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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Wellness firms eye PE route to fund buyouts

India’s wellness industry has been a lucrative investment destination for private equity (PE) funds during the last few years and leading companies in this segment are likely to continue tapping these funds for domestic and foreign acquisitions. Beauty and wellness major Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC) and homeopathy chain Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic are among those looking to access PE funds for inorganic expansion.

The wellness market in India is estimated at Rs 49,000 crore and services account for 40 per cent of this market. Experts say the sector is recording healthy growth of 20-25 per cent yearly and is expected to maintain a similar growth trajectory over the next three to five years.

ENERGY - Aliyev favors Nabucco

Azerbaijan’s Industry and Energy Minister Aliyev says the Nabucco West project is the best option from all points of view due its capacity, diameter and opportunities to deliver gas to eastern and central Europe

Azerbaijan’s best bet for piping natural gas to western Europe from the Caspian Sea is the Nabucco West project, Industry and Energy Minister Natik Aliyev has said ahead of a formal decision.

Aliyev’s comment is not an official decision, but comes as the government is preparing to decide between Nabucco West or the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which would take a southern route into Italy.

The confusing state of oil |

The oil industry is facing uncertainty and significant unknowns with oil prices fluctuating sharply. This makes it difficult for economic experts and analysts to come up with solid analyses and forecasts, due to political events and security tension surrounding the Arabian Gulf — the world’s largest black gold mine. No doubt that opinions and analyses are affected significantly by the on-going political and security events in the region and the entire world.
The effects of oil prices are crucial to the GCC economies, a fact that can be easily noticed through a review of economic indicators of GCC countries. Through a quick review, there are huge gaps in GCC’s economic indicators of growth, the size of GDP and surplus balance of trade, and other important indicators, within short periods of time relatively.
Previously, oil producers and exporters in the world rejoice with any rise in oil prices, but the skyrocketing prices have created a state of confusion in oil exporting countries, which were surprised by record oil revenues, which have accumulated without appropriate investment channels to invest these revenues.

DIFC sub-economy GDP grew by 7% in 2011 |

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) yesterday issued its fifth annual Economic Activity Survey Report which showed that the GDP of the centre’s sub-economy grew 7 per cent to $3.13 billion (Dh11.49 billion) in 2011 from $2.92 billion in 2010.
The report estimates the DIFC’s contribution to the UAE’s non-hydrocarbon GDP is approximately 1.4 per cent. “The report highlights DIFC’s advancement as a global hub of finance and business. We are confident that DIFC will continue to be a catalyst of growth for the region, by providing a platform of world-class infrastructure for financial and business institutions to extend their reach and access new economies,” said Abdullah Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority.
The survey, undertaken by the DIFC Economics team, is based on international best practices in national accounting, and measures output, intermediate consumption and ultimately the gross value added produced within the DIFC district by entities registered in the Centre.

Etisalat net profit up after federal royalty |

Etisalat, the Abu Dhabi based telecommunications group, announced a net profit of Dh1.9 billion after federal royalty for its second quarter of 2012, a 17 per cent growth compared to the same period last year. That’s also a three per cent growth compared to the first quarter of 2012, the telecom operator said in a statement on Wednesday.
Etisalat’s consolidated revenues reached Dh8.3 billion, a four per cent increase year-on-year while the EBITDA went up by 16 per cent to reach Dh4.3 billion.
Currently operating in 16 countries, the telecom operator said that revenue from international operations grew by 14 per cent to Dh2.3 billion. In the UAE, revenues declined by 0.4 per cent to Dh5,643 million in comparison to the same period of last year, while declined by three per cent in comparison to the previous quarter of this year.

Business - Sharjah Islamic Bank profit rises 21% to Dh149.2m in H1

Sharjah Islamic Bank first-half 2012 profits posted on 21% increase to reach Dh149.2 million, compared to 123.3 million achieved in the same period last year.
The balance sheet grew by 2.2 per cent since December 2011 with total assets reaching Dh18.1 billion. Net customer receivables reached Dh10.6 billion rising by Dh142.8 million (or 1.4 per cent) while customer deposits reached Dh10.8 billion rising by Dh 385.8 million(or 3.7 per cent) growth since Dec 2011.
Liquid assets were stable at Dh 4.1 billion or 22.7 per cent of the balance sheet at the end of June 2012 compared to a similar 4.1 billion or 23.2 per cent of the balance sheet at the end of 2011.

INTERVIEW-Etisalat may up stake in Saudi Mobily - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates No.1 telco, may raise its holding in Saudi Arabia affiliate Mobily, the firm's chief executive said on Wednesday, in what could give a major boost to its bottom line if it took a majority stake.
The former monopoly is also undertaking a review of all its operations across the 17 countries in which it operates, Ahmad Julfar told Reuters, as it seeks to boost returns to shareholders following a multibillion dollar foreign expansion over the past decade that has so far added little to the bottom line.
This overhaul may include selling some of its African subsidiary Atlantique Telecom units, but Etisalat has put on
hold plans to offload its 13 percent stake in Indonesia's XL Axiata, Julfar said.

UAE: debt charges hard to shake | beyondbrics

When British businessman Safi Qurashi walked from jail in Dubai on Tuesday, he thought his family’s long campaign for his release was complete.

The 43-year-old real estate developer, jailed for seven years for bounced postdated cheques, had been released after a judicial review of his case prompted by a seven-week hunger strike.

After the judges at Dubai’s highest court on Monday found him innocent of two of three bounced cheque cases, he was duly released the next day – only to be immediately rearrested on a warrant for another bounced cheque case related to a plot he had bought from Dubai Waterfront. Nakheel, the government owned developer behind the shelved project, had opened a case for bounced postdated security cheques underwriting the deal, a criminal offence in the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Fransi plans Saudi’s first emerging markets debt fund: MENA Fund Manager

Saudi Fransi Capital is planning to launch the first Saudi-domiciled emerging markets debt fund, pending regulatory approval, Mena FM can exclusively reveal.

The open-ended SFC Emerging Markets Debt Fund will target retail investors as well as high-net-worth-individuals, with a minimum subscription of SAR2000 ($533). No launch AUM has been set, and the target annualised return will be approximately 7-9%.

“Emerging market debt as an asset class has, on a risk adjusted basis, outperformed emerging market equities over the last decade,” Muskan Thacker, head of asset management and CIO at Saudi Fransi Capital, told Mena FM. “It’s a very underappreciated and underowned asset class, particularly in this part of the world.”

WAM | Abraaj Capital exits investment in IHH Healthcare Berhad through an Initial Public Offering

Abraaj Capital, a leading private equity manager investing in global growth markets, announced today the exit of its investment in IHH Healthcare Berhad (IHH) through an initial public offering (IPO) of one of the largest private healthcare providers in the world.

Approximately RM 6.26 billion (US$ 2 billion) was raised in the offering, making it the third largest IPO to date this year after Facebook and Felda Global (the Malaysian palm oil producer).

The offering received strong global institutional and retail demand. Over 400 global institutional accounts participated with the institutional books more than 130x covered whilst the Singapore and Malaysia retail offers were each more than 11x and 5x covered respectively. Cornerstone investors, such as Blackrock, Capital Group, Newton Investment Management Limited, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, Fullerton Fund Management Company (Temasek), The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), Employees Provident Fund Board, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) accounted for 62 per cent of the share offering.

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Aramex Q2 profit rises 14 pct, Egypt weighs | Reuters

Logistics firm Aramex posted a 14-percent rise in quarterly profits on Wednesday, buoyed by its Gulf Arab region operations which offset weakness in Egypt where an uncertain political outlook has hampered its business.

Aramex, a favourite of regional fund managers, also said investment costs in new African operations had weighed on its quarterly results.

The Dubai-based firm had second-quarter net profit of 64.4 million dirhams ($17.53 million) for the period ended June 30, up from 56.5 million dirhams a year-ago.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf Arab markets trend down, Oman at fresh 3-yr low | News by Country | Reuters

Gulf Arab markets dipped into negative territory on low volumes on Wednesday as investors, focussed on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and avoiding the region's searing summer heat, stayed away from trading and global cues failed to inspire buying.

In Oman, the Muscat index dropped for the fifth session in succession to a fresh three-year low, dragged down by banks. The bourse ended down 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

Heavyweight Bank Muscat slipped 0.6 percent, while HSBC Oman and National Bank of Oman, the sultanate's second and fourth-largest lenders by market value, fall 1.3 and 2.2 percent respectively.

TEXT-S&P affirms Qatar's sovereign credit ratings | Reuters

-- We expect the Qatari government to remain in a strong net asset position, which in our view balances the concentration risk related to the economy's reliance on the oil and gas sector.
-- At the same time, we expect Qatar's narrow net external position to remain broadly in balance over our forecast period to 2015, despite the significant increase in banking sector external funding.
-- We are affirming our 'AA/A-1+' sovereign credit ratings on the State of Qatar.

Qantas forges Emirates tie

Qantas Airways would give up its last European port and route many of its London flights through Dubai instead of Singapore under a proposed tie-up with the world’s largest international airline, Emirates.

The Australian Financial Review has learned Qantas is edging closer to a transformational alliance with the Dubai-owned carrier designed to revive the Australian icon’s loss-making international arm.

The companies are holding late-stage discussions over a code share agreement that would see Qantas fly to Dubai for the first time and rely on its new partner to transfer passengers to destinations across Europe, the ­Middle East and parts of Africa.

MENA stock markets close - July 25, 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)

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi ends marginally down, Safco at 15-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi's index slips marginally into the red in the final trading session of the week, while Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) continues its recent advance to close at a 15-week high.
Safco records a fourth straight day of gains, closing up 0.4 percent to its highest finish since April 11.
The company said on Tuesday it would pay a dividend of 6 riyals per share for the first half of the year and increase its capital through a 33 percent bonus share issue.

Gulf bank results reflect state spending -

Bank results in the second quarter highlighted the divergent performances of lenders across the Gulf, as high provisioning still weighs on those in Dubai and Kuwait, dragging them behind their regional peers.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank by market value, posted a 13 per cent drop in second-quarter earnings, its fourth consecutive quarterly drop. The earnings fell as costs increased and the lender made further provisions on state-linked debt.
In Kuwait, where banks were hit by stock market losses and poor property investments, shares of the National Bank of Kuwait dropped the most in two years after the country’s biggest bank reported a 40 per cent decline in second-quarter profits. It set aside $96.4m in judgmental provisions.

U.A.E. Market Regulator Issues Investment Law, Alrroya Says - Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority issued a decision stipulating rules for investment funds in the Persian Gulf country as it seeks to boost liquidity in the markets, Alrroya reported.
The decision will increase transparency of fund management, Alrroya said, citing the market regulator chief executive officer Abdullah al Turaifi.