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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Dubai Airports May Spend ‘Billions’ on Further Expansion Work

Dubai Airports, the government-owned airfield operator, plans to seek approval for expansion plans costing “billions of dirham” undeterred by the emirate’s need for a $20 billion bailout last year.

The company will make a recommendation on boosting capacity within the next few months, Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths said today in an interview in Singapore. He declined to elaborate further on the costs.

Dubai plans to press ahead with expanding its current airport and building a new one, even after having to get help from neighbor Abu Dhabi to pay off debts used to finance real- estate projects. Aviation generates as much as 25 percent of the emirate’s economy, according to Griffiths, as Dubai has invested in facilities and Emirates Airline to make up for a lack of oil reserves.

Dubai Shares Fall on U.S. Stocks Drop, Lack of Dubai World News

Dubai stocks retreated for the first time in three days after U.S. shares fell, oil closed at the lowest in five weeks and investors sought clarity on the restructuring of government-owned holding company Dubai World.

Emirates NBD PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ largest bank by assets, declined to its lowest level since October 2007. Emaar Properties PJSC, the country’s biggest construction company, dropped for the first time in three days. The DFM General Index lost 1.1 percent to 1,582.23 at 1:13 p.m. in Dubai, bringing the slump this month to 12 percent. Crude closed at $72.89 a barrel in New York on Jan. 29.

“Stocks in the U.S. saw a sell down over uncertainty about the implications of a possible change in the monetary policy stance from quantitative easing to liquidity tightening,” said Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. “We are also continuing to wait for clarity on the Dubai World restructuring. Until there is some clarity it will continue to be an overhang on the market.”

Oman eyes Dubai's stakes in Bank Muscat

Four Omani pension funds are interested in buying Dubai Holding's stake in Bank Muscat through a consortium, two officials close to the pension funds said on Sunday.

The pension funds want to buy the debt-laden conglomerate's entire stake in Oman's largest lender or a portion of it at "market price," one official said.

Last week, bankers and analysts said the debt-laden conglomerate was looking to sell the stake to meet its debt burden.

ADCB Owed Total of $2.7 Billion by All Dubai World Entities

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, the third-largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, has about $2.7 billion in outstanding loans to Dubai World entities, including those that aren’t affected by the company’s restructuring.

“This includes commitments to four or five different entities of Dubai World that are not involved in any restructuring,” Ala’a Eraiqat, the bank’s chief executive officer said in a telephone interview today. “Some of those entities have collateral and adequate cash-flows.”

ADCB may be owed $1.9 billion by Dubai World, making it the creditor with the largest exposure outside of Dubai, two people familiar with the companies said on Nov. 27. Eraiqat declined to comment on ADCB’s exposure to entities that are under restructuring.

Bahrain's Ahli United increases stake in Egyptian unit

Bahrain's Ahli United Bank said on Sunday it has closed the planned increase of its stake in its Egyptian subsidiary to 79.6 percent from 35.5 percent for $180 million.

"Our additional investment of 985 million Egyptian pounds reflects our confidence in the future economic prospects of Egypt," its chairman, Fahad al-Rajaan, said in a regulatory filing to the Bahrain Stock Exchange.

He also said the bank plans to make investments in corporate and retail banking at its Ahli United Bank Egypt

Union Properties reschedules $1.5 bln debt

Dubai's Union Properties agreed with creditors to reschedule 5.5 billion dirhams ($1.5 billion) in debt, its chairman told an Arabic daily on Sunday.

The third-largest developer by market value in the Gulf emirate has been hit hard by the financial downturn heightening concerns over its debt position.

In an interview with al-Ittihad, Khalid bin Kalban denied any talks of merger between Union Properties and Deyaar, but added an acquisition could be a solution if liquidity is available for either company.

Kuwait Made About 40% Return on Blackrock Since May, Saad Says

Kuwait Investment Authority, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, made about 40 percent profit on its $750 million investment in BlackRock Inc.’s capital increase in May, the fund’s chief Bader al-Saad told Al-Arabiya TV channel in an interview in Davos.

The sovereign wealth fund was among a group of investors that had bid for Cadbury Plc, he said. Cadbury later agreed to an offer from Kraft Foods Inc.END

Rents force rethink at DIFC as firms move

Dubai’s financial hub is witnessing a wave of departures as companies curb expenses and seek lower rents elsewhere during the global downturn.

At least 37 companies, including the international law firm DLA Piper, have cancelled licences in the past year or are in the process of doing so, according to accountants assisting them in leaving the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Before the beginning of last year, only 13 companies had formally dissolved its operations within the DIFC, the centre’s records show.

“It’s a clean-up of the system,” said Hisham Farouk, a partner at Grant Thornton UAE, a DIFC-licensed liquidator. “From our perspective, it’s just a cleaning-up of the market. You’re not seeing Deutsche Bank walk out.”

Saudi Regulator Fines Six Investors for Bourse Violations

The Saudi bourse regulator has ordered six investors to pay a total 278.1 million riyals ($74.16 million) for trading violations, it said in a statement on Saturday.

Like others in the Gulf region, Saudi Arabia's stock exchange has been dogged by allegations of being opaque and subject to manipulation of stock prices, and the regulator has slapped hefty fines on investors and executives found guilty of violations.

An appeals panel of the Capital Market Authority issued a final ruling in the case of the six men found guilty of violating trading regulations in transactions with shares in Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co <4070.SE> in 2006, the CMA said in the statement on the bourse website.

Saudi Shares Decline as Price of Crude Oil Drops; Safco Tumbles

Saudi Arabian shares fell for a third day, led by petrochemical companies, as crude oil prices dropped to the lowest in almost six weeks, clouding the economic outlook for the world’s largest supplier.

Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co., a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. known as Safco, fell the most in three months. Rabigh Refining and Petrochemicals Co., a joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical Co. of Japan, dropped to the lowest level in six months. Samba, the kingdom’s second-biggest bank, led declines among financial companies.

The Tadawul All Share Index slipped 0.5 percent to 6,221.16 in Riyadh, adding to losses since Jan. 26. The index is up 3.1 percent this month.