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Friday, 8 October 2010

Alliance Medical Hires New CEO to Accelerate Debt Restructuring - Bloomberg

Alliance Medical Ltd., the U.K. medical imaging company owned by private equity firm Dubai International Capital LLC, hired Philippe Houssiau as chief executive officer as it seeks to restructure debt.

Houssiau replaces Alan Pilgrim, who left Alliance Medical in August. He was previously CEO of Telegentis NV, a Belgium- based IT service provider for the healthcare industry, and head of the healthcare unit of AGFA-Gevaert NV, a Belgium maker of radiology systems.

Houssiau, who joined Oct. 1, is meeting with investors before the expiry of a debt standstill agreement in November. Loan holders agreed to not enforce debt covenants since May to give Warwickshire, England-based Alliance time to reach an agreement. Alliance Medical owes a total 555 million pounds ($880 million), including 140 million pounds to junior lenders.

Abu Dhabi bags big Barclays profit - Maktoob Business

The main Middle East investor who pumped billions of pounds into Barclays Plc effectively sold a chunk more shares, giving him a profit of over $3 billion on the deal and sending the British bank's shares lower.

The sale came as concern mounted that income at Barclays Capital (BarCap), the investment bank arm, will fall short of expectations for the third quarter and possibly next year.

A vehicle of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, owner of English soccer team Manchester City, exercised 131.6 million warrants in Barclays, equivalent to a 1.1 percent stake, and simultaneously entered into a hedging arrangement with Nomura, it said in a statement after Thursday's UK stock market close.

Mubadala, Malaysia 1MDB plan $7 bln project, UAE Investment Companies, Banking & Investment - Maktoob Business

Abu Dhabi investment body Mubadala plans to invest some $7 billion in Malaysia's aluminium sector and help develop Kuala Lumpur's new financial district, a statement said on Friday.

The agreements, signed in Malaysia with government development body 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), involve a strategic partnership for the aluminium sector at the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

"The two state-owned companies are starting preliminary assessment work on the project, which will create more than 10,000 jobs during construction and another 2,000 specialist jobs," the joint statement said.

Malaysian Sukuk Yields Drop on Second-Best Asian Currency: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Islamic bonds in Malaysia are luring global investors seeking to profit from Asia’s second-best performing emerging-market currency, driving yields to lows.

The 5.9 percent Shariah-compliant notes maturing in December 2016 issued by Binariang GSM Sdn., owner of Malaysia’s largest mobile-phone operator, returned 10.4 percent so far this year, according to exchange operator Bursa Malaysia Bhd. The yield dropped seven basis points to 4.47 percent yesterday, the lowest since the debt was sold in December 2007. Malaysia’s 3.928 percent dollar-denominated sukuk due June 2015 returned 8 percent, prices from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc show.

Emerging markets will draw funds from abroad as developed nations pump cash into their slowing economies, increasing funds available to invest in higher-yielding assets, according to Bahrain Islamic Bank in Manama, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Bhd. and Credit Suisse Securities (Malaysia) Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. The ringgit has rallied 10 percent this year against the dollar, the best advance after the Thai baht among the 10 most-active currencies in Asia outside of Japan.

Nakheel is ordered to pay costs in $13m claim

The Dubai World Tribunal heard its biggest case yesterday as Nakheel was accused by a contractor of withholding payments in a Dh49 million (US$13.3m) claim. The Palm islands developer suffered an early setback when it was ordered to pay the legal costs of the claimant, Construction Delivery Group (CDG). The judge made the award after deciding Nakheel had failed to comply with legal procedures of a tribunal that was established to handle claims against the developer's parent company Dubai World.

Sir Anthony Evans, the tribunal chairman, warned the developer's representatives, Dalmook Mohammed Dalmook, that it was the responsibility of lawyers to be familiar with the rules of the court. "I have no doubt that this situation has come about because of the defendant's representatives failure to become familiar with the rules and to comply with them," said Sir Anthony. The hearing at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts yesterday was only the first stage in a legal case filed by CDG claiming unpaid bills for managing more than 1,200 homes on the Nakheel-developed Palm Jumeirah. CDG had a facilities management contract but alleges it was not paid between 2008 and this year.

It is the biggest claim heard at the tribunal, where 17 cases have been filed so far, together worth more than $53.8m. The tribunal was set up in December last year after a ruling by the Dubai Government to handle disputes and hear claims arising from Dubai World's restructuring. Nakheel has been hit with claims after a slowdown in Dubai's property market triggered by the global financial crisis led to delays and cancellations in the developer's pipeline of projects.

GCC countries pledge to enhance accountability and transparency standards -

As part of its launch at the United Nations last week, the Pearl Initiative, a private sector-led program in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships aimed at improving corporate governance, accountability, and smart CSR practices in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), joined the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit through the participation of Badr Jafar, Executive Director of the Crescent Petroleum Group, and co-founder of the Pearl Initiative.

This platform heralds a new era of cooperation between companies, NGOs, international organizations and governments in confronting and tackling today’s issues. Both the Pearl Initiative and the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit aim to address the opportunities and challenges of globalization and to contribute positively to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

During the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit, Mr. Jafar said, “This summit has been an excellent opportunity to bring together some of the world’s most creative thinkers, from the private and public sectors including heads of state from over ten countries and from different industries across the globe.”

NASDAQ Dubai equities trading value jumps 31% to US$948 million in first nine months of 2010 -

The value of equities traded on NASDAQ Dubai increased by 31% in the first nine months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, from US$722 million to US$948 million.

Volume fell by 13% from 2.32 billion shares to 2.02 billion. For both value and volume, this was the strongest performance by any UAE stock exchange over the nine-month period, measured by percentage change.

NASDAQ Dubai outsourced its trading, settlement, clearing and custody functions for equities to Dubai Financial Market on July 11, 2010, as part of a strategy to increase trading of its equities by individual investors and bring them together in one liquidity pool with institutional investors.

Dubai's DIFC seeks buyer for SmartStream -sources | Reuters

The investment arm of the group that operates Dubai's tax-free business hub is seeking to sell financial software company SmartStream Technologies, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

DIFC Investments, an arm of Dubai's International Financial Centre (DIFC), has hired UBS to help sell SmartStream, the people added.

SmartStream helps investment banks and fund managers with the back and middle-office processing of stock, bond and derivative trades. It says its clients include three-quarters of the world's top 100 banks."

U.K. Gas to Fall From Double U.S. Price on Qatari Exports: Energy Markets - Bloomberg

U.K. natural gas may be poised to lose its biggest premium in 19 months against New York-traded supplies as Qatar begins projects to export liquefied fuel.

The Middle East emirate, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas producer, said Oct. 6 it plans to start two plants by February, boosting export capacity by 15.6 million metric tons, or about 25 percent of annual U.K. consumption. Qatar also restarted as many as six units that were shut earlier this year for maintenance amid a glut of the fuel.

The premium of front-month gas on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange relative to contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose to $3.77 per million British thermal units yesterday, its widest level since Feb. 9, 2009, amid record demand for U.K. fuel supplies from European buyers. The average difference this year has been $1.33 per million Btu.

FT Alphaville � Updating the US foreclosure scandal

As the foreclosure scandal in the US continues to expand, it’s becoming more and more clear that it will have ramifications well beyond problems for a few large banks and the so-called robo-signers.

The Washington Post digs a little deeper on Thursday (emphasis ours):

The court decisions, should they continue to spread, could call into doubt the ownership of mortgages throughout the country, raising urgent challenges for both the real estate market and the wider financial system. …

For big banks, “there’s a possible nightmare scenario here that no foreclosure is valid,” said Nancy Bush, a banking analyst from NAB Research. If millions of foreclosures past and present were invalidated because of the way the hurried securitization process muddied the chain of ownership, banks could face lawsuits from homeowners and from investors who bought stakes in the mortgage securities – an expensive and potentially crippling proposition.

For the fragile housing market, already clogged with foreclosure cases, it could mean gridlock and confusion for years. And there is concern in Washington that if the real estate market and financial institutions suffer harm, it could force the government to step in again. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday he is looking into the allegations of improper foreclosures, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, said he plans to hold hearings on the issue.