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Friday, 17 December 2010

AFP: Qatar eyeing more German investments: minister

Gas-rich Qatar, already heavily involved in car giant Volkswagen and construction group Hochtief, is eyeing further investments in Germany, Economy and Finance Minister Yussef Hussein Kamal said on Friday.

"We've only just begun in Germany," Kamal told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview, adding the emirate has its eye on the IT sector and the small- and medium-sized firms that form the backbone of Europe's top economy.

Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding has an estimated 100 billion dollars under management.

What slowdown? Oil to drive 2011 growth | beyondbrics: News and views on emerging markets | FT.com

For the global economy, Christmas parties came early this year: stimulus spending boosted growth to possibly unsustainable rates. Next year, a mild hangover is likely to kick in - with slower growth in much of the world, including China, India and Brazil.

Yet, for those in need of some more festive cheer, there are three regions that are forecast to see faster growth in 2011: the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Russia and central Asia. All three will average at least 4.6 per cent growth, according to the IMF, overtaking Latin America as the world’s most dynamic regions after Developing Asia. Why are they accelerating? The common thread is oil.

The greatest upturn in growth comes from the Middle East and North Africa, where the IMF predicts growth will rise from 4.1 per cent this year to 5.1 per cent in 2011, as oil prices remain high and stimulus spending continues in some less-indebted states, such as Saudi Arabia. “Oil-importing economies in the region also benefit [from the higher oil price] (roughly one-fourth of their exports go to oil exporters),” the IMF said in its latest Economic Outlook.

JP Morgan buys Bishops Square offices for £557m - Telegraph

The 825,000 sq ft property is the headquarters of law firm Allen & Overy and is located next to Spitalfields Market.

The deal highlights the scale of investor demand for property in the Square Mile, which has led to the capital values of commercial property recovering sharply since last summer.

Bishops Square is being sold by Hammerson, the FTSE 100 property company, and the Oman Investment Fund (OIF), who operated a 25:75 joint venture. Oman only acquired its stake last June in a deal that valued the property at £445m. Wednesday's sale represents a 25pc increase on that price and a gain on the £510m book value of the asset at June 30. The price reflects a yield of 6.2pc.

Loehmann’s Coming Out of Chapter 11, Not Out of the Woods Yet | BNET

It’s déjà vu all over again. Ten years after emerging from Chapter 11 with a deal to get $75 million in debt financing, Loehmann’s is again poised to march out of bankruptcy. This time a restructuring deal will secure $25 million in cash courtesy of its owner Istithmar World and Whippoorwill Associates. Whippoorwill also agreed to give the company an additional $7 million to use right away.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. First of all, that $7 million isn’t a heck of a lot of money when you’ve got 45 stores (after closures) to stock. And without a compelling assortment, Loehmann’s may just as well close its doors for good.

As I’ve reported before, once upon a time, a stylish girl who was long on taste but short on dollars could step into Loehmann’s “Back Room” and come out looking like a million bucks. Drool-worthy designer duds could be had for up to 75 percent off the original retail price — monumental finds for the stores’ dedicated shoppers.

Nakheel to pay Dh6bn in Islamic bonds to contractors

Nakheel, the developer behind Dubai's palm-shaped islands, will hand over Dh6 billion (US$1.63bn) worth of Islamic bonds to contractors by the end of next month.

The move is one way in which Nakheel is trying to pay for work already completed on its ambitious developments, which include the three Palm islands and The World, a man-made archipelago off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a map of the globe. Nakheel is also behind several residential projects on the western end of Dubai that contain thousands of villas.

The company stopped paying contractors when the emirate's property bubble burst last year and Nakheel's credit-driven expansion ground to a halt. Dubai World, Nakheel's parent company, subsequently underwent a wholesale restructuring of its business. It reached an agreement earlier this year with its banks to delay repayment of $24.9bn of debt for between five and eight years.

Emaar Says Has Better, Viable Options on Amlak Finance - BusinessWeek

Emaar Properties PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest property developer, said it identified “better and viable” options than converting debt into equity in Amlak Finance PJSC.

The option are being discussed with a committee that’s restructuring Amlak, Emaar said in a statement to the Dubai bourse today. It didn’t give further details.

FT.com / Financials - Borse Dubai in Nasdaq OMX sell-off

Borse Dubai has sold about half of its stake in Nasdaq OMX, raising $672m towards the refinancing of a $2.45bn loan maturing in February.

The emirates exchange holding company is understood to have taken a significant loss on the investment. Observers said the sale was concluded at $22 a share compared with Dubai’s original purchase price of about $42 in 2008 when it took a 28 per cent stake in Nasdaq OMX as part of complex transaction involving various assets swaps.

Borse Dubai failed to conclude a strategic sale of its assets, forcing a quick sale ahead of the maturity of its $2.45bn loan. The government holding company for Dubai’s two stock exchanges also raised $428m via a new three-year facility arranged by Nomura and Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, towards the refinancing of debt facility.

UAE manufacturing: Ashok Leyland joins a select club | beyondbrics: News and views on emerging markets | FT.com

The United Arab Emirates may be best known for Abu Dhabi’s oil and Dubai’s gaudy hotels, but the Arab world’s second largest economy can also boast a small but relatively successful manufacturing industry.

The latest coup is Ashok Leyland. The Indian truck and bus maker is setting up an assembly factory in the Al Ghail Industrial Area of Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost of the seven semi-independent statelets that make up the UAE. The factory will be able to produce up to 1,000 buses a year, with the first one rolling out by January already.

Ashok Leyland’s decision to set up in Ras Al Khaimah is not a blip. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the largest, and natural regional bases for many international companies, but Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah, another northern emirate, are arguably the country’s manufacturing hubs.

DIC to replace CEO; core banks agree to debt plan, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Dubai Holding's private equity arm DIC will replace its chief executive as major lenders sign off on the company's debt restructuring plan for a $1.25 billion loan, sources said on Thursday.

Dubai International Capital's chief investment officer David Smoot will replace Anand Krishnan as CEO, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One of the sources said the core committee of lenders agreed to the offer of two percent interest and repayment over six years on a $1.25 billion loan that was due in June after negotiations over the terms of the debt restructuring.