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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Abdullahs spent more than Dh1bn of Damas funds on property deals - The National

The Abdullah brothers made more than Dh1 billion (US$272.2m) worth of investments in property in the UAE using loans and money improperly withdrawn from Damas International, The National can reveal.

The planned sale of these investments is at the heart of an agreement reached last week between Damas, the largest jewellery retailer in the region, the brothers and creditor banks.

About Dh1.2bn of the total Dh1.8bn of debt racked up by the brothers, members of the company's founding family, was ploughed into property investments. Of this, 90 per cent was invested in the UAE, according to Damas.

Damas says it has repaid $54m - The National

Damas International, the Middle East's largest jeweller, has repaid Dh200 million (US$54.4) of loans and will pay off its remaining debt to lenders from operational revenues, the chief executive said yesterday.

The company last week completed a Dh3 billion debt restructuring with a group of banks that will see it repay loans of Dh1.1bn over three years and receive working capital of Dh1.9bn.

"Our financial position is safe and secure, we have the ability to repay the banks based on operational revenues, selling jewellery in our stores," said Anan Fakhreddin,the chief executive.

Dubai Financial Market’s First-Quarter Net Plunges 96% Amid Mideast Unrest - Bloomberg

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) PJSC, the only Gulf Arab stock market to sell shares to the public, had a 96 percent plunge in first-quarter profit as trading volumes declined amid political unrest in the Middle East.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31 was 2.18 million dirhams ($594,000), the exchange said in an e-mailed statement today, without giving comparative numbers for the year-earlier period. The bourse had a profit of 53.58 million dirhams in the first quarter of 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

First-quarter trading volumes dropped to a daily average of 116 million from 235 million in the year-earlier period as political unrest toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg data. Abdullah Al Turaifi, chief executive officer of the Securities & Commodities Authority, said in February the market regulator would support a merger between the exchanges in Dubai and neighboring Abu Dhabi.

Nakheel claims are ‘highly exaggerated’ - Emirates 24/7

Nakheel, the property arm of state-owned conglomerate Dubai World, expects to reach a deal to pay part of its debt to local contractors this month, its chairman has said.

However, Ali Rashid Lootah said claims made by the contractors for the payment of Dh8 billion were highly exaggerated, adding that some of them had agreed to renegotiate claims and payment.

“Autonomous financial advisers appointed by Nakheel to study those claims found that they are highly exaggerated,” he said in comments published in Dubai-based Arabic language daily Al Bayan on Sunday.

MENA stock markets close - May 8, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

AFP: Kuwait replaces oil minister in new cabinet

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah formed a new cabinet Sunday, dropping his oil minister and replacing him with Mohammad al-Baseeri who previously held the communications portfolio.

Apart from changes to the key oil and commerce ministries, the new line-up includes six new faces who replaced six who were dropped from the government that resigned on March 31 over a dispute with parliament.

The 16-member lineup presented by the premier was sworn in by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the state-run KUNA news agency reported.

Kuwaiti fund becomes partner to Turkey's Yargıcı - Hurriyet Daily

Kuwait’s Global Investment House, or GIH, announced Sunday it is acquiring a stake in Yargıcı, a leading up-market women’s apparel and accessories retailer in Turkey. The undisclosed investment showed that interest toward the Turkish economy from the Persian Gulf is ongoing, despite the political turmoil in the region.

The acquisition was realized through Global Capital Management, the alternative asset-management arm of GIH. The companies revealed neither the acquisition value nor the share acquired in Yargıcı.

In its statement, GIH said Yargıcı opened its first international store in Paris last year. “The investment will support Yargıcı’s growth plans, focused on further penetration in Turkey and entry into major European and Middle Eastern markets,” the company said.

Saudi Trading Confidence Jumps on Exchange Rates, HSBC Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, reported the world’s biggest increase in confidence among trading partners, helped by exchange rates and response to government regulations, the HSBC Trade Confidence Index shows.

The kingdom jumped to second place on the index, which comprises six-month views of 6,390 exporters, importers and traders in 21 markets, according to an e-mailed report today.

Trader confidence in the United Arab Emirates slipped slightly, while the Middle East and North Africa as a whole maintained the highest regional average of those surveyed, the report said.

UAE's Sharjah Islamic Bank picks banks for sukuk issue | Alrroya

Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) has picked HSBC and Standard Chartered as joint lead managers for an Islamic bond, the lender said on Sunday.

The Islamic bond, or sukuk, will be launched subject to market conditions after roadshows taking place in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, the statement said. The roadshow schedule is yet to be determined.

SIB, based in one of the UAE's northern emirates and listed on the Abu Dhabi bourse, said it planned to issue a sukuk of between $300 million to $500m in a March 24 letter to the central bank.

Dubai Shares Drop to Month Low After Oil Plunges; Egypt’s EGX 30 Declines - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares dropped to the lowest level in almost a month as Middle East markets retreated after oil had its biggest weekly slump since 2008 following the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Egypt’s EGX 30 Index (EGX30) tumbled 1.5 percent to 4,862.68 at 12:47 p.m. in Cairo on reports sectarian clashes killed nine. In Dubai, Arabtec Holding PJSC, the biggest publicly traded construction company in the United Arab Emirates, lost 1.4 percent. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (DU) dropped the most in a month. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) fell 1 percent to 1,591.75, the lowest since April 12, at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of the region’s stocks declined 0.2 percent.

“There was a lot of volatility at the end of last week on the back of the commodity sell-off and the latest issues with Greece; this is a cloud over local markets,” said Ahmed Talhaoui, the Abu Dhabi-based head of investment at Royal Capital. “There is a negative momentum on regional markets” even as Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) posted “positive results,” he said.

Barclays to cease Africa operations from Dubai, 123 staff affected | Reuters

Barclays Plc plans to move its Africa headquarters in Dubai back to Johannesburg, a spokesman for the bank said on Sunday, leaving more than 120 employees with the option of relocating or quitting the bank.

The British lender mainly runs back office functions for its Africa operations out of its Dubai base. A source said employees had been informed of the plan and their options.

Sami Lahoud, head of corporate affairs at Barclay's Africa, said 123 employees affected by the move will have until the end of the year to decide.

Big response for Saudi Integrated Telecom Company IPO

AlBilad Investment Company, the financial adviser, IPO lead manager and lead underwriter of the IPO for Saudi Integrated Telecom Company (SITC), has revealed the results of the fifth day of the subscription for SITC’s shares and its process, showing the company has received 92,700 requests for 424,600 subscribers on 35,700,000 shares worth SR357,000,000, with a coverage of 119 percent until 5 p.m. on Friday (May 6).

It was noted that 98 percent of the subscriptions’ requests were received through the banks’ e-services.

The subscription period ends on Sunday (May 8).

gulfnews : Emaar sets up core team to develop five-year plan

Emaar Properties has established a team of senior managers and external consultants to develop and roll out a five-year corporate strategic action plan for long-term value creation, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The team, under the leadership of Chairman Mohammad Al Abbar, will focus on a value-creation strategy that takes into account the current market realities, evolution of new markets and potential growth opportunities, and create a strategic plan for translating strategic growth initiatives into tangible value creation propositions.

"Emaar successfully met the challenges of the global financial crisis, posting net operating profits of Dh3.034 billion in 2010 and Dh2.324 billion in 2009, despite challenging market conditions. As an organisation committed to long-term value creation for our stakeholders, it is extremely important that we review our corporate growth strategy in line with the prevailing global market trends and the socio-political landscape," said Al Abbar.

gulfnews : Islamic finance bloc needed to boost Sharia-based investment

Key indicators
  • Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Grouping countries according to common economic characteristics, and giving them a catchy acronym, is the latest phenomenon among analysts and investors.

The fast growing emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China are commonly known asBric. The newest group is Civets — Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa — who are expected to be the next group of fast-growing economies.

But is there a cluster of Muslim countries that can capture the attention, imagination and dollars of global economists, research analysts and investors?

Last of the first-quarter results due out - The National

Investors will be looking for the final first-quarter results to trickle out from the financial services sector in Dubai this week.

DFM Company, the Arab world's only publicly listed bourse, is expected to report its earnings for the quarter following its board meeting today.

Analysts expect the company to report a net income of Dh45 million, down 16 per cent from Dh53.5m in the same period last year. Value traded on the Dubai Financial Market was at Dh10.9 billion for the quarter, down almost two thirds from Dh28.9bn.

Connection is the key to markets - The National

Stock markets in Arab countries are in talks to unify behind a key settlement system that forms a major part of the UAE's push to upgrade from a frontier to an emerging market.

Fadi Khalaf, the secretary general of the Arab Federation of Exchanges, which counts 16 stock markets as its members, including all GCC states, said he was "confident" the markets would "connect together" by combining their clearing and settlement systems in the next 12 months.

The settlement system, so-called delivery versus payment (DvP), in which securities are delivered and cash received on the same day, is a key component for upgrading the UAE and Qatar to the MSCI's "emerging market" index, from their current designations as "frontier markets".

Investors focus on commodities - The National

Investors will be closely watching commodity markets this week following a major sell-off that threatens to smother the recent price boom.

From crude oil to cocoa, the cost of raw materials slipped last week amid concerns that a two-year price rally may be losing steam.

Worries that cash-strapped Greece may struggle to repay debts helped pull prices lower on Friday.

JPMorgan Boosts 2011 Oil-Price Forecasts as Producers Not Matching Demand - Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) raised its oil- price forecasts because OPEC and other producers aren’t matching rising demand and consumers will take time to react to higher prices.

The bank boosted its 2011 Brent crude forecast to $120 a barrel from $110, and changed its estimate for West Texas Intermediate crude to $109.50 from $99. Forecasts for 2012 prices were raised to $120 and $114, respectively.

“While financial bushfires or perhaps a rapid resolution to the Libyan civil war could radically alter market dynamics, the balance of both risks and fundamentals still points to a supply-constrained world,” JPMorgan analysts led by New York- based Lawrence Eagles wrote in a report yesterday.

Correspondents Report - Saudi Arabia's influence in the Middle East 08/05/2011

Syria has again been in the headlines this weekend with yet more protesters shot after Friday prayers.

The EU has announced it'll impose sanctions against Syria and the UN has sent in teams of people.

One rather large and influential country in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia.

GCC plans customs union by 2015

Gulf Arab countries plan to resolve all outstanding issues about their customs union over the next three years in order to have it fully operational by 2015, a top UAE official said on Saturday.

“What we have agreed upon, that in the next three years, meaning 2011 to 2014, we should complete all the pending issues in regard to the customs union,” UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer told a news conference.

“We hope... it becomes effective January 1, 2015,” he said after a Gulf finance ministers’ meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Manny Pacquiao bout packs a punch for Dubai World and Las Vegas tourism - The National

There will be more than just fight fans cheering when Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley step into the ring in Las Vegas this weekend.

The nearby CityCenter mega-resort half-owned by Dubai World, is showing signs of improvement amid evidence of a wider recovery on the Las Vegas Strip.

MGM Resorts, the leisure company which owns the other half of the CityCenter hotel and casino development says there has been a rise in rates and occupancy levels at its Vegas properties. This is helping to reduce CityCenter's losses, after the resort, which cost $8.5 billion (Dh31bn) to build, launched in December 2009 into a severely depressed and challenging market that has proved difficult for businesses to recover from.

gulfnews : Emirati job seekers to rise to 200,000

The number of Emiratis looking for work is expected to increase to more than 200,000 over the next 10 years, a senior official has said.

Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, said currently there were around 35,000 unemployed Emiratis but added that it depended on the definition of unemployment.

"If we count those who are working but looking for another job or those who are retired and looking for a job then the number of unemployed will come down to around 10,000," he explained.