Pact for major bus plant

16 July 2012
MUSCAT -- A Qatari newspaper has reported the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, with the Qatari public transport company Mowasalat, for the establishment of a major bus manufacturing and assembly project in the Sultanate. Gulf Times quoted an unnamed official of Mowasalat as saying that the proposed venture would be the largest of its kind in the Middle East, and would meet the demand for buses across the Gulf region.

"With the signing of the MoU for such a major project, we also look at the opportunity to expand our operations through new investment opportunities and partnerships that would help us achieve our mid-term and long-term goals and objectives," Mowasalat was quoted saying in a statement. Besides making an immense contribution to the partners, the proposed project will also go a long way in meeting the demand for public transport buses in the GCC and MENA region. It would also generate considerable job opportunities, the paper said.

The venture will be first of its kind collaboration in which Mowasalat is set to be a partner. The MoU was also hailed as a major step in strengthening bilateral relations between the two institutions and two nations. "Besides it will be benefiting Oman's basic industries as large requirements of the new facility would be met locally through the small and medium industries," the official was quoted as adding.

OIF officials could not be immediately reached for comment. OIF was established in 2006 to invest in long- and medium-term projects within and outside Oman. Over the years, OIF has built a globally diversified investment portfolio including Real Estate and Private Equity assets across various sectors, covering Travel and Leisure, Financial Services, Utilities, Media and Entertainment, Telecom Infrastructure, Industrial Goods and Services, Industrial Transportation and Engineering sectors.

Mowasalat was launched by the Qatari government in 2002 to provided integrated ground transport services for the entire country. Public buses now service over 35 routes covering most locations of Doha with minimal fares making public transport in Qatar an economic solution to the problems of rush hours and parking difficulties. Presently, Mowasalat, under the brand-name 'Karwa', now operates more than 3,000 new and well-maintained taxi sedans including the recently acquired airport taxis, more than 120 public buses, school buses and private-hire coaches.

© Oman Daily Observer 2012

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