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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Suspended canal to cross Shaikh Zayed Road |

A new Dh1.5 billion suspended canal could be built within two years high above both Dubai Metro and Shaikh Zayed Road to link the Dubai Creek extension to the Gulf, announced His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Thursday.
A video posted on Shaikh Mohammad’s website on Thursday depicted images of a hanging navigational channel filled with boats crossing Shaikh Zayed Road.
Accompanying footage showed the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, a 35-metre tall ferris-wheel used to lift boats between two canals of different elevations.

Dubai weighs ambitious canal, Deira Souq projects |

  • Image Credit: WAM
  • Shaikh Mohammad views the design of the Deira market expansion project. He was briefed on the plan by Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaibani, Director General of Dubai Ruler’s Court and Executive Director and CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the developer of the project. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee and other senior officials were present.
Two major projects totalling Dh4.5 billion unveiled publicly on Thursday call for a major Dh3 billion facelift for Deira Souq area as well as a Dh1.5 billion suspended canal to link Dubai Creek extension to the Gulf through Jumeirah.
The ambitious plans were announced on the website of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who viewed a series of architectural renderings.
On his official website, Shaikh Mohammad posted a video exhibiting aspects of the Dubai Souq makeover including a massive new skyscraper at the bend in Dubai Creek towering over Dubai’s historical heritage areas.

‫محمد بن راشد يطلع على تصاميم سوق ديرة والقناة المعلقة‬‎ - YouTube Dubai weighs ambitious canal, Deira Souq projects

‫محمد بن راشد يط

Northacre in Bid Talks With Groups Led by CEO, Abu Dhabi - Bloomberg

Northacre Plc (NTA), developer of The Lancasters luxury apartments opposite London’s Hyde Park, is in talks to be acquired by two separate companies, one of which is led by its Chief Executive Officer Ken MacRae.
The discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty of an offer, the London-based company said in a statement today. An independent committee has been formed to assess the offers.
MacRae is leading one of the approaches through his management buyout company 2492 Ltd., while the other is from Abu Dhabi Capital Management LLC, according to the statement.

Egypt: in search of stability | beyondbrics

January 2013 will mark the two year anniversary of the Egyptian uprisings which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Amid the optimism which followed the transition to democracy, few serious analysts expected the path ahead for the country to be smooth, and indeed it has not been. An FT special report on Egypt highlights the challenges faced by the Arab world’s largest democracy.

The unity of purpose of the anti-Mubarak protests has given way to an increasingly polarised political conflict between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood government, led by President Mohamed Morsi, and liberals, Christians and leftists. Attempts by Morsi to push through a new constitution without their support alongside measures to undermine the judiciary reignited protest movements and brought tanks back onto the streets.

The opposition to Morsi is too weak and divided at present to pose an immediate threat, but the unrest continues to scares off investors and tourists alike, increasing the urgency of Egypt’ economic problems.

EFG-Hermes Said to Join Credit Suisse in U.A.E. Job Cuts - Bloomberg

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (EFGD), the biggest publicly traded Arab investment bank, is joining larger banks such as Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) in cutting jobs in the United Arab Emirates amid a drop in volumes and share sales.
Dubai’s top ranking brokerage is letting at least seven people go at its U.A.E. brokerage as part of measures to cut costs, according to three people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Seif Fikry, Chief Executive Officer of the lower Gulf Cooperation Council at EFG-Hermes, declined to comment.
Brokerages in the U.A.E. have been struggling to make ends meet as Dubai trading volumes remain near a six-year low, with the number of active businesses slumping to 49 from 98 at the end of 2008. Nine of the top 10 brokerages by value traded on the DFM, including EFG’s, posted losses in the third quarter, according to financial statements on the regulator’s website. Credit Suisse is cutting its investment banking business in Dubai to focus on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the matter said this week.

MIDEAST DEBT-Morocco success bodes well for Arab Spring bonds | Reuters

Morocco's spectacular debut in the dollar-denominated bond market this month is good news for other countries that have been affected by the Arab Spring uprisings and may try to borrow money overseas next year.

The Moroccan government's success in issuing $1.5 billion of bonds, which drew about $12 billion in orders and were bought mostly by U.S.-based investors, was partly due to low yield levels globally and foreign investors' desperation for returns.

But it also signalled investors were willing to accept a substantial amount of political risk in the Arab world - which is heartening for countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where governments are struggling to finance budget deficits but have recently faced flare-ups of political unrest.

MENA stock markets close - December 20, 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-Dubai rallies to 10-day high; mkts mixed before weekend | Reuters

Dubai's index hit a 10-day high on Thursday as investors target high dividend yield stocks, while other regional markets mixed ahead of a weekend which promises more protests in Egypt.

Dubai's benchmark rose 0.6 percent to its highest close since Dec. 10.

Bellwether Emaar Properties climbed 0.5 percent amid sustained interest from foreign investors betting that Dubai's long-troubled real estate sector is showing signs of recovery.

IQCD Qatar’s Best Performer in Q4 on Earnings Bets: Doha Mover - Bloomberg

Industries Qatar (IQCD) is set to become the best-performing stock in the Persian Gulf nation this quarter as investors bet 2012 profit will exceed expectations and after the company allowed foreigners to buy more stock.
Shares of the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals maker gained 0.4 percent to 156.30 riyals at 11:56 a.m. in Doha, set for the highest close since September 2008 and bringing a gain for the past six days to 2.8 percent. The stock, which is the most traded on Qatar’s benchmark gauge by value so far today, has advanced 11 percent in the fourth quarter, making it the best performer among 20 members on the index.
The Doha-based company’s foreign ownership limit was raised to 12.25% from 7.5% in September. Companies in Qatar limit foreign ownership at 25 percent, although they’re allowed to increase the limit to 49 percent if shareholders approve. The company that also makes fertilizers and steel posted a 27 percent jump in third-quarter profit, topping estimates. Industries Qatar has the biggest weighting on the Doha gauge.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai hits 10-day high; Qatar extends gains - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's index hits a 10-day closing high as investors target high dividend yield stocks and Qatar's market rallies for a fourth session.
Dubai's benchmark rises 0.6 percent to 1,601 points, its highest close since Dec. 10.
Bellwether Emaar Properties climbs 0.5 percent amid sustained interest from foreign investors betting that Dubai's long-troubled real estate sector is showing signs of recovery.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Egypt slips from 4-wk high ahead of vote - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Egypt's bourse slips from Wednesday's four-week high as investors book gains ahead of the weekend and the second round of voting on a new constitution.
Large-caps Orascom Construction Industries falls 1.9 percent and Orascom Telecom sheds 0.5 percent. Amer Group drops 9.5 percent, after a dividend payout of 12.2 percent.
"I don't think that we will see another rally in the near term even if the political situation ends," says Mohabeldeen
Agena, head of technical analysis at Cairo's Beltone Financial. "We might move flat, trying to absorb the selling pressure that exist in the upper levels. Any sharp rise in the currency will change my view from neutral to bullish."

SocGen Unit Sale Sends Qatar Bank Past $100 Billion: Arab Credit - Bloomberg

Qatar National Bank SAQ, which agreed to buy Societe Generale SA (GLE)’s Egypt unit, is set to become the first Arab lender with assets exceeding $100 billion amid a drive to tap consumer lending in more populous markets.
Doha-based QNB said Dec. 13 it will pay $1.97 billion for 77 percent of National Societe Generale Bank SAE. The deal will give the lender, which overtook Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank for the region’s top spot a year ago, a foothold in the Arab nation of more than 83 million. It will also boost the bank’s assets by 11 percent to about $107 billion, more than double their value at the end of 2009 and six times above the Middle East average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Abu Dhabi creates housing body, may help sector restructuring | Reuters

Abu Dhabi has set up an authority to develop mass housing as it pushes ahead with social welfare initiatives, in a move that could spur restructuring of the emirate's real estate sector.

The Abu Dhabi Housing Authority was established by United Arab Emirates President and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, state news agency WAM said late on Wednesday.

It will develop housing programmes, outline rules and regulations for housing and create a database of applicants for loans, plots of land and low-cost houses, making review of applications easier.

Qatar Telecom Has Room to Borrow as Moody’s Backs Debt Ratios - Bloomberg

Qatar Telecom QSC (QTEL), which raised $1 billion in bonds this month, still has “substantial headroom” to borrow, Moody’s Investors Service said, six months after warning that more acquisitions could be “credit negative.”
“There is more capacity than we had anticipated in June,” Martin Kohlhase, Dubai-based vice president and senior analyst for Moody’s, said by phone yesterday. “We are comfortable with their position within their rating category.” The second- biggest Arab phone company by revenue known as Qtel is rated A2 at Moody’s, the sixth-highest investment grade.
Moody’s said in June that Qtel’s $1.8 billion investment in Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunication Co. (NMTC) would reduce the company’s “liquidity headroom.” The assessment was based on projections showing a higher ratio of debt to EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization, than what later transpired, Kohlhase said. “Net debt was reduced faster” than projected, he said.

STOCKS NEWS MIDEAST-Dubai's bluechips extend gain; Qatar up - Yahoo! News Maktoob

Dubai's bourse edges up as bluechips extend gains, but trading is focused on small-caps as retail investors dominate.
Shares in Emaar Properties rise 0.5 percent after signing a $500 million loan to finance its project in Turkey on Wednesday. Telecom operator du gains 1.2 percent and carrier Air Arabia adds 1.1 percent.
"We're still relatively cheap and we have the dividend-led uptick coming up. Some people will be positioning ahead of it," says Shehzad Janab, head of asset management at Dubai-based Daman.

Egyptian Economy Caught in a Political Bind -

With the preliminary results of a referendum on Egypt’s draft Constitution appearing to lean in the Muslim Brotherhood’s favor, President Mohamed Morsi’s now faces his most divisive challenge yet as he attempts to implement difficult economic reforms at a time of widening unrest.

Days before the vote on the new charter, Mr. Morsi postponed a request for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and delayed tax reforms that had been drawn up under an economic program negotiated with the I.M.F., prompting economists and opposition groups to accuse him of appeasing the public to gain the popular vote.

Times of Oman | Ominvest plans private placement OAB

Oman International Development and Investment Company (Ominvest) is looking at divesting a part of its stake in Oman Arab Bank (OAB) through a private placement, in addition to its plans to divest 21 per cent holding in the bank through an initial public offering (IPO).

Bahrain-based Arab Bank, the second partner of OAB, will divest four per cent stake in the bank in favour of investing public, taking the total divestment via IPO route to 25 per cent.

However, it is not clear what percentage of Ominvest's holding will be diluted by way of the proposed private placement.

BNP joins rival SocGen in divesting Egyptian assets | Reuters

BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA), France's largest bank, agreed to sell its Egyptian arm to Dubai lender Emirates NBD ENBD.DU for $500 million (307.7 million pounds) as French lenders divest operations in the North African country to shore up their capital bases.

BNP, like other French and European banks, has spent the past year cutting assets and staff to better withstand the euro zone's debt crisis and tougher global Basel III rules on risk-taking.

For ENBD, majority-owned by the government, the deal offers an opportunity to expand its Dubai-centric business, having been hit in recent quarters by its exposure to debt-laden, state-linked entities in Dubai that have been forced to restructure billions of dollars of obligations.