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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Abraaj offers to step down as manager of $1bn healthcare fund

Abraaj offers to step down as manager of $1bn healthcare fund:

"Abraaj has offered to resign as manager of its $1bn healthcare fund as the emerging markets private equity company deals with investors angry about alleged misuse of their money.

The plan seeks to swap Dubai-based Abraaj with an interim manager and then a permanent replacement, people involved in the discussions said. Other options include turning the fund into a company or a self-governing fund.

Abraaj, which has deployed $8bn in its 15-year history, came under fire during the healthcare fund’s annual general meeting with investors in London earlier this month."



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MENA region needs to spend $260 billion for power production, report says

MENA region needs to spend $260 billion for power production, report says:

"Middle Eastern and North African countries need to spend $260 billion over the next five years for electricity production to meet rising demand, a report said on Tuesday. The region, which includes oil heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, must make the investments to add 117 gigawatts (GW) of power generation by 2022, Arab Petroleum Investment Corp. (APICORP) said. The Dammam-based energy development bank said $152 billion is needed for electricity generation and the rest for transmission and distribution projects."



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Qatar shares extend gains to inch near 9,000 points

Qatar shares extend gains to inch near 9,000 points:

"The Qatar Stock Exchange on Tuesday extended gains to the second straight session to inch near 9,000 points, mainly lifted by real estate and insurance scrips. Gulf funds turned bullish and there were increased net buying interests from non-Qatari individuals as the 20-stock Qatar Index gained 0.03% to 8,958.89 points. Doha Bank and Masraf Al Rayan sponsored exchange traded funds QETF and QATR, however, bucked the overall trend by falling 0.24% and 0.3% respectively."



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After policy shock, Iran says rial will move no more than 5-6 pct a year

After policy shock, Iran says rial will move no more than 5-6 pct a year:

"Iran will let its currency move in a range of only 5 or 6 percent against the U.S. dollar each year, its central bank governor said, a week after the government unified official and free-market exchange rates to support the plunging rial.

“The rate of 42,000 rials against one U.S. dollar is not fixed and will fluctuate depending on the market and economic factors,” Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by Tasnim News on Monday.

“But the fluctuations are not going to be massive and will be within a range of 5 to 6 percent,” he added."



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Qatar's Commercial Bank posts first-quarter profit leap

Qatar's Commercial Bank posts first-quarter profit leap:

"Commercial Bank, Qatar’s third-largest lender by assets, on Tuesday reported a huge 345 percent jump in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts as provisions for bad loans halved. The bank earned a net profit of 405 million riyals ($111 million) in the three months to March 31, it said in a statement, against 91 million riyals in the same period last year. The average forecast from three analysts polled by Reuters was for a quarterly profit of 329.5 million riyals."



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Exclusive: First Saudi Arabian-linked banks join al-Gosaibi debt settlement plan

Exclusive: First Saudi Arabian-linked banks join al-Gosaibi debt settlement plan:

"Two Saudi Arabian-linked banks have become the first lenders with ties to the kingdom to sign a debt settlement plan with Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi and Brothers (AHAB), the company’s chief executive said, opening the way for the conglomerate to try to push through a multibillion-dollar deal with creditors. Since AHAB defaulted on about 22 billion riyals ($5.9 billion) of debt in 2009, Saudi banks and those with links to the kingdom have refused to join other creditors in a debt settlement deal, arguing the terms on offer were not satisfactory. But in the last few weeks, Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank (GIB), 97 percent owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Alawwal Bank 1040.SE, Saudi Arabia’s oldest lender and 40 percent owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), have signed the deal with AHAB, sources familiar with the process said."



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Exclusive: Japan's Mizuho pulled out of Qatar bond amid Gulf dispute

Exclusive: Japan's Mizuho pulled out of Qatar bond amid Gulf dispute:

"Japan’s Mizuho Securities withdrew from its role as a bookrunner for a U.S. dollar-denominated bond issued by Qatar last week, in the latest sign international banks are wary of doing business in the Gulf state amid a regional dispute.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in June cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, which they accuse of backing terrorism. Qatar denies this, and says the pressure is aimed at stripping it of its sovereignty.

Qatar issued $12 billion of bonds last week, its first international debt sale since the dispute erupted. "



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Saudi Binladin receives multi-billion dollar government loans-sources

Saudi Binladin receives multi-billion dollar government loans-sources:

"Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry has provided Saudi Binladin Group with loans of around 11 billion riyals ($2.9 billion) to help turn around the fortunes of the construction giant, people familiar with the matter said. The money will be used to prioritise work on projects deemed key to the government, as well as to pay staff and creditors, the people said, with one adding that further cash transfers from the government are possible in the near future. Binladin, which had over 100,000 employees at its height, is the biggest builder in the country and crucial to Riyadh’s plans to develop property, industrial and tourism projects to help diversify the economy beyond oil."



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Saudi, Egypt Stocks Turn Mideast Stars as Dubai Gets Ignored - Bloomberg

Saudi, Egypt Stocks Turn Mideast Stars as Dubai Gets Ignored - Bloomberg:

"The rise of Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the top Middle East choices for equity investors is taking a toll on Dubai.

Trading on the Dubai Financial Market dwindled to 88 million dirhams ($24 million) on Monday, the lowest since September 2015 and about 57 percent below its 15-day average. The DFM General Index has slumped about 7 percent in 2018, while an index tracking emerging-market peers is little changed. The complaint among investors is that the banking and real estate companies that dominate Dubai’s bourse offer little in the way of triggers to trade their stock, with a few exceptions.

In contrast, Saudi Arabian stocks have climbed more than 12 percent this year, with foreign investors net buyers for 15 straight weeks, as local companies and the government benefit from rising prices for oil, the country’s biggest export. Expectations of billions in inflows to follow classification as an emerging market are adding to the buzz. Over in Egypt, the EGX 30 has gained more than 18 percent as investors applaud economic reforms and government plans to offer stakes in public-owned companies. "



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Abu Dhabi sovereign rating resilient; Dubai upgrade uninhibited by slow growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Abu Dhabi sovereign rating resilient; Dubai upgrade uninhibited by slow growth | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Growth in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai will remain at a sustained level of approximately three per cent over the next few years, if oil prices remain stable around current levels; growth is predicted to be steady, albeit modest when compared with over four per cent per annum achieved pre-2015, according to Fisch Asset Management (Fisch), one of the leading credit analysis and convertible bond specialists. A report by Independent Credit Review (I-CV), a subsidiary of Fisch, confirmed Abu Dhabi’s credit quality as AA-, with the emirate benefitting from comfortable reserves, but with a forecast of slightly negative national budgets and rising debt levels over the coming years. Dubai received an upgrade to BBB+, stemming from a gradual reduction in total debt, including contingent obligations from state-owned companies, from 141 per cent at the end of 2013 to 111 per cent at the end of 2016. The selective introduction of import tariffs and VAT will not negatively impact economic growth in the emirates but will instead support the fiscal situation in light of lower oil-related activities, according to the report."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed | ZAWYA MENA Edition

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Saudi market extended gains on Tuesday morning, hitting its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, backed by solid performance of leading stocks. Other markets in the region were mixed. Oil price increase and the potential inclusion of Saudi in the MSCI emerging market index in June have boosted investor sentiment in Saudi market this year on hopes of significant foreign fund inflows to the region's biggest stock market. "Higher oil prices are the main driver for the Saudi market, people are optimistic over prices going further up in the coming months," said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at Rajhi Capital."



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MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index at highest since Q3 2015, other markets mixed:

"Saudi market extended gains on Tuesday morning, hitting its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, backed by solid performance of leading stocks. Other markets in the region were mixed. Oil price increase and the potential inclusion of Saudi in the MSCI emerging market index in June have boosted investor sentiment in Saudi market this year on hopes of significant foreign fund inflows to the region’s biggest stock market. “Higher oil prices are the main driver for the Saudi market, people are optimistic over prices going further up in the coming months,” said Mazen al-Sudairi, head of research at Rajhi Capital."



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Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline

Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline:

"Unperturbed by the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Financial Center’s (QFC) registered firms numbered 507, including 120 entities post blockade, thus reaching the more than the halfway mark set for 2022, six months ahead of the deadline.
“More than 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar,” QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the media in Doha. In its 2017-22 strategy, QFC had said it was eyeing a target of 1,000 firms.
Highlighting that local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in the country’s unsaturated market, he said it is the reason why the centre continues to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of its platform."



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Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline

Firms registered with QFC cross 500 ahead of deadline:

"Unperturbed by the Gulf crisis, the Qatar Financial Center’s (QFC) registered firms numbered 507, including 120 entities post blockade, thus reaching the more than the halfway mark set for 2022, six months ahead of the deadline.
“More than 500 firms have chosen the QFC platform to conduct business from Qatar,” QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told the media in Doha. In its 2017-22 strategy, QFC had said it was eyeing a target of 1,000 firms.
Highlighting that local, regional and international firms continue to see the multi-billion dollar investment opportunities that are available in the country’s unsaturated market, he said it is the reason why the centre continues to see businesses interested in the openness of Qatar as a market and in the attractiveness of its platform."



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Saudi Arabian Stocks Rise Above 8,000 Level as Syria Fears Fade - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian Stocks Rise Above 8,000 Level as Syria Fears Fade - Bloomberg:

"Saudi Arabian shares closed above levels last seen in 2015 as concern about an escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East fades and optimism about rising oil prices and corporate earnings moves to the fore.

The Tadawul All Share Index advanced 1 percent on Monday, finishing above 8,000 points for the first time since August 2015. The gauge rose 1.9 percent on Sunday, the most in 10 months. Concern of a military showdown between the U.S. and Russia in Syria are easing as traders see limited fallout from missile strikes at the weekend.

“Tensions regarding Syria are behind us now, and most analysts are increasing their estimates for oil prices,” said Mazen Alsudairi, head of research at Al Rajhi Capital Co. in Riyadh. Oil is the country’s main export. “Optimism regarding oil prices is reflecting in sentiment, in general.” "



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Dubai's Noor Bank markets $500mln five-year sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Dubai's Noor Bank markets $500mln five-year sukuk | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Dubai-based Noor Bank has started marketing a five-year sukuk worth $500 million with an initial price guidance of around 175 basis points over mid-swaps, a document from one of the banks leading the transaction showed. Noor Bank, rated A-(minus) by Fitch, plans to price the senior unsecured Islamic bonds later on Tuesday. Citi, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, Noor Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank have been appointed as bookrunners for the issue."



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Etihad CEO highlights plans for profitablity | ZAWYA MENA Edition

Etihad CEO highlights plans for profitablity | ZAWYA MENA Edition:

"Despite facing a setback of nearly $2 billion in 2016 and losing out on investment partners Airberlin and Alitalia in 2017, Etihad's CEO said it was business as usual, with the airline constantly being driven by change to adapt to an ever-changing environment. "The core airline has always been operating in a very, very solid way even in most challenging times," CEO Peter Baumgartner said in an interview with CNBC. The 2016 oil price collapse had hit the Middle Eastern aviation market, including Etihad, which was moving forward on its big global ambitions. "In 2016, local regional markets contracted, accelerating the overcapacity situation on competitive overlapping traffic flows, bringing yields down, Baumgartner revealed during the interview."



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