Richard Melson

December 2005

KIPCO: Sumner Redstone

Kuwait Projects Company (Holding)

Kuwait Projects Company (Holding), popularly known as KIPCO, is one of the premier investment holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

KIPCO has substantial ownership interests in a diversified portfolio of companies in Europe, the Middle East, and the USA. The group focuses on two core business sectors - Financial Services and Media & Telecom. In addition, it has interests in the Real Estate, Industrial, and Management & Advisory Services sectors.

KIPCO driving digital convergence in the media and telecommunications sectors, says Viacom chairman

Kuwait City, Sunday 11th December, 2005:

The chairman of Viacom Inc., one of the world’s leading media companies, has endorsed the vision of the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) in developing the most digitally converged group of businesses in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Speaking at KIPCO’s Kuwait City headquarters following a meeting with KIPCO senior executives to review the progress of Showtime Arabia, a leading digital pay-television network in the MENA region and a joint venture between Viacom and KIPCO, Sumner Redstone, chairman and chief executive of Viacom Inc., said: "KIPCO has developed an impressive range of companies operating in the media and telecommunications sector that bring the benefits of digital convergence to viewers and users throughout this rapidly evolving region.

"The strength of those companies, coupled with Viacom’s unrivalled programming content, means we can grasp the opportunities presented by the rapid convergence of the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors.

"KIPCO is at the forefront of this revolution and I look forward to the next stage of exciting growth for Showtime and the entertainment industry in the region."

Viacom owns global brands like CBS, Paramount and MTV. KIPCO’s media and telecommunications interests include, among others, Wataniya’s mobile telephone operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq and the Maldives, United Networks in Kuwait, Global Direct, the regional distribution and installation company, and Showtime.


KIPCO driving digital convergence/2…

KIPCO managing director and chief executive Faisal Al-Ayyar commented: "Over the years Viacom and KIPCO have formed a strong relationship through our joint media venture in Showtime Arabia.

"From the beginning our goal was to provide the best in Western entertainment for an Arab audience. Now that Showtime is a leading brand in the digital satellite pay-TV sector throughout the Middle East, we are assessing opportunities to further enhance in-home entertainment options for our subscribers."

Launching with just seven channels in 1996, the Showtime platform now offers 49 entertainment channels. It has been at the forefront of the digital pay-television sector in the Middle and North Africa and has consistently added more channels and innovative features like pay-per-view cinema and interactive games.

Mr Redstone said: "The competitive and challenging environment of the MENA region has spurred the Showtime management team to new heights of creativity. As the leading regional network Showtime is extremely well prepared to take advantage of the enormous untapped opportunities that exist, and I look forward to its continued growth and success."


Notes to editors:

• KIPCO: Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) is Kuwait’s largest private sector investment company with more than US$ 15 billion in Group assets, and a portfolio of some 55 companies with major activities in financial services, media & telecommunications, real estate, industry, management advisory, medical services and aviation throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as substantial ownership interests in the U.S. and Europe. KIPCO employs more than 12,000 people internationally and its shares are among the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

KIPCO’s core operating companies are United Gulf Bank (UGB), its investment banking subsidiary; Gulf Insurance Company (GIC), a regional leader in commercial and personal insurance; Burgan Bank, Kuwait’s leading technology-driven commercial bank; Wataniya Telecom, the dynamic and fast-growing regional mobile telephone services provider; and Showtime, the hugely-popular digital pay-TV service spanning the Middle East and North Africa.

• Viacom: Viacom is a leading global media company, with preeminent positions in broadcast and cable television, radio, outdoor advertising, and online. With programming that appeals to audiences in every demographic category across virtually all media, the Company is a leader in the creation, promotion, and distribution of entertainment, news, sports, music, and comedy. Viacom’s well-known brands include CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH1, BET, Paramount Pictures, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, UPN, TV Land, Comedy Central, CMT: Country Music Television, King World, Spike TV, Showtime, Paramount Parks, and Simon & Schuster. More information about Viacom and its businesses is available at

Earlier this year, the Company announced it would be separating its businesses into two publicly traded companies, and expects the transaction will likely be completed by the end of 2005. The new Viacom will include MTV Networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT: Country Music Television, Spike TV, TV Land and many other networks around the world), BET, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment and Famous Music. CBS Corporation will consist of the CBS Television Network, UPN, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, Viacom Television Stations Group, Paramount Television, King World, Simon & Schuster, Showtime and Paramount Parks.

• Showtime Arabia: Showtime Arabia is a leading pay-TV network in the Middle-East and North Africa. It provides 49 channels of mainly international content, with an especially strong offering of first run Hollywood films, due to its exclusive relationships with Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal and Dreamworks. Showtime owns and operates its own channels including The Movie Channel, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Paramount Comedy Channel and Movietime. Included in its third party channel line-up are such global brands as MTV, CNN, Discovery, the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Bloomberg.

The network is owned by Gulf DTH, which is a joint venture of KIPCO and Viacom. KIPCO is Kuwait’s largest private sector investment company with more than US$ 15 billion under management. Its portfolio of investments includes around 55 companies, in sectors such as media, telecommunications, financial services, real estate and aviation, throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the U.S.

Viacom is a leading global media company, with preeminent positions in broadcast and cable television, radio, outdoor advertising, and online. Viacom’s well-known brands include CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Paramount Pictures, and Simon & Schuster.

Media contacts:


Ahmad Al Ajeel Vice President, KIPCO +965 244 0853

Andrew Bone Hill & Knowlton +971 50 657 4751

Showtime Arabia:

Vida Rizq PR Manager +971 50 550 1239


Kuwait Projects Company


FaisalAlAyyar-KIPCOrightandSumnerRedstone-Viacom2.jpg (0.07 MB)

ViacomchiefsaysKIPCOleadingdigitalconvergenceinMENAregion.doc (0.10 MB)


Sunday, December 11, 2005