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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Zain shareholder sues over stake sale to Etisalat

Zain (ZAIN.KW) shareholder Al Fawares Holding has filed a suit to halt due diligence in a planned sale of a controlling stake in the Kuwaiti operator to UAE's Etisalat (ETEL.AD), a Zain board member said on Wednesday.

Board member Sheikh Khalifa Ali al-Khalifa al-Sabah said Al Fawares, which he said owns about 4.5 percent in Zain, had filed the case against opening the firm's books to Etisalat. A court is due to hear the case on Dec. 8, he told Reuters in an interview.

UPDATE 1-Dubai will never sever trade ties with Iran - official

Dubai will never sever trade ties with neighbour and major trade partner Iran, a senior Dubai economy official said on Wednesday, as pressure on Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment drive keeps mounting.

The United Arab Emirates, to which Dubai belongs, has signalled it will rein back its role as a trading and financial lifeline for Iran after the U.N. Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran in June over accusations it is developing a nuclear bomb.

"It's never an option to end trade with Iran," Sami al-Qamzi, director general of Dubai's Department of Economic Development, told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

Dubai Shares Advance as Dubai Holding Secures Loan Extension - Bloomberg

Dubai shares advanced the most in more than three weeks after Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group LLC, a real estate and hospitality group, received a one- month extension to pay a $555 million loan.

Aramex PJSC, the United Arab Emirates-based courier company, jumped 1.5 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, the biggest Shariah-compliant lender in the country, rose to the highest in more than a week. The DFM General Index gained 1.1 percent, the most since Nov. 9, to 1,687.92 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. U.A.E. markets will close tomorrow through Dec. 5 to mark the country’s National Day and an Islamic holiday.

“Positive sentiment prevailed in the market” prompted by “the smooth sailing of the debt restructuring of Dubai Holding,” said Nabil Farhat, partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. The emirate’s privatization plan also pushed up the index, Farhat said.

A new study by the Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics (HT Las Vegas Sun )

Oh, the lessons Vegas could teach the world - Las Vegas Sun

When news broke Tuesday that Las Vegas ranks 146th out of 150 cities worldwide in terms of economic strength — ahead of Dublin, Dubai, Barcelona and someplace in Greece — the obvious question arose: What can those lagging cities learn from us?

After all, ranking between 147-150 in a new study by the Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics has to be embarrassing, right? So those cities are clearly poised to learn a few lessons in prosperity from No. 146. And because Nevada is among the top 50 states when it comes to education, we’re naturally eager to teach.

First thing first: You need a leader who won’t let the effects of deep, painful cuts — including, for example, the end of home health care for many disabled people — stop him from making deep, painful cuts. Especially if it means avoiding new or extended taxes, which would hurt much worse. Check out this recent Sun headline: “Brian Sandoval sticking by ‘no new taxes’ pledge.” Some are surprised the supposedly moderate Sandoval isn’t softening his no-tax rhetoric, while others have assumed the magnitude of the budget crisis would force him to consider all options. As Assemblyman John Oceguera said last month, “When you take $3 billion out, even hard-core Republicans cannot stomach what those cuts are.”

Dubai Holding unit delays $555 million loan for third time | Reuters

Conglomerate Dubai Holding's DUBAHC.UL main unit said it has extended a $555 million loan due November 30 to December 30, the third extension of the facility.

Loss-making Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (DHCOG) had previously delayed the loan in July and then September. 'The extension is required to finalize a new long-term facility,' it said on Wednesday.

DHCOG, a unit of the conglomerate owned by the Gulf Arab emirate's ruler, took a big hit from its exposure to Dubai's property crash and said in June it may resort to asset sales to deal with its debt after posting a $6.2 billion loss for 2009.

Kuwait fund could save French firm deal, France Industries - Maktoob News

Kuwait's sovereign fund and the French FSI strategic investment fund could be the only investors in Areva's drive to raise funds, which includes a planned capital hike, Les Echos reported on Wednesday.

The deal could be tied up as early as Wednesday and a meeting of Aerva's board of directors called for the end of the week, the daily said, refuting recent reports that no deal would be reached before the end of the year.

Areva, about 90 percent owned by the French state and partially floated on the stock exchange, has been looking to raise 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in new capital.

London Stock Exchange welcomes Aluminium Bahrain | Market/ Commodities/ Forex | CPI Financial

The total value of the company's Global Depositary Receipt (GDR) offering in London was $174.7 million, and was made alongside an Ordinary Share offering on the Bahrain Stock Exchange, raising a total of approximately $339 million. Trading in the GDRs and Ordinary Shares commenced today on the London and Bahrain Stock Exchanges, respectively, under the symbol ‘ALBH’.

Tracey Pierce, Director of Equity Primary Markets at London Stock Exchange Group, said, "We are delighted that Aluminium Bahrain has chosen London for its listing outside of its home market. Situated at the heart of the world's most international financial centre, the London Stock Exchange continues to be the public market of choice for Middle Eastern companies looking to access the capital they need to become global leaders. Today's successful issue by Aluminium Bahrain highlights the London market's appetite to fund the growth of ambitious companies from the region and underscores London's expertise in financing natural resources companies."

Mahmood Al Kooheji, Chairman of Alba, said, "London formed an integral part of our transition to becoming a public company. We believe that it demonstrates our commitment to transparency and strong corporate governance. The aluminium sector has a positive global outlook and as such we are delighted that joining the London Stock Exchange has helped us attract a strong international institutional investor base."

Qatar renews call to link gas prices to oil, Qatar Industries - Maktoob News

Gas-rich Qatar on Tuesday renewed calls by exporters of natural gas for a mechanism to link pricing for the commodity to oil prices to ensure stability in the market.

'This is the best way (for) stability to be brought back into the market,' said Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah.

'If there were to be an agreement on gas pricing, the market would be open to everyone,' he told reporters on the sidelines of a one-day gas forum in Doha.

First wing parts shipped from Strata's Al Ain aerospace plant

A new aircraft parts plant in Al Ain has officially joined the global aerospace supply chain by making its first products for commercial aircraft.

The contract is part of a US$2.7 billion (Dh9.91bn) order book it has secured from Airbus and other companies.

Mubadala Aerospace said its components manufacturing business, Strata, had shipped out the first wing parts, called flap track fairings, that will be used on Airbus A330 aeroplanes.

Privatisation offers history lesson for Dubai Government

The masters of the universe must be rubbing their hands with glee: Dubai has announced it is considering a policy of privatisation of government assets, and the fees for the investment banks, brokers and other assorted hangers-on, in what could be a multibillion-dollar bonanza, will be enormous.

But, as they all begin beating a path to Dubai's door with proposals, it is worth looking at how other governments, with different perspectives and imperatives, have gone about the process of privatisation. As an economic policy, it has a mixed track record.

Privatisation can be described as the transfer of government-owned assets to the private sector in return for cash. Critics from the left brand it the biggest trick a government can pull because, to them, it seems like selling the people something they already own, and it is sometimes branded the 'sale of the family silver'.

Nakheel, National Commerical Plan Sukuk Sales After Slump: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender and Dubai developer Nakheel PJSC are among five borrowers in the Persian Gulf that may offer Islamic bonds next year after sales dropped 40 percent in 2010.

Companies in the region announced this quarter plans to sell as much as $3 billion of sukuk, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Five companies in the Gulf raised $4 billion through Islamic bonds this year, down from the $6.7 billion raised in 2009 by seven issuers, the data show.

“There is a good opportunity to take advantage of the liquidity level among Islamic investors, which has remained high due to the shortage of sukuk sales this year,” Mohammed Dawood, Dubai-based director of debt capital markets at HSBC Holdings Plc, the second-biggest underwriter of sukuk this year, said in a telephone interview Nov. 28. “We have a number of mandates for the first half of next year for this region and beyond.”