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Friday, 30 July 2010

Oaktree Files Objection to Dubai Intenational Plan to Restructure Almatis - Bloomberg

Oaktree Capital Management LLC filed an objection to a debt restructuring plan for German alumina- products maker Almatis as it wrestles for control of the company, according to court documents.

The proposal from shareholder Dubai International Capital LLC “will saddle the business with too much debt and excessive cash interest charges,” Los Angeles-based Oaktree said in the filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday. It “raises questions not only about the debtors’ long-term viability, but the feasibility of the plan in the short-term as well.”

Oaktree, Almatis’s largest senior lender, also said it started talks with the company for a revised restructuring proposal that would cut its debt to a “significantly lower level” and provide junior lenders with better recoveries."

Dubai: Is that the exit door?

You would forgive UK firms for clambering over each other to escape from Dubai at the moment, yet Hopkins and WSP have vowed to keep their offices open. So do they know something other companies don’t?

Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Hopkins Architects pledged to keep its Dubai office open last week, despite an increasingly nasty legal imbroglio with a major developer there, Dubai Properties. WSP, which made a loss of £2.4m on a turnover of £49m for its Middle East and North Africa business in 2009 and has minimal work in Dubai, is also retaining its office of more than 30 people in the emirate. In light of the rough time they are having, you can’t help wondering what is detaining them.

The decision to stay seems even stranger when you look at some of the ominous signs coming from the wider region. Qatar and Abu Dhabi, the two markets that were touted as the great hopes for UK firms after the Dubai crash, have been slowing down. The building industry in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region - comprising Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE - shrunk by 2.2% during the final quarter of 2009. So are Hopkins and WSP doing the right thing, or is now the time to leave?

Abu Dhabi checks its stride - The National Newspaper

Abu Dhabi is reassessing some goals in its 2030 Economic Vision, acknowledging slower economic and population growth due to the fallout of the global economic crisis. The reassessment, outlined in the prospectus of a government-guaranteed bond, reflects a series of modifications to plans by Abu Dhabi insitutions over the past two years.

The changes mainly involve delaying or adapting infrastructure projects to match new economic realities, but officials stress that the overall outlines of the 2030 plan remain intact. They also note that the plan was designed to be updated regularly according to macroeconomic conditions.

“As a result of the global financial crisis and its impact on Abu Dhabi’s economy in 2009, a reassessment of certain goals set out in the 2030 Economic Vision, including in particular the planned GDP growth and the population assumptions underlying the 2030 Economic Vision, is being undertaken,” says the prospectus. The document was distributed to investors this month in connection with a $1.5bn bond issued by Waha Aerospace."

Ahab Case Shouldn't Be in U.S., Judge Says -

A state judge threw out several lawsuits Thursday related to a continuing dispute between Saudi conglomerate Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers Co. and Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea.

New York Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe III said three lawsuits, including two by United Arab Emirates-based bank Mashreqbank against Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers and its general partners, should be litigated outside the United States and not in New York.

"The U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates) is the more appropriate forum for determination of the primary actions, and they will be decided in the case that Mashreqbank has already commenced there," the judge said. "Ahab can decide whether it prefers to bring its third-party action in the U.A.E. as well, or to seek redress in Saudia Arabia."

Ahmed Hamad Al Gosaibi & Brothers, or Ahab, sued Mr. Sanea in New York last year alleging he misappropriated about $10 billion. Mr. Sanea strongly denies those allegations.

Ahab filed its suit against Mr. Sanea after Mashreqbank sued Ahab in New York state court, claiming it is owed $150 million by Ahab.

"We are pleased with the court's ruling and, in particular, with its recognition that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the better forum for the resolution of the parties' differences," said Robert Serio, a lawyer for Mr. Sanea.

A lawyer for Ahab didn't immediately respond to a request for comment late Thursday night. In a statement, Mashreqbank said its claims "remain indisputable and we will continue to aggressively pursue those claims in the U.A.E. courts."

Iran Air Plans Share Sale to Finance Growth, Fleet Upgrade Amid Sanctions - Bloomberg

Iran Air, the state-owned flag carrier, plans to sell its first shares to the public and buy as many as 100 new aircraft to expand in the face of tighter international sanctions, the company’s chairman said.

Iran Air is seeking to modernize its aging fleet of foreign-built jetliners, which it operates amid political obstacles to the purchase of new planes and spare parts from European suppliers including Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS, Chairman Farhad Parvaresh said.

“Our company will be going into the Tehran Stock Exchange,” Parvaresh said in his first interview with foreign media since his appointment as head of the company last October. “We are creating the conditions for this. Whether that will be 100 percent, 70 percent, 60 percent, we are working on this.” He said it was too early to give a timeframe for the IPO."

Sukuk's Best Month in Four Signals More Gains on Inflows: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Islamic bonds gained at half the pace of emerging-market debt in July. Fund managers say they may make up the lost ground as funds flow into developing nations and Dubai Worldrestructures debt.

“As sentiment toward emerging markets improves globally and default risks wane, Islamic debt will stand to benefit,” said Usman Ahmed, a senior fund manager in Dubai at Emirates NBD Asset Management, which manages $300 million of bonds at the unit of the United Arab Emirates’ biggest lender. “The sukuk market is benefitting from the increased demand, and improved earnings at some of the biggest issuers.”

Global bonds that comply with Shariah law gained 2.1 percent, double the return in June and the most since a 4.1 percent advance in March, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Diversified Index, which tracks debt from 46 emerging-market countries, climbed 3.9 percent."

BBC News - Iran trade sanctions hit Dubai port

Back to the days when the city was little more than a trading port of pearls, spices and gold, long before it struck oil and thus changed beyond recognition.

Today, in this noisy corner of the city, little has changed.

Along the chaotic quayside there are hundreds of traditional, wooden dhows. Some sit low in the water, packed heavily with boxes and crates."