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Monday, 30 January 2012

Abu Dhabi Insurance House posts loss

Abu Dhabi-baased Insurance House which began operations last April, has reported a loss of Dh2.47 million ($672,438) for the period until December 31, 2011.

This translates to a marginal loss of 2 fils per share, said the Abu Dhabi-based start-up company

Insurance House said its total assets grew to Dh264 million, compared to Dh125.8 million on the date of commencement of business. Its gross written premiums too rose to over Dh15 million, it added.

Commenting on the results, Insurance House chairman Mohammed Alqubaisi said: “This is a remarkable achievement for a start-up company, which commenced operations less than 8 months ago.”

Gulf Arabs have plans against Hormuz closure: official | Reuters

Coastguards and naval forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) group of Arab countries have contingency plans for a possible attempt by Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a Kuwaiti maritime official said on Monday.

Five of the six GCC members - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait - rely on the world's most important energy shipping lane being open to export most of their oil or gas.

Tehran has threatened to close the narrow shipping lane between Oman, the only GCC member which does not depend on Hormuz, and Iran if Western sanctions aimed at starving Iran's disputed nuclear program of funds stop it from selling oil.

Future of small businesses in Oman | Oman Observer

It is more important than anything else to thank His Majesty for his great wisdom and clear vision towards this beautiful country. It is not difficult to modernise the country, but the difficult part is how that can be done non-stop and appropriately managed.
His Majesty has always proven that with his continuous efforts and hard work that he is a wise, benevolent and practical leader.
Now it should be the objective and duty of every Omani to make Oman a prosperous and developed nation.

MENA stock markets close - January 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-Egypt dips ahead of political transition talks - Yahoo!

Egypt's main index inches lower as
investors hold off buying on speculation that the country's
ruling military council could hasten a handover of power to
The index, which has rallied since a largely peaceful
parliamentary election concluded this month, is down 0.2 percent
at 4,524 points.
Egypt's civilian advisory council is due to meet this week
with the military to assess the political situation after
protests demanding a swift end to military rule. The ruling
generals are pledging for now to stand aside by mid-year.
"There's an air of opportunity that seems to be washing over
the market during this period. One of the catalysts is the
expected proposal of the advisory council regarding a handover
of power ahead of the scheduled date," says Chamel Fahmy of
Pharos Securities.

CORRECTED-Dubai Investments posts 2011 profit drop - statement | Reuters

Dubai Investments said on Monday it made a net profit of 202.5 million dirhams ($55.13 million) in 2011, down from 805 million dirhams in the previous year.

The company made a loss of 61.4 million dirhams ($16.72 million) in the fourth quarter, according to Reuters calculation.

Exclusive: Qatar makes approach for Oger Telecom stake - sources | Reuters

Qatar, eager to boost its footprint in Turkey, has made a takeover approach to the majority owner of Oger Telecom, which owns a controlling stake in Turk Telecom (TTKOM.IS), sources familiar with the matter said.

Qatar has directly approached Saudi Oger - owned by the family of late Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri - for its approximately 55 percent stake, the sources said.

By acquiring the Oger Telecom stake, Qatar would also get Turk Telecom and its mobile unit Avea as well as South African operator Cell C in which Oger holds a 75 percent stake.

Dana Sukuk Yield Soars to 2-Week High on Payment Concern: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

The yield on Dana Gas PJSC (DANA)’s $1 billion Islamic bonds jumped to the highest level in two weeks as the United Arab Emirates energy company reported full-year results without providing an update on the sukuk repayment.
The rate on the 7.5 percent sukuk due in October climbed 79 basis points, or 0.79 of a percentage point, to 64.69 percent at 2:17 p.m. in Dubai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the highest since Jan. 16. The price dropped to 68.17 cents on the dollar.
“No one cares about the past,” Akos Kuti, Budapest-based head of research at Equilor Befektetesi Zrt., said in a telephone interview today. “Investors are focusing on the future and whether the company will have enough financial resources to cover the $1 billion payment. The figures for 2011 are not enough.”

Saudi Arabia to remain reliable supplier of crude oil to markets - Oil | Platts News Article & Story

Saudi Arabia's growing domestic energy consumption will have no impact on Saudi oil exports "now or in the future" and the kingdom will continue to be a reliable supplier of oil to world markets with capacity to handle future supply shortages, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said Monday.

"Warnings about what would happen to Saudi oil exports if current levels of domestic usage were left unchecked were taken as fact," Naimi told delegates to the Middle East Energy Conference at London's Chatham House.

"But we are not leaving domestic consumption unchecked. I would like to state for the record here in London, that the kingdom will continue to be a reliable, steady and dependable supplier of energy to the world. Saudi Arabia's domestic growth will not impact on exports now or in the future. Of this, I am very confident," Naimi said.

Saudi Bourse Opening to Boost Foreign Share of Stocks, RBS Says - Businessweek

Foreign investors’ share of trades on Saudi Arabia’s stock market, the Arab world’s biggest, may increase fivefold in two years after the bourse allows direct purchases, a banker at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said.

Overseas investors buy $400 million to $600 million of shares a month using swap agreements and that’s “2.5 percent to 3 percent of the total Saudi market,” Galen Moore, the bank’s head of equity delta 1 and financing, a unit that provides equity certificates representing shares, said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if in 18 months or two years that figure is more like 10 to 15 percent of foreign investors in the market.”

Bahrain Unrest Leads Jewellery Shops to Shut, Gulf News Says - Bloomberg

Twenty-five of 90 shops in Bahrain’s Gold Souq have closed since the outbreak of unrest last year, Gulf Daily News said, citing Mohammed Sajid Shaikh, head of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s gold and pearl jewellery committee.
Many jewellery traders in Manama had been defaulting on rent and utility bills due to the drop in revenue, the paper cited Shaikh as saying.

UAE's Dana Gas reports Q4 profit jump, no details on sukuk | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Dana Gas, which faces a $1 billion sukuk maturity in October, reported sharply higher fourth-quarter and yearly profits on Monday, buoyed by an increase in production and higher oil prices.

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana, which has operations in the UAE, Egypt and Kurdistan, made quarterly profit of 147 million dirhams ($40 million), according to Reuters calculations. It had profit of 59 million dirhams in the year-ago period.

A Global Investment House analyst had forecast quarterly profit of 151 million dirhams, in a Reuters poll.

Collapse of deal takes shine off UDC's Pearl - The National

The Pearl in Qatar is a curious place, an artificial island marina where Ferrari and Rolls-Royce dealerships nestle among faux-Venetian canals, somewhat at odds with the rest of Doha.

But intriguing developments are taking place at United Development Company (UDC), the island's master developer, after a planned 1.6 billion Qatari rial investment by a government agency collapsed this week.

UDC's shares fell the most in two weeks after it was revealed that Qatar's General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority had withdrawn an offer to become the largest stakeholder in the company. UDC's shares fell 4.2 per cent to 24.7 rials each, having fallen as low as 8.2 per cent earlier in the day.

gulfnews : DFSA in deal with US audit regulator

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), recently entered into a Statement of Protocol with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in the US.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the DFSA by chief executive Paul M. Koster and the chairman of the PCAOB, James R. Doty, during a visit by Koster to Washington. DFSA Board Member Dr J. Andrew Spindler was also present at the signing.
"The ability of audit regulators to co-operate and share information is critical in the current environment when the need to protect investors and the public interest has never been more important. There are eight US regulated firms in the DIFC and the PCAOB already conducts audits jointly with the DFSA. This agreement facilitates the sharing of information," Koster said.

gulfnews : Strong core results, lower loan provisions help NBF rebound

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) reported Dh280.9 million net profits for 2011, up 64.4 per cent compared to Dh170.9 million in 2010.
During the past three years the bank made consistent recovery, putting behind the losses of 2008.
Vince Cook, chief exec-utive officer, attributes the turnaround to strong core business performance, effective asset and liability management and a reduction in loan loss provisions.

Elections boost outlook for Egypt - The National

Egypt passed another hurdle in its efforts to entice foreign investment yesterday as the country's citizens cast their ballots for the upper house of parliament.

A successful election process is viewed as vital in helping to turn around the Arab world's second biggest economy.

"The elections have been weighing on investors' minds and signs of an acceleration of the process are certainly a positive," said Liz Martins, a economist for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at HSBC. "It will make a big difference for investors once a government is in place."

Gulf to gain as Europe refiner fails - The National

Petroplus, Europe's largest independent refiner, is filing for insolvency, becoming the most prominent victim of weak refining margins and a freeze in credit markets.

The fate of the company, which is based in Switzerland, highlights the malaise of the continent's refining sector. Profits have been squeezed by a spike in Brent prices and increasing competition from outside a trend that should let Gulf players increase their market share in the euro zone.

Petroplus said on Tuesday negotiations with banks to unblock credit had failed, and on Friday insolvency proceedings were filed for the refiner and its units in Switzerland and Belgium.

Bullish Saudi bourse to pull up other Gulf markets |

Bullish sentiment from Saudi Arabia, coupled with positive noises out of Europe, should help Gulf markets extend gains Sunday, according to experts.
Stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.27 percent Sunday to close at 6.554.77 points.
Saudi Cement Co. rose to the highest level since July 2008 after Saudi Arabias largest producer of the building material by market value recommended paying a better-than-expected second-half cash dividend.

Saudi foreign assets rise to record |

Saudi Arabias foreign assets swelled by nearly SR352 billion in one year to an all time high of SR2.057 trillion ($548.5 billion) at the end of 2011 as a result of high oil prices and a sharp rise in the Gulf Kingdoms crude output, official data showed Sunday.
It was the biggest annual increase in the assets controlled by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) since 2008, when they rocketed by a whopping SR513 billion mainly because of a 50 percent rise in crude prices that allowed the Kingdom to record its highest fiscal surplus of SR580 billion.
The increase last year was also more than double the assets growth of around SR135 billion through 2010, when they ended the year at SR1,705 billion compared with SR1,570 billion at the end of 2009.

Qatar National Bank Hopes to Finish Denizbank Purchase in 2012 - Bloomberg

Qatar National Bank SAQ (QNBK), the Persian Gulf country’s largest lender, “hopes” to complete the purchase of Turkey’s Denizbank AS (DENIZ) this year if “the price is right,” the chairman said.
“The negotiations are going on and to have a bank of that size, you need a lot of offers,” Yousef Hussain Kamal told reporters at the bank’s general assembly.
Qatar National is the last serious bidder for Denizbank after the withdrawal of HSBC Holdings Plc and OAO Sberbank, people familiar with the process said earlier this month.

Qatar to spend $25bn on petchem growth by 2020 - Arab News

Leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter Qatar plans to spend $25 billion on expanding its domestic petrochemical industry over the next decade, an official said.

Qatar News Agency cited Energy Minister Mohammed Al-Sada saying earlier this month the country planned to more than double its annual petrochemical production capacity from 9.2 million tons now to 23 million tons by 2020.

“In the hydrocarbon area, we are now focusing on petrochemicals,” Abdulrahman Al-Shaibi, managing director of the Qatar Financial Center Authority, said.

230-km Duqm gas pipeline plan | Oman Observer

Plans have been firmed up for a 230-km-long pipeline carrying natural gas from central Oman to the new Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the Wusta coast, a senior official of the SEZ Authority said here yesterday.
Yahya Khamis Juma al Zadjali, Head of Planning and Engineering at the Duqm SEZ Authority, said a corridor for the construction of the pipeline, linking the Saih Nihayda gasfield with Duqm, has already been delineated.
A tender for the engineering design of the project, which is being overseen by the state-owned Oman Gas Company (OGC), has now been floated, with the pipeline slated to come on stream by 2017, he stated.

gulfnews : What to do to re-energise the UAE markets?

Lack of liquidity, poor market sentiment, frustrated and unhappy local retail investors and almost non-existent foreign investor interest.
It is little wonder that in an environment such as this the question of what can be done to reinvigorate the UAE markets and bring back increased investor interest is being asked across the country.
Since the start of the year, average daily traded value on both Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange have averaged $16 million (Dh58.7 million). Last year DFM's traded value fell to $32 million from 2010's $74 million. Abu Dhabi also fell from $37 million in 2010 to $27 million last year. Their indices in recent days have hit new lows in years, severely denting the already bearish sentiment. Year to date, the DFM has declined, and ADX Index.

gulfnews : Iran sanctions may boost UAE oil revenues

The UAE's oil revenues could get a boost if the country can source enough oil to replace Iranian oil exports to Europe, energy experts have said.
The European Union (EU) plans to halt oil imports from Iran from July 1.
Benchmark Brent crude prices rose to around $111.50 (Dh409.53) a barrel on Friday before a vote in Iran's parliament — which was later postponed — to halt exports to the European Union as early as this week in retaliation for EU plans.