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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Poland pushing to revive shale gas dreams - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE

Poland pushing to revive shale gas dreams - BUSINESS NEW EUROPE:

"Following a long delay that has seen investors dropping out of the Polish push for shale gas, the country's new environment minister said on November 26 that a draft law to regulate exploration and extraction will be sent to the cabinet for approval before the end of the year. Poland is clearly pushing to revive it's shale gas dreams, but news is still awaited on a tax regime.

Maciej Grabowski, who is due to be sworn in on November 27 alongside several other new cabinet appointments following a shuffle, insisted that speeding up the extraction of shale gas is a priority. Alongside disappointing test drilling results, the lack of a regulatory framework has been one of the major issues behind a severe slowdown in Polish plans for shale gas.

"I believe that one can achieve environmental goals by tying them to economic goals in a way more friendly for investors," Grabowski told newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. "We would like the law facilitating investment in shale to be passed as soon as possible to reduce the potential risk for investors," he said. "

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Moscow negotiates 12 billion dollar contract with Saudi Arabia

Moscow negotiates 12 billion dollar contract with Saudi Arabia:

"Russia is currently negotiating a weapons sale with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, worth 12 billion dollars.

A delegation, conducted by Russian Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers went to Cairo on the 13th and 14th of November 2013  [1]. Moscow proposed the sale of USD 2 billion worth of anti-aircraft protection material (pictured : the S-400 Triumph). However, with Egypt being bankrupt, Saudi Arabia could step in to place the order.

The rest of the negotiation concerns material intended for Riyadh. The international press interprets this move as a Saudi strategy to show its displeasure with Washington’s Syrian and Iranian politic. However, it could also be that Riyadh now feels threatened by the United-States."

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Moody’s Upgrades Rosneft’s Subsidiaries To Baa1 Eurasia Review

Moody’s Upgrades Rosneft’s Subsidiaries To Baa1 Eurasia Review:

"The Moody’s rating agency has today upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2 the issuer rating of Rosneft International Holdings Limited (formerly TNK-BP International Ltd.) and of its guaranteed subsidiary Rosneft Finance S.A. (former TNK Finance S.A.) under the issue of eurobonds.

The decision to upgrade the rating has been taken after a range of meetings with the company’s top management where the agency’s representatives were briefed on the key parameters of the Rosneft’s medium-term strategy and the successful integration of acquired assets. The company also confirmed its intention to manage debt obligations in due time and in full measure, which is secured by the high level of liquidity."

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Dubai Beats Out Ekaterinburg, Izmir and Sao Paulo to Win 2020 World Expo | Business | The Moscow Times

Dubai Beats Out Ekaterinburg, Izmir and Sao Paulo to Win 2020 World Expo | Business | The Moscow Times:

"The United Arab Emirates city of Dubai has been selected over  Brazil, Russia and Turkey to host the 2020 World Expo, in a victory for investment, tourism and national pride.

The Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, Ekaterinburg in Russia, Izmir in Turkey and Dubai were in the running to host the next world's fair, which was decided in a vote by the 168 members of the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions.

In Dubai, crowds of hundreds of people were waiting for the result in front of big screens outside the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.

World Expos, which participating countries use to showcase technological prowess, culture and architecture, are held every five years for six months. Milan will host the next one in 2015."

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Dubai gets cracking with stalled projects |

Dubai gets cracking with stalled projects |

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • The Department of Economic Development. The sharp upturn in Dubai’s real estate momentum has made reviving delayed projects a viable option for investors.
With new investors coming on board with sizeable funds, the Dubai Land Department is “fast-tracking” the revival of stalled projects under its Tanmiya scheme and simultaneously making sure end-user interests are seen to be taken care of, according to market sources. At the peak of the downturn, there were as many as 150-200 projects stalled at various stages and which had buyer funds sunk into them.
“There is such a heightened level of investor interest in reviving projects that there aren’t enough going around,” said Anupama Menon, consultant at Lawyer Point Management Consultants and who has been liaising with the Land Department on its Tanmiya initiative. “There is now even a smaller committee tracking between 20-25 of these projects on a daily basis to speed up the process where possible by establishing the credibility of the investors and clearing the required processes."

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Dubai’s Union Properties Targets First Dividend Since 2009 - Bloomberg

Dubai’s Union Properties Targets First Dividend Since 2009 - Bloomberg:

"Union Properties PJSC (UPP) may pay its first dividend in five years in 2014 as the Dubai developer heads toward its biggest quarterly profit since 2008, Chairman Khalid bin Kalban said. The shares rose as much as 3.7 percent.
Fourth-quarter profit is expected to reach 300 million dirhams ($81 million), the most since the second quarter of 2008, after the company cut borrowing costs and started projects, bin Kalban said in an interview. Dubai’s smallest publicly traded developer may report annual profit of more than 600 million dirhams, more than triple the 2012 figure, he said.
Union Properties reported a profit for last year after posting net losses totaling 3.6 billion dirhams in the three years through 2011 after Dubai’s property market crashed in 2008. The company sold hotels and swapped assets for debt as it sought to lower financing costs and meet creditor obligations."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE mkts rise in last-minute bets on Dubai Expo 2020 | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE mkts rise in last-minute bets on Dubai Expo 2020 | Reuters:

"* Expo decision to be delivered later Wednesday

* Companies holding land, construction firms climb

* Investors position themselves for dividends in Qatar

* Egypt still in profit-taking trend

* Difficulties with political transition weigh

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates stock markets rose on Wednesday on last-minute bets that Dubai would win the right to host the 2020 World Expo. Most other Gulf bourses also climbed, while Egypt extended losses to a nearly four-week low.

Dubai's main index advanced 0.5 percent to its highest finish since Nov. 10, although it gave back almost half of its intra-day gains. The measure is 1.8 percent below the multi-year high hit in October.

"Trading in the last month has been more cautious but people are pricing in the Expo win until right before the results," said Sanyalaksna Manibhandu, senior analyst at NBAD Securities. "Whatever the result, you will see profit-taking.""

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Daily chart: Outgunned | The Economist - How America’s military spending stacks up

Daily chart: Outgunned | The Economist:

"How America’s military spending stacks up

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Ukraine signs PSA with Eni and EDF to develop Black Sea shelf

Ukraine signs PSA with Eni and EDF to develop Black Sea shelf:

"Ukraine has signed a production sharing agreement (PSA) with Eni (Italy), Electricite de France (EDF, France), Chornomornaftogaz and Waters of Ukraine LLC for the development of the Subbotina, Abikha, Mayachna and Kavkazka hydrocarbon blocks of the Black Sea shelf.

According to the press service of the president of Ukraine, the PSA was signed in the presence of the head of state, Viktor Yanukovych.

From the side of Ukraine the PSA was signed by Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Eduard Stavytsky, from Eni – the executive vice president for South-Eastern Europe, Giuseppe Tannoia, EDF – the director for strategic partnership in Russia, the CIS and Northern Europe.

As reported, the Cabinet of Ministers by decree No. 916-r dated November 25, 2013 agreed on a draft PSA with Eni, Electricite de France, Chornomornaftogaz and Waters of Ukraine LLC for the development of the Subbotina, Abikha, Mayachna and Kavkazka hydrocarbon blocks of the Black Sea shelf."

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UAE banks safe, says Central Bank Governor |

UAE banks safe, says Central Bank Governor |

"The UAE banking industry is safe and secure, the Governor of the UAE Central Bank, Sultan Nasser Al Suwaidi, said on Wednesday.
Overall confidence in the UAE banks is justifiably strong, he added, thanks to effective supervision and the fact that there are mechanisms in place to safeguard the system.
Addressing a press conference organised for foreign correspondents invited by the National Media Council to visit the country on the occasion of the UAE’s National Day, Al Suwaidi said that the presence of numerous foreign banks and others from the GCC in the country, as well as the 23 local banks, was an indicator of the global confidence in the UAE’s banking system.
Asked how the UAE had been able to avoid the worst effects of the global banking crisis that began in 2008, the Governor noted that UAE banks had traditionally been focused on retail and commercial banking, dealing with real assets."

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Iraqi Oil Field Launch to Help Double LUKoil Foreign Oil Production | Business | The Moscow Times

Iraqi Oil Field Launch to Help Double LUKoil Foreign Oil Production | Business | The Moscow Times:

"LUKoil will launch its West Qurna-2 field in Iraq by the end of March next year, helping the company to more than double oil output abroad as it struggles with falling production at home.

Iraq, OPEC's second-biggest oil producer, expects a robust return to growth next year as foreign companies at work in its giant southern oil fields push output toward the highest level ever.

Security remains a concern, however, highlighted this month when dozens of Shi'ite Muslim workers and tribesmen stormed a Schlumberger Ltd camp at the Rumaila North oil field after accusing a foreign security adviser of insulting their religion. LUKoil is not involved at that field.

"We do have once in a while, different, clearly minor, disruptions to construction work," Andrey Gaidamaka, LUKoil's vice president, told a conference call on Tuesday when asked about recent unrest."

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Major US lenders could pay additional $104 bln in legal charges – S&P — RT Business

Major US lenders could pay additional $104 bln in legal charges – S&P — RT Business:

"The eight biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan and Bank of America may need to spend an extra $104 billion to settle mortgage-related issues. That’s two thirds of $154.9 billion banks’ reserves that they accumulated to stand the potential legal costs.

The major US banks may have to pay an additional penalty of between $56.5 billion and $104 billion in potential mortgage payouts, according to the rating agency Standard & Poor's.

"Notably, mortgage-related litigation has recently gotten a second wind and has expanded beyond investor claims," S&P credit analysts led by Stuart Plesser wrote in a report."

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CPI Financial | Aldar raises $750 million Sukuk

CPI Financial | CPI Financial News | Banking and Financial News,Islamic Business and Finance, Commercial Banking | Aldar raises $750 million Sukuk:

"The transaction, which represents Aldar's first debt capital markets issuance since the merger with Sorouh, was priced very competitively at a spread of 290bps over USD Mid Swaps for a fixed profit rate of 4.348 per cent.
Today's transaction is another important milestone in the Company's debt strategy focussed on reducing the cost of borrowing, extending its maturity profile and lowering it leverage levels. The Sukuk follows the AED 4.0billion in bank financings, announced on 7 November 2013, that carried an average margin of 1.3 per cent above base rate and an average maturity of three and half years. These facilities remain undrawn at this time and will be used for refinancing purposes. This followed a successful margin reduction on a AED 2.1 billion syndicated loan during the second quarter 2013.
At the end of the third quarter 2013, total assets were AED 44.8 billion and gearing (net debt to equity) was 55 per cent (FY 2012: 144 per cent). Aldar also continued to have a strong cash position with AED 6.3 billion of cash and available liquidity at the end of the third quarter."

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Turkcell Sues South Africa’s MTN Over Iran Mobile License - Bloomberg

Turkcell Sues South Africa’s MTN Over Iran Mobile License - Bloomberg:

"Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS (TCELL), Turkey’s biggest mobile-phone operator, sued South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd. (MTN) for a second time over the award of an Iranian mobile license.
Turkcell filed the claim in a Johannesburg court as the latest step in an attempt to obtain compensation relating to the tender for a license awarded to MTN in 2005, the Istanbul-based company said in a statement today.
“Turkcell was awarded Iran’s first private Global System for Mobile Communications license in 2004, but was unlawfully prevented from receiving the license,” Turkcell said. “Information received by Turkcell indicates that our company’s exclusion, and the signing of the license agreement with MTN, was a consequence of MTN’s illegal acts, including bribery and corruption.”"

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BBC - Blogs - College of Journalism - Why smartphone saturation in the Middle East matters - @damianradcliffe

BBC - Blogs - College of Journalism - Why smartphone saturation in the Middle East matters: "I have written before about the high levels of mobile phone penetration found across large parts of the Middle East, where some countries - including Saudi Arabia - have more than two active phones (or live SIM cards) for every person who lives there.

Even in many less affluent countries such as Egypt mobile penetration levels are above 100%. Now new data compiled by Statista (shown below), from the results of Google’s Our Mobile Planet survey, reports that in some Middle East countries smartphone penetration is rapidly approaching those numbers too.

This presents some interesting opportunities for content creators and also suggests huge potential for citizen media and journalism.

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Russian bonds: Short on risk, long on reward | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russian bonds: Short on risk, long on reward | Russia Beyond The Headlines:

 Drawing by Niyaz Karim
Russia has long been an active player on the international debt market – and in fact has strengthened its position since the crisis of 2008.
Rising demand from a widening range of international investors, outstripping supply many times over, has spurred a growing volume of placements by Russian companies.
Many issuers have proven themselves reliable borrowers, allowing them to make placements without special road shows.
So why are Russian Eurobonds attractive for foreign investors?
Their main advantage is high profitability, relative to debt instruments from other developing and developed countries. Compare Russian sovereign bonds in U.S. dollars (rated BBB, Baa1 and BBB by Fitch, Moody’s and S&P respectively) with 10 year U.S."

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Qatar Central Bank cracks down on debit card fraud | Doha News

Qatar Central Bank cracks down on debit card fraud | Doha News:

"ATMs across the country will soon be required to contain sensors that detect tampering, following a soon-to-be released directive from Qatar Central Bank. The move is part of the authority’s increasing efforts to combat debit card fraud, a senior QCB official has told Doha News.

Earlier this month, the financial regulator ordered banks to beef up anti-fraud education of customers in addition to reinforcing an existing prohibition on using debit cards to make online purchases without entering a personal identification number (PIN).

ATMs are commonly used in Qatar because so many transactions here require cash, and there is no fee to transact at a machine that isn’t from one’s own bank."

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Aslund: Ukraine - The Basket Case - Opinion - News - Ukraine Business Online

Aslund: Ukraine - The Basket Case - Opinion - News - Ukraine Business Online:


Recently, a big investment bank invited me to give a talk about the Ukrainian economy. I was happily surprised to find 300 interested fund managers in the hall, showing that Ukraine is a current focus of hedge-fund managers. The present Ukrainian intrigue is thick, involving the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU), and, of course, Russia. The United States, by contrast, is strangely absent from this drama.

For years, the Ukrainian government has pursued a disastrous economic policy, rendering a serious financial crisis possible or even likely. The outlook for Ukraine's economy looks even worse now that Ukraine's leaders have put the brakes on a planned agreement to deepen cooperation with the European Union. The last-minute decision by Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, to cancel the signing of an Association Agreement with Brussels is being widely attributed -- not least by Yanukovych and EU officials themselves -- to pressure from Russia, which has been threatening Ukraine with draconian sanctions if the country does sign the EU agreement. This drama deserves wide attention."

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Dubai IPO Exodus, Gold ‘Fix,’ Weatherford: Compliance - Bloomberg

Dubai IPO Exodus, Gold ‘Fix,’ Weatherford: Compliance - Bloomberg:

"Dubai and Abu Dhabi are finding that outperforming stock markets aren’t enough to lure initial public offerings as restrictive regulations and a lack of trading volume persuade local companies to list in London.
Damac Real Estate Development Ltd. plans to raise $500 million when it sells depositary receipts in London this week in the first IPO by a Dubai-based developer since the sheikhdom’s property crash in 2008. That follows the London listing of Abu Dhabi-based health-care provider Al Noor Hospitals Group Plc (ANH) in June and an IPO for the emirate’s NMC Health Plc last year.
Higher oil prices and government spending have led to a rally in Persian Gulf stocks and encouraged firms to sell shares. They’re opting to go abroad as rules such as the Dubai Financial Market’s requirement that at least 55 percent of a company must be offered have deterred IPOs in that emirate since 2009. Neighboring Abu Dhabi hasn’t had a new public offering in two years."

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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » The Big Iran Deal

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » The Big Iran Deal:

"The Iran deal is a good deal for the U.S., Europe and for Iran. It suggests a shake up of the Middle East and a plausible belief in the likelihood of a major deal in six months.

The deal with Iran happened on Iranian President Rouhani’s 99th day in office. Obviously taken with the idea of measuring a U.S. President by his first 100 days in office, Rouhani stated, “I’m happy that before my first 100 days finished we had this victory.” Rouhani’s comfort with that piece of American political jargon may be the best indicator yet of the likelihood that a final deal will be cut in six months. It indicates a certain affinity between Iran and the U.S. and the extent of the culture compatibilities of the two countries. It also is a clue to what Israel and the Gulf States along with Saudi Arabia fear the most – that the U.S. and Iran will end up as friends – even allies. (Not, by any means, an illogical fantasy.)"

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Saudi Gazette - Investcorp buys $270m US properties

Saudi Gazette - Investcorp buys $270m US properties:

"Investcorp, a leading provider and manager of alternative investment products, announced Monday that its US-based real estate arm acquired, through separate transactions, a portfolio of residential properties in the greater metropolitan areas of Chicago, Austin and Las Vegas. The properties were acquired for total pricing of approximately $270 million. These transactions follow Investcorp’s recent announcement of its acquisition of a group of high quality office and retail properties valued at $250 million.

Mohammed Al-Shroogi, president of Gulf Business at Investcorp, said: “These recent residential acquisitions are consistent with our strategy of targeting high quality assets and what we believe are attractive yields in addition to the potential for near and long-term upside through operating improvements and renovations.”

Since the fourth quarter of 2012, Investcorp’s activities include investments in properties collectively valued at approximately $925 million. Investcorp currently has more than $4 billion of property and real estate debt funds under management.

The properties acquired consist of approximately 3,000 units and have a combined average occupancy rate of approximately 95 percent."

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Islamic banks’ need to reorient operations |

Islamic banks’ need to reorient operations |

"Islamic banks have to not just take on and resolve the challenges they face but also reorient themselves in the way they do business to enter into the next cycle of growth and become mature.
That was the view of a group of banking chief executives during a debate on Islamic Finance: Banking on emotions or merit at the first Global Islamic Economy Summit 2013 in Dubai on Wednesday.
In a Brunswick Insight Survey 2013 conducted on behalf of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s 1,000 customers to gauge their attitudes towards Islamic banking, it was found that only 12 per cent to 20 per cent want to do business with Islamic banking, 60 per cent to 80 per cent are indifferent between Islamic banking and conventional banking and between 10 per cent and 20 per cent do not want to do business with Islamic banking."

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Islamic Asset Management sector has potential to grow |

Islamic Asset Management sector has potential to grow |

"The Islamic fund industry manages about $46 billion, which in the context of the total global asset management figure, which stands at $60 trillion according to Thomson Reuters, is miniscule. If the Islamic asset industry were to tap just one per cent of the total global asset management, it would mean Dh600 billion, which would represent a massive boost to the relatively nascent industry. But can this be a possibility in the years ahead?
That was the question posed to the panelists at the first Global Islamic Economy Summit 2013. They suggested that there are few issues, both within and without, that needs be addressed for the Islamic asset management and investments to grow in the post global financial crisis period.
Performance of the funds is key to bringing in clients, both institutional and retail."

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Is Kerry Obama's silver lining? - YouTube

Is Kerry Obama's silver lining? - YouTube:

"After a damaging few months at home, will the aggressive new approach to diplomacy of John Kerry, US secretary of state, shore up President Barack Obama's sliding image?


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What the rich do with their money - YouTube

What the rich do with their money - YouTube:

"Enrichetta Ravina, Columbia Business School assistant professor, tells the FT's John Authers that the rich are more disciplined in the way they diversify their investments, rebalance their stock portfolios and have access to asset categories that the less wealthy do not.


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Lukoil Iraq Progress Is Buy to UralSib: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg

Lukoil Iraq Progress Is Buy to UralSib: Russia Overnight - Bloomberg:

"OAO Lukoil (LUKOY), Russia’s second-largest oil producer, plans to begin commercial production in Iraq as soon as March, prompting UralSib Capital to reiterate its buy recommendation on a stock trading at the cheapest in four years versus peers.
American depositary receipts of the nation’s second-largest oil producer lost 0.1 percent to $63.19 in New York, extending this year’s slump to 6.4 percent. The decline drove the stock’s multiple to 4.5 times estimated earnings, or 67 percent below MSCI World Energy Index, the widest gap since December 2009. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian stocks in the U.S. was little-changed at 98.58. OAO Mechel (MTL) sank to a record. RTS stock-index futures increased 0.4 percent."

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Rich Russians Sparring With Putin Over $48 Billion Olympics Bet - Bloomberg

Rich Russians Sparring With Putin Over $48 Billion Olympics Bet - Bloomberg:

Anastasia Tsayder/Bloomberg Markets.
The ski jump complex in Krasnaya Polyana in Sochi's Adler district is part of a major Olympic development in the Caucasus Mountains for the 2014 Winter Games.
In August, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where his country is spending a record $48 billion on the 2014 Winter Olympics. A regular visitor, with an official residence in town, Putin watched mixed-martial-arts contests at Oblaka nightclub with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev."

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Dubai’s Damac Said to Cut IPO Value as Shares Priced at Lowest - Bloomberg

Dubai’s Damac Said to Cut IPO Value as Shares Priced at Lowest - Bloomberg:

"Damac Real Estate Development Ltd., a Dubai-based property developer, is cutting the size of its initial public offering and likely to price shares at the bottom of the range, two people familiar with the matter said.
The offering in London is expected to raise $400 million, down from an earlier target of $500 million, with the global depositary receipts likely priced at the bottom of the $12.25 to $17.25 range, the people said, asking not to be identified because the pricing isn’t public. The closing of the IPO has also been postponed until Dec. 2, according to the people.
Al Firdous Holding and Sahira Co., controlled by Damac Properties Development Co. founder Hussain Sajwani, are planning to sell as much as 18.8 percent of the new real estate company. The company had said the IPO would price yesterday."

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