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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Gazprom Revises Supply Deal With GDF Suez | Business | The Moscow Times

Gazprom Revises Supply Deal With GDF Suez | Business | The Moscow Times:

"Gazprom and France's GDF Suez have agreed to revise the terms of their long-term contract, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Though no agreement has yet been signed, and details of the new terms are being kept secret, GDF Suez's deputy president, Jean-Francois Cirelli, said the new conditions were "very comfortable" for his company.

The major change concerns an increase in supplies of gas, the price of which is tethered to the spot market, an unidentified source close to GDF Suez told Vedomosti."

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Europeans press Ukraine's leader to accept deal on Tymoshenko, in return for trade pact | Reuters

Europeans press Ukraine's leader to accept deal on Tymoshenko, in return for trade pact | Reuters:

A poster, displaying former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R), 
is seen during a rally held by supporters of Ukrainian opposition parties in Kiev May 18, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich
He might be ready to let her out. But he can't afford to let her back.

As deadlines near on the future of Ukraine's ties with Europe, President Viktor Yanukovich is under pressure to put aside personal animosity and let his jailed opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, go to Germany for medical treatment.

Softening Yanukovich's hardline stance on his arch-rival is seen as crucial if Ukraine is to secure the signing of landmark agreements, including a free trade deal, with the European Union at a November summit."

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The heavy price of reconstructing the demographics of Saudi Arabia's construction sector | Al Bawaba

The heavy price of reconstructing the demographics of Saudi Arabia's construction sector | Al Bawaba:

"575,000 corrections to visa statuses has not been enough to stall the labour market and the reverberating aftershocks have rocked the sector.

There is estimated to be 12 million expatriates to be working in Saudi Arabia, or at least there used to be. Official figures are currently vague as to how many people have been forced to leave the Kingdom since it introduced a crackdown on the black market for labour but current best guesses stand in the region of one million.

You don’t have to be a maths genius to realise that almost 10% of the expat workforce has flown the country before being forced to pay fines or, worse, find themselves in prison."

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UAE banks enjoy ample liquidity and funding alternatives |

UAE banks enjoy ample liquidity and funding alternatives |

"Top UAE banks paying off the emergency loans they previously took from the Ministry of Finance is a sign they now have ample liquidity and funding alternatives, according to banking industry experts.
The UAE banks landed in a serious liquidity squeeze, after foreign banks withdrew Dh100 billion worth of funds from the local banks placed with them to make quick gains from the much-anticipated de-pegging of the UAE dirham from the US greenback, which did not happen. That move coincided with the global financial crisis that forced international banks to withdraw their surplus funds, deposits and investments from international markets, to boost their shrinking liquidity at home.
The Central Bank of the UAE and the Ministry of Finance in total made available Dh120 billion to the local banks to provide the much-needed liquidity boost. In October 2008, the finance ministry poured Dh25 billion into bank deposits to boost liquidity at banks, the first tranche of the Dh70 billion rescue facility. It deposited another Dh25 billion into banks in November the same year."

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Leighton bracing for Qatar legal row | The Australian

Leighton bracing for Qatar legal row | The Australian:

"THE troubled Middle Eastern subsidiary of construction giant Leighton Holdings has launched legal action against a company controlled by one of the most powerful sheiks in Qatar following a dispute over a $US325 million ($365m) construction project in Doha.

For the past seven years, Habtoor Leighton (HLG) has been building the Doha City Centre Expansion, which involves the construction of five hotel towers, including Renaissance, Marriott and Shangri-La properties, with a direct link to the existing Doha City Centre Mall, one of the largest malls in the Gulf.

Stage three of the project is almost complete but a dispute erupted last month when a company controlled by Sheik Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, Al Faisal Holding, sought to unexpectedly cash-in performance bonds on the project that are worth about $100m."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rises to 5-month high on political compromise hopes | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rises to 5-month high on political compromise hopes | Reuters:

"Egypt's bourse surged to a five-month high on Sunday as signs that supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi might be willing to compromise with the interim government raised hopes for a political resolution after weeks of street violence.

A spokesman for a pro-Mursi delegation said it wanted a solution that would "respect all popular desires", a sign that supporters could be backing away from demands to reinstate Mursi.

Also, the weekend passed without major violence. Many investors had been concerned there could be more bloodshed if the army took action against Mursi supporters protesting on the streets; security forces shot dead 80 of them a week ago."

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Bahrain's Al Baraka Bank Q2 net rises 11 pct | Reuters

Bahrain's Al Baraka Bank Q2 net rises 11 pct | Reuters:

"Bahrain-based Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group said on Sunday that its net income for the second quarter totalled $42 million, up 11 percent from the prior-year period.

The company reported net income for the first six months of the year attributable to equity holders of $79 million, up 12 percent.

Total assets rose 2 percent during the first half of 2013 compared to the end of 2012; they stood at $19.5 billion at end-June."

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Egypt Stocks Rise to 5-Month High on Rate Cut; Saudi Index Gains - Bloomberg

Egypt Stocks Rise to 5-Month High on Rate Cut; Saudi Index Gains - Bloomberg:

"Egypt stocks headed for the highest close in five months on bets the central bank’s first interest rates cut in four years will help boost economic growth.
The benchmark EGX 30 Index surged 2.5 percent to 5,508.78, poised for the highest since Feb. 27, at 12:29 p.m. in Cairo. The measure has gained 0.9 percent this year, compared with a jump of 17 percent for the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, of the biggest companies in the Persian Gulf. Six of October Development & Investment climbed 5.7 percent, leading the list of 27 gainers, while Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE, the country’s biggest publicly traded lender, surged to the highest since January.
The central bank cut the benchmark deposit and lending rates to address “downside risks” to the economic growth outlook and reduced the rates by 50 basis points to 9.25 percent and 10.25 percent, respectively. The cut will probably boost banks and other financials, Cairo-based EFG-Hermes Holding SAE said in an e-mailed report today. The Egyptian economy is facing its worst economic slump in two decades, with the median of 17 economists estimating growth this year of 2.1 percent."

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Aldar Climbs to Three-Year High on Results Bet: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg

Aldar Climbs to Three-Year High on Results Bet: Abu Dhabi Mover - Bloomberg:

"Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) rose to the highest in more than three years on investor bets Abu Dhabi’s largest property developer will report better-than-expected earnings after acquiring a competitor in June.
The shares, which have more than doubled this year, jumped 7.7 percent to 2.95 dirhams, the highest since June 2010, at the close in the emirate. The stock was the biggest gainer on Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI), which increased 0.2 percent, bringing the gauge’s surge in 2013 to 49 percent.
Aldar completed the acquisition of Sorouh Real Estate Co. in June, creating a company with $13 billion in assets, and is set to announce this week the first earnings for the combined entity. The company will report on Aug. 6 second-quarter profit of 335 million dirhams ($91 million), according to Securities and Investment Co. estimates on Bloomberg, after profit of 154.3 million dirhams in the first quarter. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR) on July 29 said second-quarter earnings rose 10 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, as Dubai’s largest developer completed previously delayed projects."

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Dana Gas Quarterly Profit Falls 45 Percent on Lower Oil Price - Bloomberg

Dana Gas Quarterly Profit Falls 45 Percent on Lower Oil Price - Bloomberg:

"Dana Gas PJSC (DANA), an oil and natural gas producer forced to restructure debt last year, said second-quarter profit fell 45 percent as selling prices declined and damage at a production unit in Iraq cut output.
Net income dropped to 100 million dirhams ($27 million) from 181 million dirhams in the same period a year ago, the company said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange today. Revenue fell 12 percent to 389 million dirhams.
Dana Gas, based in the United Arab Emirates sheikhdom of Sharjah, changed terms of about $1 billion in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, last year after the Egyptian and Iraqi governments delayed payments for fuel sales. The global financial crisis and the company’s inability to find buyers for minority stakes in some of its fields also hampered efforts to refinance."

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Saudi Arabia to spend $800 mln on land for Riyadh metro | Reuters

Saudi Arabia to spend $800 mln on land for Riyadh metro | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia plans to spend about 3 billion riyals ($800 million) acquiring land in Riyadh to build the capital's first metro rail system, the official in charge of the project told Reuters.

"This is already budgeted and we are talking about 3 billion riyals compensation for the land to be acquired," said Ibrahim Bin Muhammad Al Sultan, president of the Arriyadh Development Authority, the state body handling the project.

"The land is already chosen and the teams already started the process three months ago.""

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Week Ahead, Aug 4 – 9 | beyondbrics

Week Ahead, Aug 4 – 9 | beyondbrics:

"Coming up this week: results from Tata Motors, Rangold, Standard Chartered and HSBC; China inflation and Russia GDP; and IEA and Opec monthly oil reports.

August 4
New Iranian president Hassan Rohani takes office

August 5
Hang Seng Bank H1

Economic data
Argentina car production for July
Romania interest rate decision
Malaysia trade balance for June
Turkey July inflation
Russia July inflation"

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The GCC's innovators: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait lead the Middle East's innovation index | Al Bawaba

The GCC's innovators: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait lead the Middle East's innovation index | Al Bawaba:

"The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait lead the Middle East in overall innovation performance according to the Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII), published by Cornell University, INSEAD, the leading international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

This year's study benefits from the experience of its Knowledge Partners: Booz & Company, the Confederation of Indian Industry, du and Huawei, as well as an advisory board of 14 international experts.

Despite the economic crisis, innovation is alive and well. Research and development spending levels are surpassing 2008 levels in most countries and successful local hubs are thriving."

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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala among UAE firms targeting Serbian deals - Industries -

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala among UAE firms targeting Serbian deals - Industries -

"Following Etihad Airways’ acquisition of a 49 percent stake in the Serbian national carrier, Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala is among a number of UAE companies in talks to help boost trade and investment between the two countries to nearly $3bn.
Etihad announced last week it had bought a 49 percent of Jat Airways, which has been rebranded as Air Serbia, and would invest up to $100m into the loss-making airline in a bid to return it to profitability.
The “groundbreaking deal” is part of wider investment in the central European country by the UAE. Earlier this year, the Gulf state made the largest investment in Serbia in more than 30 years, aimed at helping to lift the Balkans state out of a deep recession."

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BBC News - Little Chef sold to Kuwaiti firm

BBC News - Little Chef sold to Kuwaiti firm:

"The Little Chef restaurant chain has been sold to a Kuwaiti-owned business.

Turnaround specialists RCapital put the company up for sale in April and had warned about its future.

It has been taken over by the UK arm of Kout Food Group, which already runs more than 40 Burger King and KFC outlets in the UK as well as the Maison Blanc brand."

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MENACORP builds UAE's largest brokerage team -

MENACORP builds UAE's largest brokerage team - Business Intelligence Middle East - - News, analysis, reports:

"MENACORP, the UAE’s leading investment bank, has announced that it has recruited several high-profile senior professionals to its brokerage division operating in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to increase its total of front-office brokerage professionals to 35.

The premier financial services group now has the largest brokerage force in the country and one of the largest in the MENA region.

The Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority requires a minimum of two brokers per brokerage firm; most of the UAE’s 50 locally-based firms currently employ a maximum of four. MENACORP’s brokerage team is thus far above both the industry standard and actual practice and will exceptionally drive its sales capabilities moving forward."

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Key partner in UAE's food security strategy looks to Latin America - The National

Key partner in UAE's food security strategy looks to Latin America - The National:

"Al Dahra Agriculture, a private-sector partner of the UAE Government in securing key food staples, is targeting investments in coffee and sugar plantations in Latin America, said the company's vice chairman.

It follows the company buying stakes in recent weeks in Kohinoor Foods, one of India's biggest basmati rice producers, and Loulis Mills, the largest flour producer in Greece.

"We need to be in Latin America," said Khadim Al Darei, the vice chairman of Al Dahra. "We have trading there but need investment. We are looking at three countries: Brazil; Colombia; and Chile. We are thinking about coffee, this is a strategic item the UAE needs, and maybe sugar cane as we're building a sugar refinery in the UAE.""

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Hopes of agreement spark stock rally in Palestine - The National

Hopes of agreement spark stock rally in Palestine - The National:

"The head of the Palestine Exchange says hopes of a US$4 billion peace dividend has fuelled a stock rally over the past month ahead of restarted talks between Palestinian and Israeli officials.

"We are having our best week ever: prices and liquidity are both up," said Ahmad Aweidah, the chief executive at the Nablus-based bourse. "People understand that if peace talks move in a positive way, economically, there's a huge package involved: there is going to be $4bn of investment in big infrastructure projects that will be mostly targeted towards the private sector."

Shares of the bellwether Paltel,the biggest telecoms operator in Palestine, have jumped 5.6 per cent since July 7, to close at 5.04 Jordanian dinars each on Thursday. The Palestine Stock Exchange Index has risen 5 per cent to 475.28 over the same period. Liquidity has jumped from an average value of $700,000 a day to $2 million a day."

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Saudi’s mighty innovative projects |

Saudi’s mighty innovative projects |

"The infrastructure in Saudi Arabia is rapidly becoming sophisticated and more forward looking. Initiatives include a novel metro project in the capital city of Riyadh plus emphasis on renewable energy sources. Other measures entail privatisation of the national airliner and allowing licensed foreign carriers the right to operate in the domestic market.
Undoubtedly, some projects like that of a novel metro system in Riyadh are ostensibly overdue. Still, late is better than never.
Recently, three foreign-led consortia won separate design and construct contracts for the Riyadh Metro Project at the prohibitive cost of US$22.5 billion. Work on the 176-km project is due to start in early 2014, with completion in four years time."

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Times of Oman | News :: Omani banks' domestic assets surge 18.8% year-on-year basis in May

Times of Oman | News :: Omani banks' domestic assets surge 18.8% year-on-year basis in May:

"At the end of May 2013, broad money (M2) when measured on a year-on-year basis had increased by 9.4 per cent to OMR11.26 billion, compared to 10.29 billion same time last year.

Narrow money stock (M1), comprising currency held by the public and local currency demand deposits, expanded by 10.2 per cent to OMR3.64 billion at the end of May 2013. Quasi money — RO savings and time deposits, certificates of deposits issued by commercial banks, margin deposits and foreign currency denominated deposits — increased by 9.0 per cent to OMR7.61 billion in May 2013, compared to OMR6.99 billion the previous year. The key drivers for monetary expansion during the period were the increase in domestic assets, which rose by 18.8 per cent, followed by net foreign assets of the banking system that rose by 3.7 per cent. "

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Saudi, UAE seek cash for $1.5bn solar shift

Saudi, UAE seek cash for $1.5bn solar shift:

An Emirati man stands on a balcony overlooking the Shams 1, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, in al-Gharibiyah district on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi on March 17 during the inauguration of the facility (file). Renewables investment in the Middle East and North Africa rose 40% last year to $2.9bn, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Two of the largest oil producers are readying the Middle East’s first big push into renewable energy, planning solar-power plants that will need more than $1.5bn in financing by the end of 2014.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the UAE, fourth-biggest in the group, are seeking to add 1,000MW of solar capacity, enough to electrify 200,000 homes. The forecast expansion, which includes Jordan, will require loans and export credits, said Vahid Fotuhi, president of the Dubai-based Emirates Solar Industry Association.

Governments across the Middle East and North Africa consider sun and wind energy as crucial for meeting the needs of growing populations and economies, with Saudi Arabia leading the way. Oil-producers want to develop renewables to conserve more crude for export, while countries relying on imported fuel see local green power as a cheaper alternative. State support for utilities and a growth in regional power demand of about 5% a year mean companies such as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co can borrow at rates that are 100 basis points, or 1 percentage point, lower than Spain’s Abengoa Solar."

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Saudi Gazette - Shale shake-up rattles oil sector

Saudi Gazette - Shale shake-up rattles oil sector:

"A very interesting, engrossing lively and captivating debate is gripping the oil Kingdom. Effect of the emerging global shale revolution, and its impact on the oil rich region, is now under hammer here too. Consequences of this evolving revolution could indeed be far reaching – touching not only the economy and the socio-political arena of the oil producing countries, but the regional, and indeed, global geopolitics too. The entire fabric may undergo a transition. 

The debate has been raging within the energy fraternity in Riyadh and Dhahran for some time now, but, last week’s tweet by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has launched the issue in public domain. Indeed it is not every day that Prince Alwaleed picks up energy issues. For at least publicly this is not his domain. But indeed with massive investments throughout the region and beyond, the prince is not immune to this changing picture.

A new global energy order – starkly different to the existing order – is very much in the making, Prince Alwaleed is now underlining."

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Qatar: lifting or piercing the corporate veil

Qatar: lifting or piercing the corporate veil:

"Limited Liability Companies (“LLCs”), established pursuant to Law No(5) of 2002 as amended (the “Companies Law”), are the most common vehicles used by foreign investors wishing to invest or conduct business in Qatar.

LLCs have traditionally been seen as a safe option by foreign investors who are familiar with the general principle of the “corporate veil”, a legal concept which separates the personality of a limited liability corporate entity from the personalities of its investors.

Investors rely on this concept to limit their liability to the amount each invested in the LLC, except in exceptional circumstances, generally involving fraud. "

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