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Friday, 20 May 2011

Sri Lanka BUSINESS:: Galadari to convert Rs 6 b debt to equity

Galadari Hotels (Lanka) PLC expects to restructure its balance sheet to reap the advantages in the booming tourism industry, a CSE filing said yesterday.

The Board of Directors has approved that such restructure be effected by way of a conversion to equity of the debt due and owing by the company to the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF), Department of Public Finance (Ministry of Finance and Planning) and to Galadari Brothers Company (LLC).

Under this total debt to be converted to equity as at March 31, 2011 will be over Rs 6 billion (principal sum and accrued interest).

gulfnews : Cut spending 20 to 25%, Dubai Government asks all departments

The Dubai government is asking its departments to reduce expenditure by 20 to 25 per cent in a bid to help the emirate achieve a budget surplus of Dh3-Dh3.5 billion until 2013, Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer, Member of the Supreme Fiscal Committee, told Gulf News.

“Fiscal prudence comes as the government looks to do some trimming of its own after running up deficits to the Dubai budget 2011,” he said yesterday.

“Thus to fill the resulting financing gap, expenditure by government bodies in Dubai should be cut by 20 to 25 per cent until 2013.”

Spotlight falls on Emaar Properties stake in troubled mortgage company Amlak - The National

Now that Emaar Properties has written off its Dh172 million investment in Dubai Bank, investor attention is turning to the prospects of its much larger stake in Amlak, the troubled mortgage company.

Dubai's largest developer owns 45 per cent of Amlak, an investment valued at Dh795m (US$216.4m) in the property company's quarterly report released this week.

"That is definitely the next question mark," said Majed Azzam, a Middle East analyst for Alembic HC Securities. In a note to investors yesterday, Alembic warned that Emaar may be forced to write down its entire stake in Amlak this year.

Central Bank opens lines for talk - The National

The Central Bank has met lenders to consult for the first time on how it regulates the retail banking system.

All of the major banks were invited to the first meeting of the Retail Banking Committee on Wednesday to discuss the regulator's new rules on mortgage lending, according to sources at local and international banks who asked not to be identified.

Top bankers said they hoped the meetings would become a regular feature of the Central Bank's oversight. The meeting follows aggressive interventions by the Central Bank in the past six months that have led to new rules on personal loans, bank provisioning, mortgage lending and telemarketing.

Libya rebels reach to Qatar for banking lifeline | Reuters

East Libya's rebels are negotiating with Qatari banks to facilitate international money transfers in rebel-held areas, a move aimed at recapitalizing banks and boosting the economy through trade.

Abdalla Shamia, rebel economy chief, said war had led to the hoarding of cash outside of banks, while international sanctions aimed at Muammar Gaddafi had frozen rebel-held east Libya's banking system, making importing goods difficult.

"Our banking system is paralyzed because of the sanctions. Now we're trying to lift the sanctions on some banks, in order to have them conduct money transfers abroad freely," said Shamia, a member of the rebel National Transitional Council.

Emirates NBD ready to set funding tone with debt swap - The National

Emirates NBD is preparing to test investor appetite with a debt swap, as the banking sector begins a round of refinancing that could set the tone for fund-raising efforts for the rest of the year.

The Dubai bank, the UAE's largest by total assets, will offer longer dated notes due in 2018 to holders of its existing subordinated debts, due in 2016. Those have a total of US$514 million (Dh1.88 billion) outstanding.

The notes will be priced at 1.5 per cent above three-month US dollar London interbank offered rates, according to a filing to the Nasdaq Dubai exchange. Investor demand for the swap will be revealed after the offer closes on Thursday.

Emirates Hires Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley for Sale of Dollar Bond - Bloomberg

Emirates, the world’s biggest airline by international traffic, plans to sell dollar bonds after meeting fixed-income investors in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, according to three people with knowledge of the sale.

The Dubai-based airline hired Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Morgan Stanley (MS) as joint lead managers for the sale, the people said, declining to be identified because details of the transaction are private. The investor meetings will start in Hong Kong on May 23 and end in Zurich on May 30, the people said. Meetings will also be held in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London and Geneva, they said.

Emirates delayed a bond sale after borrowing costs rose, Chairman Sheikh Ahmed said May 10 as the government-controlled carrier reported a 43 percent increase in profit to a record $1.6 billion for the year ended March 31. The Middle East’s biggest carrier is building the largest Airbus SAS A380 superjumbo fleet as it seeks to establish Dubai as an inter- continental travel hub and win passengers from Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Orascom: Bloodied but unbowed in Egypt | beyondbrics – FT.com

Q1 figures out this week from Orascom Telecom, North Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator and one of Egypt’s largest companies.

At first glance – the company, which saw pre-tax profit for the three months to March 31 more than double to $128.9m, compared to the same period the year before – appeared to have ridden out the turmoil rocking the region in fairly good shape. Revenues rose 5 per cent to $949.2m while subscribers increased 16 per cent to over 104m.

Yet behind the headline figures is a more sobering reality.

Egypt: the costs of cleaning up | beyondbrics – FT.com

Egypt’s ministers and businessmen are travelling the world to reassure investors that – despite the political unrest and calls for increased spending on subsidies in the face of a growing deficit – Egypt is still a good place to do business.

Yet Egyptian courts are also prosecuting alleged corruption by members of the former regime, including property deals between well-connected investors and ministers of former president Hosni Mubarak. It’s a tricky game – trying to call old investors to account without discouraging new ones.

Bearing all this is mind, one company embroiled in legal action in Egypt is making a point of arguing publicly that Egypt risks hurting its own interests by the way it is prosecuting the company for a land deal it did with a former tourism minister.