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Monday, 26 July 2010

Abu Dhabi aims to do more for local start-ups

Generic photographs of the seafront of Abu Dhabi
Creating work for young people in the region is one of the goals of SME support- Jun-23

When Mansoor al-Tamimi left his job at a government-affiliated company three years ago to set up a business offering marine services to Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry, the response from local banks was underwhelming.

“Unfortunately the banking system, when we started, was not very much into industrial projects,” he says. “We talked to banks, but they were more interested in financing real estate.”

Mr Tamimi, chief executive of Emirates International Energy Services, had run into the problem facing start-ups everywhere – accessing capital and support from banks skewed towards larger, established companies.

Turkey focuses on its backyard

Paul Doany recalls that before his boss, the billionaire and former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was assassinated in 2005, he had recommended his companies invest in Turkey, which he had spotted as a future success story.

That year, Oger Telecom, a Hariri company, paid $6.6bn for a majority stake in Turk Telekom. Two years later, BankMed, another company in which the Hariri family was the big shareholder, teamed with Jordan’s Arab Bank to acquire a 91 per cent stake in Turkey’s MNG Bank. “As a market for Middle East investors, Turkey started to be taken seriously in 2005,” says Mr Doany, chief executive of Turk Telecom. And for good reason. After the spectacular crash of 2001, economic growth rates were high, runaway inflation had been tamed and, more important for Arab investors sensitive to currency exchange risks, the lira had stabilised.

As Turkey has expanded its influence in the Middle East , with an energetic foreign policy that has rattled western allies and surprised traditional heavyweights in the region, policymakers and analysts have been probing with growing curiosity the perceived shift to the east.

UAE: BlackBerrys won’t be picked on (yet) | beyondbrics |

Good news for businessmen in the United Arab Emirates: your BlackBerrys are a little closer to safety.

On Sunday the country’s telecoms regulator warned that the smartphones currently operate “beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation”. Today it rowed back, claiming to have no plans to introduce a ban.

In an interview with Al Arabiyah, a Dubai-based news channel, an official at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that the UAE is “studying all options to regulate the services…but we don’t have plans to stop them.”

Nakheel proposes 7 yrs to repay Islamic loan, UAE Developers, Real Estate - Maktoob Business

"Nakheel, the property developer behind Dubai's palm-shaped islands, has proposed repaying its bank debt after five years and one outstanding $1.85 billion syndicated Islamic loan after seven, a source close to the company said.

Bankers have until the end of August to respond to undisclosed terms of Nakheel's multi-billion dollar restructuring plan, including the rates of interest and repayment schedules for syndicated and bilateral loans.

The source said under the plan, repayment of Nakheel's $1.85 billion Islamic loan, due 2012, would take seven years while all other bank lending debt would be paid after five years."

Kuwait's Gulf Bank Reports Second-Quarter Profit After Sale of Investments - Bloomberg

Kuwait's Gulf Bank Reports Second-Quarter Profit After Sale of Investments - Bloomberg: "Gulf Bank KSC reported a second- quarter profit after a loss in the year-earlier period as the Kuwaiti lender sold part of its international investment assets.

Net income was 1.5 million dinars ($5 million), according to Bloomberg calculations based on the six-month profit of 2 million dinars provided by the bank in an e-mailed statement today. Gulf Bank reported a loss of 9.1 million dinars in the second quarter of last year, according to Bloomberg data.

“The bank’s provisional requirements up to end of June have been provided for,” Chairman Ali Al-Rashaid Al-Bader said in the statement. “We hope the forthcoming periods will witness an improvement in the net profit, which is, in part, dependent on the economic situation.”"

Emirates NBD Expects Dubai World Deal by September, CEO Says - BusinessWeek

Emirates NBD PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank by assets, expects state-owned Dubai World to reach an agreement on a debt restructuring plan by September, Chief Executive Officer Rick Pudner said in a conference call today.

Emirates NBD is one of the biggest lenders to Dubai World, which is delaying repayment of $14.4 billion debt as part of a restructuring plan.

Dubai Shares Rises After 2-Day Drop as Arabtec Signs Accord; Aramex Gains - Bloomberg

"Dubai shares advanced for the first time in three days as Arabtec Holding PJSC signed a construction accord and Aramex PJSC said profit rose.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index gained 0.2 percent to 1,509.66. Arabtec, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest builder, advanced for the first time this week and Aramex, the Middle East’s biggest courier company, climbed to the highest level in almost four months. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, of 200 shares in the Gulf, increased 0.3 percent at 2:53 p.m. in Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark rose less than 0.1 percent.

“GCC markets are struggling to generate strong catalysts to attract investors,” said Ali Khan, head of cash-equity trading at Dubai-based Arqaam Capital Ltd. Markets rose due to “random price action rather than something specific,” he said."

IIG of Kuwait Defaults on $152.5 Million Payment to Islamic Bondholders - Bloomberg

International Investment Group KSCC said it is unable to pay $152.5 million to sukukholders who demanded immediate repayment after the Kuwaiti finance company defaulted on its $200 million Islamic bond.

International Investment continues to operate its business, the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market today. IIG received approval of its financial statements from the Central Bank of Kuwait, “thereby enabling KPMG to produce a final report which will include an assessment of IIG’s present financial position,” the company said in the statement. IIG can then assess its restructuring options, it added.

In April, IIG became the second Kuwait-based firm in a year to miss a sukuk payment. Investment Dar Co., owner of half of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., missed a payment on a $100 million Islamic bond in May 2009, triggering concern about restructuring laws for such securities.

Malaysian makes offer for Dubai-linked firm, Singapore Retail, Consumer - Maktoob Business

Singapore retailer RSH Limited, controlled by a Dubai-based firm, said on Monday that a company backed by Malaysian businessman Syed Azmin had made a buy-out offer of around S$300 million ($218 million).

Peak Retail Investments is offering S$0.85 per share for all RSH shares, according to a statement.

Peak Retail is incorporated in Singapore and is controlled by businessman Syed Azmin, the brother of Syed Mokhtar, who controls Malaysian construction-to-power group MMC Corp.

In February this year, Dubai's Emaar Properties, which previously had a 30 percent stake in RSH through a joint venture firm with India's MGF Group, had to increase its effective stake to 61.3 percent after it took control of the debt owed by the joint venture firm. The move came after the joint venture firm had defaulted on a loan.

RSH last traded at S$0.60 on March 23.

Emirates NBD Makes No Provisions for Dubai World Debt in Quarterly Results - Bloomberg

Emirates NBD Makes No Provisions for Dubai World Debt in Quarterly Results - Bloomberg: "Emirates NBD PJSC, which reported a 53 percent decline in second-quarter profit, said the debt restructuring at state-owned Dubai World was progressing “satisfactorily” and the bank has not booked any specific provisions for impaired loans to the company until now.

Emirates NBD, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank by assets, is one of the seven biggest lenders to Dubai World and reached a preliminary deal with the holding company to restructure $14.4 billion of bank debt on May 20.

About two-thirds of the loans to Saudi Arabia’s Saad and Algosaibi business groups have been provided for, Emirates NBD said in its second-quarter results presentation today."

Union Properties near to sealing deal to sell Ritz-Carlton hotel - The National Newspaper

Union Properties, Dubai’s third-largest property developer, missed its asking price of Dh1.5 billion (US$408.3 million) in the sale of the Ritz-Carlton, which is to be sealed this week, its chairman says.

The sale is part of the company’s plans to offload assetsand raise cash to pay debts and finish projects.

Khalid bin Kalban said the terms of the deal were still being “exchanged” with a buyer from the UAE, with an official announcement expected this week.

Waha posts steep drop as investment values fall - The National Newspaper

"Waha Capital, the Abu Dhabi-listed investment company, posted a 90 per cent drop in second-quarter profits.

The news came as the value of its investments dropped along with the fortunes of the property and financial sectors in which it invests.

Its net profit dropped to Dh5.9 million (US$1.6m) from Dh59.4m in the same quarter the year earlier, the company said in a statement yesterday on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) website."

Syria says to allow investment banks, Syria Financial Services, Banking & Investment - Maktoob Business

Syria said it would allow investments banks to do business in the country, as the government extends its liberalisaton of the financial sector.

The official news agency said the government had set 20 billion Syrian pounds ($429 million) as the minimum capital at which investment banks could open and would allow the transfer of profits from operations abroad for foreign shareholders and Syrian expatriates.

Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes said earlier this year it planned to set up an operation in Syria, which needs tens of billions of dollars to repair its crumbling infrastructure.

Abu Dhabi feels Dubai chill as Emirate accepts money is scarcer

Abu Dhabi feels Dubai chill as Emirate accepts money is scarcer: "Times have changed for the Alimad Engineering and Contracting Company in Abu Dhabi.

Two years ago, the developer was building everything from 20-story glass towers to luxury villas. It's now shelving projects, the latest a $US12 million contract with a client who has $US2 million and the banks won't give him any more money, said Ziad Ali, whose father founded the company 20 years ago.

'When investors don't get funding, we don't get their business,' Ali, 24, said by telephone from his office."

DLF to buy out Dubai World in JV for Rs 200 cr-News -Real Estate-Markets-The Economic Times

DLF to buy out Dubai World in JV for Rs 200 cr-News -Real Estate-Markets-The Economic Times: "DLF is buying out the property arm of Dubai World, its foreign partner in the 50:50 joint venture to make Bidadi Knowledge City. A wholly-owned arm of DLF will buy out the stake owned by Limitless Group, which is a part of Dubai World, for around Rs 200 crore, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said. Dubai World is the investment vehicle of the Dubai government. When contacted, DLF spokesman declined to comment on the development.

DLF will buy the 50% held by two Limitless Group entities for a price less than the net worth of the shares, as per the deal. The discount would amount to Rs 10 crore for the entire block of shares held by Limitless.

One person with knowledge of the development said Limitless is likely to be paid around $42.8 million, compared with its investment of $50.5 million. Limitless will get less in dollar terms, due to change in forex rates during the past three years. In rupee terms, however, it would be paid almost the same money it had invested."

Dubai Sukuk Wins Investor Confidence as Debt Accord Nears: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Dubai Sukuk Wins Investor Confidence as Debt Accord Nears: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg: "Islamic bonds in Dubai are set to extend this year’s rally as Dubai World predicted it will complete debt restructuring in the “coming months,” said Unicorn Investment Bank BSC and Emirates NBD Asset Management.

The average yield on securities that comply with religious principles sold by Gulf Cooperation Council borrowers dropped four basis points to 7.17 percent on July 23, a day after Dubai World announced the estimated timeframe for renegotiating its debt, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai GCC US Dollar Sukuk Index. The rate reached 8.76 percent on Dec. 11 after Dubai investment companies announced plans to reschedule its obligations in November.

“Most sukuk investors have exposure to Dubai World, so they’re obviously reacting in a positive way,” Nida Raza, senior vice president of capital markets at Bahrain-based Unicorn, said in a telephone interview on July 22 in Manama. “People who were staying away from Dubai government bonds -- both conventional and Islamic -- are going to start buying more and more of it.”"

UAE raises prospect of curbs on BlackBerrys

The United Arab Emirates raised the possibility on Sunday of restricting or monitoring BlackBerry mobile phones, when the country’s regulator said the handsets were not covered by its laws.

Research in Motion’s BlackBerry services, such as e-mail and instant messaging, use internal encrypted networks that are difficult for governments to monitor. This has caused particular concern in nations such as the security-conscious UAE.

The introduction of the BlackBerry predates the passage of the UAE’s safety, emergency and national security legislation in 2007.