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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ukraine Pledging ‘Wide-Ranging Reforms’ in Loan Request to IMF - Bloomberg #EuroMaidan

Ukraine Pledging ‘Wide-Ranging Reforms’ in Loan Request to IMF - Bloomberg:

"Ukraine’s new leadership is pledging “wide-ranging reforms” in exchange for financial assistance, an International Monetary Fund spokesman said, citing the country’s formal request for aid today.

“The situation is urgent and we are seized of that urgency,” Gerry Rice, director of the IMF’s communications department, said in Washington. “We stand ready to help.”

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, in a statement earlier today, said the fund will send a “fact-finding” team to Kiev in coming days for preliminary talks with government officials.

“This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a fund-supported program,” she said."

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UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia to sell 15 pct of National Commercial Bank in IPO | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia to sell 15 pct of National Commercial Bank in IPO | Reuters:

"Feb 27 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's government plans to sell a 15 percent stake in National Commercial Bank (NCB), the country's largest lender by assets, in an initial public offer that would be the kingdom's first bank IPO since 2008.

Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said the IPO plan would be submitted to the market regulator in the third quarter of this year, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. Sovereign fund Public Investment Fund will be the seller.

The fund, which currently owns most of NCB, will also sell an additional 10 percent stake to the government's Public Pension Agency.

Alassaf did not discuss the pricing of the IPO but it is likely to be one of Saudi Arabia's biggest, since NCB has assets of $101 billion and made a net profit of $2.1 billion last year. Analysts said it would likely be one of the three largest stocks on the Saudi bourse."

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Omani CEO jailed for 23 years in graft case: court | Reuters

Omani CEO jailed for 23 years in graft case: court | Reuters:

"(Reuters) - A court sentenced the CEO of state-owned Oman Oil Company to a total of 23 years in jail on Thursday for accepting bribes, abuse of office and money laundering, the most severe punishment meted out in a series of corruption trials that began last year.

The judge at the Court of First Instance in Muscat also convicted Adel al-Raisi, a former aide to the minister of the now-dissolved economy ministry, of organizing a bribe made by a senior official at a South Korea-based firm to Oman Oil Company CEO, Ahmad al-Wahaibi, and sentenced him to 10 years in jail.

The court found the vice CEO of the Korean-based LGI, named in court as Myung Jao Yoo, guilty of paying $8 million to a Caribbean-registered company owned by Wahaibi after winning a billion rial petrochemical project in Sohar Port in Oman.

Myung was also jailed for 10 years. LGI was not immediately available for comment on the court's verdict."

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Markets Feel Repercussions of Ukraine Turmoil | The Moscow Times #EuroMaidan

Markets Feel Repercussions of Ukraine Turmoil | The Moscow Times:

"Russian stocks plunged for a second day and the ruble sank to a five-year low against the dollar on Thursday, as investors took fright at unrest in Ukraine's Crimea region and saber-rattling by neighboring Russia. 

The dollar-denominated RTS index briefly shed more than 3 percent on the day, after Russian media reported that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, wanted in Ukraine for mass murder, had been offered sanctuary in Russia.

Russian stocks rallied early but fell sharply after midday as the Russian and Ukrainian governments both issued strong statements warning against aggression.

Stock prices regained some composure later in the afternoon, bolstered by the Ukrainian parliament's approval of a new coalition government and a Russian statement that it would stick to international agreements on the use of its Black Sea Fleet. 

The RTS was down 1.95 percent at the end of the day at 1,261 points. The ruble-denominated MICEX index was down 1.4 percent at 1,448 points."

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Tata Motors to set up Jaguar Land Rover plant in Saudi Arabia - The Times of India

Tata Motors to set up Jaguar Land Rover plant in Saudi Arabia - The Times of India:

"NEW DELHI: India's largest automobile company Tata Motors is exploring the possibility of setting up a manufacturing plant for Jaguar and Land Rover in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf kingdom's industry minister said on Thursday.

Addressing an India-Saudi Arabia Business Forum meeting, Saudi Arabia commerce and industry minister Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah said the proposed plant would be the third largest for manufacturing of high-end Jaguar and Land Rover cars.

The minister said the plant is proposed to be set up eastern province of Saudi Arabia.

The forum meeting was organized jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the council of Saudi chambers.

Alrabiah said Tata Group's other companies including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Tata Steel are also having significant business engagements with Saudi Arabia and have shown commitment to expand it further. "

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Ukraine: recent history points to economic pain | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Ukraine: recent history points to economic pain | beyondbrics:

"If recent examples of revolution and politcal transition are anything to go by, Ukraine is in for a nasty shock in terms of economic growth.

Following a year of upheaval, GDP growth rates can weaken by between 4 to 8 percentage points the following year, according to a Capital Economics note on Thursday.

Comparing the GDP performance of Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Ukraine in 2004 and Georgia in 2003, William Jackson of Capital notes that what the countries “all have in common is that growth slowed substantially” in the quarters following a political transition. Here’s the chart:

Source: Capital Economics

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rallies as Sisi reappointed; Qatar's Mesaieed tumbles | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Egypt rallies as Sisi reappointed; Qatar's Mesaieed tumbles | Reuters:

"* Egypt up on govt continuity, step towards election

* Qatar's Mesaieed falls after Wednesday's first-day surge

* Banks lift Dubai, weigh on Abu Dhabi

By Olzhas Auyezov

DUBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Egypt's bourse rallied on Thursday after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi kept his post in the new government and authorities said a draft election law would be presented this weekend.

Other markets were mixed, while Qatar's Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding dropped its daily limit of 10 percent after soaring 450 percent on its bourse debut on Wednesday.

Egypt's index rose 1.6 percent to 8,127 points as it became clear that Sisi would remain defence minister after a surprise government reshuffle.

Supported by many Egyptians, Sisi is widely expected to run for president, but the election can only be held once a new law spelling out its rules is in place.

The draft presidential election law will be handed to interim President Adly Mansour no later than Saturday for approval, according to state media."

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Dubai says has learned lessons from crisis | Reuters

Dubai says has learned lessons from crisis | Reuters:

"Feb 27 (Reuters) - Dubai has learned lessons from the global financial crisis, including the importance of budget discipline and the need to regulate its property market, its Department of Finance said in a research paper published on Thursday.

The paper may help to reassure investors in Dubai as the emirate's asset markets recover rapidly from their 2008-2010 crash, raising concern about the risk of them overheating once again.

When deteriorating global conditions caused a property bubble to burst in Dubai five years ago, prompting home prices to plunge over 50 percent, the emirate nearly defaulted on its debt and emerging markets around the world were hit."

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Ukraine's Hryvnia Obliterated - Business Insider #EuroMaidan

Ukraine's Hryvnia Obliterated - Business Insider:

"Ukraine's hryvnia dropped another 7.7% today to 11 per dollar today.

 According to Bloomberg, the currency has now dropped 19% in the past four days.

The country continues to be in chaos. Earlier today, armed men took control of a parliament building in Ukraine's Crimea region. Meanwhile, fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych remains on the run.  According to the AP, he was last seen in a hotel in Moscow. 

Ukraine's leaders are currently seeking a bailout of as much as $35 billion."

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Dubai’s Kaloti Case Highlights Business Culture Clash - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Dubai’s Kaloti Case Highlights Business Culture Clash - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

The revelation this week that a Dubai-based gold refining company did more than $5 billion in cash transactions two years ago and imported several tons of Moroccan gold disguised as silver has ruffled feathers among regulators and auditors that oversaw the firm during that period. Yet it isn’t the first time a Dubai company has come under criticism for lack of compliance with global standards. It isn’t even the first time a local gold company has faced this kind of scrutiny.
The latest case centered on Kaloti Jewellers, which auditors at Ernst & Young last year found to be non-compliant with standards in the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, where it is based, according to a report Wednesday by Global Witness. Global Witness found fault with Kaloti, but also with E&Y for not reporting the breaches to authorities in London and with the DMCC for changing rules covering disclosure of audits while E&Y was carrying out its examination. Kaloti responded by saying it had taken corrective action and was now in full compliance with rules, while E&Y defended its “highly professional work” and the DMCC rejected any suggestion that it acted improperly.
Wherever the truth lies, the Kaloti case speaks to something auditors, regulators and companies in Dubai and other wealthy-but-still-emerging economies have dealt with before: a many-sided corporate culture. Large foreign companies have been active here for decades, bringing with them western governance and accounting practices. Yet many local traders – even large ones that do billions of dollars of business each year – still operate according to older rules. The world of compliance and know-your-customer documents and supply chain due diligence and corporate governance is still largely foreign to the merchants in Dubai’s gold souk, for example, where trust, relationships and a profitable deal are the operative parameters of business.
Kaloti was in some sense still enmeshed in this traditional business culture. It has offices in the gold souk, where thousands of people come every day to buy or sell gold, often for cash. These days, cash deals are frowned upon because they can obscure the origin of the metal. Knowing the origin is important because of the existence in the supply chain of conflict gold from unstable areas of eastern Congo.
People in the auditing business say the disconnect between traditional and modern ways of operating often become apparent when global firms come to check the books. A Dubai-based executive at one of the major accounting firms said there was sometimes a tension in emerging markets between the need for auditors to sustain business relationships with companies and the need to do their jobs up to international standards.
Nicolai Tillisch, an executive coach and author of a book on doing business in the Gulf, said all kinds of international advisory firms have these problems. “It is a trade-off: one of the reasons why people buy their services is the global brand but on the other there are regional ways of doing business,” he said. “Audit and other firms need to be careful – the way of doing business here is simply different. “
Kaloti acknowledged in a compliance report that an initial review revealed “deviations” in that the company “did not identify risks in cash settlement transactions which was the typical modus operandi in the Dubai wholesale gold market.” It went on to say the company took steps last year to move suppliers away from cash settlements and was now fully compliant with regulations. It has also ceased dealing in Moroccan gold. No evidence was uncovered by the company or its auditors that it ever dealt in conflict gold.
The thematic background of the Kaloti case is in some ways reminiscent of the Damas International case five years ago. Damas, a jewelry retailer that unlike Kaloti was publicly traded, fell into difficulties after one of the three brothers who held a majority stake made about $165 million in transactions that weren’t authorized by its board of directors. Regulators fined the founders and replaced its board in 2010. The company restructured its debts and was taken private in 2012.
Some observers saw the problems at Damas partly as the result of a conflict between modern corporate governance and an older M.O. where owners extracting money from companies without board approval – if a board even existed – was common. As the Gulf’s business culture edges further toward modernity, more clashes between old and new could be on the horizon.
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Russia waiting for U.S. investors | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia waiting for U.S. investors | Russia Beyond The Headlines:


Alexei Ulyukayev: 'We have to create more opportunities for trade.'
Source: Michail Klimentyev / RIA Novosti
Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev paid a visit to the Washington, DC on Feb. 24-26 to discuss possibilities for increased bilateral trade and investment with his American counterparts.

In an exclusive interview for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Ulyukayev spoke to Igor Duayevsky, Washington correspondent for Rossiyskaya Gazeta about the prospects of for increased economic cooperation between Russia and the U.S."

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Business - Islamic Development Bank lists $1b sukuk in Dubai

Business - Islamic Development Bank lists $1b sukuk in Dubai:

"The Islamic Development Bank, or IDB, announced on Wednesday the listing of its $1 billion sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai, providing a vital thrust to the emirate’s resolute drive to emerge as the global capital of Islamic economy. 

The supranational lender said the main objective behind the listing on Dubai bourse today was to provide additional financial resources to support its expansion plans and to prop up Islamic economic and financial sectors within the UAE.

The listing falls in line with the IDB’s Medium Term Note Programme, which recently increased from $6.5 billion to reach $10 billion.

The IDB announcement was made at a meeting with the bank’s delegation held with Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance. Dr Abdul Aziz Al Hinai, vice-president for Finance at IDB, led the delegation."

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Kuwait's Zain looks to up stake in Morocco telco - Technology -

Kuwait's Zain looks to up stake in Morocco telco - Technology -

"Kuwait's Zain Group, one of the Middle East's largest telecoms operators, could seek to increase its stake in Morocco's inwi, CEO Scott Gegenheimer told Arabian Business, as well as seeking other acquisitions.

The operator, which is present in eight countries across the region, currently owns a 15.5 percent stake in inwi, but would be eager to increase its shareholding in the mobile operator.

"We think it's a very well run company, we'd love to increase our stake," Gegenheimer told Arabian Business on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Gegenheimer added that Zain was also seeking acquisitions in North Africa, in sectors including internet service providers (ISPs) and content."

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Erdogan, Turkey and the future - YouTube

Erdogan, Turkey and the future - YouTube: ""

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Petrofac predicts modest growth for the year | The National

Petrofac predicts modest growth for the year | The National:

"Petrofac’s order backlog swelled to a record high of US$15 billion last year, but the oil services provider has told investors to expect “modest to flat growth” in profits.

New orders in Abu Dhabi, Iraq and Oman helped to expand the value of its order book by 27 per cent last year compared to 2012’s $11.8bn, and so far this year the company has taken in about $3bn in new contracts, the London-listed company reported yesterday.

Profits grew by 3 per cent to $650 million, beating a Reuters poll of analyst estimates, while revenues ticked up 1 per cent to $6.3bn."

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Kaloti denies Ernst & Young report over gold-sourcing compliance | The National

Kaloti denies Ernst & Young report over gold-sourcing compliance | The National:

"Kaloti Jewellery Group yesterday denied claims that its gold trade business fell short of compliance requirements, as detailed in a report by Global Witness, a UK-based NGO.

The report, issued on Tuesday, claimed that an inquiry by the accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) into Kaloti’s supply-chain compliance for 2012 found a number of serious failures that should have immediately been made public.

These are alleged to have included the failure to report a series of suspicious cash transactions totalling US$5.2 billion over the year and knowingly accepting four tonnes of gold disguised as silver imported from Morocco by suppliers with falsified paperwork."

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Dubai gains traction reviving stalled projects |

Dubai gains traction reviving stalled projects |

"Major reforms are in the offing to streamline the entry of bulk (angel) investors into stalled projects in Dubai and turn them around, according to market sources.

“There is an existing programme that’s been operating under the Dubai Land Department; but the proposed changes could make it easier for investors to come in and in the way they can commit funds in reviving projects,” said Samir Munshi, managing director of Orion Holdings. “We believe such discussions are at an advanced stage and would create a robust system that would benefit all stakeholders.”

One of the proposals, Munshi hopes, would relate to staggered payment scheduled for those investors coming on board. “Rather than have funds to clear up all outstanding payments related to a stalled project upfront, staggering them would be ideal from an investor perspective,” said Munshi."

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Adnoc still looking at Dubai locations |

Adnoc still looking at Dubai locations |

"Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) Distribution is continuing discussions with Dubai officials to potentially develop up to ten service stations in the emirate, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Abdullah Salem Al Daheri said Adnoc Distribution has already confirmed two sites but would wait until more locations were found and approved before moving ahead with the project.

Al Daheri was speaking to the media at the Abu Dhabi Air Expo.

He said that Adnoc Distribution would need to wait until five locations were approved in order to make the project feasible. Once the minimum of five locations are confirmed, Al Daheri said Adnoc Distribution will float a tender for the construction of the service stations."

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