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Thursday, 7 July 2011

DEALTALK-Gulf Arab M&A eyes rebound as tensions ebb, oil gains | Reuters

Gulf Arab bankers, hit by a dearth of deal flows so far in 2011, are hoping sovereign wealth funds will drive a second-half rebound powered by a buoyant oil price and an easing in political tensions.

The state-owned funds, allocators of the state's excess investment capital, have benefited from a 20-percent surge in crude over the past year.

They are expected to aggressively scout for deals after lying low earlier this year when protests roiled the Middle East, driving regimes out of power in Tunisia and Egypt and provoking crackdowns in Bahrain and other states.

Kuwait National Air Faces Lawsuits From Banks, Chairman Says - Bloomberg

Kuwait National Airlines Co. (KNA) K.S.C. faces lawsuits from banks and owes Burgan Bank (BURG) about 16 million dinars ($58 million), Kuwait National’s Chairman Abdul Salam al- Bahar said.

“The banks have filed lawsuits and they’re demanding legal measures against the company,” al-Bahar told reporters today. He didn’t name the banks.

Kuwait National also owes Kuwait International Bank (KIB) 5 million dinars, al-Bahar said at the company’s headquarters at Kuwait International Airport. Al-Bahar spoke after the postponement of an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

FT Alphaville » Bahrain: the “most improved” sovereign

CMA Datavision on Thursday released its Q2 2011 report on the world’s best and worst sovereign debt performers.
There are few surprises in its top 10 most risky sovereigns, with Pakistan making a new entry due to further instability, following the assassination of Osama bin Laden (click to expand).

MENA stock markets close - July 7, 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)

Guest post: Oil traders should watch for instability in Syria | beyondbrics –

Syria’s president Bashar al Assad once flaunted his immunity from the wave of protest-driven unrest in the Middle East. Today, while the regime is unlikely to fall in the near term, there’s no doubt that instability is on the rise.

That has broad geopolitical implications for the Middle East. And while Lebanon and Israel are often mentioned, Iraq stands to lose the most. Syria could, for example, become a base for groups seeking to undermine stability in Iraq, increasing risks for the growth of oil production. Oil traders should watch closely how Bashar handles Syria’s political turmoil.

Iraq’s oil production capacity will be a key variable influencing energy markets in the next two decades. Oil minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi has said recently that he expects to see an increase from 2.7 million bpd today to 8 million bpd by in 2017. While this is overly optimistic, if current political conditions persist Iraq could very well produce 4.5 to 5 million bpd in 2015 and 7-8 million bpd in 2020. But if instability flows from Syria, the story could turn out to be much less promising, putting additional upward pressure on the oil futures market.

Sinister strategies: How far will UAE go to attract dollars? –

There is just something slightly sinister about the invariable optimists at the Dubai tourism sector. For one thing, Kipp remembers how, early this year, many analysts and experts didn’t spare any time to point out that the Middle Eastern unrest, the Arab Spring, as some call it, was beneficial for the UAE’s tourism sector. Now, facts are facts; just as business is, indeed, business. But the PC sensitive side of Kipp, (yes, even we have a soft side) can’t help but think that maybe touting the calamitous uprising as a boon for Dubai’s long-suffering tourism scene is just a tad tactless.

And now, as things ever so slightly slow down in the Middle East, analysts haven’t hesitated that the consequent boost in tourism Dubai has enjoyed is also slowing down. “The headline number has softened for a second consecutive month, suggesting that the lift the UAE received from unrest elsewhere may be fading” Simon Williams, the chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC told The National.

And while the scorching summer sets in, regional unrest slows down and Ramadan approaches, it would seem tourism in Dubai is in for a rough couple of months. But never fear, Dubai hoteliers have great plans to tempt pilgrims on their way to Mecca for Ummrah, to stop over in hedonistic-haven Dubai to what exactly before before the ultimate cleansing in Mecca. We’ll leave you to fill in those blanks.

Are we the only who sees just how iniquitous this all is?

Dubai firm axes Airbus orders in crisis fallout | Reuters

A troubled Dubai leasing firm has cancelled all its remaining Airbus orders worth $5.8 billion, it emerged on Thursday, as the after-shocks of the financial crisis dampened celebrations of record new jet sales.

The clearout by DAE Capital failed to spook investors in Airbus parent EADS , which is well ahead of Boeing this year, but delivered a blow to Dubai at a time when the emirate is touting its recovery from a crippling 2009 debt crisis.

It also raises questions over the fate of about $9 billion in unfilled orders by the same leasing company from Boeing , which is due to update its order book later on Thursday.

Dubai Shares Pace Persian Gulf Gains Before U.S. Data; Oil Rises

Dubai's shares rose, pacing gains in the Persian Gulf, before a report on U.S. jobless claims and as oil prices advanced.

Drake & Scull International PJSC, a construction company, climbed to the highest in two weeks. Dubai Islamic Bank, the biggest Shariah-compliant lender in the United Arab Emirates, rose for the fourth time this week. The DFM General Index gained 0.4 percent to 1,557.85 at the 2:00 p.m. close in the emirate. The measure rose 2.7 percent this week. The Bloomberg BGCC200 Index, which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the Gulf, advanced 0.7 percent this week.

'Regional markets are gaining direction from international news flows and international markets performance,' said Marwan Shurrab, assistant fund manager and chief trader at Dubai-based Gulfmena Alternative Investments.

Nakheel and Limitless fade into history in Dubai restructuring « ArabianMoney

Nakheel, the company that once boasted that it got the vision of Dubai built, and Limitless whose name said it all, are to disappear with their demerger from the the Dubai World conglomerate and the transfer of legal ownership to a new Dubai Government entity.

Dubai Real Estate Corporation was formed last month ‘to own and manage the properties registered in the name of the Government or any of its departments’. It has not been announced whether the Nakheel and Limitless trading names will ever be used again for property development in the emirate.

Full: Dubai to take over Limitless, Nakheel - The National

Dubai World will transfer two of the emirate's biggest property developers to the Government as it completes a debt restructuring in the wake of the financial crisis.

Agreements have been signed on the terms for the separation of Nakheel and Limitless 'operationally and financially' from Dubai World, the board of directors said in a statement.

'Legal ownership will transfer to the Government of Dubai upon completion of Nakheel and Limitless's financial restructuring,' the statement said.

DFSA warns of scams on internet - The National

Internet fraudsters are using fake documents carrying the letterhead of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and posing as government officials to con people in advance-fee frauds.

The alert from the financial free zone's regulator comes amid an increase in online fraud involving the DIFC and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which oversees companies based in the centre. The DFSA has issued seven warnings about such scams using the DFSA and the DIFC's names as bait since 2008. 'More sophisticated scams will use the stolen identities of reputable businesses and agencies to give their scams some form of legitimacy,' a DFSA spokeswoman said. 'The DIFC and DFSA, like many other agencies, may have its identity misused from time to time. When the DFSA becomes aware of such instances it notifies the public and takes action when it can.'

Before yesterday's alert, the most recent warning came last August, when the DFSA raised concerns over an 'increase in fraudulent activity' by people 'impersonating companies and offering loans and investments to potential victims'.

Argentine deal expands Qatar's LNG business - The National

Qatar, the holder of the world's third-biggest gas reserves, is steadily lining up long-term international buyers for its lucrative export.

Its latest coup is a two-decade agreement signed with Argentina last week to supply 5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) a year, equal to more than 15 per cent of that country's natural gas demand. It follows deals with the UK, Japan and other major consumers.

Finding long-term customers is at the top of the emirate's priorities as it increases its LNG production to 77 million tonnes a year by the end of this year. 'If I get a long-term customer, I can plan my production,' said Bhaskar Majumdar, a regional energy analyst at the consultancy Frost & Sullivan in Bangalore.

Kharafi Group to restructure |

Kuwaits Kharafi Group is undergoing a restructuring process following the death in April of the conglomerates popular chairman, the companys vice chairman, and likely successor, said.

“”We are working on the restructuring of the company,”" said vice chairman Bader Nasser Al Kharafi, son of the deceased chairman Nasser Al Kharafi, who died in Egypt in April. The late chairmans influence on Kuwait society was indicated when shares in companies the conglomerate has stakes in took a sharp drop immediately after his death.

Kharafi Group has an annual turnover of more than $5 billion and operates in more than 25 countries worldwide. Its subsidiary, Kuwait Food Company or Americana, holds the Middle East franchises for Pizza Hut, KFC and TGI Fridays, among others.

gulfnews : Deconstructing UAE's new property visa

The UAE has issued a new visa scheme that allows investors in properties worth Dh1 million and above to stay in the country for three years without having to leave the country.

The property-linked visas have been a major issue of contention over the last 15 years in the UAE. When large-scale real estate development started then, properties were promoted and sold on the premise that they automatically came with residence visas.

But in the last decade, when global demand for the UAE's real estate market was highest, there was a sudden reversal of the law. Those who lobbied for that reversal believed that investors no longer considered a residence visa a crucial factor in their investment decision.

Gulf Times – Gulf banks face consolidation hurdles to lift regional M&As

Gulf Arab banks are considering consolidation as one way to build scale and better compete with larger international banks as domestic earnings growth is slowing, but face obstacles in the form of shareholder scepticism and a patchy regulatory framework.
Mergers and acquisitions in the Gulf banking sector are seen to be most pressing in smaller but highly competitive markets such as the UAE and Qatar, where respectively 47 and 18 banks are active.

Analysts say that as economies in the Gulf region are expanding, consolidation would create regional champions that will play a bigger role in developing the local equity and debt capital markets-at a time when their international counterparts may scale down their emerging markets presence due to new regulatory requirements on balance sheets.