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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Iraq's Kalimat plans 2012 IPO, eyes $250 million spend | Reuters

Iraqi telecom operator Kalimat plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) next year and to invest $250 million in 2011, aiming to triple its subscriber base in the war-torn country, its top executive said.

Wilson Varghese, Kalimat chief executive, said the planned IPO should help the company expand as it eyes a nationwide rollout of services by the end of this year.

"The main growth driver for us will be the roll-out across the country and (the provision of) ... value added services that will increase our subscriber base," he told Reuters on the sidelines of a telecoms conference in Abu Dhabi.

MENA stock markets close - April 27, 2011

Saudi Arabia Can't Figure Out If It's Pumping More Oil Or Not

Saudi Arabian officials are conflicted as to whether or not they're actually pumping more oil, or less oil, in response to the crisis in Libya.
They are certain they're now going to pump less. Or, at least, not increase production even though prices are rising. Saudi Arabia intends to keep production at 12.5 million barrels a day, according to the latest reports.
They say there's too much supply. Crude prices, which have risen significantly over the past two months, would suggest otherwise. It's pretty clear that Saudi Arabia DID NOT make up for supply when the Libyan conflict erupted.

Read more:

New lending curbs to hit UAE banks, says HSBC boss -

New lending rules that cap personal loans and banking fees will take a toll on banks operating in the UAE, the head of HSBC in the country said.

The Gulf state’s central bank moved in February to cap person loans at 20 times a borrower’s monthly salary and said repayment periods can’t exceed 48 months.

Monthly installments for all loans, including personal, car, housing loans and credit cards, must not exceed 50 percent of a customer’s gross salary and any regular income, the central bank said.

Optimism rules the day on UAE bourses - The National

Local equities closed higher, with Dubai's main index gaining the most in a month, supported by optimism on bank earnings after Emirates NBD reported on Sunday a 27 per cent increase in profits for the first quarter and Abu Dhabi Commercial Banksaid its profits for the quarter more than doubled.

Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest lender, led the Dubai Financial Market General Index 1.9 per cent higher to 1666.06. Shares of Emirates NBD, surged 10.9 per cent to Dh4.27 after the lender reported Dh1.41 billion in profits for the first quarter.

Other lenders listed in Dubai also made decent gains. Dubai Islamic Bank gained 2.7 per cent to Dh2.28. Commercial bank of Dubai added 1.6 per cent to Dh3.05

Saudi Arabia foresees $600 bln of investment in Turkey - Hurriyet Daily

Saudi Arabia foresees making investments of $600 billion in Turkey during the next 20 years, according to Abdul Kareem Abu al-Nasr, the chairman of National Commercial Bank, the largest Saudi lender.

Investment in Turkey’s agriculture and manufacturing is set to increase, Abu al-Nasr said Wednesday in a presentation that was delivered in Turkey, a copy of which has been obtained by Bloomberg News.

“In the agriculture space, Turkey emerged as one of the top recipients of Saudi investment, as the kingdom seeks to boost its food security,” he said in the document.

UAE's Emarat faces higher premiums after fuel shortage | Energy & Oil | Reuters

United Arab Emirates' fuel retailer Emarat may have to pay a premium for fuel purchases, traders said, after a payment problem led to a gasoline shortage at service stations last week and worried potential suppliers.

Local media reported last week that around 60 of Emarat's 170 service stations across Dubai and the northern emirates were running low or dry after delivery problems at the firm's depots due to what Emarat officials described as a logistical problem. [ID:nLDE73J07D]

But three industry sources said trading house Vitol [VITOLV.UL], one of Emarat's term suppliers, had refused to discharge a fuel cargo at the port, after Emarat delayed a payment.

Kuwait's Burgan Bank Q1 profit surges to $42.9 mln - Maktoob News

Kuwait's Burgan Bank, the commercial banking arm of Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO), posted a more than ten-fold rise in first-quarter net profit helped by a drop in loan loss provisions.

Net income in the three months to March 31 was 11.8 million dinars ($42.92 million), from 1.06 million dinars in the year-earlier period, the bank's financial statements posted on the Kuwaiti bourse website on Wednesday showed.

It did not give a reason for the profit surge but provisions during the quarter dropped to 5.7 million dinars compared with 22.5 million dinars in the first quarter of 2010, while operating income reached 38.8 million dinars.

Egypt says has up to $12 bln funding gap -IMF - Maktoob News

Egypt has indicated it needs up to $12 billion to meet a funding gap but has yet to formally request a loan from the International Monetary Fund, an IMF official said on Wednesday.

"At this stage what we know is that the Egyptian authorities have indicated that they have a financing gap of $10 (billion) to $12 billion," Masood Ahmed, the IMF's director for Middle East and Central Asia, told Reuters.

"Our own analysis for this suggests that is probably right," he said after a presentation of its regional economic outlook.

Palm Hills plans to appeal court land sale verdict - Maktoob News

Egyptian property developer Palm Hills said on Wednesday it planned to appeal against a court verdict scrapping a sale of state land to the company.

The verdict on Tuesday piled more pressure on the company, which has seen its share price tumble almost 70 percent this year as it struggled with mounting debts and liabilities.

Analysts say tight cashflow may make it hard for the company to make any additional payment for the land on Cairo's outskirts if it is ordered to do so by the court.

Record 10-year sentences over Dh1.8bn DIB fraud case - The National

Six businessmen were this morning sentenced to 10 years each in prison followed by deportation in connection with the Dh1.8 billion Dubai Islamic Bank fraud case, the harshest jail sentence yet in a fraud case before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

A seventh defendant was acquittted.

The case, which has been before the court since 2008, involves seven men, including two DIB executives, who were charged with fraud, embezzlement, bribery and forgery. All of them denied the charges when they first appeared before the court.

High Oil Prices Worry Saudis | Crossroads Arabia

“Arab News reports that the Saudi government, and an array of economists, are concerned that high oil prices could knock the legs out from under a recovering global economy. It quotes both the head of Saudi ARAMCO and the Minister of Petroleum & Minerals and repeats allegations that speculation, not supply and demand, are behind current prices; demand is low, they say, and the market is oversupplied. Saudi Arabia does not set oil prices. It does, through its membership in OPEC, play a role in determining output. But unless OPEC were to flood the market with oil, I don’t see how OPEC could drive oil prices down. OPEC is not going to do that as ‘hawkish’ countries like Venezuela and Iran want every penny of profit they can find as their own economies are under stress.

Of interest, the article also says that two-thirds of Saudi oil production is now going to Asia.”

NBO to raise $600m via bond issue by next year - Zawya

Oman's second biggest bank, National Bank of Oman (NBO), is likely to raise $600 million from overseas markets by next year, which will be partly used for repaying a large $325 million syndicated loan that matures by then.

The bank's shareholders have recently approved the Euro Medium Term Note Programme (EMTNP) or bond issue. "The issue will be floated by next year. We have some flexibility in the timing of the issue," Humayun Kabir, General Manager (Wholesale Banking) of NBO told Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.

The market condition and the bank's requirement will determine whether to raise the fund in one issue or multiple issues.
NBO is the second Omani bank, after BankMuscat, which plans to raise dollar dominated funds from overseas markets.

Dubai Shares Rise Most in Month, Lead U.A.E. Rally, on Earnings - Bloomberg

United Arab Emirates shares rose, with Dubai’s benchmark surging the most in a month, as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC (ADCB)’s profit more than doubled, fuelling optimism earnings growth may exceed analysts’ estimates.

ADCB, the U.A.E. third-biggest bank by assets, surged to the highest since October 2008. In Dubai, Aramex PJSC, the Middle East’s largest courier company, increased 2.7 percent as first-quarter profit rose 5 percent, helped by growth in Gulf markets and acquisitions. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 1.9 percent, the most since March 20, to 1,666.06 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) advanced 0.6 percent.

“ADCB is showing a healthy beat with its first-quarter numbers providing a welcome shot in the arm,” said Julian Bruce, equity sales head at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai. “U.A.E. markets remain dominated by domestic retail players.”

IMF: Mideast faces challenges with jobs, graft - Maktoob News

Uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa could eventually boost regional economies, but for now many countries there face a tough path dealing with entrenched unemployment, soaring prices and industries strained by the unrest, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday

The Washington-based body is urging Mideast leaders to do more to create jobs for a wider segment of the population while tackling deep-seated corruption. Doing so would begin to address the economic grievances that have fueled protests across the region.

"The unfolding events make it clear that reforms, and even rapid economic growth ... cannot be sustained unless they create jobs for the rapidly growing labor force and are accompanied by social policies for the most vulnerable," the fund said.

200 foreclosure cases in Dubai courts - Emirates 24/7

Nearly 200 foreclosure cases are being currently dealt by Dubai Courts and the rate and frequency is likely to increase, top law firms believe.

“Most of the conventional banks have claims and we understand that there may well be around 200 foreclosure cases coming through the courts at the moment,” Michael Dark, Senior Legal Consultant, Dispute Resolution, Hadef and Partners, told Emirates 24/7.

Mazen Boustany, Head of Banking & Finance, Habib Al Mulla & Company, Dubai, who prefers to use the term “mortgage enforcement” than foreclosure, said the crisis affecting the real estate sector in the UAE is leading to an increase in mortgage enforcement.

Mixed outlook for lenders - The National

As the first-quarter banking results begin to filter out, a rather mixed pattern is emerging, not all of it encouraging. Bad debts, lower lending ratios and reduced profits suggest that while the finance industry is recovering from the lows of 2009, there is still a way to go before the sector is out of the woods.

With consolidation among the nation's 50 or so banks now looking unlikely, the big four - National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), First Gulf Bank and Emirates NBD - are beginning to gain a stranglehold on the domestic business.

These four now control more than 50 per cent of the total assets in the banking system. With the two main foreign banks, Standard Chartered and HSBC, there is now the start of a premier league of banking, with the rest fighting for the lower places and hoping to avoid relegation. As the big four get better credit ratings, there may also be a "flight to quality" from depositors.

gulfnews : Deyaar graft case back to square one

A graft case involving Deyaar's former board member is back to square one, following an unexpected judgment passed by the Dubai Appeals Court on Tuesday.

All judgments against Deyaar's former board member 42-year-old Emirati S.A. have been cancelled and a new panel of Court of First Instance's judges will hold a fresh trial, said Appeal Court's Presiding Judge Mahmoud Fahmi Sultan.

This is considered the third twist in the case that has been coming back and forth between the three court stages — Cassation, Appeal and First Instance.

Dubai gold souk to be shrunk in size as jewellers complain of a lack of business and deserted corridors - The National

The Gold Souq in Dubai's biggest mall is to be shrunk in size - possibly by more than three quarters - after many retailers say they have been forced by a lack of business to flee without paying all rent owed.

Emaar Properties, the owner of Dubai Mall, is relocating some jewellers with the offer of reduced rent as compensation.

Bhavesh Kumar, the general manager of Select Diamonds, says his shop has been left on a deserted corridor, with dimmed lighting, no air conditioning and little security.

UAE's big banks give financial sector something to cheer - The National

The banking sector was given a boost yesterday with some of the UAE's largest lenders reporting rising profits as deposits grew.

Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank all posted higher first-quarter profits compared with the same period last year. Each also recorded strong growth in deposits.

The banks' position has improved vastly on the first quarter of last year when the UAE's economy was affected by issues surrounding Dubai World, analysts said.

Gulf Daily News » Dubai group sees sluggish loan growth this year

UAE banking group Emirates NBD will see low single-digit loan growth in 2011, mainly from retail banking due to a still sluggish recovery in bank lending in the Gulf state after the financial crisis.

Chief executive Rick Pudner said that the retail market presented good growth opportunities, including for the bank's credit cards business and small-and-medium enterprise banking. "We're expecting growth in loans to be about three-four per cent of the balance sheet this year. All banks in the UAE now are very liquid ... looking for opportunities to deploy liquidity. (We see) asset growth of about 5pc this year," said Pudner.

The bank, the third largest in the UAE by market value, reported a 27pc rise in first quarter profit based on a one-off gain of 1.8 billion dirhams ($490.1 million) from its sale of Network International, but loans fell 1pc in the quarter. - Uprising exposes Syria’s economic weaknesses

The protest movement rocking Syria for over a month, and the security forces’ brutal and increasingly militarised response to it, are already exposing vulnerabilities in the Syrian economy.

Decades of central planning under the Ba’ath party’s rule have left Syria with few competitive industries and soaring unemployment. Official estimates put the unemployment rate at about 8 per cent, but analysts say the real figure is much higher.

“(The government’s) plan was foreign investment and tourism, both of which don’t proliferate if you have a civil war,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma University. “Eventually things will fall apart.”