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Monday, 3 September 2012

Drydocks Said to Pay Part of $2.25 Billion Loan Over 15 Years - Bloomberg

Drydocks World LLC, the Middle East’s biggest shipyard, may pay part of its $2.25 billion of loans over 15 years as part of a debt-restructuring deal, according to a person with knowledge of the plan.
The Dubai World-controlled company replaced the old debt with two new facilities, including a $1.5 billion, 15-year so- called profit participating loan, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The facility will pay creditors any excess profit or cash from asset sales apart from interest, the person said. Drydocks World also agreed on a new $800 million five-year loan which pays a market interest rate, according to the person.
A Dubai-based Drydocks spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified because of company policy, declined to comment.

Dubai Drydocks protected in landmark case -

Drydocks World, Dubai’s ship overhaul company, made history last week in a case that used specialist insolvency legislation to force through a financial restructuring of its $2.2bn debts.
The Dubai World Tribunal, set up in 2009 to deal with disputes related to the ailing conglomerate that owns Drydocks World, has heard about 40 cases. In a country without effective bankruptcy legislation, the Drydocks case was the first time that the tribunal’s insolvency protection was enacted.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mkts mixed as investors await catalyst; Egypt extends gains - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Gulf markets were mixed on Monday as investors adjusted positions after recent gains and retail investors continue to increase risk despite a general lack of catalyst in regional markets, while Egypt's bourse hit a
14-month high.
Dubai's index climbed 0.1 percent to finish at 1,548 points, up for a second session in the last seven. "The market has been in a range for the past few sessions - retail (investors) perceive this level as an accumulation
phase," said Nabil Al Rantisi, managing director of MENA Corp. "Retail investors won't sell unless the market moves up or they see selling pressure."
Some institutions are selling, however, as retail investors buy. The market could correct to 1,510 levels this week, Rantisi added.

Etihad Rail Said to Name Banks This Month for $1.3 Billion Loan - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Rail, which is building the United Arab Emirates’ first rail network, will take a decision this month on a $1.3 billion loan to fund the first phase of the project, two bankers familiar with the plan said.
The loan will have a maturity of five or ten years and payments will be backed by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the main user of the railway, according to the bankers, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
Etihad Rail’s initial segment will link the Shah natural gas field, southwest of Abu Dhabi, to oil and gas treatment facilities at Habshan, closer to the Emirate’s coast, and to the port at Ruwais. The first line between Habshan and Ruwais will start operating in 2013 with the extension to Shah, about 266 kilometers (165 miles) from the coast, following a year later.

MENA stock markets close - September 3, 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 slips for 3rd day; petchem, cement down - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse declines for a third session since Wednesday's 16-week high as investors cut positions, with petrochemical and cement stocks the biggest drags.
The index ends 0.2 percent lower at 7,079 points, trimming its 2012 gains to 10.3 percent.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) slips 0.8 percent, National Industrialization sheds
0.6 percent and Southern Province Cement slips 1.9percent.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai edges up; Qatar near-flat in muted trade - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse closes higher after a slow trading session, while Abu Dhabi and Qatar's markets end near-flat with Gulf investors waiting for a catalyst to justify increasing their risk exposure.
Dubai's index climbs 0.1 percent to 1,547 points, up for a second session in the last seven.
"The market has been in a range for the past few sessions - retail (investors) perceive this level as an accumulation phase," says Nabil Al Rantisi, managing director of MENA Corp. "Retail investors won't sell unless the market moves up or they see selling pressure."

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt mixed, index close to 1-year high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egyptian shares are mixed, with the main index lying just short of its highest in more than a year after the country's brightening economic outlook triggered several weeks of rising share prices.
The index is little changed from Sunday's close after touching 5,473.07 points earlier in the session. In March it
reached 5,473.30, its highest since June 2011.
The index has surged 36 percent since late June when Islamist Mohamed Mursi emerged as winner of the country's first free leadership contest after more than a year of political turmoil.

CORRECTED-INTERVIEW-Barclays sees Middle East driving investment bank - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Middle East will be an important growth area in coming years for investment banks, including Barclays, as local wealth funds put their oil dollars to work buying European assets, a senior executive at the British bank said.
"If you look globally, the upside is in emerging markets and the Middle East is a key component of that," Makram Azar, global vice-chairman for investment banking at Barclays, told Reuters. "We are committed to the Middle East. I do not see why our strategy would change," Azar said in an interview.
Last week's appointment of retail banker Antony Jenkins as Barclays group chief executive could see a shift from riskier investment banking, analysts said, as the lender tries to recover from an interest rate-rigging scandal that brought down former CEO Bob Diamond.

WAM | Gulf investors set up US$400m steel JV in Oman

Emirati, Saudi and Omani investors have announced a new joint venture to build a steel production plant in Oman with a total capital of US$ 400 million.

The announcement of the joint venture - named Dhofar Steel - was made today at the end of the Gulf Partnership '&' Investment Forum in Salalah, Oman. The shareholders include Al Suwaidi Group, Al Tuwairqi Group and Salalah Development Company.

The plant will produce 1 million tons of steel a year and will provide 1,200 job opportunities to mainly Omani citizens.

Vodafone, Zain in Middle East partner deal | Reuters

Vodafone (VOD.L) said it has agreed a deal with Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain (ZAIN.KW) that would expand the global telecoms group's presence in the Middle East.

The firm said on Monday that under the non-equity partnership agreement it will work with Zain companies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, allowing it to offer its customers from other countries lower roaming fees when travelling in the region.

Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile operator by sales, has been seeking new agreements with local operators to spread its coverage while avoiding expensive buyouts or heavy investments.

Air Berlin chief eyes profit as he denies reports of any rift - Zawya

The boss of the German airline that is part-owned by Etihad Airways believes the Abu Dhabi carrier will help it to become profitable next year - and denies there is a rift between the two airlines.
Air Berlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn has joined the UAE airline in refuting allegations that Etihad CEO James Hogan has lost faith in him - and he pledged to work closely with the carrier that holds a 30 per cent stake in his firm.

Scandal of Mubarak regime millions in UK | World news |

Britain has allowed key members of Egypt's toppled dictatorship to retain millions of pounds of suspected property and business assets in the UK, potentially violating a globally-agreed set of sanctions.

The situation has led to accusations that ministers are more interested in preserving the City of London's cosy relationship with the Arab financial sector than in securing justice.

Hosni Mubarak, the ousted former president, was sentenced to life in jail in June. A six-month investigation, conducted by BBC Arabic and released in conjunction with the Guardian and al-Hayat, a pan-Arab newspaper, has identified many valuable assets linked to his family and their associates that have not been frozen.

Financial leader's scope to grow - The National

Even its regional rivals recognise the attractions of the UAE as a financial centre.

In last year's Global Financial Centres Index, sponsored by the Qatar Financial Centres Authority, Dubai was the highest-ranking centre in the GCC area, with Abu Dhabi also scoring well.

Many financial professionals from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in particular have paid the UAE the highest compliment as a place to do business by moving their operations here or opening large regional offices in the Emirates.

Jordanians protest as petrol price rises again - The National

Jordanians have taken to the streets to vent anger at the government's second fuel price increase in three months.

The rise comes as Jordan seeks to fill a gap in its budget that widened after the government raised subsidies for basic goods last year.

Yesterday, taxi drivers blocked a main road in Amman as they abandoned their cars and marched to the ministry of transport in opposition to the hike.

DIFC and capital heart of finance - The National

Global financial centres such as New York and London have developed over centuries around a core urban district - Wall Street and The City, respectively.

The UAE's ambitions to be the financial centre of the Arabian Gulf region focus on the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Al Maryah - formerly Sowwah - Island development in Abu Dhabi.

The DIFC, which began operating in 2004 around the distinctive Gate district, has nearly 900 registered member firms and has grown every year with the exception of 2009, which was affected by the global financial crisis.

Abu Dhabi may kickstart project bonds |

Abu Dhabi’s possible $800 million bond offering for a power plant may kickstart Arabian Gulf project bond sales as regional yields fall to near seven-year lows and governments spend oil wealth on infrastructure.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co and its partners in the Shuweihat S2 plant will sell debt in October to refinance loans, two bankers with knowledge of the matter said in the past week. Middle East bond sales almost doubled to $30 billion (Dh110 billion) in 2012, compared with a 29 per cent gain in emerging-market sales, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Project finance bonds are luring more companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council as average Middle East corporate bond yields plunged 133 basis points to 3.9 per cent on August 7, the lowest since February 2005, according to HSBC/Nasdaq Dubai’s Middle East Conventional Corporate US Dollar Bond Index. The bonds are secured by developments such as roads or energy plants and pay the coupon and principal from cashflows.

Zakat funds in UAE have increased this year |

The revenues of the Zakat Fund this year up to the end of August reached Dh 75.83 million, a 6 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
According to the Secretary-General of the Fund Abdullah Bin Akeeda Al Muhairi, the Fund’s revenues in the same period last year reached Dh 71 million.

Demand for UAE Islamic savings products to grow |

Sharia compliance is the key factor driving savings decisions by UAE nationals, where an ageing population is expected to boost demand for Islamic savings products, the chief executive of Dubai-based National Bonds Corp said.
“Sharia compliance has been the number one driver of choice of savings instruments among Emiratis and Arab expats,” Mohammad Qasim Al Ali said in an interview late last week. “We are seeing a definite increase in product demand.”
The company, wholly owned by the Investment Corp of Dubai, the investment arm of the Dubai government, offers a variety of savings products including a mudaraba fund which now has Dh4.6 billion dirhams ($1.25 billion) in assets under management.

Abu Dhabi 'should inspire UK to plot its future' - Telegraph

Tony Douglas, who this weekend oversaw the opening of the biggest ever infrastructure project in the emirate – the $7.2bn (£4.5bn) Khalifa Port complex – said Britain risked being left behind by more enterprising rivals if it dithered over the investments required for a competitive economy.
"The UK Government needs a blueprint, a strategic vision," he said. "But if you ask anyone in the street what is the blueprint, you'll get confusion on a good day and cluelessness on every other." Mr Douglas, who is chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, is an infrastructure veteran. In a former job as chief executive of Heathrow Airport, he led the construction of Terminal 5, while he has also played leading roles in building the Olympic Park and the Thames Gateway port project on the Isle of Grain.
Mr Douglas admitted that the UK and oil-rich Abu Dhabi "could not be more different in terms of infrastructure investment".

Zack back in Dubai prison - Khaleej Times

Fugitive American businessman Zack Shahin, who fled to Yemen last month after being released on bail, has been returned to the UAE, an official confirmed on Sunday.
His bail has been cancelled, Dubai’s Attorney-General Essam Al Humaidan said.
‘‘UAE law enforcement authorities have got him again in their hands and he’s in prison after his deportation from Yemen,’’ Al Humaidan said. The Public Prosecution had asked the court to cancel his bail when he disappeared, the attorney-general added.

India's QFI draws GCC investors in equitiesFinancial Services - Zawya

Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI), an investment channel opened by the government of India in the beginning of this year, offers nationals from 45 countries, including the UAE and other GCC countries, to invest in Indian equities and debt instruments. This move is widely believed to have the potential to attract billions of dollars into India, which is currently among the world's top three investment destinations.

This was announced yesterday at an international seminar that was held at Dubai World Trade Center.

Indian financial and equity market experts who spoke on the occasion said that conservative estimates show that investments into Indian equities, bonds and mutual funds by foreign nationals under QFI route could cross the $ 10 billion mark in two years.

UAE emerges as top financial hub in GCC - The National

The UAE has emerged as the leading financial centre in the GCC region in a survey conducted by The National with the Middle East Investor Relations Society (Meirs).

The financial hubs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai scored 35.5 out of a possible 50 points based on five key criteria used by Meirs to evaluate shareholders' standing in the six GCC countries.

Saudi Arabia came second in the ratings, with a score of 34 points, narrowly ahead of Qatar on 32.5.

Glencore Said to Stick to Xstrata Terms Days Before Vote - Bloomberg

Glencore International Plc (GLEN) is continuing to stick to the terms of a $33 billion bid for Xstrata Plc (XTA), resisting mounting pressure from shareholders to sweeten the offer four days before investors vote, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
No talks were held during the weekend, and none are scheduled between Glencore and Qatar Holding LLC, the biggest opposing shareholder, according to the person who asked not to be named because the plans are private. If the current proposal fails, executives are considering a structure for a new offer that would be more difficult to block, the person said.

Irish firms set sights on Saudi cash - The Irish Times - Mon, Sep 03, 2012

IF YOU WERE to look around the globe for a country that is the antithesis of Ireland, Saudi Arabia might just top the list. A land of sand and oil where the dominant religion is Islam, alcohol is forbidden and sausages are a no-no, the country’s rainfall amounts to just one or two heavy showers a year. And then, of course, there’s its wealth.

With a quarter of the world’s oil reserves, it’s no surprise Saudi Arabia, with a population of 28 million, is among the top 20 economies in the world. Ranked the world’s 12th biggest exporter and 22nd biggest importer, the country’s gross domestic product is $577 billion (€458 billion).

What’s really impressive, however, is how much Saudi Arabia will spend on domestic projects in the next decade: $140 billion on physical infrastructure, $67 billion on half a million housing units and $11 billion on education. What seems just as surprising is that the country’s business community has extended a hand to Irish companies to get involved.

THE DAILY STAR :: Gulf Arab ministers say integration plan needs more discussion

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdelatif Zayani (C) arrives to the regular foreign ministers' meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states in the Red Sea Saudi port city of Jeddah. (AFP PHOTO/AMER HILABI)
Gulf Arab foreign ministers said a plan to integrate their six countries, proposed by Saudi Arabia last year as a response to Middle East turmoil, needed more discussion after they met in Jeddah on Sunday.

Saudi King Abdullah had urged the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to move "to the stage of unity in a single entity" at the end of a speech in December that focused on last year's Arab uprisings and a perceived threat from Shi'ite Muslim power Iran.

The GCC countries, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, in January ordered a committee to study the idea and it presented its proposals to the foreign ministers before Sunday's meeting.