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Monday, 30 July 2012

Busiest six months ever for Dubai International Airport - The National

Surging passenger flows to and from Saudi Arabia, the US, Qatar and Australia helped lift Dubai International Airport to its busiest first half year in history.

A total of 27.9 million passengers passed through its three terminals between January and June, 13.7 per cent more than the previous year period, according to the traffic report released by airport operator Dubai Airports yesterday.

"Our record first half had some interesting story lines, highlighted by the launch of 12 new routes, the addition of four new airlines and a surge in traffic on routes to Saudi Arabia, USA, Qatar and Australia," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports.

Highest court rejects special petition lodged by British businessman to drop bounced cheque case |

Dubai’s highest court has rejected a special petition, lodged by British businessman Safi Qurashi, in which he sought to have his Dh7 million bounced cheque case dropped.
The Dubai Cassation Court rejected Qurashi’s petition after Presiding Judge Mohammad Nabeel Riyadh decided that the defendant issued a cheque worth Dh7,191,175 that bounced due to lack of funds.
In September 2010, the Cassation Court confirmed a three-year jail term against Qurashi for issuing the aforementioned cheque.

Enoc looks to expand within the GCC |

Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), the Dubai government-owned oil and gas company, is looking to expand its service station network into other GCC countries, according to a top Enoc official.
“Enoc is studying to take the petroleum-retailing industry to GCC countries, to a new dimension,” Burhan Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Retail at Enoc, told Gulf News.
While a final decision on when or where Enoc will go has not yet been made, he said: “Enoc sites will be similar to the Enoc stations in the UAE, reflecting the same high standards of quality and service that has made Enoc one of the most respected and well-known brands in the Emirates today.” “It will be significant to share our expertise by reaching out to a wider audience in the GCC. It is a potential investment according to our expansion plan,” he pointed out.
Business enhancement
Al Hashemi said that the company earmarked most of its annual budget to go into enhancing Enoc’s current businesses.

Dubai Group repayment guarantees unlikely despite creditor demands -

Despite creditor demands, Dubai Group is unlikely to provide any guarantees to lenders as it continues efforts to restructure around USD 10bn in debt, two creditors told dealReporter.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Standard Bank and Commerzbank, which withdrew from formal negotiations with Dubai Group in June, were seeking an option to exit the restructuring after five years and a related “liquidity guarantee”, one creditor said. The exit option has since been included in the term sheet without any guarantees, he said.
RBS wanted a guarantee to ensure payment in case there was a problem with asset sales linked to the exit option, said the same creditor. He believed the bank remained in daily contact with Dubai Group.

Turkey’s credit rating upgrade: holy grail or poisoned chalice? | beyondbrics

What’s an emerging market got to do to convince the rating agencies that they are investment grade? In Turkey’s case, quite a lot.

As Bloomberg reports today, of 19 emerging market bonds it has tracked over the past month,Turkey’s performed the best of all. Yields on benchmark two year lira-notes fell 69 basis points to 7.78 per cent, adding to falls of 323bp so far this year. This involved foreign investors taking their holdings of Turkish debt to a record $50.6bn.

While Turkey might be the best performing EM debt market, not to mention the largest eastern European debt market, it is far from being considered the safest. Despite the appetite among investors, Turkey remains the second highest yielding of the emerging markets surveyed by Bloomberg, with Brazil keeping it off the foot of the table.

Asset manager, bourse launch Nigeria Islamic index | Reuters

Islamic wealth manager Lotus Capital and Nigeria's bourse (NSE) on Monday launched a debut index of Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed companies that comply with centuries-old Islamic investment principles.

The NSE Lotus Islamic index, which covers 15 equities with combined market capitalisation of around 2.87 billion naira, excludes banks, companies with high levels of debt or leverage and other stocks that conflict with Islamic principles.

The stock exchange said the new index is designed to attract Sharia/ethical investors to Nigeria's fledgling stock market, particularly those from the Middle East.

UAE oil group boss leaves amid debt woes -

Mohamed Osman, the long-serving general manager of the United Arab Emirates’ family-owned oil group Fal Oil, has left the company at a time when gaining creditor confidence is crucial to sealing a debt restructuring deal.
Mr Osman, who has worked with the company for decades, had his employment contract terminated earlier this month, people familiar with the matter say. Fal, one of the largest independent oil traders in the Middle East, is expected to announce the new appointment imminently.
Mr Osman could not be reached for comment.

MGM vs. Wynn - MGM's Poor Bets - MGM, WYNN - Foolish Blogging Network

Warren Buffett always says that outstanding management is one of his requirements to invest in any company. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the differences in how two prominent casino companies, MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), and Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) are managed, and some of the key decisions made by the CEOs which are reflected in today’s stock prices.  I believe that a strong case can be made that one is extremely well managed, while the other has dice rolling buffoons at its helm.

MGM stock’s soared with the housing market, reaching over $91 a share in October, 2007.  Since then, the stock has plunged over 90%, sitting just above $9.00 a share today.  Wynn Resorts fell from over $164 a share, to $93.00 today during the same period.  That’s not to say that WYNN has done well, but during that time it is paid out some large special dividends to shareholders, while MGM has paid out zero, and Wynn hasn’t fallen nearly as much.

UPDATE 2-UAE telco du to focus on costs after Q2 profit jump | Reuters

The UAE's No. 2 telecom operator du plans to focus on curbing costs rather than chasing market share, its chief executive said on Monday, after it reported a 57-percent jump in quarterly profit.

The operator, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, said its share of mobile subscribers fell slightly to 46.5 percent.

Renewed competition from Etisalat, which posted a jump in second quarter profit last week after declines in eight of the preceding nine quarters, has slowed du's rise.

Qatar raises 2011/12 budget surplus estimate to $15 bln - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar raised its budget surplus estimate notably to 54.3 billion riyals ($15 billion) for the fiscal year ended in March as revenue was higher than previously expected, preliminary data showed on Monday.
The 2011/12 fiscal surplus of the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas was equivalent to 8.6 percent of gross domestic product, according to the economy and finance ministry calculation, up from the original 22.5 billion-riyal plan.
The surplus, the highest since at least 2005/06, is well up from 44.5 billion riyals reported earlier in July in a
prospectus for the country's Islamic bond.

MIDEAST DEBT-UAE interbank rates at 8-year lows, seen falling more - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A sudden tumble of interbank lending rates to multi-year lows in the United Arab Emirates is narrowing the gap between UAE rates and those in major related markets, and the trend may have further to run, bankers say.
They cite several reasons, including the global move toward lower rates and loose liquidity in the UAE market. Either way, it appears to be good news for the UAE central bank, which has repeatedly urged banks to lower their quotes in recent years.
After moving sideways from last August to the start of July, the three-month Emirates interbank offered rate was
fixed at 1.375 percent on Monday. That was a tad higher than Saturday's 1.369 percent, which was the lowest level since May 2004, but down from 1.526 percent at the start of July.

Dubai Billionaire Staying Away From European Banks - Business News - CNBC

The chairman of one of Dubai’s best-known family-owned conglomerates is not considering investing in European banks again following a disappointing run as a stakeholder of Barclays.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, who is estimated to be worth several billion dollars, told CNBC’s “Access: Middle East” that “when you burn your finger once, you don't want to burn it again”. After buying a roughly two percent stake when the London-based lender scrambled for funds in 2008, Al Habtoor says he sold his shares in December 2009 at a minor loss.

“The principle and the idea to buy Barclays [BARC-LN  172.75    5.75  (+3.44%)]…we based it on their record, they are dividends you are receiving every year,” he explained.

Bank of Sharjah H1 profit down 18 per cent |

The bank of Sharjah today reported a net profit of Dh125 million for the first half of 2012, down 18 per cent compared to Dh152 million reported in the corresponding period last year.
The bank capitalised on its core activity and increased net interest income by five per cent. This was achieved by reducing the cost of funding, mainly on customer deposits, despite the increase in deposits. Also, net fees and commissions income increased by seven per cent.
The bank’s non-interest income declined by 31 per cent – despite the seven per cent improvement in the commission and fees income during the period which was reflected in the overall five per cent slump in total income, the bank said in a statement.

Qatar's Masraf al Rayan launches brokerage | Reuters

Masraf al Rayan, Qatar's fourth-largest bank by market value, has launched a subsidiary brokerage firm to buy and sell sharia-compliant financial instruments for all types of investors, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Al Rayan Financial Brokerage Co (ARB) will offer trading services in sharia-compliant financial instruments in Qatar, and has obtained necessary licences from the Qatar Financial Markets Authority and Qatar Exchange, the statement said.

Although a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Masraf al Rayan, ARB has its own structure, building, employees and board of directors to comply with regulatory requirements to separate the two entities, the statement added.

MENA stock markets close - July 30, 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-Property stocks lift UAE mkts; Emaar rallies on Q2 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Strong quarterly earnings from Dubai's developers help lift the emirate's index to a 12-day closing high and Emaar Properties rallies to its highest since April 2011.
Shares in heavyweight Emaar jump 4 percent after its second-quarter profits vastly exceeded estimates and more than doubled year-on-year.
The company's chairman predicted a rebound in the property sector in the emirate, saying the first half of the year reflects the growing strength of Dubai's economy. Trading on Emaar accounts for more than a quarter of all
shares traded on the index.

Iran seeking to increase Turkish oil deals | Al Akhbar English

Iran is expected to try to revive demand for its oil in Turkey, its biggest European customer, this week when, according to Turkish energy ministry officials, its oil minister is to meet with Turkish officials in Ankara.

Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi is expected to meet Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz on Thursday to discuss supplying oil and gas to one of Europe's fastest growing economies, the officials said.

Tehran has struggled to find new buyers for its barrels after US and European Union sanctions succeeded in reducing Iran's global oil exports.

Dubai developer Nakheel's H1 net profit up 36.5 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Nakheel Properties, the indebted state-owned developer, said its first-half profits jumped 36 percent on Monday, buoyed by property handovers on several projects.
Nakheel, whose extravagant developments at the height of Dubai's property boom contributed to the emirate's debt woes, has been slowly recovering from the crippling real estate collapse.
The developer said net profit was 767 million dirhams ($208.82 million) in the first six months of the year, up from 562 million dirhams in the year-ago period.

Etihad, Aer Lingus sign code-share, discussing further cooperation | Reuters

Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have signed a code-share agreement and are discussing further cooperation, including joint procurement, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said in a statement on Monday.

Etihad bought a 3-percent stake in the Irish carrier in May as a precursor to a commercial tie-up to help Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier gain more European routes.

"Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus (AERL.I) continue to discuss additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement," Etihad said on Monday.

Abu Dhabi property prices to drop further this year - The National

Property prices in Abu Dhabi are set to fall further as 11,000 apartments and villas are completed before the end of the year.

In its latest quarterly report on the housing market, Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), a global property broker, said Abu Dhabi's real estate sector is becoming increasingly competitive, having seen "unsustainable" prices in the last five years.

"Rents are expected to decrease further in line with future additions to supply," said the report. "Significant increases in supply across all sectors during a time of relatively weak demand and tight economic conditions are causing rents to correct from the unsustainable highs of the boom years."

Dubai Group Lenders Said to Seek Early Exit Option - Bloomberg

Dubai Group LLC’s creditors are seeking an option to be repaid early as the investment company controlled by Dubai’s ruler reorganizes $6 billion of bank debt, according to three people familiar with the talks.
Under the early exit proposal for the 10-year refinancing, banks can choose to be repaid the market value of their loans after five years, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Banks opting for the exit clause are also seeking a guarantee that Dubai Group will have the cash to repay in case it can’t raise funds by selling assets, some of which are considered indivisible, one of the people said. A Dubai Group spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified because of company policy, declined to comment.

Union Properties Posts First-Half Profit as It Cuts Debt - Bloomberg

Union Properties PJSC (UPP), a Dubai-based developer, posted a first-half profit as it reduces debt and sees improvement in the emirate’s real-estate market.
The profit was 106 million dirhams for the six months ended June 30 after a loss of 439 million dirhams a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Dubai stock market today. Revenue declined to 1 billion dirhams from 2.25 billion dirhams last year when the company gained from the sale of Index Tower and Limestone House in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
“With the real-estate sector on the path of recovery, together with improved economic indicators in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, Union Properties is currently evaluating various mid-sized development projects offering shorter turnaround times and reasonable profitability and incremental cash inflows,” according to the statement.

#UAE solution on bank loans

THE issue of loans is not complicated. It is made to look complicated by vested interests for political reasons but unfortunately it is one of the reasons why the sufferings of 25 percent of the Kuwaitis have increased and multiplied.
This problem can be solved easily if we apply the United Arab Emirates (UAE) method and lessen the burden from the shoulders of citizens, free the economy from the shackles of uncertainty and shut the mouths of those who use this issue to trade in politics particularly during election time.
Long ago the United Arab Emirates set the ball rolling to prevent such a phenomenon when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan (we pray to God to have mercy on him) devised a policy and six months ago the initiative was adopted by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan.
About 20 years ago the late wise ruler of the UAE Sheikh Zayed met a farmer who was taking care of palm trees in the garden of his palace. Sheikh Zayed was informed that the man had been imprisoned for failing to pay back his bank loan.

UPDATE 1-UAE telco du Q2 profit rises 57 pct | Reuters

Du, the United Arab Emirates' second biggest telecommunications operator, reported a 57 percent rise in second-quarter profit on Monday, which was at the low end of analysts' estimates as subscriber growth for fixed-line services lagged that for mobile.

The firm, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, made a net profit of 325.5 million dirhams ($88.6 million) in the three months to June 30, up from 207.2 million dirhams in the year-earlier period.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast du would make a quarterly profit of 332 million dirhams.

Kuwait tops in ‘hiding assets’

Kuwait occupies the top position among the countries where wealthy people hide their assets in tax exempted nations worldwide, reports Al-Kuwaitiya daily.

As per recent report by a British research firm, the world’s richest people hide most of their assets in countries that are free from taxation and the rate of hidden wealth ranges between $21 trillion and $32 trillion, which is more than the overall gross domestic products of Japan and United States of America valued at $ 21 trillion.

A British website recently revealed the list of names of the countries in question and the amount of wealth hidden in other nations, placing China on top of the list. The report stated that China has squirreled away $ 189 trillion from its borders, followed by Russia with $ 798 billion, then Korea and Brazil. Kuwait occupies the fifth position with $ 496 billion, while Saudi Arabia is positioned 10th with $ 308 billion of hidden assets.

Dubai Stocks Advance on Emaar, Du Earnings as Qatar Declines - Businessweek

Dubai stocks were set for the highest close in more than a week after profit at Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (DU) rose, boosting confidence in the emirate’s economic recovery.

Emaar, developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper, rallied 1.2 percent after the company said quarterly profit more than doubled, beating estimates. Emirates Integrated, the second- biggest United Arab Emirates phone company known as Du, advanced to the highest intraday level since April after second-quarter net income climbed 57 percent. The DFM General Index advanced 0.5 percent to 1,516.68 at 11:26 a.m. in the emirate, headed for the highest close since July 19. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200) was unchanged while Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) slipped 0.1 percent.

“Investors are positive on growth in Emaar and Du’s profits,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities. “The recent figures solidify that Dubai’s recovery as a whole is real and is expected to continue its upward movement in the future.”

Invest A.D. launches UCITS funds to meet investor appetite for Africa and Arabian Gulf - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports

Abu Dhabi asset manager Invest A.D. has launched two UCITS-compliant funds, which invest in Africa and the Arabian Gulf, to meet growing global demand for high-quality investment products to tap frontier market growth.

The Invest A.D. Emerging Africa Fund and the Invest A.D. GCC Focus Fund are registered in Luxembourg, and the asset manager is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Invest A.D.’s portfolio managers, who have built track records for the predecessor portfolios as Cayman Islands-registered vehicles, manage the funds from the Dubai International Financial Centre, travelling regularly to countries they invest in.

Brent rises toward $107, stimulus measures eyed | Reuters

Brent crude rose toward $107 per barrel on Monday, stretching gains into a fifth consecutive day on hopes the United States and Europe will this week announce new measures to shore up their fragile economies, boosting the outlook for oil demand.

Slowing growth in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, has triggered expectations of stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. Next on investor radars is Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls data.

"If unemployment starts to worsen, you can be sure that the FOMC are going to step in and inject more stimulus into the economy," said Tony Nunan, a Tokyo-based risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp.

Sukuk’s global reach | DAWN.COM

Islamic finance industry has shown an impressive growth of 15-20 per cent per annum with assets under management valued at $1 trillion. The industry is projected to reach $2 trillion in the next three years.

Islamic finance has become a global phenomenon with a number of non-Muslim countries also showing keen interest in this area. United Kingdom intends to make London the hub of Islamic finance with plans to issue sovereign sukuk and amend tax laws on Islamic finance.

Hong Kong is working towards becoming the Islamic finance gateway to China. Governments in a number of other countries including France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Korea are also taking measures to promote Islamic finance.

There's something funny about this tale of two markets - The National

Something funny is happening in the UAE. No, I don't mean the latest Laughter Factory event or the rising tribe of home-grown stand up comics.

Look at the correlation between debt and equity markets. From 2008 to last year, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) fell and then languished with low trading and no initial public offerings.

Brokers went bust and many investors lost their garments. At the same time, the bond yields hit all-time highs, thanks to the property-driven financial crisis.

Two-speed recovery for UAE banks - The National

These are good times for UAE bankers as quarterly earnings hold up at the country's major lenders, despite the euro-zone crisis, the stuttering recovery in the United States and the slowdown of economic growth in China.

"Overall, the UAE banks have reported better than expected results [during the second quarter]," says Naresh Bilandani, a banking analyst at JPMorgan in Dubai.

Higher revenues, in particular fees from corporate customers, are the main driver. But dig below the positive top line and differences emerge.