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Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dubai tops most rooms in construction phase; hotel sector MENA « Nomad Urbanista in Dubai

The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprises 455 hotels totalling 126,310 rooms, according to the June 2010 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report released this week.

Among the countries in the region, the United Arab Emirates accounted for nearly 50 percent of total rooms in the total active pipeline for the region. The country ended the month with 54,814 rooms in the total active pipeline. UAE also reported the most rooms in the In Construction phase with 29,292 rooms. Saudi Arabia reported 16,680 rooms in the total active pipeline, followed by Egypt (7,332 rooms) and Morocco (6,047 rooms).

Among the key markets in the region, Dubai, UAE, ended the month with the most rooms in the total active pipeline (32,224) and the most rooms in the In Construction phase (16,768). Abu Dhabi, UAE, followed with 14,456 rooms in the total active pipeline and 8,479 rooms in the In Construction phase.

Etisalat Second-Quarter Profit Declines 21% on World Economic Conditions - Bloomberg

Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the United Arab Emirates’ biggest phone company, said second- quarter profit dropped 21 percent as it competes with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. for the local phone market.

Net income fell to 1.9 billion dirhams ($520 million), from 2.4 billion dirhams a year earlier, the Abu Dhabi-based company known as Etisalat said in an e-mailed statement today. That fell short of the 2.025 billion dirhams median estimate of four analysts. Revenue remained unchanged at 8.1 billion dirhams.

“Etisalat has followed a powerful strategy to offset the potential impact of today’s global economic conditions which continue to affect the results of companies around the world,” Etisalat Chairman Mohammad Omran said in the statement. “We have seized opportunities to stand strong and have faced all the challenges and continue to achieve exceptional results.”

Bahrain Sees Slow Recovery for Banks as Property Prices Weigh on Lending - Bloomberg

Bahrain’s Economic Development Board said the recovery of the financial industry, which contributes about a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, is likely to be slow as low property prices weigh on lending.

“The EDB expects the finance sector to recover only slowly from the downturn,” the government’s advisory group said in its annual report. “Given the outlook for property, wholesale banking is unlikely to expand for some time, and Islamic banking will be more constrained than expected.”

Bahrain, the smallest of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states, halted about $13 billion of projects last year as the global financial crisis sapped demand for real estate and prices fell across the Gulf. Economic growth slowed to 3.1 percent in 2009 and public debt rose to 24.2 percent of GDP in the first quarter, from 17.4 percent in the earlier three months.

Etisalat Announces H1 2010 Financial Results

Etisalat today announced its consolidated financial results for the first six months of the year 2010, Growth of 2% in Etisalat net consolidated revenues to reach AED 16 billion compared to AED 15.7 billion recorded during the same period in 2009. Etisalat recorded net profit of AED 3.9. billion for the group compared to AED 4.6 billion recorded during the same period in 2009.

Net assets also increased by 2.5% to reach AED 41.4 billion compared to AED 40.4 billion recorded last year. Earnings per share have reached AED 0.49 during the first half of year 2010.

In the second quarter, Etisalat's Net Revenues were AED 8.1 billion and Net Profits were AED 1.9 billion compared to AED 8.1 billion and AED 2.4 billion in the same period last year.

Israel Shares Lead Middle East Lower on Global Growth Concern; Egypt Falls - Bloomberg

Israel’s benchmark stock index fell the most in more than a week, leading a decline in Middle East markets, as a drop in U.S. consumer confidence and a slowdown in China spurred concern the global economic recovery is faltering.

Israel’s TA-25 Index decreased 1.5 percent, the most since July 7, to 1,095.21 at 2:33 p.m. in Tel Aviv. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, led the decline after a U.S. court denied its motion to overturn an April 23 jury verdict on the validity of a patent for a heartburn drug. Israel Chemicals Ltd., which extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer, lost 1.2 percent. In North Africa, Egypt’s EGX30 Index lost the most in almost a week, dropping 1.2 percent.

“The local market is down following the big drops overseas on Friday,” said Yaron Fridman, equity strategist at Bank Hapoalim Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “Investors are wary of the moves in the U.S.”

Dubai Developers Face Refinancing Risk, Fitch Says - BusinessWeek

Dubai’s property companies may face significant refinancing risks as the emirate’s real estate market will likely remain under pressure until at least 2012- 2013, Fitch Ratings said.

The property industry “is likely to see a period of stagnant growth at best and a double-dip contraction at worst,” Bashar al-Natoor, director at Fitch’s Europe Middle East Africa corporates team wrote in a note e-mailed today.

Property prices in Dubai fell by 55 percent since mid-2008 mainly because of the financial crisis, prompting some foreign homeowners to stop paying off mortgages and leave the country. Some analysts expect property prices to dip another 20 percent to 40 percent. Developers such as Union Properties PJSC are trying to sell assets to pay debts and complete projects.

UAE's Aabar to raise minority buyout price | Reuters

UAE government officials have told Aabar Investments AABAR.AD to raise its buyout offer to minority shareholders by over a third after the Abu Dhabi company angered investors with a lowball bid.

Aabar, controlled by government investment vehicle International Petroleum Investment Corp (IPIC), must increase the price to 1.95 dirhams per share from the 1.45 announced last week, the United Arab Emirates' bourse watchdog said in a statement on Sunday, citing the ruling of a panel that included officials from the UAE economy ministry.

The announcement from the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority (ESCA) sent Aabar's share price up 9.7 percent to 1.59 dirhams, near the 10 percent limit on daily share movements, and drew renewed criticism from an investment community already angry that the initial offer was so low.

WHAT Kuwaiti Stock Exchange? « Alpha Dinar- talking GCC finance

Of the 227 listed companies in the Kuwait Stock Exchange, 94 are currently trading at/below their 100 fils PAR value! This translates into a whopping 40% of all companies. Something is deemed to be done; Companies should either recapitalize or get “the boot.” In addition to all this “fungus” (Al-Qabas articulately uses this term!) created by the ailing companies, we have not much to offer. The banks have no projects to finance and no real worthy private sector to extend credit to. Their exposure to prone-to-fail companies and a real-estate bubble are alarming. As far as operational companies, the ”beautiful world” of Zain was sold and so was the company’s future expansion. Doesn’t that remind you of another company? Does Wataniya Telecom ring a bell? Many investors were hoping Agility would be the light at the end of the tunnel, but the US government’s contract dispute crippled the company. What’s left? Nothing much. A bunch of derivative plays on the Kuwait Stock Exchange heavyweight companies. What happens to derivative plays when the underlying collapses? They explode.

Nevertheless, there is still hope that we, the next generation, will force change.

UPDATE 1-UAE watchdog asks for higher Aabar buyback price | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar Investments (AABAR.AD: Quote) should raise the buyback price it pays minority shareholders to 1.95 dirhams per share from 1.45 previously, the United Arab Emirates' bourse watchdog said on Sunday.

The move follows complaints from shareholders that the initial price was too low. Aabar shares jumped 9.7 percent to 1.59 dirhams in early trading on the Abu Dhabi bourse. On July 12, a committee including Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority (ESCA) and the ministry of the economy met with Aabar to come up with a proposal for its buyback plan.

It asked Aabar to raise the offer price and to change the period in which it is open to July 20-Aug. 5 from July 12-Aug. 1, the watchdog's statement said.

Massive 777 order for Boeing coming at the Farnborough Air Show, but it won't be new revenue | Seattle Times Newspaper

Boeing will make headlines at the Farnborough Air Show with a giant order of 777s from Dubai flag carrier Emirates, according to a person familiar with the details.

That's huge news for Emirates. But for Boeing, it won't truly be new revenue.

Similar to the deal Airbus got at the Berlin Air Show last month, this order is a replacement for a 2007 order from airplane leasing company DAE Capital -- led by CEO Bob Genise, formerly of Bellevue-based aircraft lessors Boullioun Aviation Services.

Dubai World's £9.4bn debt repayment plan to get green light from banks - Business News, Business - The Independent

The big four accountant KPMG is expected to give the all-clear this week to plans by state-controlled conglomerate Dubai World to repay the $14.4bn (£9.4bn) it owes banks.

KPMG is advising the banks, headed by Royal Bank of Scotland, on how to get their money back. Dubai World's advisers will present their latest repayment proposals, which will take eight years to complete, on Thursday.

This will include the sale of assets owned by the conglomerate's investment arm, Istithmar World, over the next five years. These include US department store chain Barneys and entertainment company Cirque du Soleil.

gulfnews : Saudi Arabia steams ahead with 47 IPO issues

Saudi Arabia will continue to lead a recovery in the number of new share issues in the Middle East and North Africa this year as economies pick up pace after the 2008-2009 slump.

"Though the number of IPOs [initial public offerings] increased in 2009, the size of the issues declined significantly," said Shailesh Dash, founder of Al Masah Capital.

"We expect this trend to continue till late 2010. Saudi Arabia is expected to witness the highest number of issues," Dash said in an emailed response to Gulf News.

Qatari contractor on the prowl |

Qatar’s home-grown Black Cat Engineering and Construction has been grabbing headlines for all the right reasons.

The company, which began with a small office in Doha and a single portacabin site office in the Dukhan oil and gas field, is today stamping its mark upon many of Qatar’s most ambitious upstream and energy related projects.

The company’s evolution into Qatar’s largest EPIC and maintenance contractor for the upstream oil and gas industry has coincided with quite unparalleled activity in the small Gulf state. Today the company claims a manpower base of over 2500 men and anticipated annual turnover just shy of the US $100 million mark.

Waitrose takes on the world - Telegraph

When Wallace Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor opened their first shop in Acton Hill, West London, in 1904, they were simply aiming to be honest grocers, eschewing unscrupulous practices of the time, such as adding chalk to flour and fixing scales.

Waite, Rose & Taylor instead marketed itself on wholesome food, hygienic conditions and value for money. Some 106 years on, their creation, Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership since 1937, is the darling of middle England and the envy of British food retailers.

In the first week of July, total sales grew by 13pc. That was buoyed by new store openings but even on the retail industry's preferred measure, like-for-like sales, the upswing was 7pc.