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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Global Investment to Post Results After Central Bank Approval

Global Investment House KSCC, Kuwait’s biggest investment bank whose shares were halted from trading because of non-disclosure of full-year earnings, said it will release the results after approval from the central bank.

The results are currently being reviewed by the central bank, Global said today in a statement released on Regulatory News Service.

Global reduced its operating costs more than 20 percent, by cutting its workforce 10 percent, scaling back salaries and cancelling all 2008-related bonus payments, the bank said. END

Dubai Firms to Get $3 Billion as Lending Improves, Bankers Say

Dubai state-owned firms will raise almost $3 billion in loans this month amid signs that lending conditions are improving.

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority will get $2.2 billion in a multicurrency loan at an annual interest rate of 300 basis points more than the interbank offered rates to refinance existing debt, said two bankers, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Dubai Civil Aviation Authority is likely to receive $650 million to repay $1 billion in maturing debt, the bankers said.

“Investors are keeping a very close eye to see how much the appetite is for lending money to Dubai,” said Nish Popat, the Dubai-based head of fixed income at ING Investment Management. “If they are able to roll over fully 100 percent then that will be looked at very positively because appetite to lend to the region has potentially returned.”

Kuwait Bourse Suspends 36 Stocks For Late Results

Kuwait Stock Exchange Wednesday suspended trading in the stocks of 36 companies, mostly investment firms, for failing to report in time their financial results for last year.
Under the law, listed firms must announce their financial results for any quarter within three months.

The companies include investment giants Global Investment House and Investment Dar, Kuwait's largest investment firms that have been facing difficult times due to the global economic meltdown.

There are around 210 firms listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange and many of the companies, which declared 2008 results, have reported either massive losses or a sharp drop in profit.

The suspension is indefinite until companies report their financial results, a statement on the KSE website said.(AFP)

Emerging markets equity and bond funds in the money as risk appetite builds (Registration required)

Flows into EPFR Global-tracked emerging market equity funds hit a year-to-date high, Emerging Markets Bond Funds snapped a 10 week losing run and High Yield Bond Funds had their second best week of 2009 as investors regained more of their appetite for risk during the fourth week of March. Money Market Funds posted a third consecutive week of outflows and index funds geared to US equities surrendered $4.5 billion as more money found its way into actively managed equity and fixed income funds.

“The latest data certainly paints a picture of money leaving essentially passive vehicles such as Money Market Funds and being put to work in funds offering more risk and higher rewards,” noted EPFR Global Senior Analyst Cameron Brandt. “Another clue is the lack of movement surrounding the rebalancing of the big US index funds. Last year there was a lot of money chasing the small arbitrage opportunities offered by those quarterly rebalancing, but this year there is clearly some appetite for chasing bigger returns again.”

Jumbo camel jet (Site blocked to UAE viewers, hence full post below)

Forget the Airbus A380s, Dubai's national airline has a much more exciting way to fly:

Camel flies high over Dubai

Wed 1 Apr, 2009 1:23 AM GMT

DUBAI, 1 April (Reuters) - Emirates airline will put 50-metre high aerodynamic camel humps onto its aircraft in a $30 billion rebranding.

The airline is adopting the camel, the national animal of the United Arab Emirates, as its official corporate symbol.

Airbus engineers have worked closely with Emirates marketing team over the past nine months to design the extensions.

Emirates executive vice president of marketing Jamal Al Majnoon said the move was a "perfect synergy" for the airline.

"The camel is the ship of the desert and the aircraft is the ship of the sky," Mr Al Majnoon said.

"Qatar Airways has the oryx and Gulf Air has the falcon, and Etihad will soon have the desert hamster, so we are adopting Arabia's most noble animal for our own airline," he said.

Airbus senior director of engineering Frederic Fouchameau described the move as "an exceptional feat of aviation dromedisation".

Other world airlines are believed to be considering similar redesigns.

Air Astana is in talks with Boeing to improve on Emirates' design by creating a two-humped, bactrian aircraft.

But some of the construction workers at Dubai airport who caught an early glimpse of the redesigned planes are unimpressed, including indentured labourer Shamsil.

"What is the use of putting the camel's hump onto the plane?" he said.

"For it to be interesting and useful, they should have included the sensitive parts of the camel."

(Reporting by Fitz Lodd; Editing by Laila Smith)

© Thomson Reuters 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Ghurair in Dh1.27bn Islamic facility

The well-diversified Al Ghurair Group has signed a $347.2 million (Dh1.275 billion) Islamic facility with a group of financial institutions including Mashreq, top executives told Emirates Business.

The facility has been structured in Ijara and Musharaka that require a sale and lease-back of the asset owned by the client, a Mashreq executive said.

Standard Chartered and Mashreq, which is majority owned by the Al Ghurair Group, were the lead book-runners and participating banks include First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Arab African Bank and Ajman Bank.

Mideast better placed to ride out financial crisis

While the rest of the world is scrambling to put together banking bailouts and economic stimulus packages, business leaders in the Middle East remain confident that their governments already have the plans and resources in place to carry the regional economy through the global recession.

Sharif Al Diwani, Head of the Middle East and Arab Business Council of the World Economic Forum (WEF), says: "The thing that comes across consistently is that there is no major concern about the threats, relative to the rest of the world, that this region faces because it still possesses a great deal of reserves." He was speaking in an interview with Gulf News.

"[There is] not too much of a panic as far as the economic conditions are concerned, no grand schemes of rescue or anything of the sort. There is always this underlying confidence that the government will step in whenever it's necessary [in the Gulf region]," he added.

Emirates NBD launches high yield Mena fund

Emirates NBD on Tuesday launched a new fund to provide high and rising income streams, coupled with the prospects of generating capital growth, by investing in a range of high-yielding securities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The Emirates Mena High Income Fund, which will be managed by Emirates Investment Services Ltd, will buy equities and fixed income securities issued by companies based in Mena nations or who derive a significant portion of their earnings from the region.

The fund targets annualised distributions of United States Dollar Libor plus 300 to 500 basis points, said Deon Vernooy, senior executive officer at Emirates Investment Services. He did not reveal how much the fund expected to raise.

Shareholders renew Gasco joint venture

The joint venture agreement renewal for Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd (Gasco) was signed on Tuesday between its shareholders - Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), Shell Abu Dhabi B.V., Total S.A., and Partex Gas Corporation.

The agreement was signed by Yousuf Omair Bin Yousuf, the secretary-general of the Supreme Petroleum Council and chief executive of Adnoc; Malcolm Brinded, exploration and production director for Shell; Yves Louis Darricarrère, president of Exploration and Production at Total; and Eduardo Marcal Grilo, president of the board of directors at Partex.

Signed in 1978 under the directives of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to develop Abu Dhabi's onshore associated gas resources, the original agreement lasted for 30 years.

Al Hilal Bank to establish first Islamic lender in Kazakhstan

Al Hilal Bank, the Abu Dhabi-based Islamic lender, yesterday announced its decision to establish an Islamic bank in Kazakhstan. The initiative marks Al Hilal's first venture outside the UAE and the first Islamic bank in Kazakhstan.

An agreement was signed in Abu Dhabi by a Kazakh-stan delegation led by Ruslan Dalinov, Deputy Minister of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Finance, and Ahmad Ateeq Al Mazrouei, chairman of Al Hilal Bank.

The agreement marks Al Hilal Bank's first international expansion initiative. Al Hilal bank will be responsible for setting up and managing the operations of the new bank, focusing on corporate and personal banking and offering Islamic finance solutions for small and medium enterprises.

Launch of mega Islamic bank imminent

Shaikh Saleh Kamel, chairman of Al Baraka Banking Group, is set to launch the world's biggest Islamic bank before the end of the year, with an initial public offering of $3 billion (Dh11 billion), a top official has said.

Adnan Yousuf, CEO of Al Baraka Banking Group, who is also the chairman of the Union of Arab Banks, said: "We have already completed the necessary research for launching the Islamic bank and there are currently discussions between Shaikh Saleh Kamel and investors to prepare for the public offering."

"Under the current econ-omic climate, Shaikh Saleh Kamel did not withdraw or pull back but, on the contrary, he is accelerating the finalisation process. The Islamic banking industry needs this investment at such times.

Air Arabia gets early aircraft delivery

Air Arabia, the region’s largest low-cost carrier, has negotiated an earlier delivery date with Airbus for the first of 44 A320 aircraft, from 2012 to the middle of next year.

The airline, which operates a fleet of 17, all of them Airbus aircraft, ordered 34 A320s in 2007 and 10 more in November.

“When we had ordered aircraft, it was the peak of aviation business and delivery slots were not available. Now the market has changed and we have pulled delivery dates forward,” said Adel Ali, the group chief executive of the Sharjah-based no-frills airline.

Why Dubai always confounds the oracles of doom

Throughout the years that I have been working in the Emirates I have always lived in Abu Dhabi; I have come to call it home. My work has taken me all over the UAE – to deserts, islands and mountains, as well as to other cities. I’ve seen it all, changing, developing and growing, each emirate at its own particular pace.

However, I’ve never quite fallen in love with Dubai as many of my friends have done. Indeed, my daughter is happily settled there.

To some extent that’s because I’ve never become familiar with it in the way that I have done with Abu Dhabi. I’ve rushed in and out on short visits, or driven through it, or now, thanks to the Emirates Road and the outer bypass, I drive past to other destinations. I will go to great lengths to avoid a trip to its malls. And like many Abu Dhabi residents I’ve been mildly miffed over the years by the feeling that somehow Dubai (and Sharjah) residents looked upon us as country cousins – a bit behind the times. I remember a member of the Sharjah ruling family telling me in the mid-1980s that although he was in Dubai almost every day, he hadn’t been to Abu Dhabi for ten years, and didn’t feel motivated to drive down the road. I haven’t seen him here since.

Santander offloads Cepsa stake to MidEast group

Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, on Tuesday agreed to sell its 32.5 per cent stake in oil refiner Cepsa to the International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) of Abu Dhabi for about €2.8bn ($3.8bn).

The sale, following a year of intermittent negotiations, represents the divestment of the Spanish bank’s last remaining substantial equity holding. Unión Fenosa, the Spanish electricity group, will sell its 5 per cent stake in Cepsa as part of the same deal.

Ipic will pay €3.3bn in total to lift its current 9.5 per cent stake to about 47 per cent, making it the second biggest shareholder after Total, the French oil major.