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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Business : Abu Dhabi is on track to achieve growth targets

Abu Dhabi is on track to achieve its economic growth targets set in Vision 2030, said Mohammed Omar Abdullah, undersecretary, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

“The annual economic growth rate of five to six per cent envisaged in Vision 2030 may not be met this year. It can fluctuate, however, on an average in the next 18-years, the target fixed will be achieved,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Global Investment Forum organised by DED Abu Dhabi and Institutional Investor magazine, he said the economic department was working on the final touches of key important initiatives to further enhance national economic competitiveness.

Court told of McKillen's Qatari funding - RTÉ News

The High Court in London has been told that property developer Paddy McKillen has negotiated funding from investors in Qatar to secure control of three top hotels in London.
Mr McKillen is challenging Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay's takeover of the hotels last year.
Mr Justice David Richards disclosed that Mr McKillen has negotiated a 50/50 joint venture with Qatari investors who include Sheik Hamed, the prime minister of Qatar.

FT Alphaville » Saudi supply and swooning demand

The latest movement in Brent and TWI crude…

… following the mild retreat after the Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi said on Tuesday that his country stood ready to increase production if necessary.

MENA stock markets close - March 21, 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)

Industries Qatar May Seek Other Funding Sources After Rating Cut - Bloomberg

Industries Qatar (IQCD), the Persian Gulf country’s second-biggest company by market value, will “explore alternative sources of finance” to fund growth, Abdulrahman Ahmad Al-Shaibi, the company’s chief coordinator, said in its 2011 annual report.
Industries Qatar received a AA minus credit rating from Standard & Poor’s last month and a Aa3 rating from Moody’s Investors Service last year. Both ratings were one level below the sovereign-credit grade for the country, Al-Shaibi said.

New Issue-Emirates NBD prices $1.0 bln 2017 bond - Yahoo! News UK

Following are terms and conditions of a bond priced on Wednesday.
Borrower Emirates NBD PJSC
Issue Amount $1.0 billion
Maturity Date March 28, 2017
Coupon 4.625 pct
Reoffer price 99.335
Spread 362 basis points
Underlying govt bond Over the 0.875 pct February 2017 UST
Payment Date March 28, 2012
Lead Manager(s) BofAML, Deutsche Bank, ENBD, HSBC &
Ratings A3 (Moody's),A+ (Fitch)
Listing Lux
Full fees Undisclosed
Denoms (K) 200-1
Governing Law English
Notes Launched under issuer's EMTN programme
ISIN XS0765257141

Deals of troubled Bahraini bank revealed -

A trove of information about Bahrain’s troubled Arcapita Bank is emerging into the public sphere, illustrating the scrutiny that will fall on the privately owned Islamic investment bank as it files for bankruptcy protection in the US.
The bank’s 50 creditors, including the lenders on a $1.1bn Islamic loan due to be repaid on March 28, will be nervously eyeing the outcome of proceedings in the US, where a judge will decide how to restructure the investment bank’s balance sheet.

Saudi contracting firm Al-Mojil sinks into hole - The National

Analysts have been waiting for Mohammad Al-Mojil to turn around, but with over-budget contracts and widening losses, this company is expected to run a rocky course for a while longer.

The dearth of analysts who cover Al-Mojil, a Saudi Arabian construction services provider, gives some indication of how prized, or disliked, this stock currently is.

Haissam Arabi, the chief executive at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai, said his company looked at the stock but found nothing inviting about it. "We just weren't sure it qualified as a turnaround story," Mr Arabi said. "It's not a stock a lot of people are playing with."This week, the company was fined 50,000 Saudi riyals for the late disclosure of its results for last year.

Gulf proves fertile ground for China bank -

China’s largest commercial bank grew rapidly in the Middle East last year, as trade links between the Gulf and the world’s second-largest economy flourished.
Lending, deposits and profits at the Middle East arm of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China all more than doubled in 2011, the bank announced on Wednesday, amid booming demand for trade financing between the two regions.

As Chinese links to the Middle East grew, “we have been able to provide our clients with a trade and investment bridge”, says Tian Zhiping, chief executive of ICBC’s Middle East business.

Will Another Arab Spring Doom Middle East ETFs? (EIS, EGPT, GULF) - MarketWatch

Last year, it was Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. This year it could easily be Syria, Qatar and other Middle East countries that bring about a sequel to 2011's Arab Spring. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has been fighting a seemingly uphill battle to keep his oppressive regime in charge. This week, the Assad administration blamed Qatar and Saudi Arabia for a car bombing in Aleppo, according to the Telegraph.

Qatar, which has a good relationship with the U.S., is playing the role of power broker to the region, but it's speculated the country is a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar enjoys excellent relations with the United States, which has no less than three military bases on its soil – but keeps in touch with al-Qaida through Al Jazeera, which is run by Qatar's ruler, according to the Jerusalem Post.

To top it all off, Algeria is slated to hold elections next month and Libyans head to the polls in June. As the world knows, this is a volatile region and any uptick in said volatility could mean profits and peril for select ETFs

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt financials rally on move; Gulf sees gains - Yahoo! News UK

Egypt's bourse rose on Wednesday as financial stocks rallied after the central bank cut its reserve requirement on local currency deposits, while fresh buying helped lift most Gulf bourses.
The Egyptian central bank said on Tuesday the requirement would be lowered to 12 percent from 14 percent.
Commercial International Bank, Egypt's biggest private bank by assets, jumped 3 percent and investment bank
EFG-Hermes rose 1.8 percent.

Dubai Aluminium profits jump 65 pct in 2011 | Reuters

Dubai Aluminium Corp (Dubal) saw net profits jump 65 percent year on year to a record 3.52 billion dirham ($953 million) in 2011, the government-owned smelter said on Wednesday.

Dubal's record profits were thanks largely to a 28.5 percent year on year increase in gross sales to 11.14 billion ($3.03 billion), making it one of the most profitable Dubai government businesses.

"Reducing budgeted capital expenditures and maintaining tight working capital control contributed significantly to achieving improved cash generation from operating activities and free cash flow," chief executive Abdulla Kalban said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia Losing Control of Oil, McNally Says - Video - Bloomberg

Bob McNally, president and founder of Rapidan Group LLC, talks about Saudi Arabia's oil production and the outlook for oil prices. Saudi Arabia can increase crude production by as much as 25 percent immediately if needed, the country’s oil minister said, seeking to allay the concern over supplies that has driven prices to the highest in three years. McNally speaks with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television's "InsideTrack."

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt gains after cenbank cuts reserve ratio - Yahoo! News UK

Commercial International Bank and other financials lift Egypt's main index to a 1 percent gain, a day after the central bank cut its reserve requirement on local currency deposits, traders say.
The central bank said on Tuesday the requirement would be lowered to 12 percent from 14 percent, in a move aimed at providing banks with more cash to lend to the government and to businesses.
CIB, Egypt's biggest private bank by assets, jumps 3 percent and investment bank EFG-Hermes adds 1.8 percent.

» Arcapita’s Chapter 11 isn’t for all Gulf companies –

Arcapita became the first Gulf Arab firm to file for Chapter 11 in the US on Monday, under pressure from hedge funds which demanded full repayment ahead of the maturity of a $1.1 billion Islamic finance facility on March 28.

With multiple Gulf debt restructurings in the works – including some which have dragged on for more than two years – other debtors could use the framework provided by the legal code as a way to settle their own debt issues.

“Surely this means others will proceed to use it,” said a source involved in the Arcapita restructuring. “It’s an example of the maturity of the local market that a company is looking to use this process.”

UPDATE 1-Bahrain SWF Mumtalakat names Kooheji as new CEO | Reuters

Bahrain's $9 billion sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat appointed Mahmood Hashem al-Kooheji as its new chief executive on Wednesday, replacing Talal Al Zain who resigned last month to set up his own investment firm.

Kooheji, who was deputy chief executive of the fund since 2006, was also mostly recently the chief executive of Bahrain-based labour fund Tamkeen, Mumtalakat said in a statement.

The Kooheji family owns one of the largest family businesses in the Gulf Arab island kingdom and has close ties to the ruling royal al-Khalifa family.

Dubai Stocks Gain After Dubai Investments Dividend - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index rose the most in more than a week after dividend announcements by companies including Dubai Investments PJSC (DIC) improved sentiment and as oil rebounded.
Dubai Investments, the owner of stakes in more than 40 companies, advanced 5.1 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank complying with Shariah rules, rose for the second time this week. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 0.7 percent, the most since March 13, to 1,655.50 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate.
The measure has rallied 22 percent this year as companies posted improved earnings and dividends. The board of Dubai Investments, which posted a 75 percent drop in 2011 profit, recommended a full-year cash dividend of 5 fils a share. Dubai Islamic said today it will pay a 2011 dividend of 12.5 fils a share, more than the 10 fils it had proposed on March 1.

Iraq launches regional charm offensive -

Iraq has launched a spree of commercial and political deals across the Middle East to try to end festering Saddam Hussein-era disputes and build needed alliances as it prepares to host its first Arab League summit for 20 years.
Despite deepening internal tensions, outbreaks of deadly violence and its precarious position between Iran and Gulf Arab states, analysts say Baghdad sees the conference next week as the moment to declare itself politically viable and open for business now the US military occupation has ended.

Qatar is said to build 2% stake in Vivendi - MarketWatch

Qatar Holding has built up a 2% stake in French media and telecommunications group Vivendi for a total outlay of about EUR390 million, reports Wansquare, a business information website.

It said most of the shares were bought in 2011 and that the Qatari investment company's shareholding stood at 1.55% at the end of last year. It has bought more shares for close to EUR90 million since the beginning of the year, Wansquare said. French sovereign wealth fund FSI and Norway's sovereign wealth fund also have small shareholdings of around 2% in Vivendi, according to the website.

UAE's Emal sales to U.S. to more than double in 2012 | Reuters

Emirates Aluminium (Emal), a joint venture between Abu Dhabi's Mubadala and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), is looking to double its exports to the United States by the end of 2012 as demand from the automotive industry rises, it said on Wednesday.

"The orders on our metals have increased because one of our prime products is for automotives," Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, president and chief executive of Emal, said on the sidelines of an investment forum in Abu Dhabi.

"We realized there is an increase in the orders on trucking since there is growth of around seven to eight percent, so we are focusing on that region."

Dubai's Emirates NBD picks banks for 5-yr benchmark dollar bond - Yahoo! News UK

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest lender by market value, has picked banks to arrange a new five-year dollar bond which could price as early as Wednesday, lead managers said on Wednesday.
The bank has mandated HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Emirates NBD itself for a benchmark-sized deal, normally understood to mean at least $500 million.
Initial guidance for the bond was given in the area of 337.5 basis points over midswaps. The bond would be issued under Emirates NBD's $7.5 billion programme.

Kuwait Financial Centre sustains loss in 2011 on turbulent economic climate

Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. “Markaz” announced its 2011 financial results with a net loss of KD 230,000 or 1 fils per share; compared to a net profit of KD 8.2 million in 2010, or 17 fils per share. These results were due to turbulences in local and international investment environment during the year.
Diraar Y. Alghanim, Chairman and Managing Director of ‘Markaz’ said: “Amidst these conditions in the global and local markets and the investment sector during 2011, ‘Markaz’ has sustained its approach in favor of financial prowess and preserving its investments. We continued to steadily rely on high quality assets, low debt-to-equity ratio and high operational income. We were able to preserve our investments during this tough year because of ‘Markaz’ stable income from fees of international and local equity funds and real estate funds in addition to our profitable exits from private equity funds and fee income from investment banking services. We look forward to better results as economic climates improve next year.”

Persian Gulf Stocks: Dubai Investments, Commercial Bank of Qatar - Bloomberg

The DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose 0.8 percent, headed for the biggest increase since March 13, to 1,655.98 at 10:55 a.m. in Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) gained 0.2 percent.

Dubai has its eye on clearing, settlement|Markets|

Dubai is set to become the Middle East's yuan clearing and settlement center by 2015, a United Arab Emirates government economist said on Tuesday.
Starting this year, major UAE banks will offer yuan bank accounts for corporate clients. This will be another step to boost the yuan's role in the region, following a currency-swap agreement intended to promote bilateral trade, Nasser Saidi, chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Center, said on Tuesday.
The economist said the yuan will become the third-largest international currency by 2015, and he forecast that it will account for 20 percent of the currency basket for special drawing rights.

gulfnews : Tapping the mid-tier F&B sector

Can a small business launch operations when it's not perceived to be one? One could say that would be the case when the promoter of the start-up is one of the daughters of the founder of a multi-billion dirham business empire.
That's the situation facing Shafeena Yousuf Ali, owner of the Abu Dhabi-based Tablez Food Co., which has been in business for just over 18 months and has launched three food and beverage (F&B) concepts. But just as pertinently, she is one of the three daughters of Yousuf Ali M.A., founder of the Emke Group and operator of the Lulu supermarkets and hypermarkets.
"I am aware of the perceptions that others may have about my business and how much of a connection there is with my father's," Shafeena said. "That's why it was absolutely vital for me to ensure that Tablez has its degrees of separation from the Emke Group and very well-defined ones at that.

Saudi retailer takes lead on hiring women - The National

One of the biggest retailers in Saudi Arabia has taken on more than 700 Saudi women for its lingerie shops this year and wants half the workforce to be female within two years.

Fawaz Alhokair Group, based in Riyadh, operates more than 1,000 stores across the Middle East and plans to employ 3,000 Saudi women in the kingdom.

"We have recently employed over 700 Saudi women through the conversion of our lingerie stores into woman-only working environments," said Simon Marshall, the chief executive of Fawaz Alhokair. "We have also converted some of our head office roles.

Troubled times for Gulf Finance House - The National

Arcapita's filing for Chapter 11 creditor protection has sparked speculation among investors that Gulf Finance House, the investment bank, could be the next to face troubles.

The lender, which has already embarked on an extensive restructuring process and started asset sales, is in a difficult position, said Ahmad Alanani, the senior executive officer at Exotix.

"The company has burned through cash for the last two years," he said. "Cash flow is negative at the moment, and their ability to generate meaningful revenue is non-existent."

Amlak debt slashed by Dh4 billion - The National

The government committee overseeing the overhaul of Amlak Finance has cut the company's debt by Dh4 billion (US$1.08bn) as attempts to clean up the after-effects of Dubai's debt crisis proceed.

The committee had succeeded in lowering the Islamic mortgage company's total debt "in coordination with the federal Government and the local parties concerned", said Sultan Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy.

Amlak, alongside its rival Tamweel, funded much of Dubai's housing boom. However, their reliance on wholesale funding became apparent when credit markets froze in the autumn of 2008. Trading in the companies' shares stopped in November that year, after an aborted merger that had been floated by the Government.

Saudi Arabia Can Raise Oil Output 25% If Needed

Saudi Arabia can increase crude production by as much as 25 percent immediately if needed, the country's oil minister said, seeking to allay the concern over supplies that has driven prices to the highest in three years.

Brent crude has gained 15 percent in London this year to about $124 a barrel. Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, a transit point for a fifth of the world's traded oil, in response to sanctions on its crude exports imposed over its nuclear program.

"If you believe Hormuz will be closed, I will sell you the Empire State or the Egyptian pyramids," Ali al-Naimi said in a briefing with reporters in Doha, Qatar today. "I want to assure you that there is no shortage of supply in the market. OPEC is supplying what it needs, we have capacity, additional reserves of 2.5 million barrels" a day.

Glad tidings for DP World, a firm at the sharp end of Dubai Inc - The National

DP World is probably the best bellwether company to gauge the real economy of Dubai.

Emirates Airline might fly in the tourists and businessmen in their millions; Jumeirah might put them up while they shop and spend in the emirate.

But the financial and property sectors still struggle with downside risks.