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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.

Egyptian Stocks Rise After Peaceful Protests - Bloomberg

Egyptian stocks advanced to the highest in more than four months after protests marking the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak were held peacefully.
Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE), the Egyptian mobile-phone company that was split into two units, rallied 6.9 percent. Commercial International Bank (COMI), the biggest publicly traded lender in Egypt, jumped to the highest in almost two months. The EGX30 Index (EGX30) surged 2.3 percent to 4,535.18, the highest since Sept. 13, at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo, bringing its gain for the year to 25 percent. The measure is still down 20 percent in the past 12 months.
“It is definitely a deserved rally given the market performance since the revolution, but at current levels we think investors might have gotten carried away,” said Wafik Dawood, director of institutional sales at Cairo-based Mega Investments Securities. “Some feared the weekend would turn violent as protesters insisted on a sit-in” and are now relieved, he said.

Saudi Arabia's cenbank, CMA to coordinate supervision | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's central bank will play a bigger role in the supervision of the country's financial sector as the kingdom weighs opening up its stock market to direct investments by foreigners.

The country's Capital Market Authority (CMA) said on Sunday that it had signed a cooperation agreement with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to coordinate supervision of the financial sector in order to improve its stability.

"Saudi Arabia's Central Bank signed a cooperation agreement with the Capital Market Authority yesterday which aims to set a framework for greater cooperation between the two and to improve supervision over the sectors that they oversee," it said.

Saudi growth to reach 6.8 per cent in 2012: Fin. Minister - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 6.8 per cent in 2012 due to the government’s expansionary fiscal stance, the Kingdom’s finance minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf told reporters at the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires at the Swiss resort of Davos, Al-Assaf said Saudi Arabia's economy is "isolated" from the current global economic turmoil and that the EU has not approached his country for financial help.

He added that the kingdom has a preference for oil prices to settle around $100 to the barrel.

Dubai’s Shares Rise to 3-Month High on Earnings, Global Outlook - Businessweek

Dubai’s shares advanced to the highest in three months on speculation quarterly earnings may beat expectations and as global markets rose after the U.S. Federal Reserve took steps to boost economic growth.

Emaar Properties PJSC, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rallied 1.5 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank complying with Shariah rules, jumped for a fifth day. Dubai’s DFM General Index increased 0.8 percent to 1,417.26, the highest intraday level since Oct. 30, at 11:41 a.m. in the emirate. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index climbed 1.7 percent, the most since Dec. 15.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, the United Arab Emirates third-biggest bank, said on Jan. 26 full-year profit rose to 3.03 billion dirhams ($825 million) from 381 million dirhams, beating analysts’ estimates. The shares rose 1 percent today. Dubai’s stocks are valued at about 8.5 times estimated earnings, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with 10.1 times for emerging market stocks and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index.

Dubai's Tamweel reports Q4 profit jump | Reuters

Tamweel, the Dubai-based sharia-compliant mortgage lender, made a fourth-quarter net profit of 31 million dirhams ($8.44 million), the company said in a statement on Sunday, up from 8 million dirhams in the same period a year earlier.

The firm, in which Dubai Islamic Bank is the majority shareholder, reported a full-year profit of 101.9 million dirhams versus 26 million dirhams in 2010.

UAE's MAF eyes 5-yr sukuk, profit rate at 6 pct or under - Yahoo!

Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim
plans to issue a five-year dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or
sukuk, with early profit rate indications at no more than 6
percent, a source with knowledge of the deal said on Sunday.
MAF is holding investor meetings in the United Arab Emirates
on Sunday, followed by London and Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
The mall developer, which is the sole franchise for
Carrefour in the Gulf, has picked Abu Dhabi Islamic
Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and
Standard Chartered to arrange its debut sukuk.

Moody's classifies Abu Dhabi’s long term ratings as Aa2 - Yahoo!

Moody's Investors Service's has detailed its summary credit opinion on Abu Dhabi, which includes certain regulatory disclosures regarding its ratings. Moody's clarified that this does not constitute any change in its ratings or rating rationale of Abu Dhabi.
Moody's current ratings are: Long Term Issuer (domestic and foreign currency) ratings of Aa2, Senior Unsecured (foreign currency) ratings of Aa2, Senior Unsecured MTN Program (foreign currency) ratings of (P)Aa2, Other Short Term (foreign currency) ratings of (P)P-1, and Short Term Issuer (domestic and foreign currency) ratings of P-1

Qatar wealth fund snaps up prime Canary Wharf property -

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to buy the Canary Wharf headquarters of Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, as it moves to grow its London real estate portfolio.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has placed 1 Cabot Square under offer for around £330m ($519m) in a sale-and-leaseback deal with the bank, the Telegraph reported on Sunday.
The wealth fund is Credit Suisse’s second biggest shareholder, with a six percent stake.

Sheikh Mohammed for strengthening UAE-China ties in trade, technology - Emirates 24/7

During a meeting with a Chinese media delegation from Beijing Youth Daily, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, emphasised on the importance of UAE-Chinese relations and the need to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of trade, science, technology and renewable energy.

Sheikh Mohammed has also touched on the pillars of his vision, his definition of success and his view of the youth and their active role in institutions, as well as the role of women in the development march.

gulfnews : Abraaj earns significant returns from Turkey sale

Abraaj Capital, the Middle East's biggest private equity firm with about $7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) in assets, said it made "very significant" returns from the sale of its 50 per cent stake in Turkey's largest hospital chain.
Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Malaysia's state investment company, bought a 75 per cent stake in Turkey's Acibadem Saglik Yatirimlari and affiliated companies from Dubai-based Abraaj and Turkey's Aydinlar family. The sale valued Acibadem Holding at about $1.68 billion for its entire Class A and Class B share capital, the companies said in December. The transaction was completed last week.

Responding to the threat of corruption - The National

Market rallies have yet to reach Gulf - The National

So far so good, but why not better? Investors are wondering whether tentative signs of recovery in the UAE's banking sector will signal accelerating strides for local stocks towards the more fleet-footed gains on global markets this week.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index advanced 5.8 per cent last week, the highest weekly gains for the index since March. The value of stocks traded on the emirate's exchange was double a week earlier as trading activity returned, putting the index on track for its best month since April last year.

Big lenders led much of the gains last week as they revealed their profits for last year. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and RAKBank reported strongly improved earnings last week, although Commercial Bank of Dubai's profits stagnated.

Spanair Halts Flights as Lifeline Runs Out - Bloomberg

Spanair SA, the Spanish airline involved in a crash that killed 154 people in 2008, ceased operations after Qatar Airways Ltd. (105701QD) halted takeover talks and the regional government refused to provide further funding.
The final flight landed at about 10 p.m. yesterday, the Barcelona-based carrier said in an e-mailed statement, citing “a lack of financial visibility for the coming months.” The closer may affect as many as 23,000 passengers this weekend and will see 120 flights canceled, spokeswoman Sandra Melendez said.
“We were in a very advanced process of finding a financial partner, but we were notified by the regional government that it couldn’t finance our operations anymore and that Qatar wouldn’t invest,” Chairman Ferran Soriano said on state-owned TVE. Closing operations was “the most prudent and safe” decision, he said. Closely held Spanair wouldn’t confirm a statement made by former owner SAS AB (SAS) that it had filed for bankruptcy.

Foreign bankers look to UAE firms - The National

Bankers working for local offices of US and European institutions are looking with fresh eyes at jobs at UAE-owned banks in an effort to avoid yet another round of salary and job cuts as the global financial crisis wears on.

Compared with five years ago, when hiring was in full swing, the mood could hardly be more different now, said Charles Francis, a partner at the financial services recruitment firm The GCC Partners.

"Now the music's stopped and a lot of people have left the region. International banks here are retrenching," Mr Francis said.

Abu Dhabi vision sharpens focus - The National

Last week's funding announcement from the Government spotlights the evolution and shifting priorities of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, the capital's blueprint for development.

Many of the flashier elements of the plan are still in the long-term pipeline, but the Executive Council has focused funds on social and infrastructure projects that address short-term needs for jobs and community support.

"The announcement underlines the emirate's commitment to important infrastructure expenditure, which will help to reassure investors and stimulate the wider economy," said Abubaker Seddiq Al Khouri, the managing director of Sorouh, an Abu Dhabi developer.

Builders cheer Abu Dhabi's development plan - The National

Construction companies are reacting with cautious optimism at news the Abu Dhabi Government is ready to restart billions of dollars worth of projects.

Dozens of projects in the pipeline were under review for most of last year, leaving builders in limbo. Many shifted personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where work was going forward.

"The indication of pushing ahead is a positive message," said Chris Gordon, the group general manager of Habtoor Leighton Group. "There is quite a backlog of work that would have been awarded in the second half of 2011."

Bahrain's Gulf Air faces having its wings clipped after review - The National

The government of Bahrain and its biggest sovereign wealth fund are expected to announce within days whether it will close down, sell off or undertake a wholesale restructuring of the struggling carrier Gulf Air.

"Gulf Air has faced challenges in recent times, in common with other carriers around the world and combinations of unprecedented regional and economic factors have made business increasingly difficult," Gulf Air said.

"Given this, Gulf Air, its shareholder Mumtalakat and the government, both through the cabinet and parliament, are all working towards a common goal - to secure Gulf Air's long-term sustainability and to actively address the airline's loss-making position. A range of strategic options are currently under consideration."