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Monday, 18 December 2017

REIT boom gathers pace in Kingdom | Arab News

REIT boom gathers pace in Kingdom | Arab News:

"The boom in Tadawul-listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) continues with details emerging on Monday about one of the largest so far — a vehicle owned by Derayah Financial that will raise more than SR1.1 billion according
to a statement from the company.
Subscription for the Derayah REIT will start on Dec. 27 and end on Jan. 7, 2018, said the announcement.
Derayah added it would be one of the biggest and most diversified funds with properties in sectors that span offices, residential, warehouses, retail and hospitality.
The REIT is invested in 15 assets, located in six cities: Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Khobar, Jeddah, and Al-Ahsa.
Derayah Financial is licensed by the Capital Markets Authority, which announced the company’s plans to list on the Saudi stock exchange on Dec. 6."



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Qatar’s prudent 2018 budget is ‘credit positive’, says Moody’s

Qatar’s prudent 2018 budget is ‘credit positive’, says Moody’s:

"Qatar’s “prudent” approach to 2018 budget planning is “credit positive”, Moody’s Investor service said, noting it “reduces the risk of fiscal slippage” that would increase the government’s debt burden at potentially higher costs. 
Moreover, Moody’s sees “upside potential” for Qatar’s revenue in 2018 based on its higher oil price projections. The 2018 state budget increases total spending by 2.4% year-on-year to QR203.2bn.
The lion’s share of total spending (QR97.5bn or 48%) will be allocated to capital expenditures, including QR11.2bn for projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. "



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Dana Loses U.K. Appeal to Bar BlackRock From $700 Million Case - Bloomberg

Dana Loses U.K. Appeal to Bar BlackRock From $700 Million Case - Bloomberg:

"Dana Gas PJSC received another set-back in the six-month old legal battle to invalidate its $700 million Islamic bonds. The English Court of Appeal refused the United Arab Emirates energy company’s application to appeal an order by the High Court in London that allowed bondholder BlackRock Inc. to join the case and for proceedings to continue in Dana Gas’s absence, according to a statement on Monday. Sharjah-based Dana Gas couldn’t participate in the trial due to a court injunction at home. The English High Court in September allowed BlackRock to join the trial over the validity of a purchase agreement that is part of the sale of the securities. Dana Gas contended that sukukholders are "expressly prohibited" from pursuing a claim in relation to the purchase undertaking involving the sukuk al mudaraba, as the bonds are called."



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Barclays in Talks With SFO on Qatar-Probe Deal - Bloomberg

Barclays in Talks With SFO on Qatar-Probe Deal - Bloomberg:

Barclays Plc is in talks with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office over a possible deal to avoid new charges against one of its main operating units linked to a 12 billion-pound ($16.1 billion) fundraising at the height of the financial crisis, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.


The decision on whether the SFO will charge the unit, Barclays Bank Plc, in relation to the capital raising with Qatar is expected to be made by the end of January, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. The bank’s holding company and four former executives were charged with fraud and unlawful financial assistance in June with a trial scheduled for 2019.

When the charges were announced this year the bank said the SFO had not yet made a decision on whether it would also charge Barclays Bank. Any charges against the operating unit could be problematic because, if convicted, the lender’s ability to do business globally might be affected. Regulatory approvals and banking licenses are usually tied to banks’ operating units, through which products and services are provided."



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Iran economy's recovery strengthening but bank reform is urgent, IMF says

Iran economy's recovery strengthening but bank reform is urgent, IMF says:

"Iran’s economy is starting to recover more rapidly from years of international sanctions but the country urgently needs to shore up its banks, a senior International Monetary Fund official said on Monday.

Gross domestic product growth soared to 12.5 percent in the year through last March 20, but that was almost entirely due to a leap in oil exports, after most sanctions were removed under a deal with world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Oil exports are no longer growing nearly as fast. But the economic recovery is now beginning to extend to non-oil areas, said Catriona Purfield, head of an IMF team which held annual consultations with the Iranian government this month. "



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Saudi Aramco hires Citi to lead $2bln UK-backed loan- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Saudi Aramco hires Citi to lead $2bln UK-backed loan- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Aramco has appointed U.S. investment bank Citi to lead a $2 billion financing backed by Britain, sources familiar with the deal said.

The loan mandate will not be particularly lucrative, the sources said, but is seen by some banks as a way of getting closer to securing work on Aramco's planned initial public share offer, which may value the company at $2 trillion - a sum some prospective investors have said appears unrealistically high.

"Banks look at these kinds of operations for relationship purposes," said a source at a European export credit agency in the Middle East. "This kind of loan is a bit of a test that Aramco makes on the market and given the name, there's high competition among banks," he added. "



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Saudi 2018 budget to focus on development, investment: finance ministry

Saudi 2018 budget to focus on development, investment: finance ministry:

"Saudi Arabia’s 2018 budget, to be released on Tuesday, will focus on expansion, development and investment, but will not include new reforms or taxes, a senior Saudi finance ministry official said on Monday.

“If there was to be a title for the 2018 budget, it would be the budget of expansion and development and investment,” Saad al-Shahrani, general director of the ministry’s macro-fiscal policy unit, said in an interview on Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV.

“It will also focus on capital and investment expenditure. The citizen and the private sector will have a big part of it and it will simulate the private sector.”"



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Saudi Budget Gap Falls Below 10% in 2017, Finance Ministry Says - Bloomberg

Saudi Budget Gap Falls Below 10% in 2017, Finance Ministry Says - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit narrowed in 2017 to below 10 percent of economic output for the first time since the collapse in oil prices battered public finances, as the kingdom prepared to unveil what is expected to be an expansionary budget for next year.


The shortfall dropped to 8.9 percent of gross domestic product from almost 13 percent in 2016, the official Saudi Press Agency reported late on Monday, citing Finance Ministry official Yarub al-Thunyan. The decline is in line with the median estimate of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

A lower deficit would be a welcome boost for the kingdom as it grapples with lower oil revenue after prices plummeted in 2014, causing the budget deficit to surge to about 15 percent of GDP the following year. In response, authorities cut spending and introduced austerity measures including cuts to generous subsidies -- policies that helped reduce the deficit but led to the worst economic slowdown since the global financial crisis. 

"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi cement shares surge on eve of 2018 state budget

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi cement shares surge on eve of 2018 state budget:

"Saudi Arabia’s stock market surged on Monday as cement firms climbed before the release of the government’s 2018 budget, which is expected to include an increase in infrastructure spending.

The Saudi stock index surged 1.4 percent in active trade. Five of the 10 most heavily traded shares and six of the 10 top gainers were cement firms, with Najran Cement jumping 6.0 percent after a 4.5 percent gain on Sunday.

Analysts generally expect a moderate increase in spending in the 2018 budget and for deficit-cutting to slow considerably as the government focuses more on supporting growth; infrastructure spending may rise after two years of austerity."



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Qatar insurance industry to grow to $4.6bn in four years

Qatar insurance industry to grow to $4.6bn in four years:

"Qatar's insurance industry is expected to grow more than 9% to reach $4.6bn by 2021 as rising population continues to drive the demand for health, motor, property and other retail cover; while strategic economic diversification plans help enhance the base of assets available for underwriting, according to Alpen Capital. The insurance industry's gross written premium (GWP) is expected to be $4.6bn by 2021 compared to $3.1 this year and $2.9bn in 2016, the Alpen Capital report said. Highlighting that the country's population has grown at a fast pace of 8.6% between 2011 and 2016 to 2.6mn and is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.5% until 2021, it said the growth is driven by increasing number of expatriate workers moving in for job prospects."



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Metals Trader Liberty House Targets Middle East in Building Boom - Bloomberg

Metals Trader Liberty House Targets Middle East in Building Boom - Bloomberg:

"Liberty House Group, the London-based metals trader that has expanded in the U.K. , Australia and the U.S. over the past four years, is looking to acquire factories in the Middle East, building on the commodities business it started in Dubai 10 years ago, according to Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta. The deals could involve buying manufacturers of building materials, cement, steel or aluminum, and would mark the company’s first acquisition in the region, Gupta said in an interview in Dubai this month as Liberty House celebrated 25 years in business. The company is also preparing for an initial public offering of a subsidiary “very soon” and is trying to buy two steel plants and an automotive components factory in India, he said. “We have a strong presence here,” Gupta said. “A couple of projects are being examined.” "



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Kuwait's Largest Lender Plans Saudi Arabia, Egypt Expansion - Bloomberg

Kuwait's Largest Lender Plans Saudi Arabia, Egypt Expansion - Bloomberg:

"National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s largest lender, plans to hire hundreds of people and open more branches in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as it targets growth in the Middle East’s biggest markets. NBK, as the bank is known, will open in Riyadh and Dammam by the end of next year after opening its first branch in Saudi Arabia in 2006. The bank’s Egyptian unit also aims to have 60 branches in the most populous Arab country by 2020, up from 43 currently, and will open four or five next year. “We started focusing our regional growth on more stable markets in the Middle East, namely GCC countries -- Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. -- in addition to Egypt,” Group Chief Executive Officer Isam Al Sager said in an interview in Cairo late on Sunday. “We have one operating branch in Saudi Arabia and just received required approvals to open two more branches in the kingdom.” "



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UAE's Dana Gas says appeal against BlackRock joining sukuk trial rejected | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Dana Gas says appeal against BlackRock joining sukuk trial rejected | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The English Court of Appeal has refused an application by Dana Gas to appeal a decision allowing fund manager BlackRock to participate in English court proceedings over Dana's $700 million of sukuk, Dana said on Monday. Dana is refusing to redeem its Islamic bonds on the grounds that they are no longer sharia-compliant and have therefore become unlawful in the United Arab Emirates. Courts in both Britain and the UAE are hearing the case. The English High Court ruled in favour of sukuk holders on Nov. 17, deciding that the purchase undertaking, part of the sukuk's contractual framework, was valid and enforceable. "



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Kuwait seeks help for Boursa stake sale | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Kuwait seeks help for Boursa stake sale | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"The Capitals Market Authority (CMA) Sunday, December 17 floated a tender in demand for consultative services to help it sell a stake in the Boursa Kuwait. According to a report published in The National, the deadline for financial consultative firms to present their bids is Jan 7, as per the official announcement made by CMA, which did not specify how much of the share capital of Boursa Kuwait could come up for sale or when the transaction is expected to take place.

The State of Kuwait, through this move, will be joining an increasing number of Arabian Gulf countries that are seeking the privatization of their equity markets. Governments in the Arabian Gulf region are looking to partially privatize state-owned assets including stock exchanges in order to raise capital due to the lower oil revenues.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia declared its plan to sell a stake in Tadawul – the biggest bourse in the GCC based on market capitalization — to become the region’s second publicly-traded equities platform after Dubai Financial Market. According to Director General of Oman’s Bourse Ahmed Saleh Al-Marhoon, Oman’s market regulator also plans to privatize the country’s Muscat Securities Market (MSM) via a share sale.
"



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up before budget on back of cement firms | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi edges up before budget on back of cement firms | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia's stock market edged up in early trade on Monday as cement firms climbed before the release of the government's 2018 budget after the close on Tuesday. The Saudi stock index was 0.4 percent higher after half an hour. Cement firms accounted for four of the 10 most heavily traded stocks with Najran Cement jumping 5.2 percent, after a 4.5 percent gain on Sunday. But builder Khodari, which had surged 7.6 percent on Sunday, fell back 1.1 percent. "



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