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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

WAM | Dubai Courts and DIFC Courts Release Their 2011 Annual Report

Dubai Courts have released their annual report in a shared ceremony with the DIFC Courts. During the event, which was attended by a number of judges and dignitaries, both parties exchanged annual reports to underline their strategic partnership. Dubai Courts' representation was led by Dr. Ahmed Saeed Bin Hazeem Al Suweidi, General Manager; while the DIFC Courts' delegation was headed by their Chief Justice, Michael Hwang.

Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala plans $5.5 billion spending in 2012 | Reuters

Mubadala MUDEV.UL, the Abu Dhabi government's investment vehicle, expects to spend about 20.1 billion dirhams ($5.47 billion) this year as its seeks to expand a diverse line of businesses ranging from oil and gas to semiconductors.

"The group currently anticipates that its capital and investment expenditure for 2012 is likely to be substantially in line with the 20.1 billion dirhams annual average for the past three years," it said in a update of its bond program.

The state-owned fund, which has stakes in General Electric (GE.N) and private equity firm Carlyle CYL.UL, expects a majority of that expenditure to relate to its semiconductor unit Advanced Technology Investment (ATIC); its joint venture with General Electric (GE.N); solar energy project Masdar and oil and gas projects.

Futures veteran to lead ICAP in Dubai -

Sharaz Hussain, a 20-year veteran of the futures industry, will lead the newly opened Dubai office of ICAP, the world’s largest interdealer broker.

ICAP’s move into the emirate comes as the company looks to capitalise on growing regional investor activity in international futures and derivatives markets. Although a first for Dubai, ICAP is not new to the Gulf. The brokerage first established an office in Bahrain in 1976, and expanded the team in August 2001.

Report: Abu Dhabi's chip unit still in the red

Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC), the semiconductor unit of the Abu Dhabi government's Mubadala investment fund, lost money in each of the last two years and has accumulated a deficit that stood at about $1.12 billion at the end of 2011, according to a report by the Reuters news service that cited a regulatory filing.

In the filing, Mubadala said there can be no assurance that ATIC will be profitable in 2012 or subsequent years, according to the Reuters report.

ATIC is the parent company of Globalfoundries Inc. The firm became the sole owner of the former chip manufacturing unit of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) last year, when AMD gave up its remaining stake in Globalfoundries in exchange for the right to have 28-nm products built by other foundries. Previously a clause in the wafer supply agreement between AMD and Globalfoundries required that AMD have certain 28-nm chips built by Globalfoundries.

MENA stock markets close - May 9, 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)

UAE's effort to liberalise economy may disappoint | Alrroya

Long-awaited legislation that is meant to liberalise the economy of the United Arab Emirates may bring only modest changes, because of strong opposition from some Emiratis who fear they could lose out to foreigners.

In December, when the UAE's cabinet approved a draft of a new companies law that would update legislation dating back to 1984, hopes grew that restrictions on foreign investment in one of the world's top five oil exporters would be loosened.

But this optimism is now being tempered as details of the draft, which has not been widely circulated to the public, trickle out. Also, lawyers and investors fear the law's passage may be delayed as it wends its way through the government, becoming subject to pressure from local interest groups; and when it is passed, it may be applied only in a conservative way.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi makes biggest drop in 3 wks on global woes - Yahoo! News UK

Saudi Arabia's bourse makes its largest decline in three weeks as the euro zone debt crisis spooks the kingdom's
investors, with small-cap stocks the worst hit.
Saudi's main index tumbles 2 percent to close at 7,222 points, its biggest one-day loss since April 15 to trim
year-to-date gains to 12.5 percent.
"The Saudi market correction is driven by sentiment ... globally markets are seeing a bloodbath," says Tariq Alalaiwat, equity research analyst at NCB Capital.

Hotel group books in for Gulf expansion -

Frits van Paasschen, chief executive of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, will need his sunglasses for his next relocation.
Mr Paasschen, together with more than a dozen of the US company’s executives, will be based in Dubai for a month next year, a far cry from the company’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. The team will hope to get to grips with Starwood’s ambitious goals in the Middle East, where it plans to expand its business 60 per cent in the coming five years.

Azarov proposes Qatar participate in construction of LNG terminal - Ukrainian news. Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine has proposed Qatar take part in the construction of an LNG terminal, Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said.

"We proposed the Qatari side mull participation in the LNG terminal project, as well as gas supplies to Ukraine and participation in gas exploration and production in Ukraine," Azarov's press secretary Vitaliy Lukyanenko told reporters in Doha on Wednesday, while commenting on the outcome of a meeting of Mykola Azarov with Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.

According to Lukyanenko, the Qatar premier expressed interest in cooperation with Ukraine in the energy sector, particularly the development of gas fields in Ukraine.

Ukraine, Qatar, Turkey to discuss liquefied gas transit from Qatar to Ukraine through Bosporus, says Azarov - Ukrainian news. Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine, Qatar and Turkey are intending in May to hold talks on a possible transit of liquefied gas from Qatar to Ukraine through the Bosporus Strait, Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov has said.

"A tripartite meeting of representatives from Qatar, Turkey and Ukraine will take place in late May. In particular, the issue of passage of tankers will be discussed at the meeting," he told reporters in Doha on Wednesday.

According to Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Volodymyr Makukha, the Qatari side promised Ukraine that the issue would be raised during talks in Turkey, which are scheduled for the end of May.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai slumps to 3-mth low; Arabtec tumbles - Yahoo! News UK

Dubai's index makes its largest one-day decline in six weeks as downbeat global markets triggers selling, while other Gulf markets also fall.
Dubai's benchmark drops 1.9 percent to finish at 1,527 points, its lowest close in nearly three months and largest
one-day loss since March 29. Emaar Properties and builder Arabtec head declines, falling 2 and 5.1 percent respectively.
Abu Dhabi's benchmark slips 0.2 percent to 2,481 points and Qatar closes 0.7 percent lower at 8,605 points.

Waha Capital net profit drops 47% in first quarter 2012 -

Waha Capital PJSC (ADX:WAHA), the Abu Dhabi-based diversified strategic investment firm, today reported a net profit of AED 15.9 million (US$4.3 million) for the first quarter of 2012, as compared to AED 29.8 Million in the corresponding quarter of 2011.

Total revenues in the first quarter, including operating income and income from investments in associates, were AED 76.1 million compared to AED 82.4 million in the equivalent period in 2011. Total expenses were AED 60.5 million, compared to AED 52.7 million for the corresponding quarter in 2011.  The year on year results were mainly driven by a one-off gain on sale of an investment during the first quarter of 2011.

Portfolio companies continued to perform well in the three-month period ending on March 31, 2012.  New York-listed Aercap Holdings N.V., in which Waha Capital owns 21.3 percent, witnessed an active quarter during which it signed new lease agreements for nine aircraft, delivered six aircraft under contracted lease agreements and purchased five new aircraft.

Dana Falls to Lowest in 3 Months on Debt Woes: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

Dana Gas PJSC (DANA) dropped to the lowest level in three months after investors were said to have hired law firm Linklaters LLP to help negotiate the restructuring of $1 billion in Islamic bonds due this year.
The shares of the Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-based company fell 2.3 percent to 42 fils, the lowest since Feb. 12, at the 2 p.m. in Abu Dhabi. The benchmark ADX General Index (ADSMI) retreated 0.2 percent.
The London-based law firm was hired last month, said three people familiar with the matter yesterday, declining to be identified because the information is private. The company hired Blackstone Group LP (BX) to advise on restructuring the Islamic bonds, three people familiar with the matter said in April. Deutsche Bank AG is also advising the gas explorer, two people with knowledge of the matter said in January. Dana Gas said that month it would continue to meet its debt obligations. The company and Linklaters declined to comment yesterday.

Moody's changes Jafza's outlook to developing from negative | Alrroya

Moody's Investors Service today changed the outlook to developing from negative for the Corporate Family (CFR) and Probability of Default Rating (PDR) of Jebel Ali Free Zone FZE ("Jafza") and affirmed the B2 CFR and PDR as well as the B2 rating for Jafza's November 2012 certificates issued by Jafza Sukuk Limited.

The change in outlook follows the announcement on May 2 of a consent solicitation inviting the holders of the Dh7.5 billion ($2.0bn) certificates to adopt a resolution to amend the certificates' conditions allowing for a redemption ahead of the November 2012 maturity and a trust dissolution coordinated with a financing package currently under negotiation.

The outlook change signals Moody's view that Jafza has taken positive steps in addressing its November 2012 sukuk maturity that could remove some rating constraints factored into the current B2, especially liquidity risk, if finalised.

Rise of the Oman crude benchmark -

The rise of the Brent crude benchmark at the expense of its rival West Texas Intermediate is already well documented. But a new trend is emerging: the steady growth of Oman crude, the fledgling benchmark at the Dubai Mercantile Exchange.
Although the Oman futures contract’s trading volume remains small compared with Brent – the global benchmark – or WTI – the US crude contract – the growth in transactions is accelerating. Last month, daily volumes jumped several times above the key level of 10,000 lots.
The 10,000 lots per day threshold is very important because oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia have in the past indicated that was the level they needed to see on a sustained basis to consider using the contract as a pricing benchmark for their sales into Asia.

UPDATE 1-Qatar seeks proposals for debut sukuk | Reuters

Qatar is eyeing its debut international sukuk offering, according to sources. The Gulf state has already sent request for proposals to banks, and is close to being mandated. Sources believe it will choose a mix of international and local banks.

While timing has yet to be decided, the transaction will probably be in the second quarter, ahead of the summer break. Other details, such as size and tenor, have also still be agreed, though if Qatar's previous conventional deals are any guide, the chances are the sukuk will be a multi-billion dollar offering in more than one tenor.

Qatar is one of the most sought-after borrowers in the world. Its last transaction, in late November, was a USD5bn, Triple Tranche 144a/Reg S, which attracted a USD9.5bn order book. HSBC, Citigroup, Mitsubishi UFJ, QNB Capital and Standard Chartered were the leads on that deal.

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Arabtec Q1 net surges; beats view - Yahoo! News UK

Arabtec Holding, the United Arab Emirates largest construction firm by market value, more than tripled it's first-quarter net profits, exceeding analysts' forecasts, and said on Wednesday it was considering buying out its steel subsidiary.
The company, in which Abu Dhabi state-owned fund Aabar has a 10.5 percent stake, made a net profit of 84.1 million dirhams ($22.90 million) in the quarter, compared with 26.6 million dirhams in the corresponding period last year.
Revenue for the quarter rose slightly to 1.3 billion dirhams from 1.2 billion dirhams in the previous year, Arabtec said in a bourse statement on Wednesday.

Door-to-door delivery, Middle East style | beyondbrics –

If there’s one thing that works across the Arab world, it’s delivery. From Cairo to Dubai, a fleet of men on scooters, bicycles and foot will deliver pretty much anything to your door, from a Big Mac to a cigarette lighter. And plugging that hunger for to-the-door service into the global e-commerce boom is proving to be a healthy earner for one Middle East company.

Shop & Ship, run by the Jordanian logistics company Aramex, increased revenues by 43 per cent year-on-year to around AED49m ($13.3m) in the first quarter of 2012. The service lets subscribers rent a PO box address in the US or UK, for use with online shopping sites, few of which will ship to the Middle East. When packages arrive at the address – an Aramex-operated warehouse – they are re-routed to the recipient, anywhere in the Arab world and beyond.

Kuwait Oil Minister Refers Shell Accord to Prosecution, Rai Says - Bloomberg

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein referred a report on an agreement signed between Kuwait Oil Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) to the Public Prosecution, Al-Rai reported, citing the minister.
Former oil minister Mohammad al-Busairy formed a committee in August to look into procedures leading up to the service agreement signed in February 2010 to develop natural-gas fields in the country’s north.
Al-Busairy formed the committee after lawmakers raised questions about the contract award to Shell.

gulfnews : Saudis store 80m barrels of oil to meet disruptions

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is pumping around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) and is storing 80 million barrels to meet any sudden disruption in supplies, Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi said Tuesday.
Worries of a supply disruption from the Middle East due to escalating tensions between the West and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme have pushed Brent prices 20 per cent higher since the start of the year to a record of over $128 (Dh470) in March.
Prices have since eased but the more expensive crude has threatened to derail the fragile global economic recovery and strained the budgets of emerging economies. This has prompted influential Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the United States, to repeatedly stress that oil markets are well supplied.

gulfnews : Dubai hotels register strong performance

The first quarter of 2012 saw Dubai hotels performing better than the corresponding period last year as room yields and occupancy jumped, benefitting from the Arab Spring, according to the latest hotel benchmark report by Ernst & Young (E&Y).
While RevPAR (revenue per available room — an industry benchmark for performance) improved nine per cent to $242 (Dh888.87) over the first quarter last year, average room rates (ARR) also jumped 6.2 per cent to $274 compared to $258 last year.
Occupancy, meanwhile, jumped by two per cent over the same period last year to 88 per cent, according to the report.

Middle East misses out on HSBC loan boom - The National

HSBC's lending in the Middle East declined during the first quarter of the year, signalling poor growth prospects for the wider economy.

The biggest international bank operating in the region shrank its total loan book, to individuals and companies, by 0.8 per cent to US$27.3 billion (Dh100.27bn) in the first quarter.

The Middle East was the only region where the bank experienced a shrinkage in its lending, as it boosted credit lines to Asian markets and increased its lending to individuals in Europe.

Middle Eastern sea routes vital to future oil and gas supply - The National

Almost 15 years ago, I started my career in the oil industry by undertaking training on board large oil tankers that transport crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the United States.

The tanker crews always welcomed the shorter trip when we returned via the Suez Canal instead of having to travel around the tip of Africa. Eight hours' transit in the canal was an occasion to appreciate and reflect on the efforts that had been put into building this key shipping channel, and also the strategic importance of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The so-called Arab Spring that brought political instability to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and, more recently, Syria, has brought another chance to reflect on the significance this region has on global oil markets.

Talk of 'the bottom' buoys property sector - The National

Dubai residential property prices have been the talk of the town for some weeks after a number of research experts began using the coveted words "the bottom".

Jones Lang LaSalle, one of the most highly reputed property specialists worldwide, believes that residential prices are bottoming out in a number of locations in Dubai, with prices already rising in some prime residential spots in a recovery from the crash of 2008.

But does this confident talk mean retail investors should once again dip their toes in the property waters? Maybe, say analysts, as long as investors are picky about their choices.

Scant relief at Global as bout of pain continues - The National

Few lenders have fallen as far as Kuwait's Global Investment House as a result of the global financial crisis.

There was little let-up yesterday, after the bank - once among the biggest in the Gulf - reported full-year losses during 2011 of 57.5 million Kuwaiti dinars.

Although Global narrowed its losses of 75.3m dinars from a year earlier, it has lost money every year since 2008.

Azerbaijan's natural gas pipeline to wealth - The National

When it comes to the fate of the 50 billion cubic metres of natural gas that Azerbaijan hopes eventually to pump every year, the country is keeping all suitors on their toes.

Europe hopes to grab some of those supplies, which means one thing - a pipeline. The only question is which one.

"It's a big plan of our republic," said Mammadov Orkhan Vidadi, the head of the department of interstate economic cooperation in Azerbaijan's ministry of economic development. "And now we can only say that it's under negotiation."

China State Construction Engineering Signs Abu Dhabi Deal -

China State Construction Engineering Corp. said Wednesday it has signed a memorandum of cooperation on the first phase of a real estate project worth $2 billion with Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund Aabar Investments PJS and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

The Shanghai-listed construction company will undertake the construction of hotels, office buildings and high-end residential buildings in Abu Dhabi, while ICBC will provide financial support to Aabar, which would in turn get its revenue from oil trading for repayment, it said in a statement.

Saudi Oil Minister says there is surplus oil in market - Yahoo! News UK

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Wednesday there is a surplus of oil in the market.
"There is a surplus oil in the market. There is surplus supply," he said in brief comments to reporters.
Naimi met with Japanese government officials on Tuesday.

CME strengthens commitment to Dubai Merc - MarketWatch

Trading on a small Dubai futures market backed by CME Group Inc. CME +0.61% could pick up more steam after the Chicago-based exchange operator boosted its stake in the platform earlier this year, according to CME's new chief executive.

Potential customers had wanted CME to strengthen its commitment to the Dubai Mercantile Exchange before they embraced the market's crude oil futures contract, according to Phupinder Gill, who took over as CEO of CME last week.

CME's prior 25% stake in the Dubai Mercantile Exchange was seen by some traders as translating to a "lack of commitment" by the world's largest exchange operator, Gill told investors in a presentation Tuesday.