Rami Makhlouf (286)


There are currently just under two dozen international companies operating in the Syrian oil industry from the exploration and production sectors to related services. The companies are listed below.


Updated August 22: IPR, an independent oil and gas company based in the United States, has said that it made a modest new discovery in Block 24 with a flow rate of 100 barrels of oil and 10 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.


The US government has added Mohammad Hamsho, one of the country’s most powerful businessmen, and his holding firm, Hamsho International Group, to a list of individuals and institutions against which it has imposed sanctions.


Syriatel, the larger of the country’s two mobile phone operators, said that its first half revenues stood at SYP 25.43 billion, stable from the same period of 2010.


The European Union has expanded the list of persons it is putting under sanctions to include five more individuals, including the Minister of Defence, Ali Habib.


Syriatel, one of the two mobile phone operators in Syria and the country’s largest private sector corporation by revenues, announced a doubling of its capital to SYP 3.35 billion.


Ihab Makhlouf is resigning from the board of Syria International Islamic Bank, only a few weeks after the European Union imposed a freeze on his assets and after his brother, Rami, one of Syria’s most prominent businessmen, announced that he was quitting the world of business.


In an additional sign of the growing crisis impacting Syria’s economy, Al-Iqtissadiya, a business weekly, and the first private sector publication to be licensed after the arrival to power of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, announced that it would stop publishing during the whole month of Ramadan.


An estimated 1.2 million protestors took to the streets across Syria on Friday July 22 - the largest turnout ever since the unrest began on March 15. Earlier in the week in a significant diplomatic blow, the Embassy of Qatar in Damascus closed and its Ambassador abandoned his post. Meanwhile, the heavy crackdown against the opposition in Homs continued throughout the week.


Yesterday Cham Holding, Syria’s largest corporation, elected an entirely new board of directors. However, the company did not elect a new chairman. The move comes only a few weeks after the company, along with its previous chairman, was put under sanctions by the United States.


Ihab Makhlouf has resigned from his position as vice-Chairman of the Board of Al-Aqeelah Takaful Insurance, a few weeks after the European Union imposed a freeze on his assets and on those of several other Syrian personalities, as well as on “legal persons and entities associated with them,” according to a filing by the company.


The European Union has for the first time imposed an asset freeze on Syrian corporations, including two owned by Rami Makhlouf and another by Mohammad Hamsho.


One of Syria’s most powerful businessmen, Rami Makhlouf, said on Thursday June 16 that he was quitting the world of business to donate his time and money to charities - although it is unclear whether he will give up shares in any of the companies he owns.


After-prayers protests on Friday June 17 resulted in the deaths of an estimated 24 as pressure on the Syrian government from the US and the European Union continues to increase.


Rami Makhlouf, one of Syria’s most prominent businessmen, has no plans to sell his stake in Syriatel or leave the country, according to statements reported in the local press.


Only a week after it announced it was stopping production at its Deir-ez-Zor plant, Vimpex, a paper trading and manufacturing concern owned by prominent businessman Nabil Kuzbari, said that it was resuming operations following a request from the workers at the plant.


Set-up and manage all kinds of educational institutions (schools, universities, institutes and technical and scientific research centers); representation of local, Arab and foreign companies, universities, educational centers and institutes


The US Administration has announced that it was imposing sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and six other senior Government officials as well as on three of the country’s largest companies, Cham Holding, Bena Properties and Al-Mashrek Investment Fund.


Conflicting narratives abound in Syria, as the government and those participating in the unrest across the country endeavor to shape how Syrians and the outside world interpret the country's tumult.


The European Union has announced an asset freeze and travel ban on a number of Syrian personalities, including Rami Makhlouf, one of the country’s most prominent businessmen.


The value of the Syrian Pound traded in the black market returned close to its official rate levels last week, while the index of the Damascus Securities Exchange rose for the first time in weeks.


Etisalat has become the second company to announce that it would drop from the race for Syria’s third mobile phone license, citing unhappiness with the auction terms.


Turkcell is not interested in taking Syria’s third mobile phone license, the CEO of the Turkish company, which is among the 5 prelisted firms for this third license, said.


The auction for a third mobile phone license in Syria will begin with a starting bid of EUR 90 million, according to Mohammad Al-Jallali, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications.


Syria’s mobile phone industry, the country’s most lucrative business sector, is to be overhauled as the Government announces the launch of a bidding round for a third operator as well as the sale of a license to the existing two operators.

In last week’s edition of The Syria Report we published a story on the sale of RAMAK Duty Free Shops to a group of Syrian and Arab investors.

RAMAK Duty Free, a chain of duty free shops on Syria ’s border crossings, has announced that it has sold its shops to Arab and Syrian investors.


Byblos Bank Syria has announced that it would be increasing its capital to SYP 6 billion within 18 months.

Bank of Jordan-Syria has successfully completed its rights issue raising its capital to SYP 3 billion, according to the Syrian Commission on Financial Markets and Securities.

The Board of Directors of Cham Holding, one of Syria’s largest holding firms, met last week with Prime Minister Naji Otri to provide an update on the projects developed by the company.


After showing interest in Emerald Energy, which holds a 50 percent stake in one of Syria’s fastest growing oil fields, Sinochem, a state-owned Chinese company is now looking to buy Gulfsands Petroleum, according to British press reports.

The United States has announced that it was reappointing an ambassador to Damascus four years after it withdrew its envoy there.
Gulfsands Petroleum targets to reach a gross production of 16,000 barrels of oil per day in its Khurbet east field at the end of this year and 30,000 bpd at the end of the first quarter of 2011, according to the company.

Syria’s two mobile phone operators are attracting renewed interest from foreign investors according to various press reports.


Syriatel has announced the resignation of Nader Qalei, its long time CEO, from the Board of Directors.


Syriatel posted an increase of 16.8 percent in its 2008 revenues, according to the company’s audited financial statements.

Income of the two Syrian mobile phone operators rose to SYP 33.41 billion during the first half of this year, according to the unaudited mid-year statements of the companies.

Nader Qalei, who has held the position of general manager of Syriatel since the establishment of the company, has quit his post.

American citizens and firms have been banned from dealing with Syria’s largest private corporation, Syriatel, following a decision by the US Treasury.
Al Mashrek Fund has announced a huge increase in both profits and assets in 2007.

Syriatel has issued a statement following reports that Mr Rami Makhlouf, its largest shareholder, had said that he was not planning to sell his stake in the company.

Rami Makhlouf, Syriatel’s largest shareholder, denied that he had any intention of selling his shares in the company.

Cham Holding and Souria Holding, Syria’s two largest holding firms have published their balance sheets for the end of 2007.
George W. Bush announced on May 7 that he was extending economic sanctions against Syria for another year.

Byblos Bank Syria (BSS) has announced an improvement in all its key financial indicators in 2007.



Gulfsands Petroleum has announced that two of its key executives, including Chief Executive John Dorrier, were resigning from the board and that it was relocating its principal office to London.


The total turnover of Syriatel Telecom stood at SYP 39.39 billion (USD 820.7 million) in 2007, according to the audited statements of the company.