Monday, 23 August 2010
The UK oil group, whose reputation is under fire over its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is preparing to drill a first deep-water well in the Gulf of Sirte in the autumn in what will be one of its biggest-ever exploration commitments, in an offshore area that is the size of Belgium.
The company is not alone in targeting the North African country. Most of the world’s oil majors have quietly been tapping into its promise in recent years.
After spooking investors with a calamitous array of defaults and near misses, the Islamic bond market these days is looking less accident prone. So much so that one Kuwaiti research house forecast on Monday that global issuance this year could climb to $30bn.
The research house KFH also highlighted how Islamic bonds are “globalising”, as the stable of issuers broadens beyond the Gulf and Malaysia to unexpected outposts including Japan, and possibly the UK.
The research house says the market is experiencing a “remarkable recovery” from the effects of the global financial crisis, notching up $16.5bn of new issuance in the first half - more than double the amount in the same period last year.
“We are receiving visits from investment banks who are giving us all the options,” Hassan said in an interview at her office in Beirut today. “My team is studying all the offers that we are receiving which include swapping.”
Lebanon has about $893 million in terms of the principal amount of maturing Eurobonds due before the year end and $2.14 billion of principal debt due in 2011. When including interest payments the total redemption would be $1.5 billion for the remaining part of this year and $3.3 billion in 2011.
Al Salam Bank, BBK, Kuwait Finance House, National Bank of Bahrain, and Bahrain Islamic Bank helped arrange the seven-year Ijara facility, according to a joint statement issued by Bahrain Financial and the banks today.
Bahrain Financial used the financing to repay a $134 million sukuk, according to the statement. The balance will be used to settle other obligations and for expansion, it said.
Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) also raised its stake to $6 billion from $2.8 billion, the paper said on Monday without citing sources, signaling Middle East funds took a big slice of the record IPO.
'The Kuwait Investment Authority has decided to increase its stake in the Agricultural Bank of China from $800 million to $1.9 billion...(and) Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) increased its stake from $2.8 billion to $6 billion.' Kuwaiti daily al-Jarida said."
Savola, based in Jeddah, plans to issue 37.6 million preferential shares valued at 376.3 million riyals ($100 million) to pay for the stakes, the company said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website today. Savola said the amount represents 7 percent of its capital.
Savola, which has 113 outlets in Saudi Arabia, expanded its businesses to meet rising demand from a growing population in the Arab world’s biggest economy. In October, the company acquired the Saudi assets of Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA’s Geant superstores from Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co.
Emaar Properties PJSC, builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, gained to the highest in more than two weeks. Drake & Scull International PJSC, an engineering contractor for the real-estate industry, advanced for a fourth day. The DFM General Index gained 0.5 percent to 1,498.92 at 1:15 p.m. in Dubai. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Gulf stocks rose 0.1 percent.
Dubai’s budget deficit this year may be lower than the 2 percent of gross domestic product forecast for 2010, Reuters reported yesterday, citing Dahi Khalfan Tamim, head of the government’s budget committee. Also, the director general of the emirate’s Department of Finance, Abdulrahman al-Saleh, said Dubai is keeping its options open for a sovereign bond sale, and is under no pressure to sell debt this year, Reuters reported.
Although it fell 1.7% last Aramex has been best performer so far this year with a 8.9% return. Deyaar fell 3.2% last week and is down a miserable 48% for the year.
The other day I was chatting with an Iranian friend who has just moved to Britain and had his first encounter with the British tax system. He was wondering: "Do I really have to pay?"
Back in Tehran, they have a kind of council tax, though my friend's family, in common with many others, hasn't paid it for years and the authorities haven't seriously tried to collect it, either.
The nation’s local and foreign-currency debt ratings were downgraded one level to A3, the seventh-highest investment grade ranking, from A2, with a stable outlook, Moody’s said in an e- mailed statement in Dubai today.
“A gradual but significant rise in the breakeven oil price in the Bahraini budget over recent years” and a “relatively modest level of official financial assets has led to a divergence between the government’s fiscal flexibility and that of rating peers,” Moody’s said in the statement.
'The options are open. We are not under pressure to do anything,' Abdulrahman al-Saleh, director general of Dubai's Department of Finance, told Reuters on the sidelines of gathering of Dubai officials."
Issuance of Islamic debt from the Gulf has declined 24 percent to $2.5 billion so far this year, involving sales by three companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Asia’s 29 borrowers, including Malaysia, issued $5.7 billion. The Gulf last outstripped Asian sukuk offerings in 2007.
The slump in sales shows investors have yet to fully regain confidence even as Dubai Worldworks toward restructuring $23.5 billion of debt and global economies recover from the deepest financial crisis since the 1930s. HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, and Mashreq Al Islami bank in Dubai said planned government sales in the Persian Gulf will help revive the market.