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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Bahrain Wants to Buy Out Stalled Sama Dubai’s Resort Project

Bahrain wants to buy out Sama Dubai LLC’s stalled project to build a luxury seashore resort in its capital city Manama, a senior official said.

Sama Dubai, a unit of Dubai Holding LLC, began the 2 billion-dirham ($545 million) Salam Beach Resort and Spa project in November 2005. Construction stopped in January last year, according to Middle East Economic Digest.

Bahraini investors are in talks with Sama Dubai, Mohammed Bin Essa al-Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said in an interview yesterday in Manama. Sama didn’t respond to a request for comment immediately.

Kuwait's Agility weighs options amid fraud charges

A Kuwaiti logistics firm facing U.S. fraud charges over food shipments to American troops said Sunday it is weighing the future of its military contracting business.

The chairman and managing director of Public Warehousing Co., Tarek Sultan, said no decision has been made for the contractor's defense and government division, but that contingency plans are in place.

"If we cannot reach a mutually agreeable settlement, then we would need to assess all strategic options for the (defense and government) business," Sultan said in an emailed statement. "For now, the situation is fluid."

Iraq's Central Bank Chief: Govt Bond Sale To Fund Budget -

Iraq's Central Bank Chief: Govt Bond Sale To Fund Budget -

Iraq's central bank is pushing the government to sell bonds to fund a budget deficit and help wean the fragile country off of external support as it rebuilds its infrastructure and economy, its governor said Sunday.

"The government has planned this [a bond sale] as part of the financing of the budget," Sinan Al Shabibi said in an interview in Bahrain.

"We are pushing for both [bonds and T-bills] to deepen the market. Any kind of financing is welcome," Al Shabibi said, adding that plans for a bond sale "aren't progressing yet" but that he expected them to do so "quite soon."

Kuwait’s Agility Drops Most This Month as Net Falls

Agility, the Kuwaiti company in talks with the U.S. Government on alleged overbilling of military supplies, declined the most this month in Kuwait trading after first-quarter net income plunged.

Agility shares tumbled as much as 6.9 percent, the biggest intraday decline since April 28. Net income fell 52 percent from a year earlier to 17.6 million dinars ($61 million), according to a company statement to the Dubai bourse today. Revenue dropped 17 percent to 127.5 million dinars.

Agility, the Middle East’s largest storage and logistics company, was indicted in November for allegedly overcharging the U.S. government on a multibillion dollar contract to supply food for troops in Kuwait and Iraq.

Dubai Shares Lead Gulf Slump on European Crisis, Earnings, Oil

Dubai shares fell, leading Gulf markets lower, on concern Europe’s sovereign debt crisis will hurt the global economic recovery and after companies including Kuwait’s Agility posted lower earnings. Crude oil declined.

Agility dropped 3.5 percent as the storage and logistics company said profit fell 52 percent. Vodafone Qatar decreased to the lowest since April 21 after the mobile-phone company reported a loss. Emaar Properties PJSC, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, also slid. The DFM General Index declined 1.9 percent to 1,686.35, the lowest in a week, as of 12:58 p.m. in Dubai. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of stocks in the Gulf fell 1.3 percent and Egypt’s EGX 30 Index tumbled 2.7 percent.

“Concern about the long-term impact of Greek and European spending cuts on global growth is weighing on oil and equity markets,” said Rabih Sultani, a fund manager at Duet Mena Ltd. in Dubai, a unit of Duet Group, which oversees $2.1 billion.

Dubai Holding unit delays 2009 results again

Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (DHCOG), a unit of the conglomerate owned by Dubai's ruler, said it was delaying its full-year results again due to complexities in consolidating results of its units.

The company said in April it had delayed its 2009 financial results by two weeks to May 16, and trading in its Islamic bond, listed on Nasdaq Dubai, was halted on May 2, pending the annual results.

In a statement to Nasdaq Dubai website on Sunday, DHCOG said the annual results were delayed "due to the complexities of consolidating the financial results of its various operating businesses across multiple geographies."

Standard Charterd Plans To Arrange Over $4B Sukuk This Yr-Exec -

Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) plans to arrange more than $4 billion worth of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, globally this year exceeding last year's figures as confidence and liquidity return to credit markets, a senior executive said.

"We arranged more than $4 billion of sukuk last year. We hope to beat last year's figures," Ahsan Ali, head of Islamic origination at Standard Chartered told Zawya Dow Jones in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

"Issuers of Islamic bonds will take advantage of better market conditions and levels of liquidity," he added.

Total global sukuk issuance stood at $11.1 billion at the end of August, a 20% drop from $14 billion in the same period last year, data from Zawya Sukuk Monitor shows.

The global market for primary Islamic bonds shrank by more than half to $15.2 billion in 2008. Islamic bonds comply with Islam's ban on interest and are backed by physical assets from which returns are derived and paid to bondholders instead.

Ali believes the outlook for Islamic finance remains strong.

UPDATE 1-Aabar Q1 profit leaps on derivatives, restates Q1 '09 | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments (AABAR.AD) posted a leap in net profit in the first quarter to 1.58 billion dirhams ($430.2 million), mainly due to derivatives income, after revising its year-ago result to a deep loss.

The firm, which has a stake in German automaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE), reported gains in income from financial derivatives of 1.2 billion dirhams in the quarter, according to the company's earnings statement.

But Aabar revised its first quarter 2009 result sharply lower to a loss of 1.045 billion dirhams from a previously reported profit of 177 million dirhams.

Abu Dhabi fund to track Gulf markets

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) plans to list a unique exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the capital’s bourse, which will track the region’s largest and most actively traded stocks.

The lender is in talks with regional regulators, exchanges, distributors and brokers, and expects to launch the product “within the next few months”, a senior executive said.

While a few ETFs are listed in the Gulf, the Pan-GCC ETF would be the first to span the region, giving investors exposure to securities on numerous exchanges through a single fund.

Kuwait Plans 5 Billion-Dinar Investment in Economy This Year

Kuwait plans to invest about 5 billion dinars ($17.2 billion) in its economy in the 2010-2011 year, according to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development.

“Oil investment will be 2.212 billion dinars and non-oil will receive 2.8 billion dinars,” Adel al-Wuqayan said in an interview in Manama today.

Kuwait, the fifth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, expects investments of more than 30 billion dinars in its economy over four years, he said. Investments from the private sector are estimated at 15.4 billion dinars, and the government will contribute 14.7 billion, according to al-Wuqayan.

Saudi Stocks Fall Most in Week as Oil Drops on European Concern

Saudi Arabian stocks fell the most in a week, led by petrochemical companies and banks, on mounting concern that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will curb economic growth and demand for commodities.

The Saudi Tadawul All Share Index retreated 2.3 percent to 6539.36 in Riyadh today, the biggest drop since May 8. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s largest petrochemical maker known as Sabic, sank the most since August 2009 and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. fell to the lowest level since April after oil prices slumped. Al-Rajhi Bank also declined.

“Weakness in petrochemicals is driving the market down, and it is mainly related to oil prices,” said Murad Ansari, a Riyadh-based equities analyst at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. “Oil prices have weakened because of concern about the global economic recovery. There is an expectation of oil demand being affected from what we are seeing in Greece and concerns about its effect on the rest of Europe.”

Qatar sees oil prices pressed by Europe debt crisis | Reuters

Qatar expects further pressure on oil prices from the uncertainty engendered by the European debt crisis, its oil minister said on Saturday.

"The oil price is not reflective of demand and supply, but psychological (factors) and uncertainty, especially in Europe (and due to the Greece) bailout," Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told reporters in the Bahraini capital Manama.

"All this put a lot of pressure on the world economy and the oil price," he said.