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Thursday, 27 June 2013

BUSINESS - Turkcell eye Dubai’s Tunisie Telecom stake

"Thirteen companies including Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat and Turkey’s Turkcell have expressed interest in buying Dubai Holding’s 35 percent stake in state-owned Tunisie Telecom, a government official said on late June 26.

The Tunisian government said last week that Dubai Holding, which owns the stake through its unit Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT), was considering selling out of the former monopoly Tunisie Telecom.

EIT, which paid $2.25 billion for the 35 percent holding in 2006, has hired Credit Suisse to advise on a sale, banking sources said. "

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US shale output forces change in market norms |

"Even without a relaxation of the ban on US crude oil exports, the ripples of the shale revolution have already reached Asia. Nowhere is that more obvious than in changes it has forced in the official selling prices Saudi Arabia charges to its customers.
More than half of Saudi Arabia’s crude exports head to refineries in China and the rest of Asia. Not a single barrel of US shale oil is sent to the region because of the export ban.
Nonetheless soaring output of light sweet crudes from shales in North Dakota and Texas has already profoundly affected selling prices by displacing former imports from Nigeria, Libya and other light oil producers. One result has been a sharp narrowing of the former pricing differential between light and heavy crudes, which has intensified problems for African light crude producers."

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Abu Dhabi break-even for oil at $95, says Merrill Lynch report - The National

"More measured spending has helped to bring down the Abu Dhabi Government's fiscal oil break-even price to US$95 per barrel this year, estimates Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

It follows a jump from $33 per barrel in 2007 to $121 in 2009 as the Abu Dhabi Government extended cash support to help debt-ridden Dubai, the bank said in a report released yesterday.

"Gradual fiscal consolidation though on-budget capital expenditure rationalisation and normalisation of support extended in the emirate has been bringing down the Abu Dhabi central government fiscal oil break-even price to below $100 per barrel," Jean-Michel Saliba, an economist covering Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at BAML wrote in the report."

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Qatar Raises 2013 Growth Forecast on Hydrocarbons - Bloomberg

"Qatar raised its 2013 economic growth forecast to 5.3 percent from 4.8 percent projected in December on larger-than-expected production of oil and gas, the country’s planning agency said.
“Output of pipeline gas is expected to be higher in 2013 than projected in December and oil production is expected to fall more slowly,” the General Secretariat for Development Planning said in an e-mailed report.
The agency also raised its projection for the country’s fiscal surplus to 8.1 percent of gross domestic product from 5.4 percent, according to the report."

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LUKoil Iraq | Business | The Moscow Times

"LUKoil expects that oil production in the West Qurna-2 project in Iraq will begin in 2014, CEO Vagit Alekperov said, Interfax reported.

"Production drilling has already begun at the deposit. The first industrial oil extraction volumes are expected at the beginning of 2014," Alekperov said. Peak oil production at the site should be 60 million tons a year, he said.

LUKoil had planned to start producing oil at West Qurna-2 at the end of this year."

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Biocad Said to Seek Buyer in Sale That May Top $1 Billion - Bloomberg

"Biocad, a Russian biotechnology company that’s trying to copy some of the world’s top-selling cancer medicines, is seeking a buyer, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Biocad may be valued at as much as $1 billion, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. A second person estimated its value at closer to $750 million. The closely held St. Petersburg-based company hired William Blair & Co. to organize the sale process, which is in its final stages, one of the people said.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE) (PFE). and Amgen Inc (AMGN)., the world’s biggest biotechnology company, are two of three remaining bidders, one of the people said. Like Biocad, both U.S. companies are working on so-called biosimilars, which are copies of branded biological drugs."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Sorouh rises in last trading day; most mkts rise | Reuters

"Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Real Estate rose on Thursday in its last trading session before being delisted as part of its state-backed merger with Aldar Properties, while all regional markets gained ahead of the weekend.

The tie-up, aimed at reviving the emirate's battered real estate sector, creates the second-largest listed property firm in the United Arab Emirates and one of the biggest in the Middle East with assets of about $13 billion.

"The merged company is attractive at this stage; the backlog of Abu Dhabi projects is strong," said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. "I'm bullish on the contracting, construction and cement sectors in the UAE so it's a good play to be in over the next two years.""

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Rosneft Offers to Buy Out Small TNK-BP Shareholders | Business | The Moscow Times

"Rosneft on Thursday offered to buy out small shareholders in TNK-BP Holding but said it would pay less for the stock than the price at the time of the takeover in March.

Chief executive Igor Sechin said Rosneft was not a "charity fund" when it bought TNK-BP and did not intend to buy out minority shareholders, raising complaints from them and questions from international investors about corporate governance in Russia.

Following the TNK-BP deal, Rosneft became the world's No. 1 oil producer by output, pumping 4.5 million barrels per day — nearly half of Russia's total — but its capitalization of $74 billion is a fraction of U.S. ExxonMobil's."

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Myanmar To Grant Wireless Licenses To Norway's Telenor, Qatar Telecom - Forbes

"One of Asia’s least connected countries is getting wired at last. Myanmar said Thursday that it had awarded cellular-phone licenses to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar Telecom, ending months of speculation over which foreign consortia would get the nod. Ten other bidders had sought to build out networks in Myanmar, a country of around 60 million people with less than 9% mobile phone penetration. Myanmar, also known as Burma, already has two domestic cellphone operators, but service is poor. Foreign investment in infrastructure like telecoms is seen as crucial to bring Myanmar into the modern era. The 15-year wireless licenses take effect in September and would represent the largest foreign investment in Myanmar since a semi-elected government took power in 2011, ending decades of isolationist military rule."

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Egypt Risk Jumps to Record as Political Rift Widens Pre-Protests - Bloomberg

"Egypt’s default risk soared to a record after a speech by President Mohamed Mursi failed to alleviate investor concerns ahead of planned nationwide rallies this weekend.
Five-year contracts that protect against default by the second-most indebted Arab country rose 12.5 basis points to 887.5 at 3:26 p.m. in Cairo, according to CMA prices, the highest on a closing basis since Bloomberg started tracking them in 2009. The country’s risk, among the highest 10 in the world, for the first time climbed above that of Pakistan, which has the same junk rating of Caa1 at Moody’s Investors Service.
Pro- and anti-government camps plan rallies for June 30, when Mursi marks one year in office. The president in a nationally-televised address last night blamed the nation’s crisis on an opposition that has rejected his calls for talks. Clashes between his supporters and opponents, who accuse him of consolidating power and failing to revive the economy, have injured hundreds this week and killed one person."

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Chief Who Built Biggest Arab Bank Takes Over Qatar Finances - Bloomberg

"For Ali Shareef Al Emadi, managing the finances of the world’s richest country is a job he’s already been involved in for eight years.
During that time, the chief executive officer of Qatar National Bank SAQ, who was appointed finance minister in a new Qatari government late yesterday, helped build the company into the Middle East’s biggest lender. QNB grew its assets to more than $100 billion in the period, the only Arab bank to reach that threshold, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Qatar National Bank closed some of the key acquisitions outside Qatar and grew significantly in size under the leadership of Ali Shareef Al Emadi,” Amol Shitole, a credit analyst with SJS in Bangalore, India, said by e-mail today. “The bank has a clear strategy in place to expand internationally by carefully selecting markets.”"

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Russia privatisation: don’t bet on it | beyondbrics

"To nobody’s great surprise, Russia on Thursday revealed that it was cutting in half its target for privatisation revenues for 2014-16.

The government blamed the financial markets. But the truth is that Russian assets are hard to sell at the best of times. The country needs the economic reforms that president Vladimir Putin has often spoken about, including at the recent St Petersburg Economic Forum, but has so far largely failed to deliver.

As Reuters reported, the State Property Agency slashed its 2014 privatisation revenue forecast to Rbs180bn ($5.5bn), down from around Rbs350bn, with similar cuts in 2015 and 2016. The revisions came with an estimate that this year’s privatisation revenues are likely to reach just Rbs60bn, or 14 per cent of their original target."

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Lukoil CEO Says No Sale as Rosneft Bid Spree Rumors Swirl | Business | The Moscow Times

"Lukoil has not received any takeover offers and does not expect one, its chief said Thursday, after it became the latest Russian oil company to face speculation that it could be a target for state oil company Rosneft.

Since its record $55 billion deal to buy TNK-BP, creating the world's largest listed oil producer and by far the largest in Russia, Rosneft has been the subject of speculation that it will embark on a fresh buying spree despite large debts.

Its powerful CEO, Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has fashioned Rosneft into an instrument of state control of the oil industry, and many industry sources believe that it could pursue more acquisitions, including large ones."

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SNC-Lavalin's UAE project was cover for suspect payments - Business - CBC News

"SNC-Lavalin says a gas project in the United Arab Emirates was used as a cover to transfer $13.5 million to unknown agents, a portion of the $56 million in questionable payments identified by the company in an internal investigation last year.

The Montreal-based based company said the amount was falsely attributed to the project even though the money went elsewhere. Another $20 million was also wrongly attributed to another project which SNC-Lavalin is refusing to identify.

"The payment in the UAE never actually happened," said spokeswoman Leslie Quinton."

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Erdogan’s ire: next up, corporate Turkey | beyondbrics

"One of the rules of thumb about understanding Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to watch what he does, not what he says. The Turkish prime minister is known for his capacity to come out with fiery rhetoric on occasion, but also for a record of reforms that outstrips most of his modern day predecessors.

Still, it may be getting harder to distinguish word and deed, particularly when it comes to Erdogan’s recent denunciations of an “interest rate lobby” hostile to Turkey and his apparent threats against the Koc group, Turkey’s biggest conglomerate.

As Erdogan has it, the interest rate lobby – which appears to refer both to foreign capital and Turkish financial groups – was partly behind the country’s recent mass protests. The Koc group, which boasts that it accounts for some 10 per cent of the country’s GDP, is an old bĂȘte noire – the epitome of the “white Turks”, or established priviliged elite, Erdogan has attacked throughout his career."

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Oman could have a low-cost carrier by first half of 2014 | Al Bawaba

"The sultanate will have at least one low-cost carrier (LCC) by the first half of 2014 with the possibility of more licences being awarded, according to Salim Nasser Said al Aufi, chief executive officer of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the Arab Aviation and Media Summit at Salalah's Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Aufi said the Authority is studying all civil aviation services that are not currently available in Oman, including budget airlines, executive aviation and helicopter aviation.

He said, "We are looking at restructuring the aviation sector, including some of the companies. The next two-to-three years will see a lot of work and the aviation business in Oman will be changed completely.""

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Ukraine comes to agreement with new leadership of IMF mission on continuation of dialogue on new program of cooperation : Ukraine News by UNIAN

"On Wednesday, on June 26 a delegation of representatives of International Monetary Fund held a meeting with Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov, during which they discussed  issues of cooperation and agreed to continue an active dialogue with a goal to come to agreement concerning a new program of cooperation
The press service of the first Vice Prime Minister disclosed this to UNIAN.
According to the report, within a framework of the meeting with first Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov and ministers of economic bloc of the government was held and new head of the IMF Mission in Ukraine Nikolay Gueorguiev was introduced."

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Poll: 42% of Ukrainians support entry to EU, 31% prefer Customs Union

"A majority of Ukrainians say that entering the European Union should be the main integration direction for Ukraine, according to the poll held by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center.

According to the survey's results, which were posted on Thursday, 42% of those polled support entering the EU, while 31% are for joining the Customs Union.

However, 13.5% of Ukrainians say Ukraine should join neither the EU nor the Customs Union."

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Dubai's Emirates plans new aircraft lease deal | Reuters

"Dubai's Emirates airline plans to lease new Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft from a finance company that will issue $630 million of bond-type certificates to fund the purchase of the planes.

Emirates, one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, has been diversifying its funding strategy to expand its fleet and compete with regional peers such as Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

The Gulf carrier signed a similar lease deal worth $587.5 million in June last year."

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Corporate watch: Russian Towers plans to dominate telecoms landscape | beyondbrics

"Russian mobile phone operators just launched their first 4G networks and the biggest cities are due to be covered by the end of this year. The move to better technology has opened a new world of opportunity for Russian Towers, the country’s first, and to date only, independent company leasing out mobile phone base stations to what are now the biggest operators in Europe.

Peter Owen Edmunds is one of the pioneers of Russian telecoms. After leaving the British Army’s Welsh Guards he moved to St Petersburg where he was one of the founding partners in PeterStar, the first commercial fixed overlay network operator. PeterStar was set up in 1992 and blazed the trail for foreign investors into the new Russian market, and was eventually sold to Russian major mobile phone operator MegaFon in 2002."

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GCC corporate banking at peak, says The Boston Consulting Group -

"UAE. According to a recent study published by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), GCC banks’ corporate banking divisions are at peak levels in terms of revenues and net profits and have even crossed the pre-crisis levels seen in 2008.

This impressive performance is even more apparent when compared to the same banks’ retail banking divisions, where revenues and net profits have barely touched 2008 levels.

In its Corporate Banking Benchmarking Report, BCG highlights a ‘multi-speed world’ for the corporate banking divisions of banks across the globe and highlights positive growth for GCC markets in this context."

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Tymoshenko proposes national round table for meeting criteria for signing association agreement with EU

"Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has offered to establish a national round table to meet the necessary criteria for signing of the Association Agreement with the EU.

"I think we should immediately set up a new organizational structure in the form of a round table or assembly, which will be working actively and publicly from now until the entry into force of the Association Agreement, including the signing and ratification of this document," Tymoshenko wrote in her article "67 Working Days?" which was published on Thursday in Ukrainska Pravda Internet newspaper.

Tymoshenko suggested naming the structure - the national round table "Understanding for the Sake of the European Future.""

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Renewables To Surpass Gas By 2016 In Global Power Mix - IEA Eurasia Review

"Power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday in its second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report (MTRMR).

According to the MTRMR, despite a difficult economic context, renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years. Renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011. The share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006."

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Chart of the Day: Surging Home Prices

"The US real estate market continues to surge. For some perspective, today’s top chart illustrates the US median price (adjusted for inflation) of a single-family home over the past 43 years while today’s bottom chart presents the annual percent change in home prices (also adjusted for inflation).

Today’s chart illustrates that the inflation-adjusted median home price has rarely increased more than 7.5% in one year (gray shading). When inflation-adjusted home prices did increase more than 7.5% in one year, it was often soon followed by a period of stagnant or declining prices. The exception to this occurred during the credit bubble (2001 and 2002). It is worth noting that over the past 12 months, the median price for a single-family home has shot up at the fastest pace on record.

Palestinian Stock Exchange Has Potential to Grow - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

"The Palestinian Capital Market Authority is increasing its efforts to protect the most important Palestinian economic bodies — such as the Palestine Stock Exchange — which have been negatively impacted by a lack of investment awareness, the internal political schism between Fatah and Hamas, and the ongoing Israeli economic siege, now entering its seventh consecutive year.
All this has prompted a flight of local capital to other Arab and international stock markets. No sooner does one enter the trading floor in a Palestinian brokerage firm than does one feel that a stillness has come over the commotion of stock trading."

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Bahrain hikes public spending despite rising deficits to buy peace - Quartz

"Bahrain is spending beyond its means to tackle continued political unrest. The tiny island kingdom’s state spending is expected to jump 11% this year to 3.62 billion dinars ($9.6 billion), including 174.2 million dinars in additional expenditure for populist measures like increased food subsidies and higher pensions for retirees. Even in 2012, Bahrain had increased its planned expenditure by 19% to placate protestors who were demanding political reforms.  The protestors, who mainly belong to the majority Shia population, are demanding greater freedoms and rights from the Sunni royal family. The largesse comes even as International Monetary Fund and Moody’s warned Bahrain that its rising budget deficits could soon get out of hand. The IMF expects Bahrain’s fiscal deficit to widen from 2.6% of GDP in 2012 to 4.2% this year, and then keep rising sharply to 8.6% in 2018. The biggest threat for Bahrain could come from a sustained decline in oil prices, since the government relies on crude sales for more than 85% of its revenue. The IMF pointed out that Bahrain needed crude prices to stay around $118 per barrel to balance its budget. "

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Gulf Daily News » Business News » Oman sukuk approved

"Oman's first corporate sukuk has received regulatory approval and the five-year, 50 million rial ($130m) private placement aims to close next month, its lead arranger said yesterday.

The sukuk will be issued by Tilal Development Company and the proceeds will be used to repay existing debt and expand the Muscat Grand Mall. If successful, the issue could pave the way for other companies in the sultanate to sell Islamic bonds.

"We have already done our roadshows and also got some commitments from pension funds locally," said Al Madina Investment's Islamic finance head Mohsin Shaikh Sehu Mohamed."

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