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Monday, 15 November 2010

Loehmann's Holdings Files for Bankruptcy in New York - Bloomberg

Loehmann’s Holdings Inc., the Bronx, New York-based seller of discounted designer goods, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it failed to exchange $110 million of senior notes.

“The decline in economic conditions in several markets in which Loehmann’s stores are concentrated, mainly California, the Northeast, Midwest and Florida, has had an adverse effect on Loehmann’s financial condition,” Joseph Melvin, the company’s chief financial officer, said in a filing today with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

Loehmann’s, founded in 1921 by Frieda Loehmann, sells clothes from brands such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan at more than 55 U.S. stores, according to its website. The company last month said that an offer it made to exchange the notes didn’t get enough support and that it wouldn’t make an interest payment on the securities.

Qatar in talks to buy luxury London hotel group - Travel & Hospitality -

Qatar Holding, the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, is in talks to increase its London portfolio with a $1.6bn bid to buy the hotel group behind The Connaught, The Berkeley and Claridge's, it has been reported.

Qatar Holding, which in May paid $2.5bn for London department store Harrods, is understood to be in early negotiations with the Maybourne Hotel Group.

Maybourne, which owns luxury hotel brands The Connaught, The Berkeley and Claridge's, is battling to refinance more than $1bn worth of debt.

Futtaim sees single-digit UAE retail growth, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Consumer spending in the United Arab Emirates has picked up in recent months and retail sales will rise at least 5 percent this year, driven mostly by furniture and car sales, according to a major UAE retailer.

Dubai's retail sector, which generates a third of Dubai's gross domestic product, was hit hard when the financial crisis and the emirate's debt woes crimped consumer spending and the number of tourists to the emirate fell.

"We're in upper single digits in retail in the UAE this year, in the range of 5 percent plus, and even further ahead in automotive ... Growth is going to be even better next year," said Robert Willett, group CEO of Al-Futtaim.

Abu Dhabi's Aabar eyes US$2.7 billion European deals -

Abu Dhabi's fastest growing investment fund Aabar is eyeing three European deals worth €2 billion (US$2.74 billion) after selling its stake in Banco Santander's Brazil unit, its chairman said in remarks published on Monday.

Aabar, which recently delisted from the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADX), is looking at two infrastructure investments in Europe valued at between €500 million and € 1 billion, Khadem al-Qubaisi told the Financial Times.

Aabar is also considering buying a "small stake" in a blue-chip telecoms company in Europe or the United States that could be worth 1.95 billion euros, he told the paper.

Bahraini banks need to look at mergers – officials -

Bahrain’s finance institutions should consider consolidation as an option amid an overcrowded market, two of the country’s most prominent executives have said.

“I am one of these people who would favour consolidation. Let people grow and compete globally, absolutely,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, CEO of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) told Arabian Business.

“Evolution in the industry is always good. I would say given that what’s going on globally with Basel 3 and all of that, in some cases I would say yes, consolidation will create more robust institutions.”

Emaar sales plan to tackle Dh4.8bn debt

Emaar Properties is considering the sale of its Dubai headquarters in the face of Dh4.8 billion (US$1.3bn) of debt coming due in the next year.

The company has already been marketing several of the buildings it owns within Emaar Square as well as two buildings it owns in Emaar Business Park near the Greens on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Building number 3 in the Business Park, which has more than 200,000 square feet of space, is being advertised to some buyers at a price of about Dh1,200 per square foot, according to sources. Several floors of that building house Emaar's head office.

Untapped $105 Billion Endowments May Boost Shariah Funds: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Managers of Islamic endowments with $105 billion in assets are seeking to diversify out of bank deposits, providing Shariah-compliant funds with the chance to capture new business, Ernst & Young LLP says.

These “largely untapped” endowments, or awqaf, have as much as $40 billion of cash parked at commercial banks, Ashar Nazim, Manama-based executive director and head of Islamic financial services for Ernst & Young, Bahrain, said in a telephone interview Nov. 9. A waqf typically consists of cash or assets, including land and buildings, donated by individuals or institutions for charitable and religious purposes.

“Over the next 18 months, the Islamic endowment segment could prove to be a major stimulus for growth in the Islamic funds industry,” Nazim said. “They realize that they cannot manage it on their own and they need to involve the formal financial industry.”

Bahrain bank becomes first Arab lender in Russia

Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), an international universal bank represented in more than 20 countries worldwide, is opening a representative office in Moscow on November 25.

This will make ABC the first Arab bank to set up shop in Russia.

The Moscow office will mainly seek to promote trade between the Middle East and North Africa on the one hand and Russia, Ukraine and Belarus on the other but will also try to help Russian banks do business with the MENA region, according to an ABC press release.

gulfnews : Asset sales will assist Dubai's finance options

Dubai will require a combination of debt restructuring, refinancing through long term bond issues and some amount of asset sales to manage its debts maturing in the near term according to analysts.

Even after Dubai Holding restructuring, Dubai will need some asset sales to manage its repayment schedules in the coming two to three years, said Turker Hamzaoglu, economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Talking to Gulf News last week in Dubai, the Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa economist of the investment bank said: "Dubai has some almost $18 billion (Dh66.06 billion) to repay in 2011. That's the maximum.