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Monday, 23 July 2012

Dubai bribery case proceeds

HOPES have been dashed that Dubai authorities might release two Australian executives under house arrest on bribery charges over a property deal involving Gold Coast developer Sunland.

A Dubai judge last week ordered the emirate's prosecutors to reconsider charges against two men, Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee, who have been held under house arrest for three years.

But the Dubai Director of Public Prosecutions on Sunday laid fresh charges against Joyce and Lee.

Syria's fate has key implications for its oil-rich neighbours - The National

You can't make war in the Middle East without Egypt, and you can't make peace without Syria, observed the former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger. With key members of the regime assassinated, fighting in the streets of Damascus and border crossings in the hands of the opposition, president Bashar Al Assad's days seem to be numbered.

Not a major oil producer itself, Syria's fate still has implications for this energy-rich region. The country's importance has always been as an oil transit state rather than a producer.

During the Iran-Iraq War, to support its ally Tehran, Syria closed the Iraqi pipeline that runs to the Mediterranean.

Invest AD hopes to attract investors in Europe - The National

Invest AD, the investment company backed by the Abu Dhabi Government, is seeking a wider investor base for its funds.

It has sought to register and domicile its GCC and Africa funds in Luxembourg, which will allow the fund manager to freely market and sell both investment vehicles across Europe.

The funds are now a part of the Undertakings for the Collective Investment of Transferable Securities (Ucits), a regulatory framework that allows investment funds to be sold across borders in the European Union and offers additional investor protection measures.

Counting the cost: EM wealth flight | beyondbrics

Source: James S. Henry / Tax Justice Network
In 2009, G20 leaders proclaimed: “The era of banking secrecy is over.” They pledging to close down secrecy jurisdictions that enabled banks to take risks off their balance sheets and allowed wealthy companies and individuals to evade tax.

It was an empty pledge, according to a weekend report by former McKinsey chief economist James Henry, and it is costing emerging market governments a lot of money.

In his publication for the Tax Justice Network, The price of offshore revisited, Henry has attempted to put a number on the financial assets held offshore.

Turkey’s Frigo Pak becomes PE target | beyondbrics

With a growing population and booming economy to cater for, Turkey’s food industry is in excellent health. But it is also highly competitive and fragmented. Just 22 food and drink manufacturers are listed on the Istanbul stock exchange and there are relatively few well-established brands. The market is dominated by a large number of small and medium sized family run companies, buffeted by widely fluctuating margins.

So while international investors have been happy to invest in food retailing in Turkey, they have tended to leave manufacturing to the locals. Until now.

Frigo Pak, an Istanbul-listed family-owned fruit juice and soft drink maker, last week agreed to sell at 29 per cent stake to New York based private equity investor, Universe Capital Partners.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Wataniya Q2 profit halves, hit by Algeria currency loss | Reuters

Wataniya, Kuwait's No. 2 telecoms operator, reported a 49 percent drop in second-quarter profit on Monday, hit by foreign exchange losses from its Algeria unit and increased domestic competition.

Net profit at the firm, a subsidiary of Qatar Telecom (Qtel) , was 19.1 million dinars ($67.83 million) in the three months to June 30, down from 37.3 million dinars in the same period last year, a company statement said.

The company had 18.3 million customers as of June 30, up 8.3 percent from a year ago.

National Bank of Kuwait ups stake in Boubyan, fails in full takeover | Reuters

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will increase its stake in Boubyan Bank to more than 58 percent but failed to secure full backing for its takeover of the Islamic lender, NBK said in a statement on Monday.

NBK, Kuwait's largest lender, last month offered to pay 0.63 dinars ($2.24) per share for the 52.7 percent of Boubyan it didn't own as it tries to boost its presence in Islamic banking in the Gulf region - a move which would have created an entity with assets worth around $57 billion.

In Monday's bourse statement, NBK said it would increase its holding in Boubyan to 58.34 percent from 47.29 percent after receiving backing from shareholders holding around 11 percent of the bank.

MENA stock markets close - July 23, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
6641.1-0.88%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1493.36-1.48%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2468.8-0.12%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
5813.07-0.49%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1109.19-0.12%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5436.48-0.16%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8263.82-0.24%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1160.160.11%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
4868.050.01%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
1888.210.32%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
5239.451.26%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
9837.04-0.25%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
442.260.27%  


UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Alba hires BNP Paribas for $2.5 bln expansion options | Reuters

Aluminium Bahrain BSC , which owns the world's fourth-largest aluminium smelter, said on Monday it hired BNP Paribas to advise on financing options for a proposed $2.5 billion expansion plan to add a sixth production line.

Alba has said the new line - which will add 400,000 tonnes annual capacity to its current production of 881,000 tonnes a year - could be completed by early 2015.

A project feasibility study is expected to start at the end of the year, the Bahraini firm said in a statement, adding it choose BNP for its "strong presence in Bahrain along with extensive experience with the aluminium sector."

Dubai urged to back high-tech industries - FT.com

The chief executive of a Dubai manufacturing conglomerate says the government should support high-technology industries to boost the economy’s trade and tourism-led recovery.
Khalid Jassim Kalban, founding chief of Dubai Investments, says the emirate could increase the 15 per cent of gross domestic product that manufacturing presently represents towards the levels approaching 25 per cent seen in countries such as Singapore.
“Dubai can focus on high-tech, but there is no focus, the government needs to give it more direction,” he says.

With customs union, Gulf edges toward closer economic ties | Reuters

In April this year, a queue of thousands of trucks built up at the Al Ghuwaifat border crossing between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Weary drivers ate and slept in their cabs, some for as long as several days, because of a slow customs clearance process.

It took several weeks to reduce the logjam to normal levels. The incident underlined the difficulties faced by the six rich oil exporting countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as they edge toward closer economic integration.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, is leading moves toward political and economic cooperation, which it believes would give the mostly Sunni-led monarchies of the Gulf more power to withstand any confrontation with Shi'ite Iran.

Mubadala, Tap Oil to start developing Manora field | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Petroleum and its partners will start developing the Manora concession in the Gulf of Thailand and aim to start production in early 2014, Mubadala said in on Monday.

Located in the northern part of the Gulf Of Thailand, the Manora field was discovered in 2009, with a primary reservoir estimated to have proved and probably reserves of 20.2 million barrels, Mubadala said in a statement.

The project, worth $246 million, is operated by Pearl Energy, Mubadala Petroleum's subsidiary focused on southeast Asia.

Qatar Holding adds to Xstrata stake in weak market | Reuters

Qatar Holding, the second-largest shareholder in takeover target Xstrata (XTA.L), has added to its stake in the miner, in its first purchase since it made an unexpected demand for better terms from suitor Glencore (GLEN.L) last month.

Qatar spent just under 5 million pounds ($7.8 million) to buy an extra 590,390 shares on Friday at 8.47 pounds each, according to a regulatory filing on Monday, taking its stake to 10.997 percent of the miner and building what is already the largest holding after commodities trader Glencore's 34 percent.

Xstrata shares were trading at 8.18 pounds on Monday at 0915 GMT, down 2.7 percent, marginally above a 3.2 percent drop in the broader UK mining sector .FTNMX1770, as fresh concerns over Europe weighed on the market.

Dubai’s Shares Drop to Week Low on Greece, China; Qatar Declines - Bloomberg

Dubai’s shares were poised for the lowest close in more than a week amid concern Greece won’t fulfill its bailout commitments and after a policy maker in China warned of cooling economic growth.
Arabtec Holding (ARTC) PJSC, the biggest builder in the United Arab Emirates by market value, fell 1 percent. Deyaar Development (DEYAAR) PJSC, a Dubai-based property developer, retreated for a third day. The DFM General Index (DFMGI) retreated 0.1 percent to 1,513.91, headed for the lowest level since July 15, at 11:45 a.m. in Dubai. The measure rallied 3 percent last week. Qatar’s QE Index declined 0.3 percent.
“The modest rally we’ve seen in United Arab Emirates over the past couple of weeks is already under threat,” said Julian Bruce, the Dubai-based director of institutional sales trading at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. “For the uptrend to be maintained, typical Ramadan apathy exhibited by locals would have to be compensated for by increased western institutional interest but against the current backdrop that would seem to be a big ask.”

Kuwait’s NBK Capital Acquires 50% Shareholding in Turkey’s Bavet - Bloomberg

NBK Capital, the investment bank owned by National Bank of Kuwait SAK, said it acquired a 50 percent stake in Bavet, a distributor of animal pharmaceuticals in Turkey.
“The capital will be used to finance Bavet’s significant expansion plans and enhance its corporate infrastructure,” NBK Capital said in an e-mailed statement today. It did not disclose the value of the deal.

UAE employees unhappy and disloyal? | Kippreport.com

If we stop to consider the nature of the United Arab Emirates’ population, we will find that it is quite the unique one; an enormous expatriate population that land(ed) here from all corners of the globe with hopes and ambitions of earning more money or setting up their own companies; and a small ratio of a national population. What’s more, the expatriate numbers continue to increase as more and more tourists adoringly make plans to move here permanently.
It is not a very common ratio to find, even with all the global diversity that we see. For example, other countries in the GCC also have growing expatriate populations but they also have a large national population to balance it out. The nature of Dubai differentiates it because almost the entirety of its population is there to work. They are not citizens or nationals on the government’s payroll like in every other country but rather just forces of career driven people there to provide for themselves, their families and earn that extra buck that they couldn’t in their home countries.

WAM | RAKBANK reports H1 2012 Net Profit of AED668.7m

The National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (P.S.C.) (RAKBANK) has reported a net profit of AED 668.7 million for the half year ended 30th June 2012, reflecting a 13.5% growth compared to same period of 2011 and 5.6% over the first quarter of 2012.

"We are pleased with the positive results reported for the first six months as they reflect the continued growth in our customer base," said Graham Honeybill, Chief Executive Officer, RAKBANK. "As a leading Retail/SME national bank, we look to develop initiatives that enhance our customers' banking experience. In the last quarter this included upgrading our IT systems to offer customers faster, easier, and more convenient services." The technology upgrade demonstrates the bank's commitment to achieving excellence in customer service, the driving force behind RAKBANK's solid reputation and high levels of customer loyalty.

Emirates NBD Quarterly Profit Drops 13%, Beats Estimates - Bloomberg

Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank by assets, reported a 13 percent decline in second-quarter profit as revenue dropped and costs rose.
Net income fell to 647 million dirhams ($176 million) from 744 million dirhams a year earlier, the bank said in a statement to the Dubai stock market today. That topped the 613 million- dirham median estimate of four analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Banks in the second-largest Arab economy are recovering from a slowdown in lending triggered by the global financial crisis, which hurt investment banking and led to an increase in bad loans amid a crash in property prices. The bank is one of the biggest lenders to investment company Dubai Group LLC, which is in talks with banks to reschedule $6 billion of loans.

Gulf Daily News » SICO gets approval for UAE operations

Bahrain-based regional investment bank Securities & Investment Company (SICO) has received final approval from the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority (ESCA) for its new UAE brokerage firm to commence operations.

Located in Abu Dhabi, Securities & Investment Company United Arab Emirates (SICO UAE) will execute trades for its institutional and high net worth clients on the three principal stock exchanges, the ADX, DFM and Nasdaq Dubai.

The official go-ahead follows ESCA's regulatory approval of SICO UAE's key personnel and inspection of the company's new premises at Al Wahda Commercial Tower in Abu Dhabi, and its supporting IT and operating infrastructure.