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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Cardiff Airport gets first-ever scheduled long-haul flight in deal with major global airline - Wales Online

Cardiff Airport gets first-ever scheduled long-haul flight in deal with major global airline - Wales Online:

"Cardiff Airport has received its biggest ever boost after landing one of the world's best known and fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways is investing in a new, frequent long-haul direct service from the Rhoose-based airport to the Middle Eastern hub of Hamad International Airport in Doha. The deal was announced by Qatar Airways Group chief executive, HE Mr Akbar Al Baker."



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Etisalat posts Dh2.1b in net profit in the first quarter of 2017 | GulfNews.com

Etisalat posts Dh2.1b in net profit in the first quarter of 2017 | GulfNews.com:

"The net profit of Etisalat grew by 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 to Dh2.1 billion when compared to Dh2 billion during the same period last year. However, consolidated revenue for the first quarter of 2017 amounted to Dh12.5 billion representing a decline of 3 per cent in comparison to the same period last year due to unfavourable exchange movements mainly in Egypt, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. In the UAE, revenue in the first quarter increases year on year by 5 per cent to Dh7.6 billion as a result of growth of the subscriber base with increased bundle propositions and strong performance of eLife segment. The company attributed increase in profit to lower depreciation and amoritisation, lower forex losses and lower royalty charges that was partially offset by higher share of losses from associates and higher net finance costs."



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Alitalia Teeters Toward Bankruptcy as Staff Spurns Bailout - Bloomberg

Alitalia Teeters Toward Bankruptcy as Staff Spurns Bailout - Bloomberg:

"Alitalia SpA said it exhausted all options after workers voted against job cuts aimed at salvaging the cash-strapped Italian airline, pushing it toward administration for the second time in a decade. A 2 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) recapitalization tied to the savings plan is effectively dead and Alitalia will start appropriate “legal procedures” as funds run out, the Rome-based airline said. The carrier was last put into bankruptcy in 2008 after political and labor opposition thwarted sale plans, and has stumbled on since, with ties to Air France-KLM Group and Etihad Airways PJSC failing to end losses. Chances of a last-minute rescue appear slim. Italy has said it won’t nationalize Alitalia whatever the circumstances. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, the carrier’s main backer, said the employees’ rejection means “all parties lose,” and that it supports the board’s move to hold a shareholders’ meeting Thursday “to start preparing the procedures provided by law.”"



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UPDATE 1-Emirates chairman says demand 'holding' on U.S. routes not hit by cuts | Reuters

UPDATE 1-Emirates chairman says demand 'holding' on U.S. routes not hit by cuts | Reuters:

"Passenger demand on flights to United States cities where Emirates airline is not cutting its services is "holding," chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said on Tuesday.

The Dubai-based company announced last week it would reduce flights to five U.S. cities from May after a decline in demand that it blamed on President Donald Trump's travel restrictions.

Emirates flies to 12 cities in the U.S and is reducing frequencies to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Seattle, Boston, and Los Angeles. Other destinations such as New York, Houston and Chicago are not impacted."



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Khamenei Deepens Economy Divide With Rouhani as Election Nears - Bloomberg

Khamenei Deepens Economy Divide With Rouhani as Election Nears - Bloomberg:

"Iran’s supreme leader said candidates in next month’s presidential election should pledge not to rely on foreign investment to strengthen the economy, reinforcing his apparent differences with incumbent Hassan Rouhani, who has sought to woo international investors.

All candidates need to “promise the people that in order for the country to progress, for economic growth and to untie the knots, their eyes won’t be set outside our borders but on the nation itself,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told officials on Tuesday, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

The May 19 election will help determine whether Iran remains committed to Rouhani’s engagement with the West. The moderate cleric is facing mounting frustration over the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that critics say hasn’t yet benefited poor Iranians -- criticism echoed recently by Khamenei, who has final say over state matters. "



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Saudi's Alawwal Bank and HSBC-backed SABB in merger talks | Reuters

Saudi's Alawwal Bank and HSBC-backed SABB in merger talks | Reuters:

"Saudi lenders Alawwal Bank 1040.SE and Saudi British Bank 1060.SE have agreed to start talks about a merger that could create the kingdom's third biggest bank with assets of nearly $80 billion. The announcement by the lenders on Tuesday is the latest example of consolidation in the Gulf's banking sector, where profit margins are being squeezed by lower government and consumer spending because of weak oil prices. "The consolidation points to the fact that you need stronger banks to sustain in this challenging macro environment. You need large, efficient banks to serve," said Murad Ansari, an analyst at EFG-Hermes in Saudi Arabia."



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Citigroup Gets Saudi Investment Bank License After 13 Years - Bloomberg

Citigroup Gets Saudi Investment Bank License After 13 Years - Bloomberg:

"After a 13-year absence, Citigroup Inc. is back in Saudi Arabia.

The bank received a license from the kingdom’s regulator “to provide a full range of investment banking, debt and equity capital markets, markets and securities research capabilities to local and international institutional clients," it said in a statement Tuesday.

The announcement seals Citigroup’s return to the kingdom after it lost its license when it sold its stake in Samba Financial Group in 2004. Saudi Arabia is becoming more attractive to foreign lenders as it overhauls its economy and plans to list Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, in what could be the largest-ever initial public offering. The New York-based bank tried unsuccessfully to return to the country in 2006 and 2010."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai, Qatar resilient despite some weak Q1 results, Saudi slips | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Dubai, Qatar resilient despite some weak Q1 results, Saudi slips | Reuters:

"Stock markets in the Gulf most exposed to foreign trade held their ground on Tuesday, with Dubai and Qatar showing resilience in the face of disappointing results from blue-chip companies.

In Dubai, shares of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications (Du) lost 3 percent after reporting a net profit of 364.9 million dirhams ($99.35 million) in the three months to March 31, down 24 percent from the prior year period.

Analysts at SICO Bahrain forecast the telecommunication provider would make a net profit of 447.33 million dirhams and EFG Hermes estimated 474.02 million dirhams."



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Oman to Follow Abu Dhabi With Sovereign Fund Merger Plans - Bloomberg

Oman to Follow Abu Dhabi With Sovereign Fund Merger Plans - Bloomberg:

"Oman, the largest Arab oil producer outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is considering a merger of its two main sovereign wealth funds amid a slump in oil prices, people familiar with the matter said.

The Gulf state is seeking to combine State General Reserve Fund with smaller peer Oman Investment Fund to create an entity with about $25 billion in assets, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The discussions are preliminary and no financial advisers are currently involved, the people said. Final agreements haven’t been reached and talks may still falter, they said.

 Oman is studying ways to improve its investment management and a merger of the two funds could include other investments, one of the people said. Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of six oil-producing Arab monarchies, are restructuring national oil companies -- selling shares, merging units and cutting costs -- after crude slumped by more than half since 2014."



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Shuaa Capital posts first profit rise in 7 quarters | The National

Shuaa Capital posts first profit rise in 7 quarters | The National:

"Shuaa Capital, the Dubai-based investment bank in the midst of a financial clean up, said its net profit for the first three months of the year rose for the first time in seven quarters after a reduction in money set aside to cover bad debt as well as cost cutting. The firm said it registered a first quarter profit of Dh24.8 million compared with a loss of Dh27.5m in the same period last year. It was the first quarterly profit since the third quarter of 2015. Shuaa’s small and medium sized enterprise lending arm, Gulf Finance, saw a significant reduction in provisions amid write-offs and more stringent asset-backed loans. As a result, money set aside to cover bad loans fell to Dh1.9m versus Dh34m in the same period last year. "



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Gulf Royal-Backed Samena to Raise $700 Million for Asia - Bloomberg

Gulf Royal-Backed Samena to Raise $700 Million for Asia - Bloomberg:

"Samena Capital, an investment firm managing about $650 million, plans to raise as much as $700 million for a special situations fund to invest in the Indian subcontinent and Asia. Samena, which focuses on emerging markets with offices in London, Dubai and Hong Kong, plans to close its third private equity fund in the next 12 to 18 months, Founder and Vice Chairman Shirish Saraf said in an interview in Dubai on Thursday. The company is working on five deals, targeting investments in India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China, he said. “We focus on countries with young populations, stable political structures and who will benefit from lower oil prices and lower interest rates,” he said. “The Middle East still has some challenges ahead due to lower oil prices.”"



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UAE telco Du Q1 net profit falls 24 pct | Reuters

UAE telco Du Q1 net profit falls 24 pct | Reuters:

"Du, the United Arab Emirates' No.2 telecom operator, reported a 24 percent fall in first-quarter net profit on Tuesday, missing analysts' expectations. The company has been squeezed since late 2014 as growth of the mobile market has been offset by a steady increase in the royalty - or tax - paid to the government. Du, which ended rival Etisalat's domestic monopoly in 2007, made a net profit of 364.9 million dirhams ($99.35 million) in the three months to March 31, down from 480.1 million dirhams in the year-earlier period."



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HSBC wins mandate on $100 billion Saudi Aramco IPO: CEO | Reuters

HSBC wins mandate on $100 billion Saudi Aramco IPO: CEO | Reuters:

"HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) has been formally mandated as an adviser on the initial public offering of Saudi Arabia's national oil giant Aramco IPO-ARMO.SE, expected to be the world's largest ever IPO, HSBC's chief executive said on Monday. Europe's biggest bank joins peers including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) on the deal, which is expected to raise some $100 billion and is the centrepiece of the Saudi government's ambitious strategy to diversify away from oil. HSBC's Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver announced the bank's appointment on the deal at a shareholders' meeting in Hong Kong, confirming a Reuters report in February that the bank was close to being mandated on the hottest investment banking ticket in the world."



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Oil Veteran Says OPEC Needs Year to Pull Off Elusive Mission - Bloomberg

Oil Veteran Says OPEC Needs Year to Pull Off Elusive Mission - Bloomberg:

"OPEC needs a year more to accomplish what’s at the moment proving to be mission impossible, according to a veteran oil analyst. Saudi Arabian oil minister Khalid Al-Falih acknowledged last week that the group and its allies, after three months of limiting output, have failed to hit their target of eroding oil inventories below the five-year historical average. The reductions need to be prolonged to not only until the end of 2017, but also extended through the first half of next year for the goal to be met, said Fereidun Fesharaki, the head of industry consultant FGE."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q1 results weighs on Qatar, Dubai; oil drags Saudi petchems | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Poor Q1 results weighs on Qatar, Dubai; oil drags Saudi petchems | Reuters:

"Two Qatari blue chip shares weighed on the local index in early trade on Tuesday after reporting a disappointing set of quarterly earnings, while Dubai was dragged lower by telecommunications operator Du. Qatari Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan lost 0.5 percent after reporting a 6.5 percent year-on-year fall in its first-quarter net profit to 510 million Qatar riyals ($140.1 million) and below the average of three analysts' estimate of 517.1 million riyals.# Commodities shipper Qatar Navigation was down 1.0 percent after it made a net profit of 236 million Qatar riyals ($64.81 million) in the three months to March 31, down 33 percent from the prior year period and below the 369.2 million riyals analysts at QNB Financial Services had estimated."



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