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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Abu Dhabi's IPIC H1 profit surges on investment gains | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) saw its first-half profit nearly triple as the energy-focused investment vehicle posted gains on its financial investments, an updated bond prospectus showed.

IPIC, which has stakes in Spain's Cepsa and Austrian oil group OMV , posted a $424 million gain on financial instruments, compared with a loss of $1.1 billion for the year-ago period, boosting profit after tax to $1.16 billion from $413 million a year ago.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $8.63 billion.

Etisalat reports US$1.4 billion profit in the first nine months of 2011 -

Etisalat today announced a Group net profit after federal royalty of AED5.13 (US$1.4 billion) for the nine month period ended 30 September 2011.

Etisalat Group recorded a 9% growth in third quarter stand-alone revenue, resulting in year-to-date Group revenues of AED 24.01 billion (US$6.5 billion), an increase of 3% over the same period of the prior year.

Revenue earned from international operations contributed 26 percent to overall revenue and increased 18 percent on the same period last year. Operating margins also remained resilient, with operating profit before federal royalty of AED 9.94 billion, representing a margin of 41%.

MENA stock markets close - October 18, 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)

Dubai tourism: mixed fortunes | beyondbrics –

Judging opportunities in Dubai’s tourism market is a tricky business these days.

Tourist numbers are rising, underpinned by 50 per cent annual increases in Chinese visitors who want to grab luxury goods and snaps next to the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. The Arab uprisings have given the industry another fillip as tourists avoid hotspots such as Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain.

But more than 2.5m extra tourists will have to arrive annually over the next five years to meet a whopping 60 per cent increase in the number of rooms bequeathed by the emirate’s over-ambitious boom days.

Exclusive: Qatar bank stalks Dexia's Turkish arm | Reuters

Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA is eyeing Denizbank (DENIZ.IS), the fast-growing Turkish arm of euro zone debt casualty Dexia (DEXI.BR), in a deal potentially worth up to $6 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

QNB, 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, would be the latest Qatari interest in Dexia's assets after the Gulf state's royal family last week bought Banque Internationale Luxembourg, a private bank.

The al-Thani royal family also runs investment groups including QIA, which has invested in European banks including Barclays (BARC.L) in the past.

Qatar Shares Fall the Most in 2 Weeks, Led by Banks, on Europe - Businessweek

Qatar shares fell the most in two weeks, led by banks, after Germany damped expectations of a quicker resolution to the European debt crisis and China’s economic growth slowed. Crude oil declined.

Commercial Bank of Qatar QSC, up 6.2 percent in the past two weeks excluding today, dropped. The Persian Gulf country’s second-biggest lender reported an 8.6 percent increase in quarterly profit. Industries Qatar QSC, the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals company, decreased 1.1 percent. The QE Index retreated 0.8 percent, the most since Oct. 4, to 8,400.04, at the 1 p.m. close in Doha. The measure gained 1.9 percent last week.

“Shares are retreating on poor international sentiment and profit-taking,” said Samer Darwiche, a financial analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai. “Investors bought on positive bank expectations and are now selling after strong results.” Excluding today’s drop of 1 percent, the Qatar Exchange Banking Sector Index gained 2.2 percent in the past two weeks.

UAE 2011 real GDP growth seen at 4.2 pct - stats office | Energy & Oil | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates' economy is expected to grow by 4.2 percent in real terms this year, much faster than in 2010, helped by robust oil prices, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, citing preliminary data.

Asked about key drivers of economic growth this year, Sufyan Daghra, economic statistics expert at the National Bureau of Statistics, said: "The increase in petroleum prices...and the impact of diversification and other economic activities."

He told a news conference, "There was recovery that we can feel in the economic sector."

Mubadala's Fewer touted for Aldar CFO job - sources | Reuters

Abu Dhabi group Aldar Properties will likely appoint state fund Mubadala's Greg Fewer as chief financial officer, sources familiar with the matter said, in a further sign of the government taking up the reins at the troubled developer.

Fewer, associate director for project and corporate finance at Mubadala, will replace Shafqat Malik who resigned on Oct. 6., three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

"A formal approval will be made by the board on Thursday," a fourth source said. Aldar was due to hold a board meeting on Oct. 20 to appoint a new CFO.

Abu Dhabi's IPIC lends unit Aabar $2 bln - document | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC) gave a 7.3 billion dirhams ($2.0 bln) interest-free loan to its unit Aabar in September, an updated prospectus for the state-owned fund's bond programme showed.

IPIC itself raised the funds as an unsecured conventional loan paying an interest rate over EIBOR, the prospectus showed.

Aabar bought Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's 25 percent stake in Malaysian group RHB Capital earlier this year. Sources told Reuters this month that Aabar would get a $1.9 billion loan through its parent IPIC from ADCB to pay for the deal.

AFP: Kuwait foreign minister quits over graft case: report

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah, a senior member of the ruling family, has resigned, local media reported Tuesday, amid tensions over a graft scandal involving several MPs.

Citing "high ranking" sources, Al-Anbaa newspaper said Sheikh Mohammad, who has been foreign minister in the oil-rich Gulf state since 2003, "submitted his resignation on Monday and did not attend the cabinet meeting."

"The minister preferred to resign from a government that does not carry out true reforms regarding the (illegal) multi-million bank deposits," the term used to describe the scandal, the daily cited the sources as saying.

Gordon Ramsay quits Dubai and Versace resort developer pulls out « ArabianMoney

Two giant global brand names are exiting Dubai business ventures in unrelated moves linked to the global economic downturn and a consolidation of business groups into their most profitable core divisions: Gordon Ramsey and Versace resort developer Sunland.

The foul-mouthed reality TV star chef Gordon Ramsey’s Verre restaurant in the Hilton Creek will close later this month, ten years after opening in Dubai. Verre was a hit in the Dubai boom years but like fine dining around the world has struggled since the global financial crisis of three years ago.

Dubai World unit sued by US-based hedge fund -

A US-based hedge fund has launched legal action against Dubai’s Drydocks World for repayment of about $45.5m after the unit of troubled conglomerate Dubai World defaulted on loans in August, threatening to reignite debt fears in the Gulf emirate.

Monarch Alternative Capital is suing the ship-repair company in the High Court of London, according to a filing, after more than a year of talks between Drydocks and its creditors have so far failed to reach agreement on restructuring debts of $2.2bn.

The brewing legal battle will refocus attention on the challenges Dubai faces in dealing with maturing debts of about $14bn next year, after it finalised the restructuring of Dubai World’s $25bn, the most troublesome portion of its $110bn debt pile.

Sabic profit jump highlights ridiculous undervaluation of Gulf stocks « ArabianMoney

The world’s largest petrochemicals company, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation posted a 54 per cent surge in profits to $2.2 billion in the third quarter, perhaps not surprising in a year when oil revenues will be at an all-time high in the kingdom.

And yet the Saudi Tadawul All Share Index is down 7.4 per cent this year and Sabic’s own stock is down 12 per cent. Something is wrong when corporate profits are booming and the stock market is not only low but heading lower.

Asia and Gulf states need to deepen energy relationship - The National

In Dubai's Al Barsha district, a large Chinese centre processes seismic data for oil companies. Days after an oil tanker is hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian warship Tabar sinks a Somali pirate vessel. In Abu Dhabi, the Japanese energy minister, Yukio Edano, discusses the renewal of oil concessions.

These represent three aspects of the growing energy relationship between Asian countries and the Gulf.

The next decade will bring major changes to trade flows and to the Gulf's energy sector.

gulfnews : Middle East private equity players upbeat on prospects

Representatives of the global private equity industry, who are gathered in Dubai for the SuperReturn Middle East conference, yesterday said that despite a sharp slowdown in global deal flows, the Middle East region offers good opportunities for the industry.

Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based regional private equity firm, is looking to close up to two deals before year-end and is working on around 40 deals in countries from North Africa to South East Asia, a senior executive said yesterday.

"We are working on approximately 40 deals," Matteo Stefanel, senior partner and member of the executive committee, told reporters on the sidelines of the private equity conference.

Saudi cash lifts bank profits - The National

Profits at Saudi banks soared during the third quarter as a burst of government spending started to filter through to local lenders.

But the bright picture for the kingdom's banking sector stands in contrast to the gloom facing financial institutions elsewhere in the world, with US and European banks facing sluggish economic growth and bad debts also expected to rise among Chinese lenders.

For banks, the Saudi government's spending package provides a substantial boost, wrote Naresh Bilandani, an analyst at JPMorgan, in a research note.

Dubai is still Middle East's retail centre - The National

The global boom in luxury retail has cemented Dubai's place as the capital of shopping in the Middle East, according to global executives.

"Retail is Dubai," says Olivier Bernheim, the president and chief executive of Raymond Weil,a Swiss maker of luxury watches. "Dubai is an image market, it's a platform for the Middle East and subcontinent, it is also the driving force for retail."

Dubai shares the top spot with London for the biggest range of brands anywhere in the world, pipping traditional retail stalwarts such as New York and Paris.

Kuveyt Turk, Almarai, Indonesia, Tenaga: Islamic Bond Alert - Bloomberg

THE DAILY STAR :: Abu Dhabi's UNB eyes benchmark bond after fourth-quarter profit drops

Abu Dhabi’s Union National Bank said it might issue a benchmark dollar sale in the first half of the year to prop up its balance sheet after a sharp rise in provisions hit fourth-quarter profit.

U.A.E. lenders have suffered in the last two years as a regional property boom ended and they were forced to book hefty provisions against bad debt and bolster capital levels.

UNB chief executive Mohammad Nasr Abdeen did not specify an amount for the bond sale but benchmark bond issues are typically around $500 million.

THE DAILY STAR :: Bahrain leads surge in Middle East debt risk as unrest escalates

Bahrain led an increase in the cost of insuring Middle Eastern sovereign debt on concern escalating unrest will destabilize the Persian Gulf, where most of the region’s oil is produced.

Credit-default swaps on Bahrain jumped for a fourth day, rising 18.5 basis points to 286, the highest since July 2009, according to CMA prices at 3 p.m. in London. Swaps on Egypt rose to the highest in more than a week as protests continued after last week’s resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stepped up demands for the government to resign after a security crackdown left at least three people dead. Egypt’s banks and stock market remain shut with no official date to reopen.

Moody’s upgrades Emaar to Ba3; affirms firm's sukuk rating - Emirates 24/7

Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Dubai-based property developer Emaar Properties’ corporate family rating to Ba3 from B1, the ratings agency announced in a statement today. The ratings upgrade comes in the wake of improved financial conditions at the region’s largest real estate developer.

Shares of the property giant, listed at the Dubai Financial Market, last traded at Dh2.47 per share today, down 1.2 per cent form yesterday and near their 52-week low of Dh2.35 in a market that has been on a negative trend on weak global sentiment.

“The upgrade of Emaar's CFR reflects the receding default risk, Moody’s said, adding that “the B1 rating of Emaar Sukuk has been affirmed. The outlook for all ratings is stable,” it said.

Dubai’s non-oil trade jumps 24%

Despite the global economic recession, Dubai non-oil trade, spanning imports, exports and re-exports, saw a significant surge of 24 per cent in the first half of 2011, which is higher than its value before the downturn.

Providing for promising investment opportunities, the emirate’s non-oil trade hit Dh345 billion in the period from January 1 to June 30 as compared to Dh279 billion in the first half of 2010, according to a top customs official here. Ahmed Butti, the executive chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone, said the boom featured a 21 per cent increase in imports which hit Dh214 billion against Dh177 billion over the same period in 2010.

“Jumping to 37per cent , the exports stood at Dh45 billion against Dh33 billion in first-half of 2010, apart from re-exportation activities which grew to 25 per cent or Dh87 billion as opposed to Dh69 billion in the first six months last year.”

WesternZagros lands $46.6-million investment from Abu Dhabi's TAQA |

WesternZagros Resources Ltd. said Monday that it has landed a $46.6-million investment from the Abu Dhabi government's energy firm, providing the capital the junior explorer needs to drill for oil in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

With the backing of Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. — or TAQA —the Calgary-based junior can now meet its commitments to complete one well at Mil Qasim by year-end and another at Kurdamir by the middle of next year.

WesternZagros (TSXV:WZR) had previously warned it would need more money to complete its 2011 capital program and was prepared to tap equity markets later this year to fill the gap.

Dubai: oil for the people, not profit | beyondbrics –

You would have thought an oil company from one of the biggest oil-producing countries in the world would have no problem making money. But no: Emirates National Oil Co is begging for help after forecasting massive losses – despite sitting on the doorstep of some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

The Dubai-government owned company is one of the biggest sufferers from federal government financial largesse that helps keep the population of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates happy during this time of regional turmoil, at the expense of allowing companies to make a profit.

Enoc has to buy oil for its petrol stations at market prices but sell it at a subsidised rate of Aed1.72 ($0.47) per litre – with the result that it is expecting a loss of Dh2.7bn ($735m) for the year, prompting an unusually public display of dissent in a country where criticism of the government is taboo. The company said in a statement on Sunday:

Azerbaijan: Baku’s Natural Gas Discoveries Reviving Interest in Caspian Pipelines |

The recent discovery of a sizable, new natural gas field in the Caspian Sea is giving officials in Azerbaijan additional reason to cheer. But the discovery also is highlighting a dilemma for Baku – one in which the abundance of gas is currently offset by a dearth of export capacity.

It’s a problem that Azerbaijani officials are happy to have. The new gas field, discovered off the Absheron Peninsula, contains an estimated 350 billion cubic meters of gas and 45 million tons of condensate. An ebullient President Ilham Aliyev predicted on September 9 that the discovery will help turn Azerbaijan into “a large-scale gas exporter” within “several decades.” Some analysts agree, saying that Azerbaijan eventually could export more gas than oil.

The net effect of Azerbaijan’s gas dilemma is that some long-discussed, but as yet unfulfilled export routes will get a second, or even third look. Azerbaijan’s current proven gas reserves stand at 2.55 trillion cubic meters, a far cry from Russia’s 47.57 trillion cubic meters, and less than half of Turkmenistan’s 7.5 trillion cubic meters.