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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dubai, Abu Dhabi Bourse Officials Deny Knowledge of Merger Plan

Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchange official said they had no knowledge of plans to combine the two United Arab Emirates bourses after Reuters reported that a merger is imminent.

“This is not true,” Rashed Al Baloushi, deputy chief executive officer at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, said by telephone today. “I can’t confirm or deny that a merger may take place in the future because I’m not aware of any such plans.”

Dubai Financial Market PJSC Chairman Essa Kazim said he wasn’t aware of any merger plans. The two bourses are seeking to create a single exchange as income from trading falls, Reuters said, citing two people it didn’t identify.

ConocoPhillips Said to Pull Out From Adnoc Shah Gas

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, will announce later today that it’s pulling out of the $10 billion Shah sour-gas project with Abu Dhabi, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will go ahead with the project, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public yet.

Houston-based ConocoPhillips, which was selected by Adnoc in 2008 to work on the venture, is dropping downstream projects in favor of exploring for oil and gas. Earlier this month, the company pulled out of the proposed Yanbu refining venture with Saudi Aramco.

Saad Investors Agree to Dissolve Islamic Bond Trust

Citicorp Trustee Co. Ltd., trustee for a $650 million Islamic bond sold by a unit of Saudi Arabia’s Saad Trading, Contracting and Financial Services Co., said investors agreed to dissolve the trust after the unit defaulted on the debt.

Citicorp said in August the trust will be closed if holders of the bonds who represent at least 25 percent of the aggregate value of debt outstanding voted for it. The dissolution may allow investors to claim assets used to back the Islamic securities sold in May 2007 by Saad Group’s Golden Belt 1 Sukuk Co. BSC.

Saad Group, the business owned by Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, said in June it was restructuring debt after a “short-term liquidity squeeze.” It owes at least $6.5 billion of syndicated loans to almost 60 banks, according to documents provided by lenders.

Dubai Index Leads Gulf Shares Lower on Europe Crisis, Oil Drop

Dubai shares slid to the lowest level in more than a month, leading declines in the Gulf, after credit-rating downgrades in Europe spurred concern the debt crisis may derail the global recovery and as oil fell.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, fell to the lowest since March 24. Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties PJSC and Sorouh Real Estate PJSC tumbled more than 5 percent after HSBC Holdings Plc downgraded the stocks. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC declined as profit dropped. The DFM General Index lost 1.9 percent to 1,714.09, the lowest since March 11. Abu Dhabi’s index retreated 0.9 percent.

Global stocks slid for a second day and the cost to insure against bond losses rose after downgrades of Greece and Portugal fueled concern about sovereign defaults. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 1.8 percent at 2:46 p.m. in Dubai. The gauge has gained 12 percent since a low for the year on Feb. 8 on signs the global economy is recovering.

Aegean to build oil storage in UAE

New York-listed Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. has on Tuesday announced plans to build a three-million-barrel in-land storage facility in the UAE, after signing a 25-year terminal lease agreement with the local authorities.

The new storage facility is expected to be completed within the next 18 to 24 months.

Aegean Marine intends to lease a portion of the facility upon completion to a third party, a move that would generate incremental income on top of the company's core physical bunker supply operations.

DP World shareholders clear way for London listing

Ports operator DP World, a unit of conglomerate Dubai World, said on Tuesday shareholders approved an amendment allowing the firm to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Voting results from the firm’s annual general meeting were released in a statement to the Nasdaq Dubai bourse.

DP World also said shareholders voted in favour of a buyback proposal for a “limited number” of ordinary shares. It did not give a specific figure.

Middle East telecoms firms may put Skype on mobiles

Skype is talking to telecommunications operators in the Middle East about putting its internet telephone software on the region’s mobile phones, the head of the company’s Middle East operations says.

“We do work with [telecoms companies] to drive new revenue streams and we think we can do the same thing in the Middle East,” Rouzbeh Pasha, the head of Skype for the Middle East and Africa, said on the sidelines of a telecoms finance conference.

“This is what we’re communicating to them that we can work together and ‘future-proof’ their business model.”

Alwaleed Holds Wallet With Buffett as Princely Riches Decline

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal sits under an almost full moon near a campfire at his rustic retreat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He’s surrounded by a zoo with zebras and giraffes, an artificial lake and a lodge that has an indoor pool, saunas and steam rooms. Three hooded falcons are perched on stands in front of him.

Five young women, dressed in black miniskirts and jackets and orange knee-high boots that match their nail polish, serve clove-and-cardamom tea to Alwaleed and his entourage, which includes his personal physician.

On this evening in late March, the prince perks up in his easy chair as a newscast on a large-screen television behind the campfire reports on a rally in global hotel stocks -- a sign of hope for the billionaire investor who’s trying to revive his slumping fortune, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.

Kuwait plans to near quadruple gas ouptut by 2030

Kuwait plans to produce more than 4 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas by 2030, a top executive at state-owned Kuwait Oil Co (KOC) said on Tuesday, nearly quadruple current output.

The Gulf Arab state does not have enough natural gas to meet power demand and burns a large volume of oil products at power stations. Like its oil exporting neighbours, Kuwait has been slow to develop its gas reserves to meet domestic demand.

Kuwait's pumps around 1 billion cfd of gas from oilfields, and 145 million cfd from gas fields not associated with oil.

Repsol eager to tap north Africa's well of business 'stability'


Executives in the perennially risky oil and gas business have a different concept of "stability" from anyone else, and Antonio Brufau, executive chairman of the energy group Repsol YPF, is no exception.

For Mr Brufau, whose Spanish company has invested heavily in north Africa, the Libya of the quixotic Col Muammer Gaddafi is "a stable country" and "historically the best country for Repsol".

Algeria, once torn by Islamist violence and now in the authoritarian grip of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president, is "a very stable country".

Demand doubts cloud grand plans for gas


So much uncertainty hangs over the shape of Europe’s future energy sources that grand plans to transform the Mediterranean into a grid of gas pipelines with Italy as the hub risk languishing on the drawing board.

“After this financial crisis we are a bit in the fog,” admits Umberto Quadrino, the chief executive of Edison, a Milan-based utility and Europe’s oldest energy company.

ust two years ago, there was an air of panic over how Europe would cope with a huge deficit in gas forecast over the next decade. Demand was rising, domestic production was falling, old nuclear power plants were to be phased out and coal-fired power stations were seen as a threat to European Union targets to cut emissions.

Solar project has many obstacles to clear

Sunshine has been the lifeblood of the Mediterranean economy, and the solar power industry is expanding, especially in Spain and Portugal.

But the most ambitious solar project is in north Africa. The Desertec Industrial Initiative is a plan to build a vast network of solar power plants and wind farms, covering the desert and stretching for hundreds of miles, and connected to an advanced electricity grid that will carry power generated round or under the Mediterranean sea to feed Europe’s appetite for energy.

Desertec – backed by a coalition of more than 10 big name companies, including Munich Re, the German insurer, Deutsche Bank, utilities RWE and Eon and Siemens – is likely to cost about $400bn (€302bn, £262bn). If successful, the project could supply as much as 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity needs by 2050.