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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Central Bank steps up action against Syria - The National

The Central Bank has told lenders in the UAE to look for accounts, investments and funds linked to individuals with ties to the Syrian government led by Bashar Al Assad as Arabian Gulf states step up action against the country.

On Thursday, the Central Bank sent a circular instructing lenders to submit all findings within three days, bankers said.

The move follows the imposition of economic sanctions by the Arab League against Syria in November, the first time it had called for sanctions against an Arab state. These included travel bans and asset freezes.

Strongest quarter in two years for Middle East M&A - The National

There was a revival in Middle East mergers and acquisitions business in the second quarter of this year, but overall the investment banking industry in the region remains under pressure from a lack of activity in the financial markets.

This was the picture that emerged from an analysis of the investment banking sector by Thomson Reuters, the global information group.

Regional mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity reached US$8.5 billion (Dh31.21bn) in the second quarter, 45 per cent up on the first, marking the strongest quarter in M&A since 2010. But fees from M&A were 19 per cent down compared with the first half of last year.

Tentative times for investment - The National

Investment banking in the Middle East continued to face challenges in the first half of this year as European and global fears compounded the uncertainties of the Arab Spring.

Regional debt capital markets and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) income were positive sectors in a six-month period during which other forms of investment banking business came under pressure from declining fees and activity.

In particular, traditional syndicated lending to companies virtually dried up in the period, down 98 per cent from last year, while equity capital markets activity was also down.

Capital flows into Emirates rise 40% - The National

Capital flows into the UAE rose 40 per cent to US$7.6 billion (Dh27.91bn) last year from 2010 as the country proved a haven for investors from turmoil elsewhere in the Arab world.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into most other regional countries fell, according to data collated in a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

It warned that FDI prospects for the region this year were still negative as a result of global and regional uncertainties.

gulfnews : The Strait of Hormuz — again

The Strait of Hormuz once again features prominently in the news as the Iranian threats to close or interfere with shipping through the Strait intensify and the counter threats equally so.
We need not remind the reader of the importance of free passage in the Strait not only for Arabian Gulf countries but for the world at large. Especially in energy terms there is no complete alternative to the passage of about 17 million barrels a day (mbd) of crude oil, almost 84 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas and over 2 mbd of petroleum products and condensate.
The world has no way of replacing these volumes no matter how much governments try. Arabian Gulf countries depend on oil exports revenue for their livelihood and this is irreplaceable in the foreseeable future. Therefore, closing the Strait would be tantamount to declaring war on the region’s countries and many oil and gas importing countries worldwide.

Deyaar’s Former CEO May Be Released on Bail July 10, Lawyer Says - Bloomberg

Zack Shahin, former chief executive officer of Dubai’s Deyaar Development PJSC (DEYAAR), may be released on bail by July 10 after he obtained 5 million dirhams ($1.4 million) as a guarantee, his U.S.-based lawyer said.
The bail amount is being deposited at the court today, Eric Akers said in a phone interview. An Emirati friend of Shahin, who is a U.S. citizen, agreed to guarantee his presence in Dubai and both of them will surrender their passports to the authorities, the lawyer said.
Shahin, jailed since March 2008 on charges of corruption and embezzlement, has been on a hunger strike protesting his detention while defending against five separate cases.

Hong Kong fund snaps up Jordan Dubai Capital | Reuters

Jordan Dubai Capital said that Hong Kong-based HPF private investment fund had wholly acquired its shares in a deal worth $130 million.

It will open the door for HPF, set up in January, to expand its portfolio in the region, where it was targeting investment areas such as infrastructure and real estate development, Mahesh Harilela, a majority holder in HPF and the shareholders' representative, told reporters on Sunday.

"The Middle East and North Africa region is very attractive, considering the Arab spring (uprising) has taken place, and we believe this is the right opportunity for expansion in the region," Harilela said.

The Rest Of The Oil Fields In Saudi Arabia Are Pretty Disappointing - Business Insider

Figure 1, Euan’s production estimates from 2007.

From the viewpoint of those who suggest that there is no problem, the discussion that swirls over the future of global oil supplies often seems to focus on the large volumes of oil that still remain in place around the world. The critical point, however, is not that this oil exists, but rather the rate at which it can be recovered. This is perhaps most obviously pertinent to the discussion of oil coming from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, where the rapid decline in individual well performance means that a great many wells must be developed and remain on line in the out years to sustain any significant flow past peak. As I noted last week, it is a point that clearly was missed by Leonardo Maugeri, and equally by George Monbiot, who has finally been swayed to the side of the cornucopians, after years of doubt.
But the issue of individual well flow rates are an increasingly critical factor when future oil production in oilfields around the world are considered, and this holds equally true when the fields in Saudi Arabia are discussed.

Qatar Royal Family May Buy Valentino Fashion Group, Sky Reports - Bloomberg

Qatar’s royal family is close to buying Valentino Fashion Group SpA from Permira Holding Ltd. for 550 million British pounds ($852 million) with an announcement expected this week, Sky News reported on its website, without saying how it obtained the information.
Qatar’s royal family would make the purchase and not the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Sky reported.
A representative at the office of the Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani declined to comment when Bloomberg contacted him by phone today.

Oman 2012 econ outlook good despite risks - | Reuters

Oman's economy seems to have weathered the first quarter's global slowdown quite well and its 2012 outlook remains positive despite external risks, a central bank (CBO) report showed.

"The growth momentum witnessed in 2011 appears to have sustained in the first quarter of 2012 notwithstanding deteriorating global macroeconomic conditions, arising mainly due to (the) sovereign debt crisis in Europe," said the 2011 annual report, seen on Sunday.

"The overall outlook for Oman remains positive in 2012 despite heightened downside risks to global recovery."

Qatar, Abu Dhabi Bidding for 42 U.K. Marriott Hotels, Times Says - Bloomberg

The Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are bidding to buy 42 Marriott International Inc. hotels in England, the Sunday Times said, without saying where it obtained the information.
The sale is being administered by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and may yield as much as 700 million pounds ($1.08 billion), the newspaper said.

MENA stock markets close - July 8, 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)

Saudi's Riyad Bank Q2 net profit up 9.4 percent | Reuters

Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank 1010.SE posted a 9.4 percent rise in second-quarter net profit on the back of improved operational income, the bank said on Sunday, beating analysts' forecasts.

The kingdom's third-largest lender by market value made 914.4 million riyals ($243.8 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 836 million riyals in the year-earlier period, the firm said in a bourse statement.

Analysts polled by Reuters had, on average, estimated earnings of 864 million riyals.

Bahrain’s Mumtalakat Full-Year Loss Widens on Impairments - Bloomberg

Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co. BSC, the sovereign wealth fund that appointed a new chief executive officer in March, said full-year loss widened as provisions for impairments increased.
Loss attributable to the shareholder of the parent was 335.8 million dinars ($891 million) in 2011 compared with 265.1 million dinars a year earlier, according Mumtalakat’s financial statement. Impairment losses climbed to 316.5 million dinars from 191.2 million dinars.
Mumtalakat, established in 2006, holds stakes in more than 35 companies including Gulf Air, Aluminium Bahrain BSC, Bahrain Telecommunications Co. (BATELCO), and McLaren Automotive Ltd. Mahmood Al Kooheji, chairman of Aluminium Bahrain, was appointed the CEO in March, replacing Talal al-Zain. The fund injected 400 million dinars into Gulf Air in 2010 as the national carrier restructures amid a slump in business.

Dubai’s Shares Drop Before Quarterly Results - Businessweek

Dubai’s benchmark stock index dropped for the second time in three days before companies in the emirate announce second-quarter results and as oil dropped after a report showed U.S. jobs growth fell short of forecasts.

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), the United Arab Emirates biggest bank complying with Islamic banking rules, slipped as much as 1.1 percent. Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the U.A.E.’s largest bank, retreated the most since May 6. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) lost 0.4 percent to 1,498.16 at the 2 p.m. close in Dubai. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) was little changed at 1:05 p.m. in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) rose 0.1 percent. In Israel, the TA-25 Index (TA-25) declined 0.8 percent.

“Traders in the U.A.E. are still hitting the bench,” said Talal Touqan, Abu Dhabi-based head of research at Al Ramz Securities. “The earnings season would represent a great opportunity to reinvest in selected companies.”

Persian Gulf Stocks: Tamweel in Dubai and Zain Saudi Were Active - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark Tadawul All share Index (SASEIDX) fell 0.3 percent to 6,841.50 at 1:50 p.m. in Riyadh after gaining 0.4 percent yesterday. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) slipped 0.4 percent while Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) increased 0.1 percent.

BP Says Still in Talks with Abu Dhabi on Oil-Production Rights - Businessweek

BP Plc (BP/) said it’s still in talks with Abu Dhabi about renewing rights to produce oil in the Middle Eastern emirate, after a report indicated the London-based crude producer had been excluded from negotiations.

“Constructive discussions are taking place at all levels,” David Nicholas, a BP spokesman, said July 6. “This is all part of doing business.” An official at Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state-run producer known as Adnoc, had no comment on the report when contacted by Bloomberg today, asking not to be identified in line with company policy.

Adnoc excluded BP from the list of companies it asked to bid for production rights at onshore fields, Petroleum Intelligence Weekly reported last week, without identifying where it got the information. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) (XOM), Total SA (FP), Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA (STL) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) (OXY) received invitations to prequalify for bidding, PIW said in a newsletter dated July 9.

Qatar Steel to Build $1.2 Billion Algeria Plant, QNA Reports - Bloomberg

Qatar Steel Co., a unit of Industries Qatar QSC (IQCD), signed an agreement to build a $1.2 billion plant in Algeria to produce 5 million tons of the metal a year, Qatar News Agency said, citing the company.
Qatar Steel will own 49 percent of the facility, while an Algerian partner will hold the rest, QNA said.

Dubai Duty Free wins expanded $1.75 billion loan | Reuters

Airport retailer Dubai Duty Free has secured a $1.75 billion loan facility that will be used to fund expansion of the emirate's international airport.

The six-year senior, unsecured syndicated credit facility will comprise a conventional term loan facility and Islamic facilities, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The retailer had said in April that it mandated banks for a $1.1 billion financing facility to help fund the growth of Dubai's international airport.