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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Hapag Lloyd-UASC merger hits snags over future share ownership: sources | Reuters

Hapag Lloyd-UASC merger hits snags over future share ownership: sources | Reuters:

"A merger of Hapag-Lloyd (HLAG.DE) and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has hit a snag, with the German shipping line and some banks seeking assurances that UASC's top shareholder Qatar remain committed to the deal for the long term, sources say. Hapag Lloyd Chief Executive Rolf Habben Jansen told a news conference this week he had underestimated the complexity of the 7 billion to 8 billion euro ($7.6-$8.7 bln) deal, which will create one of the world's largest shipping lines. Two finance sources, who declined to be identified citing deal sensitivity, said one of the main concerns of Hapag Lloyd and some of the Gulf-based syndicate banks is that Qatar could in future lower its stake in the combined group. "



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UPDATE 3-Santander Brasil slumps as Qatar fund seeks partial exit | Reuters

UPDATE 3-Santander Brasil slumps as Qatar fund seeks partial exit | Reuters:

"Shares in Banco Santander Brasil SA fell the most in intraday trading in almost four months on Tuesday after Qatar's sovereign wealth fund filed to sell a 2.25 percent in Brazil's fourth-largest listed lender. The bank informed regulators that Qatar Investment Authority had put as many as 80 million units up for sale in a so-called restricted-efforts offering. Units are a blend of common and preferred shares and are the bank's most widely traded class of stock in Brazil. With the transaction, the sovereign wealth fund, known as QIA, would liquidate 40 percent of the 5.5 percent stake it holds. Fund managers and analysts said QIA's move comes after a rally that nearly doubled the price of Santander Brasil's units . "



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Amazon Buys Souq.com as Middle East Online Market Takes Off - Bloomberg

Amazon Buys Souq.com as Middle East Online Market Takes Off - Bloomberg:

"Amazon.com Inc. has agreed to buy Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, betting that e-commerce in the Middle East is poised to take off.

The U.S. e-commerce giant beat out Emaar Malls PJSC, which runs the world’s biggest shopping center and had bid $800 million for Souq.com. Amazon and Souq.com didn’t disclose deal terms and declined to comment.

Amazon has been stepping up its overseas expansion. Having largely ceded China to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Seattle company is waging a war of attrition with Flipkart Online Services Pvt in India, where it has pledged to spend $5 billion in the next few years. The Middle East has lagged behind the rest of the world in e-commerce, but online shopping is picking up in such countries as Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where most people own mobile phones."



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Saudi bank lending growth slows to a crawl in February | Reuters

Saudi bank lending growth slows to a crawl in February | Reuters:

"Growth in Saudi Arabian bank lending almost halted in February, central bank data showed on Tuesday, with companies holding back from investment in the face of stubbornly low oil prices and concern over government austerity policies. Bank lending to the private sector showed year-on-year growth of only 0.3 percent in February, slowing from 1.8 percent in January and down sharply from the 10 percent registered a year earlier. Bankers say part of the reason for the lending slowdown is that state money is flowing more freely through the economy than it was for most of last year, when the government stopped paying many of its bills as low oil prices took a heavy toll on public coffers."



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Commercial property sales subject to VAT from next year – but residential is exempt | The National

Commercial property sales subject to VAT from next year – but residential is exempt | The National:

"Property experts have welcomed news from the Ministry of Finance that sales and leases of commercial property will be subject to VAT from January, but residential property will not. In a briefing session for advisers last week at Festival City, civil servants said that offices, shops and other commercial property will be subject to the new 5 per cent VAT levy. However, sales and leases of residential property will be exempt from the tax, along with undeveloped land."



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Amazon announces agreement to buy Souq.com | The National

Amazon announces agreement to buy Souq.com | The National:

"Amazon said today it had reached an agreement to acquire Souq.com, ending months of speculation about the leading regional e-commerce group. The purchase price was not disclosed but the deal comes just a day after Emaar Malls said it had submitted an $800 million bid for the company. "Amazon’s entry into the region reflects the visionary foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who launched Dubai Internet City in 1999 and adopted the e-commerce and online business legislation of 2002," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai. "Furthermore, it reiterates Dubai’s position as a regional and global hub for the world’s biggest and leading organizations," Sheikh Hamdan said."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets edge up, Emaar Malls jumps as Amazon seals Souq.com deal | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most markets edge up, Emaar Malls jumps as Amazon seals Souq.com deal | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets edged up on Tuesday although trading volumes were generally low, while Emaar Malls jumped in Dubai after the company appeared to lose a contest with Amazon.com to acquire Middle Eastern online retailer Souq.com.

Emaar Malls added 3.6 percent, outperforming Dubai's stock index, which dropped 0.2 percent.

The company's shares had dropped 2.8 percent in the previous two days on news it was making an $800 million bid to acquire e-commerce operator Souq.com, which could have put it in a bidding war with Amazon.com. The U.S. company had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com."



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World’s top oil traders see Opec rollover if Russia commits

World’s top oil traders see Opec rollover if Russia commits:

"The world’s top oil traders believe Opec will commit to maintaining their production cuts as long as Russia increases its compliance to keep the cartel’s most powerful members on board. Speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, executives from some of the world’s largest independent trading houses said a push to draw down oil inventories would likely need to last at least for the rest of the year. “There’s a feeling stocks aren’t drawing in the way they were meant to,” said Russell Hardy, chief executive of Vitol’s European, Middle East and African business. “At $50 there’s a lot of incentive for people to continue with the current policy,” though he cautioned a sharper recovery in prices could weaken Opec’s resolve."



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Market share or higher prices? The Saudi, Russia oil dilemma: Russell | Reuters

Market share or higher prices? The Saudi, Russia oil dilemma: Russell | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely to discover that when pursuing two incompatible goals, the one deemed less important will ultimately be sacrificed. The world's top two oil exporters appear to be chasing both higher crude prices through their curbs to production and market share by increasing exports, at least in Asia, the world's biggest crude importing region and the fastest growing. The question is which of these two goals will ultimately be abandoned in favor of the other, and how long will it take for Saudi Arabia and Russia to realize the incompatibility of their dual ambitions?"



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Saudi Aramco’s Valuation Could Top $1 Trillion After Tax Cut - Bloomberg

Saudi Aramco’s Valuation Could Top $1 Trillion After Tax Cut - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Aramco could have a market value of more than $1 trillion, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. estimates, after the government slashed the oil producer’s tax burden to attract investors ahead of what may be the world’s biggest initial public offering.

The tax cut will increase Aramco’s net income by 300 percent, putting its per-barrel income in a range similar to that of international oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., Bernstein analysts said in a report. A production-weighted valuation on a par with such companies could give Aramco, known officially as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., a market value of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, the analysts said. "



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Saudi sovereign fund expands footprint with Jordan investment firm | Reuters

Saudi sovereign fund expands footprint with Jordan investment firm | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's top sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday it was expanding its international presence by creating an investment firm that would pursue real estate, energy, tourism and infrastructure projects in Jordan. The Public Investment Fund, founded in 1971 to finance development projects within Saudi Arabia, has traditionally served largely as a holding company for the government's stakes in Saudi companies. But under Saudi economic reforms launched last year, the PIF is expanding abroad, investing in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber and a global technology fund, and considering other investments ranging from a Kuwaiti food maker to German financial firms."



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Amazon Agrees to Buy Souq.com - Bloomberg

Amazon Agrees to Buy Souq.com - Bloomberg:

"The acquisition of the mideast e-commerce firm is expected to close in 2017. Amazon recently restarted talks to acquire Souq.com in a deal valued at as much as $650 million after walking away earlier this year. The bid was challenged by Emaar Malls, which offered $800 million."



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Qatar Air Chief Accelerates India Push, Plans New Routes to U.K. - Bloomberg

Qatar Air Chief Accelerates India Push, Plans New Routes to U.K. - Bloomberg:

"Qatar Airways Ltd. may order 100 new jetliners before the end of this year to power its push into India and also plans to announce two new routes to the U.K. even as the country prepares to exit the European Union, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said. The Persian Gulf carrier is confident that a new aviation policy mapped out by “futuristic” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will permit 100 percent foreign ownership of a domestic airline, Al Baker said Monday in London. Qatar Airways is briefing lawyers in India and will seek formally to establish the new airline soon, with a tender for aircraft to follow. “It could be this year,” the CEO told journalists after addressing the Qatar-U.K. Business and Investment Forum. “It depends how fast we can arrange our application.”"



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Qatar Wealth Fund Expansion Plan Is Undeterred by Brexit, Trump - Bloomberg

Qatar Wealth Fund Expansion Plan Is Undeterred by Brexit, Trump - Bloomberg:

"Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund plans to expand in the U.K. and the U.S., as top officials said long-term commercial opportunities would outweigh political uncertainty roiling the two countries. The gas-rich Gulf emirate will add 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) to its U.K. portfolio in the next three to five years, and will set up an office soon in San Francisco -- its second in the U.S. after New York. The focus will be on infrastructure, technology, healthcare and real estate, they said. The plans were announced on Monday in London, two days before U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is set to begin the two-year clock on negotiations to leave the European Union. The investments could help signal that the U.K. remains an attractive destination for foreign capital even after it leaves the EU."



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Trump Ally Giuliani to Aid Turkish Dealer in Sanctions Case - Bloomberg

Trump Ally Giuliani to Aid Turkish Dealer in Sanctions Case - Bloomberg:

"An Iranian-Turkish gold dealer hired two confidants of President Donald Trump to help defend him against U.S. charges of using his network of companies to circumvent federal sanctions on Iran and possibly bring an end to the case.

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey were retained by a team representing Reza Zarrab. The lawyers won’t be taking part in the trial, Zarrab’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a court filing. Zarrab had pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial in New York in October.

Giuliani was an outspoken Trump supporter during the election campaign, while Mukasey helped advise the president and was part of a team Giuliani said was drafted to legally implement a Muslim ban that Trump had promised. That led to an executive order restricting travel to the U.S. from seven mostly Muslim countries."



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COLUMN-Market share or higher prices? The Saudi, Russia oil dilemma: Russell | Reuters

COLUMN-Market share or higher prices? The Saudi, Russia oil dilemma: Russell | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia and Russia are likely to discover that when pursuing two incompatible goals, the one deemed less important will ultimately be sacrificed. The world's top two oil exporters appear to be chasing both higher crude prices through their curbs to production and market share by increasing exports, at least in Asia, the world's biggest crude importing region and the fastest growing. The question is which of these two goals will ultimately be abandoned in favour of the other, and how long will it take for Saudi Arabia and Russia to realise the incompatibility of their dual ambitions?"



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MIDEAST STOCKS- Emaar Malls rebounds, Gulf markets trade steady or higher | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS- Emaar Malls rebounds, Gulf markets trade steady or higher | Reuters:

"Most Gulf stock markets were steady or in positive territory in early trade on Tuesday after Asian bourses rebounded, but trading volumes were generally thin.

Emaar Malls added 1.2 percent, outperforming a flat Dubai index. The company had dropped 2.8 percent in the previous two days on news it was making an $800 million bid to acquire e-commerce operator Souq.com, which could put it in a bidding war with Amazon.com. The U.S. company had agreed in principle to buy Souq.com.

On Tuesday, sources told Reuters that Souq.com would make an announcement later in the day about Amazon.com's bid. One of the sources, declining to be identified ahead of the announcement, said the statement would say Souq.com's shareholders had accepted the Amazon bid."



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