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Monday, 20 June 2011

No MENA stock exchange charts this evening, due to a lapsed server!

Qatar’s Ezdan Chairman Donates Shares Valued at $3.8 Billion

Ezdan Real Estate Co. QSC’s Chairman Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the Qatari ruling family, donated 605 million shares in the Middle East and Africa’s largest property developer to Islamic charity.

The shares are valued at 13.98 billion riyals ($3.8 billion) at today’s close on the Qatari bourse. The donation was made as an Islamic endowment, according to an e-mailed statement today. Endowments in Islam are assets or funds dedicated for the needy and for building places of worship.

“There is no doubt that the success that Ezdan is achieving, as it expands and develops year after year, will lead to an increase in the value of the shares donated to charity to, God willing, the equivalent of about 18,000 housing units,” Al Thani said.

Dubai Shares Drop Most in Month After Goldman Cut

Dubai’s shares retreated the most in almost a month after European governments failed to agree on a payment to prevent Greece from default and as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut two of the emirate’s biggest banks.

Emirates NBD, the biggest lender in the United Arab Emirates by assets, dropped the most on record. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), which has the second-biggest weighting on the benchmark index, fell the most in a month. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) slipped 1.7 percent, the most since May 23, to 1,572.46 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Excluding today, Dubai’s measure rose 2.5 percent this month on speculation MSCI Inc. will upgrade the U.A.E. to emerging-market status tomorrow. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) fell 0.9 percent at 2:06 p.m. in Riyadh.

“The worries over Greece and China are weighing on the markets,” said Akram Annous, Middle East and North Africa strategist at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai. “MENA volatility relative to global volatility is down significantly, though you do have to wonder how much longer these markets will hold up if the global slowdown fears become a reality.”

Arabtec says will not reverse provisions in 2011

Dubai builder Arabtec (ARTC.DU) will not reverse provisions in 2011 and has no immediate plans to issue a shelved $150 million convertible bond, its chief financial officer said.

The emirate's largest builder by market value is looking to eventually more-than-double its workforce to 25,000 in Saudi Arabia as it continues to shift its focus to other markets following a real estate collapse in Dubai.

"We had to take provisions as some developers were facing difficulties. Most of these developers are paying us back, but we're not doing reverse provisions yet," Ziad Makhzoumi told the Reuters Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Summit in Dubai.

Dubai utility DEWA rated investment grade by S&P

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the monopoly state utility, was rated investment grade by Standard & Poor's, the ratings agency said on Monday.

S&P rated DEWA BBB-, the lowest investment grade rating on the agency's scale, with a "stable" outlook, on the potential for high government support from the Dubai government if the company ran into financial trouble.

"The ratings reflect our opinion that there is a very high likelihood that the Dubai government would provide timely and sufficient extraordinary support for DEWA in the event of financial stress," S&P said.

UAE says no plan to raise foreign ownership limit

The United Arab Emirates has no plans to raise the 49 percent foreign ownership limit for listed firms, a senior economy ministry official, dashing hopes the country's bourse would be upgraded to emerging market status.

Increasing foreign ownership limits was a key criteria set out by index compiler MSCI in its review of UAE and Qatar for an upgrade to emerging market status, which could open the door to more foreign investment. Banks such as HSBC say Qatar and the UAE could see inflows of $600 million in that event.

"The companies law, the new one, will maintain the same percentage in terms of ownership," Mohammed al-Shihhi, undersecretary at the economy ministry told reporters.

UAE banks tumble after Goldman downgrade

UAE banks tumbled after Goldman Sachs downgraded three banks and cut price targets by 10 percent on average to account for negative impact from tighter consumer finance regulation.

Goldman downgraded Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank to "sell" from "buy," Dubai Islamic Bank to "sell" from "neutral," and Emirates NBD Bank to "neutral" from "buy."

All three banks were down with ENBD slumping 6.4 percent, DIB down 1.4 percent and ADCB falling 2.7 percent.

Riverdeep founder set for €100m payday

Riverdeep founder and dealmaker Barry O’Callaghan is in line for a pay-off potentially worth €100million from a proposed flotation next year of a Chinese company he controls.

Beijing Riverdeep International Education, which operates 100 premium English language learning centres across China, is planning an initial public offering on both the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges in the first half of 2012.

The company, which is 55.9 per cent owned by EMPG International, the joint venture private equity vehicle backed by O’Callaghan and Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund Istithmar, will be selecting underwriters for the deal this autumn, EMPGI vice-president Justin Cahill told Merger market.

UAE cbank asks banks to freeze Libyan assets - Maktoob News

The United Arab Emirates central bank has ordered the Gulf country's banks to freeze the assets of 19 Libyan individuals and institutions and expects to complete a report on the measure within a week, an official said on Monday.

Western countries and the United Nations have imposed a range of sanctions on Libya, where rebels are fighting to end Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year rule, and have frozen assets of the Libyan leader and his inner circle.

"We have instructed banks to initiate a search and have requested them to freeze the assets," Abdulrahim al-Awadi, executive director at the UAE central bank's anti-money laundering and suspicious cases unit told reporters.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi may face funding cost shock on high GRE debt levels

High debt levels among Dubai and Abu Dhabi government related entities, or GREs, present a significant risk to the sovereign balance sheets of both emirates, which may face funding cost “shocks” as they attempt to roll over $60bn worth of debt maturing this year and next, according to a new International Monetary Fund report. The global financial and economic crisis has unveiled the fiscal and financial challenges posed by GREs, which will likely “continue to pose significant risks to the sovereign balance sheet and the financial system,” the IMF said.

Although sovereign debt is low in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s biggest emirates, the two emirates still face risks from the large borrowings by the GREs, even though much of the debt does not carry explicit government guarantees. The size of the GRE debt has potential implications for the domestic banking sector and debt capital markets, the IMF said.

Of Dubai’s total publicly-held debt of $113bn, GREs account for $89.4bn, or 81.2% of GDP generated in Dubai and the northern emirates in 2010. In Abu Dhabi, GREs account for $92.4bn of the emirate’s total debt of $104bn, or 48.6% of Abu Dhabi’s 2010 GDP, according to the IMF.

Still too early to buy stocks in Qatar and the UAE « ArabianMoney

An announcement on the inclusion of Qatar and the UAE into the MSCI emerging markets index could emerge as early as today. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi told ArabianMoney this would be worth $3-4 billion in new investment flows for these bourses if it goes ahead.

However, fund managers will have until this time next year to make their investments, although quite clearly they will have to buy stocks in the UAE and Qatar by then if these nations join the index of which they will comprise 0.67 per cent.

gulfnews : Opec reaps benefits of strong fundamentals

At a difficult juncture due to the acrimonious failure of its ministerial conference this month, Opec issued its 2010 Annual Report, a snapshot of the economic and oil market development in the year and other Secretariat activities.

In its introduction, the Secretary General Abdullah Al Badri is right when he says "the year 2010 was an exceptional one for Opec".

The world economy recovered from the crisis of 2008 due to the unprecedented interventions by governments especially in the OECD countries. After a contraction of minus 0.8 per cent in 2009, the world economy grew at 4.7 per cent in 2010, much better than all expectations.

Gulf companies shake off fallout from upheaval - The National

The threat of worsening trading conditions after the recent unrest in parts of the Middle East still hangs over companies in the Gulf, even though broader business confidence is slowly improving, according to an HSBC study.

The study of 1,696 companies across the region showed 59 per cent of respondents expected the turmoil in areas of the Middle East to affect their businesses negatively. Of those, 8 per cent expected a large effect on their trade. However, the index of business confidence at Gulf companies rose 1.7 points from March to this month, with the UAE's business confidence rising 1.8 points from the end of the first quarter to 82.9.

Only Oman registered a decrease in business confidence between March and this month, falling 0.8 points.

Some light at the end of the tunnel at last for local markets - The National

There have been false dawns before, but for local markets it really does appear that after a long period of instability there are some genuine signs of recovery, Alan Durrant writes

As I am sure that all readers share my frustration with the performance of local markets in recent years. Whenever the first patch of blue skies have appeared, a thunderous black cloud has quickly appeared to ruin the party.

We were beginning to turn bullish two years ago before the well-publicised local debt renegotiation problems temporarily eradicated all international demand for UAE shares.

Sipchem to launch SR2b Sukuk |

Saudi International Petrochemical Co. (Sipchem) expects to raise up to SR2 billion ($533.3 million) from a planned Islamic bond offering to fund plant expansions, its chief executive said.

Sipchem, which plans to part-finance three projects worth over $1 billion with the Sukuk sale, began roadshows for the bond on Saturday and sees book building to begin next week.

“”We target raising SR1.5 billion from the issue and the value may rise to SR2 billion based on our need and on the offers (from investors),”" chief executive Ahmad Al-Ohaly told Reuters.

Qatar on pole position as it plans swoop for stake in second major UK bank

One of the world's most acquisitive sovereign wealth funds is in early negotiations to pick up a cornerstone stake in a second leading British bank.

Qatar Holdings, which already has a 7 per cent holding in Barclays, is believed to be seriously considering taking a stake in the UK arm of Santander, the Spanish banking major, when it floats before the end of 2011.

The wealthy Gulf state's investment vehicle splashed out $2.72 billion (£1.7bn) last year for a convertible stake in the Brazilian business of Santander, Banco Santander Brasil.

$15bn to boost gas production

Energy major BP expects to invest an estimated $15 billion in the full field development of its gas-rich Block 61 concession, which includes the Khazzan and Makarem fields, in north central Oman. The proposed investment, which is subject to a declaration of commerciality slated before the end of next year, will boost Oman’s total gas production by a third, thereby opening up a potentially prolific supply of natural gas as fuel and feedstock for industry.

According to the head of BP’s operations in Oman, the proposed project promises to have immense benefits for the Sultanate’s industrial and economic development. “This will be a very large project — the largest project in the Sultanate for quite some time — and will require approximately $15 billion in capital investment from the energy major BP to make that happen.

“About $10 billion of that will go into the drilling of wells and the rest will go for surface facilities,” Dr Jonathan Evans, Vice-President of BP Oman said at a media briefing here yesterday. Significantly, the investment will target part of the estimated 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of tight gas trapped in deep reservoirs at depths of between 4,500–5,000 metres within BP’s Block 61 concession.

UAE oil output falls in May amid maintenance, declining demand

UAE oil output in May fell 3.59 per cent from the previous month to 2.42 million barrels a day (bpd), the latest estimates by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) show.

But output was significantly above the UAE's 2.223 million bpd quota set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in January 2009.

In April, the UAE was estimated to have produced 2.51 million bpd of crude oil, while in March the output stood at 2.52 million bpd, said the IEA, which advises 28 industrialised countries on energy policy.

Still game, set and match to London

This week, the place to be is in Wimbledon. Glyn Kirk / AELTC / Pool / Getty Images

      London may no longer be the biggest city on the planet, but it may have a claim to still be one of the greatest on Earth, particularly in the summer months.

      Joseph Conrad, the Polish emigre who became a British merchant seaman and a master of English prose, called London "the biggest, and the greatest, town on Earth". That was at the beginning of the 20th century, when there were still sailing ships making their way up the Thames and it was the biggest port in the world.
      Paris by comparison is parochial, almost provincial, New York is stifling in the summer months and Tokyo has been rocked by the tsunami and growing fears of radiation from the nuclear meltdown.

      ADCB takes action to win over investors

      Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) continues to get investors back on its side after addressing a combination of issues that had depressed its share price.

      Yesterday, shares in the country's third-biggest bank by assets rose to their highest level in more than two years after ADCB said it would make a profit of about Dh1 billion from the sale of its 24.9 per cent stake in RHB Capital, Malaysia's fifth-largest lender.

      The sale of the stake to Aabar Investments, owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, has offered some assurance to investors that it will have a big enough cash buffer to sustain any economic difficulties.

      Light at the end of TID’s debt-restructuring tunnel

      One has to hand it to Adnan Al-Musallam, chairman of The Investment Dar (TID), the Kuwait-based Islamic investment company, which owes its creditors over $3.5 billion. Over the last two years, he has fought off any attempt from some creditors to put TID under administration or declare it bankrupt.

      He has successfully persuaded the court in Kuwait to give his debt-restructuring plan a chance to the chagrin of a few of TID’s creditors.

      He has sought Chapter 11 protection under the emirate’s Financial Stability Law (FSL), which provides the necessary legal framework under which TID can implement a court-approved restructuring plan in which full repayment of all of its banks and investors is incorporated.