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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Qatar fund quietly builds $1bn Bank of America stake - FT.com

Qatar fund quietly builds $1bn Bank of America stake - FT.com:

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has quietly built a stake worth about $1bn in Bank of America, the country’s second-biggest bank, as it seeks exposure to the US economic recovery, people familiar with the plans said.
Qatar Holding, the direct investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority, started to buy BofA shares about two years ago but bought more as the bank’s share price fell to $7-$8 last year, a person close to the fund said. The stock is now trading above $14.
Gulf sovereign wealth funds invested tens of billions of dollars in some of the world’s biggest banks at the height of the financial crisis. Five years later, however, some of those investments have performed poorly while others have been scrutinised for the way in which they were structured."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi telcos boost index; Egypt up after Islamist leader arrest | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi telcos boost index; Egypt up after Islamist leader arrest | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's bourse snapped a three-session losing streak on Wednesday after two of its top telecom operators posted estimate-beatings earnings and lifted sentiment, while Egyptian shares rallied in mixed regional markets.

Saudi Telecom Co (STC) jumped 7.4 percent to its highest since April 2010 after its third-quarter profit comfortably beat estimates.

The firm attributed a 73 percent rise in profit to a jump in cost savings.

"The main focus should be on cost efficiencies and if it can be sustained going forward," said Omar Maher, equity research analyst at Cairo's EFG Hermes."

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UPDATE 1-Ukraine to sign $10 billion shale deal with Chevron | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Ukraine to sign $10 billion shale deal with Chevron | Reuters:

"Ukraine said on Wednesday it will sign a $10 billion shale gas production-sharing agreement with U.S. energy major Chevron next week - its second such deal this year.

Ecology Minister Oleh Proskuryakov said the deal for exploration and extraction at the Olesska site in western Ukraine, which follows one signed with Royal Dutch Shell earlier this year, would be signed next Tuesday at a regional economic forum in the capital Kiev.

Deputies in western Ukraine cleared the way for a deal when a majority voted in favour of the government's plans for exploration at Olesska, overcoming opposition from local lobby groups concerned at possible ecological damage from the project."

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Foot in the door: Russian retailer Obuv Rossii plans IPO | beyondbrics

Foot in the door: Russian retailer Obuv Rossii plans IPO | beyondbrics:

"A Siberian retailer that began selling mid-priced shoes in Russian regions a decade ago is growing so fast that there is local talk of the company becoming “the Magnit of footwear”. Obuv Rossii now plans to go public offering investors a foot in the door to one of Russia’s most buoyant consumer sectors.

Obuv Rossii announced plans on Wednesday to proceed with an initial public offering on the Moscow Exchange to raise funds to support further expansion.

Alor Invest, the Russian investment group, has been appointed lead bookrunner for the listing. Other members of the syndicate are being selected."

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Want the best expat experience? Head for Asia | beyondbrics

Want the best expat experience? Head for Asia | beyondbrics:

"Beyondbrics is sometimes a little sceptical of surveys, but here’s one that caught our eye. Where is the best place to be an expat? A comfortable European capital perhaps?

Apparently not. Forget any worries of smog, monsoons or congestion: Thailand tops HSBC’s Expat Experience league table, with China close behind. Even India is in the top 10. What’s going on?

Apparently, the survey of 7,000 expats worldwide revealed that expats across Asia were more likely to enjoy a better social life, with 35 per cent of expats based in the region saying they have a more active social life since relocating, compared with the global average of only 26 per cent.

Leave your preconceptions at home, it would seem. China’s smog and India’s reputation for requiring tough stomachs seem to not have made a dent in the apparent good time had by expats."

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Abu Dhabi's Aldar eyes rentals, smaller projects post-merger | Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Aldar eyes rentals, smaller projects post-merger | Reuters:

"Aldar Properties ALDR.AD, Abu Dhabi's biggest real estate developer, will focus on rental income and smaller projects instead of large developments in order to avoid the risk of becoming overstretched again, a senior executive said.

Majority state-owned Aldar piled on debt after being tasked with building trophy assets for the Abu Dhabi government, including a Formula One circuit, the Yas Island entertainment district and lavish waterfront developments.

Then the company and other developers were hit hard when a property bubble burst in 2008-2010, pushing real estate prices down by more than 50 percent. The government stepped in with a $10 billion rescue for Aldar and last year moved to merge Aldar with smaller rival Sorouh Real Estate to create a business with $13 billion of assets."

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Egypt’s Real Challenge: Reviving the Economy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Egypt’s Real Challenge: Reviving the Economy - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

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UAE bank profit rises just do not justify the huge hikes in share prices this year « ArabianMoney

UAE bank profit rises just do not justify the huge hikes in share prices this year « ArabianMoney:

"
The bellwether National Bank of Abu Dhabi posted its third quarter results yesterday with a below expectations 15 per cent fall in profits to $282 million. In the first nine months of the year NBAD increased its total profit by 14 per cent to almost $1 billion. But its share price is up by 40 per cent this year.

Do the profit increases now coming in at UAE banks actually justify the huge hikes in their share prices that we have seen on the Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange?"

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Unsettling times at UBS - YouTube

Unsettling times at UBS - YouTube:

"Third quarter numbers were ugly for UBS and there was more bad news from the regulators. Lex's Nikki Tait and Oliver Ralph discuss the latest developments at one of Europe's biggest banks.


"

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Chocolate Factory, Trade War Victim - NYTimes.com

Chocolate Factory, Trade War Victim - NYTimes.com:

"
Joseph Sywenkyj for The New York Times
Inspecting chocolate-covered hazelnuts at the Roshen factory in Kiev, Ukraine. The sweets are banned in Russia.
From the Baltic to the Black Sea, a chocolate wall has descended across the continent of Europe.

The output of the sprawling brick factory, formerly known as the Karl Marx chocolate works, has never before been so hard to sell in Russia. Since July, when Russian regulators banned all chocolate, cake, cookie and candy imports from its Ukrainian parent company, Roshen, ostensibly over health concerns, production at the plant here has plummeted 14 percent.

“It’s not pleasant at all to be in this situation,” Viacheslav Moskalevskyi, the president of Roshen, Ukraine’s largest confectionery company, said in an interview."

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Mubadala GE Capital eyes bond sales, expansion | GulfNews.com

Mubadala GE Capital eyes bond sales, expansion | GulfNews.com:

"An $8 billion (Dh29.4 billion) commercial finance joint venture between General Electric Co. (GE) and Abu Dhabi’s government-owned development fund Mubadala is preparing to get a credit rating and sell bonds for the first time next year as the business transitions to a self-funded model and eyes expansion across the Middle East and Africa.
Mubadala GE Capital, as the venture is called, is a cornerstone of Abu Dhabi’s drive to develop its local financial sector and give training to citizens looking at careers in the field. It is also a crucial part of a broader effort to wean the emirate’s economy off oil by partnering with leading global companies to spur private sector activity.
The coming bond issue and geographic expansion represent the next major stage in Mubadala GE Capital’s evolution since it began operations almost four years ago. GE and Mubadala each allocated $4 billion of equity to the company when it launched."

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Real estate shares take a beating on new UAE mortgage rules | GulfNews.com

Real estate shares take a beating on new UAE mortgage rules | GulfNews.com:

"Property developer’s shares took a beating on Tuesday after the new UAE Central Bank regulations on mortgage exposures on property purchases in bid to tame price increases.
Expatriates will get 75 per cent of the property value while the UAE nationals will get 80 per cent for first investment of less than Dh5 million. The regulatory bank has set the upper limit on mortgages for second purchases at 60 per cent of a property’s value.
The cap would ensure that speculation was brought down to manageable levels and more importantly, it would curb access to easy money."

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UAE’s new mortgage cap rules are welcome | The National

UAE’s new mortgage cap rules are welcome | The National:

"The UAE has learnt the lessons of the global economic crisis by introducing measures to protect its property market and prevent reckless borrowing. As The National reports today, after almost 12 months of negotiations with local lenders, the UAE Central Bank has issued its rules for mortgage caps, which will effectively restrict how much a homebuyer can borrow against the purchase price of a property.

The new rules will restrict loans to 80 per cent of the property’s value for UAE nationals and to 75 per cent for expatriates. In addition, loan repayments should not exceed 50 per cent of the borrower’s monthly income. The maximum loan that can be provided to those buying property off-plan is 50 per cent of the purchase price."

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Ports operator DP World handles record cargo volume | The National

Ports operator DP World handles record cargo volume | The National:

"DP World handled a record volume of cargo in the UAE during the third quarter.

The government-controlled company, the world’s third-largest ports operator, said 3.6 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) was shipped through Jebel Ali, representing a 5.4 per cent increase, while volumes for the nine months to September exceeded 10 million TEU for the first time.

“Our flagship UAE operation has recorded the best quarter in its history, reflecting the continued growth in Dubai, the UAE and the wider region,” said the DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem."

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Just Falafel brings in Arqaam Capital for IPO guidance | The National

Just Falafel brings in Arqaam Capital for IPO guidance | The National:

"Just Falafel, the UAE-based fast-food chain, has hired Arqaam Capital as the lead adviser on its initial public offering on the Nasdaq Dubai.

“The valuation work is under process and we expect a listing by the end of the year,” said a source familiar with the deal.

Arqaam, the Dubai-based investment bank, and Just Falafel declined to comment when contacted by The National. The work on the share sale is also understood to involve Menacorp, an Abu Dhabi investment company. Menacorp also declined to comment."

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Nasdaq Addition Seen Boosting VimpelCom: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg

Nasdaq Addition Seen Boosting VimpelCom: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg:

"VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP), Russia’s third-biggest mobile carrier, is poised for the biggest monthly gain since August 2012 on prospects its inclusion in the Nasdaq benchmark index will bolster demand for the shares.
American depositary receipts of VimpelCom have rallied 21 percent to $14.22 in October. The shares added 1.1 percent yesterday. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in New York fell for a third day, led by OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel (NILSY), which settled at the narrowest premium to the Moscow-listed shares in four days. RTS stock index futures decreased 0.1 percent to 148,570 in U.S. hours."

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Prague Stocks Jump Most in 21 Months as Election Halts Tax Push - Bloomberg

Prague Stocks Jump Most in 21 Months as Election Halts Tax Push - Bloomberg:

"Czech shares surged the most since January 2012 as political parties promising to raise company taxes failed to gain control of parliament in general elections.
The PX (PX) index jumped 2.7 percent, the biggest gain among 94 global gauges tracked by Bloomberg after Cyprus and Venezuela. Komercni Banka AS, a unit of Societe Generale SA, increased 4.1 percent to a record 4,690 by the close in Prague as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG recommended buying the stock. Power utility CEZ AS added 6.5 percent, its best day since 2009. Czech sovereign bonds gained while the koruna fell.
The Social Democrats, or CSSD, and Communists, who planned to increase taxes on utilities and banks, received a combined 88 of parliament’s 200 seats in the Oct. 25-26 election, after most opinion polls favored the two parties to get a majority. Having won the vote with 50 seats, the CSSD is now seeking to rule with the support of billionaire Andrej Babis’s pro-business ANO party, which rejects higher taxes, and the Christian Democrats."

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