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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

DIFC splits its property and finance operations - The National

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced a far-reaching restructuring designed to enhance its role as the region's premier investment hub.

The DIFC Authority, the government-run body that controls the centre, is to split its two core functions - financial markets and property management - into separate units and has appointed key executives to head up the two arms.

Jeff Singer, an American financier who has been head of the Nasdaq Dubai stock exchange for the past four years, is to be the chief executive of the DIFC Authority, replacing Abdulla Al Awar, and will be responsible for business development and legislation.

£100 million dividend for Harrods' Qatari owners - The National

Cash tills are ringing for the Qatari owners of Harrods, who paid themselves a £100.5 million (Dh607.27m) dividend after a "record year" at the luxury London department store.

Harrods reported pre-tax profits of £125.3m for the year ending on January 28, a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.

Qatar Holding, owned by one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds, bought Harrods in 2010 for about £1.5 billion from the Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed.

Topaz chief's annus horribilis ends at last - The National

This time last year, Stephen Thomas was looking forward to a break and most observers would agree he deserved it.

He had been parachuted in as the chief executive of Topaz Energy and Marine, an oil services group company owned by Oman's Renaissance Services conglomerate of which he was also chief executive, amid a triple whammy of corporate trouble.

Topaz, headquartered in Dubai, had called off an initial public offering in London, it had lost senior executives in circumstances some in the market found worrying and it had just uncovered a multimillion-dollar fraud in an overseas subsidiary.

Qatar deals leave Barclays squirming with embarrassment - The National

Think back to the summer of 2008. What were you doing?

Enjoying the Olympic Games in Beijing, perhaps? Or watching with concern as military conflict ignited between Russia and Georgia in the Caucasus? Or perhaps pondering the on-rushing meltdown in the global financial system?

We know now what the board of Barclays bank was doing.

A law unto themselves - Morning Star

If you were of a kindly and gentle disposition it would be easy to feel sorry for the the right load of merchant bankers - and yes, I am a cockney - at embattled Barclays.

But since the words kindly and gentle are the last things that spring to mind with bankers, let's settle for feelings of vindictive glee that a pack of piratical profiteering fraudsters have been busted once again.

It's not that long ago that Barclays was being hailed as the superheroes of the banking world for not taking a bailout from the taxpayer at the onset of the collapse of finance capitalism.

UAE's NBAD eyes potential Egypt units buy from French banks -CEO | Reuters

National Bank of Abu Dhabi would be keen to buy the Egyptian operations of French banks, its chief executive said, as Europeans look to divest businesses in the north African country due to pressures on capital from the euro zone crisis.

However, the United Arab Emirates' largest lender by market value would only be interested if any deals met strict internal guidelines on acquisitions. The bank insists that assets are priced attractively, that it is able to secure a controlling stake and the operations are a strategic fit to its existing business.

"Yes, we would look at, opportunistically, using our capital to acquire, subject to the tests set out before," Michael Tomalin, chief executive of NBAD, told a July 30 analysts' call, according to a recording released by the bank on Tuesday.

US announces new Iran sanctions | Al Akhbar English

US President Barack Obama imposed new economic sanctions Tuesday targeting Iran's oil export firms and a pair of Chinese and Iraqi banks accused of doing business with them.

In a statement released by the White House, Obama said the new measures underlined the United States' determination to force Tehran "to meet its international obligations" in nuclear negotiations.

Saudi Arabia: still worried about youth employment | beyondbrics

Halwani Bros, a Saudi food producer, seems to think it has a recipe for labour market transformation – beyond the dense, sesame halawa dessert, for which it is famous. The 60-year-old, Riyadh-listed company has set a minimum wage of SAR3,000 ($800) per month for Saudi employees, according to a report in Arab News.

The move may only benefit 80 nationals employed at food production plants across the kingdom, as well as 50 more that the company plans to hire – but the decision could have far-reaching ramifications for other Saudis.

Persuading nationals to take worse paid, less prestigious, and generally tougher jobs in the private sector is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the Arab world’s largest economy, as well as its Gulf neighbours.

MENA stock markets close - July 31, 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)

U.A.E. Shares Advance on Property Company Earnings; Qatar Gains - Businessweek

United Arab Emirates shares gained, sending Dubai’s benchmark stock index to the highest in more than a week, after earnings at the Persian Gulf country’s real estate companies beat estimates.

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) rose for a second day after the developer of the world’s tallest skyscraper said quarterly profit more than doubled. In Abu Dhabi, Sorouh Real Estate (SOROUH) PJSC rallied 1.9 percent after net income climbed 34 percent. The DFM General Index increased 0.3 percent to 1,542.64, the highest close since July 18. The measure rallied 6.3 percent in July, the first monthly gain since February. Abu Dhabi’s gauge rose 0.5 percent and Qatar’s QE Index (DSM) advanced 0.3 percent.

Gains are being driven “by second-quarter earnings, which is the local catalyst, and then you have that combined with some improvement in the global markets,” said Chahir Hosni, equity sales manager at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE in Dubai.

'al izz islamic bank' unveils corporate identity -

Aabar Investments, one of the key strategic investment vehicles of Abu Dhabi, will be a cornerstone investor in Oman’s al izz islamic bank SAOG (under formation)  which has unveiled its corporate identity today.

The unveiling of the corporate identity marks the establishment of an ambitious financial group which is being built through the close cooperation of a number of lead investors from the Gulf states and which will be focused on offering Shari’ah compliant financial solutions to Oman’s corporate and retail banking customers.

This is also a significant milestone in the banking industry in Oman, as al izz islamic bank will be one of the country’s first dedicated Islamic banks.

FAL Oil creditors expected to reject $700 mln debt deal -sources - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Creditors of Middle East trader FAL Oil are expected to reject a proposal to restructure about $700 million of its debt along with additional loans to keep operations going, two sources familiar with the deal said.
Financial institutions involved in the discussions of the debt restructuring are not keen to inject fresh funding into
the oil trader, which at one point was one of the biggest privately run Middle East trading firms.
"Although nothing has officially come in writing we have been informed that the banks, in principle, are rejecting the proposal," a source told Reuters.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-SABIC leads Saudi to 4-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) leads Saudi Arabia's index to a four-week closing high, although bluechips are mixed and stocks usually preferred for speculative trade dominate, which may show the rally is ebbing.
SABIC climbs 1.4 percent, a day after the petrochemicals producer said a rubber plant project with ExxonMobil would boost its bottom line from 2015.
Saudi's two top banks also rise, with Al-Rajhi Bank up 0.3 percent and Samba Financial Group adding 1.1 percent.

Dubai's DIFC Authority to split into two entities - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA), which governs the emirate's financial freezone, said on Tuesday it will be split into two separate entities with new senior management.
The organization will be divided into DIFC Authority, the business development and legislation arm, and DIFC Properties which will manage the centre's real estate portfolio.
Jeff Singer, the former chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, will head DIFC Authority and Nabil Ramadhan was named acting chief executive of the properties arm. In a separate statement, Nasdaq Dubai said it had appointed Hamed Ali as chief operating officer after Singer's resignation.

Dubai Islamic Bank Q2 profit jumps 27 pct, tops expectations - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest sharia-compliant lender in the emirate, said on Tuesday its second-quarter net profit surged 27 percent as provisions dropped.
The bank said it earned profit of 310 million dirhams ($84.4 million) in the three months to June 30, up from the 245 million dirhams for the corresponding period last year.
Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast net profit of 246 million dirhams and 267 million dirhams.

Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank Q2 net profit up 9.7 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's Union National Bank posted a 9.7-percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday due to higher net interest income.
The lender, jointly owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, made 459.6 million dirhams ($125.1 million) in the three months to June 30, compared with 418.9 million dirhams in 2011, the lender said in a statement.
Impairments for the first half of 2012 stood at 236.6 million dirhams, versus 220.9 million dirhams in the corresponding period last year.

Sorouh Second-Quarter Profit Climbs 34% as Costs Decline - Bloomberg

Sorouh Real Estate PJSC (SOROUH), the Abu Dhabi developer that’s in merger talks with Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), was set for the highest close in seven weeks after it said profit climbed 34 percent as costs dropped.
The shares rallied as much as 3.9 percent to 1.07 dirhams in Abu Dhabi and traded at 1.05 dirhams as of 1:11 p.m., poised for the highest close since June 11. Net income in the second quarter rose to 148.2 million dirhams ($40 million) from 110 million dirhams a year earlier, Sorouh said in an e-mailed statement today. The median estimate of three analysts was for a profit of 52 million dirhams, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“The quality of earnings continues to improve through the diversification and strengthening of revenue streams,” Managing Director Abubaker Al Khouri said in the statement.

Qatar Telecom Second-Quarter Drops 11% on Forex Fluctuations - Bloomberg

Qatar Telecom QSC, the nation’s biggest phone company, said second-quarter profit dropped 11 percent because of “adverse foreign exchange movement in Indonesia and Algeria.”
Net income fell to 641 million riyals ($176 million) from 722 million riyals a year earlier, the Doha-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. EFG-Hermes Holding SAE estimated a profit of 713 million riyals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 4.6 percent to 8.36 billion riyals in the quarter.
Qatar Telecom, which owns stakes in phone companies from Tunisia to Indonesia, is seeking to expand outside its home market, where it faces competition from Vodafone Qatar. (VFQS) The Doha-based company reached agreements in May to double its holding in Asiacell, a mobile operator in Iraq, for $1.47 billion. It teamed up with Princesse Holding of Tunisia in 2010 to buy Orascom Telecom Holding SAE (ORTE)’s 50 percent stake in Telecom Tunisie for $1.2 billion.

Saudi Arabia to surpass oil output record: report

Analysts predict that Saudi Arabia will surpass its record oil output this year, despite pressure from other oil exporting countries to cut back and help increase world oil prices, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The Saudi high output comes to offset a decline from Iran which is under international sanctions.

“Our data shows that Saudi Arabia is actively going out there trying to take up Iran's market share,” an analyst said.

Bahrain firm turns to ringgit sukuk markets

Another Gulf borrower is turning to diversify its funding sources to the ringgit sukuk market. Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding is believed to be planning roadshows in Kuala Lumpur via joint leads CIMB and Standard Chartered.

It is setting up a RM3bil Murabahah programme, which was rated AA2 by RAM. An imminent deal is not expected as basis swaps are not favourable to Gulf borrowers at the moment.

The company is owned by oil-rich Bahrain, set up as its investment arm in strategic non-oil and gas commercial assets. It owns some of Bahrain’s largest companies including Bahrain Real Estate Co and Gulf Air.