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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ruling extends Dubai’s free zone jurisdiction - FT.com

A landmark appeal ruling has extended the jurisdiction of Dubai’s financial centre to companies that operate outside the free zone’s boundaries within the emirate.
The ruling could see banks and service providers registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre dragged into its courts for alleged transgressions carried out by entities that have so far operated outside the legal jurisdiction of the DIFC, in “onshore” Dubai.

“The ruling clarifies who can use the DIFC courts to resolve disputes,” says Mark Beer, the registrar at the courts.

Projects boost Abu Dhabi property shares - FT.com

Property stocks in Abu Dhabi rallied this week after the emirate’s government approved a swath of construction projects.
The shares of Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s leading developer, rose 6 per cent after the announcement on Monday, while Sorouh Real Estate climbed 6.7 per cent.

The uplift came after the emirate’s executive council approved budgets for several flagship projects that had become shrouded in doubt, including the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.

TEXT-S&P affirms 'BBB/A-3' ratings on Bahrain; outlook negative | Reuters

-- In our view, the dynamics of Bahrain's internal political conflict remain unchanged, with entrenched polarization indicating prolonged tensions.

-- Although most sectors have not suffered materially from the unrest, we see growth coming only from the hydrocarbon sector and government spending, and we expect GDP per capita growth will remain stagnant for now.

-- We are therefore affirming our long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on the Kingdom of Bahrain at 'BBB/A-3'.

Abraaj May Invest in Egyptian, Saudi Arabian Companies - Bloomberg

Abraaj Capital Ltd., the Middle East’s biggest private-equity company, is in “advanced stages” of investing $20 million in small and medium-sized Egyptian companies and is also targeting investments in Saudi Arabia.
The firm will be “making two or potentially three investments” in Egypt soon in industries including “agribusiness and information technology,” Tom Speechley, a senior partner, said today in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Abraaj, based in Dubai, is also considering its first small and medium-enterprise “investment in Saudi Arabia, in the health-care and information-technology industry,” he said.
Speechley is chief executive officer of Abraaj’s Riyada Enterprise Development Fund, set up last year to raise $500 million to buy stakes in more than 100 small and medium-sized companies in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan over the next four years.

UPDATE 1-Commercial Bank of Qatar Q4 profit jumps 22 pct | Reuters

Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ), the Gulf state's third-largest lender by market value, reported a 22 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday on increased lending and deposits.

CBQ made a net profit of 376 million riyals ($103.3 million), up from 309 million riyals in the same period last year but trailed analysts' average forecasts of 444.1 million riyals. [ID: nLDE80503R]

The bank made a full-year net profit of 1.9 billion riyals, it said in a statement.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad buys into Air Seychelles | Reuters

Etihad Airways will acquire a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles, its second airline acquisition in the last five weeks as the rapidly growing Abu Dhabi-based carrier embarks on an ambitious expansion plan.

Etihad and the Seychelles government will each invest $20 million in the state-owned airline, Etihad said on Wednesday. The Abu Dhabi airline will also provide a $25 million loan to help Air Seychelles meet working capital requirements and support network development.

"The investment in the national carrier of Seychelles is a natural next step towards growing our operations in the increasingly important leisure markets of the Indian Ocean and Africa," Etihad's Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in the statement.

Dubai ruler's firm vows to repay $500M in debt

An investment company owned by Dubai's ruler says it will repay $500 million in bonds next week, distancing itself from other debt-laden firms in the Gulf emirate.
Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group confirmed Wednesday it will repay the bonds on Feb. 1, using funds from its internal cash flow.
The firm is a division of a company known as Dubai Holding that is controlled by Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Qatar gains on institutional buying, UAE indices edge up - Equities - ArabianBusiness.com

Qatar's index rebounded slightly from Tuesday's four-month closing low, as institutional investors took the opportunity to re-enter the market.
The bourse gained 0.3 percent in early trading at 8,409 points.
"We hit a strong resistance level at 8380 and today we are seeing more buying from domestic corporates and institutions," a Qatar-based trader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Gulf Air says Bahrain mulling turnaround options | Reuters

Gulf Air, Bahrain's loss-making national carrier, said on Wednesday that all options were being considered to make it profitable after a newspaper reported that the airline may be dissolved or sold.

"At this stage a range of strategic options are being considered," a spokeswoman for Gulf Air said in an emailed response to questions on the future of the carrier.

She said that Gulf Air, its shareholder Mumtalakat -- Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund -- and the government were all working towards addressing the airline's loss-making position, but declined to go into specifics.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-SABIC weighs on Saudi bourse - Yahoo!

The Saudi index trades down 0.2 percent
on the final trading day of the week, reflecting the flat oil
price.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp slips 0.3 percent,
while Advanced Petrochemical, which on Tuesday
confirmed a 56 percent rise in net profit for 2011 versus 2010,
gains 0.7 percent.
A note from Rasmala on SABIC points to a weaker start to the
year for the bellwether company, with the investment bank
revising its target price to 113 riyals ($30.13) from 115
riyals.

Former Nakheel CEO verdict pushed to Feb 6 | ConstructionWeekOnline.com

A verdict on the breach of contract case brought by former Nakheel CEO Chris O’Donnell against his previous employers is to be decided the week commencing 6 February, Dubai International Financial courts has heard.

O’Donnell is suing ‘The World’ creators at the Dubai World Tribunal for $3m in two overdue long-term incentive payments, alongside sums related to damages, currency fluctuations and interest.

A legal costs hearing was heard at the DIFC courts today between the two warring parties to thrash out the financial details of the Australian’s case, who it was revealed at tribunal earned AED400,000 ($110,000) per month during his five year spell at the helm of Nakheel.

Bahrain May Sell Gulf Air or Reduce Its Size, Daily News Reports - Bloomberg

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s state-run airline, may be sold, dissolved, reduced in size or receive government support to continue operating, Gulf Daily News reported, citing confidential documents it obtained.
Selling the airline and building a new carrier is seen as the likeliest scenario and would cost the government 460 billion Bahraini dinars ($1.2 billion), while cutting its size would cost as much as 600 million dinars, according to the newspaper. A committee formed this week is studying options, the Daily News said, adding that a Gulf Air spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

gulfnews : Air Arabia flies 6% more passengers

Air Arabia on Tuesday said it carried some 4.7 million passengers in 2011, a 6 per cent increase compared to the previous year, on the back of its aggressive network expansion strategy.
Last year saw the Sharjah-based budget carrier adding six new routes to its network including services to Moscow and Yekaterinburg in Russia; Kharkiv and Donetsk in Ukraine and Gassim and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the airline also launched non-stop services from its Alexandria hub to Milan in Italy, Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.
According to Adel Ali, the airline's Group CEO, in 2011 Air Arabia served its 70th destination across the globe from its three operating hubs.

gulfnews : National Bank of Fujairah's net profit surges 64.4%

National Bank of Fujairah reported Dh280.9 million net profit for 2011, up 64.4 per cent from Dh170.9 million in 2010.
The bank attributed the profit growth to strong core business performance, effective asset and liability management and reduction in loan loss provisions.
Loan loss provisions for the full year were Dh113.3 million compared to Dh205 million in 2010. Operating income grew by 14.1 per cent from Dh568 million in 2010 to Dh648.3 million in 2011.

gulfnews : National Bank of Fujairah's net profit surges 64.4%

National Bank of Fujairah reported Dh280.9 million net profit for 2011, up 64.4 per cent from Dh170.9 million in 2010.
The bank attributed the profit growth to strong core business performance, effective asset and liability management and reduction in loan loss provisions.
Loan loss provisions for the full year were Dh113.3 million compared to Dh205 million in 2010. Operating income grew by 14.1 per cent from Dh568 million in 2010 to Dh648.3 million in 2011.

Reliance pulls plug on Etisalat venture - The National

An Indian mobile-phone mast operator has cut off access to a joint venture controlled by Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecommunications operator, in a dispute over allegedly unpaid bills.

Reliance Communications claims Etisalat DB, a joint venture between the UAE operator Etisalat and Dynamix Balwas group, has not paid its bills to use Reliance's mobile mast infrastructure.

As a result Reliance said it had decided to cut off access to the mobile masts.

Sanctions spur surge of Iranians buying luxury homes in Dubai - The National

There has been a sharp rise in the number of wealthy Iranians buying luxury homes in Dubai recently as increasing international sanctions bite in their home country.

"We have probably done more deals with Iranian clients in the last six months than we've ever done," said Myles Bush, the managing director of Powerhouse Properties, which specialises in high-end homes.

His company has handled four sales to Iranians in Emirates Hill and two on Palm Jumeirah in recent weeks, he said.

Capital property deals top Dh42.9bn - The National

More than Dh42.9 billion ($11.6bn) in property transactions were registered in the capital last year, the Abu Dhabi Municipality said.

Of that total, Dh3.7bn involved land sales and Dh39.1bn concerned mortgage transactions, it said. It did not offer historical comparisons. Registration dates do not necessarily reflect when the property was actually sold.

Municipality officials could not be reached for comment.

Tunisia sees best Arab market performance - The National

A year after the popular uprising in Tunisia sparked the Arab Spring, its stock market has turned in the best performance of any Arab bourse in the last six months.

Having fallen by 30 per cent in the wake of the unrest at the end of 2010, Tunisian stocks have staged a dramatic recovery, fuelled by resilient corporate earnings growth in the second half of last year, growing trade with Libya and forecasts for robust economic growth this year.

"If we work together, we could achieve strong growth in the country despite the economic downturn facing most countries in the EU," said Mourad ben Chaabane, a board member at the bourse and the chief executive of MAC, one of the biggest investment banks in the country.

Qatar Holding Negotiates Buying a Stake in Qatar Automotive - Bloomberg

Qatar Holding LLC, an investment unit of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is in negotiations to purchase a stake in Qatar Automotive Gateway, Qatar Automotive Chairman Ghanim Bin Saad Al Saad told reporters in the Qatari capital Doha.
Qatar Automotive was formed last year and plans to start an automotive parts operation in the Persian Gulf emirate, according to the company’s website.

Capitalism saw off USSR, now it needs to change or die - The National

One of Dubai's most eminent bankers recently put it to me like this: "Capitalism has won the war, now it has to show it can manage the peace."

The war he referred to was the ideological confrontation between the capitalist system and the socialist or communist alternatives that raged for most of the 20th century.

Capitalism "won" when the Soviet Union, the biggest proponent of the communist idea, collapsed in 1991.

Bahrain's economy ‘back on the path of recovery’ - Arab News

Bahrain's economy is recovering from a sudden slowdown in the first half of 2011. The economy slowly recovered, growing 1.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of the year and 2.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, according to Standard Chartered Bank forecast.

"Owing to the oil-driven economy, we expect real GDP growth to accelerate to 3.5 percent in 2012 from 1.9 percent in 2011. Growth in 2012 will be driven by strong oil production and a highly favorable base effect. Bahrain's growth story is driven by hydrocarbons. The nonoil economy was still witnessing contraction in the third quarter of 2011," Standard Chartered report added.

The report, which covers all GCC states, is based on the insights of Gerard Lyons, chief economist and group head of global research and Marios Maratheftis, head of research, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Americas, Standard Chartered.

Saudi Oil 30-Year High Amid Gulf Tensions | SUSRIS Blog

Saudi Arabia’s monthly crude oil production jumped 7.3% in November topping 10.04 million barrels per day, a 30-year high mark, according to data compiled by JODI.

The output numbers “came with an increase in exports and a decrease in domestic consumption,” according to Bloomberg Television’s Lara Setrakian who added, “it reflects OPEC as a whole.” JODI figures showed overall OPEC numbers on the increase. Setrakian noted Saudi Arabia, “is able and generally willing to make up market shortfalls,” citing the Libyan crisis and the potential for loss of Iranian product from the market.