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Monday, 31 October 2011

UAE property: tough times, fewer jobs | beyondbrics –

Aldar, the Abu Dhabi developer whose $5.2bn bailout became a signal of the outlandish UAE property bubble, has cut jobs again but remained stubbornly silent on how exactly it plans to end its woes.

A “strategic plan” announced by the company on Monday consisted of lay-offs of almost a quarter of its already pared-down 420 staff – but offered few other clues about what it would do to turn itself around.

With a $1.1bn bond repayment due in just ten days time, analysts are still scratching their heads on how exactly one of the UAE’s flagship state-owned companies is going to reinvent itself in tougher times.

Sharjah oil group sues UAE state utility -

In a rare public confrontation with the authorities, a family-owned oil company in Sharjah, one of seven sheikhdoms which make up the United Arab Emirates, has broken ranks to sue the local government.

Amid growing concerns over unpaid bills in the UAE, Fal Oil, a major independent oil supplier in the Gulf, is suing the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority and its owner, the Sharjah government, for dues of up to Dh2.7bn ($735m), according to court documents seen by the Financial Times.

As a result, the company, which operates 45 tankers and is wholly-owned by the Al-Sari family, is having difficulty repaying loans of about Dh4bn and has already hired KPMG to act as advisers to restructure the debt, the company says.

Bahrain Says It Is Still Planning to Sell Islamic Bonds - Bloomberg

Bahrain is still planning to sell Islamic bonds, Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, executive director of banking operations at Bahrain’s Central Bank, said today.

“The issuance of the sukuk is still on track,” Sheikh Salman said in an e-mailed response to a question. He gave no further details.

Central Bank Governor Rasheed al-Maraj said in an interview last month that Bahrain has hired Citigroup Inc., BNP Paribas SA and Standard Chartered Plc to advise on the sale of $1 billion in bonds in October. He said the maturity of the sukuk may be between seven to 10 years and that the island kingdom plans to use the money to help finance a budget deficit of about 5 percent of gross domestic product.

Aldar Properties Cuts 24% of Workforce as Abu Dhabi Company Restructures - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), an Abu Dhabi developer, said it will reduce its workforce by 24 percent as it restructures.

“Aldar’s new strategic plan takes into account the existing market environment,” the company said in a statement posted on the Abu Dhabi bourse today. It will “selectively target new developments where there is demonstrable demand, and increase Aldar’s large-scale fee-based development activities.”

The company will shed 105 jobs and “continue to concentrate on its core Abu Dhabi market,” according to the statement.

Dubai Leads U.A.E. Stocks Lower on Speculation Gains Overdone - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index led United Arab Emirates shares lower amid speculation yesterday’s gain was overdone and after Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties PJSC announced job cuts.

Arabtec Holding Co., the country’s biggest construction company, fell the most in almost two weeks after posting earnings. Aldar, Abu Dhabi’s largest real-estate developer by market value, lost 0.9 percent. The benchmark DFM General Index dropped 0.6 percent, the most since Oct. 18, to 1,408.06 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The measure surged 2.6 percent yesterday, bringing its three-day advance to 4.6 percent. It has lost 1.7 percent this month. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark ADX General Index declined for the first time in six days, losing 0.3 percent and bringing its drop for the month to 1.3 percent.

“The drop is a mix of profit-taking and the correlation to international markets,” said Tariq Qaqish, deputy head of asset management at Dubai-based Al Mal Capital. “Medium-term investors would see this correction as an entry opportunity.”

MENA stock markets close - October 30, 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)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Saudi Stock Market close - October 30, 2011

General Index
Intraday 3 month
Daily Statistics
General Index6235.64
Change (%)1.43%
T. Volume227115679
T. Companies 149

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Profits give ADCB a big lift - The National

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) rose the most in almost three weeks yesterday after quarterly profit nearly doubled, beating analyst expectations.

ADCB, the country's third-largest bank by assets, jumped 3.2 per cent to Dh2.88.

Net income almost doubled to Dh607.6 million in the third quarter, compared with Dh318m in the same period last year. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, the country's second-biggest Sharia-compliant lender, gained for a second day, up 0.6 per cent to Dh3.21, after profits rose.

Losses widen at DFM Company - The National

Dubai Financial Market Company (DFMC), the only Gulf stock market to sell shares to the public, said third-quarter losses tripled as trading volumes reached historic lows.

Losses widened to Dh9.28 million (US$2.5m), compared with a loss of Dh2.95m in the same period a year ago.

"The constant drop in trading values overshadowed the company's revenue," a company statement said.

Giant UAE rail project moves out of sidings - The National

Etihad Rail has awarded a Dh3.3 billion (US$898 million) construction contract for the first phase of the country's railway project, opening the way for energy and industrial centres to be connected.

A consortium made up of Italy's Saipem and Tecnimont and the UAE's Dodsal Engineering and Construction were awarded a contract for civil and track works for the first phase of the network, which is to link Habshan and Ruwais in the Western Region by 2013. It is then to connect Shah and Habshan by 2014.

"This milestone contract truly marks the start of the realisation of a national railway network on the ground and beyond the planning stages," said Richard Bowker, the chief executive of Etihad Rail, the master developer and operator of the project.

Emirates NBD Placed on Negative Watch at Fitch on Loan Losses - Businessweek

Emirates NBD PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank, was placed on watch at Fitch Ratings for a possible downgrade on concerns about a rise in bad loans due to a weak property market and the global economy.

Even though Emirates NBD’s impaired loans ratio of 12.9 percent at the end of September was within the bank’s guidance of 13 percent to 14 percent, Fitch “has increasing concerns that retail, private-sector corporate and Islamic lending is deteriorating faster than previously anticipated,” the ratings company said in an e-mailed statement today. Emirates NBD said Oct. 24, while announcing its quarterly results, it expects its impaired loan ratio to peak at 15 percent to 16 percent in 2013.

Fitch said it will decide on a ratings cut over the next six months after the bank publishes its annual results, which may spark a downgrade of one or two levels. Emirates NBD’s ratings are backed by the “extremely high probability of support from the Dubai government and the U.A.E. authorities, given the bank’s systemic importance,” the statement said.

Emaar’s Bond Yields Inverted on Demand for Sukuk: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Yields on Dubai developer Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) longer-maturity bonds dropped below its shorter- dated securities in September as investors preferred Islamic bonds, which are in shorter supply.

Emaar’s Islamic bond, or sukuk, due 2016 yielded at 7.99 percent yesterday, while its convertible bond due 2015 was available at 8.58 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yields on bonds of utility Dubai Electricity & Water Authority have also inverted since August, with its 2016 security trading at a yield of 5.23 percent yesterday and its 2015 bond at 5.74 percent. Yields on bonds with shorter maturities are usually lower than on similar longer-dated paper.

“The Emaar 16s are rated while the 15s are not, which immediately excludes a lot of managers from owning the 15s,” Usman Ahmed, the head of fixed income at Emirates NBD Asset Management Ltd. said by phone on Oct. 25. “Then the 16s are sukuk and the 15s are convertibles. There’s a great deal of demand for sukuk assets, but not enough supply.”

Qatar joins Mexico with oil hedge -

Qatar, a member of the Opec oil cartel, has joined Mexico in taking out an insurance policy against falling oil prices next year, hedging some of its oil for 2012 as both nations adopt a cautious view about the global economy.

Mexico hedges oil prices every year, but bankers said that Qatar has taken out insurance only rarely over the last two decades. The programme by Mexico is the world’s largest single hedge in commodities markets by value and one of only a few implemented by a sovereign entity, rather than a company.

The hedge by Qatar comes after Middle East countries have raised public spending sharply to quell public discontent on the back of the Arab Spring. Economists say that Gulf nations would need much higher oil prices to balance their budgets.

Where Are The Islamic Angel Investors? | alifarabia

Malaysia has raised the profile of Islamic finance, Takaful and Halal industry, and, now, she must do the same to venture capital (VC). VC is an important emerging asset class that should contribute to government’s objective of building a knowledge based economy by 2020.

There were several important takeaways from the recently concluded International Venture Capital Symposium 2011. One of the most important sparks to establish a VC infrastructure in debt based and biased Muslim countries is the role of angel investors.

The angels are between ‘friends, family and fool’ (FFF) seed money and established VC money. Although its expensive money, due to high failure rate and 5-7 year lock up period, these stage two companies will not receive financing/funds from banks, Islamic or conventional, which typically lend to old economy companies whose business they understand.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Brookfield, Dubai Government Plan $1 Billion Property Fund - Businessweek

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and a Dubai government investment arm will start a $1 billion fund to buy real estate assets in the emirate after prices dropped by more than half since 2008.

The eight-to-10-year fund will be started with $100 million each from Toronto-based Brookfield and the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the companies said today in a statement. It will target a “wide class of assets in both freehold and non-freehold areas.” Local, regional and international investors will also be invited to join the fund that will be capped at $1 billion.

“We see excellent opportunity in real estate in Dubai,” Brookfield Chief Executive Officer Bruce Flatt said in the statement. “We are witnessing a number of encouraging signs, in particular the arrival of long-term capital to the sector, which traditionally marks the early signs of recovery in real estate.”

Critics censure Gulf public sector largesse -

Soaring public sector wages in Gulf states risk undermining private companies’ efforts to deepen investment in the region and create badly needed jobs for nationals. That is the view of leading bankers and the International Monetary Fund.

Simon Cooper, chief executive of HSBC Middle East and north Africa, says that “unprecedented” salary rises of up to 60 per cent in some countries’ state financial institutions are making it harder for banks to attract and retain talented local workers.

His comments show how rich petro-states face a dilemma as they grapple with the unrest sweeping the Arab world: their desire to keep people happy with financial largesse on the one hand, balanced by a need to diversify economically for a post-oil future.

MENA stock markets close - October 26, 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)

News Analysis: Nakheel Lawsuits, Investor Confusion |

IMF Survey: Mideast Outlook Varies Markedly Across Region

Countries across the Middle East and North Africa face a diverging economic outlook, with oil exporters experiencing a pickup in growth in 2011 on the back of higher oil prices and oil importers seeing a dramatic downturn as the region faces heightened regional and global uncertainty, the IMF says in its latest assessment.

The IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia, released October 26, projects growth in the Middle East and North Africa region at 3.9 percent in 2011, down from 4.4 percent in 2010.

The region’s oil-exporting countries (excluding Libya)—Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen—are forecast to expand by 4.9 percent in 2011, thanks to higher oil prices and oil production, before moderating in 2012.

Alcoa Asks to Reopen Bahrain Aluminum Case to Seek Dismissal - Bloomberg

Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, wants a racketeering lawsuit filed against it by Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum producer reopened by a judge, saying that it will seek to dismiss the case.

Aluminum Bahrain BSC, known as Alba, sued in February 2008, claiming that Alcoa bribed senior officials in Bahrain and caused Alba to pay inflated prices for alumina, the principal raw material in aluminum. The case was filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, where Alcoa is based.

A month later, U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose halted the case after the U.S. Justice Department said it was investigating whether Alcoa made corrupt payments in Bahrain. The judge also administratively closed the case, “to allow the government to fully conduct an investigation without the interference and distraction of ongoing civil litigation,” court records show.

Dubai's Mashreq Q3 profit up on lower provisions | Reuters

Mashreq bank , Dubai's second-largest lender by market value, posted a 5 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday, thanks to lower loan loss provisions that offset a drop in income.

The lender made a net profit of 204 million dirhams ($55.5 million)for the three months to September 30, compared with 194.4 million dirhams in the corresponding period in 2010, according to Reuters calculations based on a bank statement to the Dubai Financial Market.

Net profit for the first nine months of the year stood at 756 million dirhams, up from 647.4 million dirhams in 2010, the statement said.

Dubai has options to handle debt maturities: Deutsche Bank | Reuters

Dubai has several options to handle its upcoming debt maturities and refinancing requirements, mainly thanks to reviving economic growth and stable income streams, a senior executive at Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) said on Tuesday.

"There are many options to handle upcoming debt maturities. When you have assets and/or the right level of income, you can solve them with the right amount of creativity," Salman Al Khalifa, global markets head for MENA and country head for the United Arab Emirates, told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

Dubai has been in the spotlight over its debt woes since late 2009, as it has struggled to rebuild investor confidence after state-owned Dubai World DBWLD.UL announced a $26 billion restructuring.

Egypt's Citadel to scale back new investments | Reuters

Egypt's Citadel Capital (CCAP.CA) plans to scale back investments outside its existing projects until the political and economic outlook becomes clearer, its chairman told Reuters.

The private equity firm which focuses on the Middle East and north Africa reported a loss for the first half of the year due to a lack of divestitures and because of writedowns on under-performing upstream oil and gas investments.

Chairman Ahmed Heikal said the firm's portfolio is weighted toward greenfield projects and turnarounds, which keeps it busy for now. "I think we will probably slightly downsize the existing portfolio which is huge," Heikal said in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

Dubai's DP World says 3Q trade up 10 percent -

Seaport operator DP World said Tuesday that cargo volumes at its docks rose 10 percent in the third quarter of 2011 as trade accelerated at its emerging markets ports.

The world's third-largest port operator said it handled the equivalent of 14.4 million standard 20-foot shipping containers between July and September. That's up from 13.1 million containers it lifted over the same period last year.

The Dubai-based cargo handler attributed the gains to growth at ports in Asia, Africa, Latin America and its home market in the United Arab Emirates. Recently acquired ports in Suriname and capacity increases at cargo terminals in Peru and China also boosted business, the company said.

Service is temporarily suspended until computer problems fully resolved, my apologies.

MENA stock markets close - October 25, 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)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Due to computer problems and subsequent recovery going on through the day and evening, updates are delayed until late Wednesday afternoon, at the earliest. My sincere apologies.

gulfnews : Majid Al Futtaim in talks to finance new Egypt mall

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) may issue a planned sukuk programme as early as next month and is pushing ahead with growth plans in Egypt despite operations being severely hit by months of unrest, its chief executive said yesterday.

The mall developer, which is the sole franchisee for hypermarket chain Carrefour in the Gulf, was forced to shut down its malls and hypermarkets in Egypt due to riots following the uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.

The company is now racing ahead with plans to grow in Egypt as it seeks financing for a new mall. "We're discussing with banks to get 13-year financing in Egypt ... we are in talks with local banks in Egypt for this," Eyad Malas, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, told the Reuters Middle East Investment summit.

gulfnews : Saudis hold talks to open stock market to foreigners

Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority is in discussions with international banks to open the country's stock exchange to foreign investors early next year, three bankers familiar with the matter said.

The market regulator is working with the banks to prepare for the introduction of foreign investors to the region's largest stock market as early as the first quarter of 2012, said the bankers, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.

Foreign, non-Arab Gulf investors currently can't directly invest in Saudi shares. The kingdom allowed citizens of neighbouring Gulf countries to buy and sell shares freely in 2007.

gulfnews : Moody's upgrades Dewa ratings as revenue grows

A price increase for Dubai utilities earlier this year and a new fuel surcharge have earned the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) an upgrade by ratings agency Moody's.

The agency yesterday upgraded Dewa from Ba2 to Ba1, pointing to good liquidity and expectations of growing profits for the authority.

Moody's lead analyst Franck Nowak told Gulf News that the 15 per cent rise in water and utility base rates — which was introduced in January — as well as the fuel surcharge had led to a more bullish ranking on the company.

Big Saudi retailer pulls out of Dubai - The National

Saudi Arabia's biggest retailer is pulling out of Dubai after complaining of rising rents in the emirate's most popular malls.

Retail Group Gulf, which is majority owned by the Fawaz Alhokair Group based in Riyadh, has closed more than 40 stores in Dubai and sold a number of its franchise agreements to other retailers.

It had stores in some of the emirate's biggest shopping centres, including Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta and Dubai Festival City.

Saudi lending boost set to give Samba a lift - The National

Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender by market value, is well positioned to benefit from the expected pick-up in the country's lending activity.

Total credit growth in Saudi Arabia increased 11 per cent in August compared with the same month last year, according to the latest central bank data. However, it was still well below boom-year figures of 27.2 per cent in 2008 and 21.2 per cent in 2007.

Although run in a conservative manner, with exposure to Saudi government and blue-chip corporate borrowers, analysts are bullish on Samba's fundamentals.

Dubai Islamic left to face hidden dangers - The National

Dubai Islamic Bank's (DIB) earnings are in focus after Emirates NBD, its larger rival, posted sharply decreased profits for the quarter.

But while Emirates NBD took precautionary measures to insulate against turbulence from the euro-zone debt crisis and provide for its exposure to Dubai Holding, DIB has more severe troubles to worry investors.

"DIB has got other issues that we're looking at," said Mahin Dissanayake, a financial analyst at Fitch Ratings. "They do have an exposure to Dubai government-related entities, but I suspect provisions will come from retail [lending] and commercial real estate."

Nasdaq Dubai to re-launch derivatives market: CEO | Reuters

Nasdaq Dubai will relaunch its derivatives market, targeting regional institutions wanting to hedge their share portfolios, the exchange's chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

The bourse, owned by Dubai Financial Market DFM.DU, launched a derivatives exchange in November 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis and trading has been lackluster.

"It didn't matter how good the derivative was, it was a derivative and we suffered under the weight of a bad product category, but they're starting to come back in favor," Nasdaq Dubai chief executive Jeff Singer told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit, held at Reuters' offices in Dubai.

Dubai's Emaar raising $700 mln from banks - chairman | Reuters

Dubai's Emaar Properties is in the process of raising around $700 million from banks, its chairman told local television on Monday.

Mohamed Alabbar said the real estate firm, around 30 percent owned by the Dubai government, was currently undertaking a "big financing operation" which was receiving a favourable response from lenders.

"The opportunities for financing and refinancing are excellent and likewise the prices are excellent," Alabbar said in an interview with Dubai TV, due to be broadcast on Tuesday.

Moody's: Oversupply to cap Dubai property recovery until 2016 | Reuters

Dubai's once-booming property market can expect more pain with oversupply likely to delay a price recovery in the Gulf emirate until 2016, ratings agency Moody's said on Monday.

House prices in Dubai soared after the emirate -- which overstretched itself building extravagant real estate projects -- opened its real estate sector to foreign investors in 2002, granting them freehold ownership rights at many developments.

From start-2007 to mid-2008, prices rallied almost 80 percent, Morgan Stanley estimates showed.

UAE's First Gulf Q3 profit rises 8 pct | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank on Monday reported an 8-percent rise in third quarter net profit driven by higher revenues and beating analyst forecasts.

The bank reported a net profit of 920 million dirhams ($250.68 million) up from 849 million dirhams in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average net profit of 860.29 million dirhams.

Net interest and Islamic financing revenue in the third quarter was 1.35 billion dirhams, up 26 percent from the same period last year.

UK charges businessman over Bahrain aluminum deals | Reuters

"Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has arrested and charged businessman Victor Dahdaleh with corruption offenses relating to contracts for the supply of aluminum to Bahrain, it said on Monday.

"He has been released on conditional police bail to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 31 October 2011," the SFO said in a statement.

The SFO said Dahdaleh was a British and Canadian national living in London's Belgravia district and that he was alleged to have paid bribes to officials of state-controlled smelting company Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) in connection with contracts with U.S. company Alcoa Inc.

Arab cry for affordable housing answered -

Dubai’s Emaar Properties aims to tackle one of the main socioeconomic drivers of the unrest that has driven Arab revolutionary ferment this year: affordable housing.

Dawahi Development, the property company’s specialist subsidiary, has been 18 months in the making, so the initiative predates the Arab spring, but the timing of this week’s launch is striking.

In a changed world, the developer that built the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower and the embodiment of Dubai’s deluxe real estate market, says Dawahi is as much about philanthropy as it is about profit.

Oman wins Moody’s confidence vote -

Oman’s political reforms have won a vote of confidence from Moody’s, the US rating agency, which described the passage of powers to the elected parliament as positive for the Gulf state’s credit rating after it was rocked by unrest earlier this year.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said al-Said, who has ruled Oman for 40 years, has granted some legislative powers to the consultative Majlis al-Shura, allowing the newly elected parliament to question ministers, propose laws and suggest changes to government regulations.

The sultan said the chairman of the 84-member Shura council, and his deputies, could be elected by members of parliament, rather than being appointed by the ruler.

Citadel Capital reports standalone Q2 net loss | Reuters

Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital on Monday reported a standalone second quarter net loss of $4.2 million compared with a net profit of $50,000 in the same quarter a year ago.

The company said it maintained a stable base of total assets under management of $4.1 billion quarter-on-quarter, an 8.1 percent rise year-on-year.

The figures for the period do not include $210.5 million in equity and debt fundraising for platform and portfolio companies, the company said in a statement.