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Monday, 17 December 2012

The Hindu : Business / Companies : Qatar keen on ADB’s stake in Petronet LNG

Qatar has sought the intervention of the Indian Government to prevail upon GAIL (India) to give up its claim on the 5.2 per cent stake of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Petronet LNG to enable Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) to pick up the stake sought to be disinvested by the ADB.

Earlier this year, Petronet LNG Ltd. (PLL) had approached QPI to purchase a stake in PLL following ADB’s intention to divest its 5.2 per cent equity in the company.

In a letter to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Veerappa Moily, Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada has said that QPI and ADB, with PLL support, have already engaged in preliminary evaluatory discussions. “I have personally endorsed QPI to move forward as it will be a milestone for strengthening mutual cooperation between our countries.

Credit Suisse Said to Cut Dubai Investment Banking Business - Bloomberg

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), whose second-largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority, is cutting its investment banking business in Dubai to focus on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the matter said.
Two bankers will move to Doha from Dubai as part of plans to shift the regional investment banking department headquarters to Qatar, the person said, asking not to be named as the news isn’t public. The bank will also cut about three positions in Dubai and transfer another as it moves its equities business to Riyadh, the person said. Bassam Yammine, MENA investment banking department co-head, already left the bank, the person said.

UAE oil potential up to 8.5% of world oil reserves |

The UAE oil potentials amounted to 8.5 per cent of global oil wealth, ranking fifth at the international level while its natural gas deposits which approximately account for 3.3 per cent of the world’s total proven gas resources have pushed the UAE government to think of renewable energy to benefit from the rise in prices of hydrocarbon resources, said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar at his lecture entitled: “The UAE and sustainable energy leadership” which was held at the Crown Prince’s Court on Monday.
Al Jaber said that this has prompted the UAE government to think of renewable energy to produce electricity to meet the rise in demand.
“In 2011, demand on electricity was 25 gigawatt while it is be more than doubled in 2030 to 54 gigawatt. On the other hand, demand on water has recorded 3 billion gallons per day in 2011 while it is expected to be more than 6.8 gallons per day by 2030,” added Al Jaber.

MENA stock markets close - December 17, 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)

Kuwait stock market float hits legal snag -

The long-awaited privatisation of Kuwait’s stock market has hit legal obstacles, dealing a further blow to the country’s efforts to revive its sluggish business environment.
The flotation of one of the oldest bourses in the Gulf is an important part of oil-rich Kuwait’s ambitious agenda to improve the performance of a swath of state-owned businesses, including the national airline.
The privatisation push is in turn central to government efforts to develop the non-oil economy and create jobs in a country where bureaucratic state-owned companies and businesses run by influential families dominates the corporate landscape.

Chart of the week: how some EMs are skipping the desktop | beyondbrics

As telecoms companies know, emerging markets are not like developed ones. Many of them have leapfrogged over the complicated business of installing landlines and gone straight to mobile telephony. A parallel trend is playing out in the use of desktop internet and the mobile web.

Chart of the week takes a look at which countries are ahead, and which are playing catch-up.

The chart below shows three things: what proportion of a country’s population uses the internet (along the bottom axis); what proportion of all internet browsing is done on mobile devices (up the vertical axis); and the size in absolute numbers of each country’s internet population, indicated by the size of the bubble. We have taken a selection of key emerging markets and some developed ones.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Saudi hits 5-wk high; Egypt slips - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Saudi Arabia's bourse ends at a five-week high as investors take positions ahead of the year-end on expectations of a strong start to 2013.
The kingdom's index rises 0.3 percent to 6,871 points, its highest close since Nov. 11.
Large-caps support, with the heavyweight petrochemical and banking sectors up 0.8 and 0.4 percent respectively.

Banque Saudi Fransi to close $507 mln sukuk Tuesday - source | Reuters

Banque Saudi Fransi, which is part-owned by Credit Agricole, will close a 1.9 billion riyals ($506.6 million) Lower Tier 2 Islamic bond issue on Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said.

The subordinated sukuk will boost Banque Saudi Fransi's supplementary capital reserves, or Tier 2 capital. Bonds and sukuk issued to raise Tier 2 capital are usually classed as subordinated debt, meaning they would be below secured creditors in the event of any restructuring.

Banks in the kingdom have been boosting capital reserves through debt issuance this year, despite having healthy levels in comparison to international peers, as they look to replenish reserves after strong lending growth in recent years.

Did the US already overtake Saudi Arabia for petroleum liquids king? Even more asterisks pop up « The Barrel Blog

A recent declaration by a blogger that the US already has topped Saudi Arabia in total liquids output comes with even more asterisks than we wrote about last week. But it does add yet one more question about how to count barrels, which is probably going to be a major parlor game in coming years.
On a blog entitled Next Big Future, a blogger named Brian Wang looks at some data and reaches the conclusion that for at least now, the US already has become king of the production hill.
Here’s his math: he takes the latest weekly EIA report on supply. That shows US crude production in the week ended December 7 as 6.852 million b/d. He then adds to it another production number the US aggregates under the header of “Other Supply.” That total is 4.492 million b/d, and it includes 2.458 million b/d in NGL production. Crude plus “production” totals a rounded number of 11.34 million b/d.

Kuwait budget surplus surges on high oil income

With a native population of 1.2 million in addition to 2.6 million foreigners, Kuwait says it holds 10 percent of global crude oil reserves and pumps about 3.0 million barrels of oil per day. (AFP)
Kuwait’s provisional budget surplus surged 43 percent to 14.7 billion dinars ($52.2 billion) in the first seven months of the fiscal year, boosted by oil income, government data showed on Monday.

The figure compares with a 7.3 billion dinar ($26.0 billion) deficit projected in the budget for 2012-2013, which began on April 1. The surplus stood at $36.5 billion in the same period last fiscal year.

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year that ended on March 31, the OPEC member posted a record budget surplus of $47 billion on the back of an all-time high income of $107.5 billion. Oil income makes up about 95 percent of public revenues.

Gulf states to build Latin America links -

Gulf states have built modest but growing ties with Latin American countries, in an emerging economy powerplay that supporters hope will exploit shared commercial goals and complement both blocs’ existing links to Asia.
Big Arab petro-state wealth funds have already taken stakes in leading South American companies, with the two regions sharing interests in areas such as energy, infrastructure and food security.
Arab and Latin American countries gathered in October in Peru for their third inter-regional summit in seven years, the latest stage of an official embrace that dates back at least to the founding of the Opec oil cartel in 1960 but has been slow to develop.

Etihad in final stages of talks with India's Jet, Kingfisher: India official | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is in final stages of talks with Indian carriers Jet Airways (JET.NS) and Kingfisher Airlines (KING.NS) to buy a stake in either of them and a deal could come by next week, a top government official told reporters on Monday.

"Etihad has not yet decided. They are talking to both," said the official who asked not to be named.

Shares in Jet Airways jumped 2.4 percent on Monday on hopes Etihad will buy a stake in the carrier.

Emirates NBD frontrunner to buy BNP Paribas' Egypt arm-sources | Reuters

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy BNP Paribas' Egyptian retail business, three sources familiar with the matter said, in a deal likely to raise $400-500 million for the French lender.

BNP, France's biggest listed bank, put its retail banking business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.

The sale attracted interest among large regional lenders including ENBD and Morocco's Attijariwafabank, which were looking to gain a foothold in Egypt.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Emaar lifts Dubai; Abu Dhabi slips - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's measure makes its largest one-day gain in two weeks as buying in bellwether Emaar Properties supports, while Abu Dhabi ends lower.
Shares in Emaar rise 1.6 percent, extending year-to-date gains to 44.4 percent.
"Most of the activity was concentrated on Emaar, which is driven by foreigners who are positioning ahead of the year-end," says Anastasios Dalgiannakis, institutional trading manager at Mubasher.

Indian growth: rose tinted | beyondbrics

India’s finance ministry has issued a new and gloomier forecast for annual economic growth, predicting that gross domestic product will rise 5.7-5.9 per cent in the fiscal year to March – compared with its original forecast for the year of 7.6 per cent.

In reality, however, the new numbers published in a mid-year economic analysis for 2012-13 paint an outlook even rosier than independent economists, the International Monetary Fund and government officials have been suggesting for the past several months.

“We are hopeful that growth will pick up from here,” said Raghuram Rajan (pictured), the government’s chief economic adviser, predicting growth of around 6 per cent in the second half compared with 5.4 per cent in the first. “We see that there are some green shoots coming up.”

Russia makes inward investments by UAE sovereign wealth funds tax-free « ArabianMoney

UAE sovereign wealth funds are now able to invest in Russia without paying tax on profits, dividends or capital gains under a new inter-governmental treaty that recently came into effect, delegates to the first-ever Russia-GCC Business Forum at the Sharjah Expo Centre heard this morning. The news came days after China announced moves to remove ceilings on access to its capital markets by the global sovereign wealth funds.

‘The recent decision by Russia to exempt investment bodies and sovereign wealth funds from the UAE from taxation is another positive sign for trade an will open up practically unlimited visitas to UAE investors in Russia,’ said the chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.

Dubai Project Dreams Evoke 2008 Crash at Banks: Mortgages - Bloomberg

Dubai, gearing up for a new development boom, will need to prove to lenders and investors that this one won’t end like the last.
With the same bravura that turned the desert sheikhdom into a hub for finance, tourism and real estate, the government is pitching massive projects in the hope of inspiring investment even as banks and builders remain buried under debt from the property-market collapse in 2008.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dallah Healthcare surges on debut; Saudi eases - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Newly-listed Dallah Healthcare Holding Company surges on debut, jumping 44 percent from its initial public offering (IPO) price in the first few minutes of trading. Shares in Dallah rise to 55 riyals ($14.66), having been offered at 38 riyals per share during its IPO last month. The stock accounts for more than 70 percent of all shares traded on the Saudi exchange.
The company raised 539 million riyals ($143.7 million) from the initial share sale in late-November.
The index eases 0.09 percent to 6,845 points.
Banking shares are steady, while the petrochemical sector index slips 0.1 percent. Insurance stocks are also
lower, with the sector's benchmark down 0.5 percent.

S. Korea wins US$1.1 billion deal from Saudi Arabia

South Korean builder SK Engineering & Construction Co. said Monday that it has clinched a US$1.1 billion contract to build an oil refinery facility in Saudi Arabia.

South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency said that under the deal with the state-run oil company Saudi Aramco, SK E&C will build an oil refinery plant with a daily capacity of 400,000 barrels of crude and a terminal to ship the petrochemical products in Jazan Economic City in southwestern Saudi Arabia. (QNA)

WAM | Central Bank passes its 2013 budget

The Board of Directors of Central Bank of the UAE reviewed AND adopted the Bank's budget for the fiscal year 2013.

A bank press release said the budget, passed on the 8th meeting for the year 2012, envisages total revenues of AED 3,886 million, total expenses of AED 886 million with estimated net profit of AED 3,000 million, compared to AED 3,700 million estimated net profit for 2012.

The Central Bank Board of Directors reviewed banks feedback on the amendments to the Large Exposures Regulation, and decided to postpone implementation of the regulation until all items of the regulation are reviewed with banks.

Power for refund: Dubai to release property investor protection law in 2013 - Emirates 24/7

The Real Estate Investor Protection Law, which was highly expected to be issued this year, will now be released during the first quarter of 2013, a senior Dubai Land Department (DLD) official has said.

“We got a number of comments and suggestions from the public and subsequently we have made necessary changes in the law,” Majida Ali Rashid, Senior Consultant and Senior Director of Planning & Organizational Development, DLD, told Emirates 24|7.

“It is almost ready and will be released in the next three months,” she added.

Jet jumps on Etihad deal hope; Kingfisher shares fall | Reuters

Shares of Jet Airways (JET.NS) jumped as much as 4.7 percent on Monday to their highest in nearly two years on hopes Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will buy a stake in the carrier.

Mint Newspaper reported on Monday that Etihad may decide as early as this week whether it will invest in Jet Airways or in grounded rival Kingfisher Airlines (KING.NS), citing two people familiar with the matter.

Mint also quoted one of the people as saying Jet Airways had the edge in terms of attracting Etihad's investment.

Barneys Remakes Itself for the New New York -

Barbel Schmidt for The New York Times
The new shoe floor of Barneys New York.
The elevator door opened in the Sutton Place penthouse of Richard Perry, the hedge-fund manager, and there he stood in the white foyer wearing a black knit suit whose slumping shoulders made him look like a bony country parson. Perry is a man of meticulous habit, a super-athlete who prides himself on his sophisticated sense of style. He has a closetful of suits by Thom Browne and Lanvin that don’t have shoulders that slant like a roof. This one was a blip of misjudgment. But Perry, no doubt out of devotion to his wife, Lisa, a fashion designer who made the suit in the same double knit she uses for her mod dresses, decided to wear it that night. And it was an evening of some importance, for the Perrys were off to a party at Barneys — their first since Richard bought the renowned specialty store.

Race for stake sale to Etihad Airways nears the tape - Livemint

If the deal between Jet Airways and Etihad goes through, this could come as an embarrassment for Vijay Mallya, whose cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines is also in talks with the West Asian airline for a stake sale.
Photo: Abhijeet Bhatlekar/Mint
Etihad Airways PJSC will decide this week whether to invest in Jet Airways (India) Ltd or Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, both of which are competing for a lifeline from the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in return for selling an equity stake.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is expected to decide on a stake purchase in either of the two airlines at a board meeting this week, according to two persons familiar with development who requested anonymity. A deal is expected to be announced before the Christmas holiday, said a senior government official.
Talks between Jet Airways, India’s second largest airline by passengers carried, and Etihad have progressed, with the airline offering a 24% stake in the company, said one of the two persons familiar with the development quoted earlier. Jet is also offering Etihad a seat on its board of directors, the person said.

Economic roots of Arab Spring remain - The National

Two years on from the start of the Arab Spring, livelihoods for many people in countries in transition are little brighter than at the start of the unrest.

Joblessness has risen and, for some workers, wages have fallen since the first waves of protests erupted.

Deteriorating fiscal positions in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Jordan have also limited the ability of governments to meet public demand for better living standards.

Long road to recover the wealth of Arab Spring nations - The National

Efforts to recover ill-gotten assets connected to former leaders of Arab Spring countries are proceeding, but the slow pace is frustrating many.

Topic Mohammed Morsi Muammar Qaddafi Arab Spring economies Hosni Mubarak Tunisia Spain Egypt
Spain said on Thursday that it had seized €28 million (Dh135.3m) in assets linked to the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, including five luxury cars and nine properties in Marbella and the leafy Madrid suburb of La Moraleja.

Since revolutions overthrew the governments of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the European Union has frozen assets of 67 people linked to the misappropriation of state funds in Egypt and Tunisia.

Economic struggle in Tunisia endures - The National

Stamping their feet and huddling in leather jackets to keep warm, the few dozen people clustered outside the national trade union in Tunis breathe clouds of mist into the winter air and hold forth on deeply held grudges.

"We have both political and economic grievances," said Amine Ben Ammar, who works in a call centre. "The ordinary people went to the streets because they cannot buy milk...and politically, some people are being arrested with no reason, it was the same as under Ben Ali."

He and the other men and women here in the chilly shade belong to a union that has been a thorn in the side of successive Tunisian regimes and have all participated in marches of thousands of people in recent weeks.

Dubai's Olympic bid could beat the heat - The National

Dubai has a sporting chance of hosting the Olympics despite its harsh climate, according to the head of 2014 Winter Games in the Russian city of Sochi.

No Arab country has ever hosted the world's largest sporting event. But Dubai is expected to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, a top official at the UAE National Olympic Committee said this month.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, the chief executive of Russia's Sochi 2014 Olympic Organising Committee, predicts such an event will be held in the Arabian Gulf.

Major developers build on resurgence - The National

The opening day sales of new property developments in Dubai these days are becoming a bit like buses - you wait ages for one and then three come along at once.

Certainly that was the case this weekend when three of Dubai's biggest property developers between them brought more than 400 new off-plan homes to the market.

In a series of announcements reminiscent of the heady days of 2008, first Nakheel, then Emaar and then Damac attempted to capitalise on reports of an improvement in market sentiment by selling off as yet unbuilt luxury homes to investors.

DIFC names new judicial officer |

The DIFC Courts, Dubai’s established English language, common law judicial system, has announced the appointment of Nasser Al Nasser as a judicial officer.
Al Nasser joins fellow Emiratis HE Judge Omar Al Muhairi, HE Judge Ali Al Madhani and Shamlan Al Sawalehi on the bench of the DIFC Courts.
Al Nasser is a graduate of the University of Middlesex in England (UK) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law: he is the first Emirati to join the DIFC Courts whose primary legal training has been in English common law.

Oil prices are holding, but for how long? |

In a few days’ time, we will be saying “that was the year that was” which could mean good, bad or in between, depending on one’s perspective.
As for oil producers, they could very well cautiously celebrate the end of a tumultuous year where the price of the Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) basket of crude oils rose from about $107 (Dh392.9) a barrel at the beginning of the year to approximately $123 a barrel as an average for March before falling sharply to about $94 for the month of June.
At that time, there was the fear that prices are heading further downward but contrary to that, prices rose again and settled for the rest of the year in a range of $100 to $110 a barrel. The average in 2012 so far is closer to $110 a barrel, which is about $2 higher than 2011 and $30 higher than 2010.

Why Shale Gas is the Biggest Story in the Energy Markets

Despite all the nonsense going on in the stock market right now, there are actually real things happening in the real economy that lead to real investors making real money from real stocks! Really!

Take mining service minnow AJ Lucas (ASX: AJL). The share jumped over 19% on Friday. It was up by as much as 25% at one point? Why?

AJL has a 42% stake in Cuadrilla Resources. Cuadrilla is one of the only firms in Britain with a license to explore for shale gas in the UK. On Friday, UK Energy Secretary Edward Davey released a statement saying, 'I am in principle prepared to consent to new fracking proposals for shale gas, where all other necessary permissions and consents are in place.'

Former Dubai Bank MD accuses police of harassment - Politics and policy -

Former Dubai Bank managing director Nereah Said has accused police of harassment and intimidation, following her arrest and release without charges last week.

Ms Said, who has filed a case at the Industrial Court for unlawful termination of her employment contract, spent Thursday night at the Central Police Station cells after being summoned to record a statement.

She was released on Friday morning by the officer commanding station, Partson Lipa, without any charges being preferred against her.

Dependence on foreign labor | Kuwait Times

An official source in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) told Al-Kuwaitiya newspaper on Dec 12 that there are 44,965 citizens and 1,202,862 expats working in the private sector, which means the total work force in the private sector is 1,247,816 workers.

The figures are worrying and the Cabinet and assembly must look at them carefully, particularly because the official numbers indicate that the number of citizens among the total population is no more than 31%. Kuwait now has only 1,100,000 citizens. What is really scary is that most citizens work in the public sector where their percentage has reached 90%. This is exactly the sector which is not productive. We are trying that Kuwaiti youth should be working in the private sector or the productive sectors in the country because the numbers published by MSAL show a low percentage of national labor in this sector, a mere 35% of the total workers.

Roses In The Desert - How Qatar Hopes To End Its Dependence On Food Imports -

The Roza Hassad greenhouses near Doha, Qatar - (Roza Hassad Facebook page)
Just 30 kilometers west of the Qatari capital of Doha, roses, gladiolus, chrysanthemum are blooming. At the request of Hamid Khalifa al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, the Frenchman produces four million flowers a year, with the help of 60 employees mostly from Nepal and India.
Inside the greenhouses of Roza Hassad, which span over 55,000 square meters, it’s a far cry from the hot and rocky scenery outside. A very precise computer-managed regulation system adjusts the humidity and lighting levels every 30 seconds in each of the 16 greenhouses, recreating a tropical climate or the colder temperatures of the Netherlands, depending on the flowers.
The seeds are planted in bedrock made of coconut residue or volcanic rock and receive water drawn 100 meters deep, desalted, then charged with nutritious elements needed for their growth. Roza Hassad is a public company founded to cut down on the emirate’s flower imports.