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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund ranked world's largest

MENA stock markets close - February 9, 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)

Abu Dhabi Shares Rise Most in Week on 2011 Earnings Optimism - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s shares rose the most in a week amid speculation earnings at the emirate’s biggest real- estate companies will improve and they will benefit from infrastructure spending plans.

Aldar Properties PJSC, Abu Dhabi’s biggest property developer, rose for a third day this week. Sorouh Real Estate, the emirate’s second-largest developer, rallied 3.4 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index rose 0.1 percent, the most since Feb. 2, to 2,466.74 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming this week’s drop to 0.4 percent. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 0.1 percent.

“Sentiment for real-estate stocks has improved slightly as soon to-be-announced earnings are expected to be substantially better for both Aldar and Sorouh,” said Ziad Dabbas, a financial analyst at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank by assets.

Barneys, Debt-Laden, Is Weighing Restructuring -

Barneys New York, one of New York’s temples of high fashion, has hired restructuring advisers to help the retailer deal with $200 million in debt maturing this fall, people briefed on the matter said Wednesday.

The company has long been known as one of the world’s top purveyors of fashion, having introduced Americans to Giorgio Armani more than three decades ago. But it has labored for years to emerge from a hefty debt load taken on in a 2007 leveraged buyout.

Barneys hired the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, one of the top law firms for restructuring work, in recent weeks, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Kirkland joins a coterie that includes longtime Barneys adviser Perella Weinberg Partners and the consulting firm AlixPartners.

Barneys New York in Discussions With Lenders - Bloomberg

Barneys New York, the luxury-goods retailer controlled by a Dubai investment company, said it’s in talks with lenders to improve its balance sheet.
“Barneys New York is actively engaged in discussions with the company’s small group of lenders to improve its balance sheet and further position Barneys New York for sustainable, long-term growth and success,” the company said today in an e- mailed statement. “We are focused on resolving this matter as expeditiously as possible, and it will remain business as usual at Barneys New York.”
Since the recession, Barneys has suffered from the absence of so-called aspirational shoppers, said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a New York retail consulting firm. Chief Executive Officer Mark Lee has made no discernible changes to the format in his 18-month tenure, she said.

UPDATE 1-Qatar's QNB eyes benchmark dollar bond sale | Reuters

Qatar National Bank (QNB) is planning to tap global debt markets with a benchmark bond and has picked five banks to arrange investor meetings ahead of a likely offering, the Gulf Arab lender said on Thursday.

QNB, the Gulf state's largest lender, has mandated Barclays Capital, Citigroup, HSBC, Standard Chartered and its own unit, QNB Capital, to manage the roadshows beginning Feb 13, the bank said in a bourse statement.

Earlier this week, Abu Dhabi's Dolphin Energy, majority-owned by investment fund Mubadala issued the first conventional bond from the region. The $1 billion 10-year bond priced at 5.5 percent and attracted orders of about $9 billion.

HSBC completes the first government guaranteed Sukuk in Saudi Arabia |

HSBC announced that it has completed the first ever government guaranteed Sukuk in Saudi Arabia for Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation 'GACA'. Raising SR15bn ($4bn) for GACA, the Sukuk achieved a profit rate of 2.5%.

HSBC acted in sole capacity as Lead Manager and Bookrunner, Sukuk Arranger, Shari'ah Coordinator, Sukuk Holders' Agent, and Payment Administrator.

Walid Khoury, CEO of HSBC Saudi Arabia Limited said: "This is a great achievement for GACA, and stands as a testament to the confidence local investors have in this high quality name. Not only did it raise $4bn, but it has done so at a profit rate of just 2.5%. This is only around half a percent more than US treasury notes and less than half the rate some European countries have to pay for their funds."

UPDATE 1-UAE's Etisalat takes $827 mln charge against Indian ops | Reuters

Emirates Telecommunication Corp Ltd (Etisalat) wrote off the value of its Indian operations on Thursday, booking an $827 million impairment charge, after India ordered 122 telecoms licences to be cancelled amid a corruption probe.

The move by Etisalat, the Gulf's No. 1 telecom operator by market value, follows a similar step by Norway's Telenor which last week wrote down $721 million in licences and goodwill in India.

Meanwhile, Bahrain Telecommunications on Wednesday said it was selling its 43-percent stake in its Indian affiliate, in the first exit by a foreign operator after the Feb. 2 ruling which revoked 2G licences held by eight operators.

Qatar govt spending to rise sharply next FY -adviser | Energy & Oil | Reuters

Qatar's government budget spending will be much higher in the upcoming 2012/13 fiscal year than in the current one, while inflation is likely to move around 3-3.5 percent, an economic adviser to the country's emir said on Thursday.

Asked how government expenditure would look in the new fiscal year, which starts in April, Ibrahim al-Ibrahim told reporters: "It will be a lot higher."

In its 2011/12 budget, the world's top liquefied natural gas exporter originally planned spending worth 139.9 billion riyals ($38.4 billion) and a surplus of 22.5 billion riyals, or 4.9 percent of gross domestic product.

UPDATE 1-Korea to buy more Qatari gas in 20-year deal | Reuters

Qatar's Rasgas has agreed to sell South Korea's state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) an additional 2 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the next 20 years, the two companies said in a statement on Thursday.

Kogas, one of the world's biggest LNG buyers, already has contracts with Rasgas to receive a total of around 7 million tonnes a year until 2024-2026.

"This agreement is further evidence of these strong ties and helpful for long term security of LNG supply to Korea," Kogas chief operating officer Young Sung Park said in a statement.

Abu Dhabi Shares Poised for Biggest Gain in Week on Earnings; Aldar Rises - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi shares headed for the biggest gain in a week amid speculation earnings at the emirate’s biggest real-estate companies will improve and they will benefit from infrastructure spending plans.
Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), Abu Dhabi’s biggest property developer, rose for a third day this week. Sorouh Real Estate (SOROUH), the emirate’s second-largest developer, rallied 3.4 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 0.3 percent, poised for the biggest gain since Feb. 2, to 2,471.01 at 12 p.m. in the emirate, trimming this week’s drop to 0.2 percent. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 0.1 percent.
“Sentiment for real estate stocks has improved slightly as soon to be announced earnings are expected to be substantially better for both Aldar and Sorouh,” said Ziad Dabbas, a financial analyst at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank by assets. “That said, volumes remain very weak in Abu Dhabi.”

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad turns first annual profit of $14 million since starting in 2003 |

Etihad Airways, the fast-growing Gulf carrier, on Thursday posted its first annual profit since starting operations just over eight years ago.
The airline said it moved into the black with net earnings of $14 million. That is better than its previously stated goal, which had been to break even for the first time in 2011.
It declined to say how much it lost a year earlier.

Former Nakheel CEO awarded $3 mln by DIFC court - Yahoo!

Nakheel's former chief executive, who had sued the indebted developer for breach of contract, was awarded $3 million in damages by a Dubai court on Thursday.
Chris O'Donnell, who left Nakheel last June after five years, had sued for $3.7 million in lost incentives and entitlement fees.
The Dubai World special tribunal had yet to decide on 900,000 UAE dirhams ($245,000) in additional costs and interest claimed by O'Donnell.

Saudi sukuk success boosts bond hopes -

Bankers expect a bumper year of bond sales in Saudi Arabia following the success of the country’s first sovereign-guaranteed sukuk in January.
The 15bn riyal ($4bn) Islamic instrument, issued to finance the expansion of Jeddah’s international airport, was the largest single-tranche sukuk yet, says HSBC, which led the issuance. It was sold at a profit rate of 2.5 per cent and was 3.5 times oversubscribed.

Cautious optimism over Dubai’s debt -

A surge of optimism surrounding debt negotiations in Dubai is reassuring investors of the emirate’s ability to meet its commitments this year, despite the limited financial resources available to the indebted city-state.
Dubai is set to use a combination of internal cash and friendly banks to re­finance tranches of about $4bn of bonds coming up for maturity in 2012, the most sensitive segment of the estimated $10bn in total debt due this year.

gulfnews : Indian businessman sells Wall Street Exchange stake

Indian businessman Asgar Shakoor Patel, who established the money remittance business Wall Street Exchange Centre LLC 30 years ago, has sold his remaining 40 per cent stake to Emirates Post, Gulf News has learnt.
The move comes about six years after he sold a 60 per cent stake to Emirates Post. With this, Emirates Post is now the full owner of one of the UAE's top five remittance houses.
The transaction also includes its UK and Hong Kong subsidiaries.

Doha Bank has 'three options' to lift capital - The National

Doha Bank had a good year in 2011, but will the Qatari lender run out of steam in the months ahead?

It was buoyed last year by the country's moves to prepare its infrastructure for hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup, lifting its profit 44.9 per cent to 230.4 million rials.

But the bank's shares have barely budged since the start of the year, and analysts have warned that Doha Bank may be too thinly capitalised to support its loan-growth targets.

Tunisia suffers as investors turn wary after revolution - The National

Foreign direct investment in Tunisia fell by nearly 30 per cent last year as the country's revolution and the debt crisis engulfing nearby Europe kept investors away.

During the year, foreign direct investment reached US$1.1 billion (Dh4.04bn), 29.7 per cent down from the year before, said the country's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency yesterday.

"The political transition in Tunisia is creating a lack of certainty that's holding back investors. There's a wait-and-see attitude on the part of domestic and foreign investors," said Mohamed Lahouel, a Tunisian national and the chief economist at the Dubai Department of Economic Development.

Abu Dhabi's Waha eyes doubling assets by 2017 - Banking & Finance -

Abu Dhabi's Waha Capital is considering to invest in the regional maritime and oil and gas sectors, as it aims to rely on its strong financing to double its assets over five years, its CEO said on Wednesday.
"By 2017 we should double our assets," Salem Rashid al-Noaimi, told Reuters in an interview.
"Our core areas will be maritime, offshore oil and gas support services, we know the space, we have strong cash flow," he said.

Two Natural Gas Kings: Russia and Qatar

In my forthcoming energy economics textbook (2012), the two natural gas kings are three – Russia, Qatar and Iran – while if I were beginning that book today, I would consider making it a foursome.

The United States (U.S.) might belong with this royalty, assuming that the shale revolution is indisputably authentic and relevant, and not a transient bounty. Unfortunately we must wait a while for the verification we require, because the Energy Intelligence Agency (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy has apparently reduced its estimate of reserves in the Marcellus shale deposit by 66 percent. This revaluation has created the equivalent of a real option for owners and potential owners of other shale deposits, due to the influence it may have on the reduction of geological uncertainty. Moreover, a little algebra applied to shale deposits in Texas suggests that some investors in that part of the U.S. are running a serious risk of being gravely disappointed as a result of the physical ‘depreciation’ that characterizes those particular resources.

MIDEAST MONEY-Qatar building boom risks property slump | Reuters

Qatar's ambitious economic policies have sustained double-digit growth rates while much of the world has struggled over the past few years. But the gas-rich Gulf state may now be overreaching, as a building boom threatens a glut in its property market.

State-owned property developers Barwa Real Estate and Qatar Diar are set to spend 100 billion riyals ($27.5 billion) over the five years to 2016 on commercial and residential projects, according to a national development strategy unveiled last March for the country of 1.7 million people.

The government is backing that with promised public investment worth $95 billion during the period, over $65 billion of which is expected to be on infrastructure.

Nakheel ordered to pay $20m to contractor - Real Estate -

Dubai-based Nakheel has been ordered to pay just over $20m to an Abu Dhabi contracting firm for work completed on an unfinished residential project.
Dubai’s largest developer has 14 days to pay Technical Architects General Contracting Company (TAGC) AED58m plus legal fees for failure to pay for work completed in Mogul 3 in Discovery Gardens, a judge at the Dubai World Tribunal said Wednesday.
“This is a significant victory for our client TAGC in its efforts to recover its costs incurred under the terms of the contract it entered into with Nakheel,” Anthony Edwards, head of Hadef & Partners’ Engineering & Construction practice in Dubai, said in an emailed statement.

Iran Anxiety No Match for Central Bankers Sedating Investors - Bloomberg

Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Syria’s bloody crackdown and Greece’s potential default are leaving markets unfazed as central bankers take unprecedented steps to prevent the global economy from crumbling.
The VIX, a measure of equity volatility known as the “fear index,” fell to 17.1 on Feb. 3, the lowest level since July, according to the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch MOVE (MOVE) index, which measures swings in bond prices, closed at 72.3 on Feb. 6, about the least since July 2007. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s index of implied volatility on currencies dropped to 10.1 today, its lowest since March.
While geo-political risks have risen, investors are taking their cue from policy makers from Washington to Frankfurt to Beijing who are driving down interest rates and flooding the world with cash to prop up their economies. The balance sheets of the world’s six biggest central banks have more than doubled since 2006 to $13.2 trillion, according to Chicago-based Bianco Research LLC.

gulfnews : Dubai's debt decision a credit positive step

The absence of Dubai government guarantees in support of the Dubai Group restructuring is credit positive for Dubai's sovereign credit worthiness, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) said in a report yesterday.
"While decreasing contingent liabilities is positive for sovereign creditworthiness and CDS [credit default swaps], the immediate impact may be trumped by broader Dubai Inc restructurings and sentiment," Jean-Michel Saliba, a BofA economist wrote in a note.
However, he added that the decision was broadly shrugged off by the market.

Arabtec Drops on Speculation 7-Day Rally Overdone: Dubai Mover - Bloomberg

Arabtec Holding Co., the United Arab Emirates’ biggest construction company, fell the most in more than three weeks on speculation a seven-day rally was overdone.
The shares declined 1.5 percent, the most since Jan. 16, to 2.66 dirhams at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The stock had soared 44 percent in the seven days through yesterday, bringing its gain this year to 67 percent. Arabtec was the most-traded stock and second-biggest decliner on Dubai’s DFM General Index, which rose 0.6 percent.
“With no official news from the company’s management or the market regulator on the reason for Arabtec’s share price, we expect a correction to take place,” said Tariq Qaqish, deputy head of asset management at Dubai-based Al Mal Capital.

gulfnews : Dubai SMEs will receive funds from Abu Dhabi bank

Abu Dhabi's biggest bank will offer financial facilities of up to $100 million (Dh367.3 million) to Dubai small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a move that is expected to benefit 1,000 companies in the emirate, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced yesterday.
The chamber has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) to provide financial services to SMEs in the emirate, offering competitive rates and tariffs as well as granting loans within three working days. "The signing of this agreement with NBAD to support the financing of SMEs is very timely as the sector is underserved by the financial services industry and this partnership will allow us to be accessible to small businesses while providing liquidity to the sector drive for the overall growth of entrepreneurship in the emirate," said Hamad Bu Amim, Director-General of the DCCI.
"The service can benefit our members who reached more than 130,000 by the end of January 2012. Initially, during the first year of its launch, the scheme is expected to benefit more than 1,000 companies belonging to Dubai Chamber members."