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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Kuwait's Zain says sued for $4.5 billion over Iraq telco buy | Reuters

Kuwait's Zain says sued for $4.5 billion over Iraq telco buy | Reuters:



"Zain is being sued for $4.5 billion over its 2007 acquisition of an Iraqi telecom operator, the Kuwaiti firm said in a bourse statement on Sunday.



Zain bought Iraqna for $1.2 billion from Orascom Telecom in December 2007 after the Egyptian firm dropped out of the running for a long-term mobile license in Iraq.



The Kuwaiti firm then merged its Iraqi unit, Atheer, with Iraqna and renamed the entity Zain Iraq, which today is the country's biggest operator by subscribers.



Zain said in statement on Sunday that a company it declined to identify filed a lawsuit last August. This claims Zain's takeover had stopped the firm buying Iraqna, causing it losses of $4.5 billion."



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EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Putin Is Losing Eastern European Energy Gamble

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Putin Is Losing Eastern European Energy Gamble:



"Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t think the European community can do without the natural gas it gets from energy monopoly Gazprom.  With a Russian economy starting to decline, however, it may be Gazprom that’s too strongly interconnected to the European market to break free.



The narrative over European energy security reaches at least back to 2006 when Gazprom first cut gas supplies through Ukraine. The fallout from the latest disruption in 2009 put opposition darling and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in prison, but now the tables have turned for a Ukraine tilting more strongly toward the European Union.



Last week, Putin warned European leaders that gas supplies through Ukraine may be cut if Kiev didn’t settle its $2.2 billion gas debt to Gazprom. With European allies mulling the best way to break Russia’s grip on the region’s energy sector, Putin said there are few alternatives to Russian natural gas."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits 6-yr peak as investors shrug off SABIC Q1 | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi hits 6-yr peak as investors shrug off SABIC Q1 | Reuters:



"* SABIC up 1.4 pct despite minor earnings miss



* Savola climbs after strong Q1



* Property-related mid-caps boost Dubai



* Qatar index again approaches big chart barrier



* Kuwait Finance House down after major Q1 miss



By Matt Smith

DUBAI, April 20 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's main share index rose the most in a month to reach a fresh six-year high on Sunday as investors shook off a slight dip in quarterly profit from the bourse's biggest stock. Speculation in mid-cap stocks helped Dubai gain.



The Saudi measure advanced 1.1 percent to its highest close since June 2008, up 12.9 percent so far in 2014.



This came despite Saudi Basic Industries Corp reporting that its first-quarter net profit slid 1.8 percent from a year earlier to 6.44 billion riyals ($1.72 billion) after product prices fell. It missed the average analyst forecast of 6.79 billion riyals, but the stock ended 1.4 percent higher.



"SABIC is trading at reasonable valuations so we shouldn't expect a sharp sell-off, but at the same time there doesn't appear to be a short-term trigger to take its share price higher," said Shakeel Sarwar, head of asset management at Securities & Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain."



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Putin Stating Riyadh Trump Oil Card – OpEd | Eurasia Review

Putin Stating Riyadh Trump Oil Card – OpEd | Eurasia Review:



"It is not an academic debate or even one within think tanks, but a simple statement stating the obvious that politics are governed by the economy, where oil occupies a central position. And for that, it is Saudi Arabia that can tip the balance.



The message was transmitted quickly through the airwaves given the fact it is said by no other person that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s strong man and at a critical time where the Western capitals were wondering what to do given Moscow’s recent moves in Ukraine.



Though it was the twelfth session of Q & A on a television program between Putin and his audience, the Russian “tsar” was speaking calmly like a businessman who knows where he stands in reality vis-a-vis his rivals given the competitive edge he enjoys.



In a cold tone, he said that the West could try to hurt Russia through its efforts to influence the energy market, but such efforts would ‘backfire.’"



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National Bank of Oman Q1 profit rises 20 pct | Reuters

National Bank of Oman Q1 profit rises 20 pct | Reuters:



"National Bank of Oman reported a 20 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Sunday, slightly above analyst estimates.



The bank made a profit of 10.3 million rials ($26.75 million) in the first three months of 2014, up from 8.6 million rials in the year-earlier period, according to a statement to Oman's bourse.



Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast the bank would make a quarterly profit of 9.88 million rials."



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Easy off-plan payment plans spark fears of another Dubai property bubble | The National

Easy off-plan payment plans spark fears of another Dubai property bubble | The National:



"Property developers in Dubai are offering such relaxed payment plans that they are threatening to fuel another off-plan bubble.



As hundreds of unbuilt homes go on sale this weekend in Dubai, property experts are warning that the payment plans they are sold through are being offered at terms that make it much more affordable to buy risky off-plan property than to buy existing second-hand homes.



Almost benign payment plans require buyers to put down very small deposits until a property has been completed."



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SCA issues first market-maker licence to NBAD | GulfNews.com

SCA issues first market-maker licence to NBAD | GulfNews.com:



"The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has issued the first licence for practicing of Market-Making activity to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) following NBAD’s fulfilment of all regulatory requirements.



The issuance of the first Market-Making licence came at a time UAE equity markets are witnessing recovery and growth and weeks before the actual upgrade of UAE markets to “Emerging Market” status by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Index, a move which will give a significant boost to corporate investment in UAE equity markets and greater in-depth and balance to local stock markets.



NBAD is expected to start practicing this activity during the third quarter of this year after finalising some technical requirements in collaboration with UAE markets."



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Libyan wealth fund to appoint investment managers | GulfNews.com

Libyan wealth fund to appoint investment managers | GulfNews.com:



"The Libyan Investment Authority plans to outsource its investment management, expand in London and implement international standards of governance, as it seeks to move beyond allegations of past mismanagement, cronyism and failed investments.



“LIA will no longer manage investments as it did in the past — we will manage external managers”, Abdulmagid Breish, the chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority told the Financial Times in an interview today.



As part of its restructuring plans, the LIA wants to expand its operations in London, where is already owns a valuable commercial property portfolio. “[London] will be a centre of excellence where a lot of the analytics, a lot of the research and the management of external managers will be handled,” Breish said.



“We will have to prepare our risk profile and allocation,” he added. “Once that is done, we will identify which best in class fund managers will be suitable”."



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Kuwait Finance House first quarter profit rises but misses estimates | GulfNews.com

Kuwait Finance House first quarter profit rises but misses estimates | GulfNews.com:



"Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the country’s biggest Islamic lender, reported a 13 per cent rise in first quarter net profit on Saturday, missing analyst estimates.



Net profit rose to 26.06 million dinars (Dh340 million, $92.54 million) in the first three months of 2014 from 23.0 million dinars in the same period a year ago, the lender said in a statement. Revenues were 1 per cent higher at 224.4 million dinars.



Five analysts in a Reuters poll had estimated an average net profit of 32.76 million dinars for the quarter. KFH’s net profit more than doubled in the last quarter of 2013.



In the statement, Chairman Hamad Al Marzouq referred to a recent visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Kuwait and said KFH wanted to expand in Turkey and adjacent countries’ markets, without giving details. The Kuwaiti company is already operating in the country through its unit KFH Turkey."



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