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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

UAE Exchange sells 40 pct stake for $2 bln | Reuters

UAE Exchange, one of the largest foreign exchange firms in the United Arab Emirates, has sold a 40-percent stake to Centurion Investment, the companies said on Tuesday, in a deal said to be worth $2 billion.

"Centurion has acquired a 40 percent stake in UAE Exchange to expand its business in the financial sector," a statement from Abu Dhabi-based Centurion said, without giving a value for the deal.

a source directly involved in the sale told Reuters: "The deal is valued at $2 billion."

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi lender FGB surges on Q4; Gulf upbeat | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank surged to a six-month high on Tuesday after its earnings beat forecasts, helping the emirate's index extend a two-week rising trend, and most Gulf Arab markets extended gains.

FGB's shares jumped 9.9 percent to their highest finish since Aug. 1 after the bank reported an 18 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.

"The strength of FGB's numbers was due to net interest income - this was a good set of numbers ahead of expectations although not dramatically so," said Raj Madha, Rasmala MENA banking analyst.

MENA stock markets close - January 31, 2012

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)

Dana Gas Sukuk Yields Near Record on Lack of Payment Strategy: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Dana Gas PJSC’s (DANA) Islamic bonds plunged, lifting yields close to a record, after the United Arab Emirates fuel producer failed to disclose a plan for repaying the debt when it reported full-year earnings.
The $1 billion of 7.5 percent Shariah-compliant notes maturing in October fell to 68.14 on the dollar yesterday, pushing up the yield 86 basis points to 64.8 percent, the highest since Jan. 16. That day, the rate reached an all-time high of 71.8 percent. The yield was at 63.1 percent at 2:33 p.m. in Dubai. Dana Gas, which said yesterday 2011 profit more than tripled, didn’t give investors details of how it plans to pay the sukuk.
“They are running out of time,” Ahmad Alanani, the Dubai- based director for the Middle East at investment bank Exotix Ltd., which trades debt, said by phone yesterday. “The liquidity situation is very, very poor. There may be the willingness to pay, but there may not be the means.”

Majid Al Futtaim said to raise $400m at 5.85pct yield | Alrroya

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the Dubai-based operator of Carrefour SA stores in the Middle East, raised $400 million from the sale of Islamic bonds, two bankers familiar with the matter said.

The bonds were priced to yield 5.85 per cent, they said, declining to be identified because the details are private. The yield on developer and mall operator Emaar Properties PJSC’s 8.5 per cent sukuk maturing in August 2016 was little changed at 7.7 per cent at 4:07pm in Dubai. The rate on the Dubai government’s non-rated 6.396 per cent due November 2014 was at 5.22 per cent.

Non-Islamic issuers are tapping the Islamic bond market as demand for Shariah-compliant bonds lowered borrowing costs in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank PJSC and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation sukuk offerings lifted sales to $5.3 billion this month compared with $500m in the same month last year.

UPDATE 1-UAE's NBAD Q4 profit misses forecasts on impairments | Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi on Tuesday posted a one percent decline in fourth quarter net profit, missing analysts' forecasts, as the UAE lender was hurt by rising impairment charges.

The country's largest bank market value, made a net profit of 724 million dirhams ($197.27 million) for the fourth quarter, compared with 732 million dirhams for the year-ago period, it said in a statement.

Full year profit stood 3.71 billion dirhams, up 0.7 percent from 3.68 billion dirhams year-ago.

Persian Gulf Stocks: First Gulf Bank and Oman’s Nawras Moved - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index advanced 1.3 percent to 2,453.98, the highest since Dec. 12, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 2.1 percent. The measures have gained 2.2 percent and 6.1 percent respectively this month.

The following shares were active in the Persian Gulf region. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB UH) surged the most in two years, rallying 9.9 percent to 17.15 dirhams. The United Arab Emirates lender controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family reported an 18 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts’ estimates. The bank recommended a cash dividend of 1 dirham a share and one free share for every one held.

Omani Qatari Telecommunications Co. SAOG (NWRS OM) dropped to the lowest in two months, losing 1.3 percent to 0.632 rial. The company known as Nawras posted a fourth-quarter profit of 11.9 million riyals ($31 million), unchanged from a year earlier.

First Gulf Bank Surges on 2011 Dividend Payout: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB) led Abu Dhabi’s stock index to the highest level in more than a month after the United Arab Emirates lender said it would distribute a 2011 dividend that exceeded expectations.
The shares soared 9.9 percent, the most since December 2009, to 17.15 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Abu Dhabi. The bank, controlled by the emirate’s ruling family, recommended a cash dividend of 1 dirham a share and a free stock for every one held. The ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 1.3 percent to 2,453.98, the highest since Dec. 12. Union National Bank PJSC (UNB), a state- controlled lender, had the third-biggest gain on the gauge, rising 1.7 percent.
“Retail investors are considering the positive news of the dividend payout as more important than net income,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “The news will encourage investors to buy shares now, especially as valuations are attractive.”

Gas supply is in the pipeline -

The consortium behind one of Europe’s most ambitious infrastructure projects – the Nabucco gas pipeline – is considering ways of scaling back the venture after recent moves by Turkey and Azerbaijan raised questions about its viability.
The reassessment of the project comes as a BP-led consortium prepares to choose a transport route to bring gas from Azerbaijan to European markets, with Nabucco as one of the candidates.

NBAD Fourth-Quarter Profit Declines 1% as Expenses Rise, Misses Estimates - Bloomberg

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD) posted a 1 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, missing analyst estimates, as expenses rose and the lender set aside more money to cover bad loans. It raised dividend payouts.
Net income dropped to 724 million dirhams ($197 million) from 732 million dirhams a year ago, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of three analysts was for a profit of 897 million dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The bank was hurt “by the Arab Spring, low interest rates and the Euro crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Tomalin said. “Net earnings have remained steady” despite higher provisions for loan losses, he said.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Dubai Investments and First Gulf Bank Moved - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) advanced 1.1 percent to 2,449.09, headed for the highest close since Dec. 12, at 11:06 a.m. in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 1 percent.

Dubai's MAF profit rate guidance set, pricing due Tuesday | Reuters

Price guidance for a debut dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or sukuk, from Dubai mall developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding is in the range of 5.9 percent to 5.95 percent profit rate, with final pricing expected Tuesday, leads said.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank , HSBC and Standard Chartered are bookrunners on the five-year deal.

Books are likely to close on Tuesday, followed by pricing, a document from the arranging banks said, after investor meetings concluded on Monday.

Qatar- HE CQB Governor Warns of Possible Euro Crisis Impact on GCC

Abu Dhabi tried to get Aldar off Mubadala books-sources | Reuters

Abu Dhabi has held talks to offload all or part of a 49 percent government stake in struggling Aldar Properties in an attempt to stop its falling asset value from dragging down state investment fund Mubadala.

According to two sources familiar with the discussions, the talks have been held at the highest levels of government for the last few months. They centre on identifying an existing buyer or setting up a new holding group that could take up the stake.

The sources would not say whether the talks were still ongoing or had stalled, but they said recent discussions revolved around shifting the Aldar stake to an Abu Dhabi-based bank through a swap deal.

gulfnews : Turkey has a lot to contribute to the region

There isn't a more appropriate time for the Turkish president to visit the UAE. Turkey is a major player in the region, and has been playing an increasingly proactive role. Both countries have a lot to offer. They both represent excellent examples that can be emulated by others in the Muslim world. Turkey has had a successful experiment in marrying its Islamic traditions and its secular tendencies. It is always cited as a successful Muslim democracy that has become an inspiration to Arab countries, especially the so-called Arab Spring states.
Economically, it has managed to turn its fortunes around to boast reasonable growth. Its private sector is at record productivity levels. The UAE, meanwhile, is a modern state recognised globally as a development success story — a destination for investment, multinational companies and tourists. Most importantly, the two countries are playing an active political role in the region, seeking to preserve stability and avoiding unnecessary conflicts.

gulfnews : Nakheel's ex-staff acquitted of graft

Three former Nakheel officials and two executives yesterday became the first batch of suspects involved in a graft case to be acquitted of committing financial irregularities and dispersing of public funds.
The Dubai Court of First Instance cleared the three former Nakheel officials and two executives, an Emirati merchant and a Lebanese deputy manager, of a list of charges including bribery, office abuse, dispersing of public funds and others.
Since Dubai announced its massive campaign against corruption in 2008, tens of graft cases surfaced in Dubai courts.

gulfnews : Egypt bond rally may open debt window

Egypt's 2020 dollar bonds had their best week ever, signalling a chance for the country to sell foreign-currency debt to cut record borrowing costs.
The yield on the 5.75 per cent securities slid 0.9 of a percentage point last week to 6.85 per cent. The rate rose one basis point at 11.40am in Cairo yesterday. It has dropped 193 basis points since reaching an all-time high on January 11 as Egypt's new parliament convened and talks resumed with the International Monetary Fund amid peaceful rallies to mark the one-year anniversary of the uprising that forced out the president.

gulfnews : Changing corporate ways across the GCC

The default on billions of dollars of loans by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers in 2009 was just the beginning of the problems for the Saudi conglomerate, but its impact on investor confidence in the Gulf would be no less pronounced.
For years, the company - which held stakes in Saudi British Bank as well as rights to bottle Pepsi in Saudi Arabia - seemed like a stable, solid investment with a bottom line boosted by rising oil prices and a booming Saudi economy. As a result, the fall of Al Ghosaibi not only shook investors in Saudi Arabia, but across the Gulf.
"On paper it may be one of the best companies [out there], but you can never control it. These companies from the outside look like they are growing — and they are growing —but you never know internally what is going on behind the curtains," said Charbel Azzi, head of client coverage for the Middle East and Africa at S&P Indices and a former banker with Standard Chartered.

Iran sanctions hurt US but are no bar for Gulf and Russia - The National

It is the exception that proves the rule. The likely exemption of a BP gas project, in which Iran holds a stake, from recent US and EU sanctions shows how western energy policy suffers from being turned to political ends.

Naftiran Intertrade Company (Nico), a unit of Iran's national oil company, holds 10 per cent in Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gasfield, the cornerstone of plans to export Azeri gas via Turkey to Europe to reduce dependence on Russia.

"Our sanctions policy should impose maximum economic pain on the Iranians without allowing Russia to hold Eastern Europe hostage for energy," a senior US congressional aide noted. Therefore, after strenuous European lobbying, legislation is likely to exempt Azerbaijan gas exports.

Trade boom for UAE and South Korea tops $22 billion - The National

Trade between the UAE and South Korea climbed by more than 24 per cent to US$22.1 billion (Dh81.1bn) last year amid high oil prices and cooperation between the two nations in areas from energy to security.

What is more, construction contracts won by South Korean companies in the Emirates totalled $25.6bn in 2010, making the UAE the most lucrative nation for Korean contractors, according to figures from the South Korean Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Amid the boom in trade, Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, is set to visit the UAE for energy talks next week as the country with few natural resources seeks more access to oil reserves in the Gulf. He is also due to tour Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, starting on Saturday, the president's office said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia embarks on $130bn voyage to economic change - The National

The Arab Spring has galvanised governments across the Middle East and North Africa into action to create desperately needed jobs and raise living standards.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf's largest economy, where about 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds do not have a job.

The political upheaval of last year has given an extra urgency to the kingdom's quest to create work for its young people. It has also ushered in laws and policies aimed at attaining the enormous goal of creating three million jobs by 2015 and double that by 2030.

First Gulf Bank to pay shareholders Dh1.5bn - The National

First Gulf Bank has announced a Dh1.5 billion (US$408.3 million) payout to shareholders as part of a dividend plan that includes issuing bonus shares to all investors.

The capital's third-biggest lender will pay shareholders Dh1 and distribute one extra share for every share they currently own, after reporting net profits of Dh3.7bn for last year. The result represents an increase of 8.3 per cent from a year earlier and is ahead of estimates.

"The payout was amazing," said Naveed Ahmed, a financial analyst at Global Investment House. "They're a bank that needed a trigger, since the bank's shares were underperforming last year."

Nabors $7.2 Billion Takeover Seen With Surging Options: Real M&A - Bloomberg

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) has gotten so cheap that traders in the options market are betting the world’s largest land-drilling contractor may be a takeover candidate after the departure of its 81-year-old chief executive officer.
Nabors, which lost $2.4 billion in value in the past six months as delays in equipment deliveries and upgrades of rigs in Saudi Arabia cut profitability, is cheaper than 97 percent of oil and gas services companies versus sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the past two weeks, calls priced 10 percent above Nabors’ stock rose the most in 18 months versus puts on one-month contracts, signaling traders are anticipating an acquisition, said JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC.

Gulf Times – Qatar stocks extend gains to inch near 8,500 mark

The Qatar Exchange extended gains to the fourth day yesterday by 0.61% to inch near the 8,500 mark, mainly paced by Masraf Al Rayan and Commercialbank.
The 20-stock benchmark settled at 8,491.56 despite profit-booking by both local and foreign retail investors.
The market is down 3.21% year-to-date.

Corruption theme dominates Kuwait election -

Dressed in a lilac suit and cream-coloured headscarf, Massouma al-Mubarak, Kuwait’s first female cabinet minister, drew applause from the crowds as she slammed government corruption in the oil-rich Gulf state.
“Where do the billions go?” she asked the audience of men and women who came to hear her evening address in a specially erected tent before the country’s parliamentary elections on Thursday. Tackling corruption is the predominant theme of the electioneering, even for Ms Mubarak, who has faced such allegations herself.

Kuwait in $556 mln deal with Daewoo for 5 new tankers | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co (KOTC) has signed a $556 million contract with South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to build five new tankers, the state news agency KUNA reported on Monday.

The four double-hull very large crude carriers (VLCC) will be able to carry 2.2 million barrels of crude each while the fifth vessel is for oil products with a capacity of 800,000 barrels, it said.

Kuwait will take delivery of the tankers in early 2014.

What the Emaar scam is all about - The Times of India

On the orders of the AP High Court following a petition filed by Congress MLA P Shankar Rao, the CBI filed an FIR on August 17, 2011, against BP Acharya, directors of Emaar Properties, Dubai, Emaar Hills Township Pvt Ltd, Emaar-MGF Land Pvt Ltd, directors of Stylish Homes real Estate Pvt Ltd, unknown public servants of AP government, and others and charged them with criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust, showing forged documents as genuine under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The allegation is that BP Acharya and others named in the FIR entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat APIIC during 2005-2010, and towards that end, Emaar Properties, Dubai, and Emaar Hills Township Pvt Ltd entered into an agreement with Stylish Homes to sell villa plots at pre-determined prices which was less than the market value and without the knowledge or consent of the APIIC board. Further, the CBI alleged that Emaar Hills Township assigned the rights of development to Emaar-MGF without in-principle approval of APIIC.

Nasdaq Dubai to widen debt market role - Arab News

Nasdaq Dubai has become the first securities exchange to join the Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association (GBSA) in a move that will strengthen the development of the region's debt markets.

Nasdaq Dubai is the region's largest exchange for sukuk, with 15 listings with a total nominal value of $10.6 billion.

It has seven conventional bond listings with a total nominal value of $5.1 billion.

Saudi oil minister reassures on global supply -

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister, has insisted the kingdom will be able to make up for any disruptions to global oil supplies, amid mounting tensions over the European embargo on Iran’s oil exports.
His comments came as Iran ramped up its criticism of the Saudis, with a senior Iranian official describing the Saudi royal family as “tyrant rulers”. The remarks, made at an Islamic conference in Indonesia, prompted a walkout by the kingdom’s delegation.

Middle East scores highly in corruption -

Middle East business leaders are almost twice as likely as their global peers to say that they expect to be confronted by bribery and corruption, a survey shows.
In interviews with 126 regional executives, accountancy firm PwC found 39 per cent think they will face bribery and corruption this year, compared with the global average of 23 per cent.
Although a longstanding problem, fraud is emerging from the shadows as Middle Eastern governments take more serious action against bribery, in a bid to attract foreign capital and assuage domestic political concerns. Government efforts are in turn minimising the stigma involved in companies admitting the existence of internal fraud and seeking to prevent it.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Abu Dhabi Insurance House posts loss

Abu Dhabi-baased Insurance House which began operations last April, has reported a loss of Dh2.47 million ($672,438) for the period until December 31, 2011.

This translates to a marginal loss of 2 fils per share, said the Abu Dhabi-based start-up company

Insurance House said its total assets grew to Dh264 million, compared to Dh125.8 million on the date of commencement of business. Its gross written premiums too rose to over Dh15 million, it added.

Commenting on the results, Insurance House chairman Mohammed Alqubaisi said: “This is a remarkable achievement for a start-up company, which commenced operations less than 8 months ago.”

Gulf Arabs have plans against Hormuz closure: official | Reuters

Coastguards and naval forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) group of Arab countries have contingency plans for a possible attempt by Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a Kuwaiti maritime official said on Monday.

Five of the six GCC members - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait - rely on the world's most important energy shipping lane being open to export most of their oil or gas.

Tehran has threatened to close the narrow shipping lane between Oman, the only GCC member which does not depend on Hormuz, and Iran if Western sanctions aimed at starving Iran's disputed nuclear program of funds stop it from selling oil.

Future of small businesses in Oman | Oman Observer

It is more important than anything else to thank His Majesty for his great wisdom and clear vision towards this beautiful country. It is not difficult to modernise the country, but the difficult part is how that can be done non-stop and appropriately managed.
His Majesty has always proven that with his continuous efforts and hard work that he is a wise, benevolent and practical leader.
Now it should be the objective and duty of every Omani to make Oman a prosperous and developed nation.

MENA stock markets close - January 30, 2012

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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt dips ahead of political transition talks - Yahoo!

Egypt's main index inches lower as
investors hold off buying on speculation that the country's
ruling military council could hasten a handover of power to
The index, which has rallied since a largely peaceful
parliamentary election concluded this month, is down 0.2 percent
at 4,524 points.
Egypt's civilian advisory council is due to meet this week
with the military to assess the political situation after
protests demanding a swift end to military rule. The ruling
generals are pledging for now to stand aside by mid-year.
"There's an air of opportunity that seems to be washing over
the market during this period. One of the catalysts is the
expected proposal of the advisory council regarding a handover
of power ahead of the scheduled date," says Chamel Fahmy of
Pharos Securities.

CORRECTED-Dubai Investments posts 2011 profit drop - statement | Reuters

Dubai Investments said on Monday it made a net profit of 202.5 million dirhams ($55.13 million) in 2011, down from 805 million dirhams in the previous year.

The company made a loss of 61.4 million dirhams ($16.72 million) in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters calculation.

Exclusive: Qatar makes approach for Oger Telecom stake - sources | Reuters

Qatar, eager to boost its footprint in Turkey, has made a takeover approach to the majority owner of Oger Telecom, which owns a controlling stake in Turk Telecom (TTKOM.IS), sources familiar with the matter said.

Qatar has directly approached Saudi Oger - owned by the family of late Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri - for its approximately 55 percent stake, the sources said.

By acquiring the Oger Telecom stake, Qatar would also get Turk Telecom and its mobile unit Avea as well as South African operator Cell C in which Oger holds a 75 percent stake.

Dana Sukuk Yield Soars to 2-Week High on Payment Concern: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

The yield on Dana Gas PJSC (DANA)’s $1 billion Islamic bonds jumped to the highest level in two weeks as the United Arab Emirates energy company reported full-year results without providing an update on the sukuk repayment.
The rate on the 7.5 percent sukuk due in October climbed 79 basis points, or 0.79 of a percentage point, to 64.69 percent at 2:17 p.m. in Dubai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the highest since Jan. 16. The price dropped to 68.17 cents on the dollar.
“No one cares about the past,” Akos Kuti, Budapest-based head of research at Equilor Befektetesi Zrt., said in a telephone interview today. “Investors are focusing on the future and whether the company will have enough financial resources to cover the $1 billion payment. The figures for 2011 are not enough.”

Saudi Arabia to remain reliable supplier of crude oil to markets - Oil | Platts News Article & Story

Saudi Arabia's growing domestic energy consumption will have no impact on Saudi oil exports "now or in the future" and the kingdom will continue to be a reliable supplier of oil to world markets with capacity to handle future supply shortages, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said Monday.

"Warnings about what would happen to Saudi oil exports if current levels of domestic usage were left unchecked were taken as fact," Naimi told delegates to the Middle East Energy Conference at London's Chatham House.

"But we are not leaving domestic consumption unchecked. I would like to state for the record here in London, that the kingdom will continue to be a reliable, steady and dependable supplier of energy to the world. Saudi Arabia's domestic growth will not impact on exports now or in the future. Of this, I am very confident," Naimi said.

Saudi Bourse Opening to Boost Foreign Share of Stocks, RBS Says - Businessweek

Foreign investors’ share of trades on Saudi Arabia’s stock market, the Arab world’s biggest, may increase fivefold in two years after the bourse allows direct purchases, a banker at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said.

Overseas investors buy $400 million to $600 million of shares a month using swap agreements and that’s “2.5 percent to 3 percent of the total Saudi market,” Galen Moore, the bank’s head of equity delta 1 and financing, a unit that provides equity certificates representing shares, said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in 18 months or two years that figure is more like 10 to 15 percent of foreign investors in the market.”

Bahrain Unrest Leads Jewellery Shops to Shut, Gulf News Says - Bloomberg

Twenty-five of 90 shops in Bahrain’s Gold Souq have closed since the outbreak of unrest last year, Gulf Daily News said, citing Mohammed Sajid Shaikh, head of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s gold and pearl jewellery committee.
Many jewellery traders in Manama had been defaulting on rent and utility bills due to the drop in revenue, the paper cited Shaikh as saying.

UAE's Dana Gas reports Q4 profit jump, no details on sukuk | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Dana Gas, which faces a $1 billion sukuk maturity in October, reported sharply higher fourth-quarter and yearly profits on Monday, buoyed by an increase in production and higher oil prices.

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana, which has operations in the UAE, Egypt and Kurdistan, made quarterly profit of 147 million dirhams ($40 million), according to Reuters calculations. It had profit of 59 million dirhams in the year-ago period.

A Global Investment House analyst had forecast quarterly profit of 151 million dirhams, in a Reuters poll.

Collapse of deal takes shine off UDC's Pearl - The National

The Pearl in Qatar is a curious place, an artificial island marina where Ferrari and Rolls-Royce dealerships nestle among faux-Venetian canals, somewhat at odds with the rest of Doha.

But intriguing developments are taking place at United Development Company (UDC), the island's master developer, after a planned 1.6 billion Qatari rial investment by a government agency collapsed this week.

UDC's shares fell the most in two weeks after it was revealed that Qatar's General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority had withdrawn an offer to become the largest stakeholder in the company. UDC's shares fell 4.2 per cent to 24.7 rials each, having fallen as low as 8.2 per cent earlier in the day.

gulfnews : DFSA in deal with US audit regulator

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), recently entered into a Statement of Protocol with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in the US.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the DFSA by chief executive Paul M. Koster and the chairman of the PCAOB, James R. Doty, during a visit by Koster to Washington. DFSA Board Member Dr J. Andrew Spindler was also present at the signing.
"The ability of audit regulators to co-operate and share information is critical in the current environment when the need to protect investors and the public interest has never been more important. There are eight US regulated firms in the DIFC and the PCAOB already conducts audits jointly with the DFSA. This agreement facilitates the sharing of information," Koster said.

gulfnews : Strong core results, lower loan provisions help NBF rebound

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) reported Dh280.9 million net profits for 2011, up 64.4 per cent compared to Dh170.9 million in 2010.
During the past three years the bank made consistent recovery, putting behind the losses of 2008.
Vince Cook, chief exec-utive officer, attributes the turnaround to strong core business performance, effective asset and liability management and a reduction in loan loss provisions.

Elections boost outlook for Egypt - The National

Egypt passed another hurdle in its efforts to entice foreign investment yesterday as the country's citizens cast their ballots for the upper house of parliament.

A successful election process is viewed as vital in helping to turn around the Arab world's second biggest economy.

"The elections have been weighing on investors' minds and signs of an acceleration of the process are certainly a positive," said Liz Martins, a economist for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at HSBC. "It will make a big difference for investors once a government is in place."

Gulf to gain as Europe refiner fails - The National

Petroplus, Europe's largest independent refiner, is filing for insolvency, becoming the most prominent victim of weak refining margins and a freeze in credit markets.

The fate of the company, which is based in Switzerland, highlights the malaise of the continent's refining sector. Profits have been squeezed by a spike in Brent prices and increasing competition from outside a trend that should let Gulf players increase their market share in the euro zone.

Petroplus said on Tuesday negotiations with banks to unblock credit had failed, and on Friday insolvency proceedings were filed for the refiner and its units in Switzerland and Belgium.

Bullish Saudi bourse to pull up other Gulf markets |

Bullish sentiment from Saudi Arabia, coupled with positive noises out of Europe, should help Gulf markets extend gains Sunday, according to experts.
Stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.27 percent Sunday to close at 6.554.77 points.
Saudi Cement Co. rose to the highest level since July 2008 after Saudi Arabias largest producer of the building material by market value recommended paying a better-than-expected second-half cash dividend.

Saudi foreign assets rise to record |

Saudi Arabias foreign assets swelled by nearly SR352 billion in one year to an all time high of SR2.057 trillion ($548.5 billion) at the end of 2011 as a result of high oil prices and a sharp rise in the Gulf Kingdoms crude output, official data showed Sunday.
It was the biggest annual increase in the assets controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) since 2008, when they rocketed by a whopping SR513 billion mainly because of a 50 percent rise in crude prices that allowed the Kingdom to record its highest fiscal surplus of SR580 billion.
The increase last year was also more than double the assets growth of around SR135 billion through 2010, when they ended the year at SR1,705 billion compared with SR1,570 billion at the end of 2009.

Qatar National Bank Hopes to Finish Denizbank Purchase in 2012 - Bloomberg

Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNBK), the Persian Gulf country’s largest lender, “hopes” to complete the purchase of Turkey’s Denizbank AS (DENIZ) this year if “the price is right,” the chairman said.
“The negotiations are going on and to have a bank of that size, you need a lot of offers,” Yousef Hussain Kamal told reporters at the bank’s general assembly.
Qatar National is the last serious bidder for Denizbank after the withdrawal of HSBC Holdings Plc and OAO Sberbank, people familiar with the process said earlier this month.

Qatar to spend $25bn on petchem growth by 2020 - Arab News

Leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter Qatar plans to spend $25 billion on expanding its domestic petrochemical industry over the next decade, an official said.

Qatar News Agency cited Energy Minister Mohammed Al-Sada saying earlier this month the country planned to more than double its annual petrochemical production capacity from 9.2 million tons now to 23 million tons by 2020.

“In the hydrocarbon area, we are now focusing on petrochemicals,” Abdulrahman Al-Shaibi, managing director of the Qatar Financial Center Authority, said.

230-km Duqm gas pipeline plan | Oman Observer

Plans have been firmed up for a 230-km-long pipeline carrying natural gas from central Oman to the new Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the Wusta coast, a senior official of the SEZ Authority said here yesterday.
Yahya Khamis Juma al Zadjali, Head of Planning and Engineering at the Duqm SEZ Authority, said a corridor for the construction of the pipeline, linking the Saih Nihayda gasfield with Duqm, has already been delineated.
A tender for the engineering design of the project, which is being overseen by the state-owned Oman Gas Company (OGC), has now been floated, with the pipeline slated to come on stream by 2017, he stated.

gulfnews : What to do to re-energise the UAE markets?

Lack of liquidity, poor market sentiment, frustrated and unhappy local retail investors and almost non-existent foreign investor interest.
It is little wonder that in an environment such as this the question of what can be done to reinvigorate the UAE markets and bring back increased investor interest is being asked across the country.
Since the start of the year, average daily traded value on both Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange have averaged $16 million (Dh58.7 million). Last year DFM's traded value fell to $32 million from 2010's $74 million. Abu Dhabi also fell from $37 million in 2010 to $27 million last year. Their indices in recent days have hit new lows in years, severely denting the already bearish sentiment. Year to date, the DFM has declined, and ADX Index.

gulfnews : Iran sanctions may boost UAE oil revenues

The UAE's oil revenues could get a boost if the country can source enough oil to replace Iranian oil exports to Europe, energy experts have said.
The European Union (EU) plans to halt oil imports from Iran from July 1.
Benchmark Brent crude prices rose to around $111.50 (Dh409.53) a barrel on Friday before a vote in Iran's parliament — which was later postponed — to halt exports to the European Union as early as this week in retaliation for EU plans.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Qatar lender Masraf Al Rayan 2011 profit up 16 pct | Reuters

Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar's fourth-largest bank by market value, posted a 16.3 percent increase in full-year net profit, it said in a statement on Sunday.

The sharia-compliant bank made a net profit of 1.41 billion riyals ($384.45 million) in 2011, compared with 1.21 billion in the previous year.

Earnings profit for the fourth quarter was 396 million riyals, according to Reuters calculations, a 37 percent jump from the 289 million riyals it made in same period a year earlier.

Oman: Banks mulling to raise capital via rights issue | Al Bawaba

Omani banks are planning to raise their capital base to meet an anticipated asset growth on the back of better demand for credit. Two leading banks - BankMuscat and Bank Sohar - have already announced their plans, while others are expected to follow suit. BankMuscat said it is going to raise RO100 million through a rights offer sometime in the second quarter of this year.

The shares will be offered to the existing shareholders at a 20 percent discount to the market price. The rights issue is part of a capital planning process aimed at meeting the capital adequacy ratio in the medium term. The bank is anticipating a good growth in credit next year and it is getting ready for it. Several big ticket projects that were awarded towards the end of 2011 will reach implementation stage by early this year and the banks need additional capital to meet high demand for credit.

Religion and Politics in Bahrain: How the Failure of Gulf Air Explains the Failure of Bahrain

Among the more interesting headlines this week is the likely impending collapse of Gulf Air, Bahrain's national carrier and not so long ago the region's dominant airline. Though it has not yet been decided what to do with the struggling company--the Gulf News reports that a "parliamentary ad-hoc committee" is set to discuss the available options, though it's difficult to believe that the final decision would be taken there--even in the best case scenario its operations are certain to be downsized considerably unless Rupert Murdock randomly turns up in Manama looking to invest a billion or so dollars.

More notable than Gulf Air's failure per se--companies come and go all the time, of course--is the way this collapse mirrors the larger disintegration of Bahrain socially, politically, and increasingly economically. And it's not simply that both are on the road toward failure; rather, the causes themselves are eerily similar. Indeed, it is not too far off to say that the failure of Gulf Air explains the failure of Bahrain.

MENA stock markets close - January 29, 2012

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)

HC Securities Says It’s Advising on Three Middle East M&As of $300 Million - Bloomberg

HC Securities & Investment, a Cairo- based investment bank, is advising on three mergers and acquisitions in the Middle East as the region benefits from higher oil prices.
“We are working on three big M&As in the region that will exceed $300 million” each, HC Securities Chairman Hussein Choucri said by phone from Cairo Jan. 26. “We are very bullish on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, helped by higher oil prices.”
Average crude prices climbed 19 percent last year. Oil- exporting economies of the Middle East and North Africa may grow 4.9 percent in 2011, the International Monetary Fund said in September. The fund forecasts growth of about 19 percent in 2011 in Qatar, making it the world’s fastest-growing economy. In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah announced last year a $130 billion plan to build homes and create jobs, adding to a commitment in 2010 to spend $384 billion over five years.