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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Qatar likely to reform controversial labor system - MIDEAST

Qatar likely to reform controversial labor system - MIDEAST:

"Qatar is preparing a radical overhaul of its controversial “kafala” or labor sponsorship system in response to mounting criticism that threatens the reputation capital it hopes to gain from hosting the 2022 World Cup.

The expected reform is likely to include shifting sponsorship of foreign workers, who constitute a majority of the tiny Gulf state’s population, from individual employers to the government. It would also allow workers to seek alternative employment without permission of their sponsor after a period of notification. Qatar would further work with the major supplying countries to establish regulated employment agencies to cut out corrupt middlemen.

It was not immediately clear whether the‎ changes once announced would satisfy international trade unions and human rights groups that have denounced the kafala system as modern day slavery and called for its abolition."

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Dubai gold centre to tighten sourcing supervision | Reuters

Dubai gold centre to tighten sourcing supervision | Reuters:

"Dubai's gold trading centre said it would tighten supervision of how the metal is sourced after reports in the British media alleging it ignored international guidelines designed to prevent human rights abuses and underground trade by African warlords.

In February, Britain's Guardian newspaper and the BBC said the Dubai-based Kaloti Group, a major gold refiner and jeweller, had failed to examine suspicious deals, accepting for example 2.4 tonnes of gold from customers who provided no paperwork.

The reports also alleged the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), which hosts the emirate's gold market, had failed to enforce guidelines against such deals. Both Kaloti and the DMCC denied the reports and said they acted properly."

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Aldar at 4-year high; Egypt hits 8-week low | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Aldar at 4-year high; Egypt hits 8-week low | Reuters:

"* Aldar surges as firm mulls floating subsidiary

* Egypt down 15 pct from March 26's five-year peak

* Some blue chips plunge nearly 10 pct on Sunday

* Dubai drops for first session in six

* Saudi Arabia earnings have little impact

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, April 6 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties hit a four-year high on Sunday after it unveiled tentative plans to float a subsidiary, lifting the emirate's bourse, while Egypt's market slumped to an eight-week low.

Other Middle East markets were muted as Saudi Arabia investors showed little reaction to a slew of first-quarter earnings, and Dubai eased from Thursday's five-year peak.

In Abu Dhabi, Aldar surged 5.1 percent to its highest close since May 2010. The state-run developer said it might float property management unit Khidmah through an initial public offer sometime in coming years."

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Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Mulls Khidmah Listing - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Mulls Khidmah Listing - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"Aldar Properties, the biggest real estate developer in Abu Dhabi, is considering a spinoff of its majority-owned facilities management company via a public listing as the unit’s clientele and scope broadens.

While the timing of a potential IPO is uncertain, it comes as property companies in the United Arab Emirates tap equity markets in growing numbers for new capital or to liquidate existing shareholders’ stakes. Damac Real Estate, a Dubai developer, listed shares in London in December, while Emaar Properties – that emirate’s largest listed developer – said last month that it was planning to list its malls and retail unit in London and Dubai.

Aldar, which completed a merger with former rival Sorouh Real Estate last year, said Sunday that its facilities management company, called Khidmah, could be a good candidate for a listing. Khidmah only managed Aldar properties when it started, but has since branched out. Last year, 78% of its revenue came from elsewhere."

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UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's Waha Capital sells stake in AerLift Leasing | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Abu Dhabi's Waha Capital sells stake in AerLift Leasing | Reuters:

"Abu Dhabi investment company Waha Capital has sold its stake in AerLift Leasing to an unidentified U.S. firm for an undisclosed amount, Waha said on Sunday.

At the end of 2012, Waha had a 60.4 percent stake in AerLift Leasing, which is incorporated in the Isle of Man, according to Waha's most recent annual report.

"We have crystallised a good return to our shareholders through this sale, which adds to the capital base we are building to make future investments in areas of strong growth potential," Waha chief executive Salem Rashid al-Noaimi said in a statement to Abu Dhabi's bourse."

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Venture Capital: Capital Fright (E35) - YouTube

Venture Capital: Capital Fright (E35) - YouTube:

"This week Katie Pilbeam investigates if capital outflow is a problem for Russia with European Asset Fund Manager Erik Krause. Russia's car market is in the slow lane but the road isn't all bumpy and we'll join in house investor Tim Kirby to spin the wheel of fortune!"

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Postcard from #Bahrain – When is an Airline not an Airline? | 59steps

Postcard from Bahrain – When is an Airline not an Airline? | 59steps:

"When is an airline not an airline? When it’s an heirloom.

Such is the fate of Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flag carrier and perennial financial basket case. It’s the airline that can’t find a CEO – as the transport minister noted a couple of months ago in a fit of dangerous candour – because nobody in the aviation industry wants to take the job. The reason? According to the minister, too much government interference, which is not surprising given that there are three cabinet ministers on the Board, and that each time the airline goes to its masters for another subsidy to shore up its losses, questions are asked in Parliament.

For a Gulf state, a national carrier is more than a means of ferrying its great and good from A to B. It’s a symbol of national prestige. If Gulf Air were allowed to fail, it would be a humiliation – an admission that this tiny country couldn’t stand shoulder to shoulder with its oil-rich neighbours in the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman."

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Barclays sells UAE consumer banking division to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank  | The National

Barclays sells UAE consumer banking division to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank  | The National:

"Barclays Bank will sell its UAE retail banking operation to Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) for about Dh650 million to focus on other parts of its business where competition is not as stiff.

ADIB will take on about 110,000 extra customers from the purchase.

“The decision to exit the UAE retail banking space, while not taken lightly, allows us to focus on our businesses in Corporate and Investment Banking and Wealth and Investment Management,” John Vitalo, chief executive of MENA, Barclays Plc, said in a statement."

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ADIB among banks planning Iraq expansion amid oil boom | The National

ADIB among banks planning Iraq expansion amid oil boom | The National:

"Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is the latest lender after JPMorgan, Citi and Standard Chartered to expand business in Iraq as the oil-rich country boosts crude production and rebuilds its infrastructure.

ADIB, the only UAE lender to operate in Iraq, plans to open a branch in Basra before the end of the year after it opened a branch in Erbil in October. The bank obtained a licence from Iraq’s central bank in 2010 and opened its first branch in Baghdad shortly after.

There are still plentiful opportunities that Arabian Gulf lenders can take advantage of, says Jaap Meijer, the head of research at Arqaam Capital, an investment bank in Dubai."

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Etihad good partner for Alitalia, says Unicredit chief executive | The National

Etihad good partner for Alitalia, says Unicredit chief executive | The National:

"Etihad Airways could be a good partner for Alitalia, UniCredit chief executive Federico Ghizzoni said on Saturday, adding he hoped the Abu Dhabi-based airline would submit a proposal for the Italian carrier as it is expected to do shortly.

The Gulf carrier is due to kickstart formal talks for an investment in Alitalia by outlining its conditions in a letter of intent.

“From the beginning I’ve said it could be a good partnership because there are no overlaps,” Mr Ghizzoni said on the sidelines of a business conference in Cernobbio in northern Italy."

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Dubai’s Deyaar approves 25% foreign ownership |

Dubai’s Deyaar approves 25% foreign ownership |

"Shareholders of Dubai property developer Deyaar have approved a plan to allocate 25 per cent of its share capital to foreigners, the company said on Saturday.

At present, investors in Gulf Cooperation Council countries can own up to 49 per cent of Deyaar’s shares; they currently hold 3.7 per cent, bourse data shows, while those from outside the GCC have not been allowed to own any stake.

The company said the shareholders approved the allocation at a meeting on Thursday. Its share price jumped 11.8 per cent as its shareholders met to vote on the recommendation made by the company’s board in February."

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