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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bahrain's Gulf Air flying despite financial woes - CBS News

Bahrain's cash-strapped carrier Gulf Air says it will continue operating as normal despite failing to secure a financial aid package.

Government-owned Gulf Air said Tuesday it was disappointed that parliament rejected a proposal to recapitalize the carrier.

It says its funding requests have now been referred to the Shura council, the upper house whose members are appointed by the king.

MENA stock markets close - May 8, 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)

Dana Gas Investors Said to Hire Linklaters to Broker Deal - Bloomberg

Investors in Dana Gas PJSC (DANA)’s $1 billion Islamic bonds hired Linklaters LLP to help negotiate the restructuring of the debt due in October, three people familiar with the matter said.
The London-based law firm was hired last month, according to the people who declined to be identified because the information is private. Linklaters and Dana Gas declined to comment.
The company, whose chief executive officer plans to retire this year, hired Blackstone Group LP (BX) to advise on restructuring the Islamic bonds, three people familiar with the matter said in April. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) is also advising Dana Gas, two people with knowledge of the matter said in January. The yield on its 7.5 percent sukuk climbed 33 percentage points so far this year to 70.7 percent at 6:35 p.m. in Dubai.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi snaps 3-day losing streak; petchems up - Yahoo! News UK

Saudi Arabia's bourse closes slightly higher as petrochemical stocks recover early-session losses in choppy
trade, with some buyers stepping in following three days of declines.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbs 0.5 percent and Saudi Arabian Fertilizers rises
0.4 percent.
Cement stocks support, with Yanbu Cement and Saudi Cement up 8.5 and 0.8 percent respectively.

FACTBOX-Egypt: Profile of politics and economy - Yahoo! News UK

Voting starts in Egypt on May 23-24 in what will be the country's first democratic election to choose a new president after Hosni Mubarak was swept from office last year in a popular uprising.
Here is a look at Egypt's politics and economy since Mubarak fell:

Dubai's DIB picks banks for Islamic bond - sources | Reuters

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has mandated five banks for an Islamic bond, or sukuk, due to be issued at the end of May, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The lender has picked HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Emirates NBD, Deutsche Bank and itself for the deal, the sources said, requesting anonymity.

One of the sources added the sukuk was likely to be a benchmark-sized, five-year issue. Benchmark usually means at least $500 million.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai slumps to 12-wk low; Qatar up - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai's index slumps to a 12-week closing low as wary investors extend selling, while bargain hunter help lift Qatar.
Dubai's benchmark drops 0.5 percent to 1,556 points, its ninth decline in 10 sessions and lowest close since Feb. 16.
Volumes have slumped in recent weeks and may decrease further, with trading usually slowing down significantly over the summer as investors escape the searing summer heat.
"Selling pressure hasn't abated much in Dubai, the short-term downtrend is intact," says Sleiman Aboulhosn,
assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Weighs New Investments, Handelsblatt Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is negotiating three major projects as he seeks a return on investment of at least 20 percent to 25 percent, Handelsblatt reported, citing an interview.
The projects are in Saudi Arabia, the region and international, the German newspaper quoted Alwaleed as saying in comments published today. He declined to elaborate, according to the interview.
Alwaleed, the billionaire who controls the Saudi investment company Kingdom Holding Co., said he doesn’t plan to expand investment in banks beyond Citigroup Inc. (C) and won’t raise his stake in the U.S. bank, according to Handelsblatt. He said he’s increasingly investing in Saudi Arabia, which is experiencing a real-estate boom, the newspaper reported.

Kuwait Central Bank Changes Loan-Limit Rules, KUNA Reports - Bloomberg

The Central Bank of Kuwait is introducing new rules to govern loan limits at local banks to enhance their capability to extend facilities and boost the economy, the official Kuwait News Agency reported, citing Governor Mohammed al-Hashel.
The new rules allow banks to incorporate other sources of funding in calculating the loan to deposit ratio which varies between 75 percent and 100 percent depending on the maturities of funding resources, it said.
The new rules that replace an 85 percent loan to deposit ratio, will take effect as of May 11, it said.

Abu Dhabi fund ADIA hires emerging mkt private equity head - Yahoo! News UK

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the cash-rich emirate's sovereign wealth fund, has hired
Christophe Florin to head its emerging markets private equity team, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Florin joins ADIA from French insurer AXA's private equity arm, where he was most recently the chief
operating officer, the sovereign fund said.
ADIA, among the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, is ramping up its private equity investments, sources familiar with the fund's plans told Reuters in September.

Insight: In muddle of Libya's finances, billions go missing - Yahoo! News UK

Months after rebels brought down the extravagant dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, the disarray in Libya's state finances at the end of last year was so bad the new leadership did not know the size of state assets, how their money was being spent, or what had happened to more than $2 billion transferred from the sovereign wealth fund.
An internal National Transitional Council (NTC) document paints a picture of a government bureaucracy so fractured and disorganized that nobody appeared able to keep track of what money was coming in, and how much was going out.
Libyan officials say the anomalies in the state's finances revealed in the document were the result of complex accounting rules, delays in settling bills and poor communication between government departments - not by money being misused or stolen.

Arab nations aim to get tourists back -

Egypt’s tourism minister came to Dubai last week to persuade Arab tourists to lead the returning stream of visitors to his ancient land. Instead, he was reminded of the all too modern realities of regional politics.
Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour aims to revive Egypt’s economic fortunes by bringing tourist numbers back to 2010 levels. He is organising cultural festivals during the summer to try to lure Gulf tourists, who since last year’s revolution have been choosing holidays in safer destinations such as Turkey and Dubai itself.
But Saudi Arabia over the previous weekend had closed its embassy in Cairo, after protests over the kingdom’s arrest of an Egyptian human rights lawyer in Jeddah.

THE DAILY STAR :: Business :: Middle East :: Kuwait refers $800 mln Shell deal to judiciary

Kuwait has referred a $800 million gas contract between state-owned Kuwait Oil Co. and Shell to the public prosecution to investigate suspected irregularities, a newspaper report said on Tuesday.

The decision follows a report by a special probe panel to investigate the gas development contract, Oil Minister Hani Hussein told Al-Rai newspaper.

"After reading the report of the fact-finding panel in the Shell contract, I found some matters mentioned and I thought it is appropriate to refer the file to the public prosecution to investigate any suspicions," the newspaper quoted the minister as saying.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Global Investment 2011 net loss narrows | Reuters

Kuwait's Global Investment House , which is undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, said 2011 net loss narrowed compared with the previous year, helped by lower writedowns of its financial assets.

The firm, one of the largest investment houses in Kuwait, posted a net loss of 57.5 million dinars ($207.1 million) last year, versus a loss of 73.2 million dinars in 2010, it said in a bourse filing on Tuesday.

It is the third straight year that Global has reported an annual loss, having lost 148.2 million dinars in 2009.

gulfnews : Two firms join to acquire Abu Dhabi jeweller

The luxury retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has in alliance with Abu Dhabi-based HAMG acquired Al Manara Jewellery. It will now be known as Al Manara International Jewellery.
The move is a result of a strategic business partnership between the two companies to tap the Abu Dhabi market.
Al Manara Jewellery, founded in 1973, is one of the prominent luxury watch and jewellery boutiques in Abu Dhabi and retains a strong portfolio of brands. The transaction has the full backing of Al Manara's senior management.

gulfnews : Budget airlines flying high

The global financial turmoil coupled with the rising cost of fuel has dented profits in the global aviation industry. But low-cost airlines in the region are capitalising on robust demand and have ambitious expansion plans. While the outlook may not be very bright now, the fundamentals of these budget airlines make them good investments
While airline stocks may not qualify as the most attractive in this part of the world or even globally, the Middle East's two listed carriers — Air Arabia and Jazeera Airways — have managed to keep investors above ground.

Dubai fund gives up control of Barneys -

Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund has given up control of luxury retailer Barneys New York, dealing a blow to Istithmar World, the emirate’s investment arm which paid $942m for the high-end retailer in 2007.
In a deal with the retailer’s creditors, Perry Capital, the company’s largest lender, and Yucaipa Companies, the investment firm run by billionaire Ron Burkle, will exchange debt for equity, reducing Barneys’ long term debt from $590m to $50m.
Perry will become the majority owner, with Yucaipa and Istithmar as minority holders.

Oman reports record fiscal surplus in 2011 - Emirates 24/7

A surge in oil prices and higher crude output turned Oman’s projected negative fiscal balance upside down to record its highest ever surplus in 2011 despite an increase in actual spending, according to official data.

Oman, which is not an OPEC member, had projected a shortfall of RO850 million (Dh8.2 billion) when it announced its record 2011 budget early last year. But it massively revised up the gap to RO1,850 million after Sultan Qaboos approved new jobs and hefty pay rises for Omani government employees in response to demands during unrest in February 2011.

Government data showed the balance turned into an actual surplus of RO961.5 billion (Dh92 billion) by the end of 2011 compared with an actual deficit of RO439.8 billon (Dh4.3 billion) in 2010.

Oil a ‘Little Bit High,’ Saudi Arabia’s Al-Naimi Says - Bloomberg

Oil prices are “still a little bit high” even after recent declines, Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, said today in Tokyo before board meetings of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co.
Saudi Arabia has 2.5 million barrels a day of spare capacity, Naimi said. The country is now storing about 80 million barrels of crude “because of the situation in the world,” he said.