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Monday, 23 January 2012

Mubadala to move out of property industry -

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi government investment company, is winding down its property development business as real estate prices continue to fall in the emirate.

In unusually candid comments, Waleed al-Muhairi, Mubadala’s chief operating officer, said the company had “taken some gambles and I think been proven wrong in some of the businesses that we’ve done”, making a specific reference to the fund’s property activities.

EXCLUSIVE-Dubai's Zabeel Investments' $1.6 bln debt talks stall-sources | Reuters

Debt restructuring talks at Zabeel Investments, owned by the crown prince of Dubai, have ground to a halt with multiple loans in limbo and few assets available for sale, leaving banks facing steep haircuts, five people familiar with the matter said.

Zabeel, which has hospitality, property and private equity assets, owes approximately 6 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) to mostly local banks. Despite nearly 18 months of talks, little progress has been made, four sources involved in the process told Reuters.

Despite its high-profile ownership, Zabeel -- which received two loans in 2009 from the Dubai Financial Support Fund (DFSF), including one to help meet a coupon payment -- has not been allocated more funds by the DFSF nor has it formally requested government help.

UAE’s Microsol Interested in Buying Solon, Tagesspiegel Reports - Bloomberg

Microsol International, a solar cell maker in Fujairah, UAE, is interested in buying Germany’s Solon SE (SOO1), which has sought creditor protection, Tagesspiegel reported today, citing an interview with Microsol General Manager Chakradhar Vummethala.
Vummethala told the newspaper that Microsol had a “big interest” in Solon. He did not tell the newspaper how much Microsol would offer for Solon.

Dubai’s Limitless said to reach deal on $1.2bn debt - Banking & Finance -

Limitless, a property developer controlled by Dubai World, and its creditors reached an initial agreement on terms to restructure a $1.2bn loan, three bankers familiar with the talks said.
The company has been given a seventh extension on the loan until the end of April as the restructuring plan is concluded, the bankers said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private. A formal agreement may be signed early February, they said.
The Islamic loan was originally due to mature in March 2010.

Al Hilal confirms $500m sukuk mandate

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank has confirmed the appointment of three banks to manage its debut $500 million Islamic bond issue, which will be issued later this year, its chief executive said on Monday.

"We have started the preparatory work for issuing our first sukuk for which we are still at an early stage. We hope that this year we can tap the market," CEO Mohamed Berro said in an interview on the sidelines of an Islamic finance and banking conference in the capital of Oman.

Asked about which banks have been appointed for the issue, he said: "It is the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank."

MENA stock markets close - January 23, 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)

Qatar- Islamic Holding Group Announces 2011 Results

Saudi Arabia Foreign Shares Listing Rules May Boost Gulf Markets - Businessweek

Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow foreign companies to list securities in the Arab world’s biggest bourse may help the region’s equity markets lure investors and boost trading volumes.

Securities on another exchange with comparable listing rules to those in Saudi Arabia can apply for a dual listing in the kingdom, according to new regulations posted on the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority’s website yesterday. The country currently doesn’t permit foreigners to directly own shares in its listed companies. The government allowed citizens of neighboring Persian Gulf states to trade in shares in 2007.

“Some United Arab Emirates issuers could list in Saudi Arabia and attract decent liquidity and valuations,” said Dubai-based Ibrahim Masood, who helps manage about $400 million at Mashreqbank PSC. “We keep talking about a regional exchange, Saudi could be it.”


Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

I spent most of this past week in New York, and to my slight surprise, there appears to be some shift in the mood about the state of life. Whether this is because it is the start of the year, asset prices have been perkier, or there is some recognition that the US economy and other parts of the world are not as bleak as the second half of 2010 is not so clear. It was certainly quite nice to hear and, in my judgment, is more reflective of what is going on.

The US improvements.

Saudi: no cash from emerging economies until given more clout - Yahoo!

Big emerging economies such as China, India and Saudi Arabia will not aid the West in its financial crisis unless they are given more influence in running the global economy, a senior figure from Saudi Arabia's ruling establishment said on Monday.
"The financial crisis and great recession were born in the West, developed in the West yet hit hard throughout the world," former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said in a speech to a business conference in Riyadh.
He said this showed the need to give emerging economies more representation and more authority in global bodies such as the Group of 20 nations, a forum of the world's major industrialized countries, and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which discusses regulation of banks and financial markets.

Majid Al Futtaim earnings rise 18% to over AED2.7 billion - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa,‎ released today its trading results for the full year ended 31 December 2011, announcing the best performance of its business operations since the group was founded in 1992.

The company’s revenues reached AED 18.7 billion, a 10% increase on 2010, at the same time its EBITDA from recurring operations grew by 18% year-on-year to reach over AED 2.7 billion.

Majid Al Futtaim Holding continues to maintain a strong balance sheet with total assets valued at over AED 35 billion and a net debt of around AED 7.5 billion. An investment-grade rating of BBB was assigned by both Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, which is the highest credit rating assigned to any privately held corporate in the Middle East.

UPDATE 1-Omani Islamic banks to float by June - c.banker | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

Oman's two Islamic banks will float 40 percent of their shares by June, the sultanate's central bank Executive President Hamood Sangour al-Zadjali said on Monday.

"Bank Nizwa will issue an initial public offering of 40 percent of its capital of 150 million rials ($389.61 million), while Al Izz International Bank will issue 40 percent of its 100 million rials capital by June this year," Zadjali told reporters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference.

Both banks, which are currently under formation, were awarded sharia-compliant banking licences last year - Bank Nizwa in May and Al Izz in August - after the sultanate reversed its position as the only Gulf Arab state which did not allow banks to specifically offer products and services complying with Islamic law.

Suwaidi Says U.A.E. Inflation Will Be About 2% This Year - Bloomberg

United Arab Emirates central bank Governor Sultan bin Nasser al-Suwaidi expects an inflation rate of about 2 percent this year.
“The sources of inflation in the U.A.E. are under control,” he told reporters today in Muscat, Oman. “Real- estate prices and rents are stable, so there’s no domestic reason for it to rise.”
Annual consumer-price inflation was 0.2 percent in 2011 after hitting a high last year of 1.7 percent in June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Inflation in the U.A.E. will probably remain moderate because rents, which account for 40 percent of the inflation basket, are declining, the International Monetary Fund said last May.

Dubai Shares Rise, Led by Arabtec, on Speculation Drop Overdone - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index headed for the highest close in almost three weeks on speculation declines in the past month prompted by concerns over Europe’s debt crisis were overdone given the outlook for growth.

Arabtec Holding Co., the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, gained 2.9 percent. Dubai Financial Market PJSC rose for a second day. The DFM General Index increased 0.5 percent to 1,341.45 at 10:57 a.m. in the emirate, poised for the highest close since Jan. 5. The measure lost 3.4 percent in the past month through Jan. 19. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index rose 0.4 percent. Dubai’s shares slumped to the lowest since May 2004 on Jan. 16, while Abu Dhabi’s fell to the lowest in three years.

“The recent decline was overdone and last week we reached new lows,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “We are in a gray zone. We know that valuations are good, but we suffer from a lack of visibility on the local and international levels.”

Saudi’s oil target and long dated futures -

Saudi Arabia sent a crystal clear message last week to the oil market: $100 a barrel is the new normal.
For some, it is a green light to bid up forward-dated crude oil futures.

In an interview with CNN, Ali Naimi, the powerful Saudi oil minister, said: “Our wish and hope is we can stabilise this oil price and keep it at a level around $100.”

Oman Fin Min says may raise govt spending in 2012 | Reuters

Oman may raise state expenditures this year if needed but the government does not plan to issue any sovereign bonds, Finance Minister Darwish al-Balushi said on Monday.

"If there is any need arising during the year, then of course we will (spend more)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference.

"As far as a sovereign bond is concerned, we do not have any plan for tapping the market, whether it is Islamic or conventional," he said.

Emirates NBD sees bad loans rise as Dubai lending surges - Banking & Finance -

Emirates NBD, the UAE bank that doubled lending to the Dubai government in the past four years, may report climbing loan-loss charges hurt its fourth-quarter earnings.
Loans to the Gulf emirate’s government and its departments comprised 32 percent of Emirates NBD’s total lending at the end of September, compared with 16 percent at the close of 2007, bank data show. The lender, which is 56 percent owned by the state, will report a 58 percent plunge in fourth-quarter income to AED172m ($47m), according to the median of four estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Emirates NBD expects bad loans will rise until 2013 as it contends with exposure to debt restructuring by state-owned companies including Dubai World, which shook global markets in 2009 with its request to delay payments on $25bn in loans. The emirate accumulated $129.3bn in debt as it sought to build a trade, tourism and financial services hub, estimates of Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit show.

Switch in strategy pays off for RAKBank - The National

RAKBank reaped double-digit earnings growth last year after switching focus from consumer lending to small business loans, dodging a bigger impact from regulation of retail banking.

The bank, based in Ras Al Khaimah, reported full-year net profit of Dh1.2 billion (US$326.7 million) for last year, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year.

The bank performed strongly despite difficult trading conditions, said Graham Honeybill, its chief executive.

Privatising plans from Mubadala - The National

Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, is planning to privatise more assets.

Property is one of the key areas under scrutiny, Waleed Al Muhairi, its chief operating officer, told a leadership conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Mubadala is one of the largest land-holders in the capital.

Saudi Arabia Moves Closer to Opening Bourse as Foreign Securities Can List - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia will allow overseas companies to list securities on the Arab world’s biggest bourse, fueling speculation the country may open to foreign investors.
“It’s a good step, a step closer to further opening the market to foreign investors,” said Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co. “At this stage, current investors will trade stocks listed by foreign issuers, and in later stages, foreign investors too will be trading these shares.”
Securities that are listed on another exchange with at “least equivalent” rules to those in Saudi Arabia can apply for a dual listing in the kingdom, the rules posted on the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority’s website yesterday said. The country doesn’t permit foreigners to directly own shares in its listed companies. The government allowed citizens of neighboring Gulf states to buy and sell local shares in 2007. The nation’s benchmark Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) has a market value of about 1.28 trillion riyals ($341 billion).

Qatar Islamic banking directive to set example for other markets  - Arab News

The deadline of Dec. 31, 2011, as per the directive issued by the Central Bank of Qatar (CBQ) in January 2011 requiring the country's conventional banks which have opened Islamic banking windows to close them down, has passed almost unnoticed.

Despite the initial outcry at the time of the announcement of the directive stressing that it was too arbitrary and the grace period was too tight, there has been no upheaval of the Islamic finance industry in the emirate. Some Islamic bankers are now arguing that the move was required to stem the alleged rampant co-mingling of conventional and Islamic funds at some of the Islamic banking windows, and that the Qatari Islamic banking sector has been successfully re-aligned and consolidated.

Kuwait's $1-billion India Portfolio: Five local fund houses to manage - The Economic Times

Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, has selected five domestic mutual fund houses to manage its India equity portfolio.

Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund, DSP Blackrock, ICICI Prudential, Canara Robeco Mutual Fund and Franklin Templeton will manage over $1 billion of KIA's money in India.

The fund houses have been allocated funds in the range of $200-300 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Almost 90% of the corpus will be invested in equities.

Confidence takes a knock among UAE executives - The National

Business confidence is waning among senior executives at UAE companies, although optimism is still much higher in the Gulf than in other regions of the world.

A new survey shows more than half of top-level managers in the UAE - 53 per cent - say their view of current business conditions has improved compared with where they were a year ago.

That figure dropped from 57 per cent when last measured in May, and contrasts with 69 per cent in Qatar and a full 80 per cent in Saudi Arabia who see improved conditions now.

gulfnews : Dubai exports up sharply in 2011

Dubai's exports and re-exports rose 14.5 per cent last year over 2010, according to new results published by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The results indicate that the value of exports and re-exports by Dubai Chamber members in 2011 was Dh246 billion, 14.5 per cent higher than the 2010 figures.
The increase reflects the importance of trade in the economic growth of Dubai, the Chamber said.

Bahrain’s Instrata Capital acquires stake in Sembcorp Salalah IWPP | Oman Observer

Bahrain-based Instrata Capital, a regulated asset management firm specialising in infrastructure investments, has concluded the acquisition of a stake in Sembcorp Salalah Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP) for the Bunyah GCC Infrastructure Fund (Bunyah) from Oman Investment Corporation (OIC).
The Sembcorp Salalah IWPP is a 445 Megawatt, 15 Million Imperial Gallons per Day (MIGD) combined cycle gas turbine power and water desalination plant located in Salalah. It is currently under construction and is forecast to be completed by April 2012.
The project has been developed on a Build, Own and Operate (BOO) model, and will play an important part in meeting demand in one of Oman's key growth regions. The entire output of the project is contracted under a long-term power and water purchase agreement with Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).