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Monday, 16 July 2018

Dubai developer Emaar puts $1.4bn in assets on sale amid downturn | Financial Times

Dubai developer Emaar puts $1.4bn in assets on sale amid downturn | Financial Times:

Emaar is selling hotels, clinics and schools as Dubai’s leading developer seeks to raise funds by disposing of non-core assets in the midst of a property slump in the Gulf’s business hub.

Dubai-based Emaar, chaired by influential businessman Mohamed Alabbar, was closing in on a deal with several interested parties, people briefed on the process said.

Emaar, in which the government holds about a 30 per cent stake, was seeking up to $1.4bn for the assets, the people said.

Cerberus in pole position in Abraaj auction as Colony bid rejected | Financial Times

Cerberus in pole position in Abraaj auction as Colony bid rejected | Financial Times:

Cerberus Capital Management is expected to decide as early as this week whether to go ahead with a proposed investment in private equity group Abraaj’s funds platform, a person familiar with the matter said.

The US-based asset manager is in pole position to take an interest in the Dubai-based group after liquidators rejected Colony Capital’s bid to purchase some of Abraaj’s funds.

Cerberus, which in early June had been presented to creditors as a preferred bidder, is still deciding whether it is willing to incur the potential reputational damage from involvement with the Abraaj franchise.

Dubai's DIFC regulator slaps fines on Al Ramz Capital and ex-employee - The National

Dubai's DIFC regulator slaps fines on Al Ramz Capital and ex-employee - The National:

The regulator of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said it fined securities brokerage firm Al Ramz Capital and one of its former employees for failing to cooperate with its investigation.

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), imposed a $205,200 (Dh753,000) penalty on Al Ramz, and the firm is also required to pay $100,000 towards the DFSA’s investigation costs, the regulator said in a statement on Monday. In addition, the DFSA imposed a $32,640 fine on its former head of information technology, Najim Al Attar, it added.

Both Al Ramz and Mr Al Attar received fines for “serious failures to provide complete and accurate information relevant to a DFSA investigation which commenced in 2014”, the DFSA said.

Emaar is seeking $1.4bn from non-core assets sale, report says - The National

Emaar is seeking $1.4bn from non-core assets sale, report says - The National:

Emaar Properties, Dubai's biggest real estate firm, plans to sell non-core assets including the bulk of its hotel portfolio and several schools and healthcare facilities to raise $1.4 billion, according to a news report.

The company has hired Standard Chartered bank for the sale process and is close to a deal with several parties, the UK’s Financial Times reported on Monday, citing unidentified people briefed on the process.

Emaar wants to raise $700 million by selling its entire hotel portfolio except two properties, and another $700m for clinics and schools across its mixed-use communities, according to the FT.

Abraaj liquidator is said to consider lower Cerberus offer over Colony bid  - The National

Abraaj liquidator is said to consider lower Cerberus offer over Colony bid  - The National:

Abraaj Group’s provisional liquidator prefers a lower offer from Cerberus Capital Management for assets of the embattled Dubai-based private equity firm over a rival bid from Colony Capital, according to people familiar with the matter.

Deloitte, which is managing the provisional liquidation of Abraaj with PricewaterhouseCoopers, currently favors Cerberus and an agreement could be reached in the coming weeks, the people said, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are confidential. Colony Capital’s bid was turned down, the people said.

Progress with the sale talks come as Abraaj founder, Arif Naqvi, reached an interim settlement with a creditor on a $300 million loan, his lawyer and a person close to the creditor said, providing some relief from the personal pressure on him.

Private equity falls out of favour with Sovereign wealth funds | GulfNews.com

Private equity falls out of favour with Sovereign wealth funds | GulfNews.com:

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are increasing their exposure to listed assets as private market deal activity slows, according to research from the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF).

A recent report on global SWFs by Sovereign Investment Lab at Bocconi University, found that sovereign wealth funds’ (SWFs) appetite for real estate and infrastructure deals slowed in 2017. The number of investments in unlisted assets completed in 2017 fell to 184, from 196 in 2016, while the number of listed investments rose to 119 in 2017, versus 94 in the previous year.

While SWF investors are increasingly looking at co-investment strategies with other investors, including their peers and private equity (PE) firms on investments, the traditional PE way of limited partners (LPs) entrusting money with general partners (GPs) is on the wane. In consumer goods and services companies, SWFs are buying fewer listed stocks, choosing to invest at earlier stages alongside PE firms.

BlackRock boss remains bullish on Saudi Arabian market

BlackRock boss remains bullish on Saudi Arabian market:

Larry Fink, the head of the world’s biggest asset manager, is confident about the future of the Saudi Arabian market following a visit to the
Kingdom.

Fink, CEO of BlackRock, said that he was “more excited about the opportunity” in Saudi Arabia following his visit.

He added that he would not be surprised to see an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco in some form next year, perhaps on the Saudi stock market, known as the Tadawul.

Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Qatar banks and changes outlook to stable

Moody’s affirms ratings of 10 Qatar banks and changes outlook to stable:

Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) yesterday affirmed the long-term deposit and issuer ratings of the 10 banks it rates in Qatar, as well as the senior unsecured and subordinated debt ratings of their affiliated entities.

The banks reviewed are Qatar National Bank, Doha Bank, Al Khalij Commercial Bank (Al Khaliji), Ahli Bank, Barwa Bank, International Bank of Qatar, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar International Islamic Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank and The Commercial Bank.

The banks have managed to maintain strong asset quality and capital buffers and their liquidity buffers remained solid, Moody’s said in a statement. Qatari bank’s system average non-performing loan ratio stood at 1.8% as of December 2017 and capital buffers stood at 15.5% tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets ratio, it said.

Oman’s Sohar Aluminium to meet banks to discuss financing: sources | Reuters

Oman’s Sohar Aluminium to meet banks to discuss financing: sources | Reuters:

Oman’s Sohar Aluminium will meet banks this week in London to discuss potential financing options, four sources familiar with the matter said.

Jointly owned by Rio Tinto, Oman Oil Company and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Sohar Aluminium was formed in 2004 to build an aluminium smelter in Oman which now has an annual production capacity of 375,000 tonnes. 


The project was partly financed through a syndicated loan of around $1.5 billion in 2006 which matures in 2021.

Brent oil falls 4 percent to three-month low as supply outage concerns ease | Reuters

Brent oil falls 4 percent to three-month low as supply outage concerns ease | Reuters:

Oil prices slumped more than 4 percent on Monday, with Brent reaching a three-month low, as Libyan ports reopened and traders eyed potential supply increases by Russia and other producers.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell $3.49 to settle at $71.84 a barrel, a 4.63 percent loss, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures fell $2.95 to settle at $68.06 a barrel, a 4.15 percent loss.

Brent’s dive pushed it to a session low of $71.52 during the session, its lowest since mid-April.

Qatar Airways adapts to blockade, may avoid making a loss | Reuters

Qatar Airways adapts to blockade, may avoid making a loss | Reuters:

Qatar Airways chief executive said the airline was adapting to a regional blockade that has prevented it flying some routes, and that those restrictions would not necessarily push it into the red for the current financial year. 

“There is a possibility that we will post also a loss in our current financial year, but it’s only a possibility,” Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters at the Farnborough Airshow on Monday.

The airline lost access to 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain in mid-2017, when those four countries cut ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the charges.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Abu Dhabi, Qatari banks lift most Gulf indexes | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Abu Dhabi, Qatari banks lift most Gulf indexes | Reuters:

Most Gulf markets ended Monday in positive territory with Saudi Arabian, Qatari, and Abu Dhabi indexes all gaining 1 percent or more as the second quarter earnings reporting season got under way and despite a drop in oil prices.

Abu Dhabi’s main index added 1.1 percent with support also from telecom shares. First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) closed up 2 percent, Emirates Telecom (Etisalat) up 1.8 percent, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) up 1.6 percent.

ADIB reported on Monday a 3.8-percent second-quarter profit rise to 572.7 million dirhams.

Short duration debt, Mideast equity lead first half EM fund performance | Reuters

Short duration debt, Mideast equity lead first half EM fund performance | Reuters:

Middle East equity funds soared in the first half of 2018 after Saudi Arabia got the nod from MSCI for inclusion in its emerging stocks index, while microfinance and short-duration emerging debt funds weathered the bond market shake-out best.

But top-performing emerging market fund managers are cautious about the possible escalation of a trade dispute between the U.S. and China against a backdrop of tightening liquidity.

“There’s a risk that trade tensions go from bad to worse, which could affect global trade, confidence and growth in emerging markets,” said Rob Drijkoningen, co-head of the emerging markets debt team at Neuberger Berman.

Oil Falls as Saudis Offer More Supply, U.S. Weighs SPR Release - Bloomberg

Oil Falls as Saudis Offer More Supply, U.S. Weighs SPR Release - Bloomberg:

Oil retreated below $71 a barrel as Saudi Arabia was said to offer extra crude to some customers, while the U.S. reportedly considered tapping emergency supplies, to offset output losses around the world.

Futures in New York slid as much as 1 percent after falling 3.8 percent last week. Saudi Arabia offered additional cargoes of its Arab Extra Light crude to at least two buyers in Asia, people familiar with the matter said. Meanwhile the U.S., which is seeking to choke off crude exports from Iran, is said to be mulling releasing oil from its 660 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Prices are retreating from the three-year high hit last month as Saudi Arabia and its allies move to counteract supply losses elsewhere in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, such as the spiraling crisis in Venezuela, erratic flows in Libya and renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. Oil is also slipping on concern that trade tensions between the U.S. and China will hurt demand.

IMF Says Bahrain Needs Comprehensive Package of Economic Reforms - Bloomberg

IMF Says Bahrain Needs Comprehensive Package of Economic Reforms - Bloomberg:

Bahrain needs a comprehensive package of reforms to reduce its fiscal deficits over the medium term, the IMF said, as the island kingdom seeks to secure crucial support from rich neighbors to avoid a currency devaluation.

"Despite planned fiscal consolidation measures, fiscal and external deficits are projected to continue over the medium term, due to the large and growing interest bill," IMF’s Executive Board said in a report on Sunday. "Public debt is expected to increase further over the medium term and reserves are projected to remain low."

Bahrain, one of the most vulnerable Gulf Arab economies to lower oil prices, confirmed last month that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for support that would help reduce ballooning debt and shore up foreign-exchange reserves. The country hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. to advise on how to repair its strained public finances, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Iran to Saudi Arabia: OPEC's decision does not give members right to pump oil above target | Reuters

Iran to Saudi Arabia: OPEC's decision does not give members right to pump oil above target | Reuters:

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told his Saudi Arabian counterpart that last month’s OPEC decision does not give member countries the right to raise production above their targets, according to a letter reported by news agency Shana. 

OPEC agreed with Russia and other oil-producing allies last month to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia pledging a “measurable” supply boost but giving no specific numbers.

“Member countries committed themselves to reach a production adjustment conformity level of 100 percent, as of July 1, 2018,” Zanganeh wrote in a letter sent to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, according to Shana.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed as Dubai rises on property shares | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mixed as Dubai rises on property shares | Reuters:

Gulf markets were mixed early on Monday with Dubai and Abu Dhabi shares in positive territory despite a backdrop of lower oil prices.

Oil prices fell as the market shifted focus from concerns over supply disruptions to potential production increases from Russia and other oil producers.

In Dubai, the index was up 0.4 percent, helped by gains in property shares. Major developer’s Emaar Properties and DAMAC Properties were up 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.