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Monday, 1 July 2013

Rostelecom Gains Most in 2 Weeks on Buyback Offers: Moscow Mover - Bloomberg

"OAO Rostelecom headed for the biggest gain in almost two weeks as Russia’s largest fixed-line operator started accepting offers from shareholders after proposing to buy back stock at a premium to the market.
Rostelecom increased as much as 2.4 percent, rising 1.8 percent to 89.76 rubles by 4:13 p.m. in Moscow and poised for the biggest advance since June 17. The amount of shares trading was 1.8 million, equivalent to about 45 percent of the three-month average.
The company started accepting buyout offers from investors who didn’t vote or voted against its merger with OAO Svyazinvest from June 27 and will continue until Aug. 12, according to a statement. The company set a buyout price for its ordinary shares at 136.05 rubles ($4.12) apiece, it said in a March 27 announcement."

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Egypt: Increased food demand despite political turmoil benefits Wadi Foods -

"Though Egypt’s economy has been badly damaged by continuing post-revolution turmoil, the food sector has bucked the trend and an unlikely beneficiary has been a company that established its reputation supplying gourmet products to upmarket hotels and wealthy consumers.
Wadi Food, an agricultural business that has carved out a niche in gourmet olive products, has managed to thrive despite the loss of the important tourism market.
The company, says Khalil Nasrallah, co-founder and executive manager, is on track to reach $21m in sales this year, an increase of more than 50 per cent on the $12.8m achieved in 2012."

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UAE moves up in global investment destination rankings |

"The UAE continues to move up the ranks in the world’s top destinations for foreign direct investment, thanks to its well-developed infrastructure, strategic location and tax-free environment, a new report showed.
According to the latest A.T. Kearney Global Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (FDICI), the UAE has moved up one place to rank the 14th most attractive FDI destination globally, ahead of Switzerland, South Africa or Spain.
Occupying the number one spot is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Canada and India."

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Coal Producer Sibanthracite Sets London IPO Range | Business | The Moscow Times

"Niche coal producer Sibanthracite set a price range Monday for shares in a planned London market debut that would enable the selling shareholder to raise up to $214 million for its 25 percent stake.

Sibanthracite said the GLG Emerging Markets Growth Fund would sell its one-quarter stake in a price range between $7.00 and $9.50 per global depositary receipt, or GDR, in an initial public offering. A two-week investor road show starts Monday, to be followed by pricing.

The offering would value the stake being put up for sale at between $158 million and $214 million. Of the shares on offer, 20 percent are being reserved for eligible existing investors of the GLG fund."

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Prince Alwaleed & Kingdom Holding announce legal victories in UK court -

"Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) and Chairman HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal announce a series of noteworthy legal victories in a UK Court case filed to recoup hidden and undisclosed financial payments received by Cedar Capital Partners LLC.

The lawsuit had been filed on behalf of FHR European Ventures - a joint venture of KHC, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Inc. and Bank of Scotland (now HBOS).

In overcoming legal obstacles and winning the right to recover the hidden payments, Prince Alwaleed has reaffirmed his strong belief in transparent and ethical business practices and has not wavered in his efforts to seek justice on behalf of the shareholders of FHR European Ventures."

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UAE pushes back 3.5m barrel crude oil target to 2020 |

"The UAE has pushed back its target date for producing 3.5 million barrels of crude oil per day from 2017 to 2020 due to some delays in its exploration and production sector, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
“There are delays in some of the upstream projects and the awarding process of some of the contracts that is causing a delay in the overall target,” one of the people told Dow Jones Newswires.
“A realistic timeframe for the 3.5 million barrels per day target would be 2020,” the person said."

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Lithuania's ambassador to EU warns of risk of not signing Association Agreement with Ukraine in Vilnius

"Lithuania's Permanent Representative to the EU, Ambassador Raimundas Karoblis has warned of the risk that the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement will not be signed at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, but still hopes that Kyiv will be able to demonstrate substantial progress in fulfilling the necessary conditions and the document will be signed.

The Lithuanian ambassador said this in Brussels on Monday, speaking about Lithuania's presidency of the EU Council, which starts on July 1.

"In order to sign the association agreement including a deep and comprehensive free trade area, Ukraine has yet to make significant progress. There is still time. But if Ukraine does not hurry, the EU will not do this either. Unless there is progress, there will be the risk that this Agreement will not be signed," Karoblis said.

However, the ambassador believes that there is still chance to move forward and get the result, which will create the conditions for the signing of the agreement."

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Enlargement: Europe's new frontier | The Economist

OF THE many horrors of the Yugoslav wars, the wanton destruction of the Croatian town of Vukovar by Serb artillery, as well as the expulsion or massacre of much of its population in 1991, was one of the worst. Europe was impotent to stop the bloodshed, despite the vainglorious claim by Jacques Poos, Luxembourg’s then foreign minister, that “the hour of Europe has dawned”. In the end, the wars were halted only by American-led military action and diplomacy.
Since then many, but not all, former residents have returned to Vukovar. Most buildings have been rebuilt, though the cratered water tower has been left as a reminder. These days sandbags are used only to hold back the waters of the swollen Danube. And Croatia’s hour has arrived: on July 1st it will become the 28th member of the European Union. The hour may even be approaching for the rest of the western Balkans. Serbia and Kosovo have struck a deal on the status of the Serb minority in the breakaway territory, and Serbia has been given a firm commitment that membership talks will start by next January. Kosovo will open talks on a “stabilisation and association agreement”, a first step. “Wow!” exclaims the European commissioner for enlargement, Stefan Fule. “Who would have thought this would be possible?”
There is no such elation in Vukovar. Membership offers some vindication: Croatia is now seen as part of Europe whereas, on the far bank of the Danube, Serbia remains in the Balkans. But there is much apprehension, even suspicion, about the change. Having won independence from centuries of rule by Bec (Serbo-Croat for Vienna), Budapest and Belgrade, nationalists do not now want to have to answer to Brussels.

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CEE industry: green shoots | beyondbrics

"Central Europe’s economies are showing some signs of a rebound in growth – the first decent news out of the region in months – according to purchasing managers index data for June released on Monday.

Hungary moved to 50.8 in June from 47.1 in May, above the 50-point mark that separates contraction from growth (although there are some questions about the reliability of Hungarian data). The Czech Republic rose to a 15-month high of 51 from 50.1 in May. Poland, the region’s largest economy, didn’t quite match that performance, rising to 49.3 from 48 in May, but it was the best result in months.

William Jackson, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, wrote:"

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Raymond J. Learsy: Is Saudi Arabia's Trojan Horse Spiking Gasoline Prices Americans Are Paying at the Pump?

"Sorry, this is going to be on the longish side. Consider the following one-year price fluctuations:

On June 27, 2012 the price for:
Gold - $1561.80/oz one year later $ 1235.50 oz.
Silver- $ 26.48/oz one year later $ 18.84 oz
Copper-$ 3.32/lb one year later $ 3.05 lb.
Wheat $ 7.32/bu one year later $ 6.72 bu.
Iron ore $ 143.9/tn one year later $ 115.30 tn

The erosion in commodity prices has been significant during the course of the past 12 months, with very few exceptions, but one stands out dramatically:

On June 27, 2012, the price for:
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil as traded pn the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) Group's owned New York Mercantile Exchange was-
$ 77.69/barrel
and one year later-
$ 97.05/barrel
an increase of near $20/barrel or 25 percent, having a direct bearing on the price of gasoline throughout the land."

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Gas Exporters to Defend Pricing as Courts Reject Oil Link - Bloomberg

"The world’s biggest natural gas exporters will seek to defend linking prices to the cost of oil even after courts ruled they overcharged customers and rising output from the U.S. to Australia challenges their dominance.
Tying gas costs to oil will dominate “in the long-term” as the system provides visibility and transparency for buyers, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum said before its second summit of heads of state today in Moscow. RWE AG (RWE) said June 27 an arbitration court ruled that Germany’s second-largest utility had paid Russia’s OAO Gazprom (GAZP) too much since May 2010 and forced the group’s biggest producer to add links to market prices in its formula.
Utilities are challenging the 40-year-old system after European market prices slumped below oil-linked contracts as the debt crisis cut demand for energy. State-controlled Gazprom has earmarked as much as 200 billion rubles ($6 billion) for potential rebates to European utilities this year. The estimate is higher than the 114 billion rubles set aside in 2012 and enough to meet all necessary payments, Chief Financial Officer Andrey Kruglov said June 27 in Moscow."

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Dubai's Emirates finds broad demand for aircraft lease deal - The Economic Times

"Dubai's flagship airline carrier Emirates last week raised $630 million through the issuance of enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETC) to fund the purchase of four Airbus A380 aircraft.

EETCs are secured financing, and are used by airline carriers to buy aircraft, mainly in the United States. Typically they are issued through a special purpose vehicle which assumes ownership of the aircraft and leases them out to the airline carrier.

The lease payments received by the SPV are then channelled to bondholders through coupon payments. "

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Kuwait's Kharafi Group eyes deals in Asia, Egypt -

"Kuwait family conglomerate the Kharafi Group, which has an annual turnover of around $5bn and is already active in 25 countries, is looking to Asia as its next target for investment, a senior family member told Arabian Business.
“Asia is a growing market but it is high risk... We are looking at a couple of opportunities there,” Bader Al Kharafi, a member of the executive council, told Arabian Business in an interview in the company’s headquarters in Kuwait City.
“You can be an investor or run and manage the company. We are looking at investments, maybe some private equity funds, those types of products where they have a good team... Transport, renewable energy and with what is happening in China we would definitely look at renewable energy. These are the sectors we think we could [invest].”"

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UAE Exchange India applies for banking license - The Economic Times

"UAE Exchange India, on Monday applied for a banking licence. The deadline to apply for a license is July 1 and over 40 applications have been received by the Reserve Bank of India so far.
Currently, UAE Exchange India operates as a non banking finance company. "We have been present in India since 1999 and we also have strong presence in all the countries, from where NRIs send money to their families in India,'' said B R Shetty, Chairman, UAE Exchange India.
We think it is a great opportunity to now service the Indian clients besides the NRI community. Our rich infrastructure, technological prowess and wide reach across the nation, are our strengths. We are certain that if given the license, we would be able to start our banking operations effectively within the stipulated time of 18 months," he said."

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Algosaibi Plans New Debt Offer After Biggest Mideast Default - Bloomberg

"Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. plans to make a new offer on $7.2 billion of debt to creditors including BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Standard Chartered Plc as it seeks to bounce back from the Middle East’s biggest corporate default.
The Saudi Arabian company, which runs a bottling plant for PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) products in the kingdom and has interests ranging from finance to shipping, will propose the new deal “in the coming months,” said Chief Executive Officer Simon Charlton. Creditors rejected a proposal from Algosaibi four years ago.
“The group wants to get back to focusing on business and gain access to credit markets,” Charlton, who is also Algosaibi’s chief restructuring officer, said in an interview in Dubai on June 27. “Our goal is to be able to reach a fair and reasonable solution with all banks, including foreign banks.”"

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EM stocks: cheap now? Not necessarily | beyondbrics

"With the MSCI EM index dead flat at the time of writing on Monday, it’s fair to say that a bit of stability has returned to the market.

So, with the index down 13 per cent this year, is it a time to buy? Not necessarily, says Dan Morris, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management: China and other big markets are down for a reason, while sorting the wheat from the chaff in the rest of the big barn of EM equities is as hard as ever.
Source: JPMorgan Asset Management

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Gazprom, Ukraine not negotiate on consortium - ForUm

"The negotiations on establishment of gas transportation consortium on basis of the gas transportation system of Ukraine are not conducted, head of "Gazprom" Alexei Miller told a news conference in Moscow at the end of the annual meeting of the company shareholders.

"There are no grounds for negotiations on consortium. To negotiate, it is necessary to make changes into Ukrainian legislation, it is necessary to amend a dozen of laws and regulations. This is not done until today," Miller said.

Miller informed that the outcome of the negotiations in the last week showed that Ukraine had not considered this issue at all."

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Poland: signing of association agreement with Ukraine at risk : Ukraine News by UNIAN

"The signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement at the November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius is at risk due to the Ukrainian government’s failure to fulfill the criteria put forward by the EU Council on December 10, 2012, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has said, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.
"We are worried that Ukraine might not fulfill the conditions on time," Radoslaw Sikorski said at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
The Polish diplomat noted that the Ukrainian parliament has neither passed the electoral law nor reformed what he referred to as "its Stalinist era prosecution service"."

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Indian industry: new orders weak | beyondbrics

"For the 55th month straight, the official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for India indicated slight growth, with a figure marginally above the no-change threshold of 50.

But dig below the headline figure, and the news is bleak for the Indian economy.

The Manufacturing PMI for the month of June came in at 50.3, up slightly from 50.1 in May.

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Times of Oman | News :: SDC raises OMR31.9m

"Following the closing of its successful Initial Public Offer (IPO), the Sharqiyah Desalination Company (SDC) yesterday announced the listing of its shares on the Muscat Security Market (MSM) under the code SHRQ. The opening price was OMR3.127 per share, while the offer price was OMR1.063 per share, which was an increase of 194 per cent.
This IPO, which was offered to individual investors, attracted an overwhelming demand. 

Xavier Joseph, CEO, Sharqiyah Desalination Company said, "The IPO has been a real success and has evoked strong interest among  investors. The total number of shares offered was 2,282,051, which was covered 13.1 times. The subscription amount was OMR31.9 million against the IPO size of OMR2.42 million."

Joseph further said, "Sharqiyah region needs more water in 2015 and 2016 for expansion, and if we want to be ready at the beginning of 2015, we need to finalise an agreement with the Omani authorities by the end of the year."

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Abu Dhabi oil, gas and UAE economic miracle - Khaleej Times

"Abu Dhabi is one of the Arab world’s leading energy hubs, with more than 100 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves and three per cent of current global production.
Even through successive rulers of Abu Dhabi granted onshore and offshore concessions to various international oil consortia as far back as 1939, the establishment of Adnoc in 1971, the year the UAE Federation was also born, inaugurated the modern oil and gas development era in the emirate.
Total, BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil were the global oil super majors who partnered with Adnoc local offshore operating companies ADMA and OPCO in the upstream development of Abu Dhabi’s coastal oilfields. Later, Japan Oil Development Company (JODCO) was awarded a concession in the Upper Zakum oilfield. In the 1970s, Adnoc established subsidiaries for the development of major gas projects with global super majors, primarily to liquefy offshore gas and export it as LNG."

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Noor Islamic Bank executes $1.4b mandates in Turkey |

"Noor Islamic Bank has completed Islamic capital market mandates valued at over $1.4 billion (Dh5.14 billion) in the past six months in Turkey, cementing its position as the leading GCC bank executing Shari’a compliant syndicated facilities in Turkey.
In its latest foray into the Turkish market, as an initial mandated lead arranger and joint bookrunner, Noor successfully closed a $500 million equivalent dual-currency Murabaha facility for Türkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi. Launched at $250 million, the syndicated loan was oversubscribed two times.
The facility, which saw the participation of 28 banks from across the globe, was structured as a Shari’a compliant dual currency, dual tranche facility with tenors of one year and two years."

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A reminder of need for bankruptcy law - The National

"The extraordinary generosity of Indian businessman Firoz Merchant - who has spent millions of dirhams to get indebted foreigners out of prison and pay for their flights home - deserves applause. But it also underlines the challenge in the UAE's financial and legal system.

Mr Merchant has evoked the spirit of Ramadan with his latest gift, which will see the release of another 500 inmates who have served their sentences but have remained in prison because they could not pay their debts. He has spent Dh3.7 million over the past few years to help thousands of people. And he has plans to help many more before the year is out.

"One prisoner is equal to one family back home," he told The National. "They are the bread earners, so the longer they stay in jail, the more the family suffers.""

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UAE stock and bond markets so far in 2013: the best of times, the worst of times - The National

"It is rare that a single six-month period contains some of the best market performance in years, and also the very worst. The first half of this year meant both for some traders.

Spreads tightened dramatically in the early months of the year, allowing the Dubai Government to raise a 10-year sukuk at a cheaper rate than Italy paid at the time.

Last month, the UAE and Qatar secured a long-anticipated upgrade to MSCI Emerging Markets status, which is expected to bring at least US$800 million in inflows from passive funds that are compelled to track the index."

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GlobalFoundries chip plant expansion - The National

"GlobalFoundries plans to extend one of its semiconductor chip fabrication plants in Singapore to increase wafer production capacity.

The extension is likely to be completed by the end of next year. Fab 7 has a production capacity of 50,000 silicon wafers a month but once the extension is completed, it will have a production capacity of 1 million 300-millimetre wafers per year.

Once the extension is completed, GlobalFoundries' Singapore facilities will be able to produce almost 3 million 200 and 300-millimetre (mm) wafers a year for the 40-95 nanometre (nm) silicon chips."

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Gulf states take harder line with EU over free-trade agreement - The National

"The stakes have been raised in attempts to revive talks between the GCC and the European Union over a free-trade agreement after Arabian Gulf states threatened not to renew a cooperation deal between the two blocs.

The GCC will not sign a new joint cooperation programme with the EU that involves sharing information on topics ranging from finance to climate change until both sides resolve differences over a trade agreement, the Kuwait News Agency quoted Ghanim Al Buainain, Bahrain's minister of state for foreign affairs, as saying. The current three-year programme is due to lapse this year.

Mr Al Buainain was speaking ahead of the GCC-EU Joint Ministerial Council meeting in Manama yesterday to discuss issues including the trade deal and the conflict in Syria."

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Regulation alone won't ensure best practices in UAE companies - The National

"It is said that the formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution. Using the same logic, before going about tackling the issue of corporate transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms, we must first define and frame the problems our corporate landscape faces in a regionally relevant context.

Wikipedia defines corruption as "spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal". It is fair to say that different regions and markets of the world have varying perceptions of what is considered ideal or immoral when it comes to business practices. This phenomenon is not one that separates developed markets from frontier or developing markets; there are indeed considerable differences even among the world's most established markets."

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Bahrain economic growth accelerates strongly in first quarter | Reuters

"Bahrain's economic growth accelerated strongly in the first quarter of 2013, helped by a revival of oil output, official data showed on Sunday.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, expanded 2.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, compared to a downwardly revised 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

On an annual basis, growth quickened to 4.2 percent in the first three months of 2013, the highest rate in a year, from a downwardly revised 2.5 percent in the previous quarter, the data from the Central Informatics Organization showed."

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