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Thursday, 1 February 2018

Exclusive: Etihad scrambles to shore up $1.2 billion bonds before coupon crunch - sources

Exclusive: Etihad scrambles to shore up $1.2 billion bonds before coupon crunch - sources:

"Etihad Airways is urgently examining ways to avert a technical default of some $1.2 billion in bonds indirectly linked to the Gulf airline, sources close to the situation told Reuters.

An Amsterdam-based special purpose vehicle called SPV Equity Alliance Partners (EAP) was set up in 2015 and issued two bonds for Etihad and other airlines it partially owned at the time, including Alitalia and Air Berlin, which are both now insolvent.

The bonds are quoted at a discount of more than 25 cents on the dollar after Alitalia entered special administration and Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

"



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Saudi Hospital Chain Is Close to Hiring Goldman on Deal - Bloomberg

Saudi Hospital Chain Is Close to Hiring Goldman on Deal - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian hospital operator Al Hammadi Co. for Development & Investment is close to hiring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise on merger talks with National Medical Care Co., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Al Hammadi could finalize appointing Goldman Sachs in coming days, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The mandate isn’t final and the company’s plans could change, they said. National Medical Care is likely to work with JPMorgan Chase & Co., they said.

A representative for Al Hammadi said the company will select an adviser soon, without providing any additional details. Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment. National Medical Care didn’t respond to requests."



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Qatar shares close flat despite strong buying support

Qatar shares close flat despite strong buying support:

"Qatar Stock Exchange on Thursday largely treaded a flat course despite strong buying at the transport, consumer goods, banking and telecom counters. Foreign and Gulf institutions’ selling pressure substantially weakened amidst a marginal 0.03% rise in the 20-stock Qatar Index to 9,207.01 points. Local and Gulf retail investors turned bearish and there was lower net buying support from domestic funds and non-Qatari individuals in the bourse, which is up 8.02%."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly firm but surprise Q4 loss hits Saudi's Ma'aden

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf mostly firm but surprise Q4 loss hits Saudi's Ma'aden:

"Gulf stock markets were mostly firm on Thursday but blue chip Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma‘aden) fell in response to a surprise fourth-quarter loss. The Saudi index edged up 0.1 percent with gainers outnumbering advancers by 100 to 76. Ma‘aden slipped 4.9 percent to 53.80 riyals in its heaviest trade since November, although it closed well off the day’s low of 52.70 riyals. It posted a net profit of 714.84 million riyals ($190.6 million) in 2017 versus a loss of 10.74 million riyals in 2016; it did not publish fourth-quarter earnings, but Reuters calculations show it made quarterly loss of 104.74 million riyals versus a year-ago profit of 15.67 million riyals."



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UAE's Al Jaber Group close to $1.6bln debt restructuring- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

UAE's Al Jaber Group close to $1.6bln debt restructuring- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group expects to seal a deal to restructure around 5.75 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion) in debt this month, a source at the company and other sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Although the conglomerate, which was founded by the Al-Jaber family in 1970, has struggled since a downturn in construction hit the UAE after the global financial crisis, its outlook for 2018 onwards is positive, the company source told Reuters.

Al Jaber's outlook has been boosted by expected wins of new construction projects in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. "



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In Aramco IPO, China talks crucial for choice of listing venue- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition

In Aramco IPO, China talks crucial for choice of listing venue- sources | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi Arabia wants to complete talks with strategic investors such as China, Japan and South Korea before deciding where to list shares in state oil company Saudi Aramco, three sources familiar with the discussions said. The decision shows the initial public offering (IPO), which could be the biggest in history, is becoming an increasingly difficult balancing act for Riyadh. Saudi officials have said the government plans to sell up to 5 percent of Aramco shares on one or more foreign exchanges in addition to Riyadh. "



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Saudi Arabia and UAE tops for tough debt collection, report says

Saudi Arabia and UAE tops for tough debt collection, report says:

"Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the hardest places in the world to collect unpaid debts, according to new research from Euler Hermes. The trade credit insurer analysed debt collection processes around the world and ranked the results. China, Russia, Malaysia and South Africa also scored badly, appearing in the “severe” category in terms of the complexity of debt collection. Countries in western Europe came out better though, with Sweden at the top of the pile followed by Germany, Ireland, Finland and the Netherlands."



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Saudi Arabia’s ‘normalisation’ baffles global business

Saudi Arabia’s ‘normalisation’ baffles global business:

"A screen flashed quotes from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman extolling Saudi Arabia’s youth and two musicians in white robes played traditional instruments as global business leaders were treated to a rich buffet of Saudi cuisine. It was the last day of the World Economic Forum, and just outside the main conference hall, MbS’s foundation was marketing the kingdom to the world. A country usually associated with religious intolerance and backwardness was pressing the message that it was normalising — and should no longer be seen as a social outcast. For the chief executives gathered in Davos last week, however, gastro diplomacy was of less interest than the prince’s extraordinary purge of cousins and businessmen in an “anti-corruption” campaign. In October, leading financiers and bankers were treated to a Davos-in-the-desert extravaganza at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, where the crown prince, the country’s de-facto ruler, portrayed a new oil kingdom open for business and determined to join the 21st century. "



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Decision day looms for Saudi Aramco | Arab News

Decision day looms for Saudi Aramco | Arab News:

"With so much at stake — the IPO is the centerpiece of the Vision 2030 strategy — and so many stakeholders — government, 65,000 employees and armies of advisers — it is not surprising that there is both a need to get the share sale right and a difference of opinion about how to do that. At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last week, Aramco was represented by its chairman and chief executive, as well as a number of senior executives, and a phalanx of actual or potential advisers. The debate about the company’s future was reflected in a series of background conversations, semi-official briefings and public statements. So what can we say with certainty about the IPO? Two things came across loud and clear."



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France to finance exports to Iran to sidestep U.S. sanctions

France to finance exports to Iran to sidestep U.S. sanctions:

"France will start offering euro-denominated loans to Iranian buyers of its goods later this year, to help trade flourish outside the reach of U.S. sanctions, the head of state-owned investment bank Bpifrance said.

France has been looking to boost trade with Iran ever since Paris, Washington and other world powers agreed in 2015 to lift many sanctions on Iran in exchange for controls on its nuclear program.

 But U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement and Washington has maintained some financial restrictions, leaving private banks - even those based outside the United States - wary of financing deals.

"



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Here's Why Lenders in the U.A.E. Are Upbeat About Growth in 2018 - Bloomberg

Here's Why Lenders in the U.A.E. Are Upbeat About Growth in 2018 - Bloomberg:

"Banks in the United Arab Emirates are upbeat about 2018 with faster economic growth and higher interest rates set to boost earnings.

Banks are expected to raise lending by about 4 percent to 6 percent this year as Dubai prepares to host the Expo 2020. Interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, which is shadowed by Gulf central banks, will also allow banks to raise loan pricing and improve net interest margins.

“Banks should do better because quality loan demand should pick up,” said Sanyalak Manibhandu, head of research at Abu Dhabi-based FAB Securities LLC. U.A.E. economic growth will recover after decelerating for the past three years due to higher oil prices, he said."



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Abu Dhabi's Tabreed Seeks Assets From Gulf to Egypt, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi's Tabreed Seeks Assets From Gulf to Egypt, CEO Says - Bloomberg:

"National Central Cooling Co. plans to acquire assets in markets like Saudi Arabia and Egypt starting this year as the Abu Dhabi-based company seeks to expand. “We’re always keen on acquisitions, and Saudi Arabia is also a potential market we’re looking at,” Chief Executive Officer Jasim Hussain Thabet said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We’d potentially be looking at markets in North Africa and India.” The company, also known as Tabreed, would seek to use project financing to fund the acquisitions while contributing about 20 percent to 25 percent of the deal value from its own cash, he said. Tabreed has about 1.1 billion dirhams ($299 million) in cash and credit lines available, Thabat said, meaning it could target assets valued at about $1 billion."



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Saudi Arabia steps up efforts to end $22-billion debt dispute: sources

Saudi Arabia steps up efforts to end $22-billion debt dispute: sources:

"Saudi Arabia has accelerated steps to resolve a $22-billion debt dispute that is seen by investors as a litmus test of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s commitment to reforms, three sources familiar with the matter say.

Legal battles over the debts left by Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi & Bros Co (AHAB) have dragged on for almost a decade since the two family conglomerates collapsed in 2009. From Switzerland to the Cayman Islands, the two groups have squabbled over which of them is to blame for the meltdown.

There has been gradual progress in AHAB’s case since 2009, with the company making a settlement offer which has the support of around two-thirds of investors, but there has been much less movement over Saad Group’s debts."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on, Ma'aden slips on Q4 loss

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf moves sideways early on, Ma'aden slips on Q4 loss:

"Gulf stock markets generally moved sideways in early trade on Thursday as blue chip Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma‘aden) fell in response to a surprise fourth-quarter loss. The Saudi index edged up 0.2 percent with gainers outnumbering advancers by a ratio of two to one, but Ma‘aden slipped 3.5 percent. It posted a net profit of 714.84 million riyals ($190.6 million) in 2017 versus a loss of 10.74 million riyals in 2016; it did not publish fourth-quarter earnings, but Reuters calculations show it made quarterly loss of 104.74 million riyals versus a year-ago profit of 15.67 million riyals"



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