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Sunday, 12 February 2012

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt at 6-mth high on political hopes; most Gulf lower | Reuters

Optimism about political stability helped lift Egypt's bourse to a six-month high on Sunday despite a currency downgrade, and Kuwait's index rose on hopes of strong dividends, while most other Gulf markets slipped.

Egypt's main index jumped 2.9 percent to its highest close since Aug. 4, brushing off a Standard & Poor's currency downgrade, on hopes that political stability may be returning to the country after a year of turmoil.

Traders said many investors were relieved that a countrywide strike called by activists for Saturday passed off with few disruptions, and that Egypt's talks with the International Monetary Fund seem to be going ahead with few glitches.

One year at a time as Dubai wrestles its debt - The National

The 2010 restructuring of Dubai World went a long way towards solving the emirate's deficit problems, but perhaps not far enough. There is still much work to be done, Frank Kane writes

A fundamental question is being increasingly posed in the convoluted saga of Dubai's attempts to manage its debt problems:

Just how good was the 2010 restructuring deal that "fixed" some US$25 billion (Dh91.82bn) of liabilities owed by Dubai World, the emirate's most indebted government-related enterprise.

MENA stock markets close - February 12, 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)

Egyptian Stocks Climb to Six-Month High on France Telecom’s Mobinil Talks - Bloomberg

Egypt’s shares rose to the highest in more than six months after a nationwide strike failed to gather support and France Telecom SA (FTE) was said to be in talks to boost its stake in a local mobile-phone company.
EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO), the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank, jumped 8.2 percent. Palm Hills Developments SAE (PHDC), a luxury real-estate developer, soared to the highest level since September. The benchmark EGX 30 Index advanced 2.9 percent to 4,892.93, the highest since Aug. 4, at the 2:30 p.m. close in Cairo. In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose for a third day, advancing 0.1 percent.

Orascom Says It’s in Advanced Discussions With France Telecom on Mobinil - Bloomberg

France Telecom SA (FTE) is in talks to purchase part of billionaire Naguib Sawiris’s stake in their Egyptian mobile-phone venture, according to a person familiar with the situation.
While details of the deal are still being discussed, Sawiris may keep a small interest in the company that controls Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services, known as Mobinil, while selling his stake in the operator itself to France Telecom, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Sawiris also may retain enhanced voting rights, the person said.
Mobinil, the biggest phone company by revenue in Egypt, has a market value of about $2.3 billion and competes with Vodafone Group Plc's local unit. It was the subject of an ownership dispute between Sawiris and France Telecom Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard’s predecessor, Didier Lombard, that was settled shortly after Richard took over in 2010.

Towards a Comprehensive GCC-EU Partnership Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

The recent visit of GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani to Brussels and to the headquarters of the European Union not only underscored the increased attention that is being paid to the Gulf region by the European Union but also highlighted the recognition that the GCC is gaining as an organization committed and contributing to promoting security and stability both in its immediate neighborhood and the wider Middle East.

Saudi Mobily signs US$2.7 billion loan refinancing -

Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) signed a 10 billion riyals (US$2.67 billion) sharia-compliant loan refinancing with a group of seven local banks, the telco said on Sunday, taking advantage of favourable borrowing rates in the kingdom.

Mobily, Saudi Arabia's second-largest telecoms operator by market capitalisation, rolled three existing facilities into a new, four-tranche Islamic loan with tenors of between five and seven years, the statement said.

Mobily said it undertook the refinancing now, rather than in the future, because of the attractive borrowing rates currently available in the local bank market.

Dubai-owned Travelodge received emergency funding - Travel & Hospitality -

Dubai-owned budget hotel group Travelodge has had to call on its lenders for emergency cash to tide it over, and could need more capital shortly as it struggles to cope with its debts, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The hotel chain, which is the UK’s second-biggest budget hotel group and was acquired by Dubai International Capital (DIC), the investment arm of Dubai Holding, in 2006, received an extra 10 million pounds ($15.7m) from its creditors in recent weeks, the sources said.
It has also hired lawyers and debt restructuring specialists to advise it on negotiations with its lenders, who are reviewing the business and their own options.

Bahrain's Gulf Air gets $80 mln loan from Mashreq | Reuters

Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air has secured a $80 million loan from a unit of Dubai's Mashreq Bank to help the ailing airline meet its working capital requirements.

The financing facility will be provided by the Mashreq Bahrain, a unit of the UAE-based lender, the companies said in a joint statement on Sunday. No further details on the nature of the financing or pricing for the loan was provided.

The loan deal comes just weeks after the struggling carrier said it would downsize operations and seek cash from government funds to sustain operations. The airline said it could also tap Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, which has a stake in the carrier.

Abu Dhabi Shares Fall Most in Two Weeks as Etisalat Profit Drops - Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark stock index fell the most in two weeks after full-year earnings at Emirates Telecommunications Corp., the Middle East’s biggest telephone operator by market value known as Etisalat, missed estimates.

Etisalat, the company with the heaviest weighting on the index, tumbled the most since Jan. 17. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., known as Taqa, dropped as much as 1.6 percent. The ADX General Index declined 0.4 percent, the most since Jan. 30, to 2,457.42 at 12:01 p.m. in the U.A.E. capital. Emerging-market stocks fell the most in more than two months at the end of last week.

The two shares “are weighing on the performance of the index,” said Marwan Shurrab, assistant fund manager and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments Ltd in Dubai. Three stocks in the benchmark index retreated, nine rose and 55 were unchanged.

gulfnews : Regional markets could sustain rally

The ongoing rally on the region's stock markets is set to continue this week, supported by surging international crude oil prices, higher volumes of trade and return of foreign investors, analysts say.
"The volumes are picking up across the GCC markets. The markets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi Arabia traded higher last week and we are likely to see some more upside moves," Mousa Haddad, head trader of National Bank of Abu Dhabi Asset Management, told Gulf News by telephone.
"Any correction is a buying opportunity. We are particularly bullish on Saudi, Qatar and the UAE markets and cautiously bullish on Egypt. Saudi Arabia's market, which is bracing itself to cross the 7,000 level, may open to direct investment by foreigners by June."

Dubai banks playing a new tune - The National

During Dubai's boom years, bankers were more likely to be found talking debt-financed buyout deals than advising on how to buy musical instruments. But these days, Gary Dugan, the chief investment officer of Emirates NBD Private Banking, is doing precisely that.

"The price of a high-quality violin hasn't fallen in value since the year 1600," he says.

Buy a Stradivarius, Mr Dugan suggests, and you can then lend it to the Metropolitan Orchestra in New York. The pitch is nothing if not straightforward, and one that he says is increasingly striking a chord with the region's super rich.

Money from Central Asia boosts bank coffers in UAE - The National

The appearance of Russian hats and furry overcoats in the UAE might not entirely be explained by the recent cold snap.

Booming economies in Russia and former Soviet states in Central Asia are increasing flows of capital to banks in the Emirates, as greater numbers of wealthy individuals from those countries forgo Switzerland and London for Dubai.

Increasing numbers of customers from the former Soviet bloc are being drawn to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said Julien Faye, a partner and the head of financial services at Bain & Company Middle East.

Hotel giant Millennium defers plans for Tunisia, Egypt and Syria - The National

The global hotel brand Millennium has suspended plans for hotels in Egypt, Syria and Tunisia, a sign that foreign investors are still avoiding Arab Spring countries as uncertainty persists.

Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) slowed by more than half to 1.7 per cent last year as unrest spread across the region. Growth is forecast to recover modestly this year.

"We had to slow down on the fronts where we thought there were problems," said Ali Hamad Lakhraim, the president and chief executive of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels for the Middle East and Africa.

Saudi Shares Advance to 21-Month High After Greece Cabinet Approves Deal - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian shares erased earlier losses, sending the benchmark index to its highest close in 21 months, following approval by Greece’s Cabinet for deeper budget cuts required for a second aid package.
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. reached its highest price since May, while Jabal Omar Development Co. (JOMAR) jumped the most this month.
The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) rose 0.1 percent to 6,804.03 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, its highest level since May 2010. The 151-member measure erased earlier losses of as much as 0.3 percent, extending gains in the past three days to 1 percent.

KUNA : Kuwait Fund marks 50th anniversary - Economics - 11/02/2012

The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development will celebrate its 50th anniversary on February 22 to coincide with Kuwait's national holidays, its Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader said Saturday.
"KFAED is a state institution and since it was founded half a century ago, reflects the wisdom of the then political leadership," Al-Bader said in a press statement.
"The celebrations of the KFAED's 50th anniversary (on December 31) will focus on its achievements over the past five decades." Al-Bader expressed pride for the coincidence of the KFAED's celebrations with Kuwait's national celebrations, including the day of independence, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's assumption of power, and the day of the liberation from the Iraqi occupation.

gulfnews : UAE construction firms look before leaping into Libya

UAE construction companies will wait until a new government fills the legal vacuum in war-torn Libya before jumping on the bandwagon of rebuilding.
Worries about uncertain investment laws, local partnerships, corporate governance and the fate of business deals made with the former regime are forcing construction companies to take a more cautious approach to the Libyan market, they say.