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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Qatar says to invest $18 bln in Egypt economy - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar said on Thursday it would invest $18 billion dollars in tourism and industry projects along Egypt's Mediterranean coast over the next five years, the latest pledge of support to an economy hammered by a year and a half of political turmoil.
The projects include $8 billion for gas, power and iron and steel plants at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal and $10 billion for a giant tourist resort on the Mediterranean coast. Egypt's stock exchange closed at a 14-month high on Thursday on optimism that a new government with a clear popular mandate will secure investments and donor aid to stave off a balance of payments and budget crisis. Cairo last month formally asked the International Monetary Fund for $4.8 billion in emergency funding.

Qantas to fly into Dubai in major alliance with Emirates Airline - The National

The struggling Australian airline Qantas has signed a deal with Emirates Airline to move the hub for its European flights to Dubai.

It will also embark on a 10-year route sharing deal in the highly competitive market between Australia and Europe.

But according to reports from inside the negotiations, Qantas has not got all it sought from the deal, with Emirates resisting closer ties.

PE firm buys 6.6 pct of Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank | Reuters

Jordan-based private equity firm Foursan Group has acquired a 6.6 percent stake in Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, making it the bank's second largest stakeholder, Foursan said on Thursday.

The firm declined to disclose the monetary value of the deal. It is not yet considering seeking a seat on the bank's board because the term of the current board has yet to expire, Foursan's vice-president Jameel Anz told Reuters.

Foursan's investment was made through the firm's $100 million fund Foursan Capital Partners I, which closed in 2009. The fund's investors included Jordan's Social Security Corp and the International Finance Corp, an arm of the World Bank.

Qantas/Emirates: an upgrade for Dubai | beyondbrics

Qantas has ditched its alliance with British Airways for Dubai’s Emirates airline, in a  further sign of the shifting balance of power from Europe’s legacy carriers to the Gulf.

As part of the 10-year deal, the Australian carrier will move its long-haul hub from Singapore to Dubai, where Emirates’s cavernous Terminal 3 building is already filling up to the rafters. The move dovetails with Dubai’s plan to ramp up capacity through Dubai airport to match the airline’s aggressive expansion plan and boost the number of passengers travelling through the emirate.

After its calamitous debt problems in 2009, the city has recovered thanks to a return to its basics: trade, travel and tourism.

Qatar May Study Lower Demands on Xstrata Deal, Liberum Says - Businessweek

Qatar Holding LLC may study softening its demand for a higher offer for its shares in Xstrata Plc (XTA) from Glencore International Plc (GLEN) as the fund’s paper loss on the proposed takeover has evaporated, said Liberum Capital Ltd.

The Qatari sovereign wealth fund had an unrealized loss of $1.4 billion on its Xstrata investment when it sought a higher bid for the mining company from Glencore on June 26, Liberum analysts Richard Knights and Ash Lazenby said today in a note. Glencore’s bid of 2.8 shares would see the fund in the black based on current prices, while an offer of 2.9 would give it a profit of $221 million, Liberum said.

Qatar surprised analysts and investors in June by calling for a higher offer, derailing the world’s biggest takeover this year. The fund is the second-biggest shareholder in Xstrata with a 12 percent stake and last week said it would oppose the bid when investors in the biggest thermal coal exporter vote on the offer tomorrow. UBS AG sees a 20 percent chance of the deal winning investor approval, it said Sept. 4.

IFC in the Middle East: short of partners | beyondbrics

“Don’t forget, revolutions are expensive”, says Dimitris Tsitsiragos. He should know: his responsibilities as a vice president at the International Finance Corporation include north Africa and the Middle East, not least the countries hit by the Arab Spring.

The IFC, the World Bank’s private sector arm, has, in the last five years, boosted its annual commitments to the region by nearly 50 per cent to over $2bn. But, Tsitsiragos says it’s not enough: without more private sector involvement, the region cannot generate the investments required to produce faster economic growth and more jobs.

“There is not enough investment, not enough FDI, not enough international integration and not enough regional integration in the Middle East,” said Tsitsiragos, whose full title is vice president for eastern and southern Europe, central Asia, Middle East and north Africa.

MENA stock markets close - September 6, 2012

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  

 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)

ANALYSIS-Qatar demands respect with muscular Xstrata strategy - Yahoo! News Maktoob

By holding out against Glencore's bid for mining giant Xstrata, Qatar is not just gunning for more profit from its stake, but showing Western financiers it won't be pushed around.
With a sovereign wealth fund analysts estimate at about $100 billion, the rich Gulf state has bought assets around the world over the past several years, including sizeable stakes in European banks, football clubs and luxury car makers.
But liberal spending threatens to create an image of Qatar as an extravagant investor that buys trophy assets mainly for the prestige, which could hurt its ability to negotiate attractive deals.

Did Citigroup Defraud Billions from U.S. Ally Abu Dhabi? | Alternet

According to a confidential cable published by Wikileaks, the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi sent a communication to the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Treasury on December 22, 2009, alerting them to the fact that the investment arm of a U.S. ally, Abu Dhabi, believed it had been defrauded of $4 billion by Citigroup (Wall Street’s serial miscreant and recent ward of the taxpayer).  The cable relayed that William Brown, legal advisor to the Abu Dhabi investment arm, “unequivocally stated that Citi ‘lied’ and must be held accountable.”

Three years later, Abu Dhabi has likely figured out that in the U.S., gangsters have guns but banksters are far more dangerous – they have ivy league educated lawyers.  One group of lawyers writes the prospectuses that defraud investors; another group writes the contracts that bar these cases from ever seeing sunshine in a public courtroom; and the third group provides skillful white color criminal defense, including a speed dial to their pals in Washington, ensuring that justice will be as elusive as a Wall Street CEO clad in orange.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mkts edge up ahead of ECB meeting - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Most Gulf markets edged higher in cautious trade on Thursday as investors waited for the results of a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day.
Dubai's index gained 0.4 percent, trading within a tight range and up 0.5 percent for the week. Abu Dhabi's benchmark rose 0.3 percent, extending its year-to-date gains to 6.7 percent.
UAE's real estate-related stocks were up. Dubai bellwether Emaar Properties roses 1.2 percent, Deyaar Development climbed 0.6 percent and Abu Dhabi-listed Sorouh Real Estate added 3.7 percent.

Singapore Airlines’ Last A380 Ends Jumbo-Jet Orders, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) receives its 19th Airbus SAS A380 Wednesday, leaving the biggest buyer of jumbo jets with none on order for the first time in 30 years.

The handover for the 409-seat aircraft in Toulouse, France, comes as the airline builds future growth around smaller long- haul planes amid falling passenger numbers and competition from Gulf carriers. The company is also boosting its focus on regional routes with unit SilkAir ordering 54 Boeing Co. (BA) 737 planes because of rising Asian travel.

“Singapore Air probably won’t be spending so much on long- haul now,” said Rigan Wong, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in Hong Kong. “It doesn’t make sense in terms of the economic growth story.”

US businessman jailed in Dubai appears in court - News -

An American lawyer says a U.S. businessman accused of financial crimes in Dubai has appeared in court after being caught fleeing the country, but it is not clear how he will be defended.

Attorney James Jatras says he spoke briefly to defendant Zack Shahin at the Thursday court hearing, describing him as looking tired. Jatras is not certified to defend Shahin in Dubai. He said that Shahin’s local attorney did not show up and it is unclear if he is still representing Shahin.

The Emirati lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Shahin was held four years without trial, which sparked a rare public dispute between Washington and the UAE. He denies any wrongdoing.

Shahin was released on bail in July. He then fled to Yemen, and was again detained.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai edges up; mkts in sideways trend - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE and Qatar's markets trade flat to positive as investors hesitate to increase risk ahead of a key policy meeting in Europe later on Thursday.
Dubai's index adds 0.2 percent to 1,554 points, trading range-bound for the last six sessions. The market however, is holding on to 14.8 percent year-to-date gains. Real estate-related stocks move higher with Emaar Properties and Drake and Scull adding 0.6 and 0.9 percent respectively. Deyaar Development advances
0.6 percent.
Abu Dhabi's measure ticks up 0.1 percent to 2,559 points, extending gains to 6.5 percent so far in 2012.

Air Berlin August passenger count drops 5 pct - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Air Berlin, the German airline partly owned by Gulf carrier Etihad, said passenger numbers fell 5 percent in August, with demand falling faster than it could cut capacity.
Germany's second largest airline after Lufthansa carried 3.57 million passengers in August, it said on Thursday. Its load factor - how full its planes were - narrowed by 0.7 percentage points to 84.5 percent, while the number of seats it offered fell 4.2 percent.
Air Berlin has been trying to shrink itself back to profitability by cutting routes, seats and delaying plane orders.

A Closer Look at Moroccan Economic Growth Potential


The message appeared on a dusty old Dell laptop, proudly displayed by the store clerk around the corner from our riad here in the Medina. We'd asked some broken, barely-French...and the young man, no more than 16 years of age, quickly set about punching the information into Google Translate. His smile, upon reaching an answer, stretched from ear to ear.

We would find the Wi-Fi cafe after all...

Qantas dumps Singapore hub for Dubai to save money and forge new alliance with Emirates « ArabianMoney

From March next year Dubai will become the hub for European flights for the Australian flagship carrier Qantas in a 10-year alliance unveiled this morning. Qantas will dump its current base Singapore.

It will also coordinate pricing, sales and schedules with Emirates under the partnership and abandon its existing alliance with British Airways. Frequent flyer programs will be shared and passenger lounges.


The importance of foreign Gulf investment revenues |

Overseas investment revenues are an important source in financing GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries budgets’ and Gulf economies in general.
These revenues exceeded oil returns in the UAE and Kuwait during the oil price drops of the mid-1980s and late-1990s. However, they fluctuated over the past three decades.
The most severe fluctuations were those that took place during the latest international financial crisis, which led to the decrease in the size of their assets by 50 per cent in some cases.

Embattled Qantas in major alliance with Emirates - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Struggling Australian carrier Qantas on Thursday announced a major global alliance with Emirates that will involve moving its hub for European flights to Dubai from Singapore.
The 10-year tie-up, described by the airlines as the world's leading partnership, is part of Qantas's drive to turn around its fortunes after posting its first annual loss since privatisation in 1995 last month.
Subject to regulatory approval, it goes beyond codesharing to include coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling and a benefit-sharing model.

UAE's Al Habtoor looks at potential IPO in Dubai | Reuters

United Arab Emirates conglomerate Al Habtoor Group is considering an initial public offering in Dubai given strengthening local equity markets, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

A flotation by a family-owned giant like Habtoor would potentially help Middle Eastern equity markets recover from the aftermath of the global financial crisis, which severely dampened investor appetite for regional offerings and forced some companies to shelve listing plans.

"The Al Habtoor Group is considering an initial public offering (IPO) amid further strengthening of the UAE's prominent position in the capital markets and increased inflows from the euro zone," the statement said, following a company meeting with the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) and Nasdaq Dubai officials.

Qatar Imperils Big Merger of Commodity Companies -

A megamerger in the natural resources business is close to falling apart.

On Friday, shareholders in Xstrata, one of the world’s biggest miners of copper and coal, are to vote on an offer from Glencore, which dominates the global trading of such materials. The deal, which values the combined company at $86 billion, would create a commodities behemoth whose activities touch all types of companies that need raw materials to make cornflakes, cars, mobile phones and other goods.

But Qatar Holding, a unit of the Persian Gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund, is poised to squash the acquisition.

Britain and France lead on Islamic finance - The National

Germany has been a desert as far as Islamic banking is concerned and analysts remain sceptical about the market potential for such products in Europe's largest economy.

Part of the reason is the majority of Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin and relatively secular in outlook. Their relatively low income is a further factor.

"In Turkey, Islamic banks have a market share of just five percent, and that hasn't increased in 40 years," said Rebecca Schönenbach, an Islamic finance specialist at the Raven Centre, a think tank on the subject.

High praise as country rises up the WEF league - The National

Building world-class hospitals, schools and malls helped the UAE to jump three places up the World Economic Forum's (WEF) ranking of the most competitive countries this year.

The Emirates was ranked 24th in the world in the WEF Global Competitiveness Report, up from 27th last year. The index assesses institutions, policies and a host of other factors to determine a country's level of productivity.

Helping to bolster the UAE's position were solid ratings for infrastructure, health and primary education. Retail market efficiency and business sophistication were also high among the country's winning criteria.