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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

India frustrates Air Arabia - The National

Air Arabia's expansive ambitions in India are being held back by red tape preventing it from securing the rights it needs to launch more flights into the country.

The Sharjah-based low-cost airline already serves a significant portion of India, flying to 13 airports - including New Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Jaipur.

"For the last two years we haven't grown in this market and we've been running at about 98 per cent seat factor, simply because we're not being granted any more rights into India," said Adel Ali, the chief executive of Air Arabia.

Cairo property shows signs of life - The National

Cairo's property market is starting to experience signs of recovery after months of paralysis following the revolution.

According to the property agency Jones Lang LaSalle, life has begun to return to the Cairo market over the past three months as developers return to work on stalled projects.

The slight revival follows 18 months of political turmoil in which violence and street clashes forced companies to relocate office activities out of central Cairo, pushed foreigners out of the country and halted construction work.

Sinking ships on troubled waters - The National

The oil tanker industry is steaming into choppy economic waters.

A global glut in capacity has claimed two more major victims in the past week.

Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection in the United States, while Euronav in Belgium is poised to sell off part of its fleet after posting a third-quarter loss.

Dubai Chamber looks to Syria’s future |

While the devastating civil war is raging in Syria resulting in a human toll of 40,000, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is looking to the future.
The Chamber announced on Tuesday that it will host a conference entitled ‘Partnership to invest in Future Syria’ under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 21 in Dubai.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that this move was made to boost and unify the efforts to support and rebuild Syria’s future and its economy.

Iraq must tap potential of natural gas |

Natural gas has been in relative decline in Iraq for a long time now. The highs of the 1980s when two large processing plants and associated pipelines were built were followed by years of wars and sanctions and almost lack of investment and minimum maintenance and rehabilitation. The situation intensified since 2003, where the focus was centred on upstream deals with international oil companies with little regard to the downstream sector.
In reading the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) ‘Iraq Energy Outlook’, one discovers the uphill battle to achieve a measure of success in utilising this vital resource and the limited time frame available to avoid further enormous losses.
The IEA estimates that the gas flared in June 2012 was 1043 million cubic meters (mcm) out of a production of 1988 mcm or about 52.5 per cent at a time when the power generation industry is using liquids in the form of fuel, crude oil and even imported gas oil. Most of the flared gas is in the south for the lack of proper maintenance and rehabilitation of the South Gas processing facilities and the unfinished national gas pipeline to Baghdad and further north.

Middle East Sovereign Funds Keep Looking Towards Morocco‏ - OpEd Eurasia Review

Morocco has set its sights on becoming a model for regional reform different from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Libya. This bodes very well for its future prosperity. Tourism has historically been one of Morocco’s most important industries. These reforms will avert the kind of turmoil which has kept visitors away from such countries as Egypt and Tunisia. Moreover, at the same time that it is opening up its political system, Morocco is committed to continuing to invest in its tourism industry.

It seems that Middle Eastern based sovereign funds are more keen on investing in hospitality and resort developments compared to their Asian and European peers. This is good news for the Kingdom of Morocco. Tourism is a key source of diversifiable revenue for the North African Kingdom of Morocco. The tourism industry in Morocco employs just below 500,000 people. Cash-strapped Morocco still suffers from high unemployment, a reliance on material exports, and has a young demographic profile.

Oman’s economy to grow by 5% in 2012, says IMF - Muscat Daily

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Oman's gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slow to five per cent in 2012 from 5.4 per cent last year. The Fund also anticipates that Oman's economic growth will slow further to 3.9 per cent in 2013.
In its report titled 'Economic prospects and policy challenges for the GCC countries', the Washington-based IMF has predicted Oman's fiscal surplus will be 7.1 per cent of GDP this year, down from 8.1 per cent in 2011. In line with other GCC countries, Oman's fiscal surplus is estimated to decline to 5.8 per cent of GDP in 2013.
The Fund estimates that the combined GDP growth of all the GCC states will be 5.6 per cent in 2012, down from 7.5 per cent in 2011, while the combined fiscal surplus of GCC countries is projected to be 14.6 per cent of the GDP this year.

Saudis seek private court in London -

Saudi Arabia will lobby the UK government as early as November to set up a confidential court in London that would settle multimillion pound commercial disputes arising from the Middle Eastern kingdom.
The Saudis hope that a London-based arbitration centre would help counter investor concerns about the Saudi Arabian legal system and thus boost foreign investment into the kingdom.
If the plans are realised, the court could hear some of the most high-value and sensitive legal claims in the world.

FINANCE - Istanbul stock exchange reaches its historic high

The Istanbul bourse crowns its days-long march by breaking its historic record as the market expectations for a rating upgrade by one of the leading international agencies heat up

The main 100 index of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (İMKB) hit a historic high yesterday at 71.717 points, surpassing the Nov. 9, 2010 record, after a two-week long climb unaffected by a nearly one-week-long public holiday.

A relatively positive report by international credit agency Moody’s yesterday triggered the nearly 1.5 percent climb from Oct. 25, the day the bourse was closed before the Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, holiday. The stock exchange was also closed on Oct. 29 for Republic Day.

MENA stock markets close - October 30, 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-Dana Gas drops on sukuk news; Gulf mkts flat | Reuters

Shares in Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas tumbled on Tuesday to their lowest finish since Oct. 4 after sources familiar with the matter said the firm would not repay its sukuk on maturity. But Gulf stock markets finished near-flat in quiet trade, amid a post-holiday lull in activity.

Shares in Dana dropped 4.3 percent to 0.43 dirhams, having dipped 8.5 percent intra-day. Dana has reached a standstill agreement with bondholders on its $920 million convertible sukuk maturing Oct. 31, which is effective for up to six months, the sources told Reuters. Dana declined to comment.

"This is going to shake the faith of investors (in sukuk) big time," said a Dubai-based trader, who asked not to be identified. If the payment is not made on Wednesday, Dana will become the first UAE company not to repay a sukuk on maturity.

Dana Gas’s $920m sukuk: confusion reigns on eve of maturity | beyondbrics

People close to Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based natural gas company, say creditors including funds Blackrock and Ashmore have agreed to a standstill that would allow talks over extending the maturity of its $920m sukuk to continue through the deadline of midnight on Wednesday.

But people aware of the creditors’ position “categorically deny” that a standstill agreement has been reached with Dana Gas, whose revenues have been interrupted in troubled operating environments including Egypt and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Under a standstill agreement, creditors generally agree not to seek to enforce their rights in the event of non-payment by a debtor.

Gazprom pushes on with South Stream | beyondbrics

Russian energy giant Gazprom is set to push ahead with its controversial South Stream gas pipeline which will run to the heart of Europe, while progress on an EU-backed rival project is, as usual, patchier.

On Monday, Srbijagas – a Serbian government-owned monopoly – announced that it would start work on the 470km, €1.7bn stretch of South Stream running through Serbian territory in December.

The statement came after the signing of an agreement with Gazprom, the project’s main backer. The pipeline is expected to carry Russian gas under the Black Sea through the Balkan Peninsula to termini in Greece, Italy and Austria. The Serbian section is expected to carry up to 40bn cubic metres of gas per year, generating €200m in transit revenue per year, according to Srbijagas chief Dusan Bajatovic. Bajatovic says that the pipeline should be complete by December 2015.

Qatar Insurance approves $134.2 mln share sale to Qatar Holding - Yahoo! News Maktoob

The board of Qatar Insurance has approved the sale of shares worth 488.6 million riyals ($134.2 million) to state fund Qatar Holding, the insurer said in a bourse filing on Tuesday.
The fund purchased 7.76 million shares at 63 riyals each, raising its capital to 969.4 million riyals. The capital hike still requires the approval of the Ministry of Business and other regulatory authorities, as well as existing shareholders, the statement said.
Qatar Holding's presence as a strategic partner would strengthen the financial position of the company and help it to compete against major insurance companies at a regional and international level, the statement added.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dana Gas drops; Dubai ends flat in thin trade - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas tumbles to its lowest finish since Oct. 4 after sources said the firm will miss repayment of a sukuk, while UAE bourses end near-flat. Shares in Dana drop 4.3 percent to 0.43 dirhams, its lowest finish since Oct. 4, having traded down 8.5 percent intra-day. Dana has reached a standstill agreement with bondholders on its $920 million sukuk maturing Oct. 31, which is effective for up to six months, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Heavyweights limit declines on the bourse. Telecom operator Etisalat and First Gulf Bank gain 0.4 and 1
percent respectively.
Abu Dhabi's measure ticks up 0.03 percent to close at 2,672 points, a fresh 14-month high.

WAM | Etihad Airways Welcomes Virgin Australia Equity Investment

Etihad Airways has welcomed the announcement by Virgin Australia that it is to acquire a majority stake in Tiger Airways and has reached an in-principle agreement to purchase Skywest Airlines.

Etihad Airways holds a 10 per cent stake in Virgin Australia Holdings.

James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: "These investments by Virgin Australia consolidate its position today as Australia's most successful and fastest-developing airline. The addition of Tiger and Skywest into its portfolio can only help Virgin Australia's competitive position in the Australian market and across the Asia-Pacific region. We welcome this exciting move by Virgin." Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia have developed a highly successful, multi-tiered partnership that includes code-sharing on flights, joint marketing initiatives and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flier programs.

Dubai Sept passenger traffic up 12.8 pct y/y | Reuters

Passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport climbed 12.8 percent from a year earlier in September, as a larger flow of European travellers offset a drop in traffic on some Middle Eastern routes due to turmoil in countries such as Syria.

The airport, one of the world's busiest, handled 4.78 million passengers in September, up from 4.24 million in the prior-year period, Dubai Airports said on Tuesday.

Year-to-date traffic grew 13.4 percent to 42.57 million passengers compared to 37.55 million recorded during the corresponding period last year.

UAE govt approves 2013 federal budget, no deficit | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates government approved a 2013 federal budget with expenditure of 44.6 billion dirhams ($12.1 billion) and no deficit, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said on Tuesday.

"There was a meeting of the Council of Ministers. We approved the draft budget for 2013 with total spending of 44.6 billion dirhams, without a deficit," Sheikh Mohammed, who is also Dubai's ruler, wrote on his official Twitter account.

"The government's plan over the coming three years is to spend 133 billion dirhams for strategic plan development," he also said.

The UAE federal budget accounts for only around 11 percent of overall fiscal spending in the UAE, with individual emirates accounting for the rest.

Credit Suisse, Qatar Said to Start Asset-Management Venture - SFGate

Credit Suisse Group AG and a unit of Qatar Investment Authority, the Persian Gulf emirate’s sovereign-wealth fund, plan to start an asset-management joint venture, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The unit will be based in Doha and focus on Middle East and North African investments, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named and declined to give more details on the venture, citing the sensitivity of the talks. The venture may be announced this year after 12 months of negotiations between Zurich-based Credit Suisse and Qatar, two people said. It will also solicit third-party funds, according to one of the people.

Qatar and Credit Suisse are boosting ties after the nation took a 6 percent stake in the bank and bought its London headquarters. The country, which has the world’s third-largest gas reserves, is snapping up assets across the globe as it seeks to reduce its energy dependency and has $30 billion to invest this year, QIA board member Hussain Al Abdulla said in April.

UAE's Dana Gas will not repay $920 mln sukuk on maturity-sources | Reuters

Dana Gas, the United Arab Emirates' largest listed natural gas firm, will not repay a $920 million convertible Islamic bond when it matures on Wednesday and has reached a standstill agreement with bondholders, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Sharjah-based Dana, hit by payment delays from Egypt and Iraq's Kurdistan region, had a $1 billion sukuk maturing on Oct. 31. It repurchased about $80 million of the sukuk in 2008, leaving $920 million outstanding.

The five-year sukuk, which was issued with a 7.5 percent coupon, has gained international interest as a large chunk of the debt is owned by large investment firms including BlackRock Inc, Ashmore Group and Spinnaker Capital.

UPDATE 1-DP World's terminal volumes drop slightly - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai port operator DP World, which recently disposed of stakes in some non-core assets, reported a slight decline in its consolidated terminal volumes for the third quarter.
The world's third-largest port operator said on Tuesday that terminals in which it owns majority stakes recorded a 0.7 percent year-on-year fall to 6.94 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the third quarter.
This was because the Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinent region and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region reported lower volumes.

BRIEF-Abu Dhabi's ADIB eyes capital boost through sukuk sale - leads | Reuters


* Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to hold investor meetings ahead of potential sukuk sale - leads
* Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank picks HSBC Morgan Stanley National Bank of Abu Dhabi, StanChart and itself for potential deal
* Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank plans to sell Tier 1 perpetual sukuk instrument;
 roadshows start October 31

Kuwait's Gulf Bank Q3 net profit rises 5.6 pct | Reuters

Gulf Bank, Kuwait's fourth-largest lender by market value, reported a 5.6 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, the bank said in a bourse filing on Tuesday.

Net profit for the three months ending September 30 was 9.62 million dinars ($34.1 million), compared with 9.11 million dinars in the same period a year ago, the bank said in the statement.

Arqaam Capital had forecasted Gulf Bank would make a 10 million dinars profit in the third quarter.

Gulf investors raising stake in Turkish real estate market |

Foreign buyers are increasingly attracted to Turkish property with a marked rise from overseas planning to buy, industry experts said.
Foreign investors are becoming aware of possibilities in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, with a booming economy and relatively cheap prices, meaning there is the potential to pick up a bargain.
Traditionally, foreign buyers have focused on holiday homes along the country’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.

Two-week suspension for trade of NBAD's ETF during restructuring - The National

National Bank of Abu Dhabi's exchange traded fund (ETF) of UAE equities will be suspended for trading for two weeks next month to complete a restructuring process.

When it resumes trading, the fund will buy equities directly through the market rather than derivatives.

The lender also plans to switch the fund's benchmark from Dow Jones to MSCI.

Crescent will not bail out Dana Gas - The National

The top shareholder in Dana Gas has ruled out a bailout just days before a US$920 million (Dh3.37 billion) sukuk matures.

Crescent Petroleum, a Sharjah company that owns 21 per cent of Dana Gas, repeated a position first made public in May that it would not consider a cash injection.

"As far as a bailout from the shareholders, no, we ruled that out," said Majid Jafar, the chief executive of Crescent, which also shares concessions with Dana in Iraq and Egypt.

Arab roots a boon in Crescent Petroleum expansion - The National

Crescent Petroleum, the Sharjah oil producer, plans to move into post-Arab Spring countries that it believes will be friendly to regional investment.

It is renewing talks with Egypt to create an industrial cluster and is feeling out opportunities in Libya to take over concessions left behind by other foreign investors. Royal Dutch Shell was the latest major to abandon a Libya concession this year, citing geological prospects.

"The Arab Spring has increased the risk perception for foreign companies, and we see even the large western companies slowing down their investment or putting some projects on hold, and we see the medium-sized ones and smaller ones are just leaving altogether from these countries," said Majid Jafar, Crescent's chief executive.

Lawyer asks court to join former Deyaar CEO’s five graft cases |

The lawyer of Deyaar’s former CEO American-Lebanese, Z.S, asked a court on Monday to club his client’s five graft cases into one because they are linked together.
“We, as defence, and the Public Prosecution agree on a major argument that my client [Z.S.] currently faces five court cases of corruption. The five cases are linked and that’s why we would like to ask the bench of judges to club the five cases in one.
“The fact that my client is being tried five times over the same charges is unfounded,” advocate Hassan Juma Al Raisi contended before the Dubai Court of First Instance.

Saudi retailer puts up strong second quarter results |

Saudi fashion retailer Fawaz A. Alhokair and Co. recorded net profits of 252.4 million Saudi riyals in the three months to end September from a 25 per cent year-on-year gain. The retailer’s network includes stores for Zara, Marks & Spencer, Gap and Aldo, among others. There was also a network expansion — by more than 120 stores — brought on by the acquisition of the Nesk Group. “Our expansion strategy across brand acquisitions and new store introductions has allowed us to keep our offerings to our customers up to date with the latest fashions,” said Simon Marshall, CEO.

Business - Etihad Rail: Abu Dhabi-Dubai route confirmed

The UAE’s rail network project has made headway as the route between Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been agreed upon, a top official said.
According to Falah Al Ahbabi, who heads the Federal Government Committee on Etihad Rail, further confirmed that the required land has been completely allocated.

This information was revealed at the first meeting of the committee, which reviewed the route of stages two and three of the rail network and the process for ensuring the necessary land allocation to connect the country’s ports, industrial areas and urban communities.

Dubai Oasis Drying Up as Property Rally Nears Edge: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

The rally that sent real estate company bond yields in Dubai to record lows risks petering out because the emirate’s property recovery may not be broad enough to justify further price gains.
Dubai Holding Commercial Operations’ January 2014 and February 2017 bonds were cut to hold from buy at Exotix Ltd. after yields fell to the lowest since 2007 this month. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR)’s August 2016 note yields rose nine basis points to 4.44 percent yesterday since Oct. 23, when the company reported third-quarter profit that missed estimates. Property company Nakheel PJSC’s 10 percent sukuk, or Islamic bonds, due June 2016 have “little upside potential,” Exotix said.
A nascent real estate recovery in Dubai has been limited to a few areas in the emirate, which suffered a property slump in the past four years causing values to fall by as much as 65 percent. While the pick up is set to continue, opportunities in the bond market are limited at current prices, Exotix, National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD) and Emirates Investment Bank PJSC (EIBANK) say.