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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

BUSINESS - Saudi-based ALJ set to invest $1 bln in Turkey

ALJ is planning long-term sustainable investments in Turkey by creating a local holding to consolidate all its existing and future operations under one umbrella. ALJ plans to make Turkey its second largest market

Saudi Arabia-based ALJ group is planning a $1 billion investment in Turkey after inspections in the energy, tourism and real estate sectors. ALJ currently distributes Toyota cars in Turkey and plans to consolidate all its local businesses under one holding.

Toyota Marketing and Sales and ALG Holding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ali Haydar Bozkurt said at a press conference that they have established ALJ Holding AŞ, a local holding, and have begun to build their team and will open their office in Maçka, Istanbul in a few months.

Spending to hit $78bn | Oman Observer

Deliberations of Second Infra Oman Exhibition organised by Al Nimr Expo began at Oman International Exhibitions Centre yesterday under the auspices of Dr Rasheed bin al Safi al Huraibi, Chairman of the Tender Board. The expo shed light on the Sultanate’s Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) with continuous growth in infrastructure investments, more development projects are set to be implemented in the coming years in light of the Sultanate’s policy to take concrete measures to diversify the economy. The new plan foresees $78 billion expenditure, representing a rise of 113 per cent compared to the last five-year plan.

Qatar buys Brazil’s Gol – the deal that never was | beyondbrics

When Gol, Brazil’s second-biggest airline, said on Monday it had an “important announcement” to make later in the day, investors were overjoyed.

After a series of job cuts, route reductions and a net loss of R$715m ($354m) in the second quarter of this year, the company surely had only one thing left to say: that it was going to be sold.

Gol’s stock shot up almost 11 per cent on Monday as traders salivated over what kind of juicy premium might be offered. (Qatar Airways had long been rumoured to be interested.) It couldn’t possibly be as much as the 47 per cent Chile’s Lan offered Tam back in 2010 – could it…?

RLPC-UAE utility TAQA seeks $3 bln loan refinancing - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) is looking to refinance up to $3 billion of syndicated loans and banks are due to submit proposals this week, two bankers close to the deal said on Tuesday.
The Abu-Dhabi based energy and utility company firm, 75 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, has a solid financial record and is a familiar name in the loan market which could encourage banks to take part, the bankers added.

Dubai Property Market ‘Is Back’ - The Source - WSJ

According to the CEO of Deyaar Properties, Dubai’s real estate market “is back”.

And judging by the crowds that flocked to this city’s preeminent real estate exhibition on Tuesday, it’s hard to argue with Saeed Al Qatami’s observation.

Among the throng of visitors, live entertainment, glitzy video presentations and sprawling model-sized building plans, salesman and investors sat huddled around tables talking all things property.

Al-Futtaim, Emaar plan $820 mln Egypt investment | Reuters

Al-Futtaim Group and Emaar Properties, two real estate developers from the United Arab Emirates, plan a 5 billion Egyptian pound tie-up to build a retail and entertainment complex outside Cairo, Al-Futtaim said on Tuesday.

The companies said they reached a preliminary decision to develop the "Cairo Gate" complex on 160 acres of land off the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway, a statement said.

A shopping mall would be the centrepiece of the development, complemented by an office park, luxury hotel, schools, medical facilities and residential space.

Economics in the post-Arab spring Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

A large part of the stories of the revolutions and uprisings that occurred in the Arab republics in 2011, starting from Tunisia, are economic stories relating to frustrations towards social and living conditions, and high unemployment figures that are not commensurate with the ambitions and aspirations of the citizens. What happened will not transform into a genuine “spring” unless the political changes that have occurred lead to tangible economic changes for the people. This is the critical point, because it will not be easy. Let’s take the story of Bouazizi, the street vendor who set himself on fire and sparked the Tunisian revolution that destroyed the Ben Ali regime. This was a protest against the economic situation first and foremost; it embodied the sentiments of injustice and marginalization that a large segment of society was feeling.

MENA stock markets close - October 2, 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)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Property stocks boost Abu Dhabi; Egypt down - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The Abu Dhabi index hit a 14-month on Tuesday, lifted by real estate stocks which gained on the prospect of consolidation in the struggling sector.
Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate were the main drivers, together accounting for nearly 75 percent
of all shares traded on the bourse.
The firms said due diligence on their proposed merger was ongoing but the discussions were at an advanced state, in a joint statement to the stock exchange on Tuesday. This followed a senior Sorouh executive saying on Sunday that an announcement would be made within a month.

Glencore-Xstrata: just another notch on Qatar's bedpost

Sainsbury's, Harrods, Barclays Bank, Total and Paris-Saint-Germain FC – what do all these well-known European businesses have in common? They are all wholly or partly owned by Qatari investors.

The long running discussions concerning the multibillion dollar Glencore-Xstrata super commodities merger are just the latest example highlighting Qatar’s ever expanding worldwide influence.

Qatar Holding, Xstrata’s second-largest shareholder, is asking the Swiss firm Glencore for 3.25 shares to each Xstrata share to sign off the deal and pledge it will not accept Glencore' lower bid at 2.8. This fusion will create an industry giant. A herculean company whose revenues are estimated to be around $175bn.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi rises for 3rd day, vols low - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse rises for the third straight session but volumes are subdued on the Gulf Arab region's largest exchange.
The index rises 0.2 percent to 6,896 points.
However, the number of shares changing hands is the second-lowest amount since Feb 4 - only Sept 22 saw fewer stocks traded.

Qatar Islamic Bank plans 5-yr benchmark sukuk; pricing this week - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), the Gulf state's largest sharia-compliant lender, is planning to issue a five-year benchmark-sized Islamic bond, or sukuk, this week, arranging banks said on Tuesday.
Price guidance for the dollar-denominated issue was set at a spread of 190 basis points over midswaps.
Benchmark-sized is understood to be at least $500 million. HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank
and Qinvest, part-owned by QIB, are arranging the deal.

Dubai commercial property proving more attractive to regional investors says Cluttons « ArabianMoney

Estate agent Cluttons says the outlook for Dubai commercial property is one of ‘cautious optimism’ with increased investment activity from foreign buyers. The empty office towers are starting to fill up.

Recent Dubai Economic Department figures stated that $5.9 billion of foreign investment has been injected into the real estate sector in the first half of 2012 alone, with Indian, Pakistani, Iranian and Russian investors dominating the figures.

Abu Dhabi airport grows fast, but lags behind globally-connected Dubai -

The ongoing 18th global air travel congress World Routes in Abu Dhabi exposes the domestic rivalry between the two major airports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"With a year-to-date growth of 21 percent (as of August 2012), Abu Dhabi International Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world," said James Bennett, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), at the three-day World Routes, which kicked off Sunday. With this rate, Abu Dhabi, whose airport just celebrated this year its 30th jubilee, hosted 9.68 million passengers from January through August.

In addition, the UAE capital outperformed its rival and neighboring emirate Dubai, whose airport grew by 20 percent in the same month.

BREAKINGVIEWS-Qatar's sovereign funds: A guide for the perplexed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Cash-rich and outward looking Qatar is a gold mine for advisors. Yet for those hoping to land work on any of the multi-billion dollar transactions led by the Gulf state, it's no longer enough just to put in a call to its highest-profile sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority. Today, Qatar's financial activities are spread across different but related entities, with blurred dividing lines.

UPDATE 1-Qatar Airways to join oneworld alliance - sources - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Qatar Airways will become the first Gulf carrier to join the oneworld alliance of airlines with an agreement due to be announced early next week, according to sources close to the alliance.
The sources said Qatar Airways' membership of the alliance, which includes IAG's British Airways and American Airlines, will be announced at a press conference in New York on Monday.
The announcement will be made alongside IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, American boss Tom Horton and oneworldCEO Bruce Ashby, the sources said.

RPT-Dubai utility DEWA plans to raise $1.23 bln in 2013 - CEO - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) plans to raise 4.5 billion dirhams ($1.23 billion) in debt next year, the state-owned utility's chief executive said on Tuesday.
DEWA, which was recently upgraded to investment-grade by ratings agency Moody's, will raise the funds via Islamic bonds, or sukuk, export credit agencies and syndication with the proceeds used primarily for debt repayment as well as investments, Saeed Mohammed al-Tayer told reporters.
Last week, Tayer had said the utility planned a sukuk issue in 2013 as part of its refinancing plans.
When asked about the timeframe for raising funds next year, Tayer said on Tuesday it would be ongoing throughout the year. DEWA completed its first ECA-backed financing - worth $1 billion with a tenor of 13 years - in May 2009 with agencies from France, Germany and Italy.

Goldman: oil could hit $130 over Iran | beyondbrics

Rising tensions between Israel and Iran, over Tehran’s nuclear development programme, could drive oil prices over $130 a barrel next year says Goldman Sachs’s chief economist in Moscow at a time when the consensus forecast is for a price decline to $80-$90 because of slowing global growth and the euro crisis.

“Goldman Sachs is bullish on oil, but it will driven by a one-off, not rising demand, by a tightening embargo on Iran that will take more and more oil out of the market,” says Clemens Grafe, Goldman Sachs’ managing director of new market economics in an interview with bne.

Separately, Robert McNally, the former chief energy advisor on US President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, and past advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, sees a “dangerous divergence” between market players and policymakers with regard to the risks of a conflict between Israel and Iran."

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Abu Dhabi gains again on property merger; Dubai dips - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's index edges up from the previous day's seven-month closing high as merger anticipation surrounding its two main property stocks continues, while Dubai slips back after Monday's rally.
The Abu Dhabi exchange rises 0.2 percent to 2,640 points, with Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate
making up the vast majority of shares traded in the opening hour of business.
In a joint bourse statement on Tuesday, the firms said that due diligence was ongoing but the discussions were at an advanced state, following a senior Sorouh executive saying on Sunday a merger announcement would be made within a month.

Bahrain's Ithmaar Bank to merge with affiliate | Reuters

Ithmaar Bank, Bahrain's sixth-largest bank by market capitalisation, is in advanced talks to merge with an affiliate through a share swap agreement, the Islamic lender said in a statement on Tuesday.

Shareholders of Ithmaar and unlisted First Leasing Bank will vote on the merger at meetings scheduled to take place at the end of October after the boards of both banks agreed to the tie-up, the filing to the Bahrain stock exchange said.

The merger will be completed through a share swap arrangement, details of which will be discussed at the upcoming shareholder meeting.

Dubai Financial Hub Seeks Lower Telecom Costs to Attract Traders - Bloomberg

The Dubai International Financial Centre is seeking reduced telecommunications tariffs to entice global financial services companies to move trading operations to the tax-free business park.
The DIFC has started talks with the United Arab Emirates’ two telecommunications service providers after “enough” companies called for a drop of 20 percent to 30 percent in tariffs, the center’s Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Singer, said in an interview yesterday. Lenders including Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Germany’s biggest bank, have indicated they would relocate some trading operations if rates were lower, he said.
The DIFC opened in 2004 to attract international banks, asset managers and insurers with promises of a zero-tax environment for 50 years. The regional offices of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS), Citigroup Inc (C) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) are located in the center, which was home to 817 companies at the end of last year, including 279 in financial services.

Dubai takes over management of crown prince's firm - Shaibani | Reuters

State-owned Dubai Real Estate Corp. (DREC) has taken over the management of Zabeel Investments, the indebted firm owned by Dubai's crown prince, the chief executive of Investment Corporation of Dubai said on Tuesday.

Sources told Reuters last week that DREC had taken over the company, which owes about 6 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) to mostly local banks.

"Zabeel is only managed by DREC, the ownership is still the same," Mohammed al-Shaibani told Reuters on the sidelines of a real estate conference.

EA WorldView - The Latest from Iran (2 October): A Currency in Free Fall?

0455 GMT: There is no doubt about today's lead story. Even international news outlets who think of "Iran" as the nuclear programme and possible war with Israel set these aside on Monday for the economic shock of the free fall of the currency.

By the end of Monday, currency websites such as Mesghal and Mazanex set the Iranian Rial at 34700:1 vs. the US dollar on the open market, a drop of 16% on the day and more than 40% on the week, with some Iranian media reporting the currency hitting the 35000:1 mark.

Already this morning there are indications beyond the numbers of the seriousness of the problem. Reports indicate that Tehran's major foreign exchange offices were closed early on Monday, and the opposition website Kalemeh is claiming that parts of the Bazaar were shut. One of Mesghal's currency websites has been "Account Suspended" since Monday morning; the other cannot be contacted this morning. Mazanex has suspended the posting of a dollar rate for the Rial.

Middle East airlines lead industry's recovery - The National

The profits of global airlines are set for an unexpected recovery of more than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) by the end of the year as the industry defies the global gloom to increase sales and earnings - even in the most adverse of cisrcumstances.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) upgraded this year's anticipated global airlines earnings to $4.1bn from its June forecast of $3bn. Carriers in the Middle East helped the rise more than most, with profits expected to more than double.

The increase was a welcome sign of a return to health from the gloomy first half of the year but was still a far cry from last year's $8.4bn in profits. Forecast profits would rise further next year to $7.5bn, Iata said.

Dubai today, region tomorrow |

Dubai’s standing as a global business and trade hub is long acknowledged and much celebrated. But what future historians might find most striking about Dubai could perhaps be its role as a crystal ball to gaze at the future of the region. Dubai has been a trend setter; so much so that the region appears to simply mimic its success.
Whether it is the modest renaming of a government department, or the launch of path-breaking concepts such as freehold property, Dubai has left an indelible impact on the rest of the region. The simple act of renaming the Dubai Economic Department as the Department of Economic Development has had such extraordinary appeal that every emirate within the UAE, like countries across the region, began adopting the new name. For Dubai, the change was not just in the name, but in the approach, and one does not know how far this was true of the other changes.

Lopsided recovery in sight for Dubai property? |

Dubai’s freehold property market has put together its best three successive quarters since 2008, but new investors prefer only the established communities.
This factor is propelling value gains in communities such as Arabian Ranches, The Springs and Jumeirah Islands in recent weeks and is why a villa on the Palm Jumeirah could command Dh17,200 a square metre in a recent transaction.
Activity within the Burj Downtown was helped by the Arab Spring and the subsequent flight of capital to safe havens. Meanwhile, resident end-users had Business Bay in their sights, especially the set of high-rises fronting on to Shaikh Zayed Road.

UAE, Morocco banks bid for BNP’s Egyptian arm - The Globe and Mail

Dubai’s Emirates NBD and Morocco’s AttijariWafabank have bid to buy BNP Paribas’s Egyptian retail arm, four banking sources said, as regional banks pick up assets being shed by European lenders.

BNP, the top French bank, put its retail banking business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.