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Friday, 18 June 2010

UPDATE 1-DEALTALK-Qatar needs charm, lavish bid to cage Songbird | Reuters

Qatar will have to charm demanding shareholders and stump up a big premium if it wants to add London business district Canary Wharf to a UK investment shopping spree as the capital's prime office market rebounds.

Qatar Investment Authority's (QIA) chances of making a successful tilt for the 76 percent of Songbird Estates (SBDE.L) it does not own rest with New York investor Simon Glick with 23.95 percent of Songbird, China Investment Corp [CIC.UL]. (CIC) with 14.7 percent, and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) with 3.1 percent.

The stake is tipped to carry a price tag of 700-850 million pounds ($1-1.3 billion). One top-10 investor put it above that range, valuing the shares at more than 200 pence each, which would give 76 percent of the company a price tag near 950 million pounds.

Dubai World: An IED at ISS? | Beyond Brics |

Potential buyers have pulled or reduced their bids for one of the debt-laden Gulf group’s prize assets, Inchcape Shipping Services, after they discovered what they think is an investigation into its contracts with the US Navy.

Istithmar, the government-owned conglomerate’s investment arm, has dropped the sales process in the belief that it can’t now get a good offer.

Fortunately, good progress towards the acceptance of Dubai World’s $23.5bn restructuring proposal will probably give the holding company up to eight years to dispose of its assets and maximise value to repay creditors.

Songbird Estates: No Approach From Qatar Investment Authority -

Songbird Estates PLC (SBD.LN), which owns most of London's second financial district Canary Wharf, Friday said it hasn't received any approaches from investor and major shareholder Qatar Investment Authority, but its shares soared on speculation the Gulf sovereign wealth fund is considering a takeover of the property specialist.

A spokeswoman for Songbird said the company hasn't received "any approach" from QIA at all, whether to launch a bid or increase its share holding in the company.

Following reports QIA intends to increase its stake in Songbird to take control of the Canary Wharf estate, Songbird shares soared. At 1032 GMT Songbird was up 12 pence or 8.2% to 156 pence.

QIA already is Songbird's major shareholder, with a 24% stake in the listed company and ownership of Songbird's preference shares, which rank ahead of all other classes of share capital, followed by GF Investments II LLC, which owns 24% as well.

US probe halts sale of Dubai World's Inchcape Shipping - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

A US investigation has halted the sale of Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the first Dubai World business put up for sale since the emirate's debt crisis began, reported Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is probing the port and shipping agent's "government services" arm, two of the people said. Reuters could not determine the precise nature of the investigation.

The unit provides services to army bases and on battlefields, services ships and aircraft, and helps with military supply chains.

AgBank signs investors, as Middle East eyes $2 billion stake | Reuters

Agricultural Bank of China has reached an agreement with a group of seven investors ahead of its massive initial public share offering, sources said on Friday, with two funds from the Middle East considering a stake that could exceed $2 billion.

With AgBank hoping to raise more than $23 billion, China's third-largest bank has signed up a diverse cornerstone investor list for its Hong Kong offering. The companies will appear in the prospectus due next week for what could be the world's largest ever IPO.

China Life (2628.HK)(601628.SS), Hong Kong tycoon Li-ka Shing, Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund, Rabobank RABO.UL, Standard Chartered (STAN.L)(2888.HK), Temasek Holdings TEM.UL and Qatar's sovereign wealth fund have all committed to invest, although the exact amount of each stake has yet to be determined.

M&M sets up JV for armoured vehicles

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), along with its subsidary Mahindra Overseas Investment Company Mauritius Limited (MOICML), Arabia Holdings and Ras Al- Khaimah Transport Investments LLC, have entered into a joint venture for armouring of vehicles. The joint venture is to cater to markets including West and Central Asia as well as Africa.

According to a filing on the BSE on Thursday, M&M said, “The JV would launch a number of Mahindra Defence Systems’ armoured vehicles such as the Marksman, the up armoured Scorpio, and cash in transit van, which have been successfully launched in India.”

The low cost manufacturing in the free zones of Ras Al-Khaimah in UAE and its proximity to GCC countries, African and Central Asian sub-continents was the reason M&M based its JV there.

Qatar fund set to buy Canary Wharf -paper | Reuters

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is set to take over Songbird Estates (SBDE.L), owner and manager of much of Canary Wharf, as the Gulf state expands its growing London property portfolio, the Times reported on Friday.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) plans to spend more than $700 million to buy the 76 percent of Songbird it does not already own, the paper said. Songbird's two top shareholders are currently Qatar and China's wealth funds.

QIA is one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds with an estimated $60 billion or more in assets under management.

Saudi group faces $720m forex claim

Trowers & Hamlins, the UK and Dubai-based law firm, on Thursday said it had filed a $720m foreign exchange claim against Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB), a prominent Saudi business that is locked in a bitter multibillion-dollar dispute with a rival company.

The claim was filed with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (Sama), the kingdom’s central bank, and relates to money AHAB owes The International Banking Corporation (TIBC), a Bahrain-based bank the Saudi company owns.

Trowers & Hamlins, which was appointed TIBC’s administrator after the bank defaulted on some of its bank debt last summer, said the claim formed part of a wider asset realisation programme being implemented on behalf of Bahrain’s central bank and in the interests of TIBC’s creditors.

Probe fears undermine Dubai’s ISS sale

For the second time in four years, a deal involving Dubai and ports has run into difficulty.

In 2006, a political backlash in Washington forced Dubai Ports World to sell six US ports that the government-controlled group bought as part of its takeover of P&O, amid concerns about the security risk of a Middle Eastern buyer.

Now it appears another deal has been thrown into doubt after bidders for Inchcape Shipping Services withdrew their interest after learning of an investigation they believe the US Department of Justice is conducting into the port and shipping agent being auctioned by state-owned conglomerate Dubai World.