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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

UAE's Emirates NBD nears bond sale plans -CFO | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters

UAE's Emirates NBD nears bond sale plans -CFO | Industries | Financial Services & Real Estate | Reuters

M2 Bottomed: LONG GCC Banks! « Alpha Dinar

M2 Bottomed: LONG GCC Banks! « Alpha Dinar

Abnormal Trading in COAST Stock « Alpha Dinar

Abnormal Trading in COAST Stock « Alpha Dinar

Sell-Side Research Accuracy « Alpha Dinar

Sell-Side Research Accuracy « Alpha Dinar

Aabar Posts $613 Million Second-Quarter Loss on Derivatives

Aabar Investments PJSC, the biggest shareholder in Daimler AG, posted a second-quarter loss as it booked 2.25 billion dirhams ($613 million) in losses from derivative financial instruments.

Net loss was 2.18 billion dirhams compared with a profit of 546.3 million dirhams a year earlier, the Abu Dhabi government- backed investor said in a statement to the emirate’s bourse today.

Aabar in March paid $2.7 billion for a 9.1 percent stake in Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler, the world’s second-biggest luxury carmaker. In July, it bought a 32 percent stake in Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Ltd. commercial space venture for $280 million.

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Cnooc, Qatar Petroleum Sign Gas Exploration Agreement

Cnooc Ltd., China’s third-biggest oil company, signed a 25-year agreement with Qatar Petroleum to search for gas offshore in its first exploration venture in the Middle East.

The agreement includes drilling three wells in five years. Qatar also will discuss providing additional liquefied-natural gas to the Chinese company, the country’s oil minister, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, said at a ceremony in Doha today.

Qatar, which has the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves, is the world’s biggest producer of liquefied natural gas with plans to nearly double production to 77 million tons annually by next year.

Cnooc plans to invest $100 million to implement the exploration agreement, said Fu Chengyu, the company’s chairman. China will import the first LNG in October and will need 40 million to 60 million tons a year by 2020, he said.END

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Barneys Said to Weigh Debt Swap as Holt Renfrew Shows Interest

Barneys New York is weighing a debt restructuring or bankruptcy filing that may wrest control from the Dubai government-owned firm that loaded it with debt in a 2007 leveraged buyout, three people briefed on the matter said.

Hedge fund Perry Capital LLC, which helped finance the $942.3 million takeover, has been approached by Holt Renfrew, the Toronto-based department-store chain, about a joint offer for control of the 86-year-old luxury retailer, one of the people said. Holt Renfrew, owned by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston, has stores in cities including Montreal and Vancouver.

Barneys’ debt was cut two grades to three levels above default in July by Moody’s, which cited its “strained financial condition” amid declining sales and “sizeable” debt from the takeover by Istithmar PJSC, a unit of Dubai World. Sales at luxury retailers Barneys, Saks Inc. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc. have tumbled as customers cut spending during the recession.

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UAE dominates Islamic bank rankings in H1

Banks from the UAE dominate the Emirates Business rankings of top Islamic banks in the GCC, with four UAE entities finding place among the top 10 based on assets as of June 30, 2009.

The combined asset base of the top 25 Islamic banks in the GCC stands at a $218.76 billion (Dh803.51bn), a growth of just a little more than two per cent over the end-2008 figure of $214bn, exclusive research by this paper reveals. However, assets of the top 25 Islamic banks witnessed an impressive growth of more than 28 per cent in 2008 over 2007.

There are a total of six UAE banks among the top 25 Islamic banks, with a combined asset base of almost $62bn – topping the country charts.

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Central Bank cuts Tier 1 ratio to 7%

The UAE Central Bank has amended the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) norms and mandated all banks in the UAE to achieve a Tier 1 CAR of not less than seven per cent within an overall ratio of 11 per cent by September 30, 2009.

The circular received by lenders yesterday supercedes the earlier notification on CAR issued by the Ministry of Finance that mandated a Tier 1 ratio of 11 per cent by June 30. The easing of Tier 1 ratio by four percentage points will help banks unlock massive liquidity, said analysts and bankers.

The Central Bank circular also required banks to increase overall CAR to 12 per cent by June 30, 2010, with the Tier 1 component not less than eight per cent. "These percentages shall be applied on a temporary basis, and will be re-examined at the beginning of 2011, to determine whether or not to be continued," said the circular

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Emirates NBD seeks $2bn in fresh capital

Emirates NBD, the country’s biggest lender, plans to raise up to US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) in fresh capital this year, taking advantage of a new federal law that guarantees bonds issued by local banks.

The law, announced in June, is expected to cover medium-term notes and longer-dated bonds, helping local lenders who are under pressure to boost deposits and fund new lending.

“It will hopefully be this year,” said Sanjay Uppal, the chief financial officer at Emirates NBD.

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Saudis decry anti-Arab tilt in US oil posturing

Prince Turki Al Faisal has had enough.

According to the former Saudi ambassador to Washington, the relentless promotion of “energy independence” by the administration of US President Barack Obama is an affront to his country. “This ‘energy independence’ motto is political posturing at its worst – a concept that is unrealistic, misguided and ultimately harmful to energy producing and consuming countries alike,” Prince Turki writes in an article published last week in Foreign Policy magazine.

Political demands for the US to wean itself off imported oil are “often deployed as little more than code for arguing that the United States has a dangerous reliance on my country of Saudi Arabia, which gets blamed for everything from global terrorism to high gasoline [petrol] prices”, he continues.

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A look back to move ahead with corporate governance

Looking back through the history of the Islamic world, examples of prudent corporate governance have been in practice since as early as 600AD. Caliph Omar ibn Al Khattaab was the first Muslim ruler responsible for putting in place laws to govern businesses. He developed guidelines for the establishment of trusts, the founding of a public treasury, the charting of the Islamic calendar (Hijri), and the placement of regional governors to uphold these laws. With the strong sense of justice he afforded to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, he became known as Al Farooq, which translates to “the one who distinguishes between good and bad”.

As an ethical man and a powerful leader, he put into action a system that can still be looked at today as a model for corporate governance. Omar’s criteria for appointing governors was to select people who had strong leadership qualities but who had also demonstrated an investment in ensuring the best for their people. And he didn’t let their past behaviour serve as his only guide. He closely monitored their performance and based his decisions on the satisfaction of the people they were charged to serve. He refused to entertain requests from senior officials who asked for promotion or favour.

Over the following centuries, these practices have become diluted and even tinged with the concept of wasta. While some corporations have an outline for their corporate governance in practice many fall far short of guidelines for their operations set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international body that provides oversight and direction for many market-based economies.


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Saudi, Dubai Shares Drop on Concern Chinese Recovery May Stall

Gulf shares were mostly lower, with Saudi Arabia’s index falling for a fifth day, as Asian shares slid on concern a recovery in China may be derailed by a slowdown in lending.

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index dropped 0.7 percent to close at 5,660.90. The Dubai Financial Market General Index declined for the first time in five days, retreating 0.4 percent. The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index lost 0.6 percent.

“In contrast to when we had this two weeks ago, the reaction is more muted.” said Akram Annous, deputy fund manager at Al Mal Capital PSC. “I’d get out of the equity markets until they all correct 10 percent.”

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UAE cuts bank lending rate to 1.5 pct from 2.5 pct

The United Arab Emirates is slashing a key interest rate by a full percentage point in an effort to lower borrowing costs and boost the national economy.

State news agency WAM on Monday quoted Central Bank Chairman Mohammed Sharif Foulathi as saying the liquidity support facility rate will be cut to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent. The move will be effective Tuesday.

The Arab world's second-largest economy launched the liquidity support facility last year to give banks a new way to borrow money from the central bank, but analysts say lending in the country remains tight.

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Saudi airline plots a catch-up course

Air passengers in Saudi Arabia make many of the same complaints as travellers everywhere: long waiting times, cancelled reservations and late arrivals.

But they do so with more than the usual world-weariness – with venom even, especially as they compare their airlines with those of their tiny Gulf neighbours.

In the absence of a nationwide rail network or developed public transport, air travel assumes an even greater significance in a country of 2.1m sq km.

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United Arab Emirates eases up on oil output curbs

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company ADNOC {{lang|ar...Image via Wikipedia

The United Arab Emirates' main oil exporter will ease up on OPEC-led supply curbs, a possible sign the Arab Gulf nation will not push for new cuts when the oil producing group meets next month.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company told customers Sunday that starting in October, it will let them load 15 percent less oil than normal levels, according to a report by the state news agency, WAM.

ADNOC customers for this month and next have been restricted to lifting 19 percent below their usual levels, a step the company took in line with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision late last year to slash output by 4.2 million barrels from September 2008 levels.

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