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Monday, 31 August 2009

The Sharia Principle : Charts

The Sharia Principle : Charts & Numbers

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Songbird poised to swoop after cash injection

The Canary Wharf Group is poised to return to the property market looking for new acquisitions and development opportunities, following an £836m recapitalisation of its majority owner.

Songbird Estates’ fundraising, agreed on Friday, was backed by a consortium led by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. Qatar Holding headed a group of investors that will underwrite the £836m equity raising to pay back a Citigroup loan, freeing Songbird from a potential debt crisis.

The group of investors, including the China Investment Corporation, was keen to see the recapitalised company re-enter the property market and look for new investments in London, a person close to Qatar Holding said on Sunday.

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Ahab unlikely to share 'personal affairs'

Family offices of the troubled Saudi groups Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (Ahab) and Saad Group should not be expected to share details of their "personal affairs", said a senior executive of Deloitte. The consultancy firm is advising the Algosaibi group.

Terming it "completely wrong" to blame the family offices of the Saudi groups for the crisis, Neven Hendricks, Chief Operating Officer for Mena, Deloitte, told Emirates Business: "I saw media tearing the family offices apart and blaming them for the crisis and unfairly so. There is no compulsion for a family to tell the world about its personal affairs. It is like asking me to show my personal tax returns. I think that is unfair for the public to expect private families to behave like that."

Recently, S&P had said that the gross exposure of GCC banks to the Saad and Algosaibi groups is about $9.6bn (Dh35.2bn) while Standard Chartered said Saudi banks have almost $5bn exposure. According to analysts, it may take banks at least another quarter to completely write off these provisions. The exposure of banks to the Saad and Al Gosaibi brought forth the issue of lending to conglomerates that had "family names" attached to them.

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Iran-India gas pipeline put on the back burner

India is focused on exploiting its own reserves and has placed the Iran-India gas pipeline project on the back burner, former Indian minister of petroleum and natural gas Mani Shankar Aiyar told Emirates Business.

Aiyar headed the Indian oil and gas ministry for two years from May 2004 to June 2006 when the deal was extensively discussed.

"The deal is now on the back burner. India is now focusing on its own reserves, especially the Krishna-Godavari basin gas," Aiyar said. Asked whether the Indian reserves will be enough to meet the country's consumption, Aiyar said: "That's what everyone is believing."

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UAE has all to gain from Dubai-Abu Dhabi alliance

In this challenging economic climate, I, among others, have talked about the need for greater transparency, financial reforms, increased support by governments and adopting a 'time to act' approach.

All of these actions require a collective effort, be it from individuals, employers, banks or even governments. When I stop to think about how all these elements need to support each other in times of crisis, I think of a great example right in front of me, which shows how strategic alliances and long-term complementary partnerships can overcome the toughest of challenges.

I am, of course, talking of the combination of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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Gulf states adopt caution with offshore farmland deals

Gulf states seeking farmland for food security are going underground as the deals, seen by many as land grabs, risk tarnishing their reputation, an independent consultant advising the region on the deals said on Sunday.

Gulf Arab countries, heavily reliant on food imports, have been buying farmland in developing nations to ensure food security, following spikes in basic commodity prices.

“The media has really managed to put a negative spin on these farmland deals, that’s why we are seeing many Gulf countries being less open about them,” said Huma Fakhar, chairman of Market Access Promotion, an international consultancy advising Gulf states on agricultural issues.

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Amlak tumbles into red as writedowns weigh

Amlak Finance, the home finance company in merger talks with its rival Tamweel, lost Dh67 million (US$18.2m) in the second quarter as it took provisions on mortgages made on incomplete properties.

The sharia-compliant finance firm based in Dubai had reported a net profit of Dh145m for the same period a year earlier, it said.

“The loss in the second quarter was inevitable, as Amlak had to make higher general provisions for the financing portfolio,” Ali Ibrahim Mohammed, the vice chairman of the firm, said in the statement.

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Saudi banks see life after scandal

Saudi Arabia’s banks have had little reason to celebrate since May, when the central bank froze the accounts of Maan al Sanea, the chairman of Saad Group and one of the kingdom’s most influential businessmen.

That event triggered what has become the Middle East’s biggest financial scandal, while the intervening three months have shaken confidence in Saudi Arabia’s banking system as wary investors keep a tally of debt defaults from the Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi and Brothers.

The two family conglomerates are estimated to owe as much as US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) to about 100 regional and international lenders.

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Al Sanea kept secret ledger, says court filing

Maan al Sanea, a prominent Saudi businessman, kept records of a multibillion-dollar fraud in a secret set of books referred to as “Ledger 3”, according to documents filed in a New York court last week.

Mr al Sanea, the chairman and founder of the Saad Group, a large Saudi conglomerate, is accused of siphoning an estimated US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) from Ahmad Hamad Al Gosaibi and Brothers (AHAB), another Saudi conglomerate.

The court documents claim he committed the fraud when he headed AHAB’s financial services arm, Money Exchange, and used ledger 3 to hide the transfers for decades. Mr al Sanea was unavailable for comment.

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Dubai Property through the "rear view mirror" (Re-post)

With every piece of news telling a good or not so good story about the boom and burst of Abu Dhabi and Dubai property markets, each one is as nearly absolute as the “black swan” phenomenae. And with each one as convincingly uncertain as the next one, one thing is for certain: we are uncertain about the future of UAE real estate. Or perharps this is described best by what Emmanual Kant once wrote: that “we are unsure about being sure”.

Market consultants are forced into a seductive “rear view mirror” analysis of what’s happening, that is, writing descriptive tales of events only after the fact of their taking place. The stories are all as less predictive as the confluence of many opinions of other experts that will follow to typically tell the same story.

Can one really predict where Dubai property or Abu Dhabi property prices will be tomorrow or the next quarter or another two quarters from now? Much like predicting the weather forecast, none can tell. But, its all more entertaining to be captivated with the latest happenings of Dubai real estate, the obvious and the non-linear, unpredictable.

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Dubai's vow of silence over stalled developments seems to be working

Along the coast, hoardings display advertisements for The Waterfront, a city twice the size of Hong Kong island, designed to house 1.5m people. Inland, in the middle of the desert, the entrance is the most visible presence of Dubailand, a collection of theme parks twice as big as Disney World that, for the most part, exists on websites only.

The Tiger Woods golf course, to be irrigated by 4m gallons of water a day and surrounded by multi-million dollar mansions, has just three holes completed.

But perhaps even more remarkable than Dubai's ambitions, is the approach the city has taken to the crisis that has brought these latest projects shuddering to a stop. Weighed down by debts officially put at $80bn (£49.1bn), both the Dubai authorities and the companies responsible have taken a vow of silence.

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Qatar, U.A.E. Shares Gain as Oil Holds Above $70; Shuaa Soars

United Arab Emirates and Qatari shares advanced to their highest levels in almost three weeks as oil held above $70 a barrel and evidence builds that the global recession is ending.

Qatar’s DSM 20 Index climbed 2.4 percent to 7,088.17, the highest level since Aug. 11. The Dubai Financial Market General Index added 1.9 percent and Abu Dhabi’s measure gained 0.9 percent.

“The backdrop to international markets remains encouraging and the recent U.S. and European corporate results remain good as well,” Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd., wrote in an e-mail. “This is positive for commodities and commodity-based economies.”

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