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Friday, 3 December 2010

S&P revises DP World outlook to stable on Dubai World restructuring, solid 2010 performance -

Standard & Poor's Rating Services said Thursday that it has revised its outlook on Dubai-based DP World Ltd. (DPW) to stable from negative. At the same time, "we affirmed our 'BB/B' long- and short-term corporate credit ratings on DPW".

"The outlook revision and rating affirmation reflect our view that the risk of a negative impact on DPW's creditworthiness as a result of the debt restructuring of its majority parent, Dubai World Corporation, has decreased," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Karim Nassif.

In addition, the outlook revision reflects our view of a likely improving trend in DPW's financial and operating performance based on that achieved in the first six to nine months of 2010.

Qatar 2022: construction and conservatism | beyondbrics: News and views on emerging markets |

By winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has put itself on the map. Soccer-crazed Americans mourning the death of their bid have dismissed ‘Katar’ or ‘Quatar’, misspellings of the country’s name that have started to trend on Twitter.

But for the Qataris, and perhaps the broader Middle East, the victory was a vindication for those sceptics who refused to believe that the global festival of football could be held in the scorching heat of the Gulf summer via air-conditioned pitches and fan zones.

Bringing the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time will translate into a surge in infrastructure activity in Qatar, as well as an intense scrutiny of the tiny state’s society and development.

Australia May Avenge World Cup Loss to Qatar in Global LNG Race - BusinessWeek

Australia, defeated by Qatar in a bid to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, may overtake the Persian Gulf nation in liquefied natural gas production in 10 years, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Neil Beveridge said.

LNG output in Australia may increase to 80 million metric tons a year by the end of the decade from 20 million tons a year now, the Hong Kong-based analyst said in a telephone interview today. Depending on how many projects are approved, Australia may vault to first among LNG producers and surpass Qatar, he said. Australia was fourth-largest in 2009, behind Qatar, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to BP Plc data.

“Australia is in a sweet spot,” Beveridge said. “The expansion we’re going to see over the next 10 years will be very significant and will take Australia into a competitive position with Qatar as the world’s largest supplier of LNG.”

Abu Dhabi sells ABC bank stake to Libya | Reuters

Libya acquired a stake Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth held in Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), bringing its stake in Bahrain's second largest bank to almost 60 percent, the bank said on Thursday.

The bank said in a regulatory filing that the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, sold its 17.7 percent stake in ABC to the central bank of Libya for an undisclosed sum.

ABC had assets worth $26 billion on its balance sheet at the end of the third quarter.

Etisalat Nigeria buys local firm with 3G licence | Reuters

The Nigerian arm of UAE-based Etisalat said on Thursday it had bought a local telecoms firm with a 3G licence to help it develop its data and broadband services and compete with other GSM operators.

Nigeria is one of the world's fastest growing mobile markets, and Etisalat faces stiff competition from South Africa's MTN Group, India's Bharti Airtel and local rival Globacom, all of which already operate 3G services.

The Gulf's number two telecoms group said the acquisition of Alheri Mobile Services Ltd would enable Etisalat Nigeria to better compete with its main rivals in Africa's most populous nation, home to more than 140 million people.

UBS picked to sell Zain's Saudi unit - sources | Reuters

Kuwaiti telecoms carrier Zain (ZAIN.KW) has appointed UBS (UBSN.VX) to sell its Zain Saudi unit, sources said on Thursday.

Zain selling its Saudi unit is a regulatory condition for Abu Dhabi group Etisalat's (ETEL.AD) $12 billion bid for a controlling stake in Zain.

Etisalat and Zain both have units in Saudi Arabia and compete for market share there.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Zain drags on Kuwait index; other markets higher | Markets | Reuters

Most Middle Eastern equity markets tracked global stocks higher on Thursday, with Egyptian stocks gaining as results from Amer Group AMER.CA boosted confidence in the country's housing sector.

Kuwait's main index fell for a third straight session after a Zain ZAIN.CA shareholder filed a lawsuit to halt due diligence ahead of a planned $12 billion sale of a stake in the telecoms company to Abu Dhabi's Etisalat (ETEL.AD: Quote).

Zain slipped 2.9 percent, helping drag the Kuwait index down 0.47 percent to its lowest since Sept. 28.

Gulf must review dollar peg says UAE minister

Gulf countries should discuss whether to shift their currency peg to a basket of international currencies instead of the dollar, the economy minister of the UAE was quoted as saying on Thursday.   

Gulf officials have previously denied any risks to pegs in the region, which relies heavily on imports, as a result of the weak US currency.

Sultan Saeed Al-Mansouri told the Arabic language Alsharq Al-Awsat newspaper that shifting pegs towards a currency basket would help Gulf countries protect their currencies and investments. - Qatar vows to spend billions for World Cup

Thousands of jubilant Qataris surged on to the streets of Doha, an unassuming capital that has grand ambitions to transform its sporting and cultural profile.

“It’s a historic moment for us, when I saw the Emir [Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani] and Sheikha Moza [his wife] hugging the team and crying – we all felt the same here,” said Mohammed Amer al-Marri, who works at the Doha branch of Northwestern University. “When I used to travel no one knew about Qatar. Now everyone will know.”

One of the Arab Gulf’s most ambitious states, Qatar made its World Cup bid despite the fact that the desert nation has a population of just 1.7m, has never qualified for the contest and that the tournament takes place in June and July, when temperatures soar. / World - Fifa sows virgin soils to reap extra revenue

The World Cup is boldly going where it has never gone before. Both Russia and Qatar are virgin lands in virgin regions: no country in either eastern Europe or the Middle East has ever hosted the event.

Yet newness and oil money are all that these two bids had in common. Fifa’s choice of giant Russia instead of England was expected and looks logical. The choice of hot little Qatar is neither. A secretive voting process has produced one peculiar choice.

Unlike England, Russia offered novelty. Sepp Blatter, Fifa’s president, loves filling in the “white spots” on football’s map. Now 74, he presumably awarded his last World Cups yesterday, and he sees spreading football to new territories as his legacy. Crucially, too, that grows football’s economy.

Football feast: the World Cup heads to Russia and Qatar | beyondbrics: News and views on emerging markets |

So the new world order has a messenger - and it’s the Swiss man who told female footballers to wear sexier outfits. Sepp Blatter, the head of Fifa, announced on Thursday that Russia and Qatar, superpowers in neither football nor organisation, will host the World Cups in 2018 and 2022. That’s four consecutive World Cups in emerging markets - following on from South Africa and Brazil. China could well host the 2026 competition, making it five in a row. If football diplomacy were poker, the developing world would have a full house.

This time Fifa overlords received bids from countries with infrastructure and heritage - Spain, the Netherlands and the England - and two of the world’s three biggest economies - Japan and the USA. But no, they wanted potential: the chance to sprinkle football’s gold-dust over the emerging middle classes. Russia and Qatar better start making some serious investments.

Hot, Muslim Qatar needs air-conditioned stadiums and alcohol-serving fan zones. Russia needs to deliver on its promise of better airports, free travel to venues, and visa-free entry for foreigners. South Africa spent around $4bn on the World Cup. The demands of the tournament aren’t getting any smaller, so expect the oil giants to spend even more.