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Monday, 13 February 2012

WAM | Apicorp raises SR2.5bn in Shari'ah-compliant syndicated club financing

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), the multilateral development bank of the ten member states of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), announced it has successfully closed a three-year SR2.5bn ($667m) syndicated Shari'ah- compliant facility from four leading Saudi Arabian banks on competitive market terms.

The facility, which is Apicorp's debut syndicated Shari'ah-compliant financing, is aimed at retaining and increasing its medium term funding. The government of Qatar has a 10% stake in Apicorp.

Leading Saudi banks Riyad Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and The Saudi British Bank act as the Mandated Lead Arrangers for the facility, while Riyad Bank will perform the role of Murabaha Facility Agent. The term financing was oversubscribed by the Mandated Lead Arrangers.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank posts rise in Q4 profits | Reuters

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank reported a rise in fourth quarter profits on Monday after it booked lower provisions in the quarter compared to a year ago.

The bank said it had net profit of 338.6 million dirhams($92.19 million) for the quarter ended Dec. 30, compared to 250.6 million dirhams in the prior-year period.

The Islamic lender said it took credit provisions and impairments of 180.5 million dirhams in the fourth quarter, down from 224.4 million dirhams last year. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)

MENA stock markets close - 13 February, 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)

MGM Resorts International Announces Proposed Private Offering by CityCenter Holdings -- LAS VEGAS, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) today announced that CityCenter Holdings, LLC, a joint venture which is 50% owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company and 50% owned by Infinity World Development Corp. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Dubai World), and CityCenter Finance Corp. propose to offer $240 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first lien notes in a private placement. The notes are additional notes constituting a part of the same series as the $900 million aggregate principal amount of 7.625% senior secured first lien notes due 2016 issued on January 21, 2011. CityCenter plans to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash from its balance sheet, to repay $300 million of the outstanding borrowings under its $375 million senior credit facility.

France Telecom to Buy Sawiris Out of Mobinil - Bloomberg

France Telecom SA (FTE) may spend about $2 billion to buy most of billionaire Naguib Sawiris’s stake in their Egyptian wireless venture and delist Egypt’s biggest phone operator by revenue.
France’s largest telecommunications company reached a preliminary agreement with Sawiris’s Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE over Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services, the operator known as Mobinil, at 202.5 Egyptian pounds ($33.54) a share, it said today. That’s 8.7 percent less than the price it would have paid under an earlier option agreement with Sariwis. France Telecom will offer the same price for Mobinil shares traded on the Cairo exchange. Mobinil jumped by a daily limit of 10 percent today.
France Telecom is refocusing its business on fast-growing emerging markets as mobile revenue in Europe stalls. The Paris- based company has announced the sale of its units in Switzerland and Austria, and in the past two years struck deals to enter Morocco, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Morocco may tap international bond market in 2012 | Reuters

There is no pressure for Morocco to tap the international bond market in 2012 but it may decide to, the country's finance minister said after its current account deficit surged last year to its highest since the 1980s.

Asked if the widening deficit gap would force Rabat to tap international bond markets, Nizar Baraka told Reuters: "There is no pressing need ...but we remain eligible for a potential issue".

Having surged to 6.5 percent of GDP in 2011 versus 4.3 percent in 2010, the current account deficit posed challenges mostly to the net energy importer's foreign currency reserves, Baraka said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai hits 6-month high as small-caps surge - Yahoo!

Dubai's small caps surge on high volumes, helping the emirate's index hit a six-month closing high as retail investor risk appetite grows.
Property stocks rise, with Deyaar up 14.7 percent and Union Properties up 15 percent.
Gulf Navigation surges 14.9 percent, and National Central Cooling (Tabreed) climbs 10.1 percent.
"Risk appetite has improved over the course of the last four to five weeks... broadly speaking fourth-quarter results have been better than expected and the macro environment, global and local has also improved," says an Abu Dhabi-based trader who asked not to be identified.
The benchmark rises 2.2 percent to 1,522 points, its highest close since Aug. 4.

UAE telco Etisalat wants piece of Libyan market | Reuters

Etisalat, the Gulf's largest telecom firm, wants to acquire a licence in Libya or invest in one of the North African country's existing operators, its chairman told Reuters on Monday.

Libya has two state mobile operators, Madar and Libyana, while another government-linked firm Lap Green Networks is active in several African countries including Uganda and Ivory Coast.

"We have shown to the Libyan government our interest (in) the possibility to participate in the development of the telecoms market in Libya, either by a new licence or even by operating or investing in one of the existing mobile licences," Mohammad Omran said on the sidelines of an event in Tripoli.

UPDATE 1-Investcorp H1 profit slumps 90 pct on hedge fund woes | Reuters

Alternative investment manager Investcorp reported a 90-percent drop in half-year profits on Monday, hit by declining hedge fund revenues.

The Bahrain-based firm, which once floated luxury brands Gucci and Tiffany & Co, said net profit was $5.3 million for the half-year ended Dec. 30, compared to $56.2 million in the prior-year period. Investcorp's fiscal year ends June 30.

Investment said fee income from client business activities and corporate investment asset-based income both rose but it was not enough to overcome the impact of the negative hedge fund returns as investors pulled out amid the euro zone debt crisis.

France Tel, Sawiris reach accord on Mobinil | Reuters

France Telecom said it had reached a preliminary accord to buy out most of Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris' stake in their jointly owned telecom operator Mobinil, in a deal that will see the French group pay out about 1.5 billion euros, according to Reuters calculations.

France Telecom was already the biggest shareholder in Mobinil, and Egypt is a key part of its effort to expand in high-growth emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East.

The new accord simply accelerates the expected exit of Sawiris, who had a put option to sell out to France Telecom starting in September 2012.

Morocco economy likely grew 5 pct in 2011: fin min | Reuters

Morocco likely posted five percent growth in gross domestic product in 2011, Finance Minister Nizar Baraka said in a news briefing on Monday.

Morocco's central bank had cut its 2011 growth estimate to 4-5 percent from 4.5-5.5 percent due in large part to the slowdown in the European Union, a key trading partner.

Kuwait Central Bank Governor Resigns on Economy, Al-Qabas Says - Bloomberg

Kuwait Central Bank Governor Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah resigned because of the country’s “negative” financial policies and its dangerous impact on the national economy, Al-Qabas newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
A central bank official could not be immediately be reached for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.

Dubai's Shuaa Capital 2011 annual loss widens to $80 mln | Reuters

Shuaa Capital, which has been hit by slumping global markets, reported a wider 2011 loss on Monday as the investment bank booked provisions and one-off charges.

Shuaa said it had a net loss of 293.8 million dirhams ($80 million)for 2011, compared to a net loss of 223.7 million dirhams a year earlier.

Total revenue for 2011 was 99.2 million dirhams, down from 188.4 million dirhams in 2010.

gulfnews : Consumer sentiment in region falls

Consumer confidence in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) has fallen in key markets in the region while remaining static in the UAE, a report has shown.
The study, by analysis and research company Nielsen, revealed that confidence in the last quarter of 2011 fell furthest in Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt.
The results, which are based on an online survey of 28,000 internet consumers conducted in 56 countries, showed an overall decline in 35 out of the 56 global markets.

Banks facing hit from less consumer borrowing - The National

Bankers have warned of a difficult year for personal lending as tighter regulations, consumer deleveraging and a stagnant mortgage market result in reduced opportunities for growth.

Retail lenders were expected to experience a "reduction on the revenue side", said Arup Mukhopadhyay, the head of consumer banking at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

"I don't think there's any fundamental difference in the way the market is, but it's a fact that the new regulations have taken the market size down," he said.

Game on as Géant and Carrefour battle for supremacy - The National

Géant will roll out 35 new supermarkets in the Gulf in the next two years in a battle with Carrefour to dominate the US$36 billion (Dh132.23bn) market.

Both brands are embarking on major expansions this year. Retail Arabia, Géant's franchise partner in the Gulf, plans to roll out 35 supermarkets and hypermarkets across the region in the next two years, going up against an equally rapid expansion by Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the operator of Carrefour, which last month said it was aiming to open 15 of its larger stores and 25 to 30 smaller supermarkets.

"Consumers are spending more and the [Gulf] market is back, people have their confidence back," said Arif Shaikh, the managing director for Géant at Retail Arabia. "Definitely the trend in the UAE is going at a faster rate."

Gulf Times – Segregation of Qatari Islamic, conventional banking will reduce risk of contagion: IMF

Complete segregation of Islamic and conventional banking in Qatar “should reduce the risk of contagion” from one segment to the other in case banking troubles arise in either one, the International Monetary Fund has said in its country report.
A separate anaylsis by the IMF in its report on “Financial linkages across banks in Qatar” concluded that Qatari banks are interconnected, and called for “closer monitoring of cross-border exposures” of banks, and their domestic interbank exposures.
In February last year, Qatar Central Bank had directed local conventional banks that have Islamic windows, to stop opening new Islamic branches, accepting Islamic deposits, and extending new Islamic financing from 2012.
“The QCB decision was motivated by supervisory and monetary policy considerations,” IMF said.

More UAE hiring seen in Q1

Employers in the UAE are expected to hire more people in the first quarter of this year than in the last quarter of 2011, a survey report said on Sunday.
“Most jobs in the coming three months will be for junior executives in the private sector, with a preference for computer science, commerce and business management qualifications across the region,” according to the latest Job Index survey conducted by, the Middle East’s number one jobsite, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation.

“Hiring expectancy figures for the next three months and in the next year across are leaning towards the positive, with the private sector’s multinational companies hiring the most during this time,” said Sundip Chahal, chief executive of YouGov.

Dubai Developers Thrown Retail Lifeline as Property Sales Sink - Businessweek

Dubai’s developers, battered by three years of falling prices for homes and offices, are seeking refuge in retail assets as shopping tourism powers the economy.

Nakheel PJSC, the government-owned company that restructured $16.1 billion of debt last year, is expanding its Dragon Mart shopping center and trying to raise funds for a cluster of restaurants and stores at the tip of its Palm Jumeirah artificial island. Dubai Mall owner Emaar Properties PJSC is getting an increasing share of its earnings from shopping assets as home completions fall.

“Most developers are looking to build recurring revenues because there are so few property sales happening right now,” said Patrick Gaffney, an analyst at HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd. “The sectors that are doing best are retail and hotels because of strong tourist arrivals.”

Most trusted ME banks - Zawya

Thirty-three Middle East banks are among 500 of the world's most trusted banks, according to a new study.

The global financial services community has had a torrid few years with tremendous deleveraging and poor asset quality effectively sucking growth out of their operations.

Troubles in Europe has also not helped international banks as they find themselves holding problematic Greek, Portuguese and Spanish debt amid faltering economies and greater regulatory oversight.