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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Saudi Stocks Climb to 5-Week High on Housing Measures; Dar al Arkan Gains - Bloomberg

Saudi stocks rose to the highest level in five weeks as investors restore confidence in the Arab world’s largest economy after King Abdullah ordered the creation of a ministry for housing.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s biggest petrochemical maker, added as much as 2.5 percent, and Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), the kingdom’s largest lender, advanced 1.3 percent. The 146-member Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 1.5 percent, the highest level since Feb. 19, to 6456.66 at 12:33 p.m. in Riyadh.

“Day after day, Saudi Arabia has been proving immune from the surrounding turmoil,” said Amro Halwani, a senior trader at Shuaa Capital PSC (SHUAA) in Riyadh. “With the ongoing, fast-paced initiatives the government is undergoing, investors are feeling more confident to place bets on the table.”

Bahrain Banks, Large Companies Unaffected by Turmoil, Awsat Says - Bloomberg

Bahrain’s banks haven’t been affected by more than a month of political turmoil in the country, Asharq Al-Awsat reported, citing the country’s central bank governor, Rasheed al-Maraj.

Oil production and large companies in the petrochemical and aluminum industries in country were operating without disruptions, the London-based newspaper cited al-Maraj as saying. Banks can provide financing if needed, the newspaper said.

GGICO reports loss of nearly Dh1bn last year - The National

Gulf General Investment Company (GGICO) reported a full-year loss of almost Dh1 billion for last year, compared with a profit of Dh197 million in 2009, and is seeking to restructure its debts.

In addition, the Dubai conglomerate said in a statement to the Dubai stock exchange it had "closed or exited" five of its subsidiaries, which were losing money. The company attributed the earnings decline to a drop in the fair value of equities held and impairments on property.

GGICO's remaining 19 subsidiaries were "performing well and will be further focused for organic growth", the company said. "The company has put in place a financial framework for long-term sustainable growth and as part of that has appointed HSBC Bank Middle East as its financial adviser for restructuring debts due to banks," it said. It did not provide a value for the amount being restructured. GGICO mainly buys and sells property but also manufactures prefabricated houses and trades a wide range of products including lubricants and perfumes.

Porsche board to meet on $7 billion capital rise | Reuters

Debt-laden German carmaker Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) is set to approve this Sunday details of implementing a 5 billion euro ($7.1 billion) capital increase, clearing the way for a merger with Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE).

"The executive board and the supervisory board of Porsche SE have not yet resolved on the subscription price and the details of the implementation of the capital increase. Such decision is planned for Sunday, 27 March 2011," it said in a written statement late on Friday.

"A syndicate of banks has today undertaken vis-a-vis Porsche SE, under certain conditions, to underwrite all new ordinary and preferred shares to be issued in connection with the implementation of the capital increase ...," it said.

Thales raps cable leak and dampens UAE row | Reuters

France's Thales (TCFP.PA) said on Friday it was close to an agreement with the United Arab Emirates over rules for future arms contracts and hit out at an embarrassing Wikileaks-style leak to a French newspaper.

The company effectively confirmed a report in La Tribune, based on a leaked diplomatic cable, which disclosed recent disagreement over the terms for any future sale of Rafale jets.

But Thales said the dispute over offsets, or counter-trade clauses built into arms deals, was close to being resolved.