Wednesday, 7 July 2010
J Sainsbury PLC (SBRY.LN) Wednesday declined to comment on speculation that minority shareholder Qatar Investment Authority, or QIA, is preparing a bid of around 500 pence a share for the U.K. supermarket group.
"We do not comment on rumour and speculation," a spokesman for the grocer said. The QIA was immediately unavailable for comment.
Royal Bank of Scotland analysts downplayed the speculation. "Who knows (apart from the QIA and its advisers) is the real answer. This speculation seems to come every three to six months. It moves the share price up 5% and then over the next few days when no bid materializes, the shares come off again," analyst Justin Scarborough said.
Bin Muhanna Holding Group and AAJ Holdings Co. said they lost a ruling over ownership of Oman’s Blue City, a stalled $20 billion real estate project.
Oman’s Supreme Court ruled last week that Cyclone LLC owns 70 percent of Blue City, Najeeb Al-Noaimi, chairman of Bin Muhanna, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Qatar-based Bin Muhanna and Bahrain’s AAJ are now reviewing their legal options, Al-Noaimi said. Othman Janahi, an AAJ board member, confirmed the decision.
The ruling is part of a three-year legal battle for control of a project that’s central to Oman’s economic transformation. Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, the minister of culture and heritage and a member of the royal family, owns 50 percent of Cyclone.
The US Department of Justice has asked BP for advance notice of any planned asset sale or deal involving significant cash transfers as the British oil company seeks to raise funds to shore up its balance sheet.
The request underlines how closely the Obama administration is watching BP’s every move and its interest in ensuring the company remains a going concern in the wake of the oil rig explosion that killed 11 people and continues to spew thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day.
BP said on Tuesday night that it had not agreed or responded to a June 23 written request by Tony West, assistant US attorney general, for BP to alert the DoJ of any plans that might impact the future of the company, including corporate restructuring, asset sales, or joint ventures.
BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said he was visiting Abu Dhabi for a few days and declined to comment on whether he is seeking support from Middle Eastern investors or shareholders.
“I’m just visiting,” Hayward said in an interview in Abu Dhabi today. “I’m here for a couple of days.”
Sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East are reportedly interested in buying BP stock after it dropped by half since the start of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst in U.S. history. Hayward last month pledged to set aside $20 billion for spill victims and cleanup. To pay for it, the company canceled three quarters of dividends and planned to sell assets across the globe.
A financing squeeze is expected to hinder plans for further consolidation in Dubai’s property industry, experts say.
There was widespread speculation at the start of the market downturn that the number of mergers would greatly increase to create more resilient entities.
But while there has been consolidation between companies owned by the one parent, such as Dubai World’s Nakheel and Limitless, few mergers of independent developers have occurred.
HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd. ran the best-performing sukuk fund in the past year as it bought Persian Gulf debt after prices tumbled.
Malaysia’s HwangDBS Aiiman Global Sukuk Fund returned 28 percent, beating the 5 percent median return for 67 funds tracked by Bloomberg that invest in Islamic bonds. Holdings of the fund include sukuk, or debt that complies with the religion’s ban on interest, sold by an entity of Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates. It also held Shariah-compliant notes in Bahrain.
The fund snapped up debt as investors shunned Middle Eastern bonds after property prices slumped and forced Dubai World to warn investors that it may default. HwangDBS bought before one of the U.A.E.’s three main business group agreed in May to restructure $23.5 billion in obligations, helping the Dow Jones Citigroup Sukuk Index extend a rally from a low reached in December 2009.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) Hopes to make Saudi Arabia a manufacturing hub in the Islamic world as the company seeks to build its revenue from last year’s total of $3 billion.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is focused on building its Saudi investments in manufacturing, job creation and energy development, said Akram Hamad in an interview with Bloomberg. “By 2013, Saudi Arabia will be the manufacturing hub for GE in the Islamic bloc,” he said.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and other U.S. companies are hoping to expand in the region’s largest economy as Saudi Arabia is implementing a $400 billion stimulus package to boost economic growth and build out its infrastructure. Saudi Arabia’s stimulus package is the largest out of the G20 in terms of its GDP.
The investment arm of the Dubai International Financial Centre is suing its former managing director for the return of $1.2m (€950,000, £792,000) in “unlawful” bonuses, according to court documents.
The allegations provide a rare insight into an official anti-corruption campaign and include details of the claims against Omar bin Sulaiman, the former governor of the DIFC, whose detention in March caused a scandal at the tax-free financial hub. DIFC Investments made the allegations in a defence and counterclaim to a breach of employment case brought in April by Bisher Barazi, the former managing director who resigned last December after his repeated requests for payment from the financial centre went unheeded.
In the court document, the DIFCI claims Mr Barazi conspired with Mr bin Sulaiman in early 2008 unlawfully to authorise “investment bonuses” of $1.2m and $3.3m respectively. The DIFCI claims that the bonuses were authorised after Mr Barazi misrepresented that DIFCI had made an income of Dh60m ($16.3m, €12.9m, £10.8m) in 2007. He deliberately failed to disclose financial statements showing that the investment arm had made a net loss of Dh80m that year, according to the document.