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Sunday, 22 January 2012

UAE cabinet approves $1.3 billion Etihad Rail borrowing

The United Arab Emirates’ cabinet has approved plans for Etihad Rail, the developer of a railway network in the country, to borrow 4.7 billion dirhams ($1.28 billion) to finance part of the construction, Dubai's ruler said on Sunday.

“We also approved during the meeting for Etihad Rail to borrow 4.7 billion dirhams to finance their new line to Al Ruwais,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also UAE vice-president, posted on his official Twitter feed.

No other details were provided.

70% of Middle Eastern executives expect double-dip recession « ArabianMoney

Middle Eastern executives were the most pessimistic in the world in a new study by Alix Partners in association with the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Seventy per cent expect a double-dip recession compared to 63 per cent of all 500 global senior executives surveyed. This probably reflects the inherent good sense of readers of ArabianMoney.

Majority of finance professionals in the UAE are gloomy about economic prospects -

Finance professionals believe there will be a renewed global economic downturn in 2012 as the largest ever quarterly survey of professional accountants shows that international trade continued to dry up at the end of last year.

The latest survey of 3,775 professional accountants, including 1,414 senior executives, from around the world, is the result of the collaboration between two major professional bodies.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), is the global body for professional accountants and has run the Global Economic Conditions Survey since 2009.

MENA stock markets close - January 22, 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)

Saudi Arabia Allows Foreign Companies to List Shares as It Opens Up Market - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s market regulator amended rules to allow foreign issuers to list securities on the local bourse, according to a statement posted on the Capital Market Authority’s website.
“A foreign issuer whose securities are listed in another regulated exchange may apply for its securities to be registered and admitted to listing,” according to the statement. “The Authority may admit the securities to listing provided that, in the Authority’s opinion, the listing rules applicable in the foreign issuer’s jurisdiction of listing are at least equivalent to these rules.”

Foreign reserves: Time to consider new options - Arab News

Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has accrued significant budget surpluses resulting from increased oil production and higher oil prices. Some of those surpluses have been used as foreign reserves of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).

With new leadership at the helm of SAMA, it may be time to revisit the rather costly policy of maintaining high levels of reserves. We should explore options to manage those surpluses, now that they have grown way beyond the strict needs of monetary policy.

By the end of 2011, SAMA's foreign reserves exceeded SR2 trillion, or $533 billion, a historical record. Although by absolute value China and Japan have greater foreign reserves, SAMA's reserves are the highest as a percentage of GDP, exceeding 90 percent.

Orascom Telecom Soars as Trading Resumes After Two-Month Halt: Cairo Mover - Bloomberg

Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE) soared on investor bets the shares were undervalued after the company split into two units and as the stock resumed trading after a two-month halt.
The shares jumped 51 percent to 2.62 Egyptian pounds at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo, pushing Egypt’s benchmark index 1.3 percent higher. Orascom Telecom Holding’s global depositary receipts, which haven’t been split and represent five ordinary shares each, have climbed 46 percent to $3.26 since Nov. 23, the day before the Egyptian exchange suspended local trading.
After the split, Orascom Telecom Holding holds 58 percent of the original company’s assets, including those in Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE, the split-off entity, owns the Egyptian and North Korean assets. Orascom Telecom Media shares, which were priced at 1.25 pounds, tumbled 28 percent to 90 piasters.

GCC Economies Continue to Expand; Positive Fiscal Numbers Expected in 2012 - Gulf Jobs News

The nominal GDP of the Gulf region hit $1.34 trillion, backed by growth in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. This figure represents a year-on-year expansion of 7.4 percent last year, an increase of 4.8 percent (or $1.08 trillion) from 2010 according to a report from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.The economy of the GCC ranks 14th in the world, behind Australia.Most of the growth was a result of increased oil production in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and expansion in Qatar.

Kuwait's Global Investment, KAMCO cut nearly 100 jobs - sources | Reuters

Kuwait's Global Investment House has laid off 17 percent of its staff, or 60 employees, across the region as part of cost-cutting measures at the debt-laden firm, two sources said Sunday.

Most of the job cuts at Global, which is in talks to restructure $1.7 billion in debt, will be in Kuwait, one of the sources said. The company employed 350 people before the cuts.

Meanwhile, Kipco Asset Management Co (KAMCO) has cut 39 positions out of a 120-strong workforce, two sources said. The departures include the head of asset management at the Kuwaiti firm.

Main trend for UAE real estate in 2012 likely to be increased polarisation, says Jones Lang LaSalle -

Jones Lang LaSalle, the world's leading real estate investment and advisory firm has today released its ‘Top Trends for UAE Real Estate in 2012’.

This is the fifth year that Jones Lang LaSalle has published its keynote research anticipating the major trends affecting and shaping the UAE real estate sector.

Alan Robertson, CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle MENA said: “2011 was a difficult year for real estate investors with most sectors of the market moving in the favour of tenants, with lower prices and rentals.

Kuwait Hires HSBC to Help Privatization of Stock Exchange - Bloomberg

Kuwait hired HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) to help the privatization of the country’s stock exchange, the third-biggest bourse by market capitalization in the Persian Gulf.
HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd. signed an agreement with the Capital Markets Authority that will lead “to the privatization of the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KWSEIDX) and the establishment of a new company that will own and operate the stock market,” according to a statement distributed in Kuwait City today.
The government plans to sell 50 percent of the exchange to listed companies and the remainder to Kuwaitis in an initial public offering. Currently, Dubai’s stock exchange is the only publicly traded Gulf Arab stock market. Kuwait’s benchmark index declined 16 percent last year and was trading 0.1 percent higher at 5,802 at 10:56 a.m. in Kuwait City today.

Gulf Capital of Abu Dhabi Buys 82.7% Stake in Sakr Energy - Bloomberg

Gulf Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based private-equity company, bought an 82.7 percent stake in power generation services company Sakr Energy Solutions FZCO and said it expects to complete three more buyouts this year.
Gulf Capital acquired the stake without using debt and at 40 percent below the average valuation of global peers, Chief Executive Officer Karim El Solh said in a telephone interview today. The stake was acquired from Sakr Holding, which along with Dubai-based Sakr Energy’s current management, set up the company in July 2007 after the separation of the Middle Eastern assets of GE Energy Rentals, Gulf Capital said in a statement.
“This is a young and growing company in a fast-growing sector” and the deal adheres to Gulf Capital’s strategy of investing in defensive and non-cyclical businesses, El Solh said. He declined to provide a value for the acquisition.

Kuwait credit facilities maintain upward trend

During November-11, credit facilities extended by local banks maintained the upward trend for the sixth consecutive month to add around KWD 100 mn and stand at KWD 25.6 bn. During the first 11 months of 2011, credit facilities saw a marginal increase of 1.53 per cent of around KWD 387 mn, indicating the challenging business environment for enterprises along with banks’ conservative lending policies and the low appetite for credit. Currently, there is no clear sign of potential revival in credit in the short-term as demand for credit by the private sector is not picking up and the continuous delay in implementing the development plan is having an adverse impact on the credit market. The slowdown in credit growth is expected to continue through Q1-12 on the back of tight credit conditions, insolvency problems suffered by local firms, scarce investment opportunities in the local market along with a rise in default risk by distressed and highly indebted firms.

Oman acquires two more oil carriers from Korea, Japan - Times of Oman

Oman Shipping Company (OSC) has received two new Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), namely Habroot and the Liquefied Oil Gas Carrier Hiski Gas. With this acquisition, the number of carriers commercially operated and owned by OSC have increased to 33 .

OSC received Habroot, the 10th crude oil carrier during the ceremony held at the headquarters of Daewoo Company in Okbu city in South Korea.

Habroot was designed as per the latest global standards in the VLCC industry using the latest navigation and safety technologies and tools that enable the carrier to work in different climate conditions. It has also been provided with the ballast water treatment technology to comply with international conventions on the protection of the environment from the effects of transportation of ballast water and sediments around the world.

Kingdom Holding's profits fall to 187.7m riyals - The National

The Saudi company led by Prince Al Waleed bin Talal yesterday posted a 19.9 per cent drop in profit for the fourth quarter.

Kingdom Holding's net income fell to 187.8 million riyals (Dh183.9m) compared with 234.6m riyals for the same quarter in 2010. Income from operations for the fourth quarter fell to 168.4m riyals, a 36.4 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company attributed the results to a "decrease in performance from associates" and struggles in the Middle East hotel market, which has been hit by political turmoil in parts of the region, according to a statement filed on the Saudi bourse.

Qatar interested in host of investments

Qatar Holdings, the investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority of the Government of Qatar (which is Qatar's sovereign wealth fund) together with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, their real estate arm, are interested in a host of investments ranging from building villas in Kalpitiya, real estate development, to horticulture and highways, according to officials.

“They are especially interested in securing in the Kalpitiya Tourism Zone (KTZ) some large islands. They want to build five resorts in the North-West and the East coasts," an External Affairs Ministry official told the Sunday Times. He said that the preparatory team ahead of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Emir of Qatar’s visit last Sunday, had visited Kalpitiya, and also inspected lands in Colombo for real estate development and a mega mall complex.

"They are also interested in the Colombo Commercial Property (CCP) at Sir James Peiris Mawatha, and a host of sites in the South for hotel projects,” according to the official. This also includes building five hotels.

gulfnews : UAE firms race to enter Libya

UAE companies want to move fast to establish themselves in Libya before rivals from other Gulf states and the rest of the world pile into a country that has a lot of oil revenue.
The depressing tawdriness of four decades of neglect under former dictator Muammar Gaddafi's rule is all too obvious in Libya's capital Tripoli. The roads are deeply pot-holed, most buildings are shabby and heavy concrete slabs betray their 1970s architecture, while large piles of rubbish mount up all around them.
But the miserable state of the country is also a huge business opportunity. "It might look grim, but there is so much to do. They need so much stuff," said the general manager of a family company in Abu Dhabi. He had flown into Tripoli as part of a 100-strong delegation of leading UAE companies and government officials, which used the inaugural flight of Etihad Airways to Tripoli as a reason to check out the new market.

Arab stocks lacklustre on annual earnings, Iran-West tensions - Financial Services - Zawya

Arab stock markets ended the week with mixed results as investors appraised end-of-year earnings and eyed the fallout from rising tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear programme, analysts said on Friday according to dpa.

Market watchers also expect Middle East bourses to benefit from write-down deal on Greek debt and European Union efforts to contain the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

'I believe investors are monitoring annual earnings and dividend distributions to decide their portfolios for the coming period,'Nizar Taher, chief of brokerage at the Jordan Ahli Bank, told dpa.

Business : Dubai businesses upbeat on Q1 sales, profits

Business community in Dubai looks very optimistic for the first quarter of 2012 as majority of a recent survey respondent believes improvement in sales and more than 40 per cent expect higher profits.
Rising confidence on sales 
and profits is reported in most economic activities in Dubai for the first quarter 2012, according to the quarterly business confidence survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Consumer confidence is a major driver of sales in any economy in the world. The UAE claimed the second place spot for economic performance in a recent Forbes Middle East study, issued this month.

Dubai: Good to great - Zawya

Although Dubai has seen a pick up in its economy with tourists and hotel occupancy on the up and external trade much improved, it has not yet reflected on credit growth or trickled down to other parts of the economy.

In addition, Dubai's faces challenges to keep the momentum going given the adverse external conditions ranging from an EU debt crisis to the more direct danger of a U.S. escalation of conflict with Iran.

These external challenges are exacerbated by Dubai's sovereign and government related debt that needs to be rolled over or restructured.

Saudi balancing act - Saudi Arabia - Zawya

While publicly Saudi Arabia may not like Iran's warning that the Kingdom should not make up for lost Tehran oil production, privately the Kingdom won't mind as that keeps oil prices well above their budget target of USD90.

For now Saudi Arabia is pumping oil at historically high levels, as Iranian exports drop. U.K.‐based Oil Movements forecasts that sailings from the Middle East may rise 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) above December levels.

The Iran issue could keep crude prices near or above three figures, despite a warning by the International Energy Agency that global oil demand is set to be at its lowest level since 2009.

Austere Abu Dhabi - Money - Zawya

In the context of the region, the UAE and especially Abu Dhabi, was the proverbial safe haven along with Qatar.

While it was not a great year by any stretch of the imagination, the UAE looked good simply because others such as Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Syria were imploding.

And much of it was oil-driven. As the world worried about oil supplies, Abu Dhabi was among the few Opec members (along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) to raise production limits to keep the global markets well-supplied.