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Friday, 29 January 2010

Burkle seeks control of Barneys New York-WSJ



Supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and his investment vehicle Yucaipa Cos has proposed taking a controlling stake in U.S. luxury retail chain Barneys New York in exchange for a $50 million cash infusion, a source familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

A Yucaipa spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment. Details of the proposal were laid out in a Dec. 11 letter from Burkle to the former chief executive of Dubai's Istithmar World Capital, which owns the retail chain, the Journal reported.

Last November, Yucaipa purchased a large amount of Barneys debt from Citigroup Inc (C.N) at about 60 cents on the dollar, the Journal said.

Dubai World executive jet business shuts down



A subsidiary of Dubai World has shut down its executive jet management business, citing “commercial reasons”, in fresh evidence of belt tightening at the group as it seeks to restructure operations and postpone debt repayments.

Istithmar World Aviation Executive Jets, part of Dubai World’s investment arm Istithmar World, closed its doors in December, a month after the parent company Dubai World announced a major debt restructuring.

“For commercial reasons, Istithmar World decided last year to wind down its corporate jet management operation under Istithmar World Aviation. This decision has no impact on Istithmar World’s asset base,” a representative for the company said yesterday.

ADCB tops list of Dubai World’s creditors



Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has disclosed the biggest exposure yet to Dubai World among local lenders as the conglomerate seeks to restructure as much as US$22 billion (Dh80.8bn) of debt.

The emirate’s third-largest bank has about Dh9bn in outstanding loans to the company, about half of which are supported by collateral and income streams from infrastructure and other projects, said Alaa Eraiqat, the chief executive.

“If I slice it down, the picture looks much better because of the ring-fenced income and collateral of some of these exposures,” he said.

RAIL TRAFFIC IMPROVES MARGINALLY, STILL WEAK



The trend in rail traffic remains up, but is still showing signs of a weak recovery. In their latest report the AAR is reporting total carloads of 277K, up 3.9% year over year and down 11.1% compared to 2008. Intermodal traffic traffic was up 2.9%, but declined 4.4% compared to 2008. Breadth of the data continues to improve as 13 of the 19 commodity groups showed improvement. All in all, the data is fairly positive, but continues to show a weak rebound.

Bahrain 'a model of financial success'



Bahrain's successful economic policies have earned the nation a global recognition as a vital regional hub, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Economic Development Board chairman, said last night.

The country has been able to attract investment despite the global recession, he said during a discussion on the role of capitalism on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. Capitalism must now be based on the fact that societies, governments and businessmen have all common objectives, HRH the Crown Prince stressed. Harmony among all three is vital for future growth, he pointed out.

Bahrain sov wealth fund to move into bonds, stocks



Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund, which invests mostly at home, plans to diversify away from private equity projects and into stocks and bonds, its CEO said on Thursday.

Talal Al Zain also told Reuters that Mumtalakat expects to receive a credit rating this year, which would allow it to tap capital markets for funding, including Islamic bonds.

Mumtalakat, which has assets of around $10 billion, has investments in 35 companies. It holds stakes above 50 percent in more than 15 of those firms.

Aldar Debt Amounting to $2.3 Billion Cut by Moody’s



Aldar Properties PJSC, Abu Dhabi’s biggest real-estate developer, was cut to Baa2 from A3 at Moody’s Investors Service. About $2.3 billion of rated debt instruments are affected by the change.

Aldar’s ratings have been kept on review for a further possible downgrade as part of a study of government support for companies in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates initiated by Moody’s on Dec. 9, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Moody’s said the downgrade is based on “our expectation that unit and land sales volumes will be cumulatively much lower over the next 24 to 36 months than had originally been anticipated,” Martin Kohlhase, Dubai-based assistant vice president at the ratings company, wrote in the report.