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Monday, 20 December 2010

Gulf Investment Corp plans 3.5 bln rgt sukuk programme-source | Reuters

Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) will set up a 3.5 billion ringgit ($1.1 billion) Islamic fund-raising programme in Malaysia, a source said on Monday.

The programme will be established in January, after the corporation sold 1 billion ringgit of bonds in the Southeast Asian country in 2008, said the source who asked not to be identified as the plan had not been announced.

GIC had no immediate comment.

Qatar Index Falls on Concern Gains Overdone; Barwa Retreats - BusinessWeek

Qatar’s benchmark index declined the most in almost on month, leading a drop in Persian Gulf markets, on speculation gains this year are overdone and as tension between North and South Korea escalated.

Barwa Real Estate Co., the nation’s biggest publicly traded property developer by assets, dropped the most since May and Commercial Bank of Qatar fell to the lowest in two weeks. The QE Index slid 1.2 percent, the most since Nov. 23, to 8,631.16 at the 12:30 p.m. close in Doha. Qatar’s benchmark index has gained 24 percent this year, the best performing index among seven tracked by Bloomberg in the Gulf. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of companies in the region lost 0.4 percent at 2:41 p.m. in Dubai.

’’We’ll see several pullbacks towards the end of the year as institutional investors lock in gains,’’ said Amro Halwani a trader at Shuaa Capital PSC in Riyadh. ’’Some uncertainty regarding international markets is trickling into our region as investors continue to worry about seeing more bad news coming out of Europe and tension between the two Koreas persists.’’

WAM | TAQA receives A rating from Standard '&' Poor's

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), a publicly listed company on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX: TAQA), today announced that it has been confirmed as receiving an A rating from Standard '&' Poor's.

The A rating follows an extensive review of TAQA's strategy and business plan as well as the expected level of government support from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. TAQA is also rated A3 by Moody's Investor Service.

Doug Fraser, Chief Financial Officer of TAQA, said "We are pleased to announce that we have reactivated our relationship with Standard '&' Poor's. Our strong credit story has been reaffirmed by the A rating awarded today.

gulfnews : Higher private equity deal flows raise hopes for better valuations

The private equity industry in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The industry is witnessing improved deal flows and investors are seeing scope for higher valuations, higher regional fund raising and improved allocations by limited partners (LPs) to the region.

According to statistics compiled by Al Masah Capital, a regional private equity firm, the Mena region witnessed increased deal activity in the private equity space this year to date as economic recovery has started gaining pace.

Based on the number of PE deals in November, 30 PE deals have been executed this year to date with an estimated value of $449.2 million (Dh1.65 billion) compared to 27 deals in the whole of 2009.

Unifying the UAE stock exchanges a win-win strategy « ArabianMoney

There are no losers and only winners from a plan to unify the three UAE stock markets with Abu Dhabi simultaneously buying Dubai’s 20 per cent stake in the London Stock Exchange for $1.5 billion.

The deal reported yesterday in The Sunday Times, without revealing its source, would follow an important move to sort out the debts of Borse Dubai that closed at the end of last week. The company that controls Dubai’s two stock exchanges sold some of its shares in the Nasdaq OMX Group to raise $673 million towards repaying a $2.45 billion loan.

Centre reflects challenges of Emiratisation

More than 11,000 people work in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), almost all of whom are expatriates, a new survey shows.

The make-up of the employee base of the region's top financial centre is an indication of the challenge of Emiratisation in the financial world. Just 3 per cent, or 334, of the 11,436 employees, are Emiratis.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Statistics Centre said in a recent study that the employment rate for Emiratis in the emirate was about 8.7 per cent.

NASDAQ chief calls for short selling

Regulated short selling on the UAE's main markets must be introduced to shield investors from volatility and to attract more institutional money, says the chief executive of NASDAQ Dubai.

"The UAE should and can do short selling. It enables you to make money when the market is going down, and it gives all types of investor the ability to buy," said Jeff Singer, the head of Dubai's second bourse.

Short-sellers borrow and sell an asset, hoping to profit by buying it back later for less. NASDAQ Dubai already allows this but the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), which is a much more active index, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) do not. The Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the regulator that oversees the DFM and ADX, has prohibited the practice and has spoken out regularly against it because it can drive down the value of equities.

Revenues decline for DIFC firms

The combined revenue of companies in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) fell by 2.4 per cent last year to US$2.8 billion (Dh10.28bn) compared with the year before, officials said.

The modest decline of what the DIFC described as "gross domestic product" proved the resilience of the centre during the global financial crisis, said Dr Nasser Saidi, the chief economist of the DIFC.

The statistics were revealed in the DIFC Economic Activity 2009 report, which was based on a DIFC survey of 406 companies or about 57.5 per cent of the registered companies at the end of last year.

Saudi Companies May Beat Malaysia on Debt Sales in 2011: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia may overtake Malaysia as the largest issuer of Islamic bonds for the first time in 2011 as the kingdom’s 1.44 trillion-riyal ($384 billion) stimulus plan boosts spending.

Saudi Electricity Co., the Arab world’s largest utility by market value, will finance more than 30 billion riyals ($8 billion) of projects, Chief Executive Officer Ali Al-Barrak said in a Dec. 14 interview. Saudi International Petrochemical Co. said Dec. 14 it may sell as much as 2 billion riyals of Shariah- compliant debt in the first quarter. Sukuk from borrowers in the largest Arab economy totaled $2.3 billion this year, compared with $7.3 billion of local-currency debt sales in Malaysia, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“The Saudi market could easily become the largest sukuk issuer simply because Saudi sukuk are much larger,” Tariq Al- Rifai, director of Islamic Market Indexes in Dubai for Dow Jones Indexes, part of a joint venture 90 percent owned by CME Group Inc. and 10 percent by News Corp.’s Dow Jones & Co., said in an e-mailed response to questions Dec. 17.

Central Bank predicts 2011 net profit at Dh3.7 bln

The UAE Central Bank said it expects its net profits to surge from Dh3.18 billion in 2009 to nearly Dh3.67 billion in 2010 and Dh3.7 billion in 2011.

This two years of consecutive growth in net profit is being forecast after the bank recorded a 14 per cent contraction in 2009 profits, the bank said in a statement posted on its website.

On Thursday, the Central Bank board of directors discussed the bank’s annual balance sheets and other monetary issues for this year and 2011.

Dubai's 20pc LSE stake up for grabs - Telegraph

Abu Dhabi's ruling family, advised by Goldman Sachs, has offered $1.5bn (£967m) for Dubai's 20pc holding in the LSE and its 17pc stake in Nasdaq, the US exchange. It has also agreed a $2.75bn valuation for Dubai stock exchange – DFM – as part on an agreement to merge Dubai's exchange with its own, called ADX.

Any discussion about Dubai selling its LSE stake is likely to prompt Qatar into making a counter offer for the shares.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has a 15pc stake in the LSE that out-dates Dubai's own holding. When Dubai first bought its holding the Qataris were said to be furious. Insiders suggest they would be very uncomfortable with ownership changing hands and ending up with Abu Dhabi. QIA would likely offer a premium to Abu Dhabi for the shares but would need support from LSE shareholders to allow it to increase its stake above 29.9pc without having to bid for the whole company.