an American multinational oil and gas corporation, has registered $6.75 billion net profit in the third quarter, the highest since the last quarter of 2017.

The company’s $1.58 a share profit shocked Refinitiv’s estimated earning by two cents. The results reflected the highest refining profit in at least two years, soaring natural gas prices and energy shortages.

Boosted by high profit and improved cash flow, the company has announced to revive its share buyback program next year.

The company remained the biggest U.S. corporate shares repurchaser for more than a decade until suspending the practice in 2016 amid weak results, saying it would buy shares only to offset dilution from executive pay plans.

Exxon, the largest oil and gas company in the United States, posted a loss of $680 million earlier this year.

According to Paul Sankey, an analyst at Sankey Research, the company has announced its buyback program too soon to be expected.

Exxon shares ended 16 cents at $64.49 as some analysts expressed disappointment in the size of buyback program.

Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said that Exxon’s three businesses delivered higher returns due to effective restructurings and recovery of the global economy from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to analysts on a phone call, Woods said that the benefits of restructuring are manifesting themselves. He predicted that Exxon would deliver the same growth in earnings and cash flow because of the company’s pre-pandemic plans, expecting $30 billion in annual profit by 2025.

Exxon said it will resume its buybacks starting next year under a plan to spend up to $10 billion on share repurchases through 2023.

Overall profits in oil and gas surged in the third quarter over the rising global demand, reaching nearly $4 billion compared with a $383 million loss a year ago. The company said it will benefit in the fourth quarter from higher oil and gas volumes.

However, chemical profits reduced from last quarter’s high but more than tripled from the same period last year.

Exxon shares are up than 50 percent this year, as earnings bounced back from last year’s historic loss, but remain below where they traded in early 2020.


22 Chief AI officers appointed in government entities



H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said that under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai remains committed to developing a pioneering model for AI-enabled government operations, as part of its broader vision to establish itself as a global leader in government innovation.
His Highness made these remarks on the occasion of appointing 22 Chief Artificial Intelligence Officers across various government entities in Dubai, who will spearhead specialised plans and programmes in the field of AI and advanced technology.

Sheikh Hamdan said: “We have approved the appointment of 22 Chief AI Officers across government entities in Dubai as part of a forward-looking vision aimed at leveraging AI to enhance government operations. This initiative will enhance Dubai’s progress and expertise in this sector and consolidate its position as a leader in creating innovative solutions built on advanced technology.”
“The accelerated adoption of AI, alongside the development of its tools and applications, represents a cornerstone of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aimed at positioning Dubai as a global hub for the development and deployment of AI solutions,” His Highness added.
“The appointment of the new Chief AI Officers in the Dubai government marks the initial phase toward realising our vision for the future of government work, in line with the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence. We are confident that these officers will intensify their efforts and go the extra mile in translating our vision into reality. Their commitment is crucial in turning our ambitious plans into concrete actions that will shape the future of AI-enabled government operations in Dubai,” His Highness said.
The Chief AI Officer position was established under the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), designed to enrich the quality of life and well-being of residents. Additionally, it supports Dubai’s endeavour to become the most future-ready city, consolidating its leadership as a global hub for technology and innovation.
DUB.AI aims to cement the emirate’s position as a global hub for AI governance and legislation, while facilitating AI adoption across strategic sectors. Additionally, the initiative bolsters Dubai’s standing in the Global AI Readiness Index, where it presently holds a position in the top 10.
The newly appointed Chief AI Officers represent several government entities across Dubai including: Community Development Authority in Dubai, Dubai Government Human Resources Department, Dubai Customs, Dubai Police, The Judicial Council, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Digital Dubai Authority, General Directorate of Civil Defense in Dubai, Dubai Data and Statistics Establishment, Dubai Health Authority, Public Prosecution, Protocol Department in Dubai, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, Department of Finance in Dubai, Endowments and Minors’ Trust Foundation (Awqaf Dubai), and Dubai Municipality.

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UAE announces new telemarketing rules to protect consumers



Cold callers in the UAE face fines of AED 150,000 under strict new regulations announced by the Ministry of Economy, and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TRA), aimed at protecting people from persistent telemarketers.

From August, companies will be barred from calling customers back if they reject the service in the initial conversation and they cannot phone back if the call is declined or ended. 

Telemarketing calls will also only be allowed to be made from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and companies will need prior approval from authorities and face the threat of termination of operating licences if rules are broken.  When the new rules come in marketing calls can only be made from numbers of licensed companies as opposed to individual or personal numbers. 

Customers can file a complaint if any of the new rules are broken. The rules apply to all companies in the UAE, including those in free zones. 

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Majid Al Futtaim unveils first forest living community in Dubai



Majid Al Futtaim, a key developer of communities, shopping malls, offices, and hotels in the region, has officially launched its newest development concept, Ghaf Woods, the first forest living community in the heart of Dubai.

Set to be released in eight phases between now and 2031, Ghaf Woods will cover 738,000 sq m of land off the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Highway, near Global Village. 

With more than 7,000 premium units set within a woodland, including one, two and three bedrooms, as well as penthouses, residents can expect perfect views of the forest ecosystem, said Majid Al Futtaim in a statement.

The concept which was initially introduced earlier this year at MIPIM 2024, an international real estate event held in Cannes, France, embraces a harmonious living experience marked by thriving greenery, enhanced connectivity, and unrivalled sustainability, it stated.

Speaking at the launch, Ahmed El Shamy, the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said this represents an important moment for Majid Al Futtaim as it enters the fourth decade of creating great moments for  customers, partners and community members.

“This launch represents a re-founding moment for us to create something never seen before and offer residents a truly unique experience, reconfirming our position as the lifestyle pioneers in the region,” he noted.

“Ghaf Woods is more than just a new community – it’s the beginning of a new chapter in premium developments with creative and sustainable community design at its core and we are confident that its appeal will extend far beyond the UAE,” he added.

According to him, the development is poised to redefine indoor-outdoor living, anchoring its world-class design and architecture in the surrounding natural environment. 

“With a forest, made up of 35,000 trees, suitable to the local climate including the Ghaf, it will outnumber the number of residents. The trees are a significant feature of Ghaf Woods, helping reduce soil erosion and conserve water while providing shade which sees its average temperatures measure up to five degrees Celsius cooler than the city’s,” he added.

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