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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Qatar Names Mohammed Al Sada Energy Minister, Replacing Attiyah, QNA Says - Bloomberg

Qatar, holder of the world’s third- largest gas reserves, appointed Mohammed Saleh Al Sada as energy minister, replacing Abdullah Al-Attiyah, who served in that capacity for 19 years.

The government-run Qatar News Agency said Al Sada, minister of state for energy and industry since 2007 and managing director of RasGas Co. prior to that, was named to his new position by Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Attiyah, OPEC’s longest-serving oil minister, was made head of the Emir’s court and will retain his position as deputy prime minister. Attiyah oversaw the transformation of Qatar from a country reliant on oil into the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

FT Tilt - What are Aldar's assets really worth?(Registration)

Abu Dhabi announced its biggest ever corporate bailoutout last week, and while it did much to reassure creditors the company will make good on its debts, shareholders and analysts still question its prospects as a growth business. Today, Breakingviews columnist Una Galani makes the important point that even after a massive asset writedown - mandated as part of the bailout - the market still doesn't think Aldar's assets would sell for that:

The company's gross asset value will also fall dramatically to $8.5 billion -- partly because of the sales and partly as a result of a $2.9 billion impairment charge on its remaining assets to reflect falling land values and scrapped projects. The net asset value will be $6.3 billion. With a pro forma market capitalisation of only $2.4 billion, investors clearly don't believe even the reduced book values.

(Aldar's current market cap is about $1.47bn, Galani is factoring in the value of outstanding convertible bonds into the pro forma figure)

UPDATE 1-UAE's Emaar to meet bond investors from Jan. 21 | Reuters

Emaar Properties (EMAR.DU), builder of the world's tallest building in Dubai, appointed banks to arrange fixed income meetings ahead of a possible bond issue, the developer said on Tuesday.

HSBC (HSBA.L), RBS (RBS.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) have been picked to arrange the meetings which start on Jan. 21 and will take place in Asia, the Gulf region and Europe, Emaar said in a statement posted on the bourse website. "A transaction may follow subject to market conditions," the statement said.

The property market in the United Arab Emirates suffered in the wake of the global financial crisis as developers overstretched themselves in the pursuit of ambitious projects.

Kuwait Airways Sale by Government Reached Final Stages, Minister Says - Bloomberg

Kuwait Airways Corp., a state-owned carrier, is in the “final stages” of preparation for a public share sale, Communications Minister Mohammad al-Busairy said.

“The establishing committee submitted its first memo which the government is now looking at,” al-Busairy told reporters in Kuwait City today. “I expect the company’s establishment to start by the end of March.”

Kuwait Investment Authority, the Gulf Arab state’s sovereign wealth fund, was authorized last year to establish a shareholding company to hold the airline’s assets, KAC Chairman Hamad al-Falah said in an interview last March. The fund formed a committee that was given one year to implement the privatization, al-Falah said at the time. The shareholding company will be called Kuwait Airways Co.

Dubai Shares Climb on Regional Growth Prospects; Drake & Scull Advances - Bloomberg

Dubai shares increased the most in almost two weeks led by construction and services companies, such as Drake & Scull International PJSC, which stand to benefit from the regional and global economic recovery. Oil advanced.

Drake & Scull, an engineering contractor for the real- estate industry, climbed the most since Jan. 2. Arabtec Holding Co., the biggest publicly traded builder in the United Arab Emirates, gained for a second day. The DFM General Index rose 1 percent, the most since Jan. 6, to 1,625.53 at 1:18 p.m. in Dubai.

“We are seeing global markets continue their upward trend along with commodity prices,” Omair Ansari, equity strategist at Gulfmena Alternative Investments, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Dubai-listed corporates are exemplifying their ability to capture the region’s growth story.”

Nasdaq Dubai unveils new IPO, listing rules amid liquidity fears - Markets and Companies -

Nasdaq Dubai on Tuesday unveiled a raft of new rules for initial public offerings and reporting requirements for listed firms as the bourse seeks to boost liquidity and attract traders.

Under the proposed rules, new IPOs will need a minimum of 400 individual shareholders or to reserve at least 10 percent of the offer for retail investors, the company said.

Listed firms – which include state-backed ports operator DP World and contractor Depa – will also have to report results quarterly, rather than the current half-yearly updates.

Bahrain's Arcapita to raise capital as $1.1. bln loan looms

Bahrain's Arcapita, the Islamic investment firm that needs to refinance a $1.1 billion loan due next year, said it is conducting a rights issue to raise fresh funds from shareholders.

Arcapita was badly hit by the crisis as it struggled to exit its investments due to global investor woes and its fee income from raising fresh funds in the Gulf Arab region collapsed.

'We can confirm that we are conducting a rights issue that has been put to existing shareholders,' a spokesman for the company told Reuters. - Opec lifts output as oil flirts with $100

The Opec oil cartel is quietly increasing its production as oil prices flirt with $100 a barrel, the western countries’ oil watchdog said on Tuesday.

The revelation by the International Energy Agency comes in spite of a string of public comments from Opec countries such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates suggesting that there was no need for more oil and playing down the impact of high oil prices.

The cartel left its official production levels unchanged at a meeting last month in Quito, Ecuador. But the IEA said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia and other Opec countries were quietly lifting their output in response to higher prices.

Aldar expects to return to profit this year - The National

Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's biggest developer, expects to return to profit by the end of this year, the company's chief financial officer said yesterday.

"In the coming year, you will see that the company will be in black at net profit level for 2011 and 2012 as well," Shafqat Malik told investors on a conference call.

Aldar announced a funding plan last Thursday under which the Abu Dhabi Government will buy Dh10.9 billion (US$2.96bn) of the company's infrastructure assets on Yas Island, Dh5.5bn of residential units and land.

Lufthansa Aims `To Take Gulf Carriers Down' in Europe Push, Emirates Says - Bloomberg

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is bidding to stop Dubai-based Emirates serving more German cities as part of a campaign to undermine its rival’s business model, Tim Clark, the Middle Eastern carrier’s president, said in an interview.

Cologne-based Lufthansa has so far succeeded in lobbying to prevent Emirates from obtaining landing slots in Stuttgart and at the new Berlin-Brandenburg International airport, which is scheduled to open in June next year, Clark said.

“Their mantra is to take the Gulf carriers down, as well as dominate the markets they sit in,” he said. Emirates aims to “re-engage” with the German government over the slots issue before the summer and is hopeful it “will see sense,” he said.

Tunisia Revolt Spurs Surge in Region's Credit-Default Swaps - Bloomberg

Investors are insuring against contagion across North Africa after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country following protests against rising food costs, unemployment and corruption.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows credit-default swaps insuring government debt from Morocco to Egypt have surged to the highest levels since July 2009. Contracts on Tunisia climbed to 184 basis points from 120 at the start of the year, while contracts on Egypt jumped to 307.5 from 237 and Morocco rose to 159 from 125, CMA prices show.

“If things were to get out of hand, you have the risk of broader contagion that starts to impact banking exposures,” said Vivek Tawadey, head of European credit strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London. “The risk is it moves further eastward. As things currently stand, we believe that this is a localized event which should correct over time.” / Europe - Portugal looks beyond debt issue on Gulf tour

Portugal has raised the possibility of private placements of its public debt with Qatar, although prime minister José Sócrates has insisted that the issue is not on the agenda of an official visit to the Gulf.

Luís Amado, Portugal’s foreign minister, said potential purchases of Portuguese public debt by Qatar were “the subject of conversations between the respective finance ministers”.

“It is an area that is at the centre of our attentions,” he told Portuguese television. - North African bourses fall on Tunisia contagion fears

North African stock markets fell and the cost of insuring against sovereign defaults in the region rose as analysts warned that the political turmoil that has engulfed Tunisia could spread to other Middle East countries.

Tunisia’s widespread youth unemployment, corruption, autocracy and food price inflation – which led to the ousting of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last Friday – is common across the Arab world.

Barclays Capital slashed its economic forecast for Tunisia on Monday and warned the risk of the country’s political turmoil spilling over to other countries in the Middle East is “not negligible”. / Middle East & North Africa - Gulf shifts focus to domestic energy

Shaybah is Saudi Arabia’s most remote hydrocarbon field, nestled deep in the desolate, sun-scorched expanse of the Rub al Khali desert. In spite of the location, Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, is pressing ahead with a production expansion.

The field’s crude oil output was increased by 50 per cent to 750,000 barrels a day in 2009, and Aramco recently signed a $500m deal with GE Energy to further raise the reservoir’s capacity to 1m barrels.

Perhaps more important, the deal also includes a substantial increase in Shaybah’s gas output, and a plant to process it into liquid form.