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Friday, 22 October 2010

Bulgaria: Dubai-based Oger Telecom Takes over Bulgaria's Vivacom - Report - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

Dubai-based Oger Telecom will take over the management of Bulgaria's top fixed-line operator Vivacom following negotiations that have dragged on for nearly half a year, according to reports.

Oger Telecom representatives have confirmed for local Dnevnik daily that the company is a side in the lock-up agreement that the major lenders signed on the restructuring options for the debt-laden company with the mezzanine creditors, the most junior lenders in the capital structure.

Under the agreement the mezzanine subordinated non-performing loans, which total EUR 400 M, will be transformed into equity capital of a Dutch-based company, which will be a majority owner in BTC.

Libyan Investment Authority May Sell 2.6% UniCredit Stake, Sole Reports - Bloomberg

The Libyan Investment Authority is considering the sale of its 2.6 percent stake in UniCredit SpA, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported, without saying where it got the information.

The sovereign fund is weighing whether to keep the stake after the bank’s management asked it for further details about its links to Libya’s central bank, which owns about 5 percent of UniCredit, according to the Italian newspaper.

UniCredit restricts voting rights above 5 percent.

FT.com - Growing trade in goods between Gulf Arab states bodes well for the region

Fresh milk and yoghurt produced by Almarai of Saudi Arabia dot the shelves of grocery stores in Dubai, Riyadh and throughout the Gulf Arab states. From a humble start as a single milk processing plant in 1976, Almarai now counts more than 60,000 dairy cows at its facilities in the Saudi desert. The company provides 27 per cent of the region’s milk, 40 per cent of its yoghurt and 44 per cent of the market for laban, a yoghurt drink popular in the Gulf.

Almarai’s growth provides a lesson in how a Middle Eastern company can expand beyond the borders of its base country to create a presence across the region – helped in part by the Gulf Co-operation Council, whose member nations do not pay tariffs when exporting to each other, giving regional trade a competitive edge.

Saudi Arabia’s population of 27m remains Almarai’s largest market, accounting for 70 per cent of the company’s revenue. But the United Arab Emirates is now its second-largest market, at 11 per cent. Every day, Almarai trucks fresh dairy to more than 40,000 customers.

FT.com - Kef Holdings ready for recovery in Sharjah

Sharjah, one of the seven mini-states of the United Arab Emirates, has little oil to speak of itself, but Kef Holdings, based in the emirate’s Hamriyah industrial zone, plays an important part in the Gulf’s hydrocarbon industry.

Kef Holdings started out in 1995 as Emirates Techno Casting, a scrap-metal dealing business, but its industrial foundries now produce pure-steel juggernaut valves, which can weigh up to 45 tons, for the regional oil and gas sector. These valves can cope with the high pressures under the Earth’s surface, and typically make up 8-12 per cent of an energy project’s total costs.

The annual global valve industry is worth roughly $18.5bn, according to estimates by Kef Holdings. For much of the past decade, it was a good business niche in the Gulf. Soaring energy prices spurred vast investments in oil and gas projects as governments tried to build capacity.

Awal Bank BSC Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - BusinessWeek

Awal Bank BSC, a Bahrain lender owned by Saudi Arabian Saad Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York almost 13 months after it sought court protection from U.S. creditors.

The bank listed assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of more than $1 billion in a filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Awal Bank was taken into administration by Bahrain’s central bank in July 2009 after defaulting on loans. U.S. lawyers for the bank said last year that under Bahrain law, Awal’s administrator had two years to decide if the bank should liquidate or be returned to management and shareholders.

Golden Pass LNG Terminal in Texas Receives Its First Cargo - Bloomberg

Golden Pass LNG’s liquefied-natural- gas terminal in Texas received its first cargo of the fuel today.

The LNG tanker Al Khuwair arrived at the terminal from Qatar, according to Clark Vega, a company spokesman. The ship can carry 211,885 cubic meters of LNG, according to Bloomberg vessel-tracking data. The amount would equal about 4.56 billion cubic feet when converted to a gas, The cargo represents about 7.4 percent of daily U.S. gas production.

The terminal, near Sabine Pass, Texas, is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum International, Exxon Mobil Corp., and ConocoPhillips.

Q A-Turkey's ambitions to become a gas hub | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Turkish state oil company TPAO won contracts to develop two gas fields in Iraq, aiding Ankara's ambitions to become an energy bridge between Europe and the Middle East. [ID:nLDE69J0FQ]

Turkey will invest some $3.2 billion to develop the Mansuriyah field near the Iranian border alongside Kuwait Energy Company and South Korea's Kogas (036460.KS: Quote), and the southern Siba field with Kuwait Energy, Turkey's energy minister said.

The winners of Wednesday's auction will have to brave violence and political uncertainty to build infrastructure and pipelines for the gas which Iraq wants used for domestic consumption, but there is potential for export later."

gulfnews : Zain deal is 'great value'

The acquisition price of 1.70 Kuwaiti dinars (Dh22.16) per share that the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, or etisalat, has offered to acquire a 46 per cent stake in Zain offers "great value" to the UAE telecoms firm's shareholders, etisalat's chairman said yesterday.

Mohammad Hassan Omran said he is confident etisalat can obtain the required funding to finance the acquisition, valued at about $11.8 billion. "We have received several attractive proposals from banks that would enable us to finance the transaction," he said in a statement to Gulf News.

Omran said his company is still in the early stages of the deal, on which the due diligence process is yet to commence. Omran said it "will take a number of weeks".

AHL books $60m profit on cinema sale

Entertainment, hospitality and leisure operator Amalgamated Holdings Ltd (AHL) says it booked a profit of $60.6 million on the sale of its 49 per cent share of MAF Greater Union LLC in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

AHL overnight sold its share of the joint venture to its UAE partner Majid Al Futtaim Group for $78.7 million.

The listed operator also says global market conditions remain uncertain, but is well positioned to capitalise on improvements in the hotel market.

FT Alphaville � On SWFs and private money

A couple of items to note for the Sovereign Wealth Fund trend-watchers out there.

First, a milestone of sorts. The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute just reported that SWF assets have crossed the $4,000bn mark, put over the top by the latest updatefrom Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global. With the caveat that these estimates are bound to be somewhat imprecise, you can click here to see the updated rankings.

Second, from a new report by the Monitor Group, a summary of what these funds were doing in the first half of 2010, such as:

– investing more frequently but in smaller amounts
– cautiously returning to investments in North America
– diversifying further into natural resources and energy
– looking increasingly towards frontier markets
– Chinese and Singaporean funds remain the most active

The report contains a lot of detail and some wonderful chart porn if you want to dig deeper, but far more interesting to us is a discussion near the end of the paper about the reasons certain SWFs are increasingly raising funds from private markets.

A few recent examples:

FT Alphaville � A matter of (not having any) trust


Your chart du jour:
It shows the findings of the latest quarterly Financial Trust Index from professors at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University business schools. The index found that “trust in the financial system dropped to 25 percent in September from 26 percent in July 2010, the Index’s all-time high.” (The index is only about two years old.)
Not that Americans love the banking sector, they just dislike Dodd-Frank even more:
In what was one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation enacted since the Great Depression, only 12 percent of respondents declared they were satisfied with the Dodd-Frank Bill while 54 percent of Americans were dissatisfied. Two-thirds of respondents believe it is insufficient to protect against future bailouts. The majority of Republicans (80 percent) are dissatisfied with the bill, as are Independents (54 percent). The level of those “satisfied” and “very satisfied” is low even among Democrats (35 percent).
The origins of the overwhelming dissatisfaction with the bill were examined using two questions related to its key provisions: the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) and the new regulation of banks enacted to prevent future bailouts. The responses suggest that the Dodd-Frank Bill failed to convince American voters of its utility on both dimensions and found that only 34 percent of respondents think that the CFPA is a “useful agency to protect consumers.” The majority of the opposition stems from the perception that the CFPA is “useless bureaucracy” (27 percent) and “overreaching of government power” (25 percent).