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Monday, 2 April 2012

gulfnews : Legislation could redefine tie-ups with big brands

More than in any other sector, the UAE's service industry could be thrown into an immediate state of flux if, as expected, major revisions are brought into the Commercial Agency Law. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Looking at the UAE's retail and service spaces, it would be difficult to imagine there are international brands yet to find representation here. That would be true of the big and mid-sized labels, but the nature of this industry is such that new names with a global following are being created at a frenetic pace.
But these brands are less likely to agree to a commercial practice where they would have to part with a sizable chunk of any future revenues here to a local partner. More so as many of them don't feel the need to have a partner in the first place.

gulfnews : Royal Jordanian expects merger with larger carrier

Royal Jordanian Airlines, a member of the British Airways-led Oneworld alliance, said a merger with a larger carrier is inevitable as high fuel prices, competition from local rivals and a sluggish economy squeeze earnings.
While Amman-based Royal Jordanian, founded in 1963 and one of the Middle East's oldest airlines, has no concrete plans for a transaction, it views consolidation as "a must," Chief Executive Officer Hussein Dabbas said in an interview.
"We are looking and reviewing options and talking to airlines to see when the time is right for us to do something," Dabbas said yesterday. "With the pressure we are seeing from mega-carriers around the world, whether European or regional, to continue as we are is going to be a difficult game to follow."

Drydocks creditors seek detail on debt deal - The National

Drydocks World's use of Decree 57, which established the Dubai World Tribunal, is a landmark for the development of business practice in Dubai, some experts say.

But others want more clarity on the details of the deal the company has reached with its financial creditors, which are owed US$2.2 billion (Dh8.08bn).

"It's a good thing for the UAE. One of the biggest problems in the country was the absence of any procedure for dealing with bankruptcy, apart from straight default," said Said Hirsh, a Middle East analyst at the consultancy Capital Economics in London. "Creditors will favour a procedure that allows companies to organise insolvency."

Egypt says no IMF agreement until June - Yahoo! News UK

Egyptian Planning Minister Faiza Abu El-Naga said on Monday that Egypt expected to sign a $3.2 billion financing package with the International Monetary Fund in June, three months later than it had previously hoped.
The political and economic turmoil since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011 has dragged the country towards a balance of payments crisis, and in January the government said it wanted to seal an IMF agreement by March.
The IMF says that before it agrees to a loan, the government must first sell the plan to the country's political forces, especially the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which won nearly half the seats in the new parliament.

MENA stock markets close - April 2, 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)

Egypt investors shift to longer-term debt: analysts | Reuters

Growing local appetite for medium-term Egyptian government debt helped push the average yield on three-year bonds lower at an auction on Monday and market watchers said investors were shifting some funds from short-term tenors.

Egyptian treasury yields have soared in the past year as foreign investors fled the economic turmoil that followed a popular uprising, putting the onus on local banks to help make up for weaker tax income and higher wage and subsidy demands.

The yields have eased a little since February on hopes for a peaceful transition from army rule and optimism the government will avert a funding crisis with aid from foreign donors.

Baghdad struggles within the Arab fold -

Pity Iraq. The Arab League summit was supposed to be its coming out party after years of occupation and war, and decades of brutal dictatorship. Baghdad spent a fortune to prepare for the show and planned it meticulously for months.
True, the Iraqi government can claim to have scored some successes. There was relatively limited violence during the event. And one key invitee – the emir of Kuwait – attended in a highly symbolic move, more than 20 years after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iraq’s neighbour.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Qatar hits fresh 12-wk high; Gulf mostly higher | News by Country | Reuters

Qatar's bourse rose to a fresh 12-week high on Monday as investors took positions ahead on anticipation of strong first-quarter earnings results from the Gulf state's companies in a mostly upbeat session in the Gulf.

Doha's index climbed 0.3 percent to 8,867 points, its highest close since Jan. 5 and eighth straight day of gains. The benchmark is nearing its 12-month high of 8,910 points, which will pose a strong resistance.

Qatar National Bank kicks off the country's earnings season on April 4.

Damas bid part of Mannai’s broader plan -

Qatar’s Mannai Corporation has had its highs and lows in 60 years of doing business. But its audacious $445m bid for Dubai’s Damas is likely to be remembered as a milestone in its move to become a regional player.
While Dubai’s corporates were hit hard by the financial crisis, those in nearby Qatar have taken much less heat. In return, Doha boardrooms have been one of the first ports of call for Dubai companies trying to sell assets or raise funding. The trend is exemplified by Mannai’s play on Damas, the most high-profile Dubai move yet to be made by a Qatari company.

UPDATE 1-Q-Cells says to file for insolvency on Tuesday | Reuters

The solar industry crisis claimed another victim on Monday, as Germany's Q-Cells , once the world's largest maker of solar cells, said it would file for insolvency after running out of time to restructure its finances.

The industry crisis, triggered by plunging prices for solar equipment, overcapacity and falling government subsidies, has already claimed some of Q-Cells peers, including Solon , Solar Millennium and Solarhybrid, which all filed for insolvency in recent months.

Q-Cells had said on Friday it would look into other ways to restructure its debt, after concluding that a court ruling would prevent it from going ahead with an existing plan to swap debt for equity.

StanChart, Emirates NBD said to plan US$900m DIFC loan - Banking & Finance -

Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD and Noor Islamic Bank are among banks that may lend Dubai’s DIFC Investments US$900m to help it pay an Islamic bond, according to two bankers familiar with the deal.
The three banks are the front-runners for the transaction that will enable the company, the owner of properties in the tax-free Dubai International Financial Centre, to pay its US$1.25bn sukuk maturing in June, the bankers said, declining to be identified because the information is private.
Another two banks may join the lenders’ group, although no mandate has been awarded yet, they said.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Air Arabia, Aramex and Saudi Industrial - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) was little changed at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh after earlier rising as much as 0.5 percent. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) retreated 0.4 percent.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait Finance House sells land for $36.7 mln - Yahoo! News UK

Kuwait Finance House, whose shares were suspended on Monday, said it had sold 20 plots of land for 10.19 million Kuwaiti dinars ($36.7 million).
Kuwait's bourse said earlier on Monday it had suspended trading in the company's shares pending an announcement.
The shares last traded at 780 Kuwaiti fils ($2.81) according to Reuters data.

Dubai's Drydocks files Singapore case to get creditor backing - Yahoo! News UK

Shipbuilder Drydocks World, which sought insolvency protection in Dubai to get holdout creditors to support its $2.2 billion debt restructuring on Monday, has also filed legal proceedings in Singapore to push through the
proposal, its lawyers said.
Drydocks, with operations in Dubai, Indonesia and Singapore, filed the case with a Dubai special tribunal which can compel creditors to accept terms already adopted by the majority.
Drydocks' lawyers said the Singapore filing was under section 210 of that country's companies act which provides for similar provisions.

Kuwait Finance House trading suspended - bourse | Reuters

Kuwait's bourse said on Monday it had suspended trading in the shares of Kuwait Finance House ahead of a statement by the company.

The shares last traded at 780 Kuwaiti fils ($2.81) according to Reuters data. The company declined to comment.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Mid-caps weigh on UAE mkts; Qatar rallies - Yahoo! News UK

UAE benchmarks end lower as investors cut positions in some mid-cap stocks ahead of first-quarter earnings, while Qatar's index extends gains.
Dubai's measure slips 0.4 percent to 1,654 points, trimming 2012 gains to 22.2 percent. It has moved within a
50-point range for the past two weeks as an early-year surge gives way to consolidation.
Investors are shifting positions ahead of earnings, with stocks that were recent targets for speculative trading now sold in favour of fundamentally stronger firms.

Dr Nasser Saidi explains the $110bn infrastructure opportunity in the Middle East « ArabianMoney

Dubai International Financial Centre chief economist Dr Nasser Saidi last week hosted a seminar on infrastructure finance. Peter Cooper caught up with him to hear about the scale of the opportunity and how airports and aircraft are as important as roads and bridges these days.

Dr Saidi says 2011 was a turnaround year for Dubai, especially in tourism. Becoming a regional hub for infrastructure finance does not appear an unrealistic ambition and one that will fuel the growth of the DIFC as a regional financial centre.

UAE Econ Min: Oil price volatility to impact maritime trade | Reuters

Current oil price fluctuations may increase the costs of maritime trade in the short term, while piracy is another concern for the shipping industry, the United Arab Emirates' Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said on Monday.

"The oil price the short term is not positive and will impact the maritime trade," Mansouri told a trade conference in the UAE capital.

He also said Abu Dhabi's new Khalifa Port would become operational in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Bahrain bank faces $40m lawsuit over derivatives

Legal proceedings could be launched this week against an international bank in Bahrain after five families claimed they were duped out of $40 million.

The families claim they have been mis-sold complex financial products that they did not fully understand and were not made fully aware of the consequences, write Mandeep Singh and Rebecca Torr in a Gulf Daily News report.

They were allegedly told they would replace their usual standard currency transactions and they would benefit from a discount compared to rates they got from other banks.

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Drydocks goes to court to force creditors in line - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai World's shipbuilding unit filed for insolvency protection, using a special law set up after the emirate's debt crisis, to force holdout creditors to sign on to its $2.2 billion restructuring proposal, two sources said on Monday.
Drydocks World, which has said a significant majority of its lenders had formally backed the deal, filed a notification under Decree 57 on Sunday night, sources told ALB The Brief, a Thomson Reuters publication.
"The tribunal convened late last night and issued a moratorium and a hearing has been set (for Monday)," said one source.

UPDATE 1-UAE's NMC Health raises $187 mln from London IPO - Yahoo! News UK

UAE healthcare provider NMC Health raised 117 million pounds ($186.9 million) from its London initial public offering (IPO), joining a growing list of Gulf firms seeking overseas listings to counter moribound regional equity markets.
NMC, founded by billionaire Indian entrepreneur B.R. Shetty, sold 55.7 million new shares at 210 pence each - the bottom end of a 200-280 pence price range. A 15 percent greenshoe, or overallotment option, made up of existing shares will be exercised, NMC said on Monday.
The listing, only the second flotation on London's main market this year after Russian oil producer RusPetro in
January, signals a slight recovery in European equity markets after a hiatus caused by fears over the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

gulfnews : Addressing economic challenges in Bahrain

The state of Bahrain's economy is a mixed one, leaning more towards negative rather than positive developments.
Starting with encouraging news, the country is due to host — for the first time since 2010 — the Formula One Grand Prix races from the 20th to 22nd of this month.
In 2011, most F1 teams opted to shun a rescheduled appearance in Bahrain to protest the government's handling of protesters demanding political reforms.

Oil prices lift GCC but risks remain - The National

Oil prices in the first quarter advanced further from last year's elevated levels, providing a lift for GCC economies but a potential threat to the global economic recovery.

The spectre of Iran loomed large after the United States and the European Union burdened Opec's second-largest producer with a new round of sanctions designed to stifle oil exports.

"The market is going to be subject to an ongoing level of uncertainty throughout 2012, because of what is happening in the Middle East," said David Fyfe, the oil & industry markets division head at the International Energy Agency.

Drydocks World lenders brace for haircut - The National

Drydocks World is expected to reveal the terms of its proposed US$2.2 billion (Dh8.08bn) restructuring today.

The proposed deal is to last five years and analysts say lenders could take a haircut on their original loans.

"Since the majority of lenders support [the restructuring], it is a done deal," said Khamis Juma Buamim, the company's chairman.

He would not comment on whether three hedge funds that are creditors were among the small minority of investors yet to agree to the restructuring. Monarch Alternative Capital, a hedge fund in the United States, last month won a $45.5 million legal case against Drydocks.

GCC bourses surge 4.6%, but Omani market slides: Times of Oman

The stock markets in the six-member Gulf states were up again in March, gaining 4.6 per cent after surging 7.4 per cent in February. However, Omani bourse slipped two per cent amid dividend adjustment in March.

The surge in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bourses was led by Saudi Arabia, which was up 8.39 per cent for the third consecutive month, while Kuwait’s weighted index gained 2.61 per cent. Losses were seen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with Abu Dhabi and Dubai declining 1.69 per cent and 2.73 per cent, respectively, while Oman was down two per cent, said a report released by Kuwait Financial Centre yesterday.

“The upward trend was led by Saudi Arabia, primarily due to enhanced liquidity and high oil prices,” said Kanaga Sundar, Senior Research Analyst at Gulf Baader Capital Markets. “The fundamentals of Saudi market are improving. The growth in government expenditure is benefiting the corporate sector.

A Ruler and his Dubai World Cup – Business 360 - Blogs

It was a storybook finish at the world’s richest horse race. After a six-year drought on his home turf (actually a synthetic surface called Tapeta), Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum watched with a royal smile that could light up the Meydan Grandstand at the racing venue he built on the outskirts of his emirate Dubai.

Monterosso, ridden by the Spanish jockey he personally picked, Mickael Barzalona, cruised to victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup. In a CNN interview right off the winner’s circle at Meydan, the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates told me, “My heart was in my throat at that time and I didn’t know what to say but thank God we won it and everybody has won - all of the country - I’m double happy now!”

“Double happy” because the Godolphin stables took one and two after not winning since 2006. The President of the UAE called to send his congratulations knowing how passionate Sheikh Mohammed is about his racing empire.