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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Zain Saudi extends 9 billion riyal loan for fifth time -bourse | Reuters

Zain Saudi extended the maturity of a 9 billion Saudi riyals ($2.4 billion) Islamic loan until December 19, it said in a bourse statement on Wednesday, making it the fifth time the loss-making telecom operator has deferred payment.

"The Company announces that it has been granted an approval from the lenders to extend the maturity date of the syndicated Murabaha facility until 19 December 2012 and could also be extended further," it said in a statement.

"The purpose of this extension is to allow the Company and its Lenders the opportunity to finalize a new long-term financing agreement to replace the existing one," it said.

Turkey-Iran: gold for gas gets US scrutiny | beyondbrics

More pressure is coming Turkey’s way over gas purchases from Iran.

After the Turkish government’s admission last week that Tehran was using revenue from gas sales to Ankara to buy gold and then shipping the metal back home, the gas-gold trade has attracted (almost certainly unwelcome) attention from the US Senate.

Reuters has reported that a group of senators are working on a sanctions package that would, among other things, end Turkey’s “game of gold for natural gas”, according to an aide. The measures could be added to a defence bill before the current US Congress breaks up; if not, the issue is very likely to be on the agenda when its successor convenes in January.

Egypt: market falls on political tension | beyondbrics

Egypt’s political leaders are raising the temperature – and the stock market is wilting in the heat.

The EGX30 index fell 4.6 per cent on Wednesday, as the Constitutional Court threw down the gauntlet to president Mohamed Morsi saying it would not intimidated after he last week unilaterally exempted all his decisions from judicial view.

The court’s declaration came as the country’s appeals courts joined the lower courts in suspending their activities in a protest strike. The stock market has now fallen 11.5 per cent since Morsi’s power grab.

Growth prospects fuel Gulf banks' capital-raising push | Reuters

As banks in much of the rest of the world struggle to shore up balance sheets ravaged by weak economies, banks in the Gulf are sucking in capital for a very different reason: to fund expansion plans.

The contrast means the Gulf banks are likely to be able to raise money cheaply and relatively easily, helping them compete as they move into markets overseas and challenge some of the big international institutions.

"Our growth rates have been phenomenal in the last few years and because of that growth, we needed to refuel after a certain stage," Tirad Mahmoud, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), told Reuters after his bank raised $1 billion of capital this month.

MIDEAST MONEY-High-flying Dubai managers back in charge as crash fades | Reuters

When Dubai's ruler unveiled plans last week to build a complex housing 100 hotels and the world's biggest shopping mall, the scale of his ambitions recalled the emirate's boom half a decade ago. So did his choice of executives to lead the project.

Mohammed Alabbar, builder of the world's tallest tower, signed documents related to the project in his role as chairman of Emaar Properties, Dubai's top real estate firm.

Sitting next to him was Mohammed al-Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by the ruler. Gergawi played a central role in setting up districts housing Dubai's financial, media and information technology industries.

MENA stock markets close - November 28, 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)

Kuveyt Turk aims to become Germany's first Islamic bank in 2013-CEO - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait Finance House's Turkish unit Kuveyt Turk has applied for a German banking licence and aims to become the first Islamic bank in Europe's largest economy, Chief Executive Ufuk Uyan told Reuters in an interview.
Kuveyt Turk - which issued a $350 million sukuk, or Islamic bond, last year - is awaiting a response from German financial watchdog BaFin but hopes the application process will be completed next year, Uyan said.
"We are trying to obtain a full banking license," he told Reuters in his office in Istanbul. "We plan to open branches in Germany and if this model becomes successful we could consider going to other European countries."

BBC News - Gulf 'free zones' compete for business

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Kabul Bank: of fraud and airplane food trays | FT Alphaville

This has been a while coming… Afghanistan has just got a new independent report published into what has previously been described as a Ponzi scheme operated at Kabul Bank, the country’s biggest lender.

It’s grim, grubby stuff, detailing how the men at Kabul Bank and their friends and relatives got rich off $861m in bogus loans and sparked a bank run in 2010, while political interference has since hampered the clean-up of the mess.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt tumbles as institutionals exit - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Selling pressure on Egypt's bourse drags the benchmark index to match Monday's four-month intra-day low as institutional investors look for an exit following nationwide protests.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied on Tuesday against Mursi in one of the biggest outpourings of protest since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, accusing the Islamist leader of seeking to impose a new era of autocracy.
Clashes between Mursi's opponents and supporters erupted in a city north of Cairo, spurring worries of a worsening political crisis.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-UAE investors wary as mkts end mixed - Yahoo! News Maktoob

UAE markets end little changed in lacklustre trade as regional politics curb investor risk appetite, while Kuwait's bourse slips from a six-week high.
Dubai's index declines 0.2 percent to close at 1,589 points, trading within a tight range for the last eight sessions.
Property-related stocks weigh. Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development shed 0.8 and 0.9 percent respectively.

BP Sells $1.1 Billion of U.K. Oil Assets to Abu Dhabi’s Taqa - Bloomberg

BP Plc (BP/), the energy producer that’s disposing of assets in the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, sold stakes in North Sea fields to Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) for $1.1 billion.
Taqa, as the state-controlled power and oil company is known, will acquire interests in BP’s Harding, Maclure and Devenick fields, BP said in a statement today. The deal also includes non-operated interests in the Brae and Braemar fields. The price doesn’t include future payments dependent on oil prices and production that BP expects to reach $250 million.
BP CEO Bob Dudley is shoring up the balance sheet of Europe’s second-biggest oil company as it faces a trial over civil fines in the U.S. next year. Today’s sale brings total disposals since 2010 to about $37 billion, close to the $38 billion target.

Dubai has its 'own resources' to fund multi-billion dirham mega-projects - The National

Dubai will be able to finance some of the recently-announced raft of mega-projects out of its own resources, according to Hani Al Hamli, secretary general of the Dubai Economic Council.

“It’s true the global crisis has had a real effect on finances everywhere, but we do have our own resources and it will be achieved. It has the endorsement of Sheikh Mohammed [Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai],” he said at a conference on Dubai trade organised by the DEC and the World Bank.

In the past two weeks, the emirate has announced plans for big developments in the transport, retail and leisure sectors that will transform the city’s infrastructure.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Kuwait slips from 6-wk high; UAE mkts flat - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Kuwait's bourse falls from Tuesday's six-week high as investors book gains in small-caps, while other Gulf Arab
markets are mixed.
Aayan Leasing falls 5 percent, Munshaat Real Estate drops 6.3 percent and Gulf Investment House sheds 2 percent.
Kuwait's index dips 0.5 percent to 5,922 points, trimming year-to-date gains to 1.9 percent.

Qatar's Ahli Bank says top shareholder to sell most of stake | Reuters

Ahli Bank, Qatar's seventh-largest listed bank, said on Wednesday that its strategic partner, Bahrain's Ahli United Bank, would sell nearly all its stake in the lender.

Ahli United Bank, Bahrain's largest lender, will sell all but 1,000 of its 37.4 million shares in the Qatari firm, Ahli Bank said in a bourse filing.

The proposed sale is currently being reviewed by the Qatar central bank, the statement added. It did not say whether the sale of the stake had been agreed between all parties, or at what price it would be conducted.

Kabul Bank Sent Millions of Dollars Abroad |

Hundreds of millions of dollars from Kabul Bank were spirited out of Afghanistan — some smuggled in airline food trays — to bank accounts in more than two dozen countries, according to an independent review released on Wednesday about massive fraud that led to the collapse of the nation’s largest financial institution.

The report, which was financed by international donors, offers new details about how the men at Kabul Bank and their friends and relatives got rich off $861 million in fraudulent loans in what the International Monetary Fund has called a Ponzi scheme that used customer deposits and operated under nascent banking oversight in the war-torn country.

The report describes Kabul Bank as a sophisticated operation with one set of books for the eyes of regulators and another in the back room that logged how those running the bank and others were fattening their wallets.

Experts call for effective bank supervision |

The banking sector is the main source of risk for financial stability, said financial experts at the opening of the 8th high level meeting for the Middle East and North Africa region.
The conference, organised by the Arab Monetary Fund, the Financial Stability Institute and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, reviewed a number of policies and initiatives to build a resilient financial system.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Hamidi, vice governor at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said: “Reinforcement of the micro-prudential institutional soundness through effective bank regulations and supervision is of paramount importance. Therefore, supervisors have to adopt the latest techniques and best practices.”

A global leap for UAE’s aviation sector |

The year has moved on and so have airlines of the UAE. Emirates and Etihad Airways dropping their guards and joining hands with other global carriers will perhaps go down as the UAE aviation sector’s biggest feat in 2012.
Until some time ago, the legacy carriers of the UAE were happy being on their own and quite opposed to consolidation of sorts, but this year saw them embracing foreign partners quite aggressively, especially in the case of Etihad Airways.
The Abu Dhabi carrier acquired equity stakes in four airlines during the year besides signing a number codeshare deals, thereby aggressively expanding its footprint on the global map.

Dubai on white-knuckle ride to revival with Dh10bn theme-park project - The National

In a week bursting with announcements that Dubai is pressing ahead with a new phase of mega projects, experts yesterday voiced a qualified vote of confidence to the emirate's latest proposals to develop five Florida-style theme parks at Jebel Ali.

Late on Tuesday night, three years to the day since the Dubai World crisis rocked the world economy, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced he had approved a Dh10 billion (US$2.7bn) mega scheme to develop the five linked theme parks.

The scheme is to be built by Meraas, Sheikh Mohammed's own property and investment company, starting with Dubai Adventure Studios fun park, plans for which were announced last December and which is expected to be completed by 2014.

Active stance makes Qatar a powerful arbiter -

It is hard to know how to refer to Qatar Holding, which steered the outcome of the Glenstrata merger vote and has just sold warrants equivalent to 3 per cent of Barclays. The $100bn sovereign wealth fund does not like being called an activist, preferring “active investor”. But that term has already been claimed by stockpicking asset managers. Generally these earnest types do not make big, market-moving calls under full public scrutiny.
Qatar does. Its intervention in the $70bn merger of Glencore and Xstrata squeezed a better price from the Swiss commodities trader and indirectly triggered the resignation of the miner’s chairman. Nor did the wealth fund strictly need to sell its warrants to reduce exposure to Barclays.