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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

DIFC splits its property and finance operations - The National

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced a far-reaching restructuring designed to enhance its role as the region's premier investment hub.

The DIFC Authority, the government-run body that controls the centre, is to split its two core functions - financial markets and property management - into separate units and has appointed key executives to head up the two arms.

Jeff Singer, an American financier who has been head of the Nasdaq Dubai stock exchange for the past four years, is to be the chief executive of the DIFC Authority, replacing Abdulla Al Awar, and will be responsible for business development and legislation.

£100 million dividend for Harrods' Qatari owners - The National

Cash tills are ringing for the Qatari owners of Harrods, who paid themselves a £100.5 million (Dh607.27m) dividend after a "record year" at the luxury London department store.

Harrods reported pre-tax profits of £125.3m for the year ending on January 28, a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.

Qatar Holding, owned by one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, bought Harrods in 2010 for about £1.5 billion from the Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed.

Topaz chief's annus horribilis ends at last - The National

This time last year, Stephen Thomas was looking forward to a break and most observers would agree he deserved it.

He had been parachuted in as the chief executive of Topaz Energy and Marine, an oil services group company owned by Oman's Renaissance Services conglomerate of which he was also chief executive, amid a triple whammy of corporate trouble.

Topaz, headquartered in Dubai, had called off an initial public offering in London, it had lost senior executives in circumstances some in the market found worrying and it had just uncovered a multimillion-dollar fraud in an overseas subsidiary.

Qatar deals leave Barclays squirming with embarrassment - The National

Think back to the summer of 2008. What were you doing?

Enjoying the Olympic Games in Beijing, perhaps? Or watching with concern as military conflict ignited between Russia and Georgia in the Caucasus? Or perhaps pondering the on-rushing meltdown in the global financial system?

We know now what the board of Barclays bank was doing.

A law unto themselves - Morning Star

If you were of a kindly and gentle disposition it would be easy to feel sorry for the the right load of merchant bankers - and yes, I am a cockney - at embattled Barclays.

But since the words kindly and gentle are the last things that spring to mind with bankers, let's settle for feelings of vindictive glee that a pack of piratical profiteering fraudsters have been busted once again.

It's not that long ago that Barclays was being hailed as the superheroes of the banking world for not taking a bailout from the taxpayer at the onset of the collapse of finance capitalism.

UAE's NBAD eyes potential Egypt units buy from French banks -CEO | Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi would be keen to buy the Egyptian operations of French banks, its chief executive said, as Europeans look to divest businesses in the north African country due to pressures on capital from the euro zone crisis.

However, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender by market value would only be interested if any deals met strict internal guidelines on acquisitions. The bank insists that assets are priced attractively, that it is able to secure a controlling stake and the operations are a strategic fit to its existing business.

"Yes, we would look at, opportunistically, using our capital to acquire, subject to the tests set out before," Michael Tomalin, chief executive of NBAD, told a July 30 analysts' call, according to a recording released by the bank on Tuesday.

US announces new Iran sanctions | Al Akhbar English

US President Barack Obama imposed new economic sanctions Tuesday targeting Iran's oil export firms and a pair of Chinese and Iraqi banks accused of doing business with them.

In a statement released by the White House, Obama said the new measures underlined the United States' determination to force Tehran "to meet its international obligations" in nuclear negotiations.

Saudi Arabia: still worried about youth employment | beyondbrics

Halwani Bros, a Saudi food producer, seems to think it has a recipe for labour market transformation – beyond the dense, sesame halawa dessert, for which it is famous. The 60-year-old, Riyadh-listed company has set a minimum wage of SAR3,000 ($800) per month for Saudi employees, according to a report in Arab News.

The move may only benefit 80 nationals employed at food production plants across the kingdom, as well as 50 more that the company plans to hire – but the decision could have far-reaching ramifications for other Saudis.

Persuading nationals to take worse paid, less prestigious, and generally tougher jobs in the private sector is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the Arab world’s largest economy, as well as its Gulf neighbours.

MENA stock markets close - July 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)

U.A.E. Shares Advance on Property Company Earnings; Qatar Gains - Businessweek

United Arab Emirates shares gained, sending Dubai’s benchmark stock index to the highest in more than a week, after earnings at the Persian Gulf country’s real estate companies beat estimates.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) rose for a second day after the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper said quarterly profit more than doubled. In Abu Dhabi, Sorouh Real Estate (SOROUH) PJSC rallied 1.9 percent after net income climbed 34 percent. The DFM General Index increased 0.3 percent to 1,542.64, the highest close since July 18. The measure rallied 6.3 percent in July, the first monthly gain since February. Abu Dhabi’s gauge rose 0.5 percent and Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) advanced 0.3 percent.

Gains are being driven “by second-quarter earnings, which is the local catalyst, and then you have that combined with some improvement in the global markets,” said Chahir Hosni, equity sales manager at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai.

'al izz islamic bank' unveils corporate identity -

Aabar Investments, one of the key strategic investment vehicles of Abu Dhabi, will be a cornerstone investor in Oman’s al izz islamic bank SAOG (under formation)  which has unveiled its corporate identity today.

The unveiling of the corporate identity marks the establishment of an ambitious financial group which is being built through the close cooperation of a number of lead investors from the Gulf states and which will be focused on offering Shari’ah compliant financial solutions to Oman’s corporate and retail banking customers.

This is also a significant milestone in the banking industry in Oman, as al izz islamic bank will be one of the country’s first dedicated Islamic banks.

FAL Oil creditors expected to reject $700 mln debt deal -sources - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Creditors of Middle East trader FAL Oil are expected to reject a proposal to restructure about $700 million of its debt along with additional loans to keep operations going, two sources familiar with the deal said.
Financial institutions involved in the discussions of the debt restructuring are not keen to inject fresh funding into
the oil trader, which at one point was one of the biggest privately run Middle East trading firms.
"Although nothing has officially come in writing we have been informed that the banks, in principle, are rejecting the proposal," a source told Reuters.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-SABIC leads Saudi to 4-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) leads Saudi Arabia's index to a four-week closing high, although bluechips are mixed and stocks usually preferred for speculative trade dominate, which may show the rally is ebbing.
SABIC climbs 1.4 percent, a day after the petrochemicals producer said a rubber plant project with ExxonMobil would boost its bottom line from 2015.
Saudi's two top banks also rise, with Al-Rajhi Bank up 0.3 percent and Samba Financial Group adding 1.1 percent.

Dubai's DIFC Authority to split into two entities - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA), which governs the emirate's financial freezone, said on Tuesday it will be split into two separate entities with new senior management.
The organization will be divided into DIFC Authority, the business development and legislation arm, and DIFC Properties which will manage the centre's real estate portfolio.
Jeff Singer, the former chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, will head DIFC Authority and Nabil Ramadhan was named acting chief executive of the properties arm. In a separate statement, Nasdaq Dubai said it had appointed Hamed Ali as chief operating officer after Singer's resignation.

Dubai Islamic Bank Q2 profit jumps 27 pct, tops expectations - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest sharia-compliant lender in the emirate, said on Tuesday its second-quarter net profit surged 27 percent as provisions dropped.
The bank said it earned profit of 310 million dirhams ($84.4 million) in the three months to June 30, up from the 245 million dirhams for the corresponding period last year.
Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast net profit of 246 million dirhams and 267 million dirhams.

Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank Q2 net profit up 9.7 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank posted a 9.7-percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday due to higher net interest income.
The lender, jointly owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, made 459.6 million dirhams ($125.1 million) in the three months to June 30, compared with 418.9 million dirhams in 2011, the lender said in a statement.
Impairments for the first half of 2012 stood at 236.6 million dirhams, versus 220.9 million dirhams in the corresponding period last year.

Sorouh Second-Quarter Profit Climbs 34% as Costs Decline - Bloomberg

Sorouh Real Estate PJSC (SOROUH), the Abu Dhabi developer that’s in merger talks with Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), was set for the highest close in seven weeks after it said profit climbed 34 percent as costs dropped.
The shares rallied as much as 3.9 percent to 1.07 dirhams in Abu Dhabi and traded at 1.05 dirhams as of 1:11 p.m., poised for the highest close since June 11. Net income in the second quarter rose to 148.2 million dirhams ($40 million) from 110 million dirhams a year earlier, Sorouh said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of three analysts was for a profit of 52 million dirhams, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“The quality of earnings continues to improve through the diversification and strengthening of revenue streams,” Managing Director Abubaker Al Khouri said in the statement.

Qatar Telecom Second-Quarter Drops 11% on Forex Fluctuations - Bloomberg

Qatar Telecom QSC, the nation’s biggest phone company, said second-quarter profit dropped 11 percent because of “adverse foreign exchange movement in Indonesia and Algeria.”
Net income fell to 641 million riyals ($176 million) from 722 million riyals a year earlier, the Doha-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. EFG-Hermes Holding SAE estimated a profit of 713 million riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 4.6 percent to 8.36 billion riyals in the quarter.
Qatar Telecom, which owns stakes in phone companies from Tunisia to Indonesia, is seeking to expand outside its home market, where it faces competition from Vodafone Qatar. (VFQS) The Doha-based company reached agreements in May to double its holding in Asiacell, a mobile operator in Iraq, for $1.47 billion. It teamed up with Princesse Holding of Tunisia in 2010 to buy Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE)’s 50 percent stake in Telecom Tunisie for $1.2 billion.

Saudi Arabia to surpass oil output record: report

Analysts predict that Saudi Arabia will surpass its record oil output this year, despite pressure from other oil exporting countries to cut back and help increase world oil prices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The Saudi high output comes to offset a decline from Iran which is under international sanctions.

“Our data shows that Saudi Arabia is actively going out there trying to take up Iran's market share,” an analyst said.

Bahrain firm turns to ringgit sukuk markets

Another Gulf borrower is turning to diversify its funding sources to the ringgit sukuk market. Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding is believed to be planning roadshows in Kuala Lumpur via joint leads CIMB and Standard Chartered.

It is setting up a RM3bil Murabahah programme, which was rated AA2 by RAM. An imminent deal is not expected as basis swaps are not favourable to Gulf borrowers at the moment.

The company is owned by oil-rich Bahrain, set up as its investment arm in strategic non-oil and gas commercial assets. It owns some of Bahrain’s largest companies including Bahrain Real Estate Co and Gulf Air.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Busiest six months ever for Dubai International Airport - The National

Surging passenger flows to and from Saudi Arabia, the US, Qatar and Australia helped lift Dubai International Airport to its busiest first half year in history.

A total of 27.9 million passengers passed through its three terminals between January and June, 13.7 per cent more than the previous year period, according to the traffic report released by airport operator Dubai Airports yesterday.

"Our record first half had some interesting story lines, highlighted by the launch of 12 new routes, the addition of four new airlines and a surge in traffic on routes to Saudi Arabia, USA, Qatar and Australia," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

Highest court rejects special petition lodged by British businessman to drop bounced cheque case |

Dubai’s highest court has rejected a special petition, lodged by British businessman Safi Qurashi, in which he sought to have his Dh7 million bounced cheque case dropped.
The Dubai Cassation Court rejected Qurashi’s petition after Presiding Judge Mohammad Nabeel Riyadh decided that the defendant issued a cheque worth Dh7,191,175 that bounced due to lack of funds.
In September 2010, the Cassation Court confirmed a three-year jail term against Qurashi for issuing the aforementioned cheque.

Enoc looks to expand within the GCC |

Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), the Dubai government-owned oil and gas company, is looking to expand its service station network into other GCC countries, according to a top Enoc official.
“Enoc is studying to take the petroleum-retailing industry to GCC countries, to a new dimension,” Burhan Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Retail at Enoc, told Gulf News.
While a final decision on when or where Enoc will go has not yet been made, he said: “Enoc sites will be similar to the Enoc stations in the UAE, reflecting the same high standards of quality and service that has made Enoc one of the most respected and well-known brands in the Emirates today.” “It will be significant to share our expertise by reaching out to a wider audience in the GCC. It is a potential investment according to our expansion plan,” he pointed out.
Business enhancement
Al Hashemi said that the company earmarked most of its annual budget to go into enhancing Enoc’s current businesses.

Dubai Group repayment guarantees unlikely despite creditor demands -

Despite creditor demands, Dubai Group is unlikely to provide any guarantees to lenders as it continues efforts to restructure around USD 10bn in debt, two creditors told dealReporter.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Standard Bank and Commerzbank, which withdrew from formal negotiations with Dubai Group in June, were seeking an option to exit the restructuring after five years and a related “liquidity guarantee”, one creditor said. The exit option has since been included in the term sheet without any guarantees, he said.
RBS wanted a guarantee to ensure payment in case there was a problem with asset sales linked to the exit option, said the same creditor. He believed the bank remained in daily contact with Dubai Group.

Turkey’s credit rating upgrade: holy grail or poisoned chalice? | beyondbrics

What’s an emerging market got to do to convince the rating agencies that they are investment grade? In Turkey’s case, quite a lot.

As Bloomberg reports today, of 19 emerging market bonds it has tracked over the past month,Turkey’s performed the best of all. Yields on benchmark two year lira-notes fell 69 basis points to 7.78 per cent, adding to falls of 323bp so far this year. This involved foreign investors taking their holdings of Turkish debt to a record $50.6bn.

While Turkey might be the best performing EM debt market, not to mention the largest eastern European debt market, it is far from being considered the safest. Despite the appetite among investors, Turkey remains the second highest yielding of the emerging markets surveyed by Bloomberg, with Brazil keeping it off the foot of the table.

Asset manager, bourse launch Nigeria Islamic index | Reuters

Islamic wealth manager Lotus Capital and Nigeria's bourse (NSE) on Monday launched a debut index of Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed companies that comply with centuries-old Islamic investment principles.

The NSE Lotus Islamic index, which covers 15 equities with combined market capitalisation of around 2.87 billion naira, excludes banks, companies with high levels of debt or leverage and other stocks that conflict with Islamic principles.

The stock exchange said the new index is designed to attract Sharia/ethical investors to Nigeria's fledgling stock market, particularly those from the Middle East.

UAE oil group boss leaves amid debt woes -

Mohamed Osman, the long-serving general manager of the United Arab Emirates’ family-owned oil group Fal Oil, has left the company at a time when gaining creditor confidence is crucial to sealing a debt restructuring deal.
Mr Osman, who has worked with the company for decades, had his employment contract terminated earlier this month, people familiar with the matter say. Fal, one of the largest independent oil traders in the Middle East, is expected to announce the new appointment imminently.
Mr Osman could not be reached for comment.

MGM vs. Wynn - MGM's Poor Bets - MGM, WYNN - Foolish Blogging Network

Warren Buffett always says that outstanding management is one of his requirements to invest in any company. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the differences in how two prominent casino companies, MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) are managed, and some of the key decisions made by the CEOs which are reflected in today’s stock prices.  I believe that a strong case can be made that one is extremely well managed, while the other has dice rolling buffoons at its helm.

MGM stock’s soared with the housing market, reaching over $91 a share in October, 2007.  Since then, the stock has plunged over 90%, sitting just above $9.00 a share today.  Wynn Resorts fell from over $164 a share, to $93.00 today during the same period.  That’s not to say that WYNN has done well, but during that time it is paid out some large special dividends to shareholders, while MGM has paid out zero, and Wynn hasn’t fallen nearly as much.

UPDATE 2-UAE telco du to focus on costs after Q2 profit jump | Reuters

The UAE's No. 2 telecom operator du plans to focus on curbing costs rather than chasing market share, its chief executive said on Monday, after it reported a 57-percent jump in quarterly profit.

The operator, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, said its share of mobile subscribers fell slightly to 46.5 percent.

Renewed competition from Etisalat, which posted a jump in second quarter profit last week after declines in eight of the preceding nine quarters, has slowed du's rise.

Qatar raises 2011/12 budget surplus estimate to $15 bln - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar raised its budget surplus estimate notably to 54.3 billion riyals ($15 billion) for the fiscal year ended in March as revenue was higher than previously expected, preliminary data showed on Monday.
The 2011/12 fiscal surplus of the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas was equivalent to 8.6 percent of gross domestic product, according to the economy and finance ministry calculation, up from the original 22.5 billion-riyal plan.
The surplus, the highest since at least 2005/06, is well up from 44.5 billion riyals reported earlier in July in a
prospectus for the country's Islamic bond.

MIDEAST DEBT-UAE interbank rates at 8-year lows, seen falling more - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A sudden tumble of interbank lending rates to multi-year lows in the United Arab Emirates is narrowing the gap between UAE rates and those in major related markets, and the trend may have further to run, bankers say.
They cite several reasons, including the global move toward lower rates and loose liquidity in the UAE market. Either way, it appears to be good news for the UAE central bank, which has repeatedly urged banks to lower their quotes in recent years.
After moving sideways from last August to the start of July, the three-month Emirates interbank offered rate was
fixed at 1.375 percent on Monday. That was a tad higher than Saturday's 1.369 percent, which was the lowest level since May 2004, but down from 1.526 percent at the start of July.

Dubai Billionaire Staying Away From European Banks - Business News - CNBC

The chairman of one of Dubai’s best-known family-owned conglomerates is not considering investing in European banks again following a disappointing run as a stakeholder of Barclays.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, who is estimated to be worth several billion dollars, told CNBC’s “Access: Middle East” that “when you burn your finger once, you don't want to burn it again”. After buying a roughly two percent stake when the London-based lender scrambled for funds in 2008, Al Habtoor says he sold his shares in December 2009 at a minor loss.

“The principle and the idea to buy Barclays [BARC-LN  172.75    5.75  (+3.44%)]…we based it on their record, they are dividends you are receiving every year,” he explained.

Bank of Sharjah H1 profit down 18 per cent |

The bank of Sharjah today reported a net profit of Dh125 million for the first half of 2012, down 18 per cent compared to Dh152 million reported in the corresponding period last year.
The bank capitalised on its core activity and increased net interest income by five per cent. This was achieved by reducing the cost of funding, mainly on customer deposits, despite the increase in deposits. Also, net fees and commissions income increased by seven per cent.
The bank’s non-interest income declined by 31 per cent – despite the seven per cent improvement in the commission and fees income during the period which was reflected in the overall five per cent slump in total income, the bank said in a statement.

Qatar's Masraf al Rayan launches brokerage | Reuters

Masraf al Rayan, Qatar's fourth-largest bank by market value, has launched a subsidiary brokerage firm to buy and sell sharia-compliant financial instruments for all types of investors, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Al Rayan Financial Brokerage Co (ARB) will offer trading services in sharia-compliant financial instruments in Qatar, and has obtained necessary licences from the Qatar Financial Markets Authority and Qatar Exchange, the statement said.

Although a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Masraf al Rayan, ARB has its own structure, building, employees and board of directors to comply with regulatory requirements to separate the two entities, the statement added.

MENA stock markets close - July 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-Property stocks lift UAE mkts; Emaar rallies on Q2 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Strong quarterly earnings from Dubai's developers help lift the emirate's index to a 12-day closing high and Emaar Properties rallies to its highest since April 2011.
Shares in heavyweight Emaar jump 4 percent after its second-quarter profits vastly exceeded estimates and more than doubled year-on-year.
The company's chairman predicted a rebound in the property sector in the emirate, saying the first half of the year reflects the growing strength of Dubai's economy. Trading on Emaar accounts for more than a quarter of all
shares traded on the index.

Iran seeking to increase Turkish oil deals | Al Akhbar English

Iran is expected to try to revive demand for its oil in Turkey, its biggest European customer, this week when, according to Turkish energy ministry officials, its oil minister is to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara.

Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi is expected to meet Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz on Thursday to discuss supplying oil and gas to one of Europe's fastest growing economies, the officials said.

Tehran has struggled to find new buyers for its barrels after US and European Union sanctions succeeded in reducing Iran's global oil exports.

Dubai developer Nakheel's H1 net profit up 36.5 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Nakheel Properties, the indebted state-owned developer, said its first-half profits jumped 36 percent on Monday, buoyed by property handovers on several projects.
Nakheel, whose extravagant developments at the height of Dubai's property boom contributed to the emirate's debt woes, has been slowly recovering from the crippling real estate collapse.
The developer said net profit was 767 million dirhams ($208.82 million) in the first six months of the year, up from 562 million dirhams in the year-ago period.

Etihad, Aer Lingus sign code-share, discussing further cooperation | Reuters

Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have signed a code-share agreement and are discussing further cooperation, including joint procurement, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said in a statement on Monday.

Etihad bought a 3-percent stake in the Irish carrier in May as a precursor to a commercial tie-up to help Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier gain more European routes.

"Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus (AERL.I) continue to discuss additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement," Etihad said on Monday.

Abu Dhabi property prices to drop further this year - The National

Property prices in Abu Dhabi are set to fall further as 11,000 apartments and villas are completed before the end of the year.

In its latest quarterly report on the housing market, Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), a global property broker, said Abu Dhabi's real estate sector is becoming increasingly competitive, having seen "unsustainable" prices in the last five years.

"Rents are expected to decrease further in line with future additions to supply," said the report. "Significant increases in supply across all sectors during a time of relatively weak demand and tight economic conditions are causing rents to correct from the unsustainable highs of the boom years."

Dubai Group Lenders Said to Seek Early Exit Option - Bloomberg

Dubai Group LLC’s creditors are seeking an option to be repaid early as the investment company controlled by Dubai’s ruler reorganizes $6 billion of bank debt, according to three people familiar with the talks.
Under the early exit proposal for the 10-year refinancing, banks can choose to be repaid the market value of their loans after five years, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Banks opting for the exit clause are also seeking a guarantee that Dubai Group will have the cash to repay in case it can’t raise funds by selling assets, some of which are considered indivisible, one of the people said. A Dubai Group spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified because of company policy, declined to comment.

Union Properties Posts First-Half Profit as It Cuts Debt - Bloomberg

Union Properties PJSC (UPP), a Dubai-based developer, posted a first-half profit as it reduces debt and sees improvement in the emirate’s real-estate market.
The profit was 106 million dirhams for the six months ended June 30 after a loss of 439 million dirhams a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Dubai stock market today. Revenue declined to 1 billion dirhams from 2.25 billion dirhams last year when the company gained from the sale of Index Tower and Limestone House in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
“With the real-estate sector on the path of recovery, together with improved economic indicators in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, Union Properties is currently evaluating various mid-sized development projects offering shorter turnaround times and reasonable profitability and incremental cash inflows,” according to the statement.

#UAE solution on bank loans

THE issue of loans is not complicated. It is made to look complicated by vested interests for political reasons but unfortunately it is one of the reasons why the sufferings of 25 percent of the Kuwaitis have increased and multiplied.
This problem can be solved easily if we apply the United Arab Emirates (UAE) method and lessen the burden from the shoulders of citizens, free the economy from the shackles of uncertainty and shut the mouths of those who use this issue to trade in politics particularly during election time.
Long ago the United Arab Emirates set the ball rolling to prevent such a phenomenon when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan (we pray to God to have mercy on him) devised a policy and six months ago the initiative was adopted by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan.
About 20 years ago the late wise ruler of the UAE Sheikh Zayed met a farmer who was taking care of palm trees in the garden of his palace. Sheikh Zayed was informed that the man had been imprisoned for failing to pay back his bank loan.

UPDATE 1-UAE telco du Q2 profit rises 57 pct | Reuters

Du, the United Arab Emirates' second biggest telecommunications operator, reported a 57 percent rise in second-quarter profit on Monday, which was at the low end of analysts' estimates as subscriber growth for fixed-line services lagged that for mobile.

The firm, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, made a net profit of 325.5 million dirhams ($88.6 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 207.2 million dirhams in the year-earlier period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast du would make a quarterly profit of 332 million dirhams.

Kuwait tops in ‘hiding assets’

Kuwait occupies the top position among the countries where wealthy people hide their assets in tax exempted nations worldwide, reports Al-Kuwaitiya daily.

As per recent report by a British research firm, the world’s richest people hide most of their assets in countries that are free from taxation and the rate of hidden wealth ranges between $21 trillion and $32 trillion, which is more than the overall gross domestic products of Japan and United States of America valued at $ 21 trillion.

A British website recently revealed the list of names of the countries in question and the amount of wealth hidden in other nations, placing China on top of the list. The report stated that China has squirreled away $ 189 trillion from its borders, followed by Russia with $ 798 billion, then Korea and Brazil. Kuwait occupies the fifth position with $ 496 billion, while Saudi Arabia is positioned 10th with $ 308 billion of hidden assets.

Dubai Stocks Advance on Emaar, Du Earnings as Qatar Declines - Businessweek

Dubai stocks were set for the highest close in more than a week after profit at Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (DU) rose, boosting confidence in the emirate’s economic recovery.

Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rallied 1.2 percent after the company said quarterly profit more than doubled, beating estimates. Emirates Integrated, the second- biggest United Arab Emirates phone company known as Du, advanced to the highest intraday level since April after second-quarter net income climbed 57 percent. The DFM General Index advanced 0.5 percent to 1,516.68 at 11:26 a.m. in the emirate, headed for the highest close since July 19. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) was unchanged while Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) slipped 0.1 percent.

“Investors are positive on growth in Emaar and Du’s profits,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. “The recent figures solidify that Dubai’s recovery as a whole is real and is expected to continue its upward movement in the future.”

Invest A.D. launches UCITS funds to meet investor appetite for Africa and Arabian Gulf - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

Abu Dhabi asset manager Invest A.D. has launched two UCITS-compliant funds, which invest in Africa and the Arabian Gulf, to meet growing global demand for high-quality investment products to tap frontier market growth.

The Invest A.D. Emerging Africa Fund and the Invest A.D. GCC Focus Fund are registered in Luxembourg, and the asset manager is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Invest A.D.’s portfolio managers, who have built track records for the predecessor portfolios as Cayman Islands-registered vehicles, manage the funds from the Dubai International Financial Centre, travelling regularly to countries they invest in.

Brent rises toward $107, stimulus measures eyed | Reuters

Brent crude rose toward $107 per barrel on Monday, stretching gains into a fifth consecutive day on hopes the United States and Europe will this week announce new measures to shore up their fragile economies, boosting the outlook for oil demand.

Slowing growth in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, has triggered expectations of stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Next on investor radars is Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls data.

"If unemployment starts to worsen, you can be sure that the FOMC are going to step in and inject more stimulus into the economy," said Tony Nunan, a Tokyo-based risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

Sukuk’s global reach | DAWN.COM

Islamic finance industry has shown an impressive growth of 15-20 per cent per annum with assets under management valued at $1 trillion. The industry is projected to reach $2 trillion in the next three years.

Islamic finance has become a global phenomenon with a number of non-Muslim countries also showing keen interest in this area. United Kingdom intends to make London the hub of Islamic finance with plans to issue sovereign sukuk and amend tax laws on Islamic finance.

Hong Kong is working towards becoming the Islamic finance gateway to China. Governments in a number of other countries including France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Korea are also taking measures to promote Islamic finance.

There's something funny about this tale of two markets - The National

Something funny is happening in the UAE. No, I don't mean the latest Laughter Factory event or the rising tribe of home-grown stand up comics.

Look at the correlation between debt and equity markets. From 2008 to last year, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) fell and then languished with low trading and no initial public offerings.

Brokers went bust and many investors lost their garments. At the same time, the bond yields hit all-time highs, thanks to the property-driven financial crisis.

Two-speed recovery for UAE banks - The National

These are good times for UAE bankers as quarterly earnings hold up at the country's major lenders, despite the euro-zone crisis, the stuttering recovery in the United States and the slowdown of economic growth in China.

"Overall, the UAE banks have reported better than expected results [during the second quarter]," says Naresh Bilandani, a banking analyst at JPMorgan in Dubai.

Higher revenues, in particular fees from corporate customers, are the main driver. But dig below the positive top line and differences emerge.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Financial brain drain for #Bahrain - The National

Bahrain's reputation as a banking hub, built on decades of solid governance, hangs in the balance.

The demonstrations last year led many firms to relocate offices and staff elsewhere in the region with many bankers heading to Dubai.

Fitch Ratings said in a report released last week that with the events of the Arab Spring fading from view, Bahrain's financial sector remained "relatively unaffected" but it would not take much for that to change.

ADMA achieves highest oil production rate |

Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) announced that it has currently achieved the highest oil production rate in its history.
In the company’s annual review for 2011, the company stated that despite many challenges facing the completion of key projects, it was able to achieve the targeted production rate by maintaining the level of production for 2011. It was also able to meet the gas requirements of Adgas.
ADMA revealed in the review that it’s planning to carry out development operations in Lower Zakum oil field, increasing its production from 200,000 barrels per day to 425,000, and increasing Umm Al Shaif field’s production from 100,000 bpd to 275,000 bpd, making the combined production rate of both fields 700,000 bpd by 2015.

Templeton targeting Muslim wealth |

Franklin Templeton Investments is starting its first Islamic funds, following companies including BNP Paribas SA in tailoring products to win business in the Muslim world.
The world’s third-largest asset-management company will start three sukuk and stock investment vehicles in Luxembourg in the next few months, Sandeep Singh, its Malaysian country head, said in a July 24 interview in Kuala Lumpur. San Mateo, California-based Franklin Templeton, which had $707 billion of assets under management as of June 30, according to its corporate factsheet, already oversees around $700 million of Islamic assets in Malaysia, without having its own Shariah- compliant funds.
Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. and Eastspring Investments, an Asian arm of London-based Prudential Plc, are also diversifying into an industry whose holdings are projected by the Islamic Financial Services Board to almost triple to $2.8 trillion by 2015. Worldwide sales of sukuk climbed 77 per cent to $28.3 billion in 2012 as governments from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia increased spending to support economic growth.

UAE contractors upbeat about real estate market |

The value of completed construction projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to jump 71 per cent to $79.8 billion (Dh293.11 billion) this year with the commercial property and hotel sectors leading the way, according to a new study.
In 2011, completed construction projects in the GCC were valued at $46.5 billion, according to new research by Ventures ME, commissioned by dmg events, the organising team behind the Index International Design Exhibition.
Commercial real estate projects are set to double in value to $15.3 billion this year from $7.7 billion in 2011, with four of the six GCC countries ranking among the top 20 retail destinations, according to the Global Retail Development Index.

Banks in #UAE can't seize client accounts |

The UAE Central Bank has held that banks operating in the UAE have no right to seize the money of their clients unless they had defaulted on payment of three successive loan instalments. The regulator urged those subjected to freezing of their funds by banks for unjustifiable reasons to file complaints with it.
The statement came in reaction to a complaint by an expatriate who was dismissed from his job at a local department and found that his account had been frozen by his bank. Requesting anonymity, the aggrieved person called on the Central Bank to look into the measures initiated by the bank and to revise them for the general benefit of depositors.
S.S. said he was allowed by his employer to look for another job and given the assurance that his visa would be valid until he had found another job. He said his bank dashed all his hopes when it emptied his funds and imposed a freeze on his account.

British airports under threat from rise of Gulf hubs, says Etihad boss | Business | The Guardian

Lack of long-term planning will damage British aviation as the Gulf hubs grow and passengers bypass Heathrow for long-haul trips, the boss of one of the world's fastest-growing airlines has warned.

James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad, the Abu Dhabi flag carrier, said decisions about allocating fleets and routes for the next 30 years are being taken now and airlines were unsure about Britain's position in their plans. The expansion of Heathrow, while officially ruled out by current government policy, has been thrown back on the agenda by industry lobbying.

Hogan said he would like greater access to Heathrow but that the airport was "maxed out" and his airline was not interested in off peak slots that would not command traffic. "London plc needs a competitive gateway – and a long-term decision needs to be taken about where that is. As we plan our gateway 30 years out, London needs to do the same."

UPDATE 2-Dubai's Emaar predicts mkt recovery as profit jumps | Reuters

Emaar Properties, builder of the world's tallest tower, said its quarterly profit more than doubled on Sunday as a one-off impairment cost was not repeated and income from malls and hotels grew.

Dubai's largest developer, which saw profits rise for the third straight quarter, has shifted its focus in recent years away from the emirate's battered property market and toward its more profitable retail and hospitality business.

But the company's chairman predicted a rebound in the property sector in the emirate, where it also owns what is billed as the world's largest shopping mall.

MENA stock markets close - July 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)