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AZERBAIJAN’S FOREIGN DEBT GROWING RAPIDLY

The Azeri Times

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“If things continue like this, foreign debt will reach the level of the GDP by 2020”

According to the 2017 report of the Cabinet of Ministers, creditors owning 93.9% of liabilities of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) voted to transfer more than 2.2bn dollars of its foreign debt to the state in July last year.

To this end, the law on the state budget for 2017 has been amended, increasing the maximum limit of foreign debt to 4.5bn manats. The new upper limit allowed the government to issue state bonds in foreign currency worth 2.2bn dollars in order to transfer the bank’s debts to the state.

Meydan TV spoke to Economicst Natig Jafarli, who explained that the state is liable not only for loan agreements signed by the state but also for those signed by state-owned entities, meaning that the state assumes responsibility if any company and state-owned entity fails to pay the loan back.

“If the state is not the guarantor, no financial institution will give Azerbaijani companies a loan. The IBA had foreign debt in the amount of 3.2bn dollars and later it turned out that the Oil Fund had paid 1bn of that debt.”

“Azerbaijan’s debts are growing rapidly. Two years ago, Azerbaijan’s foreign debt was 8% of its GDP, which was one of the best rates in the world. But according to current official numbers, our foreign debt now makes up for 20.1% of GDP. And this is only state debt. SOCAR’s foreign debt is as high as the state debt, and there are other large state companies with foreign debt whose guarantor is the state, such as Azerenerji, AZAL, Azersu or Azerdemiryol. All of them together make up for more than 60% of GDP. Azerbaijan’s foreign debt is rapidly increasing, and in the next two or three years more debt agreements will be signed, mainly for the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor.”

Jafarli estimated that the amount of foreign debt could reach GDP level by 2020.

“If we assume that the country’s revenues depend on the energy sector alone, we are in a very dangerous situation. The burden of repaying foreign debt will again fall on the state and consequently, funds allocated for other sectors will decrease. In 2018, it is the first time that 12% of the state budget are envisaged to repay foreign debt. This digit will increase gradually.”

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Fintech start-up TransferWise reports second year of profit, revenue almost doubles

The Azeri Times

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Fintech start-up TransferWise reports second year of profit, revenue almost doubles
Kristo Kaarmann, Co-Founder & CEO, TransferWise, on Centre Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

TransferWise, one of Europe’s largest financial technology (fintech) start-ups, said Monday it was profitable for the second year in a row.

 

The London-headquartered money transfer firm reported an annual post-tax net profit of £6.2 million ($8 million) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Annual revenue nearly doubled to £117 million during the period, from £66 million the previous year, TransferWise said. Operating profit came in at £9.5 million following a loss of £519,000 last year.

The company’s accounts entered into the black for the first time in March 2017, six years after the firm was founded by Estonian entrepreneurs Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarman.

“We’ve proven that fintech can offer consumers an unbelievable experience at a low price, all whilst creating a solid business that can be trusted long-term,” Kaarman, TransferWise’s chief executive, said in a statement Monday.

“Looking forward, sustained growth and our healthy financial position means we can continue to drive down costs whilst investing in developing our product.”

TransferWise is counted among Europe’s “unicorn” start-ups — firms valued at $1 billion or more — with a reported valuation of $1.6 billion.

It has raised a total of $397 million since it was founded in 2011. Backers include asset management giant Old Mutual, Silicon Valley venture capital firms Institutional Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, and British billionaire Richard Branson.

The firm says that £3 billion worth of transactions are moved around each month on the TransferWise app by its more than 4 million users.

The company makes money through fees charged on international transfers, which it boasts are up to eight times lower than those charged by banks.

Last year, it introduced its traveler-friendly borderless account to European customers, which lets users hold over 40 currencies and switch between currencies instantly. TransferWise plans to roll out the product to U.S. users later this year.

And in July, TransferWise tied up with French bank Groupe BPCE, in its first major bank partnership, to provide the lender’s customers access to its money transfer service. It has also struck deals with rival fintech firms Monzo and N26.

Monday’s earnings news could signal a changing landscape for fintech firms like TransferWise when it comes to profitability. Many start-ups in the sector have struggled to break even due to the cost of investing in their products and scaling their business while offering cheaper services than large banks.

Rival currency exchange and banking app Revolut for instance said earlier this year that it had broken even for the first time in December 2017. Meanwhile, another competitor, WorldRemit, expects to turn a profit by 2019.

The money transfer industry is a competitive one, with established giants like Western Union and MoneyGram, both of which have been investing heavily in the digital segments of their businesses.

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Business

Moonves speaks after CBS shakeup, says he’s ‘deeply saddened’

The Azeri Times

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Moonves speaks after CBS shakeup, says he’s ‘deeply saddened’

The two words that keep coming to mind are “stunning downfall.” Sunday night’s announcement by CBS is five stories in one.,

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Watch Elon Musk’s boring machine being operated by an Xbox controller

The Azeri Times

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Watch Elon Musk’s boring machine being operated by an Xbox controller
boring-company-flamethrower-ashley-esqueda-cnet-4

Captura de pantalla: Laura Martínez/CNET

Elon Musk founded The Boring Company in order to drill holes beneath the earth and build tunnels that could possibly reinvent public transport. Most recently the company pitched a “loop” system that would connect Los Angeles suburbs to the Dodgers stadium in four minutes.

It was a company famously founded after Elon Musk got annoyed with LA traffic.

Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016

Currently The Boring Company has three machines capable of digging the tunnels required to make the “loop” systems work.

Here is the second machine, being controlled with an Xbox One controller, which The Boring Company tweeted about on the weekend:

Best video game ever indeed. This is literally the machine being used to burrow into the ground, most likely at Hawthorne, where Elon Musk’s test tunnel is currently being worked on.

Elon Musk recently appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast where he smoked weed and discussed the impending threat of AI.

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