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Friday, 14 September 2012

OPEC Nations Look to Solar Power -

Middle Eastern members of OPEC are finally diversifying their energy base, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into harnessing that other resource they feature in vast quantities: sunshine.
But it isn't what you think. The Saudis, Abu Dhabi and Iran aren't racing to burnish their green credentials by reducing their carbon footprints. They are investing in solar-power production mainly for one reason: to help them export even more oil and gas.

FT Alphaville » What driverless trucks in Oz mean for oil workers in Norway

Norwegian oil workers shut down a chunk of the country’s production for 16 days in July over a pay dispute. With the summer over, further strikes are being discussed.

Being such a wealthy country, and with a robust social safety net, it does make one do a double-take when a strike in Norway is over pay. Is the case of the Norwegian oil workers a textbook study on how labour in the rich world is incentivising companies to deploy more technology in their production processes, thereby inadvertently making itself increasingly redundant?

First, to recap, Norway’s oil industry has been pushing the government to limit wage growth for ages, arguing that it’s hurting the country’s competitiveness. On Thursday, however, the government rejected the pleas arguing that Norway doesn’t necessarily want to compete — on labour costs, that is.

First Gulf Bank Hires Eight Lenders for $800 Million 3-Year Loan - Bloomberg

First Gulf Bank PJSC (FGB), a lender controlled by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, said it hired eight banks to arrange an $800 million loan, the third Middle Eastern bank to borrow from the syndicated loan market since August.
The three-year facility will be provided by Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Citigroup Inc., Commerzbank AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD) and Standard Chartered Bank, according to an e-mailed statement from Mizuho. BTMU is facility agent and coordinator.
The loan will pay an interest margin of 130 basis points more than the London interbank offered rate, lenders said in the statement. The bank has a $825 million syndicated loan maturing in November 2012, Bloomberg data show. That loan, signed in November 2007, pays an interest margin of 27.5 basis points over Libor. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

TEXT-Fitch affirms Abu Dhabi at 'AA'; outlook stable | Reuters

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Abu Dhabi's Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'AA' with a Stable Outlook. Fitch has also affirmed Abu Dhabi's Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F1+'. The UAE Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'AA+'.

The affirmation and Stable Outlook reflect the continued strength of Abu Dhabi's sovereign balance sheet. This is estimated to be the second strongest amongst rated sovereigns measured by sovereign net foreign assets (SNFA), and conveys exceptional fiscal flexibility. Foreign assets are estimated to have risen again in 2011, despite a dip in investment returns, as the general government budget moved further into surplus, despite a substantial spending increase.

Sunland mauled over Dubai property deal

Gold Coast developer Sunland brought a lawsuit against two men involved in a failed Dubai property deal for the "ulterior purpose" of protecting itself and a senior executive from prosecution by the emirate's authorities, a judge has found.

Victorian Supreme Court judge Clyde Croft this morning ordered Sunland to pay all the costs incurred by the two men, Angus Reed and Matthew Joyce, in successfully defending the case.

Those costs are believed to be likely to exceed $6 million.

U.A.E.’s FAL Oil Faces Forced Tanker Sale to Repay DVB Loan - Bloomberg

FAL Oil Co., a United Arab Emirates-based energy trader that’s under U.S. financial restrictions for links to Iran, faces the forced sale of a fuel tanker held in Singapore to repay $57.6 million to DVB Bank SE. (DVB)
U.A.E.-based Horizon Energy LLC intends to buy the vessel for $34.5 million, Gina Tan, the attorney representing FAL, said today at a hearing of the Singapore Supreme Court. A judge in the city state, where authorities have detained the ship since July, gave lawyers one week to arrange the sale.
Frankfurt-based DVB, which loaned $62.4 million to FAL Oil in July 2010 to refinance the construction of two tankers, sued the trader and sought the seizure of one of the tankers after telling FAL it had defaulted. The allowance financed the Khorfakkan, currently held in Singapore, and the Al Buhaira, according to publicly available documents at the Court. Both are Aframax tankers capable of transporting about 80,000 to 100,000 metric tons of oil.

Gulf Times – Qatar banks’ cross-border assets at QR113.2bn in 2011

Cross-border assets of some 10 Qatari banks totalled QR113.2bn in 2011, up 28.5% on the previous year, according to a Qatar Central Bank report.
As in the previous year, a sizeable portion of the cross-border assets are in the form of customer credit last year, the QCB said in its “Financial Stability Review”.
Placement/lending with foreign financial institutions also increased significantly during the year.

A quantum leap in regional trade |

Gulf intra regional trade has continued to grow, reaching record highs with partially applying Custom Union provisions among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This nullifies the argument that the similarities between GCC economies stands against the growth of intra-regional trade, which will remain limited because there are no goods or services that can be traded among them.
This view may have been correct in the past, before the developments in international trade relationships where countries such as the UAE have been transformed into trade giants. Moreover, most of the trade conducted in the region goes through the UAE, and the economies of the six GCC countries have become more diverse than a decade ago.
Many GCC countries’ industrial and productive sectors depend entirely on semi-manufactured goods produced by one GCC country or another which results in value addition and re-exports.

Gulf IPO Market Reviving -

The market for Gulf-region companies wanting to sell and list shares is reviving, spurred by economic prospects and rejuvenated stock markets. Bankers say the likelihood of more sales in the coming months is increasing.

Middle Eastern and North African companies raised a total of $1.37 billion in the first six months via initial public offerings. That compares with $396.47 million in the first half of 2011, according to Ernst & Young.

At the heart of this IPO rebound is a jump in stock trading activity coupled with rising valuations. Daily turnover on Gulf stock markets has almost doubled compared with last year, according to data from Dubai's DFM General Index is up about 16% and Saudi's benchmark Tadawul Index gained more than 10%.

Dubai beckons, but trade with care | Guardian small business network | Guardian Professional

Dubai beckons, but trade with care | Guardian small business network | Guardian Professional:

Business - UAE businesses showing a new level of optimism

Unlike its global counterparts facing a sluggish growth rate, businesses in the UAE are showing a new level of optimism and recovery from the economic crisis.
There has been a visible shift in the local market — from budget freeze and downsizing to new investments, market expansion, and an increase in staff recruitment and training.
This sentiment was echoed in the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) salary survey 2012, of CIMA qualified members and active part qualified students from the UAE to get a better understanding of their job aspirations, current market trends and future growth needs.

Saudi Economy Eased in Second Quarter on Slower Oil Growth - Businessweek

Saudi Arabia’s economy expanded 5.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace since at least 2010, as oil prices declined.

Growth eased from 5.9 percent in the January-March period, the nation’s statistics department in the capital, Riyadh, said on its website today. The increase in oil and natural gas earnings slowed to 6 percent from 7.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s economy grew 7.1 percent last year, buoyed by higher oil prices and a government spending spree aimed at preventing the kind of political unrest that spread across most Arab countries. Crude plunged 18 percent in the second quarter of this year, contributing to decline in the Saudi growth rate even as oil output hit a three-decade high.

Production in the kingdom, which holds the world’s largest conventional reserves, increased to 9.9 million barrels a day in May, the highest since 1980, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It has maintained production close to that level every month since.

Fourth bank joins bid for Dubai Group repayments - The National

The list of international banks seeking funds from Dubai Group in a London arbitration has increased to four as an Egyptian lender joined institutions seeking to resolve an impasse over the company's US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) debt restructuring.

The Egyptian bank joins Royal Bank of Scotland, Germany's Commerzbank and South Africa's Standard Bank in a legal action to recover funds they are owed by Dubai Group.

The arbitration comes after a two-year impasse in debt restructuring talks with Dubai Group and the European and South African banks walked away in July.

Emirates’ Washington service to boost trade |

The Wednesday’s launch of a new non-stop daily Emirates flight service from Dubai to Washington, DC will bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the regional economy as well create jobs, say business and government officials in the US capital.
It will also open up new business opportunities for the UAE which consumed more than $16 billion (Dh58.75 billion) in American exports in 2011, a number that is expected to jump considerably again by year’s end given that exports for the first six months of 2012 are up 60 per cent more than the same period last year.
Jack Potter, President and CEO of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, considers the airline’s new route — its seventh to the US — to be good for business and “another milestone for the airport authority at Dulles”.

Dubai retailer Paris Gallery plans IPO |

Dubai group Paris Gallery, which stocks a $300,000 perfume among its luxury products, is planning an initial public offering it said would provide a “safety net” for the family-owned business and help it expand beyond the Gulf.
Chief executive Mohammad Al Fahim told the Reuters Retail and Consumer Summit that the firm, which had 2011 turnover of about Dh1 billion ($272 million), had held talks with the Dubai Financial Market and sister bourse Nasdaq Dubai about a potential listing.
“I would not put a timeframe but, as an objective, I say yes, for the benefit of the organisation in the future. One of the rationales (of an IPO) would be the continuity of the company,” said Fahim, whose father founded the firm.