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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

gulfnews : Standard Chartered sees more Middle East yuan debt

Standard Chartered, the UK’s second-biggest bank by market value, expects more companies in the Middle East to raise funds in yuan, a senior executive said.
“Is the trajectory of this going north over the next five years? Yes. Absolutely,” Viswanathan Shankar, chief executive officer for the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Istanbul.
Emirates NBD sold 1 billion yuan (Dh578 million) of so-called dim sum bonds in March, the first sale of such securities in the Middle East, as the company sought to draw funds from China, a country with a trade surplus that has made it the world’s biggest savings pool.

Qatari bank set to buy ailing UK lender IBB - The National

Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan is in discussions to become the biggest shareholder in Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), a troubled Sharia-compliant lender.

Masraf Al Rayan, the biggest Islamic bank in Qatar, announced after a board meeting on Monday that it had entered negotiations to obtain a controlling stake in IBB through a capital increase.

"Masraf Al Rayan will acquire 70 per cent of the bank and the government of the state of Qatar will acquire the remaining 30 per cent," the bank said. "This is subject to obtaining approval of the official authorities in the state of Qatar and the United Kingdom."

EFG-Hermes buyer risks 'overpaying' - The National

The successful bidder for EFG-Hermes risks overpaying for the Egyptian company, bankers say.

The embattled Egyptian investment bank is caught between two rival bids - the first from a joint venture with QInvest that would provide funding from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, and the second a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) unsolicited buyout bid from Planet Investment Banking (Planet IB), a consortium of Arab investors.

"If Planet are serious about going hostile with their bid, they'll have to considerably increase their price," said Aybek Islamov, a financial analyst at HSBC. EFG-Hermes's business includes investment banking, brokerage and private equity alongside a 65 per cent stake in Credit Libanais, a Lebanese commercial lender.

Damas delists from the Nasdaq Dubai - The National

Investors on the Nasdaq Dubai will have the choice of just two local stocks to trade today following the delisting of Damas International.

It comes as MSCI, an international index compiler, prepares to deliver its decision on whether the UAE stock exchanges should be upgraded to emerging market status. "Nasdaq Dubai is a cost centre right now with hardly any revenue," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, a capital markets expert and the former chief executive of Shuaa Securities.

"It was a good idea in the boom days. They needed that exchange and they knew that the laws of the land weren't going to move as fast."

Sawiris backs out in bid for EFG-Hermes -

Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian telecommunications mogul, has decided against joining a consortium of investors attempting to take over EFG-Hermes , the Middle East investment bank.
Mona Zulficar, chairwoman of EFG-Hermes Holding, told the Financial Times that Mr Sawiris had authorised her to tell the press that he would have been part of the Planet IB consortium only if EFG-Hermes shareholders had voted against an alternative tie-up with Qatar’s QInvest.
The alliance with QInvest was approved by shareholders on Saturday. giving the green light for a joint venture with the Qatari group. This would allow for the establishment of a joint venture, EFG-Hermes Qatar, under which most of the bank’s businesses would be folded. EFG-Hermes would retain sole control over its private equity arm and its controlling stake in the Beirut-based Credit Libanais.

UAE is open to global markets, says Lubna

The Minister of Foreign Trade Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi has stressed that the UAE had succeeded in building strong commercial and economic ties and successful partnerships with a large number of countries worldwide.
The UAE’s efforts towards building strong relations with all parties, coupled with its strong economy, efforts  to diversify its economy and well-established non-oil sectors, are crucial to the country’s overcoming of the global financial crisis and achieving strong economic results, Al Qassimi said in speech at the opening session of the Arab Australian Forum in Sydney.
The Minister added that the UAE had adopted a liberalised trade policy that is open to global markets. “The UAE, continues to seek to remove trade barriers and strengthen its relations with many countries,” she said pointing out that the UAE also provides highly advanced logistical services that have contributed to making it one of the world’s main re-exporters.

Five banks to underwrite $1.6 bln Zain Saudi share issue - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's Al-Rajhi Bank and Banque Saudi Fransi are among five banks underwriting a 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion) rights issue from indebted telecoms operator Zain Saudi, according to the issue prospectus.
Lead manager Saudi Fransi Capital, the investment banking unit of Banque Saudi Fransi, and Rajhi Capital, part of Al-Rajhi Bank, will each underwrite 44.8 percent of the issue's 600 million shares.
Albilad Investment will cover 3.81 percent, while units of Alinma Bank and Saudi Hollandi Bank will each underwrite 3.33 percent.

MENA stock markets close - June 5, 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)

Gas Demand to Rise 17% by 2017 on Asia, U.S., IEA Says - Bloomberg

Natural-gas consumption may rise 17 percent by 2017 from last year as demand surges in Asia and the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency. China’s use of the fuel will double while Europe’s will remain below the level of 2010, it said.
Demand worldwide will climb by 576 billion cubic meters to 3.937 trillion, the Paris-based adviser to oil-consuming nations said today in its first Medium-Term Gas Market Report. That’s an average increase of 2.7 percent a year, which is similar to the growth during the last decade, the e-mailed report showed. Emerging nations will account for 69 percent of the gain.
“Asia will be by far the fastest growing region, driven primarily by China, which will emerge as the third-largest gas user by 2013,” the IEA said. “Europe looks for a floor and Americas for a ceiling.”

Mid East gas demand to outpace supply: IEA | Reuters

Middle Eastern demand for natural gas is likely to rise faster than supply over the next five years, forcing one of the world's biggest gas reserve regions to import more, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The IEA expects Middle East gas demand to rise by 79 billion cubic meters (bcm) or 20 percent from 2011 to 2017, outstripping incremental supply in the region by 7 bcm as low gas prices encourage consumption and discourage production.

"Middle East gas production is expected to serve exclusively the regional gas market needs in the medium term ...Exports from the Middle East are expected to remain flat," said the agency, which advises industrialized countries on energy policy.

UPDATE 1-Buy-out group says Sawiris still backs EFG bid | Reuters

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is still backing an attempted buy-out of investment bank EFG Hermes, the head of the bid consortium said on Tuesday, denying talk that Sawiris planned to withdraw.

An EFG source told Reuters earlier that Sawiris would step aside because EFG shareholders had backed an alternative tie-up with Qatar's QInvest.

"Mr. Naguib Sawiris remains a financial backer of Planet IB's intended bid to acquire 100 percent of EFG Hermes Holding," said Ahmed El-Houssieny, Planet's chief executive.

TEXT-S&P affirms DIFC Investments LLC - Yahoo! News Maktoob

-- Dubai-based real estate and financial investments group DIFC Investments LLC (DIFCI) has announced a new $1.04 billion bank facility, which we understand it intends to use with existing cash to refinance all
short-term debt.
-- We continue to believe that there's a "very high" likelihood that the Dubai government would provide timely and sufficient extraordinary support to DIFC Investments if needed.
-- We are affirming our 'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term ratings on DIFCI and removing both ratings from CreditWatch negative.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi sinks into red in subdued trade - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's index ends lower after a late slump, with investors wary of holding onto stocks while global equity and commodity markets remain volatile.
The bourse slips 0.5 percent to 6,737 points, snapping a two-day rally that followed Saturday's four-month low.
Trading is subdued, with only one session in the past four months - May 27 - seeing fewer shares change hands.

gulfnews : Global airlines face ‘perfect storm’ from high fuel costs

International airlines face a “perfect storm” from high fuel costs, a slowing global economy and volatile exchange rates that could see many carriers forced to downsize, Tim Clark, President of Emirates airline said in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s a perfect storm of adversity now facing airlines,” Clark said. “The euro is going south, the pound is going south, fuel costs are still too high.”
Clark, a key and long-serving executive at Emirates, said he wasn’t surprised that Qantas Airways on Tuesday announced a sharp drop in profits and cautioned that many international carriers could be forced to retrench due to the difficult trading conditions.

UPDATE 1-Qatar Tel gains control of Iraqi Asiacell for $1.5 bln | Reuters

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has reached agreements to double its stake in Iraq's No. 2 operator Asiacell to 60 percent for$1.47 billion as it seeks to exploit rising demand for broadband.

Qtel will initially raise its stake to 53.9 percent from 30 percent, with a further increase pending Iraqi government and regulatory approval, the company said in an emailed statement.

Qtel declined to identify the sellers of the stake, but in January sources told Reuters the operator was planning to buy private equity firm MerchantBridge's 19 percent holding in Asiacell, a company that provided about a fifth of Qtel's revenue in the first quarter.

Qatar Telecom to Double Asiacell Stake for $1.47 Billion - Bloomberg

Qatar Telecom QSC said it reached agreements to double its holding to 60 percent in Asiacell, a mobile operator in Iraq, for $1.47 billion as the company seeks to expand outside its home base.
Qatar Telecom will initially increase ownership to 53.9 percent and raise that further after approval from Iraq’s government and regulators, according to an e-mailed company statement today. The transaction will be financed from existing funds, it said, without saying who is selling the stake.
“The Iraqi market is about to enter a period of rapid broadband and data growth and Asiacell is well-positioned to meet the demands of the population for high quality, reliable and affordable voice and data services,” Sheikh Abdullah said in the statement. “We continue to work hard on preparing for Asiacell’s landmark IPO planned for later this year.”

Sawiris to drop support for EFG buyout | Reuters

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris will drop out of a buy-out consortium targeting investment bank EFG Hermes after EFG shareholders backed an alternative tie-up with Qatar's QInvest, an EFG source told Reuters on Tuesday.

But the head of the buy-out group vowed to press on with the bid, saying it had the financial firepower it needs and would consider a hostile approach for Egypt's biggest investment bank.

Economic turmoil and a morose financial market since a popular uprising have left EFG lacking the means for its ambition to expand across the Middle East and in March it announced talks over an alliance with Qatar's QInvest.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Gulf mkts end drop, but rebound uncertain - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait and Oman's benchmarks make their first gains in four sessions, while Abu Dhabi ends an eight-session
losing streak as improved global sentiment provides a temporary respite for downbeat Gulf bourses.
This close correlation with the international scene means world stocks will likely determine whether Gulf markets can extend gains.
"It's a case of follow the leader," says Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes' director of institutional equity sales. "If Europe
weakens later in the afternoon, the U.S. comes off a bit and oil goes down again, we'll give it all back again tomorrow."

Dubai's Drydocks World: Restructuring Remains On Track For 3Q Completion - Zawya

Drydocks World , a ship-builder owned by government-controlled conglomerate Dubai World , said Tuesday its $2.2 billion debt restructuring remains on track to be completed in the third quarter of the year.

The company said its hearing before the Dubai World Tribunal, a special body set up to handle legal matters connected to Dubai World and its subsidiaries, held earlier Tuesday and related to its Singapore business had proved fruitful. The hearing had been delayed in May.

"Today the re-scheduled directions hearing was effective, and the tribunal granted Drydocks World Dubai permission to convene the meetings of those creditors and equity interest holders who will be affected by the company voluntary arrangement (CVAs) which only impacts the impaired lenders under the group's historic syndicated facilities of 2008, to vote and approve the company proposal on July 10 2012," said Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World.

RPT/Kuwait's Global to get bond repayment delay approval - sources | Reuters

Kuwait's Global Investment House is expected to receive approval on Thursday to delay the repayment of bonds worth 95 million dinars ($338.6 million) to November from June, two sources familiar with the matter said.

"Bondholders have verbally agreed to the extension. The Thursday meeting will make it official," one banker, who asked not to be named, said.

Global, which counts the governments of Kuwait and Dubai as major shareholders, said it would meet holders of bonds worth 50 million dinars and 45 million dinars on June 7 in "continuation of its debt restructuring discussions and negotiations," according to a May 28 filing to the London stock exchange.

Egypt's EFG Hermes says Q1 net profit fell 6.8 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's EFG Hermes said on Tuesday its net profit for the first quarter fell 6.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Net profit for the period dropped to 77.0 million Egyptian pounds ($12.75 million) from 82.7 million in the first quarter of 2011, the bank said in a statement posted on the stock exchange website.

Jafza Said to Seek $1.85 Billion From Sukuk Sale, Bank - Bloomberg

Jebel Ali Free Zone FZE, a business park operator in Dubai, plans to raise a combined $1.85 billion from a bank facility and the sale of Islamic bonds to help refinance its 7.5 billion-dirham ($2 billion) debt maturing in November, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The company, controlled by Dubai’s government, plans to raise $1.2 billion from a bank facility and $650 million from sukuk sale, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. It may also use $190 million from internally generated cash to refinance the debt, they said. The planned Islamic bonds may mature in 2019, said two other people.
Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, incurred $113 billion of debt seeking to transform itself into a tourism and commercial hub, with $15 billion maturing this year, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. Jebel Ali Free Zone said on May 27 it received approval from a majority of sukuk holders to redeem the trust certificates ahead of their maturity.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad eyes at least 10 pct in Virgin Australia - CEO - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier Etihad Airways plans to raise its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to at least 10 percent, Etihad's top executive said, after stating it owns a near 4 percent stake in the Australian carrier on Tuesday.
"At a point in time, we would like to take it (stake) to a minimum of 10 percent, if we get the necessary approvals," James Hogan, Etihad's chief executive told Reuters.
Etihad, which is on a aggressive expansion drive, acquired a 3.96 percent stake in Virgin Australia through the stock market, it said in a statement.

UAE's Etihad buys 4 percent stake in Virgin Australia | Reuters

Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier which is on an expansion spree, said it has acquired a 4 percent stake in Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH.AX) through the stock market, deepening its alliance with the Australian airline.

The stake has been bought through market purchases in recent weeks, Etihad said in a statement on Tuesday. The airline did not say how much it paid for the stake and whether it plans to increase the stake in future.

"Etihad Airways believes that this equity investment in Virgin Australia's domestic operations significantly strengthens the 10-year strategic partnership forged by the two carriers in August 2010," the statement said.