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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Dubai Shares Advance on Air Arabia Upgrade, Global Stocks Rally - Bloomberg.com


Dubai stocks rose a second time this week as HSBC Holdings Plc raised Air Arabia PJSC to “overweight” and global stocks gained after a Spanish bond sale eased concern the government will struggle to finance its deficit.

Air Arabia, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest low-cost carrier, climbed the most in two weeks. Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, increased 1 percent to 3.04 dirhams. The DFM General Index rose 0.8 percent to 1,500.25, paring the drop for the week to 0.9 percent.

In the absence of bigger catalysts, “any positive news that investors catch on to, such as the upgrade of a stock, they will trade off of, but not with too much conviction,” said Saud Masud, a Dubai-based analyst at UBS AG. “From a U.A.E. market perspective you need the global market to recover.”

Bahrain Bk Administrator Files $720M Claim Against Al Gosaibi - WSJ.com


Trowers & Hamlins, the law firm appointed as administrator of The International Banking Corp., or TIBC, said Thursday it filed a $720 million foreign exchange claim against Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers, or Ahab, with Saudi Arabia's central bank.

The firm said in an emailed statement that it filed the claim Wednesday "at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, or Sama, committee in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following referral of the claim by the council of ministers."

The claim filed by the law firm, which is working with restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, forms part of a wider asset realization program being implemented on behalf of the Central Bank of Bahrain and in the interests of Bahrain-based TIBC's creditors, according to the statement.

"The claim we have launched with the Sama's committee follows unsatisfactory responses from Ahab and their representatives to questions relating to the assets of TIBC that we have repeatedly asked them," said Abdullah Mutawi of Trowers & Hamlins, who leads the asset realization program, in the statement.

Trowers & Hamlins declined a request for an interview.

"Ahab has only seen the press release that was distributed by Trowers & Hamlins and rejects their claims on every level," Jim Courtovich, an advisor to Ahab, said in an email to Zawya Dow Jones.

TIBC is owned by Ahab, the privately-held Saudi family business that began to face scrutiny by creditors and authorities in May 2009 after it failed to meet some of its debt obligations. TIBC was subsequently placed in administration by the Central Bank of Bahrain, which in turn appointed Trowers & Hamlins as external administrator in August.

Ahab is involved in a feud with Saad Group, another financially troubled Saudi family business owned by Maan Al Sanea, which also defaulted on some of its debts in 2009. The groups are locked in a bitter financial dispute that's fought in various jurisdictions including in the U.S.

A London-based spokesperson for Saad Group declined to comment. Officials at Sama were unreachable for comment. Thursday is the beginning of the weekend in Saudi.

Istithmar Postpones ISS Sale After Drawn-out Process - Source - WSJ.com


Istithmar, part of Dubai's sovereign wealth fund, has postponed the sale of Inchcape Shipping Services, a person familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

The decision comes after a long drawn out process that frustrated bidders because of confusing and limited due diligence, people said. In particular, bidders weren't provided with adequate information as part of the due diligence process, people said.

Final bids were initially expected from five bidders before a May 28 deadline but Carlyle Group L.P.; General Atlantic LLC; and Canadian pension fund Omers all dropped out of the process. London-based CVC Capital Partners and Cinven Group were the only remaining bidders.

Istithmar hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) to run the sale.

The port and shipping agent was expected to fetch as much as GBP800 million but the company is now reviewing its strategic options, one person said.

“Death of an Economic Paradigm” « naked capitalism


The financial market upheaval that started in May is a stark reminder that the conditions that produced the global financial crisis of 2007-08 have not been resolved. The sucking sound of deflation emanating from Europe and the creaking of bank balance sheets are calling into question the cheery assumption that patching up the financial system with baling wire and duct tape was a viable long-term plan.

With a large private sector debt overhang in most advanced economies, deflationary pressures are hard to forestall. It has become unacceptable politically to bail out banks, although monetary authorities such as the European Central Bank are creating SIV equivalents to do just that. Defaults look inevitable on a number of fronts, from homeowners in the US who are increasingly willing to abandon their mortgages, to the riskiness of not just Hungary, but other Eastern European borrowers as well (German investors have long expected serious trouble in Austria, whose banks were gateway lenders to Eastern Europe).

But why was the opportunity to restructure debts and revamp the financial system missed? In early 2009, the banking industry was on the ropes. Both the stock and the credit default swaps markets indicated that many of the big players were at serious risk of failure. But rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration and its counterparts in the UK and the European Union instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff.

Barneys Foresees $60 Million Loss This Year, N.Y. Post Reports - Bloomberg.com


Barneys New York expects to lose more than $60 million this year, the New York Post reported, citing an unidentified person briefed on the retailer’s financial plans.

While the company, owned by Istithmar World PJSC of Dubai, has experienced a recent recovery in demand for luxury items, it still has a $500 million debt burden and lost $20 million in the first quarter, the newspaper said.

UPDATE 1-Emaar says UK's Countrywide to run part of Hamptons | Reuters


Dubai's Emaar Properties EMAR.DU handed over part of the operations of its Hamptons International subisdiary to UK estate agency Countrywide, as it focuses on the Middle East and North Africa.

The Arab world's largest-listed developer will continue to operate Hamptons in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while Countrywide will own the rights to operate the agency in Britain, continental Europe and Asia, it said in a statement.

The statement did not specify if Emaar had sold the operations of Hamptons to Countrywide and did not give a value for the deal. Executives at Emaar could not be immediately reached for comment.

UPDATE 1-Emaar says UK's Countrywide to run part of Hamptons | Reuters


Dubai's Emaar Properties EMAR.DU handed over part of the operations of its Hamptons International subisdiary to UK estate agency Countrywide, as it focuses on the Middle East and North Africa.

The Arab world's largest-listed developer will continue to operate Hamptons in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while Countrywide will own the rights to operate the agency in Britain, continental Europe and Asia, it said in a statement.

The statement did not specify if Emaar had sold the operations of Hamptons to Countrywide and did not give a value for the deal. Executives at Emaar could not be immediately reached for comment.

Etisalat defends Dh37m bonuses - Emirates Business 24|7


Etisalat is currently having a "constructive dialogue" with the State Audit Institution (SAI).

The federal agency recently reported etisalat chairman and board members had paid themselves a total of Dh37.5 million in bonuses in 2009, and noted a string of discrepancies in bonuses and salaries at the firm.

The dialogue involves harmonising the different accounting and financial standards used by the agency and the country's largest telecom operator.

Land Securities nears £250m sale


Land Securities, the UK's largest property company, is planning to sell its Park House development in London's West End to a Qatari-backed investor for about £250m, in a further sign of the strong interest in prime London property from the Middle East.

The company, which is expected to announce the deal as early as today, will sell the development site opposite Selfridges on Oxford Street to Barwa, a property concern backed by Qatari sovereign wealth. PCP Capital Partners, the advisory group fronted by Amanda Staveley, is also understood to be involved in the deal.

The proposed 310,000 sq ft project is in the early stages of construction and Land Securities is expected to carry out the development and deliver the finished scheme to the Qataris in exchange for a fee and possible profit share.

Qatar goes in search of its next ‘pearl’


When William Gifford Palgrave, the British traveller and Arabist, sometime around 1863 arrived in Beda’a, the capital of Qatar, he was unimpressed by the arid landscape.

“To have an idea of Qatar, my readers must figure to themselves miles on miles of low barren hills, bleak and sun-scorched, with hardly a single tree to vary their dry monotonous outline,” he wrote in his Narrative of A Year’s Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia.

Today, Beda’a is called Doha, and is unrecognisable from the desolate vista described by Mr Palgrave. The city shoreline is an elegant, well-maintained corniche, surrounded by opulent hotels, caf├ęs and office towers that glitter in the sunshine.