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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Buoyant stock markets may fuel Gulf IPO revival - Arab News

A resurgence of stock market trading in the Gulf Arab region is raising hopes for a revival of initial public offers, more than three years after the global financial crisis brought share sales to a grinding halt.

Traditionally a popular source of funding for companies in the region, IPO activity suffered a sharp drop during the global financial crisis as moribund equity markets and a lack of investor appetite deterred companies from trying to raise funds through that channel.

It still has not recovered. Equity capital markets issuance in the Middle East, the vast majority of it in the Gulf Arab oil exporters, totaled a meager $1 billion in the first quarter of 2012, a 21 percent decline from a year earlier, Thomson Reuters data shows.

Gulf Again Able to Reap a Rich Harvest of Pearls -

Mohamed al Suwaidi sits cross-legged on a wooden dhow off the coast of Al Rams fishing village in Ras al-Khaimah.
Two hours away from Dubai’s skyscrapers and six-lane highways, Al Rams is home to a pearl farm where dirt roads open to the sea.

The warm air smells of fish, birds circle low over mangroves, and men — much like their grandfathers decades before them — search for oysters carrying the shiniest pearls.

MENA stock markets close - May 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt falls after clashes; Dubai extends decline - Yahoo! News UK

Egypt's market fell on Wednesday as concerns weighed over the country's transition to democracy after deadly clashes near the Defence Ministry in Cairo, while Dubai's bourse fell for a sixth session and other markets were flat. Cairo's benchmark index fell 0.6 percent.
"The market is reacting to the violence and clashes," said Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities.
Eleven people were killed and more than 160 wounded near the ministry after armed men assaulted protesters demanding an end to army rule, prompting two Islamist candidates to suspend their presidential election campaigns.

Gulf bourses act to lure foreign capital -

Gulf equity markets are taking small but positive steps to increase foreign appetite for their offerings after trading volumes slumped in the region.
Saudi Arabia, home to the Arab world’s largest equity market, has resolved a spat with MSCI, the index provider, and was reintroduced to the company’s globally renowned indices this week. In Kuwait, authorities announced a new trading system before privatisation of the stock market.

Tough year ahead for Arab spring states -

Oil-importing countries in the Middle East and north Africa face a tough year as they try to maintain macroeconomic stability amid political transitions, the IMF said.
The IMF, launching its twice yearly regional economic outlook, said countries such as Egypt and Tunisia were running out of policy options to battle a “slow and drawn-out economic recovery” as the move from dictatorship to democracy takes longer than expected.
Political transitions weighed on economies in 2011, as gross domestic product growth halved to 2.2 per cent, well below the levels needed to tackle unemployment.

WAM | DFM releases April performance report

Dubai Financial Market General Index decreased by 1.1% to 1631 points at the end of April compared to 1648.9 points at the end of March, according to the DFM performance report for April. At the sectoral level, seven out of the nine indices represented on DFM ended the month in the red, with Services sector decreasing the most by 17.3%, followed by the Industrial and Transportation sectors by 10.4%, and 9.3% respectively. Real estate '&' Construction index rose by 6.1%. The consumer staples sector has not witnessed any changes during this month.

Carlyle Group lowers IPO price range: source - Yahoo! News UK

Carlyle Group LP plans to price its IPO between $22 and $23 per unit, lower than its initial $23-$25 range, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, as the private equity firm courts stock market investors.
The book has closed and orders have been received within the new price range for more than the 30.5 million shares on offer, the source said. Pricing of the initial public offering is expected after the market close on Wednesday, with trading starting on Thursday on Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol "CG" .
A Carlyle spokesman declined to comment.

Dubai's Jafza seeks consent for early sukuk repayment | Alrroya

Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) is seeking consent from holders of its $2 billion-equivalent Islamic bond, or sukuk, for early redemption of the certificates, the company said in a disclosure to Nasdaq Dubai on Wednesday.

The state-linked industrial free zone, part of a unit owned by Dubai World, has scheduled a meeting on May 24 in London to approve the Extraordinary Resolution and initiated the "consent solicitation" on Wednesday.

Jafza, located on the outskirts of Dubai, said earlier this week it was in advanced discussions with banks over a financing package to meet its bond obligation.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Large-caps drag down Dubai; Abu Dhabi ends flat - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai's large-caps drag down index to a 10-week low, nearly breaking it out of its sideways trend, while      Abu Dhabi and Qatar's bourses end near-flat.
Heavyweight Emaar Properties drops 3.1 percent,trimming 2012 gains to 22.6 percent. Investors sell the stock
after being entitled to a cash dividend of 0.1 dirhams per share.
Dubai Investments falls 7.4 percent, also trading post ex-dividend date. Emirates NBD and telecom operator du shed 1.4 and 0.3 percent respectively.
The index falls 1.6 percent to 1,597 points, its lowest finish since Feb. 21. The benchmark is still up 18 percent

Arab youth look to economy -

Young Arabs may have been at the forefront of the uprisings that changed a decades-old political order but a year on from the Arab uprisings they are more concerned with economics than the struggle for democracy, according to a survey.
The 2,500 young people polled also felt that political corruption was on the increase – despite it being a catalyst for the protests against long-serving leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – but said they remained optimistic about the future.

UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's TAQA to start work on Dutch gas project | Reuters

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) will begin work on the delayed Dutch Bergermeer gas project in July after winning approval from the country's highest administrative court to start operations, it said on Wednesday.

The joint venture project with EBN, an independent company with the Dutch State as its sole shareholder, was suspended due to environmental concerns, with the administrative court asking for additional tests to be done.

"The decision of the Council of State is the final stage of a transparent and meticulous process in which environmental concerns have been of the absolute highest priority," TAQA said.  TAQA, which is 75-percent owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, said ten of the eleven competent authorities had earlier approved the project, including the national parliament.

Egypt Brotherhood drafts sukuk law amid deficit: report | Alrroya

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood party is working on draft legislation to allow for the sale of Islamic bonds to help address a budget deficit and dwindling reserves.

“There’s a big budget deficit and the government is borrowing through treasury bills and bonds with high yields,” Ashraf Badreldin, a lawmaker with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said by phone from Cairo on April 30. “The goal is to enable the government to issue sukuk to finance infrastructure and other projects.” The target is to complete the draft law by July, he said.

The North African country under toppled President Hosni Mubarak banned political parties based on religion and didn’t develop Islamic debt markets. Egypt, which is paying near-record yields on local-currency debt after last year’s uprising, may follow sovereigns in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council in selling Shariah-compliant bonds, which pay returns to comply with the religion’s ban on interest.

Banque Saudi Fransi picks banks for sukuk roadshows - Yahoo! News UK

Banque Saudi Fransi has mandated Citi, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole to arrange global fixed income meetings starting May 7, the arranging banks said in an announcement on Wednesday.
A benchmark dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or sukuk, may follow subject to market conditions. Benchmark is usually understood to mean at least $500 million.
Roadshows begin in Riyadh on May 7, and will cover the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur before ending in London on May 11.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Emaar drags down Dubai; Abu Dhabi flat - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai's Emaar Properties drags down the emirate's index after hitting ex-dividend date but gainers outweigh losers as bargain hunters return.
Shares in Emaar are down 2.5 percent. Investors sell the stock after being entitled to a cash dividend of 0.1 dirhams per share.
Dubai Investments falls 6.9 percent, also trading post ex-dividend date.

StanChart posts high single-digit first-quarter income growth - Yahoo! News UK

Standard Chartered said its first-quarter income grew by less than its previous 10 percent target, as the strength of the U.S. dollar against Asian currencies impacted income growth.
London-based Standard Chartered <2888.HK>, which gets about four-fifths of its income in Asia, earns much of that income in local currencies, which translates to fewer dollars when the U.S. currency strengthens.
Despite this, the overall tone of the bank's management update was positive, with expenses under control and income growth exceeding cost growth. The bank said that while India continued to disappoint it saw double-digit income growth in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Americas, as well as in its home market.

Kuwait to Start Building 6 Tankers, Receive 9 in 2014, KUNA Says - Bloomberg

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co. will start building six oil and gas tankers in 2014, state news agency KUNA reported, citing KOTC’s chairman.
The company will also receive nine tankers in mid-2014 as part of a $556 million contract it signed earlier this year with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (042660), Chairman Nabil Bouresli said, according to KUNA.

GCC banks to perform better in 2012 - Emirates 24/7

Banks in Gulf oil producers netted higher profits in 2011 and are expected to perform better this year because of high public spending and an increase in lending, according to a key Kuwaiti bank.

Most banks in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which controls over 40 per cent of the world’s extractable oil deposits, have recovered from the 2008 global fiscal distress and regional debt default problems but their 2011 income remains below peak levels recorded before the crisis.

“For banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, 2011 was a better year than the one before. Bank profits continued to improve and assets growth was healthy,” National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said.

gulfnews : Ipic makes early repayment of Dh1.89b debt

International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), a wholly owned company of the Abu Dhabi government, has made early repayment of Dh1.89 billion of existing debt by making prepayments of two of its outstanding facilities both of which were maturing in 2013.
"Ipic continues to generate significant income from its investments and, following the prudent guidelines of its board of directors, has used part of its excess liquidity to retire a portion of its outstanding liabilities.
"Ipic will continue to focus on the success of its business and will proactively manage its balance sheet accordingly," Ipic's managing director Khadim Al Qubaisi said in a statement.

gulfnews : Shuaa Capital in cost-cutting drive

Dubai-based Shuaa Capital yesterday said it aims to trim costs by an additional 14 per cent by the end of the first half as the investment bank eyes a recovery from an economic downturn and a return to profitability. Shuaa, in a statement ahead of the publication of its first-quarter results due next week, said it has eliminated 60 per cent of its employees since the beginning of 2011, layoffs that took place primarily in its retail brokerage business. "We have worked hard to cut costs in 2011 and this continued into 2012. Year on year, we have already improved our monthly operating cash flow by 57 per cent. Our target for the first half of 2012 is a further reduction of 14 per cent, leading to a total improvement of operating cash flow of 71 per cent since the launch of our systematic right-sizing programme in 2011," said Shaikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, Executive Chairman of Shuaa Capital.

gulfnews : Libya hopes for $1tr cash injection to help rebuild war-torn economy

Libya is banking on up to $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) in foreign direct investment to rebuild its war-torn economy.
Ahmad Salem Al Koshly, Libya's Minister of Economy, told a conference here yesterday that the country was expecting a huge cash injection, and said FDI from the UAE alone prior to the war clocked in at $13 billion.
While Libya currently faced many challenges, he said foreign companies had already moved back to the country to resume outstanding projects.

gulfnews : Dubai World Central seeks anchor airline to start passenger operations

Dubai World Central (DWC) Al Maktoum International is waiting for an anchor airline to kick off passenger operations, according to Dubai Airports' top executive.
"We are in negotiations now with several airlines and we are looking for a significant commitment before we want to put several hundred of our people and our resources up into the new terminal. We don't want to have a terminal that doesn't have any business. So we are making sure that we have got a good anchor airline to start operations," Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO, said yesterday on the sidelines of a conference to announce an updated programme for Dubai International Airport's Concourse 3.
He added that the airports body has had "some interesting discussions" with a number of parties, "some of whom actually want to place airplanes at DWC".

How the UAE's women flourish even in a man's world - The National

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE's Minister for Foreign Trade, holds the distinction of being the first woman to hold a ministerial portfolio in the Gulf. Here she evaluates the prospects for women in the male-dominated financial industry.

Higher utility bills help Dubai finances - The National

Higher tariffs for water and electricity allowed Dubai to save about US$250 million (Dh918.3m) on purchases of natural gas last year and postpone the costly construction of a power plant.

Under a tariff structure introduced at the beginning of last year, the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (Dewa) charges consumers a higher rate as their usage increases and adds a fuel surcharge to utility bills if the emirate is forced to import additional volumes of gas to fire its power plants.

This halved the projected increase in natural-gas demand last year as the tariff established the punitive link between wasteful consumption and high utility bills that is commonplace outside the Gulf.

Aluminium firms envision Gulf plants - The National

International aluminium players are casting a keen eye on the Gulf as cheap natural gas provides the same investment rationale that attracted major petrochemical names to the region.

Governments have been promoting industrial development as a means to expand their economies and drive job creation, and they have turned to basic metals such as aluminium.

US and European chemical companies have already formed joint ventures with government-owned entities to create a thriving petrochemical industry. Foreign aluminium companies see the petrochemical industry as a valid model for their own entry into the region.

Homeowner draft law in Dubai stirs control issue - The National

A draft law to protect Dubai homebuyers has raised concerns in the industry that it may give control of common areas to developers.

Although the draft gives property investors entering into off-plan purchases greater security, a clause that relates to shared ownership of buildings has raised questions among property lawyers and analysts.

The draft has been circulated among lawyers in Dubai for their informal consultation before it takes the next step towards any implementation, for which a date has yet to be set.

Trade, transport and tourism do their bit but Dubai's debt still in play - The National

The devil, as ever, is in the details. Dubai's US$1.5 billion (Dh5.51bn) sukuk issue last week set a benchmark for issuers in the Gulf region, and was lapped up by a fixed-interest market eager to take part in the emirate's economic recovery.

But, judging by the 135-page prospectus that potential investors were required to peruse before they made their decisions, it was not plain sailing all the way to the three times over-subscription the issue eventually commanded.

Deutsche Bank and other advisers to the sukuk must have burned the midnight oil on many occasions as they prepared a watertight case for Dubai's creditworthiness.