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Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Dubai Shares Rise as Suwaidi Says Emirate May Not Need More Aid



Dubai shares rose to the highest in two months as the United Arab Emirates’ central bank governor said the sheikhdom may not need more aid from the bank and a Dubai World restructuring plan will be discussed “very soon.”

Drake & Scull International PJSC, a Dubai-based construction company, advanced to a three-month high as it said it was considering an acquisition. Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, climbed to a two-month high. The DFM General Index jumped 2.1 percent to 1,758.17, the highest level since Jan. 12.

U.A.E. Central Bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi said yesterday Dubai isn’t likely to need more central bank aid as Dubai World, one of its companies, restructures $26 billion in debt. “They haven’t discussed this issue with us and I don’t think it will be necessary,” al-Suwaidi said in response to questions on whether Dubai would need further federal support. The proposal will be discussed with banks “very soon,” he said.

Dubai World Debt Restructuring To Be ‘Fair,’ Sheikh Ahmed Says



Dubai World will present a “fair” plan to restructure about $26 billion of debt as it needs the creditors and contractors for the long-term, the chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee said.

The restructuring proposal will be announced “very soon” and will be drawn up considering the long-term interests of the banks, contractors and Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, said in an interview in Dubai today. “At the end of the day we need everybody, they need us also; we have projects that will be started in the near future for the long-term.”

Dubai World, one of the emirate’s three main state-owned business groups, said Nov. 25 it would seek to delay repaying debt until at least May 30. The announcement sparked the biggest plunge in developing-nation stocks and the largest increase in emerging-market bond yields over U.S. Treasuries in four weeks, while the cost to protect against a default by Dubai doubled.

Kuwait's Global seeks arbitration in $50 mln rows



Kuwait's Global Investment House (GLOB.KW) said it is seeking arbitration over disputes with two local firms over about $50.2 million.

Global is seeking arbitration from Kuwait's chamber of commerce and industry for a dispute with Kuwait City Holding Co over 11.57 million dinars ($40.19 million) for an agreement that both firms signed in 2008, Global said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website on Monday.

In a separate statement on Monday, Global said that it was also seeking arbitration for a dispute with Al Madina for Finance & Investment Co (MADI.KW) over $10 million that Madina was to pay to Global in December 2008.

Billionaire Alwaleed happy with Citigroup's Pandit



The Saudi billionaire with the largest individual stake in Citigroup Inc. on Monday ruled out boosting his investment firm's holdings in the U.S. banking giant at present, but predicted its best days are yet to come.

Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns a 95 percent stake in the Saudi Arabia-based Kingdom Holding Co., also reiterated his support for Citigroup's chief executive, saying he believed Vikram Pandit was "doing great."

"I believe the worst is behind Citigroup, and ... only good days are ahead," Alwaleed told The Associated Press, speaking after an event at the American University in Cairo.

Saudi to launch index funds for foreigners: report



Saudi Arabia plans to launch stock market index funds accessible to foreigners by the end of March in a bid to open up the Arab world's biggest bourse, the market regulator's chief said in remarks published on Sunday.

SAUDI ARABIA

"We want to study experiences of many countries, which have allowed foreign investment in an organized way," Abdulrahman al-Tuwaijri, head of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), was quoted as saying in business daily al-Eqtisadiah.

Earlier this month Tuwaijri said in a newspaper interview that Saudi Arabia was considering exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without giving a timeframe.

Dubai unlikely to need more c.bank aid - report



Dubai, which is gearing up to give creditors a plan on repaying $26 billion in debt, is not likely to need more help from the United Arab Emirates central bank, its governor was quoted as saying on Monday.

FINANCIALS

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sultan bin Nasser al Suweidi said state-owned conglomerate Dubai World's [DBWLD.UL] debt proposal would treat all banks equally and that local banks will be able to bear the brunt of any "haircuts". "They haven't discussed this issue with us and I don't think it will be necessary," Suwaidi said in response to a question on whether Dubai will need further federal support.

Kingdom Holding to buy back hotels arm



Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding, owned by Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, the billionaire investor, has made a cash offer to buy all outstanding shares in Kingdom Hotel Investments, a subsidiary, in a cash offer valuing the company at $843m.

An independent committee set up to oversee the transaction had recommended that shareholders accept the offer of $5 per share or global depository receipt, Kingdom Holding said in a statement. Seventy per cent of shareholders were already committed to the sale, which would take the company back into private hands.

KHI is based in Dubai and has a primary listing on NasdaqDubai with a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange. According to its website, the company has invested in 27 hotels in 18 countries including Kenya, Egypt and Cambodia. The stock has suffered from the low liquidity levels on NasdaqDubai, an international bourse linked to the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Boatbuilder buffeted by ripples from Dubai



It is a long way from the marble corridors of the Dubai International Financial Centre to a dusty shipyard in a sleepy outpost of the United Arab Emirates.

But last year Nasser Alshaali left his job as chief executive of the financial centre for Gulf Craft, his family business in Umm al-Quwain, a small northern emirate. In a region accustomed to consuming more than its fair share of deluxe items, the boatbuilder is a rare example of a local luxury goods manufacturer.

The economic downturn, though, has hit the company hard. Demand for its leisure boats has dropped by up to 40 per cent, prompting the company to send nearly a third of its workers home on extended leave, Mr Alshaali admits.

Saudis urged to loosen binds on outsiders



For years, Saudi Arabia has aggressively pursued its so-called 10x10 plan. This is an effort to become one of the 10 easiest countries in which to do business by 2010, as ranked by “Doing Business in the World”, a guide published in affiliation with the World Bank.

The goal seems to be almost in reach. Last year, the kingdom moved up to become the 13th easiest economy out of the 183 reviewed in the rankings, up from 15th in 2008. The progress is remarkable given that when the kingdom began its round of economic, financial and legal reform in 2004, it was ranked a lowly 67th overall.

Saudi Arabia has made strides, particularly by opening one-stop shops for foreign investors and in securities regulation, but it lags behind in categories such as “enforcing contracts”, where it fell two places to 140th last year, and “employing workers”, where it fell to 73rd.

‘Perfect’ oil price disguises Opec divisions



The Opec oil cartel’s catchphrase for its meeting in Vienna tomorrow appears to be: “Why mess with perfection?”

However, beneath the surface a dispute is simmering as some members grab market share by flouting their promises to make production cuts.

At about $80 a barrel, oil prices are where the group’s 12 members want them to be, allowing most producing countries to meet their national budgets.