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Monday, 17 April 2017

Women are a growing influence on banking in the Middle East | The National

Women are a growing influence on banking in the Middle East | The National:

"As well as being a member of Emirates NBD’s group executive committee, Lubna Qassim also sits on the board of a Lebanese bank. It’s a rare position for a female to be in, given the global average of women sitting on boards today is 16 per cent and in the GCC it’s a dismal 2 per cent, according to a recent study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) Middle East. Ms Qassim, an Emirati, says other board members at the Lebanese bank are former ministers and influential members of the Lebanese community, ranging in age from 70 to 90. "It was amazing just to see the reaction at the first board meeting," she says. "For the first time in their entire careers, a woman walks in. Of course, I giggled internally. They had worked with women – their PAs, their supporters – but here there was a female board member who was not only there to nod heads, but to speak smartly." Ms Qassim recently shared her story at a Dubai Business Women’s Council panel talk on why gender balance and diversity make good business sense, held at Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry."



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Saudi Arabia says tax on tobacco, drinks to raise up to $2.7 billion: Al Arabiya TV | Reuters

Saudi Arabia says tax on tobacco, drinks to raise up to $2.7 billion: Al Arabiya TV | Reuters:

"Saudi Arabia's government estimates a new tax on tobacco and sugary drinks will raise between 8 billion and 10 billion riyals ($2.1 billion to $2.7 billion) annually, Al Arabiya television quoted the General Authority of Zakat and Tax as saying on Monday. The government has previously said it will introduce the tax, part of efforts to close a budget deficit that totaled 297 billion riyals last year, in the second quarter of this year. A 50 percent levy will be imposed on soft drinks and 100 percent on tobacco and energy drinks, according to an official statement last December."



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Dubai builder Arabtec asks banks to waive debt terms -sources | Reuters

Dubai builder Arabtec asks banks to waive debt terms -sources | Reuters:

"Dubai-listed Arabtec Holding , which reported accumulated losses of 4.6 billion dirhams ($1.25 billion) last year, is asking banks to waive terms on its debt, two banking sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The building company has been in talks with its main creditors over the past month to waive the right for banks to call in facilities extended to the business, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the matter had not been made public. The waiver request comes as Arabtec seeks to ensure that the proceeds of a planned 1.5 billion dirham ($408.4 million) rights issue will go to the company rather than be used to settle its liabilities, one of the sources said, adding that Arabtec will no longer be in breach of debt covenants after the rights issue."



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Citigroup Names Saudi Arabia CEO - Bloomberg

Citigroup Names Saudi Arabia CEO - Bloomberg:

"Citigroup Inc. named Carmen Haddad to rebuild its Saudi Arabian business more than 10 years after losing a key banking license in the kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter. Haddad is leading Citigroup’s strategy and business development for the kingdom, where the New York-based bank doesn’t have a local presence, said the people, asking not to be identified because the appointment hasn’t been made public. She’s also set to become the lender’s chief executive officer in Saudi Arabia once it gets a banking license from the market regulator, the people said. Citigroup is in advanced discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority for an investment-banking license to operate in the country, people said last month. The firm lost a key banking license when it sold its stake in Samba Financial Group in 2004. Saudi Arabia is becoming more attractive to foreign lenders as it takes steps to overhaul its economy, including plans for what could be the largest ever initial public offering with the sale of shares in Saudi Arabian Oil Co."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Two Saudi telcos surge, Abu Dhabi's Eshraq rebounds on tie-up with fund | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Two Saudi telcos surge, Abu Dhabi's Eshraq rebounds on tie-up with fund | Reuters:

"Two Saudi Arabian telecommunications stocks surged on Monday on hopes that troubled operators have finally turned the corner, while Abu Dhabi real estate firm Eshraq was helped by a plan to tie up with state fund Mubadala. The Saudi stock index edged up 0.1 percent as Zain Saudi jumped 8.9 percent and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) added 3.6 percent. Last week Zain reported its first-ever quarterly net profit, and this raised hopes for Mobily, which has also been struggling to make money. "I believe the market is expecting Mobily to report profits just like Zain did," said Iyad Ghulam, senior equity analyst at NCB Capital."



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After taking big loss on assets, Taqa sets recovery course | The National

After taking big loss on assets, Taqa sets recovery course | The National:

"Abu Dhabi National Energy Company’s top management is putting together a recovery plan after taking the long-delayed decision last month to write off an enormous Dh22 billion (US$6bn) of value in its oil and gas portfolio. The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea), the majority shareholder in Taqa, as the company is known, filled the hole left in Taqa’s balance sheet by transferring land valued at Dh18.7bn from Adwea’s power and water plant sites, swallowing the entire loss of equity value itself, according to Taqa’s annual results. Having spent $25bn building up an international portfolio of oil, gas and power assets under previous management before oil and gas prices crashed, last year’s writedown leaves that portfolio with a book value of about $9.5bn."



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How Qatar Plans to Diversify Its Economy - Bloomberg

How Qatar Plans to Diversify Its Economy - Bloomberg:

"Qatar Financial Centre Authority CEO Yousef Mohammed Al-Jaida discusses Qatar's plans to diversify its economy. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets: Middle East." (Source: Bloomberg)"



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Troubled Saudi Oger sells 2.8 pct stake in Saudi Investment Bank | Reuters

Troubled Saudi Oger sells 2.8 pct stake in Saudi Investment Bank | Reuters:

"Financially troubled construction company Saudi Oger sold a 2.8 percent stake in Saudi Investment Bank, bringing its stake in the bank down to 5.8 percent in the course of a single trading day, stock exchange data showed on Monday.

The data did not reveal the identity of the buyers and the companies could not immediately be contacted for comment.

Saudi Investment Bank, which offers retail, corporate, treasury and asset management services, had a market capitalisation of $2.62 billion at the market's last close, implying the sale could have raised about $73 million."



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Crude Slips Below $53 as U.S. Drilling Surge Stokes Output Fears - Bloomberg

Crude Slips Below $53 as U.S. Drilling Surge Stokes Output Fears - Bloomberg:

"Oil declined below $53 a barrel as the U.S. continued to ramp-up drilling, stoking fears the nation’s surge in output this year will counter OPEC-led efforts to cut a global supply surplus.

Futures fell as much as 1 percent in New York, paring last week’s 1.8 percent advance. U.S. explorers added 11 rigs last week, capping the longest stretch of gains since 2011, according to Baker Hughes Inc. data. Prices fell even after Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said the global oil market is moving closer to balance despite the U.S. shale boom."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi banks buoyed by results, Eshraq rises on fund tie-up | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi banks buoyed by results, Eshraq rises on fund tie-up | Reuters:

"Two Saudi Arabian banks outperformed in early trading on Monday after reporting their first-quarter earnings, while shares in Abu Dhabi real estate firm Eshraq were boosted by a plan to tie up with state fund Mubadala. Shares in the second largest Saudi lender by assets, Al Rajhi Bank, rose 0.8 percent after it reported a net profit of 2.22 billion riyals ($589 million), up 10.1 percent from the prior-year period and in line with analysts' average forecast of 2.16 billion riyals. The Islamic bank had dropped 2.3 percent on Sunday on news that it was among Saudi companies being sued by U.S. insurers over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "



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