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AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs
[December 11, 2012]

AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs

Dec 11, 2012 (AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- ETISALAT PLUMMETS, DAN GAS REBOUNDS - ABU DHABI EXCHANGE: The ADX General Index dived 2.55 percent to 2,617.22 as market bellwethe and the UAE's first telecom firm Etisalat plunged 8.94 percent to Dhs8.97. On Monday, the UAE government announced the revised royalty fees for both Etisalat and its Dubai-based rival Du. Investors, on the other hand, hailed Dana Gas's yesterday announced restructuring of $1bn of debt related to the sukuk it failed to settle on maturity on Oct. 31 and the shares up 7.50 percent, finishing Tuesday trading at Dhs0.44.

UNDECIDED DUBAI MARKET FALLS BACK : After weeks of trading around 1,610, the Dubai equity gauge DFMGI closed Tuesday 1.53 percent lower at 1,588.87 points despite tailwinds from buoyant Asian market. Telecom operator Du posted the second largest loss (off 9.80 percent) after the government announced royalty rates for Du until 2016 yesterday. Arabtec (2.13 percent lower) and Emaar (down 0.80 percent) also weighed on the market measure. Shuaa Capital, Dubai's oldest investment (founded in 1979) which recently applied for an Islamic banking licence extended its gains slightly.

BAHRAIN EXTENDS LABOUR FEE FREEZE: The Bahraini cabinet has extended the freeze on the monthly Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fee for foreign workers for an additional six months, Daily Tribune has reported. The freeze, which started in April 2011, aims to further boost the national economy and support businessmen, the cabinet said.

GULF GRE'S BOND SALES SET TO RECOVER EARLY 2013: HSBC: HSBC Holdings has said bond sales by government-related companies in the Gulf region will pick up at the start of 2013 to support more than $1trn in planned spending, Bloomberg has reported. There's reason to be "optimistic" for sales by government-related enterprises at the start of next year, said Georges Elhedery, head of global markets for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC. "The first quarter of 2013 is going to be busy," he said. "It's difficult to see beyond that." The region's corporate borrowing costs tumbled more than emerging-market peers this year, boosting the allure of debt amid state plans to build airports, sports facilities, refineries and museums.

EGYPT INFLATION RETREATS TO 4.1 percent: According to data released by the Egyptian government, the country's annual inflation has dropped to 4.1 percent in November, its lowest level since March 2006, mainly due to a significant slowdown in the growth rate of food prices, Ahram has reported. Prices of food and drink, which have the highest weight in the consumer price index, grew 5.3 percent in comparison to November 2011 but dropped a sharp 2.7 percent below October 2012's figures.

TADAWUL YEAR-END RALLY HALTED : The Tadawul All-Share Index ended a three-day gaining streak Monday, closing off 0.61 at 6,741.93 as market breadth turned deeply into the red. SABIC slipped 0.55 percent to SR90.50. Wafa Insurance Saudi Indian Company for Co-operative Insurance, also known as WAFA Insurance, posted the largest gain, ending up 9.80 percent at SR61.75.

BATELCO GAINS AS PARTNERSHIP WITH OMANTEL BEARS NEW FRUIT: The Manama-based Bahrain All-Share Index added 0.15 percent to reach 1,045.27 Monday. Bahrain Telecom or Batelco edged 0.50 percent higher, closing at BD0.404. On Saturday, Batelco said it launch of MPLS IP VPN interconnectivity on the basis of its ongoing partnership with Omantel. With end-to-end MPLS VPN services, Bahrain and Oman-based businesses are able to establish secure inter-office connectivity between both locations.

GULF WAREHOUSING ADVANCES ON DEAL WITH MAERSK OIL QATAR: The QE 20 Index ended down 0.15 percent at 8,341.86 Monday as six out of 8 sector indices landed in the red. Market heavyweight Industries Qatar slipped 0.13 percent. Gulf Warehousing Co. or GWC added 0.38 percent to reach QR40. Earlier in the day, the logistics company said it has won a tender and signed a contract with Maersk Oil in Qatar. The contract places all of Maersk Oil Qatar's freight forwarding operations for the next three years in the hands of GWC, including global freight forwarding, transportation, and customs clearance. GWC did not disclose the value of the deal. The Maersk Group is a Danish business conglomerate and operates in 135 countries, primarily in transportation and energy.

DANA GAS ANNOUNCES TERMS OF SUKUK REFINANCING : The Abu Dhabi equity market measure ADXGI declined 0.17 percent Monday, finishing at 2,685.57 points. Losses among bank shares and at Eshraq Properties (off 2.33 percent) weighed mainly on the gauge. Dana Gas closed flat at Dhs0.41. Earlier in the day, the Sharjah-based energy firm said on the $1bn sukuk it failed to settle on maturity on Oct. 31 that it agreed with creditors on a reduction on the company's outstanding debt from $1bn to $850m via $70m cash pay-down and cancellation of another $80m of the existing sukuk already owned by the company. The remaining $850m split into two tranches to ensure potential dilution for shareholders remains substantially similar to current levels: a $425m ordinary sukuk and $425m convertible sukuk, each with 5-year maturity to ensure longterm financing. Dana Gas has the option to pay down the outstanding principal amount of the two new sukuk prior to the new maturity date of 31 October 2017. Dr. Adel Khalid Al-Sabeeh, Chairman of the Board of Dana Gas said, the company believes that the terms being announced today represent a comprehensive, long-term solution which balances the interests of all stakeholders.

EMAAR SLIPS, SHUAA SOARS, DU TAKES BREAK AT DFM: The DFM General Index closed insignificantly higher at 1,613.47 Monday as 109m shares worth Dhs99.72m changed hands. After hitting a two-year higher yesterday, Emaar fell half a percentage point to close at Dhs3.76. Investment bank Shuaa Capital, whose price-to-book value stands at 0.49, jumped 6.37 percent to hit Dhs0.534. Shares of the UAE's second telco firm Du have been halted from trading for today by the market regulator SCA after the UAE government set for the first time a royalty rate for Du and its rival Etisalat. Du will have to pay a 17.5 percent royalty on its 2012 profits. In addition, Du will pay 5 percent on revenues of this year. Ahmad bin Byat, Chairman of du, said that the company "welcomes today's decree on royalties by the Ministry of Finance. This decision provides us with visibility for 2012 and subsequent years, giving du and its stakeholders a sustained period of certainty in terms of our liability with respect to royalties payable to the Federal Government until 2016." The royalty rate for profits wil increase step by step to 30 percent for the years 2015 and 2016. du is 39.5 percent owned by Emirates Investment Authority, 20.08 percent by the Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Company, 19.5 percent by Emirates Communications and Technology. The remaining stake is owned by public shareholders.

EGYPT INCREASES SALES, INCOME TAXES, APPROVES PROPERTY TAXES: The Egyptian president has announced increases in sales taxes and stamp duties on a wide range of consumer goods and services and amended the country's income and property tax laws, Ahram has reported. The measures are in line with an economic programme that Egypt has proposed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to be eligible for a $4.8bn loan. The measures are aimed at reducing public deficit through increasing state revenue.

SABIC CLIMBS TO ONE-MONTH HIGH: The Tadawul All-Share Index ended Sunday trading 0.10 percent higher at 6,783.55. Market heavyweight SABIC advanced 1.70 percent to reach SR91, the highest level since Nov. 7. On Saturday, SABIC's Board of Directors recommend to the General Assembly the distribution of SR9bn in dividends to shareholders for the second half of 2012 at SR3 per share. Shares of Abdullah A. M. Al-Khodari Sons Company closed unchanged at SR25.10. Earlier in the day, the construction firm said it was awarded by the Ministry of Higher Education the construction of the faculty of computer sciences, valued at SR124.9m.

INDUSTRIALS, CONSUMERS LIFT KUWAIT MARKET: The KSE Market Index closed half a percentage point higher at 5,907.21 Sunday. Equipment Holding gained the most, closing 8.93 percent higher at KD0.122. Kuwait Cable Vision fell the most, ending off 7 percent at KD0.0265.

QTEL GAINS SLIGHTLY ON ALLEGED MAROC TELECOM BID PLAN : The Qatar Exchange 20 Index slipped 0.10 percent to 8,354.65 points. The country's largest telco operator Qatar Telecom gained 0.10 percent to reach QR103.40. Earlier in the day, Qtel said it has mandated Barclays, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, Mizuho Securities, Morgan Stanley and QNB Capital to act as ookrunners for a proposed US-dollar benchmark offering. "The offering will be guaranteed by Qtel and is expected to be launched, subject to market conditions, following investor roadshows commencing 9 December 2012 covering the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia." In addition, Qtel has mandated professional services of JP Morgan Chase & Co. for its bid plan for Vivendi SA's Maroc Telecom, according to media reports, a piece of news which the aforementioned parties declined to comment.

ABU DHABI BLUE CHIPS LIFT EUQITY INDEX TO THREE-WEEK HIGH: The ADXGI continued its rebound Sunday by closing 0.60 percent higher at 2,690.13 as Taqa (up 2.30 percent), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank or ADCB (2.05 percent higher) and the sheikhdom's first developer Aldar Properties (gaining 1.55 percent) supported the market. RAK Ceramics dived 4.42 percent, finishing at Dhs1.09. Trading volumes were a bit higher than in Dubai as 65.8m shares were traded, valued at Dhs79.4m.

DUBAI SHARES END MIXED AMID LACK OF CATALYSTS: The DFM General Index opened the second week of Dec. with a small gain of 0.20 percent to close at 1,612.67. Emaar Properties added 0.53 percent, ending at Dhs3.78. Earlier in the day, the UAE's first developer said it launched together with the Dubai Holding "Dubai Hills" in Mohamed Bin Rashid (MBR) City, an exclusive golf course community. It is the first concrete project in the recently unveiled MBR, the emirate's future "city within the city". Financials performed oeverall weaker as Emirates NBD (off 1.04 percent) and Shuaa Capital (down 3.46 percent) weighed on the market. Some 68.15m shares were traded, valued at Dhs78.8m).

EGYPT FREEZES INTEREST RATES: Egypt's central bank has kept interest rates on hold, saying inflation could rise higher and warned that political turmoil could hurt the economy, Reuters has reported. The bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left its key overnight lending rate steady at 10.25 percent and the overnight deposit rate at 9.25 percent after its regular meeting. "Given the balance of risks surrounding the inflation and gross domestic product outlooks and the uncertainty at this juncture, the MPC judges that the current key central bank of Egypt rates are appropriate," the bank said.

MOODY'S WARNS AGAINST LEBANON'S REDUCED GROWTH PROSPECTS: Moody's Investors Service has said that Lebanon's 'B1' government bond rating reflects the country's reduced growth prospects, high government debt level, and persistent fiscal and current account deficits, The Daily Star has reported. However, the rating is supported by the resilience of domestic banks and the large foreign exchange liquidity in the banking system, the rating agency noted. Moody's rated Lebanon's economic strength as moderate, reflecting the country's small size, per capita income and fragile economic framework.

EGYPT RESERVES FELL $448M LAST MONTH: Egypt's central bank has posted a $448m in net foreign currency reserves to $15.04bn during November, Reuters has reported. The reserves stood at $15.48bn at the end of October, and at $20.15bn at the end of November 2011.

MOBILY SOARS AS TELCO FIRM RESUMES PAY-AS-YOU-GO SIM CARD SALE: The Tadawul All-Share Index gained 0.73 percent Saturday, closing at 6,788.09 amid tailwinds from the U. S. where the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index added 0.62 percent Friday as the world's largest economy's unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008. Shares of Etihad Etisalat or Mobily jumped 2.70 percent to hit SR77. Earlier in the day, KSA's second telco operator said it resumed selling pre-paid SIM cards for mobile and smart phones on Dec. 5 after the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has made some research covering a sample of segments at different times and locations in the Kingdom and ensured that the Company has fulfilled all regulations related to providing prepaid mobile calling services, including the linkage of recharge with customers identification numbers, Mobily said in an e-mailed statement. The Saudi telco regulator suspended Mobily from selling pre-paid cards on Nov. 25. In addition, Mobily announced the appointment of Eng. Abdulaziz Saleh Alsaghyir as Chairman of the Board for a period of three years, and the appointment of Eng. Khalid Omar Al Kaf as Managing Director.

___ (c)2012 AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) Visit AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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