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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Qatar aims to top the league table - The National

Tucked away in "old" Doha, Qatar's stock exchange looks more like a suburban bank branch than a national bourse.

With a few local men lounging on seats in front of a screen that displays the listed equities, and a bored-looking teller waiting for someone to place a trade, it is a very different from the "bear pit" trading atmosphere of New York.

But, like the rest of Qatar's capital city, looks can be deceiving. The outwardly sleepy exchange is home to some of the region's largest industrial, financial and property giants including Industries Qatar, a petrochemicals maker and Qatar National Bank, the country's largest lender. Their collective shares are worth more than US$125 billion (Dh459.12bn).

Central bank takes the reins of exchange - The National

Qatar is moving towards its goal of creating a unified market watchdog with its central bank taking responsibility for stock exchange regulation.

Thecentral bank last month assumed control of the stock exchange, adding another level of regulatory oversight to the market.

A government circular said the central bank had taken the place of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA) as the top stock market regulatory organisation.

US internet deals giant LivingSocial to pull out of Middle East - The National

LivingSocial is planning to pull out of the Middle East just one year after entering the market through the acquisition of a homegrown player.

The daily deals giant, based in the United States and one of the world's largest after Groupon, is considering selling its business in the region amid intense competition from rival sites.

LivingSocial is looking to sell its subscriber base in the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations who wished to remain anonymous.

Arab corporate world can tap alternative funding channels |

The global financial crisis and the current political events across the Arab region are a testimony of the urgent need for an alternative but complementary source of finance to the traditional capital markets and commercial banks. In particular, as regional corporates begin to re-invest and develop their businesses to tap into the broader regional long-term economic growth story, the lack of funding is emerging as a key challenging issue, mainly for many quality organisations.
Structurally, the regional financial markets have been severely underpenetrated relative to global standards. According to the Global Financial Stability Report released in April 2012 by the International Monetary Fund, the total size of Mena equities, bonds and bank assets amounted to around 113 per cent of GDP, compared to emerging market and World averages of more than 200 per cent and 400 per cent respectively. Such statistics evidence the traditional sources of finance still have a large funding gap to bridge.

Oman to spend $1 billion more on job creation: official | Reuters

Oman plans to spend an additional $1 billion from its oil windfall to create jobs for its citizens over the next 12 months, a finance ministry official said on Sunday.

"We had a very good income from oil revenues in the first six months of the year," the official in the ministry's planning department, who declined to be named under briefing rules, told Reuters.

"Not only do we expect to comfortably balance the budget, but we will use $1 billion of that windfall to create jobs in the next 12 months from September."

Dubai jittery over business with Iran -

The New York state financial watchdog sent shivers down bankers’ spines last week as it accused Standard Chartered of hiding $250bn of transactions with Iran. Nowhere were those chills felt more than in Dubai, Iran’s longstanding trading ally in the Middle East.
“All international banks are scared stiff at the moment of having any links to any Iranian entities,” said one senior bank official in Dubai. “But you’ll always be one step behind clever people trying to get around the system; it’s pretty sophisticated.”

UAE's FAL Oil to hire restructuring officer for debt talks - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Middle East traderN FAL Oil, in talks with creditors on $700 million in debt, is on the cusp of hiring a chief restructuring officer to keep the faltering discussions on track, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
United Arab Emirates-based FAL, once one of the biggest regional fuel oil traders, has been forced to cut its fuel oil and bunkering operations in the UAE by as much as 60 percent and shut its trading operations in Singapore and London.
"FAL is in the process of hiring a CRO, which could be finalized in a week's time," said a source close to the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait's index at 8-year low as crisis deepens - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's bourse closed at eight-year low on Sunday as the country's political crisis weighed on investor sentiment, while other regional indices ended mixed.
Opposition politicians slammed as a "coup" a government drive to change the electoral law in Kuwait ahead of elections expected this year, and vowed to push for a full parliamentary democracy.
Kuwait's index slipped 0.4 percent to its lowest close since August 2004.

UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Al Baraka Banking Q2 net income up 13 pct | Reuters

Bahrain-based Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group posted a 13-percent rise in quarterly net income, the bank said on Sunday, boosted by growth in its lending operations.

The bank, which has operations across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, made a net attributable profit of $38 million for the second quarter, compared with $34 million in the same period of 2011, according to the statement.

The rise was helped by an equal percentage increase in total operating income, which rose to $206 million in the quarter over the year-ago period.

Aldar $1.25 Billion Bonds Rated Buy at UBS on Results - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC, (ALDAR) the Abu Dhabi developer that was bailed out by the government last year, had its 2014 bonds rated buy at UBS AG on “marked improvement” in financial results and its proposed merger with a smaller rival.
“We believe the bonds do have room to tighten from here,” analysts Kathleen Middlemiss, Tatiana Boroditskaya and Emmy Al-Ghabra wrote in a note dated Aug. 10. “We also forecast continued deleveraging from the group and sustained cash flow which could also warrant an upgrade from the rating agencies.”
Aldar said last week second-quarter profit more than tripled to 418 million dirhams ($114 million) as revenue increased. The company, which received 36 billion dirhams in government support in 2011 after the emirate’s property market slumped, is exploring a merger with Sorouh Real Estate Co. (SOROUH) Talks, supported by Abu Dhabi’s government, may take months, the companies said in June.

Travelodge checks in for renovation | City & Business | - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express

TRAVELODGE, the budget hotel group, is fighting to avoid a calamitous administration that would put hundreds of jobs at risk by offloading dozens of its hotels.
The secret plan to transfer the hotels to a new owner is part of an ambitious restructuring of the debt-laden group proposed under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
The agreement between the company and its creditors would allow an overhaul of the company’s leases to go ahead.

Bailed U.S. businessman flees UAE to Yemen, detained again-sources | Reuters

U.S. businessman Zack Shahin, who was freed on bail in the United Arab Emirates last month after Washington expressed concern about his health, has fled the country for Yemen, where he was detained again, sources familiar with the matter said.

The former chief executive of Dubai real estate developer Deyaar, in jail since 2008 over embezzlement charges, went on hunger strike in May and was released on $1.4 million bail.

The sources, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters that Shahin was smuggled out of the UAE and was then arrested in Yemen. It was not clear when he left the UAE.

Kuwait's Global Investment proposes $433 mln debt-for-equity plan | Reuters

Global Investment House, the Kuwaiti investment firm undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, will ask shareholders to approve a debt-for-equity swap which will see creditors own 70 percent of the company.

Under the proposal, to be put to shareholders on September 2 annual general meeting, Global will offer 122.2 million dinars($432.87 million) of new shares to creditors, it said in a statement posted on the Dubai stock exchange.

The capital increase will result in creditors owning 69.98 percent of the firm's equity.

Oman tourism projects face "financial challenges" - minister - Travel & Hospitality -

Tourism projects in Oman are facing tough "financial challenges" with around 65 percent of private sector projects failing to get off the ground due to a lack of development funding, the Sultanate’s tourism minister said in a speech.
"Most of the tourism projects are facing financial challenges,” Ahmed bin Nasser Al Mehrzi, Oman’s Minister of Tourism, said at a Ramadan event organised by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).
He said the main challenge was a lack of funding for development, the Times of Oman newspaper said.

MENA stock markets close - August 12, 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)