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Monday, 6 July 2009

Iran would consider Total for gas project

Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says the door is open for France's oil giant Total to participate in Iran's South Pars gas field project.

Seyfollah Jashnsaz, however, said that Total must first secure the consent of China's CNPC, which became Iran's main overseas partner when Total fell behind with its commitments due to political pressure from the US.

"Because of Total's procrastinations, the contract for the upstream sector was signed with the Chinese company and this company is considered as the operator of this project," Jashnsaz said, according to a report on the website of Public Relations Department of Iran's Oil Ministry.

Jashnsaz said that Iran is interested in developing ties with countries throughout the world, but "regarding its petroleum industries, it will not keep waiting for any company."

“The world is not limited to a few European countries and the USA; many countries are keen to negotiate and cooperate with us,” he added.

Following long delays from Total, Iran set a deadline for the company to reevaluate its negotiations with Iran. When Total failed to respond, the country signed a $4.7 billion deal with China last month.

Total CEO Christophe de Margerie recently described negotiations with Iran as being "at standstill," but said there was still a possibility for cooperation.END

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UAE banks hit by Saad can turn to cbank

United Arab Emirates banks with exposure to troubled Saudi conglomerates Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Al-Gosaibi and Brothers Co may tap central bank resources if needed, a senior official said Monday.

The central bank will "assess" each request for help, Rashid al-Fandi, executive director for banking operations at the central bank told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

"They can mortgage their securities to the central bank ... and issue commercial paper," Fandi said.

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Porsche Cut to ‘Sell’ by UBS on Debt, Likely Failure of VW Plan

Porsche SE, the maker of the 911 sports car, was cut to “sell” from “neutral” by UBS AG, which cited growing debt and a greater likelihood that the company will be forced to sell its Volkswagen AG stake.

“Porsche’s economic net debt, including its hybrid bonds and derivative positions, may be as high as 18.3 billion euros rather than the 9 billion euros reported at the first half,” analysts led by London-based Philippe Houchois wrote in a report to investors.

Porsche began using cash from the luxury vehicle business in 2005 to buy shares of Volkswagen, amassing debt as it built a 51 percent stake in Europe’s largest carmaker. Stuttgart, Germany-based Porsche is in talks with Qatar about selling a stake as well as options that can be converted into VW shares. The Porsche and Piech families, which own the sports-car maker’s voting shares, agreed in May with VW to pursue a merger.

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Fortis Banque Suisse pulls out of Dubai

Image representing Fortis as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Fortis Banque Suisse, a Switzerland-based private banking arm of Belgian financial group Fortis, has shut its branch at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), sources said on Monday.

The bank had launched its Dubai business around four years ago to target wealthy individuals in the Middle East and South Asia.

It is not clear if the move is connected with business restructuring as part of the takeover of the Belgian group by French bank BNP Paribas, which has a private banking business in Dubai.

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Ansari tipped to take helm at Shuaa

Sameer al-Ansari, CEO of state-owned Dubai International Capital (DIC), is tipped to take the helm at Shuaa Capital, the UAE’s largest investment bank, an industry source said on Monday.

“The appointment may be announced within days,” the source told Maktoob Business.

The source said the move comes as a result of Dubai government’s acquisition of a large stake in Shuaa after the investment bank settled its long-running row with state-owned Dubai Banking Group (DBG).

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KSE’s largest decline in 2009

National Bank of KuwaitImage via Wikipedia

Kuwait Stock Exchange witnessed the largest one-day decline in more than nine months. The index ended 3.6% lower at 7,664 points, this is the largest loss since September 15. Investors were seen selling on falling oil prices and worries that the second-quarter results may be disappointing.

Several traders cited lower liquidity during the summer months and predicted declines following the recent the rally prior to 2nd quarter closing. Soon after the Summer months the KSE would continue to experience even lower liquidity (historically) during Ramadan.

“The market is being driven by extremely low liquidity and there’s panic selling… It’s the summer, so things slow down and this is the start of a correction we haven’t seen for a while. The way the market is right now, it looks like it will continue.”
- Jassem al-Zeraei, National Bank of Kuwait Capital

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Strong Saudi sukuk marks turning point

Saudi Electricity Co's (SEC) oversubscribed 7 billion Saudi riyal ($1.87 billion) sukuk late last month could mark a turning point for Islamic debt markets, with more issues likely to follow later this year, a senior HSBC Holdings (HBC) official said on Sunday.

"There is a solid pipeline of potential issues, and we should see more in the second half of this year," Rajiv Shukla, head of debt capital markets for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC, the lead arranger on the Islamic bond, told news agency Zawya Dow Jones in an interview on Sunday.

Saudi Electricity, the Middle East's largest utility, in June successfully closed its sukuk after the final order book exceeded 20 billion riyals, Riyadh-based Shukla said, adding that institutional investors in Saudi Arabia bought up the entire Islamic bond.

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Where Floods Usually Hit, Fiscal Thirst

This tiny Catskills hamlet doesn’t really strike you as a place whose future would depend on whether a Dubai-based financial adviser can make things work out with clients in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The big event here every year is the Trout Parade in June. The shops on the block-long Main Street include ones like Willow and Brown home furnishings and Hamish & Henry Booksellers, which cater mostly to the nuevo-Catskills second-home crowd, and Dick Lambert Gunsmith and the Wildlife Gift Shop, which don’t. One proposal to revive the village a few years back was based on putting aquariums fed by the Willowemoc River on Main Street and in downtown stores so people could walk around town and see trout.

But we’re all globalized now, so here we are 9 miles from Roscoe, 117 miles from Wall Street and 6,815 miles from Dubai, with much of the downtown in foreclosure while the financial figure who owns it and who once looked like the town’s savior tries to pay his bills.

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Businessman faces second dud cheque charge

An Egyptian businessman, who was jailed for three years for passing a bad cheque for $6.2 million (Dh22.7m), has been accused of a second similar offence.

In the new case, NB has been charged with issuing a dud cheque for $1.3m to another Egyptian, Wajdi Karara, the victim in the first case. Karara complained to Dubai Police and the allegation was referred to the Public Prosecution.

The new case was adjourned until July 21 by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanour under Presiding Judge Ibrahim Khalil Abu Shama.

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Top executives' pay slides up to a quarter

Chief executives of listed as well as family-owned companies in the country are under increasing pressure from shareholders and stakeholders alike.

While in some cases they are being sacked for lack of performance, in others they are being used as scapegoats for years of inertia. The result, however, is that there has been a more than average turnover in the CEOs of UAE firms in the recent past.

"Yes, we have seen a lot of cases in the recent past where CEOs have been let go," Panos Manolopoulos, Dubai-based Managing Partner Middle East of executive search consultants Stanton Chase International, told Emirates Business.

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Value of Saudi shares falls nearly 40% (y-o-y)

The kingdom's total value of shares traded at the end of the first half of this year dropped by 39.38 per cent to 780.05 billion Saudi riyals (Dh764 billion) against 1.087 trillion riyals during the same period last year, according to the Tadawul Statistical Report released on Saturday.

Meanwhile, total equity market capitalisation fell by 39.38 per cent to 1.07 trillion riyals in the same period compared to the previous year, the report showed.

The total number of traded shares rose 11.90 per cent to 38.07 billion in the first half of 2009 compared to 34.02 billion in the same period last year.

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Suspected outlaw swindles $1.3m

A suspected British outlaw stands trial in absentia for misappropriating more than $1.3 million (about Dh4.95 million) by abusing his power as the former director of one of Dubai World's (DW) bodies and pocketing the money.

Records quoted one of DW's board members, an Emirati, claiming that the 45-year-old Briton, K.T., allegedly abused his power as the former director of the risk management department of one of DW's bodies and pocketed the amount.

The defendant, who is a fugitive according to records, failed to appear before the Dubai Court of First Instance yesterday when the presiding judge called his name to relay his charges.

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Islamic insurance on the rise

Chakib Abouzaid does not like playing the part of the outcast. Nor does he want his burgeoning business of takaful, or Islamic insurance, to be marginalised as something separate from the large global insurance providers that now dominate the scene.

“Takaful is not a ghetto and I don’t like to work in a ghetto,” says Mr Abouzaid, the chief executive of Takaful Re in Dubai, the first takaful reinsurer of its size in the world. “Takaful companies are mature companies. We are also part of the insurance industry and I think we are contributing to the development of the insurance industry.”

In many ways he is right. According to a report last October from Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, the takaful sector grew at an annual average of 25 per cent between 2004 and 2007, adjusted for inflation. The rest of the insurance industry grew at slightly more than 10 per cent a year in that period.

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Taqa acquires Canada gas lease

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has snapped up a position in Canada’s hottest gas development prospect, buying some of the last available government leases for the area.

The company has spent C$65 million (Dh205.5m) for the rights to produce gas from 10,000 hectares of land in a remote corner of British Columbia, the most western Canadian province. The land is located on a sparsely forested northern plain in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains that is believed to contain as much as 250 trillion cubic feet of gas trapped in shale beds. Of that, about 50 trillion cu ft is recoverable with current technology.

Taqa’s share of the Horn River prospect, which has sparked a land rush among North America’s top gas producers, could contain more than 1.2 trillion cu ft of recoverable gas – roughly a six-month supply for the whole of Canada, a country with a population of about 30 million people.

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Riyadh and Beijing in talks over claims of Saudi methanol dumping

The Saudi ministry of trade and industry is in talks with China over claims that Saudi exporters are selling methanol at prices below the cost of production.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), the largest methanol exporter in the kingdom, said in a statement yesterday that it was seeking an amicable resolution.

Last month, China launched anti-dumping investigations into methanol imported from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand. A delegation of Saudi trade officials and businessmen is travelling to China this week to discuss the claims.

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Dubai Financial Market July 5th (Re-post)


Aramex does not look like a stock that is serious about a “break out” to new highs.

It has closed at a level 13.8% below the recent high at 1.52, and in a span of less than 2 trading sessions.

See what happens at 1.20 and WHEN. Above 1.52 this week is good news, but gaining over 16% in four trading sessions is not easy.