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Monday, 10 December 2012

UPDATE 2-UAE telcos may face bigger tax bill under new formula | Reuters

The United Arab Emirates has set new tax, or royalty, rates for telecom operators in a move seen designed to protect state revenues after a sustained profit slump at No.1 operator Etisalat.

UAE telecom operators are taxed via royalties under license agreements with the government, and the total amount Etisalat will be paying could rise under the new formula, which includes a levy on its revenues as well as profits.

The former monopoly, which operates in 15 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, previously paid 50 percent of its annual profit in royalties, but as its profits fell so too did government receipts.

UPDATE 1-UAE's Dana Gas sets out restructured sukuk terms | Reuters

Dana Gas, the first UAE group to default on an Islamic bond, is offering bondholders $70 million in cash and an average 8 percent coupon on the remaining $850 million of debt in a move to buy time to fix its finances.

The Abu Dhabi-listed natural gas producer, hit by payment delays on supplies to Egypt and Iraq's Kurdistan region, missed a bond redemption when the $920 million sukuk matured on Oct. 31.

It reached a restructuring deal on Nov. 7, potentially averting the seizure of its Egyptian assets.

Gearing up | Features | The Lawyer

Business for lawyers in Bahrain is slow at the moment and nobody is entirely sure who or what to blame.

“There’s a downturn in business,” says Norton Rose partner Joanne Emerson Taqi, who has been based in Bahrain since 2006. “But it’s difficult to say how much of that is down to the general recession and how much to civil unrest.”

ASAR Legal member Rob Little argues that since Bahrain has only really felt the pinch in the past year or two, the blame for slow business must lay with the civil unrest that kicked off in 2011.

MENA stock markets close - December 10, 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 drops after opposition rebuff on constitution - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's bourse fell on Monday as local investors booked the previous session's gains after the main opposition coalition rejected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's plan for a constitutional referendum.
Opponents accused Mursi of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis when he refused to postpone the vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists.
Mursi scrapped on Saturday a decree giving himself wide powers, spurring a relief rally on the bourse, driven by foreign buyers. Egyptian investors however remain uncertain about the country's political and economic outlook.

Turkish growth: up, thanks to the gold | beyondbrics

Turkey’s latest growth figures – just 1.6 per cent in the third quarter – show that talk of a booming Turkish economy may be somewhat outdated.

But the sources of the growth are important too. To a certain extent, it is due to gold, government and Goldilocks.

Turkish officials have played down the impact of the country’s gold sales on national accounts and argued that economic growth is due to private, rather than public, sector effort.

Egypt: Morsi’s second U-turn in two days | beyondbrics

“Like a train without a driver” is how one commentator described Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi’s latest policy U-turn, scrapping a planned increase in taxation. In a different vein, one joke doing the rounds in Cairo has doctors telling Morsi that, like a pregnant woman at risk of miscarriage, he should lie down for a few weeks to let his decisions take hold.

But there is a grimness to the humour. Stocks and the currency fell on Monday as the air of uncertainty became pervasive. With government supporters and the opposition preparing fresh rallies before Saturday’s controversial referendum on a new constitution, the danger of further violent unrest is rising.

Abu Dhabi-owned Falcon eyes more buys after Clariden deal | Reuters

Falcon Private Bank, the Abu Dhabi-owned entity which bought the London unit of Clariden Leu, is eyeing more acquisitions in the boutique wealth management sector as the industry consolidates to cut costs, a top executive said on Monday.

Zurich-based Falcon agreed to buy the Clariden Leu business from Credit Suisse in October, including some 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion) in assets.

Falcon, which has around $12 billion in assets, is evaluating more such opportunities, Chief Investment Officer David Pinkerton said on a conference call, while adding there was no time frame to do a deal.

Kuwait goes all out for foreign investors -

Kuwait has introduced new corporate legislation as it tries to compete for foreign investment with its more successful regional peers, primarily the United Arab Emirates.
Notorious in the region for its recent economic underperformance, Kuwait is trying to move ahead with more coherent regulations in an effort to kick-start its non-oil economy and boost confidence in markets.
Kuwait’s new regulations are the latest of several measures oil-rich Gulf governments have taken to improve business practice as they compete not just for investment but to attract foreign companies that will hire their youth and help develop their embryonic private sectors.

Bank lending to emerging markets at risk from DM more than EM factors, BIS finds | beyondbrics

Are emerging markets decoupled or not decoupled from the stresses afflicting developed markets? There was more evidence on Monday that they are less decoupled than they would like.

It comes in a study from the Bank for International Settlements which looks at the reasons for contractions in cross-border bank lending from DMs to EMs in 2008 and 2011. While EM factors had a big part to play in the first contraction, it finds, the contraction in lending in 2011 was almost entirely determined by problems in the countries of origin – especially in Europe.

The BIS study, ‘The euro area crisis and cross-border bank lending to emerging markets’, has clear implications for lending to emerging markets as the eurozone crisis develops. Its first finding (see chart above) is that bank lending went into reverse in the fourth quarter of 2011 as the crisis worsened, and declined sharply again in the second quarter of this year.

BRIEF-UAE raises telco du's royalty fee for 2012 - Yahoo! News Maktoob

* UAE government sets operator du's royalty fee at 5 percent on 2012 revenues, eventually rising to 15 percent by 2016
* UAE operator du's royalty fee on profits set at 17.5 percent in 2012, rising to 30 percent by 2015
* Du's 2011 royalty was 15 pct on net profit, 5 percent on revenue

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Most Gulf mkts lower; investors cautious - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's index eases 0.08 percent to 1,611 points, trading within a tight range but holding on to 19.1 percent year-to-date gains.
Shares in Emaar Properties slip 0.5 percent, trimming 2012 gains to 46.3 percent.
Shares in telecom operator du are halted pending disclosure, the exchange said.

Citigroup’s Amazing Abu Dhabi Adventure - Bloomberg

Off in a small corner of the judicial system is a big-time Wall Street lawsuit that neither side in the dispute wants anyone to know much about.
Thanks, however, to George B. Daniels -- the federal judge in the case -- we can catch a rare glimpse of what happens when a multibillion-dollar investment a supposed pillar of Wall Street goes terribly wrong.
At issue is the $7.5 billion investment that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a large sovereign wealth fund, made in Citigroup Inc. (C) in November 2007, just after the bank fired chairman and chief executive officer Chuck Prince. Michael Klein, one of Citigroup’s most senior investment bankers, negotiated the deal; Robert Rubin, the former Treasury Secretary, in nearly his first official act after taking over for Prince as Citigroup’s chairman, flew off to Abu Dhabi to bless it.