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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Exxon Still Seeks Qatar Chemical Plant After Shell Announcement - Bloomberg

Exxon Mobil Corp. continues to be interested in developing a petrochemical complex in Qatar after Royal Dutch Shell Plc announced plans to help build a monoethylene glycol plant in the emirate.

“We signed a heads of agreement with Qatar Petroleum in January 2010,” Nikolaas Baeckelmans, an Exxon spokesman, said in an e-mail today. “We have progressed work jointly with Qatar Petroleum and are awaiting a decision to proceed.”

Shell, the largest investor in Qatar, signed an agreement with state-run Qatar Petroleum to “jointly study” an estimated $6 billion petrochemicals project at a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on Dec. 21.

EM fund managers of 2010: the African | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –

The FT is publishing rankings of emerging market fund performance prepared by Lipper, the funds research company. Here is the third profile of a top performing fund.

For Roelof Horne, the current unrest in Ivory Coast is a reminder of the political risks of investing in parts of Africa. “Are we worried about it? Absolutely – one of the reasons for the recent economic progress in Africa has been the spread of democracy,” he says. Yet as the manager of Investec’s Africa Fund, Horne is convinced that there are lucrative opportunities on the continent for those who know where to look.

With nearly R5bn ($730m) under management, the fund spans ten countries ranging from Ghana to Mauritius, but has over 60 per cent of investments concentrated in just two: Egypt and Nigeria. “Those two markets right now give us the best combination of good quality companies, very well priced,” Horne says. “Nigeria is looking very cheap given its growth prospects; Egypt is not as cheap but clearly undervalued, and it’s a sophisticated market with a good history of entrepreneurism.”

UAE, Libya to set up Dh11bn fund - Emirates24|7

The UAE and Libya have agreed to set up a joint investment fund with a paid up capital of Dh11 billion to carry out projects in the two Arab countries, a Libyan official was quoted on Thursday as saying.

Jamal Al Lammouchi, General Secretary of the Directive Committee of the General Board of Privatization and Investment, said the fund would be equally shared between the two countries and would take advantage of massive investment opportunities arising from ongoing privatization in Libya.

Quoted by the semi-official daily Al Ittihad, he said Libya is also seeking UAE expertise in managing its new Tripoli airport and is ready to discuss with Dubai World its possible management of ports in the North African Arab nation.

CIMB Looks to Gulf After Beating HSBC as Top Underwriter: Islamic Finance - Bloomberg

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd., the top global sukuk underwriter for a fourth year, is seeking to boost its business in the Persian Gulf to fight off HSBC Holdings Plc’s challenge to its dominance.

The Southeast Asian nation’s second-biggest lender arranged $3.6 billion of notes complying with Islam’s ban on receiving and paying interest in 2010, or 23 percent of the total, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Persian Gulf issues made up 3.5 percent of CIMB’s business this year. The Kuala Lumpur-based bank beat HSBC into second place for a fourth year. Global sukuk sales totaled $15.3 billion so far this year, 24 percent less than in 2009. Sales reached a record $31 billion in 2007.

“We should be able to do better” in 2011, Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, chief executive officer of CIMB Bank Islamic Bhd., said in a telephone interview Dec. 22. “With the infrastructure developments in Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, I anticipate sukuk issuance will be about the same as 2007 or better. We are looking at several deals from the Gulf.” / Companies / Shipping - DP World sells $1.5bn Australian stake

Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s biggest shipping container terminal operators, is to raise $1.5bn by selling a 75 per cent stake in its Australian operations in its latest effort to shift focus towards emerging markets.
Citi Infrastructure Investors, part of the US’s Citigroup and one of DP World’s largest investors, will pay A$1.5bn (US$1.5bn) for the stake, DP World announced on Wednesday. The Dubai-based company, which manages terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle, will continue to do so after the stake sale.
The operator said it would use the proceeds to pay down some of its $5.9bn net debt. Yuvraj Narayan, DP World’s chief financial officer, said the company would book a $300m profit on the transaction. DP World acquired most of the Australian operations during its £3.92bn takeover of the UK’s P&O in 2006, while it acquired the Adelaide and Brisbane operations through its $1.15bn 2005 takeover of US-based CSX World Terminals.

gulfnews : S&P accords RAK A/A-1 rating

The 5.5 per cent growth expected to be achieved by Ras Al Khaimah this year has prompted Standard & Poor's to assign it a A/A-1 ratinge.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services yesterday affirmed its long- and short-term ‘A/A-1' foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for the emirate.

"The outlook is stable. The transfer and convertibility assessment on RAK is ‘AA+'," S&P said in a statement. "We believe that membership of the UAE benefits RAK's economic and political stability, and that the UAE would provide external support in situations of political, economic, or financial stress."

London Property Leads World as Rising Rents Lure Money - Bloomberg

London’s commercial property market will probably draw the most investment for the second consecutive year as prospects ofrising rental income attract cash from as far afield as Hong Kong, Qatar and Canada.

Sales of existing commercial property in the U.K. capital totaled $13.9 billion in the first nine months, more than in any other city, according to Real Capital Analytics Inc. Some of the biggest deals of the year were announced in the final quarter.

“There’s a massive surplus of investment capital looking for a home, and the one thing in common is a desire for yield,” Dan Fasulo, RCA’s managing director, said in an interview. “A core London office property at a 5 or 6 percent yield looks fantastic against the alternatives.”

Central Bank of India eyes UAE in expansion drive

The Central Bank of India, a leading public sector bank, may soon be joining the swelling rank of Indian financial institutions that have already set up presence in the UAE to tap the business opportunities in a region boasting a large concentration of non-resident Indians.

The bank, which is marking its centenary celebrations in 2011, has started exploring possibilities of setting up a representative office in the Emirates, and is even pondering the opening of a branch at Dubai International Financial Centre, an offshore financial district.

The Gulf foray is part of the bank’s overseas expansion plan that will see “the sleeping giant” embarking on an aggressive growth swing after “a period of stagnation,” Central Bank of India’s Executive Director Rajeev Kishor Dubey told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an investment seminar in Dubai. The overseas expansion would see the bank — the third largest public sector bank in India in terms of branch network — expanding its reach to Hong Kong, Bhutan, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Dubai Asset Sales Pick Up as $20 Billion in Debt Comes Due 2011 - Bloomberg

Sales of Dubai’s holdings are gaining momentum a year after the emirate’s corporate flagship shook world markets with plans to freeze payments on $24.9 billion in loans.

DP World Ltd., the port operator, agreed yesterday to sell 75 percent of its Australian unit, raising $1.5 billion. Borse Dubai Ltd., which controls Dubai’s two stock exchanges, raised $672 million Dec. 16 by selling about half its stake in Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., owner of the second-largest U.S. equity exchange. Both companies said they will use the proceeds to pay down debt.

Dubai and its state-controlled companies have until now been able to renegotiate with creditors. Some $20 billion in debt and interest is due next year, according to Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes Holding SAE, raising the question whether Dubai will be forced to sell overseas assets such as luxury retailer Barneys New York Inc., U.S. hotel and casino group MGM Mirageand Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil Inc., all amassed during the boom years.

Gulf Daily News Key Fitch ratings boost for Bahrain's economy

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Bahrain's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'A' and 'A+' respectively, short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F1' and Country Ceiling at 'A+'.

The outlook on the long-term IDRs is stable.

The outlook reflects the continued resilience of Bahrain's economy and the banking sector to the stresses from the global downturn and regional property markets over the last two years.

EM fund managers of 2010: the Austrian | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –

The FT is publishing rankings of emerging market fundsprepared by Lipper, the funds research company. Here is the first profile of one of the top performing funds.

Among the top-performing bond fund managers of 2010 is a little-known Austrian company with a formidable record. ZZ1, managed by Vienna-based ZZ Vermoegungsverwaltung, has come top among bond funds with $500m-plus under management, with a return in dollar terms of 23.3 per cent in the year to December 20, according to Lipper, the research company.

In a rare interview, Peter PĆ¼hringer, 68, the company’s wealthy and publicity-shy chairman, has told Chris Bryant, the FT’s Vienna correspondent, how he does it – and what he expects for 2010.

EM fund managers of 2010: the Japanese | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –

The FT is publishing rankings of emerging market fundsprepared by Lipper, the funds research company. Here is the first profile of one of the top performing funds.

What do Japanese bond fund managers know that their competitors around the globe do not? According to rankings prepared for the FT and beyondbrics by Lipper, the funds research company, Japan-based funds have performed spectacularly in 2010 among emerging market bond funds.

According to Lipper, Japan-based funds account for seven of the top emerging market bond funds, and seven of the big funds with $500m and more under management. The returns, in US dollar terms, for the year up to December 20 ranged from 18.1 per cent to 28.6 per cent. So what’s their secret? The FT’s Lindsay Whipp tried to find out.

FT Alphaville » EM private equity: other things to worry about

Stephen Davidoff has an excellent overview in DealBook of the potential obstacles that US private equity firms should worry about as they increasingly look abroad.
They are:
– Carried interest taxes are higher, especially in Europe
– More regulations to get around
– Worries about rule of law
– Foreign ownership restrictions that require teaming up with local vehicle
– Currency restrictions and the tendency of foreign governments to “to steer the best investments to local heroes.”
Do read the whole thing for detail.