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Monday, 5 April 2010

Qatar takes $847 million stake in Fairmont Raffles

Affiliates of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund have paid $847 million for a stake in hotelier Fairmont Raffles Holdings International from Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, to become the biggest shareholder in the group.


Kingdom Holding said in a statement that Fairmont Raffles had agreed to sell 40 percent of its capital to Cayman Islands-based Voyager Partners Ltd and Qatari Diar, which is owned by the Qatar Investment Authority.

Kingdom Holding did not say whether the stake involved new or existing shares in Fairmont Raffles Holdings.

Shuaa expects no major Gulfinvest hit

Financial services group Shuaa Capital SHUA.DU said on Monday it won't suffer a major financial setback as a result of Kuwait's Gulfinvest International (GVES.KW: Quote, Profile, Research) defaulting on a 200 million dirham loan.

Gulfinvest said on Sunday it has defaulted on a 200 million dirham ($54.47 million) loan to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank ADCB.AD for which Shuaa was a guarantor. [nLDE63307I] It also said it was in talks with Shuaa to restructure the loan.

"Shuaa had entered into a guarantee in respect of this loan in 2007, and confirms that it will fulfil its obligations as they become due," a spokesman for the group said in an emailed statement.

Abu Dhabi Stocks Fall to Two-Week Low, Led by Etisalat, Aldar

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index dropped to the lowest level in two weeks as Emirates Telecommunications Corp. and Pakistan disputed over the acquisition of a stake in the Asian country’s biggest telephone company.

Etisalat, which makes up 27 percent of Abu Dhabi’s measure, declined to the lowest since Feb. 16. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, the United Arab Emirates third-biggest bank by assets, slipped 3.7 percent. Abu Dhabi’s measure dropped to the lowest level since March 18, retreating 0.8 percent to 2,836.92.

Etisalat Chairman Mohammed Omran said April 3 the company could withhold payments to Pakistan for failure to transfer some properties under a $2.6 billion deal in 2006 to acquire a stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. Pakistan’s Privatisation Minister Waqar Ahmed Khan last week said the stake sale to Etisalat was “unfair.” Etisalat dropped for a fourth- day, losing 2.8 percent to 10.5 dirhams.

Saudi Arabia Wants It All

It seems that the UAE was right all the way when it pulled out of the new GCC Monetary Council after Saudi Arabia, home to the world’s largest proven reserves of crude oil, was selected to house the proposed central bank.
Last week, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) governor Mohammed Al-Jasser was elected the first chairman of the GCC Monetary Council in Riyadh and Rasheed Al-Maraj, Bahrain Central Bank governor, was chosen as his deputy. Both will hold the positions for one year before the slots rotate to Kuwait and Qatar.
The Appointment of Mohammed Al-Jasser underscores Saudi Arabia’s dominance in the single currency project. Back in May 2009, the UAE withdrew from the GCC Monetary Council when Riyadh was chosen to host the Gulf Monetary Council. It feared that Saudi Arabia would have more control over the union since Riyadh was the headquarter of the GCC council. Well, today we can all agree that Saudi Arabia obviously wants it all! While at first it was only fair that Saudi Arabia would host the Council as it is the largest economy in the Gulf region. (47% of GCC GDP) Today, it’s nothing close to fair when compared to the European Central Bank, where the two largest economies share control of the ECB.
“From Saudi Arabia’s position, it shows a clear commitment to bring all the countries closer together and move toward the currency union,” said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group.
Is Saudi Arabia really demonstrating a clear commitment to bring all the countries together and more towards the monetary union? Or is it simple enjoys control..END

D-day for Bahrain-based bankers

Three British financiers who have been held in jail in Dubai for 22 months will launch their final defence today.

Bahrain-based Ryan Cornelius, Charles Ridley and Arthur Fitzwilliam, who could face a 20-year jail sentence in connection with a $501 million loan from Dubai Islamic Bank, have claimed that the loan was paid in full when the bank foreclosed on Plantation Holdings which underwrote the loan.

The defence documents which have been presented to the court in Dubai claim that any fraud or forgery did not occur and that the bank, on taking title to its security valued at over $1 billion, missed the opportunity to capitalise upon the sale of Plantation.