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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

PayPal to set up shop in Dubai with view to double Mideast market share - The National

PayPal plans to open an office in Dubai as it looks to double its share of the region's $9 billion online-payments market.

It is the fourth US internet giant this year to boost its activities in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), following moves by Facebook and LinkedIn to open offices at Dubai Internet City, and Twitter's appointment of a local sales representative.

"We are currently looking for offices and will open one in the next few months. It will be the hub for the region,” said Elias Ghanem, general manger of PayPal Mena, at today's launch of its Middle East operations.

Qatar Said to Support Glencore Bid, Xstrata Bonuses - Businessweek

Qatar Holding LLC, Xstrata’s second- largest shareholder, is poised to approve Glencore International Plc (GLEN)’s $31.3 billion bid for the company and bonuses for about 70 managers, according to three people with knowledge of the plan.

The sovereign wealth fund is primarily concerned with ensuring the merger is completed, and isn’t opposed to the payments that have drawn criticism from institutional investors including Standard Life Investments and Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Fidelity Worldwide Investment, owner of about 0.6 percent of Xstrata, also supports the takeover, a fourth person said.

Shareholders are due to vote Nov. 20 on plans to create the world’s fourth-largest mining company. A positive vote from Qatar on the deal and payments would raise the prospects of the year’s biggest takeover completing.

Time to break down workforce barriers -

Almost a billion women around the world will enter the global economy during the coming decade. They are poised to play a significant role in countries around the world – as significant as that of the billion-plus populations of India and China.
Yet this potential “third billion” has not received sufficient attention from governments, business leaders, or other key decision makers in many countries. This represents a missed opportunity, particularly in the Middle East and north Africa; greater involvement from women can have a disproportionate impact beyond what their numbers would suggest.

MIDEAST MONEY-Rich but backward: politics, oil poison Kuwait economy | Reuters

To gauge the impact of Kuwait's political deadlock on its economy, access the Internet with a fixed-line broadband connection. The line is slow, very slow - half the speed of a connection in other wealthy Gulf Arab states, according to a senior telecommunications executive.

The Ministry of Communications owns and operates the country's fixed-line infrastructure, with the four major Internet service providers paying the government to use it.

But the largely copper-based network cannot carry enough bandwidth to satisfy consumer demand, according to Essa Al-Kooheji, general manager at Qualitynet, which has an estimated 45 percent market share for fixed-line Internet.

Delicate Balancing Act for Western Oil Firms in Iraq

As petroleum output rises, Iraq becomes even more attractive to the oil majors, but tension between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous north presents dangers.

MENA stock markets close - November 14, 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-Kuwait falls from 4-wk high; Gulf mkts mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's bourse fell from a near four-week high on Wednesday as investors sold shares in companies that failed to announce their financials by the regulatory deadline, while Gulf markets finished mixed in lacklustre trade.
Kuwait's stock exchange said it will suspend trading on about 50 companies starting next week for not announcing their financials before the specified deadline of Nov. 15. The market is closed on Thursday for the Islamic New Year Holiday.
The act is a regular occurrence on the exchange, with firms often missing the deadline - trading will resume once earnings have been submitted.

The Associated Press: Qatar extends oil field pact with France's Total

Qatar says it has signed another 25-year agreement with France's Total to oversee a major offshore oil field.
Wednesday's deal was approved by Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada. It gives Total a 40 percent operating interest in the Al Khalij field in the Persian Gulf, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of the Qatari coast.

Emirates: next stop, Warsaw

By Nicholas Watson of bne
Emirates, the Gulf carrier, is preparing a new route from its Dubai hub to Poland and upgrading its connection to Russia by putting Moscow on its Airbus 380 superjumbo flight list.
While such an expansion by the world’s largest airline is a vote of confidence in emerging Europe, it’s less good news for the region’s struggling flag carriers that are desperately looking to be rescued by such global airlines.
Continue reading »
(Seems to be delayed online)

Omani firm plans $130 mln, 5-year sukuk in Q1 2013 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Oman's Al Madina Real Estate plans to issue the country's first sukuk or Islamic bond in the first quarter of next year, its chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.
Oman is about to introduce Islamic finance, becoming the last of the wealthy Gulf Arab states to do so, and the
government is expected to issue regulations covering the industry in coming months.
The company plans to issue a five-year, $130 million sukuk through its sister firm Tilal Development Co, said chief executive Abdlrehman Awadh Barham.

Dubai's Mashreq says Majed Saif al-Ghurair resigns from board - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's Mashreq, the second-largest lender in the emirate by market value, said board member
Majed Saif al-Ghurair has resigned with immediate effect, according to a bourse filing on Wednesday.
No reason for the resignation was given.
Ghurair, who is also a board member of the Dubai Financial Support Fund, belongs to one of Dubai's oldest and most prominent merchant families and is the cousin of Mashreq Chief Executive Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair.

Moroccan bank, Abu Dhabi firm to start Africa equities fund | Reuters

Morocco's Attijariwafabank and Abu Dhabi-owned Invest AD plan to start a jointly-managed fund to invest in Africa's listed companies, in a sign more institutional investors are lining up to tap growth in the continent.

The fund will be financed by the two companies at the outset and will be co-managed by the asset management arms of both parties, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Global institutional investors plan to boost their asset allocation in African markets over the next five years, and are shifting to long-term investment strategies from more speculative, short-term bets, a survey released in January by Invest AD and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showed.

U.A.E. Bank Margins Reduced as Lending Slows: Arab Credit - Businessweek

United Arab Emirates’ banks, struggling with bad loans after Dubai teetered on the brink of default in 2009, are seeing profit margins shrink as lending slows and falling interest rates curb gains on investments.

The net interest margin, the difference between what banks earn from loans and what they pay on liabilities such as customer deposits, has dropped for the top five U.A.E. lenders this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The measure at Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), the U.A.E.’s biggest bank by assets, slipped to 2.35 percent in the third quarter, from 2.85 percent at the end of the year. Second-ranked National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC posted a decline to 2.16 percent, from 2.4 percent.

Bank lending in the U.A.E., the second-biggest Arab economy, has risen 3.2 percent in August from a year ago, about a fifth of the rate in Saudi Arabia and a 10th of that in Qatar, according to central bank data. U.A.E. banks are also setting aside more cash to meet new liquidity rules from January and are earning less on that cash as interest rates decline.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai gains; Kuwait slips from 4-wk high - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's measure gains as investors target bluechips, while trading in Gulf markets is lacklustre amid global uncertainty.
Emaar Properties adds 0.3 percent, telecom operator du rises 0.8 percent and Dubai Islamic Bank is flat after gaining 0.5 percent earlier in the day.
Drake & Scull climbs 0.9 percent. The maintenance and engineering firm signed a $120 million-equivalent five-year loan facility to support growth, it said on Wednesday.

Australian LNG Projects Get Pricey

'Boom crash opera!' In keeping with this week's musical theme, that's how we'd describe yesterday's drama in the Australian share market. The ASX/200 fell over one and a half per cent by the close. It was an equal opportunity blood-letting, with the banks and the miners being hit.

But we'll handball the analysis of the Aussie market to our resident technician, Slipstream Trader Murray Dawes. Murray writes a regular Wednesday column over at Money Morning. We thought you might find his latest analysis useful. You can find his stock market analysis here.

In the meantime, when is the Australian dollar going to stop its brutal acts of vandalism on the Australian economy? Cost blowouts on Australian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects now exceed $35 billion since May of last year, according to today's Australian Financial Review. This comes hot on the heels of Chevron staring down the barrel of $20 billion in extra costs at its Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia and ExxonMobil raising its estimated costs and its PNG LNG project by US$3.3 billion.

Dubai back on track, but caution needed over property boom - The National

At the opening of the World Economic Forum's "brainstorming" sessions in Dubai this week, UAE policymakers took the opportunity to paint an optimistic picture of the country's economy, and with much justification.

Since the financial crisis, the economy has broadly been brought back on track. GDP growth this year will be somewhere above the 4 per cent mark, on target to top the Dh1 trillion (US$272.25 billion) level for the first time.

The policy of diversification away from oil dependency is paying off, with energy revenue now accounting for less than 30 per cent of total GDP. All the other indicators - foreign direct investment, competitiveness, human development indexes - are heading in the right direction.

Architects Sue Dubai's Zabeel for Fees -

A firm of German architects that collaborated with the actor Brad Pitt on designs for a luxury hotel and resort in Dubai is suing an investment company owned by the emirate's Crown Prince, claiming it wasn't paid for work it carried out on the project.

Graft Gesellschaft von Architekten is suing Zabeel Investments in the Dubai International Financial Centre courts claiming unpaid fees of $1.79 million, according to a claim form filed last month. Zabeel is the investment vehicle of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al-Maktoum, the emirate's crown prince and the son of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

UPDATE 1- UAE's TAQA swings to Q3 loss on costs, lower prices | Reuters

State-owned Abu Dhabi National Energy Co swung to a third-quarter loss on Wednesday hurt by increased costs and lower natural gas prices, which offset a rise in revenue.

TAQA, which is 75-percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, reported a third-quarter net loss of 288 million dirhams ($78.4 million), compared with a profit of 537 million dirhams a year ago, it said in a statement.

Results were impacted by construction costs of 2.73 billion dirhams which the company booked for the Jorf Lasfar power plant in Morocco.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Agility posts 20 pct profit rise in Q3 | Reuters

Kuwait's Agility, one of the largest logistics companies in the Gulf region, reported a 20.4 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday.

The logistics firm, which is facing U.S. fraud charges, said its net profit was 9.75 million dinars ($34.54 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, compared to 8.1 million in the same period a year ago.

Earnings per share were 9.81 fils compared to 8.04 fils a year earlier, it said.

Times of Oman | Omantel rings up 9.2 per cent

Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the Sultanate's biggest telecommunications service provider, said its net profit for the first nine months of 2012 soared 9.2 per cent to RO90 million, mainly supported by a strong performance of the domestic operations.

The company's revenue moved up by 2.9 per cent to RO342.9 million from RO333.2 million for the corresponding period of 2011. The increase in Omantel revenue is mainly attributed to the impressive growth in mobile broadband subscribers by 67 per cent, which contributed to an increase in the domestic retail mobile revenue by 5.4 per cent year-on-year.

On a group level, both revenues streams, retail as well as wholesale, have recorded a growth of 1.7 per cent and 8.5 per cent, respectively. The increase in wholesale revenue is mainly contributed by increase in revenues from external administration and capacity sales. Omantel subscriber base witnessed a notable growth both in the domestic and group levels.