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Sunday, 11 April 2010

UPDATE 1-Saudi's Riyad Bank Q1 net profit up 55 pct | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Saudi's Riyad Bank Q1 net profit up 55 pct | Reuters

Riyad Bank (1010.SE), Saudi Arabia's third-largest lender by market value, posted a 55 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, helped by lower operating costs and higher income from banking services.

Net profit rose to 684 million riyals ($182.4 million) in the quarter, up from 441 million riyals in the year-earlier period, according to a bourse statement on Sunday.

Four banks surveyed by Reuters had on average expected net profit of 794.25 million riyals. [ID:nLDE6371GA]

Reliance Asset Management starts Dubai operations

Reliance Asset Management starts Dubai operations-Finance-Banking/Finance-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times

Reliance Asset Management (UK) Plc commenced operations from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) here Sunday to offer a full range of wealth and investment advisory services to investors and international clients in the Arabian Gulf region.

According to a spokesperson, the operations have commenced following a licence issued by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Reliance Asset Management (UK) Plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital Asset Management (RCAM), which is India's largest asset management company and part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.

Dubai Stocks Rally Most in Two Weeks, Led by Emaar on Outlook

Dubai’s benchmark stock index rallied by the most in more than two weeks, led by Emaar Properties PJSC after its chairman said the company doesn’t need Dubai government help as its India unit planned a share sale.

Arabtec Holding Co., the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, rallied 3.5 percent and Emaar, the developer of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai, jumped by the most in two weeks. The DFM General Index rose 2.5 percent, the most since March 25, to 1,809.12 as of 1:20 p.m. in the emirate. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index was little changed at 6,868.77, after yesterday closing at the highest level since Sept. 28, 2008.

“There is value in the region as a whole and definitely in the U.A.E,” said Ibrahim Masood, a Dubai-based fund manager at Mashreqbank PSC, who helps manage about $400 million. “Saudi was pretty strong yesterday, so that’s positive from a sentiment perspective. The first few earnings that have come out in the region have been interesting.”

Dubai Rents Hold Up as Property Prices Fall, Deutsche Bank Says

Dubai home rents are holding up, helped by demand from residents of neighboring emirates, while property prices continue to fall because of oversupply, Deutsche Bank AG said.

Apartment rents rose 1.1 percent in March, compared with the previous month, analysts Nabil Ahmed and Athmane Benzerroug wrote in a note to clients dated April 9. Villa rents climbed 1.3 percent during the same period, according to the note.

“We probably underestimated, a year ago, the amount of migration from the other emirates to Dubai that has created a lot of demand,” Ahmed said in a phone interview today. “A lot of people upgraded for better properties” and many moved to Dubai from Sharjah and the Northern Emirates. Many Abu Dhabi workers live in Dubai to take advantage of cheaper quality housing, he said.

Landmark Group plans Saudi listing

Landmark Group, one of the largest retail conglomerates in the Middle East, plans to go public and has selected the Arab world’s largest stock market — Saudi Arabia — for its listing, a top executive of the group said.

“It’s on the drawing board for Saudi Arabia and for the UAE that would be in the next phase,” Landmark Group Chief Executive Officer Vipen Sethi told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Without disclosing further details and exact date for the stock market listing, Sethi said, “We don’t have a date on that at the moment and it will take time. May be in the next 24 months.”

Qatar eases off on gas-fired boom

Doha sees GDP growing 16 per cent this year as its industrial expansion continues, but the country’s prospects have been hit by weak prices for its exports of LNG as the world experiences a surge in supply, and a domestic property slump.

Qatar is the fastest growing economy in the Gulf and a visit to this cluster of gas-fuelled plants on the country’s north-east coast shows why.

The shore is lined with huge complexes as long as 1km, made of twisting steel pipes and tanks belching flames that turn the country’s prodigious natural gas reserves into a range of liquid fuels exported by tanker around the world.

Dubai shipper set to draw 20 bids

Bids for the $700m (£455m)-valued Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the Dubai-owned marine company, are due tomorrow, as the heavily indebted state seeks to arrest its financial decline.

Inchcape's management expects more than 20 offers from bidders including the private equity houses CVC, Charterhouse, Permira and Bridgepoint, and a number of pension funds, such as the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. ISS hopes to sell by late May.

The Essex-based company has been owned by Istithmar, part of struggling Dubai World, since 2006. Dubai World shocked the markets in November when it announced a standstill on repaying its $26bn debt. It has since proposed a restructuring of the loan with its creditors.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland are running the ISS sale and organised so-called "staple finance", a loan package for the buyer.END

Qatar First Investment team attends Saudi summit

A senior delegation of Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) executives are attending the 2010 Saudi Investment Private Equity Summit, opening today at Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“We are pleased to be in Saudi Arabia participating in this prestigious private equity summit,” said Emad Mansour, QFIB Deputy CEO and Chief Investment Officer.

Mansour will be participating in a panel discussion entitled “Saudi Arabia Investor Perspective – The Most Powerful KSA Investors Discuss Regional Family Office Expectations” along with senior representatives from Jarir Investments and the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Top 2010: ArabCrunch #6 Innovation Blog Worldwide, #7 E-Commerce #13 Startups #ArabCrunchStart

I would like again to congratulate all Arab startups and readers: Since we started ArabCrunch around 2 years ago, we were struggling to find Arab startups or interesting arab tech news to write about, as part of our mission was to let you and the world know about them and inspire Arab geeks to go ahead and just start.

Today, we feel there is no shortage of news or startups coming from this part of the world, which indicates that Arabs geeks are getting inspired and they are working and starting their projects.

And the message was delivered, ArabCrunch ranks now #6th blog worldwide in the innovation category #7 in e-commerce #13 in startup, #1 in Arabia, again beating well known names such Financial Times blog, Wall Street Journal blog and Virgin founder and multi billionaire Richard Branson, according to US based invesp updated blog Ranking which ranks 20,000 blogs.

Saudi Shares Hit 18-Month High After Sabic ‘Buy’ Rating, Safco

Saudi Arabian shares climbed to an 18-month high, led by petrochemicals companies, after Saudi Basic Industries Corp. was raised to “buy” at Nomura and Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Co.’s profit increased.

Saudi Basic, the world’s biggest chemicals maker by market value and known as Sabic, rose to the highest in six months. Saudi Arabian Fertilizer, a Sabic unit known as Safco, gained the most in a year. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index increased 1.4 percent to 6,868.83 points, the highest since Sept. 28, 2008.

“We expect Middle East petrochemicals to offer strong incremental uplift to margins and earnings growth from capacity expansion and demand recovery,” Nomura said in an April 8 report. “We see Sabic and its joint-venture companies offering some of the best incremental profitability profiles within our coverage, which may partly reflect its low-cost growth and scale.”