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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Concerns for American hunger striker in Dubai | Fox News

U.S. officials are "gravely concerned" about the health of a jailed American businessman who began a hunger strike more than two weeks ago over claims he has been left in legal limbo by the United Arab Emirates, a statement said Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi also raised questions about whether Zack Shahin — who has been held for more than four years — is being singled out for harsh treatment compared with other financial crime suspects in the UAE.

The U.S. statements reflect Washington's growing frustration with the handling of Shahin's case and raise the possibility of a rare diplomatic tiff with the UAE, a close American ally and host of important U.S. air bases and other strategic sites.

Saudi Aramco CEO: Motiva expansion cost "in range of" $10 bln - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Khalid Al-Falih said the total cost of expanding the Motiva Enterprises Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) was "in the range of" $10 billion, double its original cost.
It is the largest investment Saudi Aramco, which is a 50-50 partner with Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Motiva, has made outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al-Falih said to reporters.

MENA stock markets close - May 31, 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)

Planet Says Arranged Debt for EFG Bid, Waiting for Due Diligence - Bloomberg

Planet Investment Banking raised $650 million in debt and a “lower amount” in equity for its planned offer to take over Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, Chief Executive Officer Ahmed El Houssieny said.
The company is backed by domestic, regional and international investors, including a member of the ruling family of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, El Houssieny said in a telephone interview today.
“The only thing between us and a public tender offer is due diligence,” he said.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf markets mark heavy May losses on euro debt woes | News by Country | Reuters

Gulf bourses fell on Thursday, ensuring their worst monthly performance in over a year, as fears grew that Spanish banks may soon seek a bailout and concerns lingered over a disorderly Greek exit from the euro zone.

Doha's index dipped 0.7 percent to its lowest close since May 20 and its biggest monthly drop since February 2011.

Investors cut risk across the board, with heavyweight Industries Qatar down 1.4 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar falling 1.3 percent and Doha Bank slipping 1.1 percent.

Zain Saudi Said to Hire Four Banks for $2.5 Billion 5-Year Loan - Bloomberg

Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Saudi Arabia, known as Zain Saudi, hired four banks for a five- year $2.5 billion loan to refinance its Islamic facility that matures in July, according to two bankers familiar with the matter.
The company, 25 percent-owned by Mobile Telecommunications Co. of Kuwait, mandated Al Rajhi Bank (RJHI), Banque Saudi Fransi (BSFR), Arab National Bank (ARNB) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) for the loan, the bankers said, who declined to be identified because the talks are private.
Zain Saudi will use the loan to refinance its existing $2.5 loan that matures on July 27, the bankers said.

UAE shows greatest rise of any country in global competitiveness | Emirates Competitiveness Council |

The United Arab Emirates have achieved recognisable progress in its global competitiveness ranking this year according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012. The UAE jumped 12 places - from 28th in 2011 to 16th - in the annual report, which ranks the world's 59 most advanced countries. UAE had the greatest ranking increase of any country surveyed.

Strong improvements in business efficiency, productivity and economic performance were the main drivers of the UAE's increased rankings. Continued modernisation of UAE's business legislation, which is fundamental to the business environment and competitiveness of the country, also contributed to the increased ranking.

"We are especially pleased with this year's results as the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook is one of the most comprehensive annual global reports on advanced countries' competitiveness. The fact the greatest ranking improvements were in business efficiencies, namely productivity, management practices, and attitudes and values make these improvements all the more significant, given our peers." said Her Excellency Reem Al-Hashimy, Minister of State and Chairwoman of the Emirates Competitiveness Council.

Persian Gulf Stocks: Dubai Financial Market, Industries Qatar - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,471.49 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate, trimming this month’s loss to 9.8 percent. Qatar’s QE Index fell 0.7 percent.
The following shares were active in the Persian Gulf region. Stock symbols are in parentheses.
Dubai Financial Market (DFM)(DFM UH) retreated 1.6 percent to 94.5 fils, the lowest close since May 16, on bets second-quarter profit at the only publicly traded Arab stock market may drop after trading volumes slumped. The stock “is a proxy for the market,” said Samer Darwiche, a Dubai-based analyst at Gulfmena Investments Ltd. “Lower traded volume of the exchange means that second-quarter earnings will be lower than the strong first-quarter figures.”

WAM | DGCX enhances trading proposition by extending trading hours

The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) today announced an extension of its trading hours.

From June 4, the Exchange will open from 07:00 (UAE time), 1 hour and 30 minutes earlier than its previous opening time. The extended trading time will provide DGCX participants with a 30 minute window before the exchange traded currency derivatives markets open in India.

Commodity and currency futures prices are tightly linked to the prices of their underlying instruments, with futures prices highly sensitive to price movements of the underlying. This makes them much more suitable for �momentum trading' than equities. The 30 minute window between DGCX opening and the Exchange traded currency derivatives market opening in India will allow participants on the DGCX an opportunity to take positions based on overnight indicators, putting them ahead of the momentum curve.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Qatar, UAE mkts mark heavy May losses on euro worries - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Qatar bourse marks its largest monthly loss in over a year and Abu Dhabi's benchmark extends declines amid a regional downtrend as fears grow that Spanish banks may soon seek a bailout and concerns linger over a disorderly Greek exit from the euro zone.
Doha's index dips 0.7 percent to 8,417 points, its lowest close since May 20 and its biggest monthly drop since
February 2011.
Investors cut risk across the board with heavyweight Industries Qatar down 1.4 percent, Commercial Bank of
Qatar falling 1.3 percent and Doha Bank slipping 1.1 percent.

Property handovers help Dubai's Nakheel swing to Q1 profit - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's Nakheel Properties on Thursday said it swung to a profit in the first quarter as the developer handed over more properties and it cut costs.
Nakheel, which was at the centre of a debt crisis in Dubai in 2009 when real estate prices crashed, said it made a profit of 362 million dirhams ($98.56 million)in the three months to March 31, up from a loss of 36 million dirhams in the year-earlier period.
First-quarter revenue rose 159 percent to 1.35 billion dirhams.

UPDATE 1-Lukoil-led group wins Iraq oil block bid - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A group led by Lukoil won a bid for a key oil block in the second day of Iraq's energy auction after tough contract terms led to a disappointing opening to bidding on 12 new oil and gas fields for the OPEC member nation.
Lukoil and partner Inpex Corp won the deal for the 5,500-square-km Block 10 in Muthanna and Dhi Qar provinces in the south, which executives had expected to attract bids in an auction where investors have generally shied away.
A bid from Pakistan Petroleum won gas Block 8 in Diyala and Wasit provinces in eastern Iraq. But three other blocks, 7, 5, and 4, received no bids.

Egypt's EFG Hermes receives buy-out approach | Reuters

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes said on Thursday a group of investors had approached it with a view to presenting a buy-out offer, confirming newspaper reports.

EFG - which is in the process of forming a joint venture with Qatar's QInvest - said it had received a letter from Planet, a group of unnamed Arab investors and Egyptian bankers, saying it was interested in buying the company. It was not clear how any buy-out would affect the QInvest deal.

"The letter did not contain any detail about the acquirers or the proposed price or any clarifying details," EFG said in a statement to the Egyptian stock exchange.

How will the eurozone financial shock impact the Gulf States? « ArabianMoney

Greece is a side show compared to what is happening in Spain. One of the world’s larger economies is about to go into cardiac arrest unless the ECB arrives soon with its bail-out to calm markets again.

For Spanish debt is getting painfully close to the seven per cent yield level when markets decide that these bonds will never be repaid and bond prices crash. Greece is already there. Smaller nations like Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland are close behind, and Italy is the giant moving closer to the edge.

Dubai govt backs $1 billion loan for DIFCI: sources | Reuters

The Dubai government will partly guarantee the $1 billion loan which DIFC Investments will use to repay its $1.25 billion Islamic bond maturing in June, two sources said on Thursday.

The government support consists of a shortfall guarantee of up to $470 million, one of the sources familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.

"There are credit enhancements involving government support," said a second source, adding the loan was set to be signed this weekend.

Millions shifted from UAE as Hastie collapsed - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The ABC has learned that as many as 1,500 Hastie Group workers in the United Arab Emirates may have lost not only their jobs but also their entitlements in the company's collapse late last week.

Their termination entitlements are in jeopardy because more than $3 million was transferred from Dubai to Australia in the days before administrators and receivers were brought in.

The company's top three executives, who signed off on the money transfer, then left Dubai on fears they may be detained.

Analysis: Dewey's bankruptcy: Let the rumble begin - Yahoo! News Maktoob

As law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf embarks on the humbling process of working through bankruptcy, creditors and former partners are bracing themselves for a nasty court battle that could drag on for years.
Dewey, a storied firm with deep Wall Street connections, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday night. The firm had veered toward collapse over the last six months amid revelations of fat salary guarantees, risky loans and a culture of secrecy.
Some former partners have hired lawyers in anticipation of clawback suits by the estate. Law firms that offered positions to former partners could also get embroiled in fights over rights to client fees. Creditors ranging from banks to temp services have started jockeying for position to maximize limited payouts.

Dubai company set to buy BCCL's TimesofMoney

Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL), India’s largest media house and popularly known as the Times group, is again divesting its non-core businesses. Dubai based Network International LCC, one of the largest of payment solutions providers, was set to buy TimesofMoney, the digital payment services provider and remittance company of BCCL, said two people aware of the development.

According to them, this was part of a larger group restructuring, ahead of its proposed Initial Public Offer. BCCL had got investment bank UBS to advise it on finding a strategic buyer for the business. The talks have been on for a while and the formal announcement is due within the next fortnight.