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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Qatar in spotlight over merger activism -

Qatar’s new-found activist approach to the $58bn merger of Xstrata and Glencore has further distanced Qatar Holding from its regional sovereign wealth fund peers and placed it firmly in the spotlight.
“It’s very surprising,” said one senior Gulf investment banker. “It’s a new direction for the Middle East sovereign wealth funds because in the past they’ve tried to be as passive as possible.”
Qatar Holding said in a statement last week that it was “seeking improved merger terms.” Glencore is offering 2.8 of its shares for each of the miner’s, but Qatar said an exchange ratio of 3.25 a share “would provide a more appropriate distribution of benefits of the merger”.

gulfnews : We need more business hubs on the Arabian Gulf coast

Last year Qatar launched its first national leadership centre to strengthen the leadership capacity of its current and upcoming leaders. The programme provides a vehicle to share and challenge ideas and build on existing leadership competencies. As part of the programme, the participants visited both the world’s factory, China, and the brain of the east, Singapore.
China, the giant and yet agile economic apparatus, constitutes of various and diverse socioeconomic clusters and provides large laboratories to examine products, services, ideas and policies. China, the model of a socialist market economy, has deep pockets and an abundance of low-cost human capital that has made its growth success possible. Singapore, on the other hand, is a tiny sophisticated capitalist city state with robust regulations and transparency allowing it to attract $618.6 billion (Dh2.27 trillion) worth of foreign direct investment (FDI). Singapore has established itself as a host for multinational companies that target the region.

gulfnews : UAE uncertain even if global markets hold up

Activity levels on the Dubai Financial Market General Index (DFMGI) were very low last week, with volume falling close to the lowest level of the year. The DFMGI closed at 1,451.87, down 18.58 or 1.26 per cent for the week. Market breadth was bearish with 21 declining issues and only eight advancing.
Last week the DFMGI closed below support of five of the prior six weeks. It remains to be seen whether any real technical damage was done. Closing below the lows of prior weeks indicates that selling pressure dominated and now a re-test of the recent 1,425.34 low is more likely than it has been. Also, the DFMGI could break below that price level. If it does so, the next price areas to watch for support are around 1,397.71, and then 1,352. The swing low of 1,338.56 from the sell-off in March of 2011 is an even more significant potential support area given its importance at the time.

gulfnews : Global investors snap up big chunks of Gulf bond issues

Investors from outside the Gulf have muscled in on two big bond issues from the region, taking very high portions of the debt on offer — a sign of international confidence in the region, but a source of frustration for some locals who wanted to buy more.
Just 43 per cent of Bahrain’s 10-year, $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion) sovereign bond, issued last Wednesday, was placed in the Middle East. Thirty-two per cent went to investors in Europe, including Britain, 14 per cent to the United States, and 11 per cent to Asia, according to official data.
By contrast, 63 per cent of Bahrain’s last international debt market outing, a seven-year, $750 million sukuk in November, was placed in the Middle East.

Generation game's big winners at Al Fahim Group - The National

Mohamed Abdul Jalil Al Fahim can still remember when, as a boy, in 1961, his father was approached by a German in Abu Dhabi.

The man was trying to sell the agency rights to Mercedes-Benz to Mr Al Fahim's father Abduljalil, who sold car parts, at a time when there were no proper streets in the emirate.

The salesman asked Abduljalil if he had heard of Mercedes. He had not.

Arab investment firm MerchantBridge left in limbo - The National

The future of MerchantBridge, one of the largest private equity investors in Iraq, is in question a year after the death of two of its founders and a messy legal dispute over one of its holdings.

Founded by Basil Al Rahim and other wealthy Arabs in 2001, MerchantBridge has served as a conduit for investments by big names such as Qatar National Bank, Qatar Telecom and Lafarge Cement in Iraq as the country emerges from decades of war and sanctions.

But Al Rahim and partner Abdullah Lahoud died when the company's private jet crashed en route from Sulaimaniyah, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, to Beirut in February last year, triggering a legal dispute over a 19 per cent stake in Asiacell, an Iraqi mobile telecommunications company.

Middle East private equity in tough spot - The National

The US$23.2 billion (Dh85.21bn) Middle Eastern private equity industry is struggling as fund-raising gets tougher and viable exit options diminish.

About $700 million was raised last year, compared with more than $6bn at the industry's peak in 2007, according to the Mena Private Equity Association's annual report.

Funds under management grew to about $23.2bn last year from about $8bn in 2006, the report said.

Banks tipped for poor quarter as investors look elsewhere - The National

Slack economic growth in the Emirates is expected to mean a lacklustre quarter for the UAE's banks, analysts say, as investors instead turn to lenders in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in search of better profits.

As the second quarter ends, the UAE is expected to have registered another poor quarter of loan growth, said Shabbir Malik, a banking analyst at EFG Hermes. "I'm not very excited about loan growth," he said. "What I'm looking for is an easing of provisions. We saw some of that in Q1, and if we see a more sustained downwards trend that will be positive for the sector."

A slowdown in government spending this year has limited the ability of the private sector to expand and has also reduced borrowing requirements.

Racecourse saga takes a turn with Meydan suit - The National

Meydan has launched a Dh3.5 billion (US$952.8 million) legal claim against the UAE builder Arabtec and the Malaysian contractor WCT over the construction of the racecourse that hosts the Dubai World Cup.

It is the latest legal twist in a dispute sparked by the cancellation of the original construction contract three years ago.

WCT, which won the order to build the development with Dubai-based Arabtec Construction, dismissed the claim as "frivolous and without merit".

Qatar's economy grew by 6.9 pct in Q1-offical data | Reuters

Qatar's economy grew 6.9 percent year-on-year in inflation-adjusted terms in the first quarter helped by a jump in the construction industry, the Gulf Arab state's statistics authority said on Sunday.

The world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas also saw its real gross domestic product rising by 3.0 percent in January-March compared with the previous three months, the Qatar Statistics Authority said citing preliminary data.

Latest comparable growth rates for the final quarter of 2011 are not available, the authority said, as it has been revising the GDP data for 2011 and 2010.

MENA stock markets close - July 1, 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)

Qatari investors near French hotels deal -

Qatar is in the process of finalising a deal with Starwood Capital to buy from the US group a portfolio of four luxury hotels in France for an undisclosed price. It is the latest in a wave of high-profile purchases in the country by the gas-rich emirate, which has led to a political backlash.
The Qatari acquirer of the hotels, which include the art deco Martinez on Cannes’ Croisette waterfront, is understood to be Katara Hospitality, a state-owned hotels group.

Dubai Shares Gain on Europe Plan; Kuwait Rises on Cabinet Shift - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares advanced the most in three weeks, helping gains in Persian Gulf stock markets, after oil surged on optimism that Europe’s debt crisis may be contained, boosting the appeal for riskier assets.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, climbed 1.8 percent. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank complying with Islamic banking rules, rose the most since May. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) increased 0.7 percent, the most since June 11, to 1,462.52 at the 2 p.m. close in the emirate. The gauge slumped 12 percent in the second quarter. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of the Persian Gulf region’s top 200 equities rose 0.1 percent, while Kuwait’s shares advanced as the resignation of the nation’s cabinet was accepted.

Dubai stock market tops GCC bourses in first half-year - Business News - SINA English

With a half-year gain of 7.28 percent, the Dubai Financial Market General Index posted the highest advance in the region, but regional indexes closed June lower than the first quarter.
After a strong start into the year, when the Dubai Financial Market General Index gained 21.92 percent in the first quarter, the gauge was hit by a non-stop bombardment of bad news from the Euro zone due to debt crisis. In addition, with fears of a military escalation between Western powers and Iran because of Tehran's nuclear energy ambitions dragged the Dubai market down in the second quarter.
Last Thursday, the gauge closed at 1,451.87 points or 7.28 percent higher than on December 31 2011, leaving Dubai as a top performer among all oil states of the Gulf Co-operation Council ( GCC).

Saudi tumbles after biggest one-day gain

Saudi Arabia's index fell in early trade on Sunday after notching up its largest one-day gain in 10 weeks yesterday as investors waited for new catalysts to justify further buying.

The index slipped 0.4 per cent to 6,681 points. It slumped to a five-month low on Wednesday, but rose 1.9 per cent on Saturday following big gains in oil prices and world stocks.

That surge came after euro zone leaders agreed on measures to cut soaring borrowing costs in Italy and Spain.

Dubai Shares Lead Gains in Persian Gulf on Oil’s Rally, Europe - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares advanced the most in two weeks, leading gains in Persian Gulf shares, after oil surged on optimism that Europe’s debt crisis may be contained, boosting the appeal for riskier assets.
Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, climbed 1.8 percent. Arabtec Holding Co. (ARTC), the United Arab Emirates’ largest construction company, was set for the biggest gain in more than a week. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) increased 0.8 percent, the biggest intraday gain since June 18, to 1,463.11, at 10:31 a.m. in the emirate. The gauge slumped 12 percent in the second quarter. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) of the Persian Gulf region’s top 200 equities rose 0.1 percent as Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) gained 0.4 percent.