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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

UAE Exchange sells 40 pct stake for $2 bln | Reuters

UAE Exchange, one of the largest foreign exchange firms in the United Arab Emirates, has sold a 40-percent stake to Centurion Investment, the companies said on Tuesday, in a deal said to be worth $2 billion.

"Centurion has acquired a 40 percent stake in UAE Exchange to expand its business in the financial sector," a statement from Abu Dhabi-based Centurion said, without giving a value for the deal.

a source directly involved in the sale told Reuters: "The deal is valued at $2 billion."

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi lender FGB surges on Q4; Gulf upbeat | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's First Gulf Bank surged to a six-month high on Tuesday after its earnings beat forecasts, helping the emirate's index extend a two-week rising trend, and most Gulf Arab markets extended gains.

FGB's shares jumped 9.9 percent to their highest finish since Aug. 1 after the bank reported an 18 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.

"The strength of FGB's numbers was due to net interest income - this was a good set of numbers ahead of expectations although not dramatically so," said Raj Madha, Rasmala MENA banking analyst.

MENA stock markets close - January 31, 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)

Dana Gas Sukuk Yields Near Record on Lack of Payment Strategy: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Dana Gas PJSC’s (DANA) Islamic bonds plunged, lifting yields close to a record, after the United Arab Emirates fuel producer failed to disclose a plan for repaying the debt when it reported full-year earnings.
The $1 billion of 7.5 percent Shariah-compliant notes maturing in October fell to 68.14 on the dollar yesterday, pushing up the yield 86 basis points to 64.8 percent, the highest since Jan. 16. That day, the rate reached an all-time high of 71.8 percent. The yield was at 63.1 percent at 2:33 p.m. in Dubai. Dana Gas, which said yesterday 2011 profit more than tripled, didn’t give investors details of how it plans to pay the sukuk.
“They are running out of time,” Ahmad Alanani, the Dubai- based director for the Middle East at investment bank Exotix Ltd., which trades debt, said by phone yesterday. “The liquidity situation is very, very poor. There may be the willingness to pay, but there may not be the means.”

Majid Al Futtaim said to raise $400m at 5.85pct yield | Alrroya

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the Dubai-based operator of Carrefour SA stores in the Middle East, raised $400 million from the sale of Islamic bonds, two bankers familiar with the matter said.

The bonds were priced to yield 5.85 per cent, they said, declining to be identified because the details are private. The yield on developer and mall operator Emaar Properties PJSC’s 8.5 per cent sukuk maturing in August 2016 was little changed at 7.7 per cent at 4:07pm in Dubai. The rate on the Dubai government’s non-rated 6.396 per cent due November 2014 was at 5.22 per cent.

Non-Islamic issuers are tapping the Islamic bond market as demand for Shariah-compliant bonds lowered borrowing costs in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank PJSC and Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation sukuk offerings lifted sales to $5.3 billion this month compared with $500m in the same month last year.

UPDATE 1-UAE's NBAD Q4 profit misses forecasts on impairments | Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi on Tuesday posted a one percent decline in fourth quarter net profit, missing analysts' forecasts, as the UAE lender was hurt by rising impairment charges.

The country's largest bank market value, made a net profit of 724 million dirhams ($197.27 million) for the fourth quarter, compared with 732 million dirhams for the year-ago period, it said in a statement.

Full year profit stood 3.71 billion dirhams, up 0.7 percent from 3.68 billion dirhams year-ago.

Persian Gulf Stocks: First Gulf Bank and Oman’s Nawras Moved - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index advanced 1.3 percent to 2,453.98, the highest since Dec. 12, at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 2.1 percent. The measures have gained 2.2 percent and 6.1 percent respectively this month.

The following shares were active in the Persian Gulf region. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB UH) surged the most in two years, rallying 9.9 percent to 17.15 dirhams. The United Arab Emirates lender controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family reported an 18 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts’ estimates. The bank recommended a cash dividend of 1 dirham a share and one free share for every one held.

Omani Qatari Telecommunications Co. SAOG (NWRS OM) dropped to the lowest in two months, losing 1.3 percent to 0.632 rial. The company known as Nawras posted a fourth-quarter profit of 11.9 million riyals ($31 million), unchanged from a year earlier.

First Gulf Bank Surges on 2011 Dividend Payout: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB) led Abu Dhabi’s stock index to the highest level in more than a month after the United Arab Emirates lender said it would distribute a 2011 dividend that exceeded expectations.
The shares soared 9.9 percent, the most since December 2009, to 17.15 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Abu Dhabi. The bank, controlled by the emirate’s ruling family, recommended a cash dividend of 1 dirham a share and a free stock for every one held. The ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 1.3 percent to 2,453.98, the highest since Dec. 12. Union National Bank PJSC (UNB), a state- controlled lender, had the third-biggest gain on the gauge, rising 1.7 percent.
“Retail investors are considering the positive news of the dividend payout as more important than net income,” said Sebastien Henin, who helps oversee $100 million at The National Investor in Abu Dhabi. “The news will encourage investors to buy shares now, especially as valuations are attractive.”

Gas supply is in the pipeline -

The consortium behind one of Europe’s most ambitious infrastructure projects – the Nabucco gas pipeline – is considering ways of scaling back the venture after recent moves by Turkey and Azerbaijan raised questions about its viability.
The reassessment of the project comes as a BP-led consortium prepares to choose a transport route to bring gas from Azerbaijan to European markets, with Nabucco as one of the candidates.

NBAD Fourth-Quarter Profit Declines 1% as Expenses Rise, Misses Estimates - Bloomberg

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD) posted a 1 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, missing analyst estimates, as expenses rose and the lender set aside more money to cover bad loans. It raised dividend payouts.
Net income dropped to 724 million dirhams ($197 million) from 732 million dirhams a year ago, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of three analysts was for a profit of 897 million dirhams, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The bank was hurt “by the Arab Spring, low interest rates and the Euro crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Tomalin said. “Net earnings have remained steady” despite higher provisions for loan losses, he said.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Dubai Investments and First Gulf Bank Moved - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) advanced 1.1 percent to 2,449.09, headed for the highest close since Dec. 12, at 11:06 a.m. in the emirate. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) gained 1 percent.

Dubai's MAF profit rate guidance set, pricing due Tuesday | Reuters

Price guidance for a debut dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or sukuk, from Dubai mall developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding is in the range of 5.9 percent to 5.95 percent profit rate, with final pricing expected Tuesday, leads said.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank , HSBC and Standard Chartered are bookrunners on the five-year deal.

Books are likely to close on Tuesday, followed by pricing, a document from the arranging banks said, after investor meetings concluded on Monday.

Qatar- HE CQB Governor Warns of Possible Euro Crisis Impact on GCC

Abu Dhabi tried to get Aldar off Mubadala books-sources | Reuters

Abu Dhabi has held talks to offload all or part of a 49 percent government stake in struggling Aldar Properties in an attempt to stop its falling asset value from dragging down state investment fund Mubadala.

According to two sources familiar with the discussions, the talks have been held at the highest levels of government for the last few months. They centre on identifying an existing buyer or setting up a new holding group that could take up the stake.

The sources would not say whether the talks were still ongoing or had stalled, but they said recent discussions revolved around shifting the Aldar stake to an Abu Dhabi-based bank through a swap deal.

gulfnews : Turkey has a lot to contribute to the region

There isn't a more appropriate time for the Turkish president to visit the UAE. Turkey is a major player in the region, and has been playing an increasingly proactive role. Both countries have a lot to offer. They both represent excellent examples that can be emulated by others in the Muslim world. Turkey has had a successful experiment in marrying its Islamic traditions and its secular tendencies. It is always cited as a successful Muslim democracy that has become an inspiration to Arab countries, especially the so-called Arab Spring states.
Economically, it has managed to turn its fortunes around to boast reasonable growth. Its private sector is at record productivity levels. The UAE, meanwhile, is a modern state recognised globally as a development success story — a destination for investment, multinational companies and tourists. Most importantly, the two countries are playing an active political role in the region, seeking to preserve stability and avoiding unnecessary conflicts.

gulfnews : Nakheel's ex-staff acquitted of graft

Three former Nakheel officials and two executives yesterday became the first batch of suspects involved in a graft case to be acquitted of committing financial irregularities and dispersing of public funds.
The Dubai Court of First Instance cleared the three former Nakheel officials and two executives, an Emirati merchant and a Lebanese deputy manager, of a list of charges including bribery, office abuse, dispersing of public funds and others.
Since Dubai announced its massive campaign against corruption in 2008, tens of graft cases surfaced in Dubai courts.

gulfnews : Egypt bond rally may open debt window

Egypt's 2020 dollar bonds had their best week ever, signalling a chance for the country to sell foreign-currency debt to cut record borrowing costs.
The yield on the 5.75 per cent securities slid 0.9 of a percentage point last week to 6.85 per cent. The rate rose one basis point at 11.40am in Cairo yesterday. It has dropped 193 basis points since reaching an all-time high on January 11 as Egypt's new parliament convened and talks resumed with the International Monetary Fund amid peaceful rallies to mark the one-year anniversary of the uprising that forced out the president.

gulfnews : Changing corporate ways across the GCC

The default on billions of dollars of loans by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers in 2009 was just the beginning of the problems for the Saudi conglomerate, but its impact on investor confidence in the Gulf would be no less pronounced.
For years, the company - which held stakes in Saudi British Bank as well as rights to bottle Pepsi in Saudi Arabia - seemed like a stable, solid investment with a bottom line boosted by rising oil prices and a booming Saudi economy. As a result, the fall of Al Ghosaibi not only shook investors in Saudi Arabia, but across the Gulf.
"On paper it may be one of the best companies [out there], but you can never control it. These companies from the outside look like they are growing — and they are growing —but you never know internally what is going on behind the curtains," said Charbel Azzi, head of client coverage for the Middle East and Africa at S&P Indices and a former banker with Standard Chartered.

Iran sanctions hurt US but are no bar for Gulf and Russia - The National

It is the exception that proves the rule. The likely exemption of a BP gas project, in which Iran holds a stake, from recent US and EU sanctions shows how western energy policy suffers from being turned to political ends.

Naftiran Intertrade Company (Nico), a unit of Iran's national oil company, holds 10 per cent in Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gasfield, the cornerstone of plans to export Azeri gas via Turkey to Europe to reduce dependence on Russia.

"Our sanctions policy should impose maximum economic pain on the Iranians without allowing Russia to hold Eastern Europe hostage for energy," a senior US congressional aide noted. Therefore, after strenuous European lobbying, legislation is likely to exempt Azerbaijan gas exports.

Trade boom for UAE and South Korea tops $22 billion - The National

Trade between the UAE and South Korea climbed by more than 24 per cent to US$22.1 billion (Dh81.1bn) last year amid high oil prices and cooperation between the two nations in areas from energy to security.

What is more, construction contracts won by South Korean companies in the Emirates totalled $25.6bn in 2010, making the UAE the most lucrative nation for Korean contractors, according to figures from the South Korean Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Amid the boom in trade, Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, is set to visit the UAE for energy talks next week as the country with few natural resources seeks more access to oil reserves in the Gulf. He is also due to tour Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, starting on Saturday, the president's office said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia embarks on $130bn voyage to economic change - The National

The Arab Spring has galvanised governments across the Middle East and North Africa into action to create desperately needed jobs and raise living standards.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf's largest economy, where about 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds do not have a job.

The political upheaval of last year has given an extra urgency to the kingdom's quest to create work for its young people. It has also ushered in laws and policies aimed at attaining the enormous goal of creating three million jobs by 2015 and double that by 2030.

First Gulf Bank to pay shareholders Dh1.5bn - The National

First Gulf Bank has announced a Dh1.5 billion (US$408.3 million) payout to shareholders as part of a dividend plan that includes issuing bonus shares to all investors.

The capital's third-biggest lender will pay shareholders Dh1 and distribute one extra share for every share they currently own, after reporting net profits of Dh3.7bn for last year. The result represents an increase of 8.3 per cent from a year earlier and is ahead of estimates.

"The payout was amazing," said Naveed Ahmed, a financial analyst at Global Investment House. "They're a bank that needed a trigger, since the bank's shares were underperforming last year."

Nabors $7.2 Billion Takeover Seen With Surging Options: Real M&A - Bloomberg

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) has gotten so cheap that traders in the options market are betting the world’s largest land-drilling contractor may be a takeover candidate after the departure of its 81-year-old chief executive officer.
Nabors, which lost $2.4 billion in value in the past six months as delays in equipment deliveries and upgrades of rigs in Saudi Arabia cut profitability, is cheaper than 97 percent of oil and gas services companies versus sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the past two weeks, calls priced 10 percent above Nabors’ stock rose the most in 18 months versus puts on one-month contracts, signaling traders are anticipating an acquisition, said JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC.

Gulf Times – Qatar stocks extend gains to inch near 8,500 mark

The Qatar Exchange extended gains to the fourth day yesterday by 0.61% to inch near the 8,500 mark, mainly paced by Masraf Al Rayan and Commercialbank.
The 20-stock benchmark settled at 8,491.56 despite profit-booking by both local and foreign retail investors.
The market is down 3.21% year-to-date.

Corruption theme dominates Kuwait election -

Dressed in a lilac suit and cream-coloured headscarf, Massouma al-Mubarak, Kuwait’s first female cabinet minister, drew applause from the crowds as she slammed government corruption in the oil-rich Gulf state.
“Where do the billions go?” she asked the audience of men and women who came to hear her evening address in a specially erected tent before the country’s parliamentary elections on Thursday. Tackling corruption is the predominant theme of the electioneering, even for Ms Mubarak, who has faced such allegations herself.

Kuwait in $556 mln deal with Daewoo for 5 new tankers | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co (KOTC) has signed a $556 million contract with South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to build five new tankers, the state news agency KUNA reported on Monday.

The four double-hull very large crude carriers (VLCC) will be able to carry 2.2 million barrels of crude each while the fifth vessel is for oil products with a capacity of 800,000 barrels, it said.

Kuwait will take delivery of the tankers in early 2014.

What the Emaar scam is all about - The Times of India

On the orders of the AP High Court following a petition filed by Congress MLA P Shankar Rao, the CBI filed an FIR on August 17, 2011, against BP Acharya, directors of Emaar Properties, Dubai, Emaar Hills Township Pvt Ltd, Emaar-MGF Land Pvt Ltd, directors of Stylish Homes real Estate Pvt Ltd, unknown public servants of AP government, and others and charged them with criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust, showing forged documents as genuine under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The allegation is that BP Acharya and others named in the FIR entered into a criminal conspiracy to cheat APIIC during 2005-2010, and towards that end, Emaar Properties, Dubai, and Emaar Hills Township Pvt Ltd entered into an agreement with Stylish Homes to sell villa plots at pre-determined prices which was less than the market value and without the knowledge or consent of the APIIC board. Further, the CBI alleged that Emaar Hills Township assigned the rights of development to Emaar-MGF without in-principle approval of APIIC.

Nasdaq Dubai to widen debt market role - Arab News

Nasdaq Dubai has become the first securities exchange to join the Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association (GBSA) in a move that will strengthen the development of the region's debt markets.

Nasdaq Dubai is the region's largest exchange for sukuk, with 15 listings with a total nominal value of $10.6 billion.

It has seven conventional bond listings with a total nominal value of $5.1 billion.

Saudi oil minister reassures on global supply -

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister, has insisted the kingdom will be able to make up for any disruptions to global oil supplies, amid mounting tensions over the European embargo on Iran’s oil exports.
His comments came as Iran ramped up its criticism of the Saudis, with a senior Iranian official describing the Saudi royal family as “tyrant rulers”. The remarks, made at an Islamic conference in Indonesia, prompted a walkout by the kingdom’s delegation.

Middle East scores highly in corruption -

Middle East business leaders are almost twice as likely as their global peers to say that they expect to be confronted by bribery and corruption, a survey shows.
In interviews with 126 regional executives, accountancy firm PwC found 39 per cent think they will face bribery and corruption this year, compared with the global average of 23 per cent.
Although a longstanding problem, fraud is emerging from the shadows as Middle Eastern governments take more serious action against bribery, in a bid to attract foreign capital and assuage domestic political concerns. Government efforts are in turn minimising the stigma involved in companies admitting the existence of internal fraud and seeking to prevent it.