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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise to 2-Week High on Dana Gas, U.S. Earnings -

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark index rose to the highest in more than two weeks as Dana Gas PJSC returned to profit and U.S. earnings gave investors eased concern from Europe’s debt crisis.

Dana Gas, the United Arab Emirates-based explorer and producer, climbed to the highest in more than a week. Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the company also known as Etisalat, increased to the highest in a month and Waha Capital PJSC rose 1.4 percent. The ADX General Index gained 0.3 percent to 2,803.39, an April 27 high. The measure added 0.4 percent this week. Dubai’s index advanced 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks gained as concern eased the European debt crisis will curtail global growth and after International Business Machines Corp. predicted earnings per share may nearly double by 2015. Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of networking equipment, reported after U.S. markets closed third- quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.9 percent at 2:30 p.m. in Dubai.

Nakheel Seeks Claims Experts to Help Speed up Payment of Bills -

Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai World unit that’s restructuring $10.5 billion of debt, is seeking consultants to assess the company’s unpaid bills to contractors and suppliers so it can speed up payments.

The developer of palm-shaped islands off Dubai’s coast published advertisements in newspapers including Khaleej Times inviting claims consultants to bid for contracts to review “claims related to Nakheel’s various construction, consultancy, supply and other contracts.”

Nakheel and Dubai World are renegotiating terms on a combined $24.8 billion of liabilities after Dubai property prices slumped by 50 percent and a seizure of global credit markets made it more difficult for Dubai-owned companies to borrow to pay maturing debt. Dubai’s government in March pledged to give $8 billion to Nakheel to help it pay contractors and suppliers and complete projects.

FTSE Group set to upgrade UAE to Emerging Market Status in September 2010 - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

FTSE Group, one of the key index providers in the GCC, has announced its intention to upgrade the UAE to Secondary Emerging Status within its Global Equity Index Series.

This will be effective from September 2010. The decision is part of FTSE’s annual Country Classification System, the process by which stock markets are classified as either Developed, Emerging or Frontier status.

As a leading index provider, FTSE has a history of quickly identifying and promoting Frontier and Emerging markets via its Global Equity Index Country Classification program. In September 2009 the Country Classification committee announced that the UAE would be included as Secondary Emerging from September 2010. This committee is formed of market practitioners working at some of the world’s leading Investment Management firms.

Abu Dhabi’s gold ATM machine a sign of more opulence to come | beyondbrics |

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace is a case study of the opulence and glitz that has come to characterize cities in the oil-rich Arab Gulf.

So it should come as little surprise that the $3bn government-owned hotel was the chosen destination for the region’s latest example of extravagance - an ATM machine that dispenses gold in exchange for cash based on the latest prices. The Gold to Go machine, which is covered in 24-carat gold, was unveiled on Wednesday by Thomas Geissler, chief executive of Ex Oriente Lux AG.

Certainly it is no bad spot, as the Emirates Palace is a magnet for executives from around the globe seeking to tap into Abu Dhabi’s wealth, powerful sheikhs and rich tourists drawn to a hotel that offers a “one million dollar tailor made suite holiday.”

Nakheel's $980 mln bond repayment funds with agent - source | Reuters

Property developer Nakheel NAKHD.UL has transferred $980 million to paying agent Deutsche Bank for the repayment of its Islamic bond due on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said.

Nakheel, which is a subsidiary of indebted state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, is expected to meet its May 13 maturity even without formal agreement between creditors and Dubai World regarding its $24.8 billion restructuring plan.

Dubai's debt plan, which was unveiled on March 25, offers Nakheel sukuk holders full payment on 2010 and 2011 bonds on maturity while trade creditors will be repaid through a mix of 40 percent cash and 60 percent in a sukuk, with a 10 percent annual return.

Rich potential in emerging markets

Islamic finance is taking tentative steps towards regaining its mantle as one of the fastest growing asset classes in the world. In spite of the continuing aftershocks of the financial crisis and the Dubai debt standstill, the industry is expanding in many emerging markets and introducing new standards that should help develop products and attract investors.

Although it is not seeing anything like the growth it experienced before the financial crisis, the sector has expanded, even as other markets have been swamped by Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Assets in Islamic finance rose to $822bn by the end of 2009, an increase of 29 per cent compared with the end of 2008, according to Maris Strategies, the research and advisory group. Anecdotal evidence suggests it has continued to grow this year, as more institutions gain Islamic licences.

Islamic Finance report from the Financial Times


Land banks closed for business

In the middle of a protracted real estate boom, in nearly every urban area in Saudi Arabia, dozens of vacant plots owned by a handful of well-connected businessmen are still undeveloped.

Younger Saudis eye such plots with envy as they struggle to find homes, settling instead for sites in flood-prone Jeddah on the west coast, or the handful of apartment complexes available in provincial cities, or even less desirable locations.

In a country that is the size of continental western Europe, many of the choicest sites have either not been built on, or have been developed into sprawling shopping centres. Most of the plots have been handed out in generous grants to businessmen who have found that, after two massive downturns in the Saudi capital markets in 2006 and 2008, holding on to the sites is a low-cost means of safeguarding their assets.

Earnings boost Gulf exchanges

Global markets have tumbled on concern over Europe’s indebted southern rim, but Gulf stock exchanges have fared better of late, thanks in part to a continued recovery in corporate profits in the first quarter.

Aggregated profits of listed Gulf companies rose 23.5 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, and 66.7 per cent compared to the last quarter of 2009, according to data compiled by EFG-Hermes, the investment bank.

“The fourth quarter was probably when earnings bottomed out, and most provisions at banks and real estate companies are now accounted for,” says Saud Masud, head of research at UBS in Dubai.

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - Qatar

The governments of Qatar and China yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen co-operation in the energy and financial sectors.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani attended the signing ceremony after their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Hailing China-Qatar relations, the People’s Daily Online quoted Wen as saying “the two nations in recent years have increased mutual political trust and common interests and enjoyed a solid foundation for expanding bilateral win-win co-operation.”

Arqaam seeks profit in hidden gems

The quality and depth of research on Middle Eastern companies has improved markedly over the past few years, based on improved financial reporting and better-regulated stock exchanges. But many smaller companies in the region remain unexamined by the investment community.

Arqaam Capital, an ambitious Dubai-based brokerage and investment bank, is hoping to change that by developing a research function in Beirut, the Lebanese capital. It says there are 306 companies based in the Middle East, north Africa and Turkey with a market capitalisation of more than $500m, most of which are operating under the radar.

Riad Meliti, Arqaam’s Libyan-American founder and chief executive, says currently only the top 100 companies in the region, including Turkey, are covered and that Beirut provides the pool of skilled labour necessary to staff such a large-scale exercise. The plan is for the new Arqaam operation eventually to employ 100 professionals.