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Sunday, 15 November 2009

EADS in talks over Abu Dhabi investment

Airbus parent EADS is in talks over investment in its European manufacturing business with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co, its CEO said on Sunday, as the pair signed two production accords.

“We are discussing with Mubadala investment in Europe in our fields of activities,” Louis Gallois told reporters at Dubai Airshow.

Gallois said discussions with Mubadala, an investment agency of the Abu Dhabi government, are about investment in the civilian field, without going into further detail.

Kuwait’s Zain Posts 53% Decline in Quarterly Profit

Zain, Kuwait’s biggest phone company, said third-quarter profit dropped 53 percent as a shareholder seeks to sell a controlling stake in the company.

Net income declined to 41.2 million dinars ($144.4 million), or 11 fils a shares, from 87.2 million dinars, or 24 fils, a year earlier, Zain said in a statement on the Kuwait Stock Exchange Web site today.

The decrease in profit comes as Kharafi Group, Zain’s second-largest shareholder with about 11 percent, prepares to sell control of the company. The group signed a preliminary accord in September to sell a 46 percent controlling stake, valued at $13.7 billion, in the carrier to India’s Vavasi Group and Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

DFM achieves 100% compliance in local company disclosures of third quarter results

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) announced today that its listed local public joint stock companies have recorded a 100% compliance regarding the disclosure of third quarter-2009 results within the deadline of 45 days from the end of the period.

The total number of UAE public joint stock companies listed at DFM that disclosed their third quarter results stood at 41 companies, with the exception of Amlak Finance and Tamweel.

DFM submitted a detailed report today to Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) including the disclosure dates and its observations on the disclosures according to (SCA) requirements.END

Saad Trading says sukuk issuer unable to meet payment

Saad Trading, Contracting & Financial Services on Sunday said the Golden Belt 1 Sukuk Company was unable to make a periodic payment as scheduled on a $650 million sukuk due in 2012.

Saad Trading, Contracting & Financial Services said in a statement posted on the Bahrain stock exchange that "due to matters beyond its control, it is currently impossible for the issuer to perform its payment obligations under the sukuk."

"Freezing orders in Saudi Arabia and other jurisdictions have rendered impossible the ability of Saad Trading, Contracting & Financial Services to perform its payment obligations under the lease agreement and hence making it impossible for the issuer to pay the certificate holders," the statement said.

Kuwaiti Shares Decline to Seven-Month Low; Abu Dhabi Advances

Kuwaiti shares tumbled to their lowest level since April after Burgan Bank SAK became the country’s latest company to report lower third-quarter earnings.

Agility, the Middle East’s biggest storage and logistics company, declined for a fourth day, the longest losing streak since March. National Investments, the Kuwaiti asset management company, slid to the lowest level in more than three months. Burgan Bank, a Kuwaiti lender, retreated to a two-month low after it said third-quarter profit tumbled 91 percent. The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index fell 2 percent to 6,918.40. The measure, which was down for a sixth day, has declined 5.7 percent since Nov. 5 and 11 percent this year.

“Recently index heavyweight Agility announced pretty flat third-quarter numbers and given that it was trading near a high, it’s not surprising the stock is correcting,” said Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. There are no strong catalysts to push the index higher, he said, and there isn’t a lot of analyst coverage to give investors the opportunity to “take advantage of any possible attractive valuations.”

Dubai F1 Developer Posts Quarterly Loss as Costs Rise

Union Properties PJSC, the Dubai- based developer that suspended work on a Formula One-themed park, posted a third-quarter loss as costs increased and the emirate’s real-estate market slumped.

The net loss was 152.3 million dirhams ($41 million), or a loss of 4 fils per share, compared with a profit of 224.7 million dirhams, or 7 fils, in the year-earlier period, according to a company statement to the Dubai bourse today. Revenue for the quarter increased 70 percent to 1.3 billion dirhams, while costs jumped 57 percent to 1.08 billion dirhams.

Dubai, the second-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates, in the past year has gone from being the best performer among the 46 markets monitored in the Knight Frank global house-price index to the worst. The slump ended a construction boom that resulted in thousands of houses and apartments being built just as demand started to evaporate.

New Dubai airport shows the vision still in sight (Re-post)

Anybody landing in the gleaming new hall-of-a-thousand columns that is the Dubai Airport’s Terminal Three might be forgiven for thinking that this must be the new airport that is being talked about at the Dubai Air Show.

But actually no, it is the opening next summer of the brand new Maktoum International Airport next to the Jebel Ali Free Zone that has tongues wagging.

Investment Dar to Unveil Debt Restructuring Plan This Month

The Investment Dar Co. KSCC, the Kuwait-based owner of half of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., said it will present a restructuring plan to its banks and creditors later this month.

The first meeting will be held in Kuwait on Nov. 24 and the second in Dubai on Nov. 25, the Kuwait-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. TID’s banks and investors “will have a period to review and consider approving the proposed restructuring plan” following the meeting, TID said.

The Investment Dar had 1.03 billion dinars ($3.6 billion) of debt outstanding at the end of September 2008, the last time it reported results, and is restructuring its obligations with the help of Credit Suisse Group AG. It said in May it missed a payment on its $100 million Islamic bond.

“We remain fully committed to the consensual restructuring process,” Adnan al Musallam, Investment Dar’s chairman and chief executive officer said in the statement.END

GCC economies seen growing by 6.2% in 2010 on oil prices recovery

The recovery in oil prices is set to accelerate Gulf Arab economic growth to as much as 6.2% in 2010 compared to a projected contraction of 0.9% in 2009, a research report said.

"We forecast positive real and nominal GDP growth in 2010 as a result of both higher oil prices and production levels," EFG Hermes said in the report.

The global credit crunch brought a boom in Gulf Arab economies to a grinding halt this year but high state spending and a turnaround in oil prices are helping the world's top oil exporting region recover.

Mashreq Says No Settlement Offer Received From Saad, Algosaibi

Mashreqbank PSC, the United Arab Emirates-based lender owned by billionaire Abdul Aziz al- Ghurair, said it received “no settlement offer” from Saad Group or Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros Co., the Saudi family groups that defaulted on payments.

“No settlement offer has been received from Saad and Algosaibi and therefore none is under consideration,’’ the bank said in a statement to the Dubai bourse today. “The status of amounts owed to Mashreqbank remains unchanged.”

The bank is suing Algosaibi in New York and the U.A.E. over failed foreign currency transactions. Mashreqbank said on Sept. 16 it was owed about $400 million by Algosaibi. Chief Executive Officer Al-Ghurair said on Nov. 2 that the bank may hold talks to reach a settlement with the Algosaibi group.

Mashreqbank will evaluate any opportunity to invest in a proposed bond program by the Dubai government, “applying its usual criteria for such investments,” according to today’s statement.END

Dubai 2009: Aerocopter deal signals first UAE aircraft assembly line

The United Arab Emirates is set for its first aircraft manufacturing deal following the acquisition of a small Ukrainian helicopter company by Dubai-based Perla Group International.

"I went to buy a helicopter and came back owning the company," says Perla's founder and chief executive Charles D'Alberto.

Perla completed the acquisition of Poltava, Ukraine-based DB Aerocopter this week and D'Alberto, whose company has interests in telecommunications, aviation and security, says that he plans to move assembly of its two-seat helicopter to Dubai fed by components supplied from Ukraine.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi eye the zenith with aerospace plans

The UAE is soon to become part of the global aviation supply chain with the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi showing strong interest in aircraft manufacturing processes on a commercial scale.

Both governments have been steaming ahead with joint ventures or part-acquisition of global aviation assets in order to gain access to aviation technologies while keeping options open for technology transfers that will eventually boost the UAE's prospects for a more significant role in the global aviation industry.

Investment in the UAE's airline and aviation industry is expected to soar to Dh550 billion.

Delays loom for construction

Financing constraints could delay some construction projects set to launch in Abu Dhabi next year as lenders remain conservative after the financial crisis, says Robert Garden, the Middle East managing director of Royal Bank of Scotland.

New projects where clients lack long-standing relationships with banks were particularly prone to delay, Mr Garden said at MEED’s Abu Dhabi Conference last week.

“I don’t think all the projects that are around here will actually be financed,” he said. “The banks and the markets are not ready. Abu Dhabi has massive projects in the works but if they all come to the market in 2010, that would be a mistake.

Reversal of fortune in Iraq oil fields

After an initial rights auction that drew a tepid response at best, the war-torn nation has unleashed a flood of recent agreements to develop massive crude and gas fields. The chance to discover more reserves has international firms chomping at the bit.

A stunning change of attitude by Big Oil has put Iraq on course to become the third-largest global oil exporter within a few years.

Earlier this month, over a period of just four days, Baghdad signed three enormous deals that could raise Iraqi oil production capacity by 4.8 million barrels per day (bpd). That increment, if realised, would be equivalent to more than doubling the pre-recession oil output of neighbouring Iran, the second-biggest OPEC exporter, and generate revenue of about US$366 million (Dh1.34 billion) a day at current market prices.

Mubadala aerospace division on target

Mubadala Development’s aerospace composites plant is on track to deliver parts to Airbus next year, marking the first step in Abu Dhabi’s goal of becoming a major supplier to the European plane maker in the next decade.

Mubadala, the strategic investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, officially unveiled its new aerospace subsidiary, Strata Manufacturing, yesterday and said the firm’s plant should be completed next summer.

Strata has won more than US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) in work packages to date from Airbus, Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica and FACC of Austria, and hopes to add Boeing to the list. The unit is Mubadala’s vehicle to make Abu Dhabi a focal point in the global industry for high-tech composite aircraft parts, to transfer technological knowledge to the emirate and create high-value jobs for Emiratis.

Russia to make new arms offers to Arab states at Dubai Air Show

Russia will offer a new package of proposals on military-technical cooperation to countries in the Middle East at a major air show in the region, Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said.

The Dubai Air Show is running on November 15-19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over 900 companies from about 50 countries, including 24 Russian firms, take part in the event.

"During the Dubai Air Show 2009 Rosoboronexport will discuss with partners new Russian proposals aimed at strengthening defense capabilities of a number of countries in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula," said Mikhail Zavaliy, the head of the Rosoboronexport delegation at the show.

Oman Air’s Bold Strategy Takes Off

The Sultanate of Oman is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in its young national airline as part of an ambitious fleet and route expansion programme designed to position the airline as a top-end international carrier.

By the end of 2009, Oman Air which until recently was little more than an internal, and relatively small regional airline, will operate a fleet of 15 Boeing 737-800 single aisle airliners, two Airbus A330-300s and two A330-200s wide-body long range aircraft.

A further three A330-300s are due for delivery early next year. Over the next four years the airline expects that the first of six Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” twin-aisle long-range airliners will have been brought into service. These will consolidate the airline’s credentials as an inter-continental carrier.

AIRSHOW-Arms race dominates Dubai air show

Middle East tension is driving demand for military hardware at the Dubai Air Show which opens on Sunday, but recession means fewer orders for civilian jets.

Bitter rivals Airbus (EAD.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) will still woo carriers at the top Middle East aviation event, but most airlines' cheque books are empty and the fiercest marketing battles will be waged by jet fighters performing above the Gulf.

"With more threats and continued tensions you will have continued demand for new systems and new capabilities and that is why we have seen ongoing interest in upgrading and renewing fighter fleets," Riad Kahwaji, chief executive of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told Reuters.

Air Arabia Earnings Fell 33 Percent in Third Quarter

Air Arabia PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest low-cost carrier, said earnings dropped less than analysts expected in the third quarter as it flew more passengers and a drop in fuel costs curbed costs.

Net income fell 33 percent to 143.5 million dirhams ($39 million), or 0.03 dirham a share, from 214.4 million dirhams, or 0.05 dirham a year earlier, the Sharjah-based carrier said in a statement on its Website today. That beat the average estimate of 114.4 million dirhams in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts. Profit fell 9 percent excluding a 56.7 million-dirham one-time gain last year.

The Middle East is the only region in the world where air traffic has grown this year, rising 9.4 percent in the first nine months of the year from a year ago, according to data from the International Air Transport Association in Geneva. Air Arabia said third-quarter traffic was curbed by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, “concerns relating to the H1N1 virus” and the global economic crisis earlier this year.

Saudi Arabian Shares Advance Most in One Week, Led by Al Rajhi

Saudi Arabian shares rose the most in a week, led by Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s biggest lender by market value.

The Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.7 percent to close at 6,296.18, its highest close since Nov. 7. The index has gained 31 percent this year after losing more than half its value in 2008 as oil prices dropped.

Al Rajhi Bank rose 2 percent, its biggest gain in a month, to 76.5 riyals. Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi lender owned by Credit Agricole SA, advanced 2.3 percent to 43.7 riyals while Samba Financial Group, the second-biggest bank in Saudi Arabia by market value, climbed 1.5 percent to 52.5 riyals.