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Monday, 14 February 2011

MGM Resorts' Las Vegas results weak, United States Industries - Maktoob News

MGM Resorts International reported lower fourth-quarter earnings at most of its resorts in Las Vegas, the company's most important market, sending its shares down 3.2 percent.

MGM, reported to be planning a public listing of shares in its Macau joint venture at the end of February, posted a narrower net loss for the quarter as it cut expenses.

The casino operator opened its flagship CityCenter project on the Las Vegas Strip at the end of 2009 and has struggled amid the recession and downturn in consumer spending.

MENA Stock Markets- close, 14 February, 2011

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
6624.2-0.04%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1607.610.21%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2711.16-0.61%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6660.9-0.82%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1470.120.12%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
7001.050.66%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8936.23-0.89%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
-
 
1462.50.00%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5646.5-10.52%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
2332.24-1.42%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4568.78-0.72%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
12762-0.11%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
485.62-0.53%

Growthpoint, PIC Buy V&A Mall in Biggest South Africa Property Purchase - Bloomberg

Growthpoint Properties Ltd., South Africa’s largest publicly traded real-estate investor, and the Public Investment Corp. agreed to buy Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront shopping mall in the country’s biggest property deal.

Growthpoint and the PIC, which manages state pension funds, will pay 9.72 billion rand ($1.33 billion) for the mall and surrounding properties, Johannesburg-based Growthpoint said in a stock exchange filing today. Istithmar World, London & Regional Properties and a group of local investors teamed up to buy the development from Transnet Ltd., the state-owned transport company, and three of its pension funds for $1 billion in 2006.

“The developed property portfolio boasts a well- established and high-quality portfolio of properties offering attractive rentals, rental escalations and lease expiry profiles,” Growthpoint said. “The transaction also creates the opportunity to unlock significant value.”

Egypt stock exchange delays reopening again | Reuters

Egypt's stock exchange, shut since January 27 because of the country's political turmoil, will remain closed until stability returns to the economy and the financial sector, a bourse official said on Monday.

He first said the bourse would re-open on Sunday, but then said it would take place on an unspecified date. Trading would resume 48 hours after the announcement is made, he added.

MENA stock markets 11GMT, 14 February, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6598.35-0.43%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1607.610.21%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2711.16-0.61%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6660.9-0.82%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1470.120.12%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
7001.050.66%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8936.23-0.89%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
-
1462.50.00%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
5646.5-10.52%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2332.24-1.42%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4548.68-1.15%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
12793.90.14%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
485.62-0.53%

Sorouh needs more funds after reporting fourth quarter loss - bi-me.com

Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Real Estate (SOR.AD) will need some additional funds this year after the emirate's second-largest developer by market value reported a loss in the fourth quarter.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Amos said Sorouh would need a "small amount" of additional funding this year but said the firm would not need to go to the capital markets, when asked if the developer would tap the bond market.

"We have a good pipeline of development revenues and expect a three-fold increase in earnings from investment properties over the next three years," he said.

Dubai property prices fall 1.9%, no signs of recovery - ArabianBusiness.com

Property prices in Dubai, the Arabian Gulf business hub, fell 1.9 percent in January while rents dropped 0.7 percent, Deutsche Bank said.

“Although the pace of decline has slowed lately, we still do not see any improvement in fundamentals that could trigger a recovery,” analysts Nabil Ahmed and Athmane Benzerroug wrote in a note to clients, seen by Bloomberg.

“The supply overhang still looms large, homebuyers still lack appetite, transaction volumes remain anemic, banks remain cautious lenders and international investors are still wary of the UAE property market.”

Credit Suisse raises $6.1B from Arabian investors - CNBC

Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group says it is raising some $6.1 billion from Arabian investors to satisfy new capitalization rules.

Credit Suisse says it is issuing contingent capital notes worth $3.5 billion to Qatar Holding LLC and notes worth 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.57 billion) to Saudi Arabia's The Olayan Group.

The Zurich-based bank says the move would satisfy emergency capital requirements proposed by Swiss regulators.

Zain Group Receives Third Offer for Zain Saudi Stake, Qabas Says - Bloomberg

Mobile Telecommunications Co. received a third offer to acquire its 25 percent stake in Zain Saudi Arabia, Al-Qabas reported today, citing a Zain Group official.

The third offer was made by a Saudi consortium led by an investment firm called Riyadh Group, according to the newspaper.

Kingdom Holding Co. and Bahrain Telecommunications Co. have both made offers to acquire Mobile Telecommunications’ stake in Zain Saudi Arabia.

How long will it take the UAE to turn its economy around? « ArabianMoney

For the past two years the United Arab Emirates has been a regional laggard in GDP growth, with a very large contraction of GDP in 2009 probably understated leaving the recovery last year also largely invisible in official statistical series.

Yet before the global financial crisis the UAE ranked up with Qatar as the fastest growing of the Gulf States and Dubai could boast arguably the highest rates of GDP growth in any city of the world from 2003-8.

All good things have to come to an end, and the Dubai property boom turned into an investment mania in the later years. Abu Dhabi decided to join the real estate party late in the day and so suffered from the same collapse but from higher valuation levels.

Ontario in bid to block $3.2bn LSE Toronto deal - The National

Business relations between Canada and the UAE are being further tested after it emerged a Canadian provincial finance minister is poised to block the proposed tie up of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Toronto stock exchange operator TMX because Middle East investors own large stakes in the UK operator.

Borse Dubai, the parent company of Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai, owns 20.6 per cent of the LSE. If the US$3.2 billion (Dh11.75bn) merger with the Canadian company goes ahead the Dubai group will own a significant stake in the newly formed global markets operator.

Dubai would end up with an 11.3 per cent stake in the combined entity, the largest single holding and enough to trigger strict Canadian laws on foreign ownership, which state any stake over 10 per cent must get approval from the Canadian federal government.

Syria grows into new bourse - The National

Trading in stocks is relatively new in Syria but the country's index has already outperformed most regional markets.

Efforts are being made to stabilise stock prices and introduce listings and regulations to encourage foreign investment on the Damascus Securities Exchange (DSE), an official said.

"It's all part of developing a very young market," said Anas Jawish, the listing and operations director at the DSE. "We've put forth a series of initiatives to encourage investors to trade in Syrian companies."

Etisalat makes its presence felt - The National

Passengers arriving at Barcelona airport's baggage claim area are greeted by a large green Etisalat logo.

The signage, familiar to anyone in the UAE, may seem out of place given that the country's largest telecommunications operator has no investments in Spain.

But when the world's telecoms industry convenes in the Spanish city for the Mobile World Congress, which starts today, it serves as an indication that Etisalat and its regional peers have arrived as major global players.

Benihana Kuwait - Silence! I sue you!

MyBenihana Experience



A few days back I posted about Benihana opening up at the Avenues and yesterday night I decided to pass by with Nat and try it out. The service wasn’t too bad for a restaurant that’s just been open for a few days and the staff were really friendly. The restaurant itself is made up of islands and bars with a grill in the middle of each one. You sit around the grill and the chef will come to your table and prepare the food right in front of you which makes things entertaining. It’s actually why I prefer sitting at the bar in Japanese restaurants in general, since you can talk to the chef and watch them put your dish together. The problem with my experience last night though was with the food, it was disappointing to say the least.



We ordered beef negimayaki for starters followed by an Orange Blossom maki and a Hibachi Chicken. The negimaki arrived looking good and was probably the best thing we had there even though I prefer Maki’s negimaki which has a richer teriyaki sauce. The Orange Blossom was very ordinary, wouldn’t order it again. Now the Hibachi chicken which is basically grilled chicken, that was the worst. The chicken was very chewy (I could swear it was undercooked if not raw) and tasted terrible. Even after I had the chef add some more teriyaki sauce in hopes of improving the taste it didn’t work. I tried to dip it into the sauces that came with the chicken but it was hard to figure out if they were actually making things worse or not. Nat only ate one piece of chicken and left the rest while I needed my protein since I’m on a strict diet and forced myself to eat my whole plate (I can do that) but the after taste was really bad. Even the rice and the veggies that came with it tasted bad AND were under cooked. Once we left I considered picking up a frozen yogurt from Pinkberry even though I hate frozen yogurts but I just needed something to get rid of the aftertaste. A few moments later we ended up at Chocolate Bar ordering the gooey chocolate cake (bye bye diet).



I shot the two videos above of the chef preparing our meal. Benihana are known for the live shows they perform when preparing your dish so I was expecting to see [This] but ended up with the above . Would I go back to Benihana? No I wouldn’t. Their sashimi and maki’s are pretty cheap (KD1.5 for 5 pieces of Salmon sashimi for example) but there are two other Japanese restaurants at the Avenues, Wasabi and Maki, and I would prefer either one of those to Benihana.
___________________________________________________________________

The above is a reproduction of Mark Makhoul's original post on Kuwaiti blog 2:48AM talking about what he thought of newly opened Kuwaiti restaurant Benihana. The franchise holder of the restaurant then proceeded to issue a lawsuit against Mark, presumably with the intention of scaring him into taking down his post or perhaps agreeing to post something altogether more fawning. The company then faced a wave of public anger at its actions, choosing to ignore this, deleting negative comments from its Facebook page and blocking those who commented. Both Benihana Kuwait and the franchisor, Benihana of Tokyo, have consistently refused comment on this shameful little episode.

This has already turned into a social media mismanagement case study that will run and run. They're a laughing stock. Millions of people around the world have read the story: Fast Company, BoingBoing, TheNextWeb and others have posted it (let alone traditional news media around the world). Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people have seen the story on Twitter. And it's not going to go away - bloggers around the region and beyond are posting copies of Mark's OP today - on blogs, Facebook and other social media platforms.

Already, this case is prominent when you Google Benihana - and it is, of course, on their Wikipedia entry. If you're looking for Benihana Kuwait, this nasty little story is all you get. Surely these people realise that this is already game over - that if they don't reconsider their actions and act to stop this (and stopping it rests, as it always has, entirely in their hands) that they won't have a restaurant left at the end of the day? It is NOT going to go away.

The case is due to have its first day in court on the 8th March. I would URGE Benihana of Tokyo to finally act responsibly and rein in its idiotic licensee before the damage to the Benihana brand globally becomes irreperable. This will start to hurt other Benihana licensees who have had no part in this. All Benihana has to do is drop the case.

For fun and larks, you can follow the hashtag #BenihanaKUW on Twitter. (HT Fake Plastic Souks)

gulfnews : Bankers see rebound in mergers, acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the Middle East is expected to show a rebound in 2011 despite there being some concerns over buyers and sellers remaining at odds over prices, said a survey released yesterday.

The value of deal activity in the region is on an average expected by the bankers to rise 20 per cent this year to between $28 billion (Dh102.8 billion) and $30 billion, according to the report released by M:Communications and business information provider Zawya showed.

"Many people feel that the worst is over and a number of investors expect growth is going to rise," Nicholas Lunt, managing director of M:Communications told Reuters.

FT.com - Quick View: LSE and TMX had little choice

As he surveys last week’s whirlwind in the global exchange landscape, Xavier Rolet probably realises he has done pretty much the only deal he could have.

By reaching across the Atlantic and agreeing a deal last week with Tom Kloet, chief executive of Canada’s TMX Group, the French chief executive of the London Stock Exchange has done a number of crucial things.

First, knowing – as he must have done – that a fresh round of global exchange mergers was imminent, he had to secure the LSE’s increasingly perilous future by seeking a partner of roughly equal size to safeguard the British bourse against takeover.

FT.com - Arab rulers confront a new world

Opposition protesters celebrate Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, from their stronghold of Tahrir Square in Cairo

Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution last month blew a hole in the armour of the Arab security state, and the lazily settled opinion that Arab autocracies, with their backbone in the military and their nervous system in the security services, were bulletproof. Egypt’s Nile Revolution is of altogether another order.

It has dropped a great boulder into the stagnant pool of Arab despotism that will set waves coursing across the region. Egypt’s insurgents did not just take power from Hosni Mubarak. They have leeched it from every autocrat in the Arab world.

That is only partly because of Egypt’s historic and cultural weight in the region, diminished by the Mubarak era’s stagnation and political degradation.


FT.com - Middle East buffeted by shockwaves

Shockwaves from the toppling of Hosni Mubarak rolled around the Middle East at the weekend, em­boldening opposition movements in Algeria, Iran and Yemen and prompting Palestinian leaders to commit to long-delayed elections.

The US state department called on Algerian security forces to exercise “restraint” on Sunday as the country geared up for sustained protests.

Several hundred Algerians defied a ban and 26,000 riot police to demonstrate in the capital on Saturday, despite President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s efforts to pre-empt protests by promising to end emergency laws and address unemployment.

Egypt: army consolidates, investors wait | beyondbrics – FT.com

Investors hoping that Hosni Mubarak’s resignation as Egypt’s president might bring an early resolution of the country’s political crisis will be disappointed.

As ft.com reports Egypt’s military over the weekend has taken firmer control of the country – while reassuring protestors of its commitment to democratic transition. But elections won’t come for six months – so there will be plenty of time for the ebbs and flow of political uncertainty. And those planning to trade on the Cairo bourse must wait a few more days. the re-opening of the stock exchange has been delayed until Wednesday.

In its first significant move since Mubarak’s resignation on Friday, the supreme council of the military, now the ruler of the land, on Sunday set a timetable for the transition and said a committee would be appointed to examine constitutional amendments, report FT correspondents in Cairo. The move met some but not all of the demands of the protest movement. ftcom said: