ACT Middle East Treasury Awards 2018

18:45 - 00:00 15 October 2018
Magnolia, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

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Nominations are now closed

The ACT Middle East Treasury Awards celebrate the achievements of treasury professionals and recognise companies and individuals that have shown innovation and excellence in corporate treasury. This year, for the first time, we are also recognising those bankers and treasury suppliers who have gone the extra mile for their corporate clients.

Award categories for 2018

Treasury Awards

  • Working Capital Management
  • Corporate Funding

Treasury Team of the Year Awards

  • Small Corporate Treasury Team of the Year
  • Medium Corporate Treasury Team of the Year
  • Large Corporate Treasury Team of the Year

Treasury Professionals of the Year Awards

  • Treasury professional of the year – private sector
  • Treasury professional of the year – public sector
  • Professional of the year – financial service provider
  • Professional of the year – treasury supplier

Short-listed organisations include:

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company | ALDAR Properties | Alfahim | Almarai Company | Al-Touq Group | Arabtec | Cugavadi | Daman | Dubai Aerospace Enterprises | Emirates National Oil Company | Etihad Airway | First Abu Dhabi Bank | Kyriba | Mashreq Bank | OiLibya | Oman Telecommunications Company | TAQA | United Projects for Aviation Services | Webcor Group

You only need to take a look at the impressive achievements of the 2017 winners and runners-up to see how busy treasurers and their teams have been in the region, demonstrating the value treasury can bring to an organisation.

Judges have considered all types of deals on the basis that they show excellence and/or innovation in corporate treasury and in meeting the consistent criteria - sound treasury and finance management, efficient pricing, optimal or innovative structure, relative success in prevailing market conditions - rather than solely on the size of the deal. Treasury Team and Professionals awards looked at those standout teams and individuals who have made a difference to their organisations, corporate relationships or the treasury profession and community in general.

Winners will be announced at the ACT Middle East Annual Dinner held at the Magnolia, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on 15 October 2018.

Book your table here

Judging Panel

If a conflict of interest arises during the judging process, the judge concerned withdrew from the judging discussion and decision-making for that category.

Chair: Matthew Hurn, Chief Financial Officer, Alternative Investments & Infrastructure, Mubadala Investment Company

Matthew HurnMatthew is the Head of Finance for the Group’s Emerging Sectors platform which incorporates Mubadala interests in Real Estate and Infrastructure, healthcare, Mubadala Capital and Enterprise Technology and Services.

Prior to this Matthew was the Group Treasurer with responsibility for treasury, financial risk management and insurance. Prior to joining Mubadala, Matthew was the Group Treasurer of DSG International (formally Dixons Group) where he was instrumental in developing the company’s treasury framework and strategy to accommodate its overseas expansion into 28 countries.

Matthew has worked extensively in the treasury industry for over 20 years in both the public and private sectors. His previous treasury experience also includes several years at Otis, with responsibility for the UK treasury operations of United Technologies Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

James Adams FCT, Group Treasurer, Chalhoub Group

James_AdamsJames is the Group Treasurer at Chalhoub Group; a leading partner for luxury across the Middle East, expert in retail, distribution and communication. He is responsible for all aspects of Treasury and has recently led several projects to establish the new function within the firm. Prior to joining Chalhoub in 2014, James was a Senior Manager in the Deloitte Treasury Advisory team based in London. He has worked with Group Treasurers and CFOs at a variety of companies in the UK, Europe, Middle East, North America, Russia and Asia. His particular areas of interest are Treasury Systems, Risk Management and Treasury Strategy. James is a Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers and a Chartered Management Accountant. He studied at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he completed a BSc in Economics and MSc in Financial and Industrial Economics.

Laura Ford, Senior Treasury Manager, Group Treasury, Majid Al Futtaim Holding

Laura_FordLaura Ford is Senior Treasury Manager at Majid Al Futtaim , one of the largest developers and operators of shopping malls and hypermarkets in the MENA region. She has led a number of financial system implementations and cash management initiatives and is currently responsible for funding. Prior to joining MAF in 2008, Laura was based in the UK, in the European Treasury Centre of Cargill Plc, a multinational producer of food and agricultural products. Laura has 14 years of Corporate Treasury experience. She holds a Certificate in International Treasury Management from the ACT.

Andrew McMichael, Group Treasurer, Agility

Andrew_McMichael2Andrew is the Group Treasurer for Agility, a Kuwait based, global logistics company with a turnover of around USD 5bn, operating in over 100 countries. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry and Business Administration in 1990 from Kingston University, he joined Unilever in the Treasury department and obtained his ACMA in 1994. He joined Ocean Group plc (later renamed Exel plc) in the treasury department in late 1994, and became Group Treasurer in 1998. He left Exel in 2004 and worked with a start-up company specialising in trade receivable financing, but has now returned to mainstream Treasury and has moved to Kuwait. Andrew obtained his AMCT in 1995, and is a founder committee member of the ACT Middle East.

Gary Slawther, Treasury Director, Arabtec Holding


Gary is a fellow of the ACT and has over 27 years of finance experience of which 19 have been in treasury across a diverse range of companies, principally multinational, including retail, manufacturing, engineering, logistics and FMCG. Now with OCTAL Petrochemicals in Oman, Gary is centrally involved with financing the growth and development of a technologically and environmentally driven company.

Ricky Thirion, Group CFO, Etihad Airways

Ricky ThirionRicky has been with Etihad Airways since 2007 and oversees the Group Treasury, comprising of the corporate treasury, corporate investment, corporate and structured finance, and insurance functions.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and various financial and business management related qualifications. Ricky was voted Global Corporate Treasurer of the Year 2010 by the readership of gtnews and is an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Senior Executive Positions Held

  • Group Treasurer – Etihad Airways
  • Group Treasurer - South African Airways
  • Managing Director - Andisa Treasury Solutions
  • Managing Director - Standard Risk and Treasury Management Services, a subsidiary of the Standard Bank Group of South Africa


Magnolia, Madinat Jumeirah
6 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St
United Arab Emirates

2017 Winners

Working Capital Management Winner and Medium Corporate Treasury Team of the Year Highly Commended: Landmark


One of the Middle East’s largest retail groups, Landmark Retail, took this year’s Working Capital Management Award at the ACT Middle East Awards.

Landmark’s achievements in this area include an overhaul of its working capital infrastructure and the introduction of a long-term supply chain finance strategy to cement links with its Asian supplier base and promote sustainable growth.

Embarking on comprehensive review of its working capital management involved benchmarking Landmark’s performance against peers, identifying cash management efficiencies and introducing long-term working capital reduction initiatives. Landmark’s corporate treasury also wanted to set-up a long-term working capital structure to provide low-cost working capital to its SME supplier base. Within this context, Landmark agreed to structure a supply chain finance solution with Asian Development Bank (ADB) that will facilitate $200m in trade flows between Asia and the Middle East.

The retailer sources most of its merchandise from Asia. Thanks to the new arrangement, the company will be able procure goods on a payment-on-delivery basis, providing its suppliers with a sustainable cash-conversion cycle.

Rajesh Garg, group chief financial officer at Landmark Group, said: “At Landmark, we have monomaniacal focus on delivering value to our customers. This drives us to constantly innovate across all channels of our value chain. This supply chain financing structure will enhance our relationships with Asian SME suppliers and pave the way for other such programs. In addition, we would reap the benefits backed by the AAA rating of ADB and efficient solution delivery by Deutsche Bank. This award is a great recognition of the efforts of the Landmark Treasury team.”

Award highlights
Issuer/organisation: Landmark Retail
Provider: Deutsche Bank
Structure: three-month revolving facilities

The judges said: “Landmark has arrived at an impressive structure for working capital and is to be commended for its work with SMEs across Asia.”

Strategic Funding Winner: DP World


Global trade enabler DP World took the ACT Middle East Treasury Award 2017 for Strategic Funding for its expert refinancing of a complex project at its container terminals in British Columbia, Canada.

DP World had an existing terminal in Vancouver, Canada, and in August 2015 acquired a new container terminal in Prince Rupert, Canada. The acquisition was amid an expansion project of Prince Rupert and hence required additional funding but to minimise any delays, no external borrowing was put in place at the time of acquisition. However, it was the intention of DP World to put in financing at a later stage to release equity, repay debt, and/or redeploy capital in new projects.

After the acquisition, DP World’s group treasury team in Dubai raised CAD$ 603m in a non-recourse secured term loan funding. The arrangements included the refinancing of existing bank debt; refinancing of an acquisition loan; a capex facility for equipment and berth expansion; and hedging the interest rate exposure on an amortising basis.

The international nature of the deal brought complexity to the transaction as the loan documentation fell under English law, while a security package was governed by Canadian law and the negotiations involved multiple stakeholders and lenders. DP World’s treasury team coordinated those negotiations solely with lenders and port authorities without involving financial advisors or structuring banks.

Girish Shenoy, director group treasury, said: “It is particularly pleasing to be recognized for our work in the Canadian refinancing.”

The judges said: “They have covered a lot of ground and driven up-to-date solutions and approaches, doing a great job on a global stage.”

Deal highlights
Issuer/borrower: DP World Prince Rupert Inc and DP World (Canada) Inc
Provider: Various
Structure: Term loan and refinancing of acquisition debt
Tenor: Seven years

Small Corporate Treasury Team of the Year Winner: Webcor


Food and consumer goods distributor Webcor won the Small Treasury Team of the Year Award at the ACT Middle East Treasury Awards.

Led by head of treasury Mona Lockett, Webcor’s treasury team has spent the past 18 months working to centralise and embed treasury within a highly dispersed organisation.

Webcor derives 95% of its revenues from Angola. It also operates in Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Italy and has a presence in Asia and Lebanon. The company is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.

The treasury team installed a Kyriba treasury management system in the group with a strong focus on Angola. At the time, Angola’s economy had been severely hit by falling oil prices and the country was struggling with goods shortages, while Webcor in turn grappled with control exchange issues. Implementing the TMS, as well as SWIFT for payments, proved instrumental in helping the company to improve cash visibility across the group, providing the senior management team with invaluable information. The installation also helped streamline the whole bank reconciliation process.

“The award was amazing recognition for the group and a measure of how hard we have worked to bring visibility from Africa. This is just one milestone with many more to come. The ACT offers treasury professionals a platform to support growth within the treasury team and as group.”

The judges said: “The TMS installation, which was achieved in the face of significant challenges, stands out as a great achievement for Webcor.”

Medium Corporate Treasury Team of the Year Winner: Alghanim Industries

Alghanim Industries team
Alghanim Industries is one of the oldest and largest privately-owned companies in the MENA region. Founded in Kuwait, the company employs more than 15,000 people in 30 businesses across 40 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Alghanim Industries is a market leader in almost every major sector of its operations, which include: engineering, retail, automotive sales and service, insulation and pre-engineered steel building structures, logistics and warehousing, fast moving consumer goods, food & beverage, oil & gas, office automation, advertising, insurance, consumer credit and travel. The company is actively growing its brand portfolio, with a focus on top-tier global partners.

In 2015, Robert Etman, chief support services and chief financial officer of Alghanim Industries, nominated Sonal Gupta as the corporate treasurer for the group. Sonal had his work cut out for him in terms of transforming the treasury function. His goal was to move away from transaction activities and, instead, champion innovation while supporting the businesses with their strategic growth initiatives.

“My immediate priority was to strengthen talent in the team and minimise risk by meaningfully automating the underlying processes. This is even more critical as we are expanding into new markets and business lines”, said Gupta on his appointment.

Over the past three years, the Alghanim Industries corporate team has transformed into a diverse unit of specialists offering innovative ideas to the businesses and playing a key role in executing them with the banks. Alghanim Industries was one of the first private organisations in Kuwait to implement straight through processing - a digital payment mechanism on SWIFTNet.

The team has also taken significant steps in improving working capital management through innovative and structured products. The group has close to 20 banking partners and the treasury team ensures that the right partners and products are chosen for each requirement. “We work closely with banks who can provide us customised solutions. We work with a Kuwaiti Islamic bank for working capital management for our FMCG business while our automotive supply chain financing programme is supported by a large international bank”, said Pramod Bhattiprolu, senior treasury manager.

“The need for customisation is also driven by the fact that Kuwait, our home market, is yet to fully mature in terms of financial products”, noted Noufal Basheer, treasury manager. One such product, customised specifically for Alghanim Industries’ needs, was corporate prepaid debit cards, which has near completely eliminated cash floats within the organisation, thus significantly reducing risk. The case was used by the bank, one of the largest in Kuwait, to develop their prepaid debit card product and supporting systems.

The team has been working closely with the banks to adopt innovative products and at the same time optimising the overall costs. “We offer scale and volumes to our partner banks which ensures optimality in product development and costs of adoption”, said Gupta.

The ACT award of the “Best Medium Corporate Treasury Team” was an appropriate recognition of the enterprising spirit of the Alghanim Industries corporate treasury team. Gupta, receiving the award, said: “The Alghanim Industries treasury team has been taking on bold initiatives to make sure the company is at the forefront in implementing the best treasury practices, and this award is a testament to what we have achieved, and a reminder that we must aspire to continue setting the bar in our field.”

Commenting on the accomplishments of the team, Robert Etman, said: “I am extremely proud of the achievements of our treasury team under Sonal’s leadership. It has transformed itself into a true business partner making a real difference to our operations and has become a leader in product innovation in close partnership with our preferred banks. Winning the Medium Corporate Treasury Team of the Year Award from ACT is the ultimate testament of this.”

It is this customer-centric approach, along with internationally focused leading edge work and thorough coverage of core treasury areas that motivated the judges to choose Alghanim Industries’ Corporate Treasury as the Medium Treasury Team of the Year 2017.

The judges said: “Alghanim Industries is to be applauded for its leading-edge internationally focused work. The team there has covered a great deal of ground in core treasury areas.”

Large Corporate Treasury Team of the Year Winner: DP World


The group treasury team at global trade enabler DP World, the worlds’ third largest container terminal operator, was awarded the Large Corporate Treasury Team of the Year at the ACT Middle East Treasury Awards 2017. The judges were impressed with team’s wide ranging and high-class work across both transactions and working capital management.

The five-strong team has been to the capital markets multiple times in the past 18 months in different geographies. For example, a £650m financing for London Gateway Port Ltd, $1.2bn sukuk due May 2023 in parallel with a $1.127bn fixed price tender offer for $1.5bn sukuk maturing in July 2017, and the CAD$603m non-recourse secured term loan financing and associated hedging for the group’s Canadian assets, which won the Strategic Funding Deal of the Year Award.

As DP World has 78 terminals in 40 countries across six continents, the treasury team deals with diverse locations, which brings its own complexities, especially in emerging and frontier markets. In the past 18 months, the team has played a key role in the company’s strategy by initiating and executing various transactions concurrently, in addition to overseeing day-to-day treasury operations such as cash and liquidity management, interest and FX rate hedging, compliance, credit risk management and trade finance. Furthermore, working closely with the credit rating agencies over the past year has resulted in two upgrades from Fitch (from BBB- to BBB+) and one from Moody’s (from Baa3 to Baa2).

Girish Shenoy, director group treasury said: “We are delighted to receive the Large Corporate Treasury Team of the Year award. It’s been a busy period as we have closed more than $6bn of financings across multiple geographies and over $4bn in spot and hedging transactions.”

The judges said: “They have shown great teamwork and deal expertise, with an impressive array of achievements and skills demonstrated.”

Treasury Professional of the Year - Public Sector Winner: Abdulla Beloyahah, Head of Debt Management, Department of Finance – Government of Dubai


Treasury Professional of the Year in a public-sector organisation went to Abdulla Belyoahah, head of debt management at the Government of Dubai, Department of Finance.

Belyoahah impressed the judges not just for recent achievements in debt management but for his hard work and dedication over a period of some years in terms of introducing and professionalising the treasury function within such a high-profile government department.

Belyoahah is to be applauded, they said, for demonstrating and embedding high standards with the department.

The judges said: “Abdulla Belyoahah has made a true contribution to the profession.”

Treasury Professional of the Year - Private Sector Winner: Adam Boukadida, Group Treasurer, Etihad Aviation Group


The award for Treasury Professional of the Year in a private sector organisation went to Adam Boukadida, acting group treasurer at Etihad Aviation Group (EAG).

Boukadida, formerly deputy treasurer at the aviation group, assumed his responsibilities as acting group treasurer in May 2017, bringing more than 15 years’ of knowledge and experience in treasury management, global markets and banking to the role.

Under his leadership, the treasury team at Etihad has completed a global transactional banking project. The goal was to rationalise the number of accounts and banking partners, reduce costs, eliminate manual interventions where possible and move to increased straight through processing, an end point that was reached six months ahead of schedule.

EAG has also made a significant investment in financial technology, leading to the replacement of two separate treasury management systems with a single consolidated system to manage all treasury operations and financial risk management including commodity risk.

Boukadida’s achievements include developing the 70-strong treasury team, leveraging the different skills and talents in a way that supported Etihad’s business and technology objectives. The implementation has brought a simplified payments infrastructure, improved cash visibility and significant cost and time-savings, across the global network.

In the same year, the treasury team also raised $1.5bn via a sukuk programme, the largest ever in aviation history.

Boukadida said: “I am honoured to be recognised for this award. Credit goes to my team that has worked tirelessly to implement the many strategic initiatives we have implemented over the past 12 months to provide a stronger framework for our business.”

The judges said: “Adam has demonstrated the value treasurers can bring to an organisation. He has also been a very strong advocate of ACT treasury qualifications, identifying the skills needed by United Arab Emirates nationals and proactively championing the training cause,” they said.

View winners and photos from 2017 Awards Ceremony here

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