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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Alcoa cuts stake in Saudi alum JV project -partner

Alcoa (AA.N) has cut its stake in a planned $10.8 billion aluminium complex in Saudi Arabia by more than a third, its partner said on Saturday, the second time a foreign partner has reviewed its position in the plan.

State-run Saudi Mining Co (Maaden) (1211.SE), the main stakeholder in the project, called Alcoa's stake cut to 25.1 percent from 40 percent "a rejig" in the joint venture project. Maaden's statement gave no further details.

The move raises the prospect of a cash injection by the Saudi government in the project, crucial to the kingdom's efforts to diversify the economy away from oil.

Saudi Shares Rise to 17-Month High, Led by Sabic, as Oil Climbs

Saudi Arabian shares climbed to a 17-month high, led by Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Etihad Etisalat, as oil climbed to its highest since October 2008.

Saudi Basic Industries, the world’s biggest chemicals maker by market value, advanced to its highest in almost 17 months, while Etihad Etisalat, the Saudi Arabian unit of United Arab Emirates’ biggest phone company Emirates Telecommunications Corp., climbed to its highest in two years. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.4 percent to 6,826.48, the highest since October 2008.

Crude oil surged to a 17-month high yesterday on signs that global economic growth is accelerating, bolstering optimism that fuel consumption will increase this year. Crude oil for May delivery rose $1.11, or 1.3 percent, to $84.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since Oct. 9, 2008. Prices have gained 75 percent in the past year.

Qatar fund ready to invest in French shipping group: report

The Gulf emirate of Qatar is offering to invest one billion dollars in France's heavily-indebted CMA CGM, the world's third-biggest shipping group, a report said on Friday.

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which manages investments for the gas-rich nation, has offered the equivalent of 740 million euros in the form of loan guarantees, French business magazine La Lettre de l'Expansion reported.

"CMA is in discussion with the Qatar fund," a source close to the matter told AFP, without providing more details. An agreement could be reached by the northern hemisphere summer.