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Friday, 18 September 2009

Dubai World creates senior posts in restructuring

Dubai World, a Gulf Arab government holding company, said on Friday it had created two senior posts as part of efforts to streamline operations during the financial crisis.

A statement said Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah had been appointed as group chief executive officer and Maryam Sharaf as group chief operating officer at the holding company of the government of Dubai, an emirate of the United Arab Emirates.

It said Bin Thaniah, current executive vice chairman of Dubai Ports World and group CEO of Ports and Free Zone World, would help oversee restructuring measures and take charge of managing the holding company's business.

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Abu Dhabi Invest AD eyes Russia investments

State-owned Abu Dhabi Invest AD said on Thursday it was interested in increasing investments in Russia after it bought a stake in a Russian resort being built for the 2014 Olympics in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

Invest AD, formerly know as Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC), said it would send a delegation to an investment forum in Sochi which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is set to address on Friday.

In June, Invest AD joined Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, to buy a stake in Gornaya Karusel resort which will be home to the Russian National Ski-jumping Centre from 2012.

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Saad settles $2.6 bln debt with local banks

Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, the chairman of conglomerate Saad Group, has reached an agreement with local banks to settle about 9.7 billion Saudi riyals ($2.6 billion) in outstanding loans, two bankers said on Thursday.

But foreign lenders like Citigroup Inc and Dubai-based Mashreqbank were not included in the restructuring deal, raising concerns that the kingdom doesn't plan on backing a wider solution with international banks.

The deal put to rest part of more than $20 billion in loans from local and international institution that were extended to Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Al-Gosaibi and Brothers Co, or AHAB, two Saudi conglomerates that were overleveraged as liquidity dried up and assets plummeted amid the global credit crunch and recession.

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Former Tamweel chief granted bail in fraud case

A former chief executive of the home finance company Tamweel and his four co-defendants were granted bail yesterday in their Dh42 million (US$11.4) fraud trial.

The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance granted bail to AS, 38, the former head of Tamweel and deputy chief of Istithmar World, a part of the investment company Dubai World; AN, 44, AS’s former deputy at Tamweel; WG, 57, managing director of Vakson Freehold Properties; RR, 54, a Ukrainian; and MY, 40, a Pakistani.

The two former Tamweel executives and their three alleged co-conspirators are accused of defrauding the Dubai Commodities Centre and the Dubai Maritime City of about Dh42m through illegal commissions and fraudulent transactions. All have denied the charges.

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Emaar and Nakheel to skip Cityscape 2009

Emaar Properties and Nakheel, two of the largest UAE property developers, will not be taking part in this year’s Cityscape Dubai property trade show, saying they will instead focus on existing projects.

Meraas Development, a Dubai Government-backed firm that was the darling of last year’s show with its launch of the Dh350 billion (US$95.2bn) Jumeirah Gardens development, also will not take part.

Other developers such as Dubai Properties Group and Deyaar Development will be participating in the event scheduled for October 5-8.

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Dubai property market to remain lackluster: EFG

The property market in Dubai will remain weak to stable, at best, over the next 12 months, and markets in Abu Dhabi could also face some pressure from downward pricing and rental trends in Dubai, said EFG-Hermes.

"We do not anticipate any strong recovery in Dubai selling prices before the second half of 2010 at the earliest," analysts Sana Kapadia and Jad Abbas, said and revised their ratings and fair values on the UAE construction sector.

The analysts said balance sheet constraints of property companies in the UAE may put an effective cap on short-term performance until liquidity conditions improved.

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3rdUPDATE:Dubai World Scales Dn Nakheel Ops Amid Debt Concerns

Government-owned Dubai World Thursday said it is scaling down operations at its troubled real-estate unit Nakheel, transferring assets and executives to its Istithmar World investment arm, amid ongoing concerns over the conglomerate's mounting debt pile.

"As part of an ongoing organizational operational restructuring process within the group, selected hotel and real-estate assets and the management teams related to these assets, primarily in international markets, have been transferred to Istithmar World," Dubai World said in an emailed statement.

In a separate statement Thursday, Nakheel said it won't participate in Cityscape Dubai next month, the emirate's biggest annual real-estate trade-show, and instead focus on delivering property that is near completion.

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Dubai house prices set to drop another 33%, says UBS

Dubai house prices, which fell the most during the global recession, will undergo another “meaningful” slump in about three months because of increased supply and restrictions on mortgages Bloomberg reported, cithing a UBS analyst.

Prices will drop an additional 33% to about AED600 (US$163) a square foot, said Saud Masud, an analyst in Dubai for the Zurich-based bank, in a phone interview late yesterday with Bloomberg.

People “feel the market is coming back and they are trying to hold off for a bit,” Masud said. “But that is not going to last because when more inventory hits the market and someone’s apartment sits vacant for six to nine months, they are going to cave in, and that’s when we’ll see the re-pricing of assets.”

The market is currently in a “numb phase,” and optimism is based on “few transactions,” Masud said. Prices will reach a bottom in about 12 months to 18 months.

Next year “is going to be tough, and I would be shocked if we started talking about a recovery in 2010,” Masud said. “Issues of excess inventory, litigation, financing and payment delays are still unresolved and clogging up the pipeline.”END

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