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Monday, 10 May 2010

FACTBOX-Islamic finance regulations around the world | Reuters

FACTBOX-Islamic finance regulations around the world | Reuters


Islamic finance is fast gaining momentum around the globe as countries look to cash in on a market that ratings agency Moody's forecasts could hit $5 trillion over time.

But Islamic finance has no global standardisation, which means individual countries have to tweak regulations to accommodate the market.

Here are examples of what some nations have done to accommodate Islamic finance and what they still need to do.

UPDATE 1-Kuwaiti KIPCO profit down 49 pct, stays cautious | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Kuwaiti KIPCO profit down 49 pct, stays cautious | Reuters


Kuwait Projects Co (KPRO.KW) (KIPCO), the country's largest investment firm, reported a 49 percent fall in first-quarter net profit, and said it sees a meaningful recovery by the end of the year.

KIPCO made net profit of 4.7 million dinars ($16.3 million) in the three months to March 31, down from 9.2 mln dinars in the previous year.

"There are signs of improvements in some of our business sectors. However, we remain cautious and will continue to be conservative until these early signs of recovery translate into sustained growth, which we expect by year end," chief operating officer Samer Khanachet said on Monday.

Gulf Stocks Gain Most in 5 Months, Oil Climbs on Europe Rescue - Bloomberg.com

Gulf Stocks Gain Most in 5 Months, Oil Climbs on Europe Rescue - Bloomberg.com


Gulf stocks jumped the most in five months and oil gained after European policy makers announced a $962 million loan package to bail out Greece and prevent a spreading of the debt crisis.

Shares also rose as the United Arab Emirates central bank governor said Dubai World debt talks appear to be “going very well.” Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, one of Dubai World’s biggest lenders, increased 4.5 percent. Al Khalij Commercial Bank QSC gained the most in a year after it said it held talks for a possible “business combination.” Arabtec Holding PJSC rose the most in a week. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, of stocks in the Gulf region, rose 1.7 percent, the most since Dec. 14, at 3:48 p.m. in Dubai. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index gained 3.2 percent.

Gains in Gulf markets are “almost entirely” related to the loan package in Europe, said Julian Bruce, director of equity sales at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. “The U.A.E. is cautiously upbeat, but there’s no dramatic spike as the market is widely regarded to have been bombed out.” The DFM General Index and Abu Dhabi’s measure increased 1.6 percent.

Qatar’s Harrods Purchase May Herald U.K. Retail Deals (Update2) - Bloomberg.com

Qatar’s Harrods Purchase May Herald U.K. Retail Deals (Update2) - Bloomberg.com


Qatar Holding LLC’s 1.5 billion-pound ($2.2 billion) purchase of Harrods Ltd. may herald more investment in the industry as foreign buyers take advantage of a consumer-spending revival and a falling pound.

Qatar’s agreement on May 8 to buy London’s best-known store from the family trust of Mohamed Al-Fayed is the biggest deal in U.K. retailing since the 11.1 billion-pound takeover of Alliance Boots Plc in 2007, Bloomberg data show. There were about $1 billion of transactions in all of 2009.

“Harrods is an important landmark on the London and British retail scene,” said Armando Branchini, vice president of Milan-based consulting firm Intercorporate. “The Qatari fund’s investment will stimulate the entire system.”

UAE Oil Minister: OPEC Compliance Could Be Better - WSJ.com

UAE Oil Minister: OPEC Compliance Could Be Better - WSJ.com


United Arab Emirates oil minister Mohammad Al Hamli Monday said Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' compliance to production quotas could be better, contradicting other ministers who said adherence was good.

"It could be better," Al Hamli said at an energy conference in Doha when asked about the group's compliance levels.

Qatar's oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah earlier Monday said he was "happy" with members' compliance, while Libya's oil head, Shokri Ghanem, said compliance "is okay now."

"It [compliance] is a little more than 50%. OPEC compliance is like the price in the market fluctuating according to speculation--when the prices go up some people produce more and when it goes down they produce less," Ghanem said.

According to the latest Dow Jones Newswires OPEC production survey, OPEC's 11 members that abide by the group's quota system have seen compliance slip since oil prices staged a recovery in early 2009, dropping to 49% in April from above 80% in March last year. Iraq is the only member outside the group's quota system.END

Oil Sands Stand to Gain from Deepwater Horizon Disaster |Triple Pundit

Oil Sands Stand to Gain from Deepwater Horizon Disaster |Triple Pundit


No one is celebrating the Deepwater Horizon disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. But once the oil settles, so to speak, one big beneficiary could be the Canadian oil sands industry.

The province of Alberta contains petroleum reserves second only to Saudi Arabia: 173 billion barrels oil in the form of a thick, sticky substance known as bitumen, aka oil or tar sands. This nearby, safe, secure and increasingly cost-competitive source of energy has just one big problem: it is far more polluting to extract than conventional sources.

But now the Gulf oil spill may make the environmental costs associated with bitumen look relatively manageable in comparison.

Unpaid bills nudge Arabtec into Africa | beyondbrics | FT.com

Unpaid bills nudge Arabtec into Africa | beyondbrics | FT.com


Arabtec, the largest listed contractor in the Gulf, may have made its name building many of Dubai’s towering ziggurats – including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower – but the company is busting a lung trying to diversify its business away from the debt-straddled emirate.

Q1 disappointment

Its first quarter profits disappointed many analysts by falling 17 per cent to Dh134.5m ($36.6m), while revenue declined the same amount to Dh1.56bn, and unpaid bills continue to cast a pall over the contractor. Question marks also surround the firmness of its reported Dh22.7bn of backlog orders.

UAE to pass public debt law in 2010, UAE More Economy, Economy - Maktoob Business

UAE to pass public debt law in 2010, UAE More Economy, Economy - Maktoob Business


The United Arab Emirates will issue a law on public debt and establish a debt management office this year, before considering any issues of sovereign bonds, the minister of state for finance said on Monday.

"The first thing is that the law of public debt needs to be issued...after that we will consider the matter of issuing bonds," said Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, minister of state for finance said.

"The law will be passed this year."

Al Tayer said after a law is passed, a debt management office will also be set up during the year. Any sovereign issues will take place after completion of law and the setting up of office, he added.END

No large scale restructuring seen in UAE after Dubai-cbank | Reuters

No large scale restructuring seen in UAE after Dubai-cbank | Reuters


The UAE central bank does not expect to see more large-scale corporate restructuring in the wake of Dubai's debt issues, the bank's governor said on Monday.

Dubai's flagship conglomerate Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] is in debt restructuring talks with lenders.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times on Monday reported three companies within Dubai Holding have engaged advisers ahead of a potential plan to restructure billions in debt. [ID:LDE64909I]

GHC sets $10b for expansion

gulfnews : GHC sets $10b for expansion


Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate General Holding Corporation (GHC), plans to invest $10 billion (Dh36 billion) over the next few years towards business expansion, a top GHC official said here yesterday.

"This investment would include expansion of the existing companies currently owned by GHC and establishment of new joint ventures," Hussain Jasem Al Nowais, Vice Chairman of GHC and Chairman of the Executive Committee told Gulf News in an interview.

He said GHC's unit — Abu Dhabi Basic Industries Corporation (Adbic) plans to invest a combined $1.5 billion in new downstream businesses — steel pipes and aluminium rolling mill.

A final frontier worth $5 billion - The National Newspaper

A final frontier worth $5 billion - The National Newspaper


Sometimes the difference between two words can be worth billions, or at least US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) by one estimate.

It has been almost a year since the Gulf equity markets came close to being upgraded from “frontier market” to “emerging market” status.

They fell short last year in the MSCI Barra review in June and the jury is still out on whether they have made enough improvement since then to merit the higher grade.

Iranian stock market in fast recovery - The National Newspaper

Iranian stock market in fast recovery - The National Newspaper


When most people think of the Iranian economy, they think of UN sanctions and the potential development of nuclear power. But a stock market boom?

One is well under way. The main index for the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) last month reached its highest level in its 42-year history and last week exchange officials issued a statement to reassure investors they are not in the middle of a market bubble.

“Concerns about bubble growth are unfounded,” Ali Sahraie, the operations manager of the TSE, said in a statement released by the bourse. “The reason for the rise in the index is the flow of cash into the stock market.” Mr Sahraie said the sharp ascent was a reflection of the overall improvement of Iran’s economy, and many outside observers agree.

“Even though [the market] is rallying I still think of it as underperforming,” said Ahmad Alanani, a trader with Exotix, a company based in London that specialises in frontier markets.

Gulf region expects to weather euro storm


The Gulf is weighing the effects of the European financial crisis, as EU ministers meet to discuss emergency measures to end the mayhem on world markets.

Regional stock exchanges and other key measures of financial health fell as investors priced-in the dramatic market shifts of late last week in Europe and the US, while the price of oil hovered near US$75 (Dh275), its lowest since February. But Gulf economic experts took some comfort from the region’s overall financial resilience, as well as the corporate restructurings already under way, especially in Dubai.

The Dubai Financial Market, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, fell four per cent on fears that the European economic woes might trigger the second leg of a “double dip” recession, but recovered in late trading as investors counted the worries as overdone. It closed just 1.2 per cent lower, a similar fall to that of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Turkey’s top cell co wants to buy stake in Zain, says CEO-International Business-News-The Economic Times

Turkey’s top cell co wants to buy stake in Zain, says CEO-International Business-News-The Economic Times


Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri, Turkey’s biggest mobile phone company, is considering buying a stake in Zain, Kuwait’s largest mobile operator, chief executive officer Sureyya Ciliv said.

“Zain is one of the companies our international development group is looking at, but at the moment there is no important development,” Ciliv said in Istanbul on May 6 in comments carried by Turkish newspapers and confirmed on Sunday by a Turkcell official who declined to be named in line with company policy. “We’re looking at the numbers and doing preliminary work on whether it’s suitable for Turkcell,” Ciliv said.

In March, Zain and Bharti Airtel had struck a deal to buy the Kuwaiti telecom firm’s operations in 15 African countries for $9 billion. Bharti said last month that it expected to close the deal by mid-May .

KSE Breaks Down « Alpha Dinar- talking GCC finance

KSE Breaks Down « Alpha Dinar- talking GCC finance


Today the market showed a huge decline by shedding 138 points in the price index and 6.4 points in the weighted index. Most of the stocks ended in the red zone. The decline was mainly due to the retrieve in global markets, decline oil prices, fear from the failure of the euro zone and overall negative sentiment.

The KSE price index broke the 7,000 levels and it seems that its heading south to the 6,500 levels, erasing all gains since Q4 2009. Now what is significant about the 6,500 levels? It is the one year low, and it is the lowest level we’ve reached since the beginning of the financial crises; meaning it will bring us back to Q1 2009. Major indexes showed record gains in 2009, however, our beloved KSE index is still lagging.

Harrods' new owners announce 'upgrade' plans - Telegraph

Harrods' new owners announce 'upgrade' plans - Telegraph


Qatar Holding is expected to back an expansion programme into new areas including China.

Managing director Michael Ward, who will retain his position, said: "There are a huge number of opportunities for the group. There are selective areas of the world in which we will develop."

Bought for £1.5bn from Mohamed Fayed, Qatar ­Holding can add the iconic department store to a long list of infamous assets, spanning financials, commercial property, retail and the automobile industry.

$962bn euro-bailout to calm financial markets but for how long? « ArabianMoney

$962bn euro-bailout to calm financial markets but for how long? « ArabianMoney


European policy makers have rolled out an unprecedented $962 billion loan package and a program of bond purchases, encouraged by US President Obama as they rally a global effort to halt the sovereign-debt crisis enveloping the euro.

Details are not yet available about the bond market intervention. But last week’s slide in the euro, and widening bond spreads in Spain and Portugal has brought the huge financial package worth almost a trillion dollars.

Dubai Holding advisers engaged

FT.com / Companies / Africa - Dubai Holding advisers engaged


Various companies that make up Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by the emirate's ruler, have engaged advisers ahead of a potential multibillion-dollar debt restructuring.

The investment arms Dubai International Capital, Dubai Group and the nonfinancial Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group have engaged Deloitte, KPMG and PWC respectively, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Investment bank Lazard is also advising Dubai International Capital and Dubai Group.