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Friday, 22 June 2012

Qatari group to buy four French luxury hotels: union - Yahoo! News Maktoob

US hotel group Starwood Capital is to sell four key French properties, including the famed Martinez in Cannes and the Concorde Lafayette in Paris, to a Qatari investor, a union official said on Friday.
Starwood Capital's Groupe du Louvre will hold a meeting on Thursday with the sale of the Martinez, Concorde Lafayette, Hotel du Louvre and the Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice on the agenda, union representative Claude Levy told AFP.
Starwood Capital in Paris declined to comment on the sale.
"A promise to sell has been signed recently and there will be an announcement on the matter on Thursday June 28. The sale has been imminent for a while," said Levy.

Oman Oil, IPIC to ink pact for Duqm Refinery development | Oman Observer

The wholly government owned investment entity Oman Oil Company (OOC) will shortly sign an agreement with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) formalising their partnership in the joint development of the Sultanate’s third refinery at Duqm. The pact will pave the way for the establishment of a joint venture company to invest in, develop and implement the greenfield refinery project within the Special Economic Zone at Duqm. It will also enable the promoters to secure debt finance for the project, which is estimated to cost $6 billion.

Sunland appeals over Dubai dismissal

PROPERTY group Sunland has appealed against the dismissal of its case against the two Melbourne businessmen it accused of deceiving it in a multimillion-dollar Dubai property deal.

In a scathing judgment handed down this month, Supreme Court of Victoria judge Clyde Croft said Sunland's case ''failed in all respects'', and forwarded his judgment to the corporate regulator.

The company yesterday denied that evidence given by two executives who were its key witnesses was unreliable.

Fitch upgrades Jebel Ali Free Zone - bi-me.com

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Jebel Ali Free Zone FZE's (JAFZ) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B+' from 'B' and removed it from Rating Watch Positive (RWP) where it was placed on 1 June 2012.

The Outlook is Stable. Fitch has also assigned JAFZ Sukuk (2019) Limited a senior secured rating of 'B+'/'RR4'.

The upgrade reflects the successful completion of the Sukuk offering and bank refinancing, which addresses the refinancing maturity of a Sukuk due in November 2012. Fitch notes that the final terms in the final documentation conformed materially to information already received.

The Arab spring: Egypt in peril | The Economist

A YEAR and a half after the optimism of the Arab spring, the Middle East is in frightening turmoil. Syria is close to sliding into a full-scale civil war whose outcome is unknowable, though its bloodstained president, Bashar Assad, looks likely sooner or later to fall. Libya, mercifully shorn of its crazy tyrant, is being periodically rocked by the still-untamed militias that ousted him; its general election, scheduled for this month, has been pushed back until next. Yemen, having shed its ruling bully of 33 years, has become al-Qaeda’s favourite haunt. Tunisia, which had been gliding most smoothly from despotism to democracy, has seen riots by religious extremists (see article). Sudan’s vile government and Oman’s more amiable one have also both been rattled by protests. And in Saudi Arabia a long-lingering succession crisis is back starkly in the spotlight with the death of its crown prince (see article).

Overseas Property News | Dubai property market on road to recovery | HomesGoFast.com

After several years of falling prices, Dubai’s property market is showing signs of improvement in early 2012. At the start of 2012, property prices showed their first quarterly rise since 2008 with investors increasingly confident about homes in the emirate.

However, the property market in Dubai may remain uncertain, as we explain here.

Demand for villas remains high, pushing up property prices in Dubai.

Global Investment House Negotiates Restructuring Term Sheet - Financial Services - Zawya

Global Investment House , the Kuwaiti company undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, said it negotiated a term sheet for the deal with a creditors' committee after securing debt payment delays earlier this month.

The term sheet, which sets out Global's restructuring proposals in detail, has been circulated to bank lenders and is being distributed to bondholders, the company said in a statement posted Thursday on the Dubai bourse website. Global, which is restructuring about $1.7 billion of debt, hammered out the terms with a coordinating committee of the company's largest bank creditors.

The term sheet follows an agreement this month with banks and bondholders to give Global waivers on debt payments until as late as December. The deferrals bought Global time to discuss the new terms, which people familiar with the matter told Zawya Dow Jones earlier this year could involve creditors taking an equity stake in Global's assets or in the company itself.

Kuwait Wealth Fund Investing $500 Million With Kremlin RDIF - Businessweek

Kuwait Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will invest $500 million in private equity together with the Kremlin-backed Russia Direct Investment Fund, Managing Director Bader Mohammad Al-Saad said today in St. Petersburg.

The Kremlin established the RDIF a year ago to help lure foreign investment and expertise in its drive to wean the world’s largest energy supplier off its dependence on commodity exports.

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com:

This week, Marketplace Middle East looks at the growing ties between Russia and the Middle 
East.


Abu Dhabi moves to boost gas supply - The National

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has signed an agreement with Germany's Wintershall and Austria's OMV to develop a technically challenging gasfield in the inhospitable desert of Al Gharbia.

The development of domestic sources of natural gas has become a priority in the light of the rapid growth in electricity consumption in Abu Dhabi, driven by ambitious industrial plans and increasing household use.

The foreign partners will drill three wells in the field next year to gauge its size and commercial viability. The area in question near Shuwaihat is already known to contain natural gas laced with high levels of toxic sulphur gas.

Bank deposits in UAE down for first time in five months - The National

Bank deposits declined for the first time in five months in April as signs suggest the euro-zone debt crisis may be taking a toll on the region's financial system.

Deposits dipped by 0.6 per cent from March to reach Dh1.14 trillion (US$310.36 billion), data released yesterday by the Central Bank shows.

M2 money supply, which gauges currency in circulation plus non-government deposits, dipped by 2.4 per cent to Dh880.4bn over the same period. M3, which tracks M2 plus government deposits, fell by 1.1 per cent to Dh1.06tn.

gulfnews : Conovi to add value to online Farsi-speaking market

Conovi, an online start-up incubator based in Dubai, plans to launch a series of digital ventures tailored to the Iranian market and bridge the gap between the Farsi-speaking audiences globally.
Conovi’s first commercial business, Chimigi, is formed by partnering with Pars Online, the largest private internet service provider in Iran, and will be launched in July.
Chimigi in Farsi means “what do you think?”, “what are you saying?”, “what are you up to?”

gulfnews : Pipeline to secure UAE’s oil exports, reduce transport costs

Exporting oil through the new Habshan-Fujairah pipeline will secure safe transportation of the UAE’s oil exports, cut insurance costs and reduce its dependence on the Straits of Hormuz, analysts told Gulf News.
The investment is an economically and politically strategic move for the UAE, they said.
“From the UAE’s perspective, this will help it to secure its most strategic economic asset against political tensions with Iran,” said Said Hirsh, analyst at London-based Capital Economics. “The pipeline is very good from the perspective of the international community as at least one step to help ease rising supply concerns from the dependence on the Strait of Hormuz.”

Moody's downgrades 15 banks, Morgan Stanley down two notches | Reuters

Ratings agency Moody's downgraded 15 of the world's biggest banks on Thursday, lowering credit ratings by one to three notches to reflect the risk of losses they face from volatile capital markets activities, but banks criticized the move as backward looking.

Morgan Stanley, one of the most closely watched firms in the much anticipated review, had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, sending its stock up sharply in after-hours trading.

The downgrade left Morgan Stanley more highly rated than Bank of America Corp and Citigroup, but a step below Goldman Sachs Group.

Aluminium Bahrain, Alcoa Can Gather Bribe Data, U.S. Says - Bloomberg

U.S. prosecutors dropped objections to the pretrial gathering of evidence in a lawsuit by Bahrain’s state-owned aluminum producer, which claims it overpaid for raw materials because of bribes directed by Alcoa Inc. (AA)
Aluminium Bahrain BSC, known as Alba, claims that New York- based Alcoa bribed senior officials in Bahrain and caused Alba to pay almost $500 million more than it should have for alumina, the principal raw material in aluminum.
U.S. prosecutors have been investigating those allegations since 2008 to determine whether Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, or anyone else violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Prosecutors said yesterday in a court filing that U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose in Pittsburgh no longer needs to halt the pretrial collection of evidence, known as discovery.

gulfnews : Prime plots in Dubai ripe for the picking

The freehold (or long-term leasehold) designated areas in Dubai have been expanded with the addition of two prime clusters within Dubai Investments Park, which is also a location that has seen a sharp rise in real estate development activity of late.
As per the new regulation — issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai — non-UAE nationals can own properties within the two clusters for a period of up to 85 years.
“The areas in and around Dubai Investments Park are becoming much sought after by investors given the industrial activity that is taking place there as well as the proximity to the Dubai World Central airport,” said Mohanad Alwadiya, managing director at Harbor Real Estate. “The confirmation of freehold status on additional areas within would interest a growing pool of investors.”

Batista Said to Sell 49% of AUX to Qatar for $2 Billion - Businessweek

Billionaire Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, is selling a 49 percent stake in his AUX gold business to Qatar Investment Fund Plc (QIF) for about $2 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction.

EBX Group Co., Batista’s Rio de Janeiro-based holding company, decided to sell a stake in AUX after shelving plans to take the company public. AUX mines for gold in Colombia. Batista told reporters yesterday in Rio that he had sold an AUX stake without disclosing the buyer or the price.

An EBX official in Rio declined to comment. Calls before business hours to a London-based public relations firm representing the Qatar fund referred to two emergency telephone numbers that no one answered.

Gulf Times – MSCI could rate Saudi Arabia as emerging market if access improves

Index compiler MSCI Inc said it could rank Saudi Arabia as an emerging market alongside countries such as Brazil and China, if the oil-rich kingdom moves ahead with longstanding plans to open up its stock market to foreign investors.
That could vault Saudi Arabia above smaller regional markets such as the UAE and Qatar, which MSCI continues to rate as “frontier” markets in its global market indexes. Inclusion in the MSCI emerging markets index tends to lead to a big inflow of investment from global stock market funds which track the index.
In its yearly market clarification review, released late Wednesday, MSCI noted that investors from outside the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, region currently have only indirect access to the Saudi equity market. Foreigners can access the Saudi market using swaps “which for institutional investors may cause compliance issues,” MSCI said.