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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

UPDATE 1-Qatar says marketed Libyan oil, delivered product | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

Qatar has marketed 1 million barrels of Libyan crude oil on behalf of Libya's rebels, and delivered four shipments of petroleum products to the eastern port of Benghghazi, the Qatari state news agency QNA said on Tuesday.

QNA cited an official source at Qatar's energy ministry as saying that "one million barrels of Libyan crude oil had so far been marketed."

Most of Libya's oil industry remains in the hands of leader Muammar Gaddafi although AGOCO, a breakaway arm of the National Oil Company, has allied itself with the rebels

Abu Dhabi's IPIC may buy remaining 36% in Borealis from OMV - bi-me.com

International Petroleum Investment Co., an investment company owned by Abu Dhabi, may buy the remaining 36% in Borealis A/S from Austria’s OMV AG. (OMV)

“There’s always a possibility of that,” Chief Executive Mark Garrett told reporters today at an event in Abu Dhabi when asked whether IPIC, holder of 64%, planned to acquire the rest of the plastics maker.

“There currently are no talks in this direction,” Michaela Huber, a spokeswoman for OMV in Vienna, told Bloomberg by phone. IPIC Managing Director Khadem Al Qubaisi didn’t answer a call and text message to his mobile phone seeking comment.

Private trading houses resume Libya oil deals | Reuters

Libyan oil trade is picking up after weeks of paralysis despite civil war, trade sources told Reuters, saying political support from the West for Libyan rebels was enabling deals.

The resumption of exports could provide a vital lifeline to Libyan rebels amid heavy fighting with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the sources said, adding private trading houses would dominate risky deals for the foreseeable future.

"The transactions are certainly being encouraged on the political side," a source close to the process said.

Zain’s Executive Compensation « Alpha Dinar- talking Gulf finance

Today’s Zain Annual General Meeting was held with much attention from investors, major shareholders, media members, parliament members, and the general public. The reason for the hype was that Zain’s Africa deal was being discussed, as well as the biggest dividend in Kuwait’s private sector history (KD 800 million) was going to be approved. There was speculation (proved to be correct) that the make up of the board of directors would change, as members of the Salem Al Ali and Ali Al Khalifa blocks were overthrown by Al Khrafi affliates, paving the way for the Zain Saudi deal.

Another major point that came up was the executive compenstation. Nabeel Bin Salamah was supposed to get a certain percentage of Zain’s profits, which equates to KD 27 million (Zain’s profit had an extra KD 2 bn due to the Africa sale). The bonus was reduced to KD 3.8 million, while 20 other managers received a total of KD 3 million, and the sum of KD 2.7 million went towards executive expenses. Even the reduced executive compensation amount seems absurd. Bin Salamah has been the CEO of Zain for a year now, meaning that the Zain Africa deal was being cooked before he joined the company. Even on an international level, such a compensation seems ridiculous. Wall Street executives are known to be the highest paid in the world, and Bin Salamah ranks up there with them.



Zain’s Executive Compensation « Alpha Dinar- talking Gulf finance

Today’s Zain Annual General Meeting was held with much attention from investors, major shareholders, media members, parliament members, and the general public. The reason for the hype was that Zain’s Africa deal was being discussed, as well as the biggest dividend in Kuwait’s private sector history (KD 800 million) was going to be approved. There was speculation (proved to be correct) that the make up of the board of directors would change, as members of the Salem Al Ali and Ali Al Khalifa blocks were overthrown by Al Khrafi affliates, paving the way for the Zain Saudi deal.

Another major point that came up was the executive compenstation. Nabeel Bin Salamah was supposed to get a certain percentage of Zain’s profits, which equates to KD 27 million (Zain’s profit had an extra KD 2 bn due to the Africa sale). The bonus was reduced to KD 3.8 million, while 20 other managers received a total of KD 3 million, and the sum of KD 2.7 million went towards executive expenses. Even the reduced executive compensation amount seems absurd. Bin Salamah has been the CEO of Zain for a year now, meaning that the Zain Africa deal was being cooked before he joined the company. Even on an international level, such a compensation seems ridiculous. Wall Street executives are known to be the highest paid in the world, and Bin Salamah ranks up there with them.



MENA stock markets close - April 12, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6590.65-0.32%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1590.481.11%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2632.440.50%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6364.6-0.01%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1409.35-0.69%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
6372.970.69%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8771.8-0.71%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1408.49-0.05%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
5202.47-1.42%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2225.54-0.10%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4285.98-0.85%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
11958.2-0.52%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
486.720.68%

Alwaleed gives up contested Egypt land- bi-me.com

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has given up a claim to land in Egypt that was frozen by the country's public prosecutor, Egypt's state news agency reported on Tuesday, without giving details.

The prince said he would not go to international arbitration to contest the prosecutor's decision that the purchase of the land at Toshka in southern Egypt violated the law, MENA said.

The public prosecutor has been investigating business transactions and the finances of officials under former president Hosni Mubarak since mass protests forced him out of office on February 11.

Kuwait's KIPCO repays $350 mln bond, on downgrade review | Reuters

Kuwait Projects Co (KPRO.KW) (KIPCO) repaid a $350 million bond in full at maturity on Tuesday, after ratings agency Moody's placed the company on review for a potential downgrade earlier in the day.

KIPCO, Kuwait's largest investment company by assets, repaid the bond - its first issue under a $2 billion programme - which matured on April 12, a statement from the company said.

"As a result of our prudent funding policies that refinance our maturing debt well in advance, KIPCO has ample liquidity to meet its current requirements," Pinak Maitra, group chief financial officer, said in the statement.

Zain shareholders OK windfall dividend payout | Reuters

Zain's (ZAIN.KW) shareholders on Tuesday approved a $3 billion windfall payout for 2010 following the Kuwaiti telco's $9 billion sale of its African assets to India's Bharti Airtel.

Zain is also expected to announce a new board at its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.

UAE telecom firm Etisalat ETEL.AD scrapped its $12 billion offer to buy a controlling stake in Zain last month, citing Zain's divided board, extended due diligence and regional unrest.

FT.com / World - Saudi oil response to Libya ‘limited’

Saudi Arabia increased its oil output in response to Libya’s crisis by less than had been thought, producing fewer than 9m barrels per day in March, according to the International Energy Agency.

In its latest oil market report, released on Tuesday, the IEA described the response by Opec, the oil-producers’ cartel, to the loss of Libyan supply as “limited”. The turmoil in Libya has taken more than 1m b/d off the market, leading to an overall fall in production among Opec’s 12 members of 890,000 b/d between February and March.

Saudi Arabia, which controls about three-quarters of Opec’s spare capacity, raised its output in the first quarter of 2011, producing an average of 310,000 b/d more than during the final quarter of 2010.

U.A.E. Shares Gain, Led by Dubai, on MSCI Upgrade Optimism; DFM Rallies - Bloomberg

United Arab Emirates shares rose, sending Dubai’s benchmark to a two-month high, on investor speculation changes to the exchanges’ settlement system may secure emerging market status at index provider MSCI Inc.

Dubai Financial Market PJSC, the only Gulf Arab stock market to sell shares to the public, rallied 3.8 percent. The head of the bourse said about 30 companies expressed interest in listing shares in Dubai. Aramex PJSC, the Middle East’s largest courier company, increased for a second time this week. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 1 percent to 1,589.38, the highest intraday level since Feb. 20, at 11:45 a.m. in the emirate. Abu Dhabi’s measure gained 0.4 percent.

The U.A.E. and Qatar are seeking to secure an upgrade from frontier markets status at MSCI, which will revalue its assessment in June, according to its website. MSCI indexes are tracked by investors with an estimated $5.2 trillion in assets, according to a May report by Shinhan Investment Corp. The so- called delivery-versus-payment system, an MSCI requirement for emerging market status, will start April 28, in the U.A.E. Qatar introduced the system yesterday.

The PE cavaliers cruise into Dubai | beyondbrics – FT.com

Peering from the bow of their deluxe yachts, the super-heros of private equity see a bright future for the Middle East, as the region’s disaffected youths confront aging, corrupt regimes. Widespread unrest across the Middle East and North Africa might crimp deal flow in the short-term, they say, but the future impact will be rosy for an industry still suffering from the fall out of the global financial crisis.

Self-serving predictions are the stuff of legend among the private equity cavaliers.

During the MENA boom, major players descended on the region, predicting it would become the world’s fourth centre of private equity after the US, Europe and Asia.

Dubai Group debt deal to be signed in Q2 - Noor CEO - Maktoob News

Dubai Group, part of a conglomerate owned by the emirate's ruler, is nearing a debt deal with its lenders and an agreement may be signed within the second quarter, the head of one of its creditor banks said.

Financial services firm Dubai Group, a unit of Dubai Holding, set up a bank committee for debt restructuring talks last year. It has missed at least two scheduled payments on separate loans.

"We are at the final stages. We are happy with the progress. We expect a few minor details to be ironed out but we expect the deal to be signed," said Hussain Al Qemzi, chief executive of Noor Islamic Bank, one of the banks on the creditor committee.

UPDATE 1-Zain Saudi signs $600 mln 2-yr refinancing deal | Reuters

Zain Saudi Arabia 7030.SE, the country's third mobile operator, signed a two-year refinancing agreement worth 2.25 billion riyals ($600 million) to help its capital projects and meet previous obligations.

The firm signed the Islamic financing agreement with Saudi banks including Arab National Bank 1080.SE and Banque Saudi Fransi 1050.SE, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Zain Saudi Arabia completed a refinancing agreement, which complies with sharia laws, on April 11... That is to meet its previous obligations and finance a number of the firm's capital projects," the statement issued to Saudi bourse stated.

US military supplier to ask federal appeals court to toss fraud charges :: The Republic

A Kuwaiti military food supplier accused of defrauding the government of at least $68 million plans to ask a federal appeals court to block the charges.

Attorneys for Public Warehousing Co. have filed a motion last week signaling they would ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a judge's decision that allowed the charges to go forward.

A magistrate judge initially recommended that the charges against the firm, also known as Agility, be dropped because it hadn't been properly served with the indictment. But a federal judge rejected that recommendation in March.

IMF, Goldman oil warnings hit home | beyondbrics – FT.com

As investors have digested the contents of Monday’s economic forecasts from the International Monetary Fundthey seem to have focused more the negatives than the positives.

While the headline prediction of steady world growth of 4.4 per cent this year and 4.5 per cent in 2012 was reassuring, the Fund’s warnings about the world’s unresolved imbalances, the risks of credit-fuelled busts in emerging economies and the soaring oil price have hit home. In Asian markets on Tuesday, the oil price has extended the fall began in the US on Monday and equities have dropped sharply.

After hitting $127.02 a barrrel on Monday, its highest levels since 2008 on Monday, Brent crude fell sharply and was trading at 0730GMT at around $123.50. Prices tumbled after the IMF warned in its World Economic Outlook that “the risk that food and energy price increases will start an infflationary spiral is much greater in emerging and developing economies than in advanced economies.”


The Undeclared War in the Middle East

--This can’t be good. The Associated Press reports that, “Scores of Iranian students have attacked the Saudi Arabian embassy with firebombs to protest the Gulf country's role in cracking down on anti-government protesters in Bahrain.”

--But first, one way of looking at the emerging events in the Middle East—and this is the way we looked at it last month’s issue of Australian Wealth Gameplan—is that everything is quickly becoming a proxy war between the Iranians and the Saudis. That is a gross simplification, of course, given the local complexities in each country.

--But the main idea is that the modern national borders in the whole region are fairly recent (historically speaking) and fairly artificial. If there was ever a time to re-draw them, now would be it. Surely all the parties with strategic interest in the region (Russia, China, the U.S., former colonial overlords from Europe, various ruling royal families and dynasties and of course major religious groups) see the current turmoil as their best chance in years (or ever) to gain influence or control over the world’s major proven oil reserves.

Merger milestone can be passed with ease - The National

The financial world is following with great interest the US$11.3 billion (Dh41.5bn) bid by Nasdaq OMX and IntercontinentalExchange to take over the NYSE Euronext (NYSE) exchange, improving an earlier bid by Deutsche Boerse of nearly $10bn.

Even though the NYSE board has rejected the bid, Nasdaq hopes the shareholders will overturn that decision. If successful, the Nasdaq-IntercontinentalExchange (Ice) bid will merge the three biggest equity and options exchanges and the 14th-largest derivative exchange in the US to form the biggest exchange in the world for equity and options trading (Nasdaq-NYSE) and the fourth-largest derivative exchange (Ice-NYSE).

There are urgent lessons for the UAE exchanges, which have been discussing a consolidation for some time but are no closer to achieving that important goal. In fact, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and Dubai Financial Market (DFM) have much more in common than Nasdaq, Ice and NYSE. The Nasdaq-Ice buyout of NYSE will be more complex than the merger of the ADX and DFM from technical, regulatory and financial perspectives.

gulfnews : Abraaj completes stake acquisition in Network

Abraaj Capital, a Dubai-based regional private equity firm, announced yesterday that it has completed the acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Network International, the region's leading payment solutions provider.

Under the terms of the deal, which has been approved by the relevant regulatory authorities, Abraaj Capital, through Abraaj Financial Technologies Holdings Limited, has acquired the 49 per cent stake in Network International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD.

The acquisition was valued at Dh2 billion.

gulfnews : Watania will launch IPO to raise Dh82.5m

The National Takaful Company, Watania, an Abu Dhabi-based Sharia compliant insurance company, will launch its initial public offering (IPO) next Monday to raise Dh82.5 million, representing 55 per cent of the share capital, according to a statement issued yesterday.

Watania's Founders have subscribed to an aggregate value of Dh67.5 million shares representing 45 per cent of the share capital of Dh150 million.

The offer price for each share is fixed at Dh1 with an additional Dh0.05 as subscription fee per offered share.

Full: Egypt freezes Kingdom farm land deal - The National

A decision by the Egyptian public prosecution to freeze a major agricultural deal from the Saudi Arabian group Kingdom Holding has put in stark relief the political risks of investing in the country after the revolution in which its president Hosni Mubarak was ousted.

The deal involved the 1998 purchase of 100,000 feddans (42,000 hectares) of land in the Toshka area of Egypt that Kingdom Agricultural Development Company (Kadco) said would be developed into a vast agricultural project.

The first two phases would involve investments of 650 million Egyptian pounds (Dh401.5m), the company said in 2007. It did not disclose the amount it paid for the land.

Bourses make changes needed for emerging market status - The National

The UAE stock markets yesterday moved a step closer to emerging market status after a decision was made to enforce a key settlement system by the end of the month.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) will adopt the delivery versus payment system on April 28, the country's regulator, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, said yesterday.

With the delivery versus payment (DvP) system, securities are delivered and cash received on the same day. It will help to minimise the risks from the delivery and receipt of securities, the authority said.

Investors sell off stock in Arab National Bank - The National

Investors sold shares of Arab National Bank (ANB) after the Saudi lender announced a 7.4 per cent decline in profits for the first quarter because of the increased operating expenses.

Net income fell to 587 million riyals, from 634m riyals in the same period last year. Earnings per share for the quarter was 0.69 riyals, down 9 per cent from last year.

Relatively low interbank borrowing rates in Saudi Arabia, known as Sibor, has hurt the profitability of banks across the kingdom as net interest income has declined, said Faisal al Azmeh, an analyst at NCB Capital in Riyadh. Three-month Sibor is at 0.75 per cent.

IMF raises outlook for UAE economy - The National

Instability across the region has led to an unexpected boost for the UAE economy, with higher oil revenues, more tourists and greater foreign investment forecast.

A brighter outlook for the UAE contrasts with bleaker prospects this year for those countries hit by protests and strife.

Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are expected to have sharply lower expansion or even contraction in some cases because of recent turmoil.

Egyptian Economic Growth to Slow ‘Significantly’ After Uprising, IMF Says - Bloomberg

Economic growth in Egypt will slow “significantly” and political unrest spreading across the Middle East and North Africa will hurt other economies in the region this year, the International Monetary Fund said.

Egypt’s gross domestic product will expand about 1 percent, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report released today, cutting the forecast from 5 percent after the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February. The economy of Tunisia, where Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was driven from office a month earlier, will grow 1.3 percent this year, the IMF said. Average growth across the region is projected at 4.1 percent.

“Political discontent, high unemployment, and rising food prices are causing social unrest in a number of countries, which is likely to dampen their short-term growth,” the fund said. “Spreading social unrest, rising sovereign risk premiums, and elevated commodity import prices will constrain growth prospects in several MENA economies.”

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar at 8-wk high, Egypt slips on uncertainty | News by Country | Reuters

Qatar's index ended at an eight-week high on Monday as Industries Qatar (IQCD.QA: Quote) gained on expectations of strong earnings, while Egypt's benchmark .EGX30 fell on investors concerns about political uncertainty.

Industries Qatar rose 1.8 percent. The company is forecast to post a net profit rise of 43 percent, according to an average of analyst estimates. ID:nLDE73A1AV]

Qatar's benchmark rose 1 percent to end at its highest level since Feb. 15, outperforming regional markets, a trend analysts expect to continue.

Global Arab Network | Oman moving ahead with plans for large bond programmes | Economics

Several leading Omani banks have recently moved ahead with plans for large bond issues, with this underscoring the broader confidence in the banking sector at a time of sustained high oil prices and positive economic growth.

The National Bank of Oman (NBO), the Sultanate’s second-largest lender in terms of assets, received shareholder approval in late March for a $600m bond programme that will likely enhance its ability to tap into international markets.

NBO’s move follows hot on the heels of a new $800m bond programme at BankMuscat, the country’s largest lender by market value, which won shareholder approval in February. Bank officials there have said the money raised from the issue will be used to help fund medium-term lending.

Kuwait banks see net profits rise 62% in 2010 - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

Net profits made by Kuwaiti banks in 2010 totalled about KD583m ($2.1bn), more than 62 percent higher than the previous year, the Gulf state's central bank said on Monday.

Addressing a financing conference, Sheikh Salem AbdulAziz Al-Sabah, governor of the CBK, said Kuwait had taken several measures to "buttress the banking sector", helping to develop risk-management abilities.

He added that local banks had managed to overcome the impacts of the global financial crisis and continued making gains.