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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Qatar Holding Amasses Over 1% Of French Luxury Group LVMH | Fox Business

Qatar's sovereign-wealth fund has accumulated a stake of just over 1% in French luxury goods group LVMH Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (MC.FR), the most recent in a series of investments by the emirate in France.

According to LVMH's 2011 annual report filed to the French stock market regulator, Qatar Holding now owns 1.03% and has less than 1% of voting rights in the company.

Qatar has recently invested heavily in an array of French assets, from heavy industry to makers of expensive leather handbags.

MENA stock markets close - March 15, 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt up on IMF loan hopes; profit-taking weighs on UAE | Reuters

Egyptian stocks rose for a second day on Thursday on expectations that a $3.2 billion IMF loan deal is close, while United Arab Emirates bourses ended lower on profit-taking after recent rallies, and other Gulf markets were mixed.

Cairo's main index gained 1.6 percent on its second day of gains following declines that pulled it down 7 percent.

Egypt is seeking a $3.2 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund that could pave the way for loans from other donors. A delegation from the IMF is expected to visit Cairo next week.

FT Alphaville » Swift unplugs Iranian banks

Brussels, 15 March 2012 – Following an EU Council decision, SWIFT is today announcing it has been instructed to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions.
The new European Council decision, as confirmed by the Belgian Treasury, prohibits companies such as SWIFT to continue to provide specialised financial messaging services to EU-sanctioned Iranian banks. SWIFT is incorporated under Belgian law and has to comply with this decision as confirmed by its home country government.
“This EU decision forces SWIFT to take action” said L├ízaro Campos, CEO of SWIFT. “Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for SWIFT. It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran.”

Drydocks World Is ‘Confident’ in Debt Deal After Court Case Loss - Bloomberg

Drydocks World LLC, owner of the Middle East’s biggest shipyard in Dubai, is “confident” it can complete a $2.2 billion debt restructuring even after a hedge fund won a $45.5 million claim against it in a London court.
New York-based Monarch Alternative Capital LP, a company that invests mainly in distressed debt, won the claim against Drydocks in the High Court of Justice on Feb. 28, Monarch spokesman Jeremy Fielding confirmed in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News today. A unit of Monarch filed the claim against Drydocks in October.
“I would very much hope that, notwithstanding their legal action, Monarch will accept the very reasonable restructuring proposal,” Drydocks Chairman Khamis Juma Buamim said in response to e-mailed questions today. The company, a unit of state-owned Dubai World, “is confident that it can still implement its restructuring if it transpires that Monarch do not accept the terms on offer.”

Dubai consumer prices drop steeply on property glut | Reuters

A glut of property supply in Dubai contributed to the steepest fall in consumer prices since records began four years ago, as a housing bubble that burst in 2009 continued to be felt in the wider economy, data showed on Thursday.

Consumer prices in the United Arab Emirates' member fell 1.7 percent on an annual basis in February, as an inflow of new residential units pushed rents down.

"There might be some areas in Dubai where prices are picking up, but there is still an excess in supply in the market," said Liz Martins, senior economist at HSBC in Dubai.

Major UAE currency houses halt Iran rial business | Reuters

Major money exchange houses in the United Arab Emirates have stopped handling Iranian rials over the last several weeks, executives at the houses said, further reducing Iran's ability to trade and obtain hard currency.

Since late last year, Iran has largely been frozen out of the global banking system by U.S. sanctions aimed at its disputed nuclear programme. Washington has used anti-money laundering legislation to make it risky for banks around the world to do business with Iran, including trade financing.

In December, the U.S. government pressured Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank into stopping the channelling of billions of dollars from Iranian oil sales through its accounts.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Aldar Properties, Burgan Bank, Sorouh - Bloomberg

Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) lost 0.5 percent to 1,683.41 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming the advance this week to 4.5 percent. Kuwait’s measure gained 0.6 percent.

Aldar Falls on Bets Merger-Driven Rise Overdone: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) and Sorouh Real Estate Co. (SOROUH) fell the most in more than a week on speculation gains driven by merger talks between the Abu Dhabi real-estate developers were overdone.
Aldar, the biggest property developer in the United Arab Emirates capital, fell 3.5 percent, its biggest drop since March 7, at the 2:00 p.m. close in Abu Dhabi. Sorouh lost 4.1 percent, also the largest decline in more than a week. The drops trimmed gains in Aldar this week to 24 percent and in Sorouh to 23 percent. The benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI) fell 0.2 percent to 2,625.85, paring its climb this week to 2.5 percent.
Aldar and Sorouh, which fell 60 percent and 48 percent, respectively, in 2011, said in a joint statement on March 11 they set up a team to study a possible merger with the “blessing” of the Abu Dhabi government. The two companies are are involved in the emirate’s drive to transform itself into a tourism and business hub as it strives to diversify its economy away from relying on oil.

Carlyle Repays Debt Sold to Abu Dhabi for Pre-IPO Payout - Bloomberg

Carlyle Group LP (CG) repaid the remaining balance of $500 million of subordinated notes that it sold to Abu Dhabi in 2010 to finance a payout to owners before its initial public offering.
The firm borrowed $263.1 million to retire $250 million of notes sold to Mubadala Development Co. in December 2010, Washington-based Carlyle said in a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The amount, borrowed on March 1, included a $10 million premium and accrued interest of $3.1 million.

Algerian stocks: will foreigners bite? | beyondbrics –

Algeria is Africa’s third biggest economy – yet the Bourse D’Alger is among the smallest stock exchanges in the world, with only a handful of listed companies.

Now, for the first time, the country plans to allow foreign investors to buy stocks on the exchange, though only in partnership with domestic investors. Will they bite?

Analysts reckon overseas buyers will see potential in Algeria – especially as it contains 2.4 per cent of the world’s natural gas reserves –  but fear that they could be dissuaded by its government’s heavy-handed regulatory regime.

Libya bourse resumes trading after year closure | Reuters

Libya's Stock Exchange resumed trading on Thursday after more than 12 months out of action, as the country gets back to business after last year's conflict ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Officials on the trading floor rang a bell then shouted "Allahu Akbar!" or "God is great!" to announce the start of trading on a bourse which, its backers say, could take off now that it is unshackled from Gaddafi-era restrictions.

"People are scared to come to Libya because they fear all the guns. Today can show them that Libya is going back to normal," said a visiting businessman from Dubai, who did not want to be identified.

gulfnews : UAE economy could grow 2.3 per cent, IMF says

The International Monetary Fund said the UAE's real gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at 2.3 per cent this year, down from 4.9 per cent growth rate recorded last year, while inflation will remain at 1.5 per cent this year.
“The economic recovery looks set to continue. Real GDP growth reached an estimated 4.9 percent in 2011, supported by increases in oil production. Non-hydrocarbon growth also strengthened, to around 2.7 percent, backed by strong trade, tourism, and manufacturing, and despite continued oversupply in the real estate sector. Real non-oil GDP growth is projected to further strengthen to 3.5 percent in 2012," said Harald Finger, an IMF team leader following the conclusion of a two-week visit to the UAE.
"With limited potential for further increases in oil production in the near term, overall GDP growth is expected to moderate to 2.3 percent. Inflation is likely to remain subdued at around 1.5 percent this year."

gulfnews : Middle East set for surge in mergers and acquisitions

The Middle East is set for a revival in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) this year following a long lull, according to a recent survey of business leaders by DLA Piper, a global law firm.
The study based on data from 90 online interviews with DLA Piper's regional database showed the Gulf will witness a strong revival in M&As largely driven by improved liquidity, a pick-up in bank lending and the growing financial requirements for regional firms to expand.
"The financial crisis is more or less behind us," said Abdul Aziz Al Yaqout, regional managing partner at DLA Piper.