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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Alawwal, SABB surge on initial merger talks, Egypt joins EM higher | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi's Alawwal, SABB surge on initial merger talks, Egypt joins EM higher | Reuters:

"Two Saudi banks soared on Wednesday after saying they were in initial stages of a merger, helping lift the mood in other lenders while first quarter financial results buoyed the shares of two blue chips in other Gulf countries. On Wednesday Saudi's Alawwal Bank agreed to start talks with Saudi British Bank (SABB) about a tie-up that could create the kingdom's third biggest bank with assets of nearly $80 billion. Shares in Alawwal soared by 8.6 percent in their heaviest daily traded volume since May 2012 while SABB jumped 6.8 percent in the largest single day volume since November last year."



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Iran hardliners struggle to present united front ahead of poll

Iran hardliners struggle to present united front ahead of poll:

"Shortly after Ebrahim Raisi was confirmed as a hardline candidate for Iran’s presidential election, he revealed a surprise weapon in his campaign armoury: his wife. In a move almost unheard of for a conservative cleric running for political office, Mr Raisi posted a video on social media in which he lauded Jamileh Alamolhoda, a professor at Shahid Beheshti University, as a successful career woman. “If I go home and she’s not there, I don’t mind. If there is no supper, I don’t mind,” Mr Raisi says in the video, a picture of Ms Alamolhoda appearing at the end. “I genuinely believe that her work helps her and the country . . . and she is having an impact.”"



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Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange delays short-selling to allow time for training | The National

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange delays short-selling to allow time for training | The National:

"The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has delayed the introduction of short-selling, claiming that more time is required to acquaint market participants with the practice. The ADX announced plans in December to introduce technical short-selling as a means of boosting market liquidity and attracting more foreign investors, with initial plans to allow the practice by the end of March. However the exchange is now saying that a survey of dealers, brokers, board members of listed companies and investors found that more training was required before short-selling could be properly introduced."



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Nakheel reports Q1 2017 net profit of Dh1.48b | GulfNews.com

Nakheel reports Q1 2017 net profit of Dh1.48b | GulfNews.com:

"Nakheel on Wednesday announced net profits of Dh1.48 billion for the first quarter of 2017. That’s marginally higher than the same period last year (2016), when it announced a net of Dh1.47 billion. Nakheel said the latest figures were in line with company forecasts. The firm awarded Dh5 billion worth of construction contracts during the quarter, signed deals with two Thai hotel operators, opened a fifth Pavilion retail centre, and announced a Dh150 million investment to create a network of new cycle tracks across Dubai."



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Riyadh's new financial hub struggles with ownership uncertainty | Reuters

Riyadh's new financial hub struggles with ownership uncertainty | Reuters:

"A glitzy $10 billion financial district in Riyadh hopes to open its first phase for business this year but is struggling with red tape and uncertainty about its ownership, showing the challenges facing Saudi Arabia's economic reforms.

The plan to build the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) began in 2006, but the project has been plagued by construction delays, cost overruns and doubts about finding enough tenants.

The government said in 2016 it would rescue the project as part of efforts to diversify the oil-reliant economy. It said it would transform the district into a special business zone with competitive regulations, financial incentives and visa exemptions for foreigners working there."



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MIDEAST DEBT-Record issuance marks Gulf's shift towards bonds from loans | Reuters

MIDEAST DEBT-Record issuance marks Gulf's shift towards bonds from loans | Reuters:

"The volume of international bond issues from the Gulf may hit a record high for a second straight year in 2017 as lower oil prices crimp the capacity of banks to finance billions of dollars of investments and state budget deficits.

Issuance data shows the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council's bond market is on track to become more important than its syndicated loan market in a region traditionally dominated by relationship-driven bank lending.

This historic shift is positive for economies because it eases risks and liquidity pressures for the region's banking system, which has been hurt by smaller flows of petrodollars, bankers and economists say.

"



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HSBC, RBS Saudi Ventures in Talks to Form $78 Billion Lender - Bloomberg

HSBC, RBS Saudi Ventures in Talks to Form $78 Billion Lender - Bloomberg:

"HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s Saudi Arabia ventures are exploring a potential merger to create the kingdom’s third-largest lender with $78 billion in assets. Alawwal Bank, which is 40 percent owned by RBS, plans to start initial talks with HSBC’s Saudi British Bank, according to a statement on Saudi stock exchange website Tuesday. Both lenders are based in Riyadh, with HSBC owning 40 percent of SABB. The negotiations come as banks grapple with how to approach the Middle East’s biggest economy, which is embarking on an unprecedented diversification and privatization plan but still blocks foreign control of local banks. The combined entity would be the kingdom’s biggest after National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank, and follows the merger of other regional lenders as they battle with sustained low oil prices, slower economic growth and a decline in asset quality."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Alawwal, SABB soar on merger talks, TAQA sinks on credit rating downgrade | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Alawwal, SABB soar on merger talks, TAQA sinks on credit rating downgrade | Reuters:

"Two Saudi banks soared in early trade on Wednesday after saying they were in initial stages of a merger helping lift the mood in other lenders while shares of Abu Dhabi's TAQA slump after a corporate rating downgrade. On Wednesday Alawwal Bank agreed to start talks with Saudi British Bank (SABB) about a tie-up that could create the kingdom's third biggest bank with assets of nearly $80 billion. Shares in Alawwal soared by 9.5 percent, not far off the 10 percent daily limit, after 20 minutes of trade while SABB jumped 6.8 percent."



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