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Monday, 23 November 2009

INTERVIEW: British Builders Chase GBP200M Unpaid Dubai Bills

British construction companies are chasing GBP200M worth of unpaid bills in the United Arab Emirates, mostly in Dubai, where the real estate industry is reeling from the global economic downturn, an officer at a U.K. business group said.

"There's still quite a lot outstanding and possibly well in excess of 50% outstanding," Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of U.K. trade body the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, or ACE, which represents about 800 construction firms, told Zawya Dow Jones in a telephone interview Monday.

In May ACE said British construction companies were owed GBP400 million by U.A.E.-based real estate developers, mostly in Dubai. While progress has been made in recouping some of the money owed to contractors, settlements are still "not coming in fast enough" and the situation remains a concern, said Ogunshakin.

UAE's ENOC says won't raise Dragon Oil bid

Emirates National Oil Co (ENOC) will not increase its bid for Dragon Oil (DGO.I) (DGO.L), the group's chief executive said on Monday. "Despite what analysts say it is not underpriced and we will not increase our price and this is a final decision," Saeed Khoory told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

Dragon Oil Plc said last week the Dubai state-owned refiner had confirmed it would not increase its takeover offer from 455 pence per share.END

Dubai Shares End Losing Streak on Bond Speculation Post Shakeup

Dubai shares ended the longest losing streak in three weeks, led by Emaar Properties PJSC, on investor speculation recent declines were overdone on signs that the second half of Dubai’s support fund will be issued soon.

Emaar, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest property developer, climbed the most in a week, while Dubai Financial Market, the only Gulf stock exchange to sell shares, had its biggest intraday gain since Nov. 10. The Dubai Financial Market General Index added 1.6 percent to 2,106.21 at 1:33 p.m. in the emirate today, its biggest advance in a week. About 129 million shares traded in Dubai’s measure, or 31 percent of the three- month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum late last week fired one senior aide and removed three others from the board of Dubai’s main holding company as the debt-laden emirate tries to secure a second $10 billion injection of funds. The sheikh’s moves were aimed at exerting more control over the web of competing, state-owned companies that he used to accelerate diversification away from oil and which amassed $80 billion of debts.

Van Eck Plans Egypt, Kuwait ETFs

Investors seeking exposure to Egypt or Kuwait have typically obtained it through Middle East or frontier-country funds, but two exchange-traded funds planned by Van Eck Associates would offer more concentrated exposure.

Market Vectors Egypt Index and Kuwait Index ETFs will track the Egypt and Kuwait indexes, both modified capitalization-weighted, float-adjusted indexes. The Egypt Index is composed of publicly traded companies domiciled and primarily listed on an exchange in Egypt or which generate at least 50% of their revenue in Egypt, according to the fund's registration document. The Kuwait Index is made up of companies incorporated in Kuwait with their primary listing in Kuwait or offshore companies that generate at least 50% of their revenue in Kuwait, the document says.

Stocks in both indexes must have a market capitalization of more than $150 million on a specific rebalancing date. In addition, they must have a three-month average daily trading volume of at least $1 million, and issuers of the stocks must have traded at least 250,000 shares each month over the last six months. Both indexes include about 25 securities.

Global Technical Analysis - Kuwait Stock Market (PDF)

Global Investment House (Global) released its new “Daily Technical Overview – GCC Markets”. The report highlights: Trend Status, Resistance, Support, Highest and Lowest level expected for the coming period.

The Stock Market and Companies covered in this report are:

· Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index
· Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait
· National Industries Group (Holding)

FT Special Report: Qatar

A very timely issue based on Qatar's entry to Sovereign Debt Markets and the upcoming Causeway, linking to Bahrain, allied with the Railway Network!

Mideast private equity leader poised to buy again

Abraaj Capital, the Middle East's largest private equity house, has raised its capital by almost a third as it prepares a return to buying mode.

The Dubai-based buy-out firm will focus on real estate and small businesses, as well as trying to acquire an overseas competitor looking to raise its regional exposure.

The parent entity of the group has raised $375m from existing shareholders in a rights issue, bringing its capital up to $1.5bn as it targets a new round of investments in the first quarter of next year.

Oil and SWF: Cushion for Arab economies

After collective losses estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars, Arab countries are believed to have crossed the peak of the nearly 15-month-old international financial crisis.

Now, the worst part is over and things appear to be on the mend.

Recovering economic conditions, a fresh appetite for new investments, more spending on infrastructure projects and increasing trade are expected to prevail in the next two years, economists say.

Qatar's bond taken mostly by US-based investors

Qatar's recently issued $7 billion (Dh25.71bn) sovereign bond has been subscribed mostly by investors based in the US and the UK, said reports.

The bond, the largest emerging market sovereign debt issuance, currently boasts an order book of more than $27bn.

According to a report from the Middle East Economic Survey, 52 per cent of the bond was allocated to investors from the US, 23 per cent to those from the Middle East, 12 per cent to those from the UK, and nine per cent to those from Europe and four per cent from Asia.

Qatar builds a future beyond gas

When Qatar built the Museum of Islamic Art a few years ago, the Emir gave the star architect IM Pei carte blanche to design what has become Doha’s most famous building.

The cubist composition of square and octagonal blocks has become a centrepiece in Qatar’s quest to transform itself into a major destination for the arts and culture as much as commerce and industry.

“Doha is in many ways virginal. There is no real context there, no real life unless you go into the souk,” the architect said at the time.

WEF: radical change to prevent future crises

Governments have failed to fix the sources of the economic crisis and will need radical new mechanisms for international co-ordination to solve them, participants at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) meeting in Dubai said yesterday.

The WEF’s three-day Summit on the Global Agenda ended yesterday with a series of recommendations. Among them were: expanding alternatives to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency; strengthening international oversight of the financial industry; and creating global agencies to monitor financial risks and other threats including weapons of mass destruction, climate change and pandemics.

“We’ve got global economics but local politics,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, a senior adviser at the WEF, which is based in Geneva. “We need to globalise the way we deal with humanity’s challenges and difficulties.”

Qatar eyes 2022 for key links in $23 bln rail deal

Qatar aims to have most of a 17 billion euro ($22.79 billion) rail project with Deutsche Bahn built by 2022, officials said on Sunday after signing one of the biggest-ever foreign deals for German industry.

Construction will run until 2026 on the project, which includes freight and passenger trains and a metro. Qatar also aims to build a connection to neighbouring Saudi Arabia via a 40-kilometer causeway, one of the world's longest, to Bahrain. [ID:nGEE5AL07P]

Qatar is the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas with economic growth expected around 9 percent this year and is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure, real estate and economic diversification projects.

Iran, Kuwait gas talks underway

Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi and Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah met in Tehran on Sunday to discuss energy ties focusing on the development of Arash joint gas field.

Moreover, exporting annually 3-4 billion cubic meters of natural gas produced in Iran's South Pars gas field to Kuwait was the other major topic of the meeting, the Mehr News Agency reported.

The massive Arash field is shared by Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where it is known as ‘Dorra’, and is a contested area between Tehran and Kuwait.

Bahrain-Qatar Causeway Construction to Start in 2010

Construction of the world's longest marine causeway that will link the Persian Gulf states of Qatar and Bahrain will begin in the first quarter next year, with completion due by 2015, the official in charge of the project said Sunday.

Jaber Ali Al Mohannadi, general manager of the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway Foundation, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi that the cost of the 40-kilometer causeway project was about 20% lower than originally anticipated, due to a drop in raw material and equipment prices as a result of the world financial crisis.

Mr. Mohannadi didn't provide a cost estimate for the project, which industry officials have put at as much as $3 billion to $4 billion.