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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Funds turning positive on Saudi Arabia as oil stabilises -survey | Reuters

Funds turning positive on Saudi Arabia as oil stabilises -survey | Reuters:



"Middle East funds are turning
positive on Saudi Arabia's stock market because of signs that
oil prices are starting to stabilise, the latest Reuters survey
of asset managers shows.



Many fund managers became bearish on Saudi Arabia in the
past few months as the oil price plunge promised to slash the
earnings of petrochemical producers, which are heavily weighted
in the Saudi market, and triggered panic selling of overvalued
shares by local retail investors.



In the December survey, 40 percent of respondents said they
expected to cut their Saudi equity allocations in the next three
months, while 33 percent intended to raise them."



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Travelex and UAE Exchange to merge, list in Abu Dhabi by early-2017 — chairman | GulfNews.com

Travelex and UAE Exchange to merge, list in Abu Dhabi by early-2017 — chairman | GulfNews.com:



"Foreign exchange operator Travelex and UAE Exchange are poised to merge and are planning a stock market listing of the combined company on the Abu Dhabi bourse by the early part of 2017, the chairman of UAE Exchange said on Thursday.



Indian billionaire B.R. Shetty, along with Abu Dhabi private equity house Centurion Investments, agreed in May last year to buy Travelex for about £800 million (Dh4.4 billion, $1.21 billion) from its shareholders including Chairman Lloyd Dorfman and Apax Partners.



“We signed the deal today (Thursday), the acquisition is completed,” Shetty told Reuters by phone from London."



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RBS Exiting Corporate Debt, DCM Business in Middle East - Bloomberg Business

RBS Exiting Corporate Debt, DCM Business in Middle East - Bloomberg Business:



"Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest taxpayer-owned lender, is exiting its corporate loans and debt capital markets business in the Middle East and Africa.



The move is part of Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan’s decision last February to make RBS a smaller, more focused bank, an RBS spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News, without giving more information.



McEwan, 57, has been cutting back investment-banking operations and focusing on domestic customers to reverse six straight years of losses. Jacco Keijzer, RBS’s head of debt capital markets for the Middle East and Africa based in Dubai, left the lender earlier this month, the spokeswoman said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets pull back on weak Q4 results, dividends | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets pull back on weak Q4 results, dividends | Reuters:



"Saudi Arabia's stock market pulled back on Thursday after gaining strongly earlier in the week, while disappointing dividends and earnings weighed on other Gulf markets.



The main Saudi stock index edged down 0.4 percent as some of the stocks which had driven its rally in the last few days retreated. Petrochemicals major Saudi Basic Industries dropped 2.6 percent and Samba Financial Group lost 1.0 percent. 




Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi dropped 3.4 percent after its Kuwaiti parent Zain said studies into the potential sale of its transmitter towers were in "very early stages" and no decision had been made yet on the matter. News of a potential sale had lifted both stocks on Wednesday; Zain fell 1.9 percent on Thursday."



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Ruble sinks to new record low as WTI nears $44 — RT Business

Ruble sinks to new record low as WTI nears $44 — RT Business:



"The volatile ruble has hit a fresh low against the US dollar, trading at 69 per 1 USD after the Russian currency lost 2 percent of its value in opening trading hours in Moscow.



Since the beginning of the year, the ruble has lost nearly 15 percent of its value, in tandem with plunging oil prices, which have also lost 15 percent.



Wednesday’s ruble rout is a reaction to the drop of WTI to $44.08 per barrel, the lowest price since April 2009. WTI is the North American oil benchmark.At the time of publication, WTI had edged up slightly to $44.29."



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Rebellion at Standard Chartered as Senior Staff Push for New Leadership - WSJ

Rebellion at Standard Chartered as Senior Staff Push for New Leadership - WSJ:



"Hundreds of Standard Chartered PLC’s most senior executives gathered earlier this month on Singapore’s Sentosa island to address the global bank’s dimming fortunes. From a lectern at a colonial-style resort, Chief Executive Peter Sands warned that management has just a few months to turn around the bank or risk losing the support of the board of directors, according to attendees.



Mr. Sands, credited for years with leading perhaps the world’s most successful bank, now is in danger of becoming the latest big-bank CEO to lose his job following a series of high-profile stumbles.



Standard Chartered’s two largest shareholders, which collectively control 28% of the bank’s stock, are privately pushing for new leadership, say people familiar with the matter. Customers and regulators recently have told Standard Chartered executives and board members that they are increasingly anxious about the bank’s problems, people familiar with those discussions say."



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BBC News - Shell to cut spending by $15bn over three years

BBC News - Shell to cut spending by $15bn over three years:



"Falling oil prices are forcing Royal Dutch Shell to cut back investment by some $15bn over the next three years.



Shell also said profits for the last three months of 2014 had risen to $4.2bn compared with $2.2bn in the same period a year earlier.



Full year earnings also rose to $19bn in 2014, up from $16.7bn in the previous year."



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Songbird swansong offers clarity for Canary Wharf at cheap price - FT.com

Songbird swansong offers clarity for Canary Wharf at cheap price - FT.com:



"Brookfield has settled an old score by winning the £2.6bn bid battle for Songbird, owner of Canary Wharf. In 2004, the Canadian property group was bested by investor Simon Glick and Morgan Stanley in the opening match. Its triumph in the rematch, thanks to an alliance with the Qatar Investment Authority, is a testament to its staying power. Paul Reichmann would surely have approved. He was the driving force that defied pessimists to create the development in the 1980s.



The prize is glittering: ownership of a financial hub whose skyscrapers are visible from any high point in London. With 85 per cent of the shares in the bag, the partners only need acceptances from another 5 per cent to buy out the balance and delist Songbird. They may then amalgamate the business with Canary Wharf, the estate developer in which it holds a majority stake.



The fight has been acrimonious. The board of Songbird poured scorn on a final offer of 350p per share, mustering a 381p valuation of net assets per share. Brookfield, for its part, questioned the independence of board adviser Alex Midgen, a Songbird non-executive appointed by the Glicks."



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S&P adds to bearish voices on Dubai residential property market | The National

S&P adds to bearish voices on Dubai residential property market | The National:



"Dubai home prices could fall by as much as 20 per cent this year, says a top ratings agency.



Standard & Poor’s expects the property market to suffer from increased supply and weakening investor sentiment triggered by the tumbling price of oil.



It is the latest bearish view on the emirate’s residential property market, which peaked last year."



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Moody’s sees Abu Dhabi weathering slowing economy amid weak oil prices | The National

Moody’s sees Abu Dhabi weathering slowing economy amid weak oil prices | The National:



"Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is forecast to slow this year if oil prices remain in their current range, although the credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said the government is in a strong position to weather the downturn.



In its latest assessment, Moody’s estimated that the emirate’s economic growth rate would slow this year – to below 3 per cent, from an estimated 4.1 per cent last year – because of a huge drop in oil revenues.



Nominal GDP – economic activity before accounting for inflation – will contract by 18 per cent this year if oil prices average US$55 a barrel, and by 25 per cent if oil prices average $40, Moody’s said. Abu Dhabi will be able to maintain spending by drawing on its vast assets and running a slight deficit (forecast to be 1.1 per cent of GDP this year)."



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Raiffeisen Scales Down More Than 20% to Avoid Cash Call - Bloomberg Business

Raiffeisen Scales Down More Than 20% to Avoid Cash Call - Bloomberg Business:



"Raiffeisen Bank International AG, eastern Europe’s second-biggest bank, will shrink by at least 20 percent to boost capital ratios and avoid a cash call that could dilute the cooperative banks that own it.



Raiffeisen, the foreign bank with the most at risk in Russia, will cut its risk-weighted assets from 79.4 billion euros ($89.6 billion) as of the end of September, the Vienna-based company said yesterday in a statement. The asset reduction will raise its core equity Tier 1 ratio, which stood at about 10 percent at the end of last year, it said.



“RBI will actively embark on a course which concentrates on strategically relevant and sustainably profitable business areas,” the bank said in the statement. “RBI comfortably fulfills all regulatory capital requirements. The Management Board of RBI emphasizes that no capital increase is planned.”"



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Gazprom Third-Quarter Net Falls 62% on FX Loss; Exceeds Estimate - Bloomberg Business

Gazprom Third-Quarter Net Falls 62% on FX Loss; Exceeds Estimate - Bloomberg Business:



"OAO Gazprom’s third-quarter profit fell 62 percent because of falling sales and a currency loss.



Net income dropped to 106 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) from 276 billion rubles a year earlier, the world’s biggest natural-gas company said today on its website. That exceeded the average estimate of 58.8 billion rubles from nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The Moscow-based exporter had a foreign-exchange loss of 273 billion rubles, compared with a gain a year earlier. Third-quarter sales fell 5.9 percent to 1.13 trillion rubles.



Gazprom, which delivers about 30 percent of the European Union’s gas, faced the lowest export sales in 11 years in 2014 and cut output to a record low as Europe and Ukraine sought to diversify supplies. The company’s full-year non-cash currency loss may reach $25 billion, a risk for its dividend given sliding sales, Sberbank CIB analysts in Moscow wrote Wednesday in a note."



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Saudi Arabia’s Alhokair Planning IPO of Egyptian Malls Unit - Bloomberg Business

Saudi Arabia’s Alhokair Planning IPO of Egyptian Malls Unit - Bloomberg Business:



"Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Alhokair Group plans to raise as much as $400 million from the sale of shares in its Egyptian malls unit, owner of one of the country’s largest shopping centers.



The family-owned group appointed CI Capital to advise on the offer, Muhanad Awad, chief executive officer of FAS Capital, the financing and investment arm of Alhokair, said in a Riyadh interview. Alhokair will sell a 25 to 30 percent stake in Egyptian Centres, which operates Cairo’s Mall of Arabia.



Proceeds from the sale will be used to fund expansion of Mall of Arabia and develop new shopping centers, he said. The company expects to raise between 2.5 billion and 3 billion Egyptian pounds ($340 million to $400 million), Awad said."



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Abu Dhabi’s Centurion Said to Plan Travelex, UAE Merger - Bloomberg Business

Abu Dhabi’s Centurion Said to Plan Travelex, UAE Merger - Bloomberg Business:



"Abu Dhabi-based Centurion Investments plans to merge Travelex Holdings Ltd. with UAE Exchange and sell a stake in the merged entity to the public, two people with knowledge of the matter said.



Saeed Bin Butti’s Centurion, which acquired a majority stake in Travelex with Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, is aiming for an initial public offering in 2016 and is talking to banks to appoint an adviser for the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The company will probably be listed in the United Arab Emirates, they said.



Apax Partners LLP, one of Europe’s largest private-equity firms, agreed in May to sell its majority stake in Travelex, a retail currency exchange, to Centurion and Shetty, the founder of UAE Exchange. Apax, which had been poised to take Travelex public, bought control of the chain in 2005 in a deal that valued the company at about 1.1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion)."



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