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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Zain says Africa sale profit $2.7 bln so far - TV | Reuters

Kuwait's Zain has so far made $2.7 billion in profits from the sale of its African assets to India's Bharti Airtel, the company's chairman told Arabiya TV on Tuesday.

By the time Zain receives all its dues from the deal, the figure will be higher, the company's Chairman, Assad al-Banwan, told the Dubai-based TV hours after the two telecoms majors closed the $9 billion deal.

"The profit we informed the (Kuwait) Stock Exchange committee of was about $2.7 billion," Banwan said, adding the figure was based on the money received so far from the deal.

Bahrain Qatar Causeway Foundation - Bahrain News Agency

Finance Ministry's Under Secretary and Deputy Board Chairman of the Bahrain Qatar Causeway Foundation Arif Saleh Khamis stated today that what has been published in local newspapers that work on the Bahrain Qatar Friendship Bridge has been suspended is incorrect in toto, stressing that work in the project is in "full swing" according to the previously set timetable.
He also asserted that the Board of Directors meet regularly to discuss what has been done so far concerning the technical studies, designs of the bridge and the facilities located on its both sides and negotiation with the Vinci Construction Company about the implementation of the project. "The government of Bahrain attaches great importance to this vital project and is keen to take all necessary actions and measures to begin its actual implementation at the lowest construction costs as soon as possible, so as to achieve the outlined economic and social benefits from it," he said.

Emirates orders 32 Airbus super jumbos at US$11.5billion - WAM | Emirates News Agency

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline placed an order with Airbus for an additional 32 A380 aircraft taking the total firm order for the iconic flagship of the 21st century to 90 super-jumbos.

The order for the additional aircraft has a list price of $US 11.5 billion (AED 42.2). The agreement was signed today during a ceremony at the Berlin Air Show by His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO which was witnessed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other dignitaries.

"This latest order, adding to 58 A380s previously ordered, affirms Emirates' strategy to become a world leading carrier and to further establish Dubai as a central gateway to worldwide air travel. The A380 is our flagship in terms of passenger comfort, innovation, operating and environmental efficiency and revenue generation," said H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al- Maktoum. "Our latest commitment signals Emirates' confidence in the growth to come in a thriving aviation sector as we build our fleet for tomorrow," he added.

Kuwait, Qatar Shares Gain on Bernanke’s Comments; Oil Rises -

Kuwait and Qatar shares led gains among Gulf Arab markets as crude oil rose and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. economic recovery remains intact.

Kuwait Finance and Investment Co., an investment banking and asset management company, jumped the most since March 11. Burgan Bank SAK, the Kuwaiti lender, increased the most in almost four weeks. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co., the Dubai-based phone and Internet company known as Du, rose for a second day. The Kuwait Stock Exchange Index gained 0.6 percent, the biggest intraday advance since May 12, to 6,705 at 10:50 a.m. in Kuwait City. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of 200 companies in the Gulf gained for a second day.

Bernanke is “stating the reality, and if investors are prepared to react to the statement accordingly then that’s a good sign,” said Paul Cooper, managing director at Sarasin- Alpen & Partners Ltd. in Dubai, which manages more than $500 million in the Middle East.

Saudi Aramco Has 260 Billion Barrels Oil Reserves (Update1) -

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest state oil company, has 260 billion barrels of oil reserves, said Mohammed Al-Qahtani, the executive director of the company’s Petroleum Engineering & Development unit.

“To ensure availability and reliability, we have invested heavily in new developments to increase oil production capacity,” Al-Qahtani said at a conference in Beijing today. “A lack of resources isn’t a constraining factor.”

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest crude exporter, with output of 8.29 million barrels a day in May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Middle Eastern kingdom had proved reserves of 264.1 billion barrels at the end of 2008, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Tamweel, Amlak Said to Weigh Alternatives to Government Merger -

Tamweel PJSC and Amlak Finance PJSC, two United Arab Emirates mortgage lenders, may open talks with alternative buyers in case their government-backed merger breaks down, a person with knowledge of the discussions said.

The U.A.E. government has been working for 19 months on a plan to combine the two Islamic finance companies, which relied on wholesale borrowing to fund their lending, since the credit crisis cut off their funding. Dubai property prices have slumped more than 50 percent from their peak in August 2008 as mortgages dried up, according to estimates from Colliers International.

Tamweel and Amlak are drawing up contingency plans should their merger be abandoned, said two people, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. This may include Tamweel and Amlak merging and then combining with a commercial bank, or the two being acquired separately, one of the people said.

Batelco’s Umniah to Invest as Much as $150 Million in Jordan -

Umniah, a Jordanian unit of Bahrain Telecommunications Co., plans to invest as much as $150 million over the next two years in the country to expand services, Chief Executive Officer Ihab Hinnawi said.

“There is room for growth in the market for mobile and fixed broadband,” Hinnawi said in an interview in Amman today. These segments have “low market penetration of not more than 4 percent or 5 percent in terms of subscription, and between 27 percent and 30 percent of users penetration.”

Bahrain Telecommunications, also known as Batelco, is the island-nation’s largest telephone operator.

Bharti completes acquisition of Zain's Africa business for $10.7 bn-Telecom-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times

In the largest ever telecom takeover by an Indian firm, Bharti Airtel on Tuesday completed a deal to buy Kuwait-based Zain Telecom's African business for $10.7 billion (about Rs 48,000 crore). ( Watch )

Announcing the closure of the deal, Sunil Mittal said, "We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti Airtel. The transaction is the largest ever cross-border deal in an emerging market and will result in combined revenues of about $13 billion."

On March 30, 2010, Bharti had entered the deal to acquire Zain Telecom's operations in 15 nations, excluding Sudan and Morocco. Zain has operations in 17 African countries.

Dubai Investments Seeks to Circumvent Listing Rule in Unit IPO - BusinessWeek

Dubai Investments PJSC is considering listing a 30 percent stake in unit M’Sharie LLC on Nasdaq Dubai and trading the shares on the Dubai Financial Market PJSC to circumvent a regulatory rule, the chief executive officer said.

Dubai Investments, which owns stakes in more than 40 companies, is seeking to sell shares in private equity unit M’Sharie in an initial public offering by the end of June 2011, Khalid Bin Kalban said. The company wants to trade the shares on the DFM because of higher liquidity, he said. DFM requires companies to sell a minimum 55 percent stake and Nasdaq Dubai has a 25 percent minimum listing rule.

This is “the only option we have because of the regulations’ shortcomings,” Bin Kalban, 52, said in an interview in Dubai. “We have assurances after meetings with DFM and Nasdaq Dubai that it’s possible.”

An optimistic GCC recovery scenario from Nouriel Roubini « ArabianMoney

It was a little surprising perhaps to find an optimistic recovery scenario in the final pages of Professor Nouriel Roubini’s mendaciously gloomy new book ‘Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance’. Well, that was the ArabianMoney interpretation from a UAE or GCC viewpoint.

Professor Roubini contends that by 2012 the world will be out of its deflationary cycle and could once again be facing inflation, particularly in commodity prices. Nothing would be better for the economic prospects of the UAE than a nice big rise in the price of oil.

However, in order to get to 2012 it is first necessary to take the pain of the rest of 2010 and 2011. Dr Gloom has no good news on that score.

Air Arabia fourth hub to be Amman - Emirates Business 24|7

Low-cost carrier Air Arabia has announced plans to launch a hub in Amman, Jordan, the fourth for the Sharjah-based airline.

The joint venture was inked last evening between Air Arabia's Group Chief Executive Officer Adel Ali and the Tantash Group, an Amman-based diversified investment company.

Air Arabia 'Jordan', the first low-cost carrier to be based in the Hashemite kingdom, will provide direct service to destinations across Europe, Middle East and North Africa from Queen Alia International Airport. No launch date was confirmed at the time.

Flydubai gets huge capital infusion

Budget airline flydubai will receive fresh government funding of Dh280 million, raising its capital to Dh500 million following a decree by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

"The full amount is to be paid by the Dubai Government, according to Law No 13 of 2010, issued by Shaikh Mohammad," the news agency WAM reported yesterday.

Flydubai's capital had been set earlier by law at Dh220 million, fully paid by the Dubai Government. The new law has more than doubled the company's capital.

Gas pipeline taking a mountain trail - The National Newspaper

In the rugged mountains near the mineral spring famous in the UAE as a local supplier of bottled water, Dolphin Energy is laying pipes to carry another precious resource – natural gas.

A gale is blowing grit everywhere and construction workers, their faces swathed in chequered cotton scarves, take shelter beside and sometimes within the 1.2-metre diameter steel pipe sections that are waiting to be laid in trenches lined with fine red sand. The sand is not locally sourced. It is trucked in from the dunes of the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah along rough mountain tracks.

As the pipe descends at an angle of about 25 degrees from the mountains to sea level, each 12-metre pipe section, weighing 5.5 tonnes, must be suspended chain-like from the one higher up. It is a remarkable feat of civil engineering and involves a lot of heavy equipment.

UAE telecoms fee ‘unsustainable’ - The National Newspaper

Royalties levied on the profits of Etisalat and du are not sustainable, says the head of telecommunications investments at a federal fund that controls a large chunk of shares in both the UAE’s telecoms companies.

Kaj-Erik Relander, the chief telecoms investment officer of the Emirates Investment Authority (EIA), said similar royalty systems around the world have been prone to failure.

“If you look at the worldwide phenomenon, one of the outcomes is that it’s not a sustainable policy,” Mr Relander said, adding that he felt the UAE royalty system would change soon.

Kuwait signals ‘redesign’ of state economy

When in the past Kuwait has talked about multibillion-dollar development plans and ambitious economic reform packages, cynicism has usually been the order of the day.

Yet in recent months a tentative thaw in relations between the country’s combative parliament and government has enabled the passing of several high-profile bills. In February, the Kuwaiti parliament approved a $104bn four-year development plan, and in May a more contentious privatisation law – first mooted 18 years ago.

Implementation of the privatisation law is likely to be a crucial test of the improved political environment in the country, observers say.

Turkey, Azerbaijan Gas Agreement Reached, but Talks to Continue |

Natural gas sales and transit agreements signed by Turkey and Azerbaijan on June 7 appear to give a long-awaited green light for Azerbaijani gas sales to Europe-bound pipeline projects. While energy executives have welcomed the news, a source at Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR tells that the two sides failed to reach a comprehensive gas agreement.

“What was signed today is more of a memorandum of understanding than a commercial contract,” said the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) senior executive, who asked not to be named.

The documents signed in Istanbul by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Abdullah Gül nevertheless allow the Azerbaijani government to open negotiations with European companies about gas sales from the second, peak phase of gas production at its Shah Deniz field, since Baku and Ankara have reached an “agreement in principle,” the source said.

FT Alphaville » فاينانشال تايمز

Before some smartypants makes the obvious point — no, we do not currently have the ability to right-justify Arabic script here on FT Alphaville.

Maybe we should look to fix that.

The owner of this website is of course the fine education and publishing combine Pearson PLC, which now seems to have attracted the shrewd eye of the Libyan Investment Authority.

Standard Chartered puts its faith in Dubai

Dubai will hope it can welcome more bankers like V. Shankar.

The Indian-Singaporean has moved to head Standard Chartered’s Gulf base in the Dubai International Financial Centre as chief executive responsible for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

This position, formerly based in London, is part of a diversification drive and focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Dubai Islamic faces $650mn legal battle in Bahrain

Dubai Islamic Bank, the emirate’s largest Shariah-compliant lender, faces a $650mn legal battle in Bahrain with four businessmen who it accuses separately of fraud in Dubai, legal documents show.

Bahrain resident Charles Ridley and business partners Ryan Cornelius, Erin Nil and Arthur Fitzwilliam have filed a civil suit in Manama requesting that Dubai Islamic compensates them the sum of 245.5mn Bahrain dinars ($651mn), according to the plaintiff’s attorney Ahmed Jasim Abdulla and a court filing.

The Bahrain civil case comes after prosecutors in Dubai charged Ridley and his fellow plaintiffs in the Bahrain claim with alleged fraud of $501mn.

Gulf Daily News » Business News » Stronger Russia-Arab economic ties urged

Bahrain yesterday urged a stronger economic partnership between Russia and the Arab world. "There is a great need for joint ventures and investment projects to seize untapped opportunities," Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dr Essam Fakhro said.

He was speaking as he addressed the ninth meeting of the Arab-Russian Council in Moscow.

He also urged the establishment of an Arab-Russian Bank to be fast-tracked, being the cornerstone of co-operation between the two sides.