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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Commercial Bank of Qatar seeks US buyers for bond

Commercial Bank of Qatar COMB.QA, the Gulf state's third-biggest by market value, will gauge U.S. investor's appetite for a potential bond issue at a roadshow on Wednesday.

"We are going on a roadshow, starting tomorrow in the U.S. followed by Asia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Sunday," Finance Director Nicholas Coleman said on Tuesday from Doha.

Gulf issuance of conventional as well as Islamic bonds this year has remained well below 2008 levels, but a growing appetite for emerging market debt has encouraged more bond issuance this quarter.

Dubai $10 Billion Bond Depends on Needs, U.A.E. Says

Dubai’s plans to sell $10 billion of bonds for its government support fund will “depend on its needs at the time,” United Arab Emirates Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed al-Mansouri said.

Dubai, the second-largest of the country’s seven emirates, will probably complete raising a second $10 billion by the end of November, Mohammed Alabbar, a member of Dubai’s Executive Council said on Oct. 9. Companies needing assistance may include Nakheel PJSC, which is building palm tree-shaped islands off the emirate’s coast, Moody’s Investors Service said in June.

Issuing bonds is a good option considering the strength of the overall economy, al-Mansouri told reporters in Dubai today. “Look at this country and what it has provided to the people in terms of its economy, the strength of its economy and our reserves,” he said.

Dubai House Prices ‘Bounce’ to 7% Quarterly Rise, Colliers Says

Dubai house prices increased quarter- on-quarter for the first time in a year, according to Colliers International, which described the rise as a “bounce” that may not indicate a continuing recovery.

Prices advanced 7 percent in the third quarter, from the previous three months, Colliers said in a statement today. That’s still 47 percent lower than a year earlier, when the market reached its peak.

“The third quarter results indicate a ‘bounce’ in the market,” Ian Albert, a Dubai-based regional director at Colliers, said. “We will have to wait for the fourth quarter results before we can say whether an underlying growth profile exists.”

UAE's Daman Investments eyes IPO for regional push

UAE's Daman Investments is looking to sell shares to the public by 2012 to strengthen its financial position, it said on Tuesday, as it looks to tap opportunities in the world's largest oil exporting region.

Daman Investments, which is active in asset management, brokerage and venture capital, intends to float around 30 percent of its capital with the IPO and seeks a listing on either the Dubai or Abu Dhabi exchange.

The IPO's proceeds will be used to finance brokerage activities, to fund the company's commitments and to boost its warchest for possible acquisitions, Chief Executive Shebab Gargash told Reuters.

U.A.E. to Implement Amlak, Tamweel Merger in January

The United Arab Emirates government will begin implementing a planned merger of cash-strapped mortgage lenders Amlak Finance PJSC and Tamweel PJSC in January, said Sultan Bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, the Minister of Economy.

“We are moving very forward in that and as we promised, in January 2010 we will start implementing the solution,” al- Mansouri told reporters at a conference in Dubai today.

Dubai-based Amlak and Tamweel, whose shares were suspended in November, could form a new Islamic bank, al-Mansouri told Dubai Television on Oct. 8. He said Amlak and Tamweel’s investors may own a third of the new bank, while the U.A.E. and Dubai governments may share the remaining stake equally.

Amlak and Tamweel, both of which comply with Muslim banking rules, were the U.A.E.’s two biggest mortgage lenders before the seizure of global credit markets blocked their access to new funding. Amlak reported a loss of 65.6 million dirhams ($18 million) in the second-quarter to June, while Tamweel reported a loss of 35 million dirhams in the same period.END

Dubai Index Drops Most in World on Economy, Oil; Qatar Falls

Dubai stocks fell for a second time this week, leading a decline in global markets, on concern the world economy is struggling to emerge from recession, hurting a recovery in the oil-rich Gulf region.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest property developer, tumbled 7.3 percent. A “bounce” in Dubai house prices in the third quarter may not indicate a continuing recovery, Colliers International said today. Dubai Islamic Bank erased yesterday’s 6.1 percent gain. The DFM General Index lost 5 percent, the biggest fluctuation of 89 benchmark indexes tracked globally by Bloomberg, to 2,075.46. The measure has dropped 5.6 percent this week.

“There is still concern about the general health of the global economy and this is weighing on the markets,” said Mark Friedenthal, a fund manager at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. “We are waiting to see if there will be a double-dip recession in the U.S.”

Time to rotate out of CBB14 sukuk and into other names offering similar risk, but better upside (Re-post)

The CBB 14 sukuk has seen its yield contract 220 bps since it was issued in June 2009. It is now trading at close to 4.00%,which leads me to believe that it's time to re-examine, from a trading point of view, the fundamentals of Bahrain compared to other sovereign issuers in the region, and identify switch trade ideas.

Bahrain, in terms of land mass and economic size, is the smallest of the GCC nations. The major cause of concern for both the Government as well as investors into the nation is Bahrain's fast depleting oil reserves. Oil, which accounts for 65% of Bahrain's export receipts and 75% of Government revenues, is being produced at 40,000 barrels a day, and reserves are estimated at 125 million barrels, which mean another 10 years of production before the wells literally run dry. Continuing with oil, Bahrain has the highest fiscal break even oil price - $84 per barrel, and ranks first in the S&P World Oil Price Vulnerability Index, meaning that in the event of a falling oil price, it would see the greatest impact to its fiscal program. As point of reference, Qatar is ranked 8 and Abu Dhabi, the holder of the bulk of the UAE's oil reserves is ranked 13 in the same index.

Although Bahrain has been trying to diversify away from its economic reliance on its natural resource base by building a robust financial sector (currently 25% of GDP), it is facing significant competition from other GCC nations trying to do the same. The country's fiscal position ranks lower than any of the other GCC nations, with the Government looking to the debt markets to fund its expansionary budget. Bahrain's sovereign debt is just over 20% of GDP, but its total external debt is one of the highest in the world. **

Qatar to supply 20pc of UK’s energy needs

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily

The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily

New Company Law to 
Go for Cabinet Nod

The final draft of the new UAE company law, which will allow foreigners to fully own a company outside free zones in the country, will be placed before the Cabinet for approval within a month, the Minister for Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri announced on Monday.

“It (the proposed law) is moving at a great speed through the various internal committees. We are left with only 100 articles (to be reviewed) out of a total 383 articles being processed. Hopefully, within a month we will finalise everything, and the draft law will be placed before the Cabinet for final ratification,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of the “Abu Dhabi 
Outlook Summit.”

With substantial construction activities already underway in Abu Dhabi, investments through public-private partnership in infrastructure development, real estate and manufacturing sector are expected to reach $1 trillion in the medium term, the minister said. “Today Abu Dhabi is a hub for capital flow to and from the region. The emirate has projects worth over $100 billion currently underway. These are clear indications that Abu Dhabi defies the impact of global financial crisis and continues to thrive,” Al Mansouri said.

Dispute over Tameer’s ownership moves into courts

An ownership row over Tameer Holding Investment, a large property developer building towers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has erupted into the legal domain with at least four cases in the region’s courts.

The Dubai Civil Courts last week froze Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) of assets controlled by Ahmad al Rajhi, the Tameer chairman, after a former business partner claimed he had not lived up to obligations to pay him for shares.

“We have submitted this order as a precautionary measure before we submit our case to the courts,” said Dr Habib al Mulla, the lawyer for the plaintiff Omar Hassan Ayesh.

Gulf banks ready for bigger role in region

Gulf banks are likely to expand their reach and gobble up market share in the region as international lenders retrench after the financial crisis, says the chief executive of Mashreqbank.

Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, who is also the speaker of the Federal National Council, said Gulf banks were ready to fill the void left by retreating international banks, many of which had cut staff and reduced operations in the region during the crisis.

“All banks are focusing on their headquarters, and their success starts from there,” said Mr al Ghurair, whose bank opened its first branch in Kuwait on Sunday.

Globalfoundries chairman resigns after insider claims

The chairman of Globalfoundries, the microchip maker controlled by Abu Dhabi, has resigned days after being connected in media reports to an insider-trading scandal.

Hector Ruiz previously led the chip maker AMD, which spun off its manufacturing assets to create Globalfoundries this year.

Mr Ruiz’s resignation from Globalfoundries, which is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company, is effective from January 4 but he will take leave of absence immediately, the company said in a statement. It gave no reason for his departure.

Capital to spend $1tn on major projects

Abu Dhabi will spend US$1 trillion (Dh3.67tn) on major infrastructure, property and manufacturing projects, the Minister of Economy said.

The unprecedented infrastructure spending comes as the emirate speeds up its economic diversification plans in response to the global financial crisis, with projects valued at more than $100 billion under way.

“The planned investments to be implemented through public and private partnerships in infrastructure, real estate and manufacturing sectors over the medium term are expected to reach $1tn,” Sultan al Mansouri said in a speech at the Abu Dhabi Outlook Summit yesterday.

Dubai Mercantile Exchange Eyes US Regulation As Volume Builds

The Dubai Mercantile Exchange has asked U.S. regulators to ease a key trading rule that its chief executive said is hampering efforts to develop an oil-price benchmark.

The exchange has asked the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to relax margin-calculation rules for traders on its markets, cutting trading costs for its flagship Oman Sour Crude contract.

"This would put us on a level playing field and remove the barriers to trade," said DME Chief Executive Thomas Leaver, who hopes to secure clearance this month.

Dana seeks to fuel local development

Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based oil and gas development company, is refocusing its efforts on a planned series of industrial developments around the Middle East as it aims to use natural resources for local development rather than exports.

After a slowdown during the global financial crisis, the region’s first listed energy company says it is again moving ahead with talks to secure anchor tenants for an industrial site near Chamchamal, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Dana Gas argues that local governments, after securing power for their people, should use gas resources to fuel local industries in order to boost economic productivity, before selling their resources to foreign companies for export.

UAE plans nuclear investment

The United Arab Emirates is setting up an investment vehicle to take stakes in the global nuclear industry as it prepares to award a contract to develop the first civilian nuclear plants in the Arab world.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is expected to be formally established within weeks. It will oversee the development of the nuclear programme and act as a government investment arm by making strategic investments in the sector, domestically and internationally.

The government hopes an agreement with the US will be finalised shortly, which would allow civilian nuclear trade with the UAE. Similar deals have been reached with France and Korea.

Saad chief in fight to have US case dismissed

A Saudi billionaire accused of fraud in a dispute with former business associates that centres on big debts owed to international banks has launched an effort to have the case thrown out of the US courts.

Maan al Sanea, chairman of Saad Group, alleges that his increasingly rancorous battle with fellow conglomerate Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (Ahab) has "no business" being heard in New York and should be fought in Saudi Arabia instead.

The case is casting a rare light on the commercial affairs of Saudi Arabia and of the troubles of two of its leading companies, which between them are estimated to owe dozens of regional and international banks $20bn.