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Thursday, 20 January 2011

MIDEAST STOCKS-Aldar at 23-mth low on bond plan; UAE mkts weak | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties (ALDR.AD: Quote) fell to a 23-month low on Thursday, extending losses since it unveiled a restructuring plan dilutive to shareholders and UAE markets remain weak as Aldar's precedent deters traders.

Aldar, which has made losses for four straight quarters, dropped 1.5 percent to 2 dirhams, its lowest finish since Feb. 4, 2009.

The developer's shares have fallen 12 percent since saying it would take $2.9 billion in impairments and issue a convertible bond to a government-owned investment vehicle. Abu Dhabi's government will also buy various assets from Aldar for $4.5 billion.

Cautious eye on Tunisian woe - The National

The political upheaval in Tunisia is spilling over into the struggling north African country's economy, with economists and ratings agencies hastily revising their previously bullish predictions for growth.

Economists have already begun to revise economic forecasts downwards following the ousting last week of president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and the formation of a new unity government. Alia Moubayed, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a recent note that tourism and foreign direct investment critical to financing the country's trade deficit would be most affected by the turmoil.

Credit ratings agencies have also begun to downgrade the country's bonds, with Moody's Investors Service reducing its assessment yesterday to "Baa3", its lowest investment-grade rating. Stocks listed in Tunis, meanwhile, have taken a hammering.

Kuwait Posts $25 Billion Preliminary Budget Surplus - Bloomberg

Kuwait posted a preliminary budget surplus of 7 billion dinars ($25 billion) in the first nine months of the fiscal year ending March 2011 as oil revenue exceeded forecasts, the Finance Ministry said.

Revenue was 15.13 billion dinars and spending was 8.09 billion dinars, according to data posted on the ministry’s website today. About 10 percent of revenue will be saved in the Reserve Fund for Future Generations.

Oil revenue was 14.12 billion dinars in the nine months to Dec. 31 while non-oil revenue was 1 billion dinars, the data showed.

Industrial & Financial Signs Agreement to Reschedule Its Debt - Bloomberg

Industrial & Financial Investments Co., a Kuwaiti investment firm, signed an agreement to reschedule its debt of 61.2 million dinars ($218 million), the company said in a filing to the Kuwait Stock Exchange today.

It signed the agreement with Kuwait Finance House, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait KSC, Commercial Bank of Kuwait and the Industrial Bank of Kuwait, which was appointed the manager of the debt, according to the filing.

Industrial & Financial is to repay the debt over five years, with a grace period of one year.

Emaar Economic City Falls Most Since October as Loss Widens - Bloomberg

Emaar Economic City retreated the most in three months after the developer of King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia said its fourth-quarter loss widened.

The shares fell as much as 3.5 percent, the biggest intraday drop since Oct. 20, to 6.95 riyals and traded at 7.05 riyals at 11:17 a.m. in Riyadh.

The real-estate company said its fourth-quarter loss widened to 206.4 million riyals ($55 million) from 69.9 million riyals in the year-ago period.

Kharafi lashes out at rival bid for Zain stake - The National

A competing bid by a Turkish conglomerate for the Kuwaiti operator Zain is an attempt to "sabotage" Etisalat's efforts buy a controlling stake in Zain, claims the chairman of the Kharafi Group.

Kharafi is a major shareholder in Zain, which is being targeted by Etisalat, which wants to acquire a stake that is estimated will cost Dh44 billion (US$11.97bn).

"We will not support this deal,' Nasser al Kharafi, the Kuwaiti billionaire chairman of Kharafi Group, said yesterday. "They are trying to sabotage our deal with Etisalat. So definitely we will not [be] going into this deal."

Etisalat Identifies 18 Banks to Finance Zain Deal, Al Bayan Says - Bloomberg

Emirates Telecommunications Corp., known as Etisalat, has identified 18 local and international banks for the financing of its $12 billion offer for control of Kuwait’s Zain, Kuwait’s biggest phone operator, Chief Financial Officer Salem al Sharhan told Al Bayan today.

The banks showed a “serious interest” in financing the potential transaction after negotiations, he told the newspaper.

Standards Planned as Banks Sell Derivatives: Islamic Finance - Businessweek

The leading Islamic finance standard-setting body is working on global rules for Shariah- compliant structured products to make them acceptable across borders as banks start selling more derivatives.

The International Islamic Financial Market, based in Manama, Bahrain, is developing a common template for hedging instruments such as currency swaps, Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, the agency’s chief executive officer, said in an e-mailed reply to questions on Jan. 12. Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd., HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd. and Standard Chartered Saadiq Bhd. plan to offer new structured products this year.

Islamic banks need to ensure customers can understand the derivatives and that risk is limited after the financial crisis caused clients to lose money, according to Azrulnizam Abdul Aziz, chief executive officer at Standard Chartered Saadiq in Kuala Lumpur. There’s demand for the securities because investors want to diversify and expand their business, he said.

Saudi Telecom Q4 net profit falls 26 pct - Maktoob News

State-controlled Saudi Telecom (STC), the kingdom's biggest operator, posted a 26 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit, it said.

Net profit fell to 2.3 billion Saudi riyals ($613.3 million) from 2.94 billion riyals a year ago, STC said in a bourse statement.

Despite the loss, the overall percentage contribution of the firm's international operations had increased due to a larger number of subscribers, the statement said.