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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

» UAE expects interbank rates to fall further –

The United Arab Emirates’ central bank expects interbank offered rates to fall further and plans to introduce a repurchase facility for Islamic lenders in the coming months, its treasury head said on Tuesday.

The central bank has been urging banks to quote lower rates at daily fixings of interbank benchmarks as liquidity in the system improved following Dubai’s $25 billion debt restructuring deal last September.

“Banks have no liquidity issue,” Saif Hadef al-Shamsi, senior executive director at the central bank’s treasury department, told reporters on the sidelines of a financial conference in the UAE capital.

UAE may soon have public debt law - Emirates 24/7

The United Arab Emirates should soon approve a law allowing the oil producer to issue its first ever federal sovereign bonds and create a local debt market, a finance ministry official said on Tuesday.

The long-awaited law, regulating issuance and the amount of debt the world's No3 crude exporter may accumulate, awaits a presidential nod after the UAE's top advisory council passed the bill in December.

"The public debt law is now in final stages for approval and as for the ministry of finance it has already started taking measures after the cabinet's resolution to establish a public debt bureau," Nadia Sultan told a conference in the UAE capital.

Emarat looks to restructure debt - Emirates 24/7

Dubai’s premier petroleum firm, Emirates General Petroleum Corporation, popularly known as Emarat is reportedly embroiled in large amounts of debt and is currently negotiating with a number of financial firms to restructure the dues.

Arabic daily Al Khaleej quoted a source from the company as saying that the company has an accumulated debt of an estimated Dh1.2 billion. However, it has large assets which can be liquidated anytime.

The source said that the company, which operates around 170 fuel stations, has managed to stay afloat despite a huge gap between the cost of gasoline and the sale price.

Dubai's ENBD to swap 2016 notes for longer debt | Alrroya

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank by market value, has picked HSBC and UBS to arrange an exchange of two notes due in 2016 into a new seven-year facility, sources said on Tuesday.

Investors in two existing $500 million facilities due in 2016 have been invited to exchange the subordinated notes for new senior notes maturing in 2018, allowing the bank to extend its debt maturity profile.

"They are doing an exchange of their Tier 2 into senior (notes). HSBC and UBS are on it," said a banking source on condition of anonymity.

MENA stock markets close - May 10, 2011

Egypt's EFG-Hermes gains 8.2 pct on upgrade report | Reuters

Shares of Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes closed 8.2 percent higher on Tuesday, apparently due to an upgrade on the stock by HSBC, traders said.

"There is a report from HSBC dated May 10 that gives EFG-Hermes an 'overweight' rating and a target price of 24 Egyptian pounds. This is what is causing the rise in the stock," said Omar Ascar, head of trading at Cairo Capital Securities.

Another trader said the stock maybe reacting to comments by the stock exchange chairman who said he expected a number of initial public offerings this year.

Qatar Shares Rise on MSCI Optimism; Tamweel Plunges on Restart - Bloomberg

Qatar shares rose the most in more than a month, led by Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNBK), on speculation index provider MSCI Inc. may upgrade the Persian Gulf nation to emerging market.

Qatar National Bank climbed to the highest since January as its 12.7 billion-riyal ($3.5 billion) rights offer was fully subscribed. Doha Bank, the country’s fourth-biggest lender by assets, advanced 3 percent. The QE Index (DSM) surged 1.4 percent, the most since March 20, to 8,665.42, at the 1:15 p.m. close in Doha. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) advanced 1.2 percent. Tamweel PJSC, the Dubai-based home finance company plunged 10 percent on its first trading day in more than two years.

“MSCI upgrade speculation is beginning,” said Akram Annous, Middle East and North Africa strategist at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai. “There was some chatter going around today about a possible foreign ownership free-float raise to the 30 to 49 percent range from the current 25 percent level.”

Tabreed Q1 profit drops; liabilities may hurt

District cooling firm Tabreed's first-quarter net profit fell 21 per cent on Tuesday and the company said its current liabilities and accumulated losses may hurt its ability to continue as a going concern.

The Dubai-listed firm, also known as the National Cooling Company, posted profit of 31.9 million dirhams ($8.69 million) for the quarter, compared with net profit of 40.4 million dirhams in the year-ago period. Revenue for the first quarter came in at 246.6 million dirhams, Tabreed said in a bourse statement.

The company said current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Dh2.6 billion, while accumulated losses of Dh972 million amounted to 400 per cent of its issued share capital as of March 31.

UAE's Etisalat will not re-bid for Zain - exec | Reuters

UAE's Etisalat (ETEL.AD) will not bid again for Zain (ZAIN.KW) after it scrapped a $12 billon takeover of the Kuwaiti firm in March, Etisalat's chief international investments officer said on Tuesday.

"We have put Zain behind us. It's over," Jamal al Jarwan said at a telecoms conference.

Etisalat scrapped its offer to buy a controlling stake in Zain citing Zain's divided board, extended due diligence and regional unrest.

Emirates Airline and Arabtec post profits below expectations « ArabianMoney

The unrest across the Arab world is beginning to impact on top Dubai based companies with disappointing financial results. Emirates Airline’s full-year profits came in at a record $1.5 billion compared with an expected $2 billion while Arabtec posted an 80 per cent slump in first quarter profits to just $7.2 million.

Emirates has suffered from the higher fuel prices that have come in the wake of unrest, revolutions and civil war in the region this year. There have also been many disruptions to flight schedules due to the unrest and the Japanese earthquake and nuclear disaster.

Sky-high profits

Most of the set back probably occured in the first three months of 2011, leaving a questionmark over the rest of the year. That said few global airlines could match this profit performance, if any.

Arabtec has recently made much of its strategy to diversify away from dependence on the UAE, and into Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt. But regional unrest is now most probably delaying the roll out of these plans. The company provided no explanation for its plunging profits in the first quarter.

But it said arbitration continues over a cancelled contract to build the Meydan racecourse in Dubai. Its joint venture partnership is seeking $780 million in compensation for the cancellation of the project in January 2009.

Sudden stop

Many projects in Dubai have stalled since the credit crisis just over two years ago and local contractors have lost income as a result, although Arabtec is regarded as a strong group and has won notable projects in Abu Dhabi.

Both Emirates and Arabtec are local blue chips and the results today are a reminder that as a regional hub city Dubai is not immune from the recession in non-Oil States which is a direct and inevitable consequence of the Arab uprisings and disorder in many countries.

How long this will last and what the ‘new normal’ for Dubai business might be is what most concerns business leaders in the city. - Emirates profits up by more than half

Dubai’s Emirates Airline said net profit grew 52 per cent to $1.5bn in the year to the end of March as passenger demand and capacity on its 111 routes grew.

The government-owned group said on Tuesday that, despite “another challenging year”, including losing $250m over the past four months on higher oil prices, the airline increased its seat factor to 80 per cent, the highest in its history.

Passengers carried rose 14.5 per cent to 31.4m in the 2010-2011 financial year, which ends March 31. Cargo revenues grew 27.6 per cent to $2.4bn.

Saudi Aramco to Supply Full June Oil Volumes to Asian Refiners - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will supply full contracted volumes of crude to Asian refiners in June, according to refinery officials.

Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will provide 100 percent of cargoes sold under long-term contracts for a 19th month, according to refiners in Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements with the Middle East’s biggest producer.

Saudi Aramco’s full export allocation comes before a June 8 meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna. The group, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s crude, decided on Dec. 11 to leave output quotas unchanged for the seventh time since 2008.

WAM | Apicorp says 2010 net profit jumps 62 per cent

The Arab Petroleum Investment Corp (Apicorp) said its 2010 net profit jumped by 62 per cent, as the lender looks to double its direct investment portfolio by the end of 2014.

Apicorp's profit surged to $95 million from $58.5 million in 2009, it said in an email statement on Monday.

Its total shareholders' equity also rose by 13 percent to reach $1.1 billion.

QFIB and Gulfmena launch Tebyan Asset Management

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) and Gulfmena Investments Limited (Gulfmena) announced yesterday the launch of Tebyan Asset Management Limited (Tebyan), a new fully integrated, Shariah-compliant asset management company offering an unrivalled range of Islamic investment products and services. After an initial and temporary offshore establishment, the new company will seek to be authorised and regulated by Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, a press release said yesterday.

Tebyan’s launch closely follows QFIB’s strategic partnership with Gulfmena — announced in late 2010 — to form a total solutions platform which meets the emerging needs of the Islamic investment community under one roof. Tebyan aims to tap into the growing Shariah asset management space and to cater to international and regional investors seeking traditional and alternative strategies. Its unique proposition of combining asset management with wealth management will bridge the gaps in today’s Islamic investment offering.

“The launch of Tebyan is the result of a strong, significant partnership between QFIB & Gulfmena,” said Emad Mansour, CEO of QFIB. “Our intention with Tebyan is to assume leadership of the Islamic asset management sector by constantly employing and combining the best in corporate practice, innovative investment tools and exceptional market knowledge, with the purity of Islamic Shariah rulings,” Mansour added.

onsortium eyes Statoil pipeline stake - sources | Reuters

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and German insurer Allianz (ALVG.DE) are in talks to buy a stake in a Norwegian gas pipeline from Statoil (STL.OL), sources said.

The three financial investors have teamed up and are discussing the acquisition of at least a 20 percent stake in Gassled, a Norwegian gas pipeline network, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Statoil has said it was exploring reducing its 28.5 percent stake in Gassled, valued by industry sources at more than $3 billion. A spokesman said the company would not comment on details of that process.

Dubai Group COO Aljassim resigns, acting CEO named | Alrroya

The chief operating officer of Dubai Group, part of a conglomerate owned by Dubai's ruler which is restructuring $10 billion of debt, has left the company, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Abdulrazaq Aljassim had been involved in talks with bank lenders who are owed $6bn by the company, the financial services arm of Dubai Holding.

The remaining $4bn relates to other debt, such as direct shareholder loans to the firm. Interest payments have been suspended pending an agreement.

Emirates group reports 43 percent profit rise -

The head the Emirates airline group says annual profit rose nearly 43 percent despite rising fuel prices that cut into the bottom line.

Although the gains are significant at the Middle East's largest carrier, they are far smaller than last year's nearly 250 percent net profit jump at the Emirates group, which includes the airline, a cargo unit and other services.

Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told reporters Tuesday that net profit at the Dubai-based carrier rose to $1.6 billion, up just shy of 43 percent.

Dubai's Arabtec Q1 net profit slumps - Maktoob News

Arabtec's first-quarter net profit slumped 80 percent, missing analysts estimates, the Dubai builder said on Tuesday.

The largest builder in the United Arab Emirates by market value made a net profit after minority interest of 26.6 million dirhams ($7.24 million) in the three months to Mar 31, compared with a net profit of 134.5 million dirhams in the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expected the company to post a net profit of 58.2 million dirhams for the period.

gulfnews : Du ‘has funds to repay Dh3b debt due in June'

Dubai-based Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co (du), has the funds available to repay Dh3 billion of debt due next month, while the telco's expanding subscriber base will likely help fuel a 20 per cent rise in revenues this year, du's chief executive said yesterday.

"Part [of the debt] will be paid in cash and part will be refinanced," Osman Sultan told Zawya Dow Jones.

Du has tagged about Dh1.7 billion for capital expenditure this year, Sultan said. Since its launch in 2007, infrastructure spending and network upgrades have been the main focus for the telco.

Fujairah plant set to power up Northern Emirates - The National

A new power and water plant in Fujairah promises to turn the emirate into the UAE's northern hub for electricity and water production, at a time when its strategic importance is growing.

Not all of the 2,000 megawatts of electricity and 130 million gallons a day of drinking water the Fujairah F2 facility can produce at peak capacity will be for local consumption.

"Through this power plant, we can send electricity to anywhere on the UAE national grid," said Abdullah al Naimi, the director general of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) and the chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Energy, or Taqa.

Market braced for Tamweel return - The National

Shares in Tamweel are expected to fall by as much a third when it resumes trading today for the first time since 2008, analysts believe.

The mortgage provider majority owned by Dubai Islamic Bank, the country's biggest Islamic lender, said last week its stock would start trading on Dubai's stock market today after a hiatus of more than two years.

But market commentators expect the mortgage lender's share price to fall sharply at the open as investors dump their positions in the stock.

BBC News - Middle Eastern airlines feel pain of political unrest

Gulf airlines have built an enviable reputation in recent years. The "big three" - Qatar Airways, Abu Dhabi's Etihad and Dubai-based Emirates - have grown rapidly, eroding market share from other, more established airlines.

But this has led to some jealousy from the European airline industry, which has accused some Gulf carriers of competing unfairly.

The region's airlines have hit back, saying European carriers need to stand up to competition because those in the Gulf are not going to go away any time soon. - Private banks open to assist Tehran insiders

In Tehran’s more exclusive neighbourhoods, branches of new “privately owned” banks seek to outdo each other as they display placards proclaiming that they will open soon.

“More bank branches than grocery stores!” reads a headline in Tabnak, a conservative news website.

The new banks include Ansar and Mehr, both affiliated to the Basij militia, the voluntary arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards, according to a conservative newspaper. It says that Shahr, another new bank, is linked to the municipality of Tehran, while Hekmat Iranian has ties to the army and shareholders of Day are family members of martyrs in the Iran-Iraq war. - Domestic oil usage to vie with exports

The uprisings in the Middle East mean the immediate prospects of lifting distortive fuel subsidies in the Gulf states are remote, even as increasing government spending drives up the region’s runaway energy consumption, analysts say.

Khalid al-Falih, the head of Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil group, said last year that domestic energy demand was expected to rise from 3.4m barrels a day of oil equivalent last year to about 8.3m b/d of oil equivalent by 2028.

That could mean that the kingdom will not be able to export more than 7m barrels of oil a day by 2028, if no additional investment is made, says John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh. Output capacity stands at 12.5m b/d today, he says. / Comment - Into the thickets of the Arab spring

If you spend time talking to western officials about the uprisings in the Arab world, you are likely to hear two contradictory views advanced – sometimes by the same person. The first view is that the “Arab spring” is, as one European diplomat puts it, “the best thing that has ever happened in my lifetime in the Arab world”. The second is that this is the most dangerous moment in the Arab world in decades.

The same people can believe both things simultaneously because this is a clash between long-term and short-term views. Look at the great sweep of history, and the maintenance of the status quo in the Arab world was neither possible nor desirable. This was a region mired in dictatorship and poverty. It was the only part of the world that has seen no significant advance for democracy over the past 30 years. It has spawned backward-looking and violent ideologies. Who could want to preserve that? And yet the collapse of the old Arab order threatens, in the here and now, to produce wars, the break-up of states and new opportunities for militant Islamists.

This is not a case of that famous glass that can be regarded as half full or half empty. It is more like looking at two glasses side-by-side. The first contains a fine wine that promises to be marvellous to drink in 20 years’ time – but that is not yet ready to consume. The second glass has to be consumed now – its contents look murky and could even prove to be poisonous. - Political turmoil need not presage economic disaster

A regional banker just returned from Egypt tells me he is impressed by the energy he felt, and is excited about the country’s economic prospects. Outside investment is likely to increase once the post-revolution interim period is concluded, he predicts.

This hopeful mood prevailed in Cairo and Tunis in the days of the revolution, when businessmen who wanted change reassured those who preferred the status quo that democracy, accountability and transparency were good for business. That same outlook would apply to chaotic, impoverished Yemen and dysfunctional Libya once rulers finally relented in the face of popular will, as they surely will.

The optimism may yet prove justified. But the present is gloomy, and talk of economic progress clashes, day by day, with reality. The post-revolutionary period has been testy, with security trouble erupting regularly – weekend violence in Cairo between Christians and Muslims left 12 people dead, and a renewed curfew was imposed in Tunis after days of clashes between protesters and riot police.