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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Home buyers rush to beat new mortgage curb rules | GulfNews.com

Amid confusion and speculation over upcoming changes in the rules governing mortgages, nationals and expats are rushing to buy homes in the strongest property market since 2006.
According to a Dubai Municipality official, who declined to be named, “We witnessed a hike in sales as of the beginning of this year. As of January 21, 2013, we have witnessed transactions amounting to Dh490 million compared to mere Dh200 million for the same day last year, a rise of 160 per cent.”
Dr Amer-Noman Ashour, chief economist and analyst at the CNBC Arabia, told Gulf News that the Central Bank was trying to make it clear to all banks that they should not expect any leeway with the new regulations.
Home buyers rush to beat new mortgage curb rules | GulfNews.com

Etihad could pay $330m for 24% of Jet | GulfNews.com

  • Image Credit: Bloomberg
  • Jet Airway flights prepare for take off in Mumbai. Some 150 million travellers pass through Indian airports every year, according to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA).
Etihad Airways, the UAE national flag carrier is likely to buy a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways for up to $330 million (Dh1.21 billion), according to media reports.
The announcement is expected to be made on Friday, in what would be the first such investment by a foreign carrier in an airline in India since rules were relaxed last year.
“The Gulf carrier could pay up to $330 million for a 24 per cent stake in Jet, country’s second-biggest carrier, a senior government source said earlier this month,” Economic Times reported on its website.
Etihad could pay $330m for 24% of Jet | GulfNews.com

Iranian rial drops with bank head in spotlight - The National

The Iranian rial has dropped sharply on the open market since Sunday on speculation the head of the country's central bank could be sacked in a row over his performance that has exposed the country's political faultlines.

Reuters contacted currency traders who offered the rate of 35,400-35,550 to the dollar yesterday morning, little changed from Monday but down some 8 per cent from Sunday when it stood at about 33,000.

The bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani - appointed by the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2008 - has faced strong criticism of his management of the rial following a slump in the currency last September during which 40 per cent of its value in a matter of days.
Iranian rial drops with bank head in spotlight - The National

Push for UAE investment by sovereign wealth funds - The National

The Financial Services Association wants to encourage the UAE's vast sovereign wealth funds to invest in local bourses to boost market liquidity and help develop a domestic industry for expatriate pensions.

The industry group is also hoping to engage with the Central Bank and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) as they conduct wholesale reform of financial regulation.

The FSA, which first found its voice as a means of uniting industry opinion during the outcry over the SCA's regulation of mutual funds last year, is now seeking to actively influence policy decisions and promote the health of the market, said Arwa Hamdieh, the association's co-founder.
Push for UAE investment by sovereign wealth funds - The National

Units spun off by MAF Holding as profits rise - The National

Majid Al Futtaim Holding has spun off its Syrian and Iranian units to its owner to head off concerns about exposure to sanctions as it adds 4,000 jobs throughout the Middle East.

The Dubai-based family business, which operates Mall of the Emirates and is the owner of the regional franchise rights to Carrefour supermarkets, made the move "proactively" to ease bond and sukuk investor concerns as the company geared up to roll out new malls across the Middle East.

The Syrian and Iranian units are now owned directly by the company founder Majid Al Futtaim.
Units spun off by MAF Holding as profits rise - The National

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre a pioneering force in Sharia compliance - The National

The recent announcement that Dubai aims to become a global centre for Islamic finance and economy has sparked a surge of interest in the emirate in all aspects of Sharia-compliant business.

But in one business in particular, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, the news was greeted as confirmation of a trend that has been under way for at least seven years.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of the DMCC, believes his organisation, the authority that runs the Jumeirah Lakes Towers Free Zone, has pioneered the use of sophisticated Islamic financial products and is ready to play a major role in the next stage of the industry's development.
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre a pioneering force in Sharia compliance - The National

UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Batelco profit slumps on competition, charges | Reuters

Bahrain Telecommunications Co reported a 10th profit drop in 11 quarters on Tuesday as domestic competition and one-off charges from a cost-cutting programme hurt the bottom line.

The former monopoly, commonly known as Batelco, made a net profit of 17.75 million dinars ($47.1 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, down from 23.5 million dinars in the year-earlier period, according to Reuters calculations.

Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Batelco would make a quarterly profit of 38.05 million dinars.
UPDATE 1-Bahrain's Batelco profit slumps on competition, charges | Reuters

Why Has Saudi Arabia Cut Its Oil Output?

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi addresses the XII International Arab Conference on Mineral Resources in Sudanese capital Khartoum, on November 27, 2012.
The world's most influential oil producer, Saudi Arabia, reduced its oil production towards the end of 2012, causing many to conclude the Kingdom sought to reinforce global oil prices, but the Internal Energy Agency has a different take.

Saudi Arabia had been pumping oil at 30-year highs for most of 2012, but cut back supplies by just below 300,000 barrels per day in December to 9.36 million b/d, the IEA said in its most recent Monthly Oil Market Report.

Many analysts and news agencies noted the cutback, proclaiming it was driven by price considerations, with the Saudis looking to ensure they received adequate revenue from oil exports to finance the government's budget, a move Riyadh is widely believed to have made in the past.
Why Has Saudi Arabia Cut Its Oil Output?

Whatever happened to the double-digit sovereign yield? | FT Alphaville


According to the list of emerging and frontier sovereign debt covered by the specialists at Exotix (and Exotix cover a lot) the 10 per cent foreign-currency yield might be dying out (click to enlarge):
(Chart via Exotix)
From 11 in the first quarter of last year, we’re down to five. Two being current or prospective restructuring cases (Belize and Argentina), one an old-fashioned economic basket-case (Grenada), and the other two now left with only a handful each of bonds yielding over 10 per cent.
In other news, Dubai issued a 30-year dollar note on Tuesday. The yield on that: 5.375 per cent

Abudhabi Securities Exchange close - January 22, 2013

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 Date22/01/2013
 General Index2754.03
 Change (%)-0.87%
 Change-24.05
 T. Volume199221714
 T. Companies 66
   Advanced7
   Declined13
   Unchanged11
   UnTraded35
Abudhabi Securities Exchange

MENA stock markets close - January 22, 2013

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 
7007.610.33%  
 
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 
1777.19-0.52%  
 
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 
2754.03-0.87%  
 
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 
6191.210.30%  
 
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 
1073.18-0.09%  
 
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 
5837.160.13%  
 
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 
8623.150.18%  
 
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 
1204.810.68%  
 
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 
5680.390.70%  
 
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 
2031.590.03%  
 
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 
4745.370.21%  
 
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 
8880.39-0.98%  
 
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
 
468.210.03%  
MENA stock markets

Dubai Said to Sell Sukuk, Debt 30-Year Bonds Amid Rally - Bloomberg

Dubai raised $1.25 billion in 10- year sukuk and its first 30-year bonds as the Persian Gulf emirate took advantage of tumbling borrowing costs, according to six people familiar with the matter.
The government sold $750 million in Islamic bonds at 3.875 percent and $500 million in 30-year notes at 5.375 percent, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the details are private. Dubai last tapped global bond markets in April when it borrowed a similar amount, including $650 million of 10-year sukuk at a 6.45 percent coupon.
Dubai’s borrowing costs have tumbled as the emirate’s economy recovers from the brink of default in 2009. The government plans to more than double economic growth to an average of 4.6 percent through 2015, according to the bond prospectus, compared with 1.75 percent between 2008 and 2011.
Dubai Said to Sell Sukuk, Debt 30-Year Bonds Amid Rally - Bloomberg

Emir Of Qatar Comes To Town For PM Visit

The Emir pictured earlier this month on a visit to Algeria
Even at today's prices $50bn (£31.56bn) goes a long way.

For that sort of money you don't just get Harrods, the Shard, Chelsea Barracks, part ownership of Barclays, Sainsbury's, the Olympic Village, the London Stock Exchange and, oddly enough, 20% of Camden market, you get a leading role on the world stage.

The Emir of Qatar, who is visiting Prime Minister David Cameron, owns all of the above and gets to play that role.

He is worth a mere $2.5bn (£1.58bn), but his country's sovereign wealth fund is valued northwards of $50bn (£31bn). Given that the Emir is the sovereign, you could make the argument that the $50bn is his as well.
Emir Of Qatar Comes To Town For PM Visit

WEAFER COMMENT: Fund Flows Monitor – EM surge continues, Russia lags | EmergingMarkets.me

Investors added another $5.8 bln to EM retail funds in the week ended Wednesday to bring the total invested YTD to $16.6 bln. Russia funds reported a net outflow of $64 mln for the past week, which brings the YTD loss to $93 mln. However, when Russia’s share of the big money inflows to GEM funds is taken into account, the total available for last week was $204 mln and $757 mln YTD.

> Investors bullish on EM equities. EPFR Global’s weekly report showed investors remaining very bullish on the EM asset class’ prospects for gains in 2013. Last week’s net addition of $5.8 bln (0.75% of AUM) was less than the previous week’s record inflow of $7.4 bln, but brings the YTD total to $16.6 bln (2.2% of AUM) and adds to the $50.4 bln received through 2012.
Most of this has come in since the start of September, when the US Federal Reserve announced QE3 and China’s economic trend turned more positive. There is, however, still a reluctance to pick many country-specific bets, whereas $11.6 bln, or 70% of the total YTD, has been allocated to the relative safety of GEM Balanced funds.
WEAFER COMMENT: Fund Flows Monitor – EM surge continues, Russia lags | EmergingMarkets.me

Davos 2013: warning to EM investors – remember 1994 | beyondbrics

Watch out for the Fed tightening. That’s the message from the Institute of International Finance, the bankers’ club, to investors ploughing funds into emerging markets.

Speaking in Switzerland on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, IIF managing director Charles Dallara warned that investors had “underanticipated” sudden turns in monetary policy in the past – and might do so again. He said: “Are we adequately risk aware? Are we adequately risk sensitive?… I am not at all sure that we are.”

The IIF’s latest half-yearly review of capital flows into emerging markets says private sector flows have “revived strongly” thanks to investors’ taking a more risk-friendly view of the world since mid-2012.
Davos 2013: warning to EM investors – remember 1994 | beyondbrics

WEF's Schwab Says Iran, Syria Are ‘Black Swans’ - Bloomberg

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, sees political “black-swan” events threatening global security even as economic risks subside, with confidence returning to the euro area.
“The world is still full of risks and we do not have only to address the economic risks, I think it is very important that we become more resilient in terms of the political risks,” Schwab, 78, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday. “There are many black swans around,” he said, referring to the Japan-China dispute in the East China Sea, the Syrian civil war and the nuclear inspections in Iran.
WEF's Schwab Says Iran, Syria Are ‘Black Swans’ - Bloomberg

JPMorgan Hires UBS Banker Amid Quest for Bigger Islamic Slice - Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) has named former UBS AG (UBSN) banker Hussein Hassan to head global Islamic finance as the biggest U.S. lender strives to boost its share of an industry whose assets are set to double by 2015.
New York-based JPMorgan said Hassan, previously global head of Islamic structuring for UBS, would focus on clients in countries including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, according to an e-mailed statement today. Malaysia hosts the world’s biggest market for Islamic bonds, or sukuk, while Saudi Arabia boasts the world’s biggest share of Shariah-compliant assets.
“As we have observed a significant increase in the demand for Shariah-compliant banking products, we have decided to invest in high-caliber people, systems and technology,” Sjoerd Leenart, JPMorgan’s senior country officer for the Middle East and North Africa, said in the statement.
JPMorgan Hires UBS Banker Amid Quest for Bigger Islamic Slice - Bloomberg

SASEIDX Quote - Tadawul All Share TASI Index - Bloomberg - close January 22, 2013

SASEIDX:IND 7,007.61 22.81 0.33%

Snapshot for Tadawul All Share TASI Index (SASEIDX)
Open: 6,984.80 Day Range: 6,960.03 - 7,007.78 Year To Date: +3.03%
Previous Close: 6,984.80 52-Week Range: 6,423.60 - 7,944.36 1-Year: +8.64%
SASEIDX Quote - Tadawul All Share TASI Index - Bloomberg

Mobily Set for Biggest Weekly Gain in Year: Riyadh Mover - Bloomberg

Etihad Etisalat Co. (EEC) was headed for its biggest weekly gain in almost a year after the second- largest telecommunications operator in Saudi Arabia posted quarterly results that beat estimates.
Shares of the company also known as Mobily advanced 2.7 percent to 75 riyals, the highest level since April 2006, at the close in Riyadh. The shares have surged 5.6 percent since results were announced before the market open on Jan. 19, and are poised for the biggest weekly gain since February. The stock was the biggest gainer on the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index today, which increased 0.3 percent.
Mobily’s fourth-quarter profit rose to 1.9 billion riyals ($507 million) from 1.7 billion riyals after revenue rose 17 percent, helped by subscriber roaming charges and data services. That beat the 1.75 billion-riyal average estimate from 13 analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mobily Set for Biggest Weekly Gain in Year: Riyadh Mover - Bloomberg

The economy in times of unrest Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

The relationship between the economy and politics is like that of the chicken and the egg; which came first? On the one hand, there cannot be genuine and realistic economic development unless there is political and security stability, yet on the other hand the most important factors for political stability are development and a vibrant economy that can meet the aspirations of society, especially the younger generations.

This is the real challenge facing Arab countries as they enter 2013. It is a politically volatile time given the changes that occurred in several Arab republics in 2011, and the repercussions that are still being felt to this day.
The economy in times of unrest Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)

Mall Operator MAF of Dubai Stays Course on Mideast Plan - Bloomberg

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC plans to proceed with expansion across some of the most troubled countries of the Middle East, tapping the rising disposable income of the region’s growing population.
“We continue to focus on a prudent and sustainable growth strategy,” said Chief Executive Officer Iyad Malas in a statement announcing the full-year earnings of the Dubai-based malls and hotels operator. He confirmed plans to complete this year the Beirut City Center Mall, and to start construction on the Beirut Waterfront project in Lebanon, and the Mall of Egypt in Cairo.
The privately owned company, also known by its acronym MAF, reported a 10 percent increase in revenue to 21.6 billion dirhams ($5.9 billion) in 2012, on higher hotel occupancy and sales at its Carrefour supermarkets, the company said in a statement. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 7 percent to 3 billion dirhams.
Mall Operator MAF of Dubai Stays Course on Mideast Plan - Bloomberg

Qatar Telecom close to clinching $1 billion loan: Sources - The Economic Times

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) is close to clinching a $1 billion loan facility that will help to finance its general business operations, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The deal, which will run for four years, is in the documentation stage and will be signed once all lenders have completed this process, the three sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

State-owned Qtel, Qatar's largest telecoms operator, has been on an acquisition drive in recent months, raising stakes in its subsidiaries as it takes advantage of the gas-rich Gulf state's healthy financial position at a time when other large telecoms companies are shying away from deals.
Qatar Telecom close to clinching $1 billion loan: Sources - The Economic Times

Saudi Arabia can maintain current spending -fin min | Reuters

Saudi Arabia is able to maintain its current level of government spending in the medium term and beyond, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said on Tuesday.

Asked whether strong growth in government spending was sustainable, Alassaf told reporters: "We have the...ability to continue this scale of spending.

"We have the reserves, as well as we are reducing our debt almost to zero. So we can continue in the medium term and even beyond that," he said.

The world's No.1 oil exporter has set a record state budget of 820 billion riyals ($219 billion) for 2013, 19 percent higher than the amount budgeted for 2012.End

Saudi Arabia unveils plan to boost capital of Arab financial institutions

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense kicks off the Arab Economic Forum in Riyadh.
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, of Saudi Arabia, unveiled Monday an initiative to raise the capital of Arab financial institutions by at least 50 percent in order to keep up with the growing demand for funding development projects in the Arab world, especially in poor Arab states.

The initiative was made public by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, during the third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit being held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The summit brought together leaders from around the Middle East to discuss ways of improving inter-Arab trade and Arab economies.
Saudi Arabia unveils plan to boost capital of Arab financial institutions

S&P assigns ‘A’ rating to Sultanate of Oman

Standard & Poor’s affirms Oman’s credit rating at ‘A’ with stable outlook.
Credit Rating History:
    Local            Foreign currency    currency
23-Jan-2007        A/A-1                        A/A-1
18-Sep-2006       A-/A-2                      A-/A-2
S&P assigns ‘A’ rating to Sultanate of Oman

U.A.E. Mortgage Provider Tamweel 2012 Net Declines on Litigation - Bloomberg

Tamweel PJSC (TAMWEEL), the mortgage provider that Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) plans to take over, said 2012 profit dropped 29 percent as it made provisions for litigations.
Net income for the year fell to 72.5 million dirhams ($20 million), or 7 fils a share, compared with 102 million dirhams, or 10 fils a share, in 2011, the company said in a statement to the Dubai bourse today. Total operating profit climbed to 603.3 million dirhams from 601 million dirhams in 2011, it said.
Profit declined because of “exceptional provisions relating to certain ongoing litigations for which the company made full provision while continuing to fight its rights,” Tamweel said, without elaborating.
U.A.E. Mortgage Provider Tamweel 2012 Net Declines on Litigation - Bloomberg

Dubai to issue 10-yr dollar sukuk Tuesday - leads | Reuters

The Government of Dubai has picked five banks to arrange a benchmark-sized, dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or sukuk, which could price as early as Tuesday, a document from lead banks said.

Initial pricing on the sukuk was indicated in the low 4 percent area, the document said. Benchmark-sized offerings are traditionally worth at least $500 million.

The emirate mandated Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC Holdings, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered to arrange the deal.End

EA WorldView - Home - Iran Live Coverage: Crisis at the Central Bank?

Bank Watch. Monday's news was taken over by the confusion and apparent crisis at the Central Bank, blamed by many politicians for the Islamic Republic's economic and currency problems.

The conflict escalated on Sunday when Parliament demanded an enquiry into the Bank's operations. Reports circulated that Bank head Mahmoud Bahmani had resigned.

President Ahmadinejad appeared to stem the immediate problem by rejecting Bahmani's resignation, but the Supreme Audit Court then ratcheted up the pressure. The court ruled that the Bank head must be dismissed, as he had violated financial regulations with unauthorised withdrawals from other banks.
EA WorldView - Home - Iran Live Coverage: Crisis at the Central Bank?

UAE Central Bank will not now impose new mortgage controls until mid-year signaling property boom « ArabianMoney

The UAE Central Bank has back tracked on new draconian mortgage loan-to-value limits and says this was only intended as a warning to the banks about what new controls it might impose from the middle of the year in a review of mortgage regulations. It even blamed misreporting by the media.

The overwhelming pressure from the powerful property lobby and the banking sector apparently had nothing to do with this ‘clarification’ of the bank’s position. The local real estate sector will breathe a huge sigh of relief and prepare for a boom in business to beat the new deadline.
UAE Central Bank will not now impose new mortgage controls until mid-year signaling property boom « ArabianMoney

DIFC growth reflects desire for presene in Gulf region - The National

It is getting harder to find a table for lunch at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The number of employees working in the DIFC swelled during last year as new companies set up shop, even as the global banking sector shrunk and financial sector jobs were culled by the thousands globally.

But the centre is shaking off the "Dubai International Food Court" jibes that accompanied its launch, with staff numbers growing by 16 per cent in the past year to about 14,000, the centre said yesterday.
DIFC growth reflects desire for presene in Gulf region - The National

Abu Dhabi's new property giant could breathe life into stalled projects - The National

The US$13 billion (Dh47.74bn) merger of Abu Dhabi's largest developers could free up stalled projects in the city as the new merged entity rethinks its strategy.

Yesterday, Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate agreed to form one company. It will be known as Aldar Sorouh, the third-biggest property company in the Middle East.

The companies also said that the Abu Dhabi Government had agreed to pay Sorouh Dh3.2bn for 700 to 800 flats at its The Gate scheme on Reem Island.
Abu Dhabi's new property giant could breathe life into stalled projects - The National

Algeria's energy output in doubt - The National

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Ain Amenas gas plant in Algeria, security concerns are shifting to neighbouring Libya, where porous borders and unreliable armed forces leave the oil and gas industry vulnerable.

The siege at the Algerian gas facility culminated in a dramatic final assault by Algerian commandos. With dozens dead, operators BP and Statoil have to decide whether to resume production with their Algerian partner, the national oil company Sonatrach.

Security experts believe that the Algerian government will be able to contain the terrorist threat to its oil and gas industry and retain the services of the international oil companies.
Algeria's energy output in doubt - The National

Dubai economy back on track since the property bubble

If there is a single phrase that can sum up last year for Dubai, it may well be "reinvigorated spirit". Since the end of 2008 Dubai has gone through the bursting of its property bubble and the debt restructuring of many of its high-profile Government Related Entities (GREs). The trigger was the onset of the global financial crisis in the autumn of 2008, but the cause was the excesses of the prior boom years that led to a speculative property bubble and excessive borrowing by some of the Dubai GREs.
During the same period there was a noticeable improvement in Dubai's economic fundamentals and a strengthening of its position as a regional transportation, logistics, services, and tourism hub.Dubai has certainly come a long way since then, and last year has proven to be a pivotal year for all the right reasons. During the past 12 months, Dubai's GREs were able to meet all their 2012 bond maturities and complete the restructuring of the vast majority of their loans with international and local lenders; more than US$3.2 billion (Dh11.75bn) in bonds were fully repaid and more than $24.5bn in loans have been restructured with another $9bn still subject to negotiations.
http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/property/dubai-economy-back-on-track-since-the-property-bubble#ixzz2IfzCAKGx

Gulf banks look for acquisitions in Egypt and Turkey to grow

As protests flared again on the streets of Egypt last month, senior bankers from two GCC lenders were inking deals to snap up large banking units in the country.
In the space of a few days, Qatar National Bank (QNB) had agreed to purchase Société Générale's Egyptian operation for US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn), while separately, Emirates NBD struck a deal to buy the Egyptian unit of BNP Paribas for $500 million.
Neither bank was deterred by the latest instability rocking the country, viewing it as just a bump in the road to recovery from the uprising that removed Hosni Mubarak from the presidency in February 2011.

Kingdom Holdings net up 11.6% | GulfNews.com

Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding Co.reported on Monday that fourth-quarter net profit rose 11.6 per cent to 209.6 million Saudi riyal (Dh204.5 million) from the same period a year ago, thanks to what the company said were gains from real-estate investments and lower finance charges. Kingdom Holding is controlled by Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal and holds international investments in fields including real-estate, luxury resorts and media. Operating profit rose 2 per cent year-on-year to SAR290.6 million in the three-month period that ended December 31, the company said in a statement on the website of the Saudi stock exchange. Prince Al Waleed owns 95 per cent of Kingdom Holding, according to Zawya.com. He holds sizable stakes in companies including Citigroup Inc., News Corp., Apple Inc. and Time Warner Inc. News Corp owns Dow Jones & Co, publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.End

3rd Arab Social and Economic Development Summit opens in Riyadh | GulfNews.com

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Saudi Emir Mohammad Bin Saad Bin Abdulaziz, acting deputy Emir of the Riyadh region (R) talks to Egypt's President Muhammad Mursi (C) as they review the honour guard upon the latter's arrival at Riyadh airport to attend the third Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit, on January 21, 2013 in Riyadh.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, left here today for the Saudi Arabia capital, Riyadh, leading the UAE delegation to the 3rd Arab Social and Economic Development Summit, which starts on Tuesday.
Riyadh is hosting the summit, aimed at boosting economic integration and development in the Arab countries.
Shaikh Mohammed is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and a number of state ministers and senior officials.
3rd Arab Social and Economic Development Summit opens in Riyadh | GulfNews.com

Boards of Aldar and Sorouh recommend merger | GulfNews.com

  • Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News Archives
  • An aerial view of Aldar headquarters building in Abu Dhabi.
The boards of Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate have recommended a merger of two of Abu Dhabi’s largest property developers that would lead to the creation of a new company having total assets of more than Dh47 billion and enabling the entity to become one of the largest listed real estate companies in the region.
As well, the Monday’s move paves the way for the second-biggest corporate merger in UAE’s history after Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai merged a few years ago to create one of the Middle East’s largest banks with assets of Dh165 billion.
In a joint statement yesterday, Aldar and Sorouh said the merger was unanimously recommended to shareholders by their respective boards. In what would be an all-share merger, Sorouh shareholders will receive 1.288 Aldar shares for every Sorouh share they hold.
Boards of Aldar and Sorouh recommend merger | GulfNews.com

Dubai Masseuses Return to Economy Seeking New Balance for Growth - Bloomberg

Rewa Zeinati, a freelance writer living in Dubai, has noticed more business cards with photos of scantily clad women offering massages piling up on her car windscreen lately.
“Sometimes I’m away for 30 minutes and come back to find a stack of them,” she said. “I’ve definitely seen an increase this year.”
Residents say it’s harder to find taxis, book restaurants or golf courses and get school places for their children, with Dubai’s economy posting the fastest growth since 2007. Home rents climbed about 17 percent last year, while air traffic and non-oil trade hit record highs.
Dubai Masseuses Return to Economy Seeking New Balance for Growth - Bloomberg