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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Drydocks World Southeast Asia Creditor's Meetings and Schemes are approved by requisite majorities

Drydocks World LLC (DDW) has announced that Drydocks World-Southeast Asia Pte Ltd, Drydocks World-Singapore Pte Ltd, Labroy Marine Pte Ltd, Labroy Shipbuilding and Engineering Pte Ltd, and Labroy Offshore Engineering Pte Ltd (together the "Scheme Companies") today held meetings of their scheme creditors at which the creditors were asked to vote to approve Schemes of Arrangements pursuant to Section 210 of the Singapore Companies Act (the "Schemes"). The Schemes enable the Scheme Companies to enter into an amendment agreement with the creditors under the Existing Term Loan Facilities Agreement ("ETLFA") to enable the Majority Existing Term Loan Facilities Creditors (the "Creditors") to consent to the release of the Scheme Companies from their obligations under the ETLFA and thereby facilitate the closing of the joint venture described below. DDW and the Scheme Companies are pleased to advise that 100% of those Creditors present and voting voted in favour of the Schemes at today's meetings. Those Creditors represented approximately 97% of all Scheme Creditors.

Creditors okay Drydocks World debt revamp

DRYDOCKS World (DDW), the indebted Dubai-based shipyard, has made further headway in efforts to trim its US$2.2 billion debt load.
DDW said yesterday that it had obtained the go-ahead from its creditors for a scheme of arrangement relating to existing term loan facilities, thus paving the way for DDW's joint venture with Pacific Carriers Limited, a shipping company that is part of Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok's business empire.
The JV will combine DDW's four South-east Asian yards with the Kuok Group's two in China, and also boast a fleet of 300 ships.

Lockout threatens to halt Norwegian oil and gas output - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Norway's energy industry ordered a lockout next week that threatens to bring production to a halt in Western Europe's largest oil exporter and the world's number two gas supplier.
The lockout was announced almost two weeks into a massive strike by more than 700 North Sea oil workers over pensions which, according to employers' organisation OLF, has led to losses worth tens of millions of euros a day.
Crude prices rose on the news, which will halt production in the world's seventh largest oil exporter at a time when global supplies are already being hit by an embargo on Iranian oil.

Gulf Times – Qatar T-bill yields down sharply amid excess liquidity

Qatari Treasury bill yields fell sharply at this week’s 4bn riyal ($1.1bn) auction by the central bank as local banks offered lower bids.
The Qatar Central Bank sold 1bn riyals of nine-month notes at an average yield of 1.98%, down 38 basis points from last month’s sale, bankers in Doha said.
It also sold 1bn riyals of six-month notes at 1.89%, down from 2.02% in June, and 2bn riyals of three-month bills at 1.46%, down from 1.48%.

Emaar swaps houses for Downtown Dubai hotels - The National

Emaar Properties has acquired the management of two hotels in Downtown Dubai as it swaps housing for hospitality.

The Dubai developer of the Burj Khalifa is increasingly focusing on retail and hotel development to compensate for a slowdown in demand for properties. Emaar has assumed the day-to-day management of the four-star Al Manzil and Qamardeen hotels.

The move was intended to yoke the company closer to two of the fastest-growing sectors in the local economy, said Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties.

Etisalat to raise stakes in Nigeria phone wars - The National

Etisalat is aiming to leapfrog two of its key competitors in Nigeria within four years as the UAE mobile-phone company looks to increase its share of Africa's biggest telecommunications market.

Etisalat Nigeria aims to build on its momentum as the fastest-growing telecoms company in the country by expanding its customer base by a further 20 per cent by the end of the year. So far, it has 13.3 million customers, up from 9.8 million at the end of last year.

"It's tearing along," said Steven Evans, the chief executive at Etisalat Nigeria. "We have a very aggressive set of targets and are looking at between 15 [million] and 16 million subscribers by the end of this year. We are on track to achieve that."

Leighton fires Iraq oil export official - The National

The Australian construction group Leighton has fired a top official on its oil export project in Iraq over contractual irregularities.

The company is building oil export infrastructure near the Iraqi port of Basra through its Leighton Offshore unit, which has become embroiled in a government investigation over alleged tendering violations.

"[The] internal review of the Iraq projects undertaken by its subsidiary, Leighton Offshore, has identified instances of failures to meet governance standards in respect of the proper documentation of contractual arrangements. As a consequence, a senior manager has been dismissed," said Leighton.

Saudi investor sued over Libya plane deal -

A lawsuit brought against Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal, the prominent Saudi investor, by a woman who claims she acted as a broker to help him sell an aircraft for $120m to Colonel Muammer Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader, is set to come to trial in London following a High Court ruling.
Daad Sharab, a Jordanian, who runs a consultancy which provides commercial introductions for clients, has brought a lawsuit against Prince Al-Waleed who is chairman of Kingdom Holdings Company which at the time owned assets including an Airbus A340 and a Boeing 767.
The lawsuit centres around Ms Sharab’s claim she is allegedly owed $10m of commission following her role in the sale of the Airbus to the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company.

MENA stock markets close - July 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)

Dubai Responds To State Department Urgings; Grants Bail For Zack Shahin - PR Newswire - The Sacramento Bee

In an unexpected but welcomed move, the head judge of the Court of First Instance ordered bail be set for Zack Shahin in the all cases now pending against him. Although another judge in Tuesday's hearing set July 15 and July 17 for judgment in two of the cases pending for Zack, this turn of events allows Shahin to suspend his hunger strike, be released from custody and more ably plan for further defense of the cases still pending, including those set for judgment.  Release of Shahin is dependent on Shahin complying with the terms set by the judge. No timetable for his release has been established, and it is hoped that this action is in response to the statement issued by the U.S. Charge d'Affaires in the United Arab Emirates, L. Victor Hurtado last Friday.

Qatar says sticking to its guns on Glencore deal | Reuters

Qatar, the second-largest shareholder in Xstrata (XTA.L), said on Thursday it was "firm" in its demand for improved terms from commodities trader Glencore (GLEN.L), which hopes to take over miner Xstrata in a $26 billion deal.

Glencore, Xstrata's top shareholder with an almost 34 percent stake, is offering 2.8 new shares for every Xstrata share held.

Qatar - whose sovereign wealth fund has built an 11 percent stake in Xstrata since the planned takeover was announced in February - is demanding an improved ratio of 3.25.

Decline in occupancy sees Dubai hotels become more affordable - Emirates 24/7

Occupancy levels at Dubai hotels declined from 86.5 per cent in April to 78.8 per cent in May 2012, prompting a decline in average room rate (ARR) to below Dh1,000 for the first time this year, and making Dubai more affordable for leisure tourists, who are expected to sustain demand during the summer months.

According to the latest HotStats survey of full-service hotels in six Mena cities by TRI Hospitality Consulting, Dubai’s hotels have seen a gradual decline in occupancy this year – from a high of 87.7 per cent in January to 78.8 per cent in May – as rents surged to cross an all-time high of Dh1,320 per room in April.

Analysts believe that higher room rates coupled with the ongoing economic concerns in Europe, one of Dubai’s major source markets, and a weak currency in India – another of Dubai’s major source of tourists – might have made the emirate a bit unaffordable for some of the tourists planning to visit the destination.

UPDATE 1-Qatar eyes Islamic bond sale; demand seen high | Reuters

The Gulf Arab state of Qatar is planning to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, for the first time in nearly a decade, as it seeks to take advantage of global demand for safe havens and sharia-compliant assets amid market uncertainty.

Qatar has mandated banks for investor meetings in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore starting on July 9, arranging banks said on Thursday, and a dollar-denominated sukuk issue may follow subject to market conditions.

The world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter last tapped debt markets with a $5 billion conventional multi-tranche deal in November, but it has not issued a sukuk since 2003.

Singapore's Temasek net profit down 15.4% - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Singapore's state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings said Thursday its net profit in the last fiscal year fell 15.4 percent to Sg$11 billion ($8.7 billion) amid a slower global economy.
However, Temasek said the net value of its worldwide portfolio went up 2.6 percent to Sg$198 billion in the year ended March 31 from the previous financial year.
The net profit decline was due largely to a fall in contributions from companies in which Temasek holds stakes, the firm's annual report showed.

Perspective: The boost in UAE's non–oil trade value -

According to Frost & Sullivan, the boost in the trade value is a healthy sign of recovery for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) economy and a strong announcement to the global economies about the country's rebound from the lows of financial crisis.

Also, the fact that the imports have witnessed a growth by over 20 per cent showcases the retrieval of erstwhile demand patterns (pre-recession) and increased consumption. It also shows clear signs of growing per capita spend and revitalising economy. Furthermore, the UAE's investment and government’s  initiatives to establish itself as an exporter on the global landscape are auguring well for the country’s economy.

India tops the list of bullion trade partners of the UAE, a significant part of the non-oil trade, followed by Switzerland, Iraq and Belgium. Given the volatile global economy and the consideration for gold (major part of the bullion trading) as a safer investment, the bullion business is expected to sustain its position in the UAE trade.

Dubai’s Stocks Complete Biggest Weekly Gain Since March on Emaar - Bloomberg

Dubai’s benchmark stock index completed the biggest weekly gain since March on optimism Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR)’s unit will benefit from Saudi Arabia’s approval of a mortgage law and second-quarter earnings will double.
Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rallied 1.7 percent today, taking this week’s gain to 10 percent. Gulf General Investment Co. (GGICO), which signed restructuring agreements this week with its lenders, advanced 7.8 percent. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 1 percent to 1,504.70 at the close in the emirate, the highest since May 10. The measure gained to 3.6 percent this week, the most since the five days ended March 15. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) rose 0.1 percent today. Oman’s MSM30 Index (MSM30) snapped a four-day decline, gaining 0.4 percent.

Oman's Shura Council tries to defuse oil protests | Reuters

Oman's consultative Shura Council has launched a drive to speed up reforms of labor laws after strikes by oil workers in the Gulf Arab state in the past two months demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

Oman, which gets 70 percent of its revenue from the oil sector, has detained more than 30 people in recent weeks following protests that some blame on the government's failure to deliver jobs promised after massive protests last year.

Up to 400 oil workers downed tools at state oil fields in May to push for better pay and pensions. More strikes broke out in June, mainly among employees of private contractors working in the oil sector, labor union officials said.

VW wraps up Porsche takeover two years early - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Europe's biggest automaker Volkswagen is to wrap up its takeover of German luxury sports car group Porsche two years earlier than planned in order to unlock hitherto untapped economies of scale.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the two companies -- which have been seeking to merge since 2009 -- said they had found a way to integrate their two businesses "some two years earlier than would have been economically feasible" under their previous plans.
The news sent VW shares jumping more than four percent in early trade Thursday, where they were the biggest gainers on the blue-chip DAX 30 share index.

New Statesman - How Qatar bought London

In his encomium to the Shard, London’s newest and tallest skyscraper, Boris Johnson declared that it was “a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession”. Had he  substituted “Qatar” for “London”, the city’s mayor might have had a point. The 72-storey tower, which was inaugurated on 5 July, is 95 per cent owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and is the crowning asset in the Gulf state’s acquisition spree.

When the Shard’s public viewing gallery opens in February 2013, it will offer an apt vantage point from which to observe the emirate’s treasures. To the west lie Harrods, acquired by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in 2010 for £1.5bn, and One Hyde Park, the world’s most expensive apartment block, which is owned by Project Grande (Guernsey), a joint venture between the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, and the property developers the Candy brothers. To the east lie the Olympic village, sold to the QIA subsidiary Qatari Diar for £557m last August, and Barclays Bank, 6.67 per cent-owned by the QIA, which is now its largest shareholder.

Iraq to fine Kuwaiti telecoms company | Al Akhbar English

Iraq's communications regulator will fine the local unit of Kuwait telecoms firm Zain $12,864 a day since September 2011 for failing to list on the country's stock exchange, a senior official at the body said.

Zain and rivals Asiacell and Korek are mandated to list on the local bourse as part of their $1.25 billion operating licenses but all three missed an initial deadline of last August.

The Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said last Tuesday it would fine Asiacell and Korek for failing to hold an initial public offering.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad wants to keep Aer Lingus stake-FT | Reuters

Etihad Airways is not willing to sell its 2 percent stake in Aer Lingus, the Irish flag carrier subject to a takeover bid by Ryanair, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

President and Chief Executive of Etihad James Hogan was quoted as saying "we are not selling", giving his backing to Aer Lingus's current management and its strategy.

Hogan said in February that Etihad was interested in the possibility of purchasing the Irish government's 25 percent stake in the carrier.