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Sunday, 20 September 2009

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Left behind by Iraq's oil rush

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Left behind by Iraq's oil rush

Turkey, Qatar mull LNG pipeline via Saudi Arabia

Turkey and Qatar have formed teams to start work on a possible LNG pipeline across Saudi Arabia that would ship Qatari gas to Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Saturday.

A Turkish team would travel to Qatar within one or two months, he said in a statement which gave no more details.

We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum.

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Dubai World Chairman Sees Return to Growth After Reorganizing

Dubai World, the United Arab Emirates sheikhdom’s government-owned holding company, will resume growth after naming new executives and reorganizing holdings, Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said.

“The worst for us and for that matter, Dubai, is over,” Bin Sulayem said in an interview with daily Gulf News that was confirmed by a spokesman today. “The situation at Dubai World is much better and we are going to move ahead with most of our programs.”

Dubai World, one of the three-largest government-owned groups in the sheikdom, had $59.3 billion in liabilities at the end of 2008 and is restructuring amid a slump in Dubai and a decline of nearly 50 percent in property prices. The company last week named two top executives and shifted assets to streamline the business.

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Qatar Telecommunications in US$2 billion forward start loan

Qatar Telecommunications is in the process of signing a US$2 billion forward start loan, reported Reuters, citing banking sources close to the deal.

Qtel announced in March it had signed the US$1.5 billion forward start agreement on a revolving credit facility maturing in November, extending the credit by two years.

Bankers said at the time the borrower would like US$2 billion and general syndication would be used to raise the remaining amount, adding that the loan pays a margin of 250 basis points (bps) over LIBOR.

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Abu Dhabi company targets Europe

The National Investor, an Abu Dhabi-based investment company, is planning to attract capital into the region by rolling out a Dublin domiciled equity fund targeting European institutional investors.

“This is the first time a local player from Abu Dhabi will launch a Dublin-based fund subject to European regulations,” said Walid Hayeck, head of asset management.

“The Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region is going to grow faster than any other emerging market and is an area investors should be looking at,” he added.

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DIFC law updates to stimulate growth in niche sectors

Updates to the Dubai International Financial Centre's (DIFC) Companies Law and Insolvency Law enacted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will provide enhanced security and confidence to the emirate's financial sector, analysts said.

The updates in the Companies Law cover certain registration requirements specified by the DIFC Registrar of Companies, while the updates to the Insolvency Law incorporate changes in applications and procedures for winding up Protected Cell Companies (PCCs), the state-owned Wam news agency reported.

PCCs are self-insurance structures that provide a simple and cost-effective solution to companies wishing to establish a captive insurance company.

Libya buys oil explorer

A Libyan sovereign wealth fund has reached an agreement to acquire the Canadian company Verenex Energy after Libya’s state petroleum company blocked a more lucrative Chinese offer.

Verenex, a small exploration company with big Libyan oil and gas discoveries, said it had entered a binding agreement, worth about C$316 million (Dh1.09 billion), for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) to purchase its outstanding holding for C$7.09 per share.

That is nearly 30 per cent less than the C$460m, or C$10 a share, that China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) had offered for Verenex in February.

Change of heart on Cityscape

Emaar Properties and Nakheel, two of the country’s largest property developers, have both reversed their decisions not to take part in this year’s Cityscape, and confirmed their participation in the property show yesterday.

Cityscape, which takes place in Dubai early next month, is the emirate’s largest exhibition of current and future building projects.

Nakheel, which has been hit hard by the 50 per cent drop in property prices over the past 12 months, said last week it would not take part, but issued a statement yesterday saying it would now participate in the event “following discussions with various industry stakeholders, including partners and the leading event’s organisers”.

Dubai-owned firms start bond talks

Several Dubai entities have begun talks with bankers regarding issuing bonds in the near future, a senior Dubai-based banker at Standard Chartered says.

The talks come as a surprise because many investors are increasingly nervous about the rising cost of debt, tight refinancing schedules and potential losses on portfolio investments at many Dubai-owned companies such as Dubai World and Dubai Holdings. “We are in talks with several Dubai entities here regarding bonds,” said Hassan Jarrar, the managing director who heads Standard Chartered’s origination and client coverage in the UAE. “We are currently engaged on ratings and bond issuances.”

By the end of the year Dubai entities must repay US$6.5 billion (Dh23.87bn), which is part of an overall estimated $85bn of debt.

Al-Gosaibi sues Saad's Swiss subsidiary

Indebted family conglomerate Al-Gosaibi has sued the Swiss subsidiary of troubled rival Saudi conglomerate Saad Group for alleged fraud in Switzerland, according to Swiss newspaper La Tribune de Geneve.

The newspaper also said, without quoting sources, that the offices of Saad Financial Services SA in Geneva had been searched.

No-one at the Geneva's chief prosecutor office and at Saad Financial Services SA was available for comment.

Turkey, Iraq discuss Nabucco gas deal

Turkey and Iraq have discussed signing a memorandum of understanding to ship Iraqi gas to Europe via Turkey through the planned Nabucco pipeline, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Saturday.

Turkey and four European Union countries signed a transit deal in July for the $7.9 billion euro EU-backed pipeline to carry Caspian and Middle Eastern gas to central Europe, aiming to cut dependency on Russia.

No concrete supply deals have yet been signed for Nabucco, which plans to pump 31 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe by 2014, but backers of the Vienna-based consortium have said Iraq could be among the suppliers.

Eid mubarak