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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Has the Pinnacle reached its peak? | UK news | The Guardian

The owners of the Pinnacle – the partly built skyscraper that was planned as the tallest in the City of London – face a winding-up order that could see the site seized by the builders.

The ambitious £1bn project has been known as "the stump" since work stopped almost a year ago. Only the core of the first seven storeys has been built. Banks pulled the funding after the developer, Arab Investments, failed to secure a major tenant.

The high court has ordered the special purpose vehicles that own the scheme to pay £16m of unpaid fees to the main contractor, Brookfield Multiplex, after they failed to file a defence. The project is majority backed by a Saudi Arabian investment manager, Sedco, while the fund manager Pramerica also owns a stake. Brookfield has said it will launch insolvency proceedings against the owners if it does not receive payment by Friday. Other developers have circled the project in the hope of a sale.

Abu Dhabi: Where are the jobs for the boys? | The Economist

BY MOST measures, the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the richest of the seven statelets that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is wonderfully affluent. With only 2m people and a vast reservoir of underground oil, its income of $90,000 per person is second in the world only to nearby Qatar. Its indigenous citizens, amounting to less than a third of the overall population, are used to government largesse: as a generous provider of services and benefits, they have generally been happy to forgo political rights. Until now.

UAE Investment Fund Regulations: SCA staff interpretations -

The UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has provided some much-anticipated clarification on the practical application of the new SCA Investment Fund Regulations (IFRs).

The guidance was provided by senior members of the team responsible for drafting the IFRs during a well-attended workshop held on 20 November 2012 at the SCA's offices in Dubai.

As a general caveat, it should be noted that much of the guidance provided constitutes an indication of the SCA's current interpretation of the IFRs. The statements made are not binding on the SCA, and the interpretation of the rules may change over time. That said, we consider it unlikely that the SCA would materially change its approach to the application of the IFRs without prior indication.

Dubai: a spot of the old hubris? | beyondbrics

Dubai has been back for some time. The trade, tourism and transport that are the foundations of its economy have been thriving for a couple of years, bringing an air of optimism back to the city after its 2009 debt crisis.

But now, some fear, the old hubris is back, too.

Officials have unveiled projected growth figures even more optimistic than those proffered by the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum a year before Dubai’s real estate bubble burst in 2008.

MENA stock markets close - November 22, 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-Egypt's NSGB falls as QNB offer deadline extended; Gulf mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's National Societe Generale Bank slumped after the country's regulator extended Qatar National Bank's stake purchase offer deadline to Feb. 20, weighing on Cairo's bourse, while Gulf markets were mixed in lacklustre trading.
NSGB fell 5.7 percent, taking November losses to 15.8 percent, after rallying for the last four months on stake
purchase talks.
Societe Generale is nearing the sale of its majority stake in NSGB to QNB, sources familiar with the matter said earlier this month. If concluded, the Qatari bank would be obliged to offer to buy out minority shareholders. Along with minority shareholders' stake in the lender, the deal value is about $2.6 billion.

REUTERS SUMMIT-Abu Dhabi's spending curb leave investors nervous - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Abu Dhabi's review of state-linked firms, which has involved the government tightening its purse strings and holding off key projects, is leaving investors and stakeholders guessing on how future business deals will unfold
in the wealthy emirate.
The emirate, home to 95 percent of the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) oil reserves, had embarked on building trophy buildings and mega infrastructure projects, mirroring its flashy neighbour Dubai albeit at a steadier pace.
However, the capital city has had to retrench amid a property slowdown. And the review of nearly 40
government-related entities (GREs) and departments, by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed al-Nahayan, brother of the Abu Dhabi ruler and UAE president, has led to a red pen being taken to major projects, funds frozen and several top-level management shake-ups.

MIDEAST DEBT-Sukuk become tool in Basel III capital-raising - Yahoo! News Maktoob

A $1 billion sukuk issue by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank this month may start a trend that was probably not contemplated by the founders of modern Islamic finance: Islamic bonds may become a key tool for banks to meet tightening capital rules.
The trend could add further momentum to a global boom in sukuk issuance. It could also ease pressure on banks which find it hard to raise capital from equity issues as global financial instability depresses stock markets.
ADIB attracted a spectacular order book of over $15 billion for this month's $1 billion perpetual sukuk, which has no maturity date; ADIB can choose to repay the bond on certain dates from 2018 if it wishes.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai resumes drop as trading hits 2-wk low - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse slips after two sessions of gains and volumes drop to a two-week low as investors see little
reason to increase their market exposure despite a ceasefire in the Gaza-Israel conflict.
The emirate's index ends 0.2 percent lower at 1,597 points, heading back to Monday's seven-week low. About 55 million shares trade, the lowest total since Nov. 7.
A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers took hold on Thursday after eight days of conflict, although deep mistrust on both sides cast doubt on how long the Egyptian-sponsored deal can last.

Ferrovial's Heathrow pact opens door to new investments - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Spain's Ferrovial has signed a new shareholders' pact in Heathrow Airport Holdings that opens the door for the infrastructure firm to cut its stake to 20 percent, a company official said on Thursday.
The new agreement follows the purchase of stakes in Heathrow, formerly known as BAA, by Qatari and Chinese funds, as Ferrovial has sold 16 percent of its stake over the past year to reduce its holding to 34 percent.
The new shareholders' pact allows Ferrovial to sell further stakes in the airport group without offering its partners the option to sell their shares as well, and could pave the way for existing investors to up their stakes or for new investors to buy into the operator.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt's NSGB falls after QNB offer deadline extended - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Shares in Egypt's National Societe Generale Bank drop after the regulator extended Qatar National Bank (QNB) stake purchase offer deadline to Feb. 20.
NSGB falls 6.8 percent, down 15.8 percent so far in November after rallying for the last four months on deal speculation.
Societe Generale is nearing the sale of its majority stake in NSGB to QNB, sources familiar with the matter
said earlier this month. If concluded, the Qatari bank would be obliged to offer to buy out minority shareholders.

Saudis study Fannie Mae-style plan for housing | Reuters

Saudi Arabia is studying draft regulations that could see the creation of a real estate refinancing company similar to U.S. firm Fannie Mae, according to proposals published by the central bank this week.

The regulations are part of long-awaited government efforts to develop a housing mortgage sector in the conservative kingdom where the restrictions of Islamic sharia law have made it difficult to secure lending against property.

The world's top oil exporter faces a housing shortage, particularly among lower and middle-income people, as land prices rise rapidly. In July, the government passed laws to regulate mortgage and lease lending.

Dana Gas agrees to develop UAE field for 2014 start up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dana Gas has agreed with the governments of Sharjah and Ajman to develop a gas field off the two emirates' coasts with production expected to start in the first half of 2014, the company said on Thursday.
Dana is in the midst of restructuring a $920-million Islamic bond, or sukuk, after it failed to meet the payment upon maturity last month.
The gas produced will be used mainly for power generation in the two northern emirates, part of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation, that have suffered from summer power shortages in recent years.

UPDATE 1-Dubai's Arabtec buys stake in interiors contractor Depa - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Arabtec Holding, Dubai's largest listed builder, said on Thursday it will acquire a stake in Depa, a day after the interior contractor's shares jumped 47 percent on a rumoured buy.
Arabtec said its board had approved the purchase of 149.6 million shares in Depa - valued at $65.8 million based on Wednesday's closing share price on Nasdaq Dubai - and it would take effect on Nov. 22.
The builder, in which Abu Dhabi investment fund Aabar owns a stake, said it was buying the shares from various investment funds. It did not disclose the price it paid for the shares.

Ghosts of Dubai World's past may return to haunt emirate | Reuters

Dubai World DBWLD.UL, the state-linked entity whose massive debts brought the emirate to the brink of collapse in 2009, faces the first repayment in its restructuring deal in three years time and creditors are once again growing restless.

With none of the promised asset sales materializing - Dubai needs to raise $4.4 billion to meet the first obligations in the five and eight-year debt repayment deal - worries are emerging another drawn-out restructuring is inevitable.

"When we speak to the government, they say there is no rush and it shows everything is under control. However, as a banker, I'm worried as I don't know where the money is coming from," said one senior banker at an international lender owed money by Dubai World, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

UAE banks need more time before bounced cheques decriminalised - The National

Banks must have a viable alternative to cheques before a full decriminalisation can become reality, says the head of the banking industry trade body.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, the chairman of the Emirates Banks Association, said any moves to ease criminal penalties for expatriates whose cheques bounce should be phased in to allow a period of adjustment for consumer lenders.

"There has been thinking in the UAE of decriminalisation of postdated bounced cheques across the board, but you cannot do that without finding an alternative instrument," he said.

Qatar to remain fastest growing GCC economy

Qatar will remain the fastest growing of all GCC sovereigns in 2013, driven by the government’s huge capital investment programme. The growth is set to boost as the fiscal stimulus would be triggered by a combination of healthy rates of bank lending and buoyant consumer and business confidence, Fitch Ratings forecast yesterday.
In its first quarterly “GCC Sovereign Credit Overview”, however, the ratings agency noted economic growth in the GCC will slow in 2013 due to a moderation in oil production growth, but high oil prices will provide a supportive backdrop for another year of solid non-oil growth. Many governments in the region will continue to use high oil revenues to stimulate their economies
In the non-rating action commentary on Qatar, the Fitch noted gas output hitting capacity has caused headline economic growth to slow to mid-single digits. Qatar’s high government capital spending on major multi-year projects continues to stimulate the non-hydrocarbon sector.