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Monday, 3 February 2014

EM haven hunt turns up few bargains - FT.com

EM haven hunt turns up few bargains - FT.com:



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Iran Gets First Tranche of Assets Under Sanctions Relief: IRNA - NYTimes.com

Iran Gets First Tranche of Assets Under Sanctions Relief: IRNA - NYTimes.com:



"DUBAI — A first tranche of $550 million in sanctions relief agreed to under an interim nuclear deal has been paid into an Iranian Central Bank account in Switzerland, the official IRNA news agency said on Monday. 




Quoting an informed source, the agency reported: "$550 million in frozen Iranian assets (were) transferred to Iran's Central Bank account in Switzerland.



The agency said the money was a first installment of $4.2 billion in blocked Iranian oil revenue that is to be made available to Iran under the November 24 deal.



That agreement is designed to curtail Iran's nuclear activities for a six-month period beginning on January 20 in exchange for sanctions relief from six major powers: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States."



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Lufthansa calls on EU to block Etihad–Alitalia tie-up « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Lufthansa calls on EU to block Etihad–Alitalia tie-up « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:



"Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa has criticized plans by Etihad Airways to invest in ailing Italian carrier Alitalia and called on the European Commission to block the deal, saying it would amount to unfair competition.



Etihad, which has bought stakes in airlines across the world including Air Berlin, Aer Lingus and Virgin Australia, said on Sunday it was in the final stages of a process that could see it invest in Alitalia.



Lufthansa has fiercely lobbied against state-owned Gulf airlines such as Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, and their fast-paced expansion in Europe, saying they benefit from unfair state aid and thus distort the market."



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Chinese investor spends $1.9 billion in Dubai property market | Reuters

Chinese investor spends $1.9 billion in Dubai property market | Reuters:



"(Reuters) - Real estate developer Dubai Pearl said on Monday it had sold property assets worth $1.9 billion (£1.1 billion) to a Hong Kong-based investor, in a sign of increasing Chinese interest in Dubai's booming property market.



Chow Tai Fook Endowment Industry Investment Development (Group) Ltd, a partner of China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, bought serviced apartments, high-end residences and two five-star hotels, Dubai Pearl said in an emailed statement.



The properties are part of the 20 million square foot Dubai Pearl complex, which is now under development and will include a shopping mall and offices as well as residential space. It is due to be completed in 2017.



Originally launched in 2008, the project was slowed for years by Dubai's real estate market crash of 2008-2010, but is now proceeding as the market recovers, with residential property prices jumping about 20 percent last year."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE shares mixed in downbeat Gulf trend; Egypt slips from 4-yr high | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-UAE shares mixed in downbeat Gulf trend; Egypt slips from 4-yr high | Reuters:



"Feb 3 (Reuters) - Markets in United Arab Emirates were mixed on Monday with Dubai's measure halting a three-session drop while most other Gulf shares retreated and Egypt's measure slipped off a four-year high. 




Dubai's index gained 0.5 percent after a choppy session as profit-taking proved short-term but technicals remain weak.



It failed to make a clear break above 3,807 points, the 50 percent retracement of its 2008 peak after touching an intra-day high of 3,855 on Jan. 29.



"The market is clearly facing selling from big hands and it will continue for a while because distribution generally lasts a full quarter," said Firas Al Zghaibi, financial markets strategist at brokerage firm MENA Corp.



Market volumes surged in January to the highest level since September, but the index gains slowed down - a sign that big investors were selling to retail traders."



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Saudi Arabia’s rulers face dilemma on economic reforms - FT.com

Saudi Arabia’s rulers face dilemma on economic reforms - FT.com:



"Jeddah-born Wael used to own a trading company in his home town and controlled a stock market portfolio that turned over more profit in a day than he now makes in a month.



But after losing his company during a business dispute and enduring massive losses in the stock market crash of 2006, he has been left doing odd jobs, including driving a taxi and running errands for his wealthy compatriots.



“Seventy per cent of Saudis are unhappy now,” says the father of six. “Rent is so expensive.”"



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Abu Dhabi, Dubai reveal 2014 economic growth forecasts - Al Arabiya News

Abu Dhabi, Dubai reveal 2014 economic growth forecasts - Al Arabiya News:



"Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the largest economies of the United Arab Emirates, today released growth forecasts for 2014, Reuters reported.



The UAE capital Abu Dhabi sees gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.7 percent this year, according to Shorooq al-Zaabi, head of development indicators at the Department of Economic Development.



The emirate posted real GDP growth of 7.4 percent in 2013, up from 5.6 percent in 2012, Reuters reported. 




Zaabi added that Abu Dhabi’s oil production would rise steadily to 3.114 million barrels per day (BPD) in 2017 from 2.907 million BPD in 2015. But it expects oil prices to fall moderately, to $95 a barrel in 2017 from $109 last year."



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Bahrain's Arcapita to sell US firm for $740m - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com

Bahrain's Arcapita to sell US firm for $740m - Banking & Finance - ArabianBusiness.com:



"Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita said on Monday it agreed to sell US-based Varel International to Sweden's Sandvik AB for a total transaction value of $740 million.



Varel, headquartered in Texas, is a manufacturer of drill bits for the oil and gas, and mining and industrial industries.



Arcapita, which originally bought the company in 2007, said the Varel sale was still subject to regulatory approvals, and that it hoped to conclude the deal by the end of the first half of 2014.



Sandvik said on January 7 that it was buying Varel for $740 million and that the transaction would be slightly accretive to earnings per share in the first year."



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Russia's Lenta Hypermarket Plans IPO | Russia | RIA Novosti

Russia's Lenta Hypermarket Plans IPO | Russia | RIA Novosti:



"MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian hypermarket chain announced Monday that it is planning to go ahead with an initial public offering that will reportedly value the company at about $5 billion.



Retail firm Lenta said in a statement that it is seeking to list in both London and Moscow.



Lenta is planning to raise up to $1 billion in an IPO that will value the company at about $5 billion, according to media reports. A listing of that size would make it the biggest Russian retail firm to go public since fellow St. Petersburg-based hypermarket chain O’Key sold $419.5 million of shares in London in 2010.



Despite slowing economic growth in Russia and a weakening ruble, Lenta is one of several Russian retail firms currently looking at an IPO on the back of the country’s growing middle class and booming consumer sector."



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Cheaper ruble buoys Russian energy companies | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Cheaper ruble buoys Russian energy companies | Russia Beyond The Headlines:



"The Russian economy has found itself in a fairly unusual situation in recent weeks: oil prices remain high, but the ruble has weakened in value against leading international currencies. This is a dream come true for oil exporters and the Russian treasury is likely to benefit from the increase in revenues. Ordinary consumers, however, will suddenly find goods imported from abroad more expensive. 



Traditionally, the ruble exchange rate has tracked the price of oil very closely, but over the past few months, the Russian national currency seems to have decoupled from oil.



Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch say there is a risk of the oil prices dipping a bit in the second quarter. But for Q1 and Q4, the bank expects crude to remain expensive."



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FT Video - January 2014 news highlights

US shale no 'game changer' for LNG, say Qatar energy minister - Telegraph

US shale no 'game changer' for LNG, say Qatar energy minister - Telegraph:



"Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada says the US shale revolution will not change Qatar's strategy of becoming an LNG superpower 



By Andrew Critchlow10:46PM GMT 02 Feb 2014

Q: What future role does Qatar envisage in supplying gas long-term to the UK and what are the investment opportunities this will create? 



Al-Sada: "The UK is an important customer of Qatar’s LNG, and we expect it to remain as such, particularly in light of the large investment we have made in the LNG re-gasification terminal at South Hook near Milford Haven. This was Qatar’s first participation in a foreign downstream terminal, and is viewed as one of the major contributors to the UK’s energy diversity."



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Abu Dhabi's TAQA to acquire two hydropower assets from Jaypee Group for Rs 12,000-13,000 crore - The Economic Times

Abu Dhabi's TAQA to acquire two hydropower assets from Jaypee Group for Rs 12,000-13,000 crore - The Economic Times:



"Abu Dhabi's flagship energy and utilities company TAQA (energy in Arabic) is set to acquire two hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh from Delhi-based Jaypee Group at an enterprise valuation of Rs 12,000-13,000 crore ($1.9-2.07 billion) signaling growing appetite among foreign investors for infrastructure assets. TAQA is forming a consortium of financial sponsors to conclude this transaction, said multiple sources involved in the process.



After months of negotiations, last week, TAQA's top brass met their counterparts in Jaypee in New Delhi to finalise plans to buy the 300 mw Baspa II and the 1000 mw Karcham Wangtoo projects on the Sutlej river. 




TAQA has roped in Canadian pension fund PSP Investments and home-grown infrastructure-focused PE player IDFC Alternatives - part of infrastructure finance company IDFCBSE -1.99 % - to form a consortium."



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Gulf petrochems exports on track to rise | The National

Gulf petrochems exports on track to rise | The National:



"Arabian Gulf petrochemical exports should increase by “a couple billion” dollars this year as Abu Dhabi completes an output expansion and a trade agreement takes effect, said a regional industry group.



GCC producers export about US$53 billion worth of the raw materials for plastics a year, mainly to manufacturing hubs in the East.



The Bali Package, a trade agreement to lower barriers to trade such as import tariffs and domestic subsidies, will also benefit Gulf producers by cutting clearance costs and shrinking lead times, cutting overall costs by 5 per cent, estimated Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, the secretary general of the Dubai-based Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association."



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Aramex wants amendment to foreign shares ownership | The National

Aramex wants amendment to foreign shares ownership | The National:



"Aramex, the UAE-based logistics and transport company, wants the limits on foreign ownership of its shares amended amid strong global demand for its equity from international investors, its chief executive said yesterday.



Speaking as the company, quoted on the Dubai Financial Market, unveiled a strong set of financial figures for 2013, Hussein Hachem said: “There is a queue for our stock from global investors. Having the foreign ownership limits is a handicap for us, because we are a global company. More liquidity would be very positive for us.”



He added that foreign investors could not buy any more shares in Aramex because they had reached the 49 per cent ownership limit imposed by UAE law."



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Gulf Navigation to pay $10.2m to Nordic American Tankers | GulfNews.com

Gulf Navigation to pay $10.2m to Nordic American Tankers | GulfNews.com:



"Gulf Navigation Holding (GNH) said on Sunday that it had been ordered to pay over $10 million (Dh36.7 million) to Nordic American Tankers following a lengthy arbitration process in London.



In a statement released on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), GulfNav said they will pay $10,202,624 plus interest from July 1, 2011, until the date of payment.



“Gulf Navigation is now seeking advice from an international law firm based in the UAE to find if GNH can appeal further on this in the court,” the company said in a statement."



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Etihad Airways Sets Deadline to Decide on Alitalia Investment - Bloomberg

Etihad Airways Sets Deadline to Decide on Alitalia Investment - Bloomberg:



"Etihad Airways PJSC said it will decide within 30 days whether to buy a stake in ailing Italian airline Alitalia SpA as the Abu Dhabi flag carrier continues its streak of purchases to funnel traffic through the Middle East. 




Etihad is in the final stage of reviewing Alitalia SpA’s books to decide on an investment, Chief Executive Officer James Hogan and his Italian counterpart Gabriele Del Torchio said yesterday. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, speaking yesterday Abu Dhabi, said his government, which has helped prop up Alitalia, wouldn’t impose conditions for an agreement.



“This would definitely be a shot in the arm for a carrier that has struggled for a while now,” said Sidanth Rajagopal, a Dubai-based partner at Clyde & Co. “Getting the best practices of Etihad and the money will be good for the airline.”"



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