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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Kuwait Airways to sell $280m stake -

Kuwait Airways has put up a $280m stake for sale to international carriers and investors, the initial stage of a first airline privatisation for the oil-rich region.

The Gulf state’s struggling national airline, which owns 17 large aircraft, will this week start holding talks with potential investors to offer a management contract and 35 per cent of the privatised entity’s KD220m ($802m) share capital, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

The Kuwait Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will subscribe to a fifth of the share capital with the balance slated to be offered to employees and investors in a future initial public offering.

Ramadan Kareem

MENA stock markets close - July 31, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

Kuwait Zain Q2 net profit falls 21 pct, misses views | Reuters

Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain posted a 21 percent lower second-quarter net profit of 70.3 million dinars ($257.3 million), according to Reuters calculations, missing analyst estimates.

Net profit in the six months to June 30 came in at 140.2 million dinars, Zain said in a statement.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected the firm to post an average second quarter net profit of 87.4 million dinars.

Oman’s fiscal surplus to widen - Emirates 24/7

A surge in oil prices is expected to widen Oman’s fiscal surplus through 2011 despite a sharp increase in spending following new jobs and pay rises for national civil servants, according to official figures.

The country, which is not an OPEC member, had projected a shortfall of RO850 million ($2.2 billion) when it announced its record 2011 budget early this year.

But it massively revised up the gap to RO1,850 million ($4.8 billion) after Sultan Qaboos approved new jobs and hefty pay rises for Omani government employees in response to demands during unrest in two months ago.

Dubai Stocks Lead Middle East Gains on Bets of U.S. Debt Deal - Businessweek

Middle East shares rose, sending Dubai’s measure up the most in two weeks, as U.S. politicians began a fresh attempt to reach an agreement on raising the country’s debt limit two days before a default deadline.

Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, gained 2.1 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC rallied the most in three months as second-quarter profit rose 10 percent. The DFM General Index climbed 0.8 percent, the most since July 13, to 1,517.58 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The measure was little changed in July. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index rose 0.3 percent at 2:17 p.m. in Riyadh after slipping as much as 0.3 percent earlier. Egypt’s EGX 30 Index gained 0.4 percent and Israel’s TA-25 index fell 1 percent.

Reports that “there is a preliminary agreement on a deal between President Barack Obama and the Republicans” helped push up stocks, said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.

Credit Agricole Egypt says H1 net drops 30 pct | Reuters

Credit Agricole Egypt net profit for the first six months fell 30 percent from a year earlier, the bank said on Sunday.

Egyptian banks were hurt by the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, when political turmoil and worker strikes prompted the central bank to close banks for nearly two weeks.

Credit Agricole Egypt, owned 60 percent by France's Credit Agricole, said net profit dropped to 140.7 million Egyptian pounds from 201.6 million pounds in the first half of 2010, it said.

Middle East Shares Drop, Led by Qatar on U.S. Debt Limit Standof - Businessweek

Middle East shares fell, with Qatar’s index headed for the lowest close in a month, after U.S. lawmakers failed to agree on raising the debt ceiling and data showed the world’s largest economy almost came to a halt.

Qatar National Bank SAQ, the Persian Gulf country’s biggest lender by assets, lost as much as 1.1 percent and Barwa Real Estate Co., the Qatari property developer, fell for a fourth day. The QE Index decreased 0.3 percent to 8,348.42 at 11:09 a.m. in Doha, poised for the lowest close since June 29. The measure fell 0.2 percent this month. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index lost 0.2 percent today and Israel’s TA-25 index slipped 0.7 percent.

“Earnings are failing to act as a catalyst; all focus is on the U.S. debt ceiling,” said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. “The panic is twofold: not raising the debt ceiling, which is unlikely to occur, and the fear of downgrading the U.S. credit rating.”

Distressed debt firm eyes Nakheel trade creditors - Maktoob News

A Hong Kong-based distressed debt firm, founded by ex-Deutsche Bank veterans , has approached trade creditors of Dubai's troubled property firm Nakheel with an aim to taking the claims off their hands, a document seen by Reuters showed.

The move by SC Lowy Financial, a distressed debt investment firm set up by Deutsche veterans Michel Lowy and Soo Cheon Lee in 2009, is the first clear sign that distressed players are circling Nakheel's $10.9 billion debt restructuring.

"We are reaching out to all trade creditors/vendors of Nakheel with the view of investing in their trade claims," SC Lowy said in an emailed document to one of the trade creditors, which was obtained by Reuters.

Abu Dhabi's UNB Q2 net profit rises 23 pct; beats forecasts | Reuters

Union National Bank , jointly owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, posted a 23-percent rise in second-quarter net profit, beating analysts forecasts, as higher impairment losses were offset by a surge in net interest income.

The Abu Dhabi-headquartered lender earned a net profit of 415.3 million dirhams ($113.35 million) in the second quarter, compared with 337.38 million in the same period one year earlier.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecasted an average profit of 388.83 million dirhams in the second quarter.

Tunisia Central Bank Head Says Economic Recovery Slowed by Libya Conflict - Bloomberg

Tunisia’s efforts to restore stability following the January ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali are being hampered by the economic impact of the conflict in Libya, the central bank governor said.

Fighting in Libya between Muammar Qaddafi’s forces and rebels has cost Tunisia $1 billion to $2 billion this year in lost tourism revenue and trade with its North African neighbor, Mustapha Kamel Nabli said July 29 in an interview in his office in his nation’s capital, Tunis. Tourism may recover within six months, or next year, depending when peace returns, he said.

“We are in the middle of it and we are concerned,” Nabli said. “What can you do? Just try to help and hope a political solution will be found and the conflict stops.”

Saudi Shares Reach Four-Month Low as U.S. Economic Growth Misses Forecasts - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares dropped to the lowest level since March after U.S. economic growth missed economists’ forecasts and Moody’s Investors Service said it may cut Spain’s credit rating.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, reached its lowest price in almost five weeks. Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC) and Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest publicly traded lender by market value, declined.

The 147-company Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) slid 1.4 percent to 6,355.72, the lowest level since March 22, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh. All 15 industry groups dropped.

gulfnews : Bank of Sharjah profit plunges to Dh152m

Bank of Sharjah's net profits fell to Dh152 million in the first half of 2010, down from Dh276 million a year earlier.

The bank blamed a slower than expected recovery of the UAE economy following the financial crisis and new risk classification measure introduced by the country's central bank.

'The political unrest which erupted in the MENA region at the beginning of the year continued to negatively impact the regional financial markets and economies,' said Varouj Nerguizian, executive director and general manager at Bank of Sharjah.

DIB profit rises 10%; customer deposits up

Dubai Islamic Bank, or DIB, on Saturday said its first-half net profit rose 10 per cent to Dh552 million due to a sharp increase in customer deposits despite higher provisions.

The UAE’s largest Islamic lender said its customer deposits stood at Dh77.6 billion as of June 30, reflecting a 22 per cent increase from December 31, while total assets rose 14 per cent to Dh102.9 billion during the same period.

“During a period of renewed growth, Dubai Islamic Bank has continued to perform impressively. The bank’s commitment to prudently manage its core operations, through effective cost controls and risk management, has delivered a strong set of results in the second quarter of the year. From a position of strength, DIB remains committed to playing a central role in the continued economic growth and diversification of the UAE and wider region,” Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, DIB’s chairman and director-general of The Ruler’s Court of Dubai, said in an e-mailed statement to Khaleej Times.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Saudi Stock Market 1515hrs - July 30, 2011

Intraday 3 month

* market data delayed by 20 min.
Daily Statistics
General Index6358.72
Change (%)-1.34%
T. Volume87139221
T. Companies 150

Saudi Shares Reach Four-Month Low as U.S. Economic Growth Misses Forecasts - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares dropped to the lowest level since March after U.S. economic growth missed economists’ forecasts and Moody’s Investors Service said it may cut Spain’s credit rating.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemicals maker, reached its lowest price in almost five weeks. Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC) and Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest publicly traded lender by market value, declined.

The 147-company Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) slid 1.5 percent to 6,345.95, the lowest level since March 23, by 12:16 p.m. in Riyadh. All 15 industry groups dropped.

Dubai Firm Overbilled Pentagon $900 for $7 Switch, Bowen Says - Bloomberg

A U.S. contractor in Iraq overbilled the Pentagon by at least $4.4 million for spare parts and equipment, including $900 for an electronic control switch valued at $7.05, according to a new audit.

Based on the questionable costs identified in a $300 million contract with Dubai-based Anham LLC, the U.S. should review all its contracts with the company in Iraq and Afghanistan, which total about $3.9 billion, said Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen.

“The audit found weak oversight in multiple areas that left the government vulnerable to improper overcharges,” Bowen wrote in the forward to his 30th quarterly report, released today. The contract in question was funded with a combination of money earmarked for Iraqi Security Forces and Army operations and maintenance funds.

Court freezes Al Gosaibi assets - The National

HSBC has won a court order freezing the British and some foreign assets of the ailing Al Gosaibi business empire in Saudi Arabia.

The assets consist mainly of property in London and shares in companies in the Virgin Islands, Channel Islands and Liberia.

HSBC is one of five banks that won a court case in London last month against Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers, requiring it to repay some US$250 million (Dh918m) owed to banks.

Tunisia Central Bank Governor Disputes S&P, Says Growth ‘Not Collapsing’ - Bloomberg

Tunisia’s central bank governor disputed Standard & Poor’s negative assessment of the country’s economic outlook, saying growth “is not collapsing” after the toppling of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.

“The capacity of Tunisia to reimburse its debt is much stronger than it was six months ago,” Mustapha Kamel Nabli said today in an interview in his office in the North African nation’s capital, Tunis. “The political track is well defined; the economy has a low growth rate but the fundamentals continue to be strong.”

He spoke in response to questions about the downgrade yesterday by Standard & Poor of Tunisia’s outlook to negative from stable on concern a prolonged political transition may lead to a drag on growth and public finances. S&P kept the country’s foreign currency rating at BBB-, the lowest investment grade.

Islamic banking in Oman | Oman Observer

THE banking industry in the Sultanate is set to receive a facelift with the launch of Islamic banking. The Central Bank of Oman has already given its nod to conventional banks to operate their Islamic banking business through a ‘window’ operation. As a result, the market can see a number of conventional banks entering the Islamic finance space and capturing a major chunk of the banking assets in the coming years.
The Islamic banking window operation is accepted as a successful model in many markets. In Saudi Arabia, Islamic windows account for nearly half of the Shari’a assets and in the UAE they have an 11 per cent share. According to the latest figures, net foreign assets of the banking system (including CBO) increased marginally by 0.1 per cent to RO 5,045.3 million in May 2011 from RO 5,041.9 million in May 2010, while domestic assets increased by 26.2 per cent.
“The uptake of Islamic finance even in non-Muslim countries has shown that it is not simply a faith-based choice, but also a viable and ethical financial model. If Islamic financial institutions in Oman chart their own course, stay away from products of ill repute such as Tawarruq (cash-for-cash products), they could grow to become serious contenders in the regional Islamic finance industry. Growth figures could match that of institutions around the world as funds that were invested in ethical institutions overseas will be repatriated,” according to Dr Mabid al Jarhi, Head of Training at Emirates Islamic Bank, President of the International Association for Islamic Economics and Member of the Shari’a Board on the Dubai Financial Market.

Oman Tribune - Al Madina group to float IPO next year

Tilal Development Company and Al Madina Real Estate and Al Madina Insurance will float an Initial Public Offering (IPO) next year. This was revealed at a press conference held on Wednesday.

“The CMA has given an initial approval for the application of Tilal Development Company for an IPO for 25 per cent and we expect to launch it next year,” said Abdul Rahman Barham, CEO of Al Madina Real Estate.

“There are also plans for Al Madina Real Estate and Al Madina Insurance to float an IPO, but these are still under review.” He also said they were unable as yet, to disclose the actual size of the issue.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Saudi Arabia tops foreign investment flows at $28bn - Retail -

Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, which includes the Gulf region, dropped by 15 percent last year, according to a new report.

FDI fell to $57bn from the $67bn in 2009, according to the World Investment Report 2011.

Apart for Oman and Lebanon, the drop affected all ESCWA countries, Abulgasim Abdullah, chief of financing for development section at ESCWA said in the report, which is published each year by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

KIPCO board of directors approve issuance of bonds

In an announcement on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE), Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) reported that the Board of Directors met on Wednesday, July 27, 2011, under which the Board of Directors approved the issuance of bonds in Kuwaiti Dinars or any other currency totaling the maximum amount of company capital or its equivalent in foreign currency. The mandate of the Chairman of the Board of Directors or the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors is necessary in determining the conditions of the issuance of those bonds, duration and value of the nominal interest rate and the date of the meeting and all other terms and conditions.

KIPCO recently mandated National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) Capital and KIPCO Asset Management (KAMCO) for a Kuwaiti dinar bond.

It is reported, however, that the proposed bond must still have to be approved by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

Abraaj eyes majority stake in publisher - The National

The private equity firm Abraaj Capital is in talks to buy a majority stake in Motivate Publishing, which produces Middle East editions of Hello! and Campaign magazines.

Contact between the two companies was initiated almost a year ago, with intense talks taking place in March and April, according to sources close to the negotiations.

A final decision on the potential acquisition is expected to be made after Ramadan. - Canary, Qatari Pay $429M for South Bank Site

Shell International has officially selected the locally based Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar Real Estate Co. as the developer of the oil firm’s planned South Bank office complex, reported to likely cost up to $3 billion. The venture has paid $429 million to secure a 5.3-acre site on a 999-year lease.

Both venture firms contributed 50% of the cost of the land purchase. The total payment is conditional on planning permission being received for the project within three years, according to a Canary Wharf statement.

Shell already has a 27-story office tower on the site called Shell Centre, on Belvidere Road along the south bank of the Thames River. The company has moved its thousands of employees out of the building, and will likely redevelop the tower as a mixed-use office and apartment complex.

Kuwait's Agility to face potential new charges for overcharging US military - Ahram Online

US prosecutors are investigating potential new charges against Agility or overcharging the US military.

According to federal court documents, Agility had asked US District Judge Thomas W. Thrash in Atlanta to reject a federal grand jury subpoena demanding the appearance of retired US Army General Dan Mongeon, a member of Agility’s board.

Judge Thrash, however, upheld the subpoena yesterday.

Abdullah Mohammed Saleh: bringing dignity to the top job - The National

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has a new governor, the third in its seven-year history. If his reputation is anything to go by, he will bring a new style of management to the emirate's financial hub.

Abdullah Mohammed Saleh was appointed to Dubai's premier financial post this week. It is the pinnacle of a career in banking and finance going back 50 years, during which he has given service to three Dubai Rulers.

He has been at the heart of the creation of a modern banking and financial services sector in the emirate, even before the formation of the UAE in 1972. 'He virtually wrote the banking rule book from the beginning,' says a DIFC insider.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dubai Financial Market Q2 profit drops 46% - Arab News

Dubai Financial Market posted a 46-percent-drop in its second-quarter net profit on Thursday as revenues fell and expenses jumped.

DFM reported a quarterly profit of AED14.71 million ($4 million), the company said in an e-mailed statement, compared with a profit of AED27.2 million for the same period in 2010.

Revenue for the quarter dropped to AED64.59 million from AED69.09 million in the second quarter of 2010. The quarterly revenue included an operating income of AED50 million and investment returns of AED14.59 million.

UAE president orders financial watchdog shake-up | Alrroya

The United Arab Emirates is reorganising its audit bureau, state news agency Wam reported on Thursday, extending its powers to include fighting corruption in the entities it controls.

The audit bureau is the supreme organ of financial control and accountability in the country, Wam said, and will have corporate, financial and administrative autonomy.

The chairman of the audit bureau's board will be appointed by federal decree and will be a minister.

MENA stock markets close - July 28, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

» UAE sees no reason for alarm in U.S. debt row –

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank said on Thursday it was confident there will be a compromise to avert a U.S. debt default by an Aug. 2 deadline, adding that it holds no U.S. Treasury bonds or U.S. financial instruments.

Public comment on the U.S. crisis has been scarce from Gulf central banks and sovereign wealth funds, some of whom are major holders of U.S. Treasuries and other dollar assets.

Any sign of concern that would lead to institutions in the region dumping those assets to protect themselves would be likely to alarm financial markets more broadly.

Exclusive: Abu Dhabi Backs Branson's Rock Bid | Sky News Blogs

A prominent Abu Dhabi financier is among the investors backing Sir Richard Branson’s effort to win control of Northern Rock, the nationalised mortgage lender, I have learned.

The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth investor, a major UK pension fund and at least two US-based private equity firms have agreed to inject hundreds of millions of pounds into Virgin Money’s bid to buy the Rock.

Virgin’s bid will be submitted later today, ahead of a deadline set by advisers to UK Financial Investments, the body which manages the taxpayer’s stakes in Britain’s bailed-out banks.

Media reports of Rothschild takeover bid fuels Dana Gas shares - The National

Stocks of Dana Gas jumped their most in a month after reports surfaced that the Sharjah-based company is being stalked as a possible takeover target.

Vallares, the investment vehicle backed by Nat Rothschild and ex-BP boss Tony Hayward, is exploring a bid for Dana Gas, according to media reports.

Dana's shares rose 3.39 per cent to 61 fils per share.

Sorouh Second-Quarter Profit Rises on More Home Completions - Bloomberg

Sorouh Real Estate PJSC, Abu Dhabi’s second-biggest property developer by market value, said second- quarter profit more than tripled as the company increased deliveries of completed properties to buyers.

Net income increased to 110.4 million dirhams ($30 million), or 4 fils a share, from 30.8 million dirhams, or 1 fil, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. The average estimate of six analysts was for a profit of 155 million dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Property values in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, have declined 45 percent since the market’s peak in mid-2008, after banks curtailed lending and demand waned. The market probably needs three years to absorb the homes now being built, thwarting price and rent increases, Chief Operating Officer Gurjit Singh said in a July 6 interview.

Business : Emaar sukuk rally as mortgage unit worries ease

Emaar Properties PJSC’s sukuk rose to their highest level in two weeks after the company said it didn’t have to reduce the value of assets related to a mortgage subsidiary in the second quarter.

The yield on the 8.5 per cent Islamic notes due August 2016 dropped eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 7.21 per cent on Tuesday, the lowest level since July 11, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Dubai-based builder of the world’s tallest skyscraper said it was posting no impairments related to affiliate 
Amlak Finance PJSC, which has struggled to raise funds since the onset 
of the global financial crisis.

Keeping Abu Dhabi's 2030 vision in sharp focus - The National

The Economic Vision 2030 formalises the great ambition for Abu Dhabi to become a world-leading knowledge economy.

It sets as objectives the diversification of the national economic development, the rise of the emirate on the international scene, the mobilisation of the country's capital assets, and the recruitment of key international talents and brands.

The articulation of this strategy has been initiated across several sectors - aerospace, semiconductors, aluminium, information and communications technology, health care, clean technology, logistics and financial services - and in partnership with top research institutes and multinationals.

Aabar stake in Daimler pays off as profit leaps - The National

Aabar Investments' stake in Daimler paid off handsomely yesterday as the German car maker reported a dramatic rise in second-quarter profit.

'We now assume that [full-year profit] will develop more positively than we previously expected and will very significantly exceed the level of 2010,' said Dieter Zetsche, the chief executive of Daimler.

The company reported a second-quarter profit of €1.7 billion (Dh9.03bn), a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.

gulfnews : NBAD sees rise in non-performing loans this year

National Bank of Abu Dhabi expects non-performing loans (NPLs) to spike this year but sees its lending surpassing the market growth rate, its CEO told Reuters Wednesday.

Michael Tomalin also said the bank, which is majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi government, expects 10 per cent revenue growth in 2011 but sees profit growth depending on the level of provisions.

NBAD reported a second-quarter net profit of Dh1.03 billion last week, up 2.5 per cent over the same period last year.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Iran may cope with India oil money loss, but no more | Reuters

International sanctions designed to stop Iran's disputed nuclear programme would only really bite if its other big Asian buyers follow India's lead and bow to U.S. pressure to cut the flow of oil money to Tehran.

The Islamic Republic will forego around $45 million a day or a total of $1.4 billion in August -- if it halts around 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude exports to India -- where refiners have run up a $5 billion debt since India's central bank blocked payments to Iran after pressure from Washington.

With Iranian heavy crude selling for around $40 more a barrel than a year ago, Iran's 2 million bpd plus sales to other customers should make up for the Indian export dip -- especially as Iran is likely to store the oil and to sell it later.

MENA stock markets close - July 27, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)