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Monday, 7 June 2010

Standard Chartered Sees Mideast Revenue Doubling in Five Years -

Standard Chartered Plc, the British lender that earns at least three-quarters of its profit in Asia, expects revenue from the Middle East to double in three to five years to $4 billion annually, V Shankar, the bank’s chief executive officer for the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, told reporters in Dubai today.

Kuwait Index Falls to 6-Month Low on Global Growth Concern -

Kuwait stocks fell to the lowest level this year, leading a drop in Gulf markets, on concern the European debt crisis may spread and the U.S. economic recovery may slow. Oil fell below $70 a barrel.

Gulf Finance House EC, a Bahrain-based investment bank trading in Kuwait, lost the most since June 2. First Gulf Bank PJSC, the lender owned by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, declined to the lowest since in six months. The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index slipped 0.7 percent to 6,664.7, the lowest close since Dec. 2. Abu Dhabi’s index lost 0.3 percent.

“Regional markets are still dampened by the lack of clarity on the crisis in Europe and by fears that growth in the U.S. economy may be slower than we thought,” said Kifah Maharmeh, general manager of Al Dar Shares & Bonds in Abu Dhabi. “The drop in oil prices continues to put a strain on Gulf Arab markets, as development in the region depends heavily on oil revenue.”

Iran Building First Gas Pipeline to Europe, State TV Says -

Iran started to build a long-planned pipeline to export natural gas to Europe with an investment of at least 1.3 billion euros ($1.55 billion), state television reported today.

Iran plans to complete its section of the pipeline by 2013, the TV network said, without citing a source. The system will pass through Turkey and have a capacity of as much as 110 million cubic meters of gas a day, it said. The route of the pipeline is unclear.

An earlier, unrealized version of this project was to extend to Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, according to details disclosed in September 2008. It was not immediately clear if the government intends the new project as an alternative to the planned Nabucco pipeline, a 7.9 billion- euro network for transporting gas from the Caspian Sea through Turkey to Europe. Iran already operates a pipeline to Turkey, its western neighbor.

Etisalat Considers Stake in Reliance Communications (Update1) -

Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the United Arab Emirates’ phone company known as Etisalat, is considering several opportunities in India, including buying a stake in Reliance Communications Ltd., Chairman Mohammed Omran said.

“We have not made an offer, but we are studying several opportunities in India, among them is Reliance Communications,” Omran said today at a conference in Amman, Jordan. “The market in India is going through a consolidation and we want to be an active player in India.”

Reliance Communications, India’s second-largest wireless carrier, said today its board has “in principle” approved a plan to sell as much as a 26 percent stake to a strategic or private equity investor. The company would sell the shares at an “appropriate premium to the prevailing market price” and “examine and pursue other appropriate strategic combination or consolidation opportunities,” it said.

Nakheel begins repaying creditors

Property developer Nakheel on Sunday said it has started paying trade creditors — contractors and sub-contractors dues of up to Dh500,000.

A Nakheel spokesperson said all trade creditors have been or are in the process of being paid Dh500,000, which means that those owed Dh500,000 or less are paid in full. "Our talks with our partners are progressing and we are confident that an agreement will be reached shortly," the spokesperson said.

This allows for projects, which slowed down or were put on hold. to regain activity. "Projects are being prioritised following an assessment of construction stages, cost of completion, customer collections and market supply and demand.

From souqs to stock markets - The National Newspaper

It is hard to believe, but only a decade ago buying and selling shares of local companies was not much different to haggling over a carpet in a souq.

There were few traders and reaching agreement over a price could take several minutes.

“We would queue and fight for our turns to get to the brokers’ counter to put our orders in,” says Sobhi Asim, 40, a Jordanian who has been trading in Abu Dhabi for more than a decade.

Sharjah gas deal shreds red tape - The National Newspaper

The new Sharjah gas exploration joint venture between the local enterprise Crescent Petroleum and Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil giant, has been just three months in the making, demonstrating that red tape can be cut quickly when regional priorities are at stake.

Talks between the seemingly odd couple began in early March, following a flurry of trade missions between the UAE and Russia, Badr Jafar, the executive director of the privately owned Crescent, said yesterday in an exclusive interview.

They moved quickly.

Aabar Drops to Lowest This Year After No Announcement on Debt - BusinessWeek

Aabar Investments PJSC dropped to the lowest since December after its board did not adopt any resolutions following a review of its financing and investment opportunities on June 3.

The shares declined as much as 7 percent to 1.59 dirhams, the lowest in six months, at 10:19 a.m. in Dubai.

The Abu Dhabi-based company, which is the largest shareholder in Daimler AG, said on June 1 the board will consider refinancing opportunities for its existing debt.

QBA showcases Qatar investment prospects

Qatari business community’s success in forging ties with counterparts around the world was highlighted by Qatari Businessmen Association chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassem al-Thani yesterday.

Speaking after the second general assembly of the QBA, Sheikh Faisal said the association cemented relationship with business communities in South America, Europe and South East Asia by hosting senior delegations from these places and signing co-operation agreements with many of them.

In the recent months, the QBA organised Qatar–Brazil Investment Forum; Qatar-Latin America Investment Forum: Qatari–Turkish Business Forum; Qatar–Austrian Business Forum and the Doha Business Forum.

Financial accountability 'new mantra for growth'

Responsible finance is the new mantra for the banking industry, members of the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) were told last night.

Citi chief executive officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Alberto J Verme said at the BAB annual gala dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa that banks should now only operate in the interest of the common good and that speculative operations should be banned.

The event was patronised by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Economic Development Board Chairman, and attended by more than 200 guests.