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Friday, 18 November 2011

Abu Dhabi cash to back UK bank sale - The National

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Money is to acquire Britain's Northern Rock bank in a deal backed by Abu Dhabi-linked investors.

The UK Treasury said yesterday it would sell the bank to the British magnate for £747 million (Dh4.3 billion) after taking over the mortgage lender in 2008. The deal represents a significant loss on its original investment.

Stanhope Investments,a fund based in Abu Dhabi, is one of Virgin's investors. A Virgin Money spokesman confirmed that Stanhope Investments was one of the backers of the deal but declined to give details.

UAE's Swiss bank nears $1bn in assets - The National

If you want to keep your money safe you put it in a Swiss bank. If you want to keep your money really, really safe, you buy a Swiss bank.

That is what Aabar Investments did in April 2009 when it bought AIG Private Bank in Zurich. Renaming it Falcon Private Bank, it opened its Dubai representative office in 2008, with a second regional representative office opened in Abu Dhabi in April.

Falcon set a target of increasing UAE assets under management to US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) by the end of this year. It has almost hit that mark in just 18 months - the latest figure stands at $950 million. "We'll hit a billion by the end of the weekend," says Eduardo Leemann, the bank's dapper chief executive.

Euro crisis to worsen $25bn Gulf debt burden - The National

European bond and stock markets suffered a further fall yesterday as Gulf companies were warned they faced growing refinancing risks linked to US$25 billion (Dh91.8bn) in debt due next year.

Yields on euro-zone sovereign debt widened further, reflecting investors' concern that the European crisis may spread.

Spanish bond yields reached 6.98 per cent, their highest level since 1997, at a 10-year auction. A French bond auction also reported elevated yields while stock markets declined across Europe.

gulfnews : Gulf faces rising refinancing risks over next three years

A combination of factors such as rising debt maturities, high volatility in global markets and the absence of European banks from the loan syndication market is expected to increase the refinancing risk in the Gulf region, according to rating agency Standard & Poor's and independent analysts.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said yesterday that issuers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries face rising refinancing risks over the next three years because the amount of debt maturing in the region will increase significantly between 2012 and 2014.

Industry experts estimate bonds and sukuk of about $25 billion (Dh91.95 billion) will mature in 2012, rising to about $35 billion in 2014. "We believe the region is entering a challenging loan and bond refinancing cycle, especially given the ongoing volatility in capital markets and fears that slowing global economic growth is already curbing corporate debt issuance and heightening refinancing risk," said Stuart Anderson, Managing Director and Regional Head, S&P Middle East.

gulfnews : Mena bond issue volumes set to be lower this year

The aggregate prim-ary bond issues from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is expected to be lower this year as high market volatility has kept a number of regional issuers from tapping the market, Andrew Dell, HSBC's head of debt capital markets for Mena told reporters yesterday.

He expects the total bond issues from the region to be around two-thirds of the volumes reported last year. In 2010, aggregate bond issuance from the Mena region exceeded $40 billion (Dh146.88 billion) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) accounted for $32 billion.

"There are a few issuance windows available before the end of the year. But the volatility is too high and we do not expect the aggregate issuance for the fully year to reach last year's level," said Dell.

gulfnews : Bahrain sells $750m Islamic bond

Bahrain sold $750 million in seven-year Islamic bonds, becoming the first Arab country affected by the Arab Spring this year to tap global bond markets.
The sale was the first in more than a year for Bahrain. Bahrain sold the sukuk at a yield of 6.273 per cent.
Scarce sovereign sales in the region helped investors overlook Bahrain's slowing economic growth, said Sergey Dergachev, at Union Investment Privatfonds. Islamic bonds yielded 75 basis points, or 0.75 of a percentage point, less than the average yield on non-Sharia compliant bonds in the region yesterday, according to HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai bond indexes.