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Monday, 1 August 2011

UAE denies judge access to Australian businessmen

THE Federal Court judge John Logan had his diplomatic passport application in train ahead of travelling to the United Arab Emirates to hear evidence from two Australian businessmen who have been trapped in Dubai for more than 2½ years on fraud charges relating to a multibillion-dollar building project.

But the passport, the trip and an Australian court hearing scheduled to start yesterday over the same building deal have all come undone.

There has been to-and-fro for nearly a year between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian embassy staff, the Commonwealth Attorney-General's office, the acting attorney-general of Dubai and the head of the Dubai prosecutors office among others.

MENA stock markets close - August 1, 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)

UAE's Etisalat says India partner withdraws legal petition | Reuters

Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications firm Etisalat on Monday said its Indian mobile phone joint venture partner has withdrawn a petition filed against the company before India's Company Law Board.

Majestic Infracon Private Ltd, which owns about 45.73 percent of the joint venture, made an 'unconditional withdrawal' of its petitions, Etisalat said in a bourse statement without specifying any additional details.

The Company Law Board is an independent quasi-judiciary body that rules on corporate matters.

Debt deal for troubled Nakheel delayed again -

More than a year after Nakheel, the troubled Dubai property developer, and its advisers promised Islamic debt to its trade creditors as a way of resolving its debt impasse, the notes themselves are proving elusive.

The proposition on the table is that Nakheel, the developer of Dubai’s palm-shaped islands, will offer its contractors Dh4bn-Dh5bn ($1bn-$1.4bn) in five-year sharia-compliant notes that offer a 10 per cent coupon, bankers say.

The bankers and trade creditors say the deal is being delayed for a number of reasons including “paperwork and market conditions”. In April, however, a final structure was reported to be four weeks away from sign-off.

gulfnews : Oil market disappoints the interventionists

The release of 60 million barrels of crude oil from strategic stocks by the International Energy Agency (IEA) was camouflaged to cover the loss of Libyan exports but it was seen by many as nothing less than an attempt to intervene in the market to bring prices down and break Opec or at least teach it a lesson.

The oil market behaved in exactly the opposite way. After an initial decline, which was short-lived; prices regained the lost ground and went even further.

On June 22, the day just before the announcement that the US would release 30 million barrels and the rest of IEA would release a similar volume, the price of the Opec basket of crudes was $107.96 (Dh396.21) a barrel, which went down to $101.55 on June 27 before it recovered by the end of the month and continued a slow rise though in a volatile manner.

Is there a place for entrepreneurs in the Arab world? -

Nada al Qassimi was the head of media and marketing at the Dubai Health Authority when the company hired to run the campaign on diabetes botched the job. Having seen too many companies, especially foreign ones, run bad campaigns because of the lack of understanding of the local culture, she decided to open her own company, Two 12, in the midst of the recession in March 2008, to provide better marketing and advertising services to organisations in the UAE.

Over in Abu Dhabi, Ziad al Khaja and Abboud al Braiki of Visual Advertising created the city’s first roadside recycling bins that glow in the dark. “What inspired me to work on this project is the vision of the UAE leadership on using alternative energy. That was a big incentive for us, and we used the sun as a source of energy to illuminate the signboards on the recycling bins. These signboards are used for advertising and have zero footprint,” al Khaja told INSEAD Knowledge.

These Emiratis are the new breed of entrepreneurs who have emerged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent years. The 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on entrepreneurship in the UAE says that the region’s total entrepreneurial activity rate - which measures the percentage of the population either actively trying to start a business or already owning and managing a business less than three-and-a-half years old - sharply increased from 8.44 per cent in 2007 to 13.25 per cent in 2009.

Russell reaffirms that the UAE is more appropriately classified as an Emerging Market -

Russell Investments’, the leading global fund manager, classification of the United Arab Emirates as an Emerging Market remains different from the current Frontier Market designation given by MSCI and S&P.

This represents the largest difference by weight between the comparable Russell and MSCI Frontier and Emerging Index offerings.

Following the annual reconstitution of its global indices, Russell reaffirms the UAE’s classification as an Emerging Market. Russell created a paper to examine the UAE relative to the rest of the countries represented in the Russell Emerging Markets (REM) Index and median indicators from the Russell Frontier Index (RFI).

Al-Rajhi on course to become global mega Islamic bank - Arab News

When Saudi Arabia's Al-Rajhi Bank enters a new market, be it through a wholly-owned standalone subsidiary or a branch, then competitors stand up and take note. They are, after all up against the largest Islamic banking group in the world, with financial muscle and influence to match.

This year Al-Rajhi Bank started operations in neighboring Kuwait and more recently in Jordan, where it was granted a license by the Central Bank of Jordan last year to open a branch in Amman. This is a far cry from only a decade or so ago when the bank was renowned for its insularity, parochialism and conservative approach to banking - both in terms of geographic expansion and product innovation. Even in more recent years, Al-Rajhi Bank was a notable absentee from the flourishing global sukuk market, for instance, both as an originator and as investor on the grounds that its Shariah Board was not satisfied with the structures of the sukuk on offer in the market.

The rationale then was that the bank's balance sheet was large enough and very profitable and therefore there was no need to venture beyond the shores of Saudi Arabia and into exotic products whose Shariah-compliance was contentious. This was symptomatic of an institution which had the audacity (or the folly some would say) to take the entire risk of the SR800 million Al-Shuaiba Power Plant (Eastern) on its books by refusing to sell down the financing to others or through a syndication.

However, the breakthrough came in 2010 when Al-Rajhi Bank collaborated with Cagamas Berhad, the National Mortgage Corporation of Malaysia and leading securitization house, to develop and launch the Sukuk al-Amanah Li al-Istithmar (Sukuk ALIm), which was the underlying structure for Cagamas's RM5 billion Islamic Commercial Paper (ICP) and Islamic Medium Term Note (IMTN) program. This "first-of-its-kind" and "innovative" structure was sold to investors in Saudi Arabia and is a manifestation of Al-Rajhi's new-found strategy of bridging the gap and facilitating cross-border activity in the Islamic capital market between Malaysia and the Middle East.

Dubai's Damas back in black after previous AED2bn loss -

Troubled jewellery firm Damas International Limited on Sunday announced a net profit of AED53.3 million for the financial year to the end of March.

Damas had reported a loss of AED2 billion in the previous financial year, the company said in a statement.

'Combined efforts have enabled Damas to achieve these robust results and strengthen its stature as the regional jewellery trendsetter and market leader,' said Ibrahim Belselah, chairman of Damas.

Flying from Toronto to Dubai on the Emirates A380 superjumbo « ArabianMoney

Flying across the world is now far more comfortable thanks to the introduction of the A380 superjumbo, and not surprisingly these planes are a big hit with the traveling public.

Emirates Airline has 15 A380s in service and by the end of the decade will have a fleet of 90. ArabianMoney traveled for the first-time on the A380 from Toronto to Dubai and is a complete convert to this aircraft as the future of aviation.

Emaar Saudi unit ends villa contract in high-tech city - Maktoob News

Saudi developer Emaar Economic City , which got a $1.33 billion loan from the government in May to speed up construction, has terminated a contract to build 134 villas in the King Abdullah Economic City development.

Emaar Economic City, affiliated to Dubai developer Emaar Properties , ended the contract with Al-Radwan Contracting, Emaar said in a statement on the Dubai bourse on Monday.

'The termination of the construction contract is in normal course of business where re-evaluation of project feasibilities in view of constantly changing business environment do require amendment/termination of construction contracts,' the company said.