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Monday, 26 March 2012

MENA stock markets close - #march 26, 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)

BBC News - UK in talks to sell part of RBS stake to Abu Dhabi

The UK government is in talks to sell a significant stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to Abu Dhabi, the BBC has learned.

The government, which controls 82% of RBS, has for months been negotiating with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds.

It could sell up to a third of its stake to Abu Dhabi, one of the seven states of the United Arab Emirates.

Why the oil markets ignore the Saudis - Amotz Asa-El's View from Jerusalem - MarketWatch

There was something brave about Saudi Arabia’s swift response last week as the May Brent-crude-oil price momentarily soared past $127 a barrel, some 30% higher than the price last fall and only $20 off the historic high registered in summer 2008.

The immediate cause of the new energy crunch is obviously the expected plunge in Iranian supplies. Recent reports suggest Iran is already reducing production levels in anticipation of reduced demand in the wake of tightening sanctions.

Under other circumstances the Saudi government might have focused on the financial benefits of rising energy prices, but in this case the political context left the Saudis no choice but to fight the market trend, as they are at odds with Iran no less, in some ways even more, than Israel is.

Persian Gulf Breakeven Oil Is $77 A Barrel, Deutsche Bank Says - Bloomberg

The average breakeven oil price for Persian Gulf countries is $77 a barrel, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)’s regional chairman said.
“Oil this year is the new Greece, the new uncertainty on the economy,” Henry Azzam said at a conference in Doha today. Markets are pricing the “higher risk of supply disruption.”
Oil will average $115 a barrel this year, he said. “The oil market is ‘‘very very tight.’’

Saudi Borrowing Costs Rise to 10-Month High as Lending Picks Up - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s one-year and six- month treasury bill yields rose to 10-month highs after loan growth reached the fastest pace in almost three years, lifting borrowing costs in the world’s largest oil exporter.
The Persian Gulf nation paid 0.58 percent on one-year notes at its weekly auction today, up four basis points from last week’s sale, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The yield, which has risen in the last four auctions, is up six basis points this month to the highest level since May. The yield on six-month notes gained two basis points to 0.456 percent, also the highest in 10 months.
Borrowing costs are rising in the largest Arab economy as it pursues plans to spend more than $500 billion to develop infrastructure, build homes and create jobs. Claims on the private sector grew 12.1 percent in February, the fastest pace since March 2009, according to central bank data. Treasury-bill sales rose 3.8 percent in February to 130.8 billion riyals ($35 billion), the first monthly increase since May.

Persian Gulf Stocks: BankMuscat, Bank Dhofar, Qatar Navigation - Bloomberg

Oman’s benchmark MSM30 index tumbled 1.5 percent, the most since August, to 5,826.22 at the 1:00 p.m. close in Muscat. Qatar’s QE Index rose 0.3 percent.

Kuwait banks' provisions top with 150 pct rise - Financial and Business News - MENAFN

Don't fall victim to fraud by hiring "crooks" - Dubai World -

Financial experts in Dubai today warned UAE companies not to hire “crooks” if they want to avoid falling victim to fraud.
According to data from Dubai World, more than 15 percent of executive résumés are falsified, while internal fraud on average slashes company revenues by around 5 percent.
“It is essential; it is paramount, that you hire the right person,” said Abdulqader Obaid Ali, chief of internal auditing at Dubai World.

Dubai developer inks terms for $500 million Egypt mall loan - Ahram Online

Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF) has agreed terms for a new $500 million loan to fund a shopping centre in Egypt where the mall developer had to take writedowns after Arab Spring protests, its chief executive said on Monday.

MAF, the sole franchisee of Carrefour hypermarkets in the Gulf, said it took writedowns of 300 million dirhams ($81.68 million) on its hotel assets in Bahrain and 250 million dirhams on its Egypt assets in 2011, Iyad Malas said.

"There was an adjustment of value of assets both in Bahrain and Egypt," he told reporters, adding the firm had to write down valuations of two hotels built adjacent to Bahrain City Centre.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala invests $2 billion in Brazil's EBX Group | Reuters

Abu Dhabi state investment fund Mubadala MUDEV.UL will invest $2 billion in Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's EBX Group, it said on Monday, one of its biggest forays into Latin America.

Mubadala, which has stakes in General Electric (GE.N) and private equity firm Carlyle CYL.UL, said it would make the investment in exchange for a 5.63 percent preferred equity interest in the Centennial Asset Brazilian Equity Fund.

"This... transaction marks our first significant direct investment into one of the fastest growing markets and is an important step in Mubadala's development of strategic opportunities in Brazil and Latin America," Khaldoon al-Mubarak, Mubadala's chief executive and managing director, said in a statement.

Business centre takes shape in Abu Dhabi -

An unusual sight awaits guests taking the sun at Abu Dhabi’s Beach Rotana hotel. Just a stone’s throw from their deckchairs at the water’s edge, the Gulf’s newest commercial district is rising from what was a patch of desert island just years ago.
Part of the construction spree that is gradually transforming the once sleepy city, the Sowwah Island project is taking shape as a counterpoint to the bustling Dubai International Financial Centre a little more than an hour’s drive away.

EFG-Hermes finds potential Gulf partner | beyondbrics –

EFG-Hermes, the biggest publicly-traded investment bank in Egypt and the Arab world, has found a potential partner after the battering its stock has suffered in Cairo’s political turmoil. Deep-pocketed Qatar may be coming to its assistance.

EFG and Qatar’s QInvest said in a statement on Monday that they are in talks to create a “strategic alliance”.  While nothing is certain, investors are betting that something will come out of the discussions: EFG stock jumped 7 per cent.

The Egyptian company, has seen business dry up and its share price fall in half since protesters took to the streets of Cairo in January 2011.

Aramex May Tap Debt Market as It Seeks Funding for Acquisitions - Bloomberg

Aramex PJSC (ARMX), which competes in the Middle East with Deutsche Post’s DHL and United Parcel Service Inc., may tap the debt market for the first time since its IPO as the Dubai-based company seeks financing for acquisitions.
“With our acquisitions last year our cash went down, but being a company that has very little debt our debt capacity is quite substantial,” Chief Executive Officer Fadi Ghandour said in a phone interview yesterday. “If we do an acquisition over a certain size we will have to tap the debt market. It will be something between $50 million and $100 million.”
Aramex, the largest courier company in the Middle East, has been expanding into Asia, Africa and Europe through acquisitions and partnerships. The company said March 14 it signed a partnership agreement with CJ GLS Corp. of South Korea. That followed a joint venture with SinoAir in China, and acquisition of OneWorld Courier and In-Time Couriers in Kenya, and Berco Express in South Africa.

UAE- Gulf must look beyond hydrocarbon wealth - Financial and Business News - MENAFN

Egypt's EFG Hermes in merger talks with Qatar firm | Reuters

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes said on Monday it was in discussions with QInvest for a possible merger.

EFG Hermes and the Qatari Islamic investment bank are in talks for a tie-up of their securities brokerage, asset management and investment banking operations. EFG Hermes Private Equity is not included in the discussions, according to a statement.

PROFILE-Kuwait Central Bank Governor Mohammad al-Hashel - Yahoo! News UK

Position: Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait

Term: Appointed March 2012

Key Facts:

-- Kuwait's cabinet has approved Mohammad al-Hashel as the new governor of Kuwait's central bank, promoting the 37-year-old from his position as deputy.
-- He replaces veteran policymaker Sheikh Salem Abdul-Aziz al-Sabah, who headed the central bank for 25 years and resigned last month, protesting at a rapid rise in government spending.

gulfnews : TID Sukuk removed from Nasdaq Dubai trading

Nasdaq Dubai yesterday announced the removal of TID Global Sukuk 1 Limited from admission to trading.
The exchange said in a statement posted on its website that the security has been removed from trading with immediate effect following the Dubai Financial Service's (DFSA) announcement to delist the sukuk.
The DFSA announced its decision to delist TID Global Sukuk 1 Limited from its official list securities pursuant to Article 19 (1) of the Markets Law 2004.

DP World to repay $3 bln October loan with cash - Yahoo! News UK

DP World, the world's third-largest port operator, will repay a $3 billion outstanding facility maturing in October with cash, the company said in a statement on Monday.
The repayments will take place between April 4 to 10, reducing the company's total debt to approximately $4.7 billion, it said in a regulatory filing on Nasdaq Dubai.
DP World had $4.2 billion of cash balances at the end of last year and after the loan repayment its cash balance will be $1.2 billion.

gulfnews : Gulf women are agents of change

The women of the Gulf are an essential part of their communities' future, and they all need to be educated and ready to play a full part in society and business. There should be no place for male chauvinism masquerading under false social or religious opinions. As Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education, said last week when he spoke of the importance of educating Emirati women: "No society can afford to bank half of its human capital in a dormant account."
Greg Mortenson, the inspirational educationalist who has built thousands of schools in the remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, frequently quotes a proverb "Educate a boy, and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community". He is well aware that young men with education will often travel to seek a better future for themselves, whereas women often stay in the communities and have a huge social impact on everyone around them.

gulfnews : Malabar Gold aims to become world's top jewellery retailer

The Indian jewellery retailer Malabar Gold, which is developing an extensive base in the Gulf region, wants to be a $6 billion (Dh22 billion) company by 2016.
Along with a chain of 220 outlets worldwide, this would, according to a top official, propel the company to be the world's biggest jewellery retailer from its current third position behind Hong Kong-based CTF and Tiffany & Co.
The targets — and the plans that would help meet them — were unveiled yesterday in Dubai. The move assumes significance given that the company's Gulf operations now account for 25 per cent of turnover. An additional 15,000 jobs will also be created as part of the programme.

gulfnews : DP World to raise $1b loan from bank consortium

DP World Ltd., the world's third-biggest port operator, is raising about $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in a credit facility from a group of 10 to 12 banks, three people familiar with the matter said.
The five-year revolving credit offers a margin of 225 basis points above the London interbank offered rate (Libor), said two people, declining to be identified because the information is private.
Each bank may contribute about $75 million, and the Dubai company and the banks may sign an agreement in two weeks, one of them said.

gulfnews : Dubai Chamber hopes ratings service will attract investment

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging companies to use its credit rating service in an effort to bring in more foreign investment.
Dr Belaid Rettab, senior director in the economic research and sustainable business development sector at the Dubai Chamber, told Gulf News that the Credit Rating Service established in 2005 helps raise confidence in UAE companies.
"Credit ratings provide a formal evaluation of a company's credit history and serve as an effective risk assessment tool," Rettab said.

Drydocks to treat all lenders equally despite court setback - The National

Drydocks World will treat all lenders equally in its US$2.2 billion (Dh8bn) restructuring, despite one of its creditors obtaining a high court judgement in the United Kingdom against the shipbuilder.

Monarch Alternative Capital, a hedge fund in the United States, last week won a $45.5 million case against Drydocks, which is owned by Dubai World, putting the shipbuilder and repair company's debt restructuring in jeopardy. Drydocks sought a restructuring of its debt in 2010, having overstretched itself with an overseas expansion. Three hedge funds, including Monarch, now own part of its debt.

"We are not going to pay anybody [early]," said Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of Drydocks World. "It's going to be part of the $2.2bn restructuring. We are treating all lenders the same. We cannot do something special to one party." Monarch declined to comment.

Abraaj puts faith in smaller firms - The National

Abraaj Capital will invest in up to 15 small businesses across the Middle East this year as the private-equity firm seeks to become a global player among small to medium enterprises.

The Dubai company's newly acquired stake in The Entertainer, a publisher of discount coupons, is the 14th investment made by its US$650 million (Dh2.38 billion) strategic fund, Riyada Enterprise Development, which was set up in 2010 to invest specifically in small businesses across the region.

"We invest in companies with proven business models that are profitable today but where the real growth is ahead of them," said Tom Speechley, the chief executive of Riyada.

Jobs key to Arab Spring recovery - The National

Chronic unemployment helped to spark the Arab Spring that toppled rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya as well as triggering the present strife in Syria.

But while the political landscape is changing, 15 months later, an estimated 25 million people across the Middle East and North Africa remain out of work.

"We are in a new realm and need to carve out a new social contract targeting wages, working and living standards, not just economic growth," says Nada Al Nashif, the regional director for Arab states for the International Labour Organization (ILO). She adds, however, that progress is being made to bring jobs to the troubled states of the Middle East and North Africa.

Tadawul hits the heights for Saudi Arabia - The National

The Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange closed above the 7,700 mark yesterday for the first time since 2008 as the bourse continues its stellar rise this year.

Stocks on the Tadawul All-Share Index closed up 1.08 per cent to 7,758.66 in Riyadh. The last time the index was above 7,700 was in September 2008. The Tadawul is up more than 20 per cent since January.

Analysts speculated that the surge in equity trading in Saudi Arabia this year was attributable to fresh money entering the market from recent government compensation payments, as the state appropriates privately owned land and property to continue its development of the kingdom. Concern about a new land tax may also be driving investors away from traditional investments in land and to the stock market, analysts said. High oil prices are also thought to be helping to drive the boom.

Gulf Times – Industrials help Qatar index cross 8,700 level

Strong buying interest in the industrial segment yesterday helped the Qatar Exchange to surpass the 8,700 level.
Foreign institutions were seen exerting bullish momentum as the 20-stock benchmark rose 0.60% or 52 points to 8,705.15 points. The market is however down 0.84% year-to-date.
About 60% of the stocks extended gains with major movers being Commercialbank, Industries Qatar, Milaha, Barwa and Nakilat.

gulfnews : Dubai's bold move to cut red tape

The Dubai Department of Economic Development is planning to issue trade licences to investors on application, allowing them to open for business immediately. However, they will have to comply with all licensing requirements — such as securing the necessary approvals from relevant government departments — within 120 days. This will ensure that they provide safe, quality goods and services in line with government regulations.
The new licensing procedure is the kind of bold move to cut red tape that will increase the ease of doing business in Dubai and make it an attractive destination for foreign and domestic investment. And, by making it easier and cheaper for small companies to start-up, it will provide an important boost to the economy and for job creation in the emirate, as they are responsible for most of the expansion of business activity in Dubai.
As Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said: "It is critical that the key sectors of our economy — trade, logistics, finance, knowledge sector, tourism, retail, and manufacturing and industry — are made stronger and more competitive in this globalised age."

Investment banks must choose to invest or quit key areas: report - Yahoo! News UK

Investment banks need to make bold decisions to choose to invest in areas where they have a comparative advantage to win business or choose to exit them as the industry prepares for a big upheaval in the next year or two, a report said on Monday.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said wholesale banks could bounce back to deliver returns on equity (RoE) of 12-14 percent in the next two years following structural changes.
That is seen as the level needed to match the cost of equity and deliver profitable returns for investors, but many analysts and investors think they may struggle for some time to get there.