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Friday, 24 August 2012

Glencore-Xstrata deal on brink as deadline passes | Reuters

Glencore's proposed $30 billion takeover of Xstrata came a step closer to collapse on Friday, as the commodities trader looked set to let slide an informal deadline for it to raise its offer and yield to rival shareholder Qatar.

While Friday is not the final death knell for one of the largest ever proposed deals in the sector, analysts, investors and sources involved in the talks said the fact Glencore and Qatar continued to stare each other down - with only two weeks to go before shareholders vote - had put the deal on the brink.

"It wouldn't be illogical to say this is 10 percent happening, 90 percent not happening," one source involved in the negotiations said.

Kuwaiti investment firms to bite debt bullet | Reuters

Distressed Kuwaiti investment firms might increasingly resort to debt-for-equity swaps and principal reductions to cut their debt load as they continue to struggle with high levels of leverage and depressed real estate and stock valuations.

Hit hard by the financial crisis of 2008, most of Kuwait's investment firms have traditionally resorted to maturity extensions to avoid default. "Maturity extension has been the modus operandi across the GCC and Kuwait is no different," said Ahmad Alanani, senior executive officer with Exotix in Dubai.

Eager to avoid expensive writedowns on their books, creditor banks have generally accommodated the investment houses' requests to delay principal and interest payments, hoping in a quick turnaround for the sector.

Vodafone Said to Near Middle East Partnership With Zain - Bloomberg

Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) is nearing an agreement with Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. (NMTC), known as Zain, to expand access to networks across the Middle East, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The accord covers countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain, and would let Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile-phone company, lower roaming fees and share handset- purchasing costs, the people said, declining to be identified because the talks are confidential. An announcement may be made as early as next week, one of the people said.
Vodafone is seeking to expand in countries where it has no existing presence with roaming deals and carrier agreements. The Newbury, England-based operator last year signed accords with at least 10 Asian carriers to lower roaming rates and give subscribers and enterprise customers better network coverage.

UPDATE 3-Oil slips below $115, set for fourth weekly gain - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Oil fell below $115 a barrel on Friday as signs of weakness in the global economy weighed on the demand outlook, although a host of supply-side concerns kept losses in check.
Crude was still heading for a fourth weekly gain because of lower exports from Iran, a drop in North Sea supply due to oilfield maintenance and the risk of weather-related disruption to Gulf of Mexico output.
Brent crude was down 38 cents at $114.63 a barrel by 0838 GMT, up about 0.8 percent on the week. U.S. crude eased 58 cents to $95.69.

Gulf Times – UAE brokerage ties up with Dlala to gain from Qatar capital markets

Al Ramz, the UAE-based stock brokerage entity, has partnered with Dlala Brokerage and Investment Holding to gain access to Qatar’s growing capital market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Dlala will facilitate the execution of the transactions of Al Ramz clients in the local market.
The deal with Dlala forms part of initiatives by Al Ramz - a member of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Dubai Financial Market and Nasdaq Dubai - to further expand its regional presence, said its spokesman.

Just Deserts: Iraqis get Iraq's Oil, not Bush/Cheney (Muttit) | Informed Comment

In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there’s talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W. Bush’s triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what’s happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the “no blood for oil” global protests of 2003 to the present moment.

Sheikha Lubna among 'world's most powerful women' - The National

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, was named one of the world's most powerful women by Forbes magazine.

The minister, commended in the magazine for her work in urging "women to seek more education and knowledge to develop in their fields", placed 92nd on the annual list.

Sheikha Lubna was the first women to hold a cabinet position in the UAE and is a successful businesswoman. The German chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list, and Kuwait's Sheikha Al Bahar and Qatar's Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani also made the cut.

GCC to invest $252b in power sector | GulfNews.com

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are set to invest $252 billion (Dh925.62 billion) over the next five years on projects for setting up new power production plants, distribution systems and supply grids, recent reports claimed.
In the UAE, Shams 1 will be one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants, with a capacity of 100 megawatts.
As energy bills keep rising, with the galloping cost of production and transmission internationally, designers, developers and end-users are increasingly looking to innovative new technology to reduce costs.

Egypt’s credit rating: stable, for now | beyondbrics

With the IMF in town, Egypt’s finances have been under the spotlight this week. Standard and Poor’s have chipped in to the discussion with the release of their credit rating for the country.

The good news: Egypt has been taken off S&P’s CreditWatch, where it was placed on June 25 following feuding between SCAF and Islamist politicians which led to the dissolution of parliament on June 14. It has also had its long and short-term B/B rating affirmed. The bad news: despite a modicum of stability recently, it remains on negative outlook.

S&P say they believe the Muslim Brotherhood and senior military figures are “moving toward a working arrangement”,  and that “this could lead to the authorities addressing some of Egypt’s pressing structural challenges and stemming the deterioration in government and external finances”.

New Silk Road has potential for global significance CCTV News - CNTV English

Many leading economists in Dubai believe that the growing ties between China and the oil-rich Gulf Arab states have the potential to expand further and to withstand global economic shocks.
When Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao paid a landmark state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January this year, the Gulf state's President H. H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said "The UAE has the sincere desire to bolster its relations of cooperation with China in pursuit of more progress and development in both countries and further stability in world economy."
Wen expressed the same hopes in exchange and urged his 200,000 compatriots who live in the UAE to respect local Arab culture and customs.

UAE bourses end week on a positive note | GulfNews.com

Dubai’s DFM index closed 0.72 per cent higher at 1587.42 despite activity still low in the markets as most investors are still to return from Eid holidays.
Among the gainers, Deyaar rose 13.35 per cent to close at Dh0.399, followed by Salam Bahrain by 4.47 per cent to Dh0.397 and Salama by 2.09 per cent to Dh0.732.
Among the losers, Takaful-EM fell 2.19 per cent to Dh0.626, followed by Du by 1.41 per cent to Dh3.50 and Dubai Islamic Bank by 1.01 per cent to Dh1.96.

Qatar raises Xstrata stake to over 12 percent | Reuters

Qatar, the second-largest shareholder in takeover target Xstrata, has bought almost 24 million pounds ($38 million) of additional shares in the miner, lifting its holding to over 12 percent and raising the stakes in a standoff with rival investor Glencore.

Glencore, Xstrata's largest shareholder with 34 percent, is offering 2.8 new shares for every Xstrata share held to secure a tie-up it hopes will create a mining and trading powerhouse. Qatar said last month it was demanding a ratio of 3.25.

Qatar has been incrementally raising its stake in Xstrata since late July, when it owned just under 11 percent.

THE DAILY STAR :: Qatar pays Egypt first installment of $2 bln grant

Qatar has paid Egypt $500 million, the Egyptian finance minister announced Thursday, in the first installment of $2 billion of financial support the Gulf state had promised to Cairo.

Some “$500 million have been paid into the Finance Ministry’s account via [Egypt’s] central bank,” Egypt’s official MENA news agency quoted Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said as saying.

The minister said Qatar would pay the remaining funds in September, reminding that the Gulf state had also given Egypt an additional $500 million in October last year.