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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Gazprom looks to strengthen ties with Vietnam

Gazprom looks to strengthen ties with Vietnam:



"Gazprom continues to focus eastward, with the company led by Alexey Miller stepping up efforts to strengthen ties with Vietnam. 



Miller met Fam Suan Shon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Russia, to discuss Russian-Vietnamese cooperation in the energy sector.



‘In particular, the parties praised the results of the joint exploration and production activities on the Vietnamese shelf and in Russia as well as expressed their satisfaction with the progress of a Vietnamese project for natural gas use as a vehicle fuel. In addition, the participants confirmed their willingness to arrange the Russian LNG supply to Vietnam,’ Gazprom said on Friday."



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Bahrain Bourse closes in on tighter GCC market integration | GulfNews.com

Bahrain Bourse closes in on tighter GCC market integration | GulfNews.com:



"Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa took over as the chief executive of Bahrain Bourse (BHB) in mid-May this year. Prior to his current role Shaikh Khalifa was the deputy chief executive and chief operating officer of the bourse. He joined BHB in 2010 as the deputy director of settlement, central depository and Information Technology. Shaikh Khalifa was also responsible for implementing the bourse development strategy that was approved by the board in 2011. In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, he outlines the outlook for Bahrain Bourse in the context of capital market reforms across the GCC.
 



Gulf News (GN): You took over as the chief executive in May this year, what is your outlook for the exchange’s trading activity this year in the context of regional capital market developments?



Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa: We see Bahrain’s economy and financial markets very much part of the GCC economy and markets. In the context of the strong regional economic growth we see robust outlook for all the regional markets."



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Saudi Firms That Could Feature on Qualified Investors’ Wish Lists - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Saudi Firms That Could Feature on Qualified Investors’ Wish Lists - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"The Wall Street Journal lists the top 10 companies by market value that might interest foreign investors once the market is opened up for direct investment.



Of course, foreigners would still need to qualify to invest in the market. And the regulator also plans to impose foreign ownership limits that could be restrictive – such as an aggregate cap of 10% by market value, which includes any interests under swaps as well.



The Tadawul, as the market is known as, boasts of some of the biggest companies listed in the region. Not surprisingly, the list is headed by Sabic – with a market cap of about $103 billion, the petchem giant on its own dwarfs several other regional markets by value."



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Saudi Stocks Jump to 6-Year High on Ownership Rules; Dubai Gains - Bloomberg

Saudi Stocks Jump to 6-Year High on Ownership Rules; Dubai Gains - Bloomberg:



"Stocks in Saudi Arabia advanced to the highest since January 2008 after the world’s top oil producer proposed shareholding caps as it prepares to grant foreign investors access to the bourse. Dubai’s gauge also rose.



The Tadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) climbed 1.6 percent to close at 10,903.04. Banking stocks led the advance, with Alinma Bank surging 9.7 percent to the highest level on record. Al Rajhi Bank, the largest traded Islamic lender globally, rose 2 percent. Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 1.1 percent.



Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy, is removing barriers to one of the world’s most restricted stock markets as the kingdom pursues a $130 billion spending plan to boost non-energy industries. The country’s bourse may be added to MSCI Inc.’s emerging-markets gauge by 2017 at the earliest, Sebastien Lieblich, executive director at MSCI Index Research, said in July. That may translate into about $35 billion to $40 billion of inflows, John Burbank, founder of Passport Capital LLC, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 21."



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Exclusive: MAF Properties CEO George Kostas On Dubai's Retail High » Gulf Business

Exclusive: MAF Properties CEO George Kostas On Dubai's Retail High » Gulf Business:



"With 17 operational malls across the MENA region, UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Properties (MAF Properties) is firmly established as one of the foremost mall operators in the region.



But the company is aspiring for much more, with plans to diversify and be recognised as one of the leading property players across the MENA region within the next few years, with operations in malls, hotels, mixed-use developments and project management.



The plan is part of the wider $5 billion expansion strategy revealed by MAF Properties’ parent conglomerate, Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF) late last year. Under the five-year plan, Dubai-based MAF aims to double its business to $12 billion by 2018, driven by new malls opening in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, residential projects in Lebanon, hypermarkets, cinemas and family entertainment centre openings."



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Dubai is back in business and ready to get going | GulfNews.com

Dubai is back in business and ready to get going | GulfNews.com:



"All large Dubai-owned companies suffered in the financial downturn of 2009 and 2010, and some were found so severely lacking in liquidity that their survival was in doubt. Under a barrage of hysterical international news coverage, many assumed that Dubai would never recover again.



But in the event, Dubai quietly got on with the business of becoming one of the world’s major commercial and transport hubs, and as its excellent infrastructure helped the economy recover, its companies also recovered.



Dubai’s economic recovery has been so marked that Nakheel, the government-owned property developer, has announced that it will repay its entire outstanding Dh7.9 billion bank debt almost four years ahead of schedule. A few months ago its chairman, Ali Rashid Lootah, said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We will keep looking at ways to cut costs.”"



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Some of Dubai’s ‘big names’ should have been allowed to fail, says Al Ansari - Politics & Economics - ArabianBusiness.com

Some of Dubai’s ‘big names’ should have been allowed to fail, says Al Ansari - Politics & Economics - ArabianBusiness.com:



"Some of the big name Dubai companies that ran up massive debts during the downturn should have been allowed to fail, but the culture was that bankruptcy was seen as a taboo option, a close former advisor of Dubai’s Ruler told Arabian Business.



“There were a lot of the discussions in 2009 and 2010 where with some companies it actually made sense to let them go through a bankruptcy liquidation process because frankly it would have cost the shareholders less and cost the bank less,” said Sameer Al Ansari, who served as Group Chief Financial Officer for The Executive Office of Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and was the founding chairman and CEO of Dubai International Capital, the emirate’s defacto sovereign wealth fund.



Dubai’s rapid growth and investment in overseas assets and lavish local projects meant it was one of the locations hardest hit by the global recession as property prices fell by nearly 60 percent, around half of projects were put on hold and it was faced with billions of dollars in debt repayments."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Conservative ownership rules may slow Saudi uptrend | News by Country | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Conservative ownership rules may slow Saudi uptrend | News by Country | Reuters:



"The rise of Saudi Arabia's bourse may pause on Sunday after the kingdom's stock market regulator published on Thursday restrictive draft rules for direct foreign ownership of shares - though the market had largely expected a conservative approach.



The Capital Market Authority proposed limiting total foreign ownership of the market's value to 10 percent, and to cap it for each listed company at 5 percent for a single foreign investor and 20 percent for all foreign institutions combined.



The draft rules also require foreign funds to have at least $5 billion of assets under management, and investment experience of no less than five years in order to buy Saudi stocks."



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Will Gulf fortunes be hampered by Mena turbulence? | GulfNews.com

Will Gulf fortunes be hampered by Mena turbulence? | GulfNews.com:



"It’s clear that the immediate geopolitics of the Middle East have become no less relevant now than when mentioned last week.



In one of those examples where minimal change hides the tensions of offsetting forces, benchmark Brent oil prices have deceptively hovered around the $100 (Dh367) mark.



To some extent it has to be imagined that prices, and therefore receipts to the exporting states of the Gulf, have been upheld by a certain risk premium for some time."



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