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AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, finance and economy briefs [AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates]
[December 13, 2012]

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

(AME Info (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 13--ALUMINUM BAHRAIN EXTENTDS PRODUCTION LINE: The Bahrain All-Share Index closed 0.03 percent lower at 1,046.26 Thursday. Aluminum Bahrain or ALBA fell 1.75 percent to BD0.45. Earlier in the dau, ALBA said it awarded Bechtel Canada a Letter of Intent to perform a Bankable Feasibility Study for the Line 6 expansion project. The study will include the economic analysis for the construction of a new Line 6 and a Power Station 5.

QATAR NATIONAL BANK RISES ON SOCGEN DEAL IN EGYPT: The Qatar Exchange 20 index fell 0.18 percent to 8,331.14 Thursday as the banking index was the sole segment which added value. Qatar National Bank or QNB, with 19.90 percent the QE's heaviest share in relation to market capitalisation, gained 0.92 percent to hit QR131.40. QNB said Wednesday it entered into a definitve agreement with French lender Societe Generale to acquire its entire stake of 77.17 percent in National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB) - Egypt, the second largest private bank in the North African state. NSGB has a network of 160 branches across the country and total assets of EGP63.3 billion as of Sept. 30. (c.US$10.4 billion). The offer for 100 percent of the share capital of NSGB amounts to $2.558bn, QNB said in a statement to the bourse. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval. Qatar Telecom or Qtel slipped 1.37 percent to QR100.50. The country's first telecom provider attracted strong demand for a $1bn corporate bond with 10 years maturity. Order books already reached $11bn, The Peninsula reported.

ETISALAT BOUNCES BACK, ALDAR LOSES MOMENTUM : The Abu Dhabi stock market measure ADXGI gained 0.33 percent to reach 2,612.17 Thursday as bargain hunters sent ADX heavyweight Etisalat up 3.06 percent to hit Dhs9.05. Etisalat shed over 12 percent i the last two days after the UAE ministry of financed revised royalty rates for both Etisalat and Du until 2016. Per the new scheme, Etisalat will have to pay 15 percent on revenues and 35 percent on net income between 2012 and 2015. The rates for the year 2016 are set ay 15 percent and 30 percent respectively for the year 2016. Abu Dhabi's largest developer Aldar Properties slipped 0.77 percent to Dhs1.29. Aldar shares have gained 54 percent year-to-date as the firm is currently on the way to seal the planned merger which they announced earlier in March this year.

DUBAI MARKET FALLS ON BERNANKE WARNINGS: The DFM General Index fell for the third session straight Thursday, closing off 0.20 percent at 1,584.52 points, a three-week low. While market bellwether Emaar regained 0.27 percent (closing at Dhs3.72), the UAE's second telecom operator Du extended its losses, ending off 1.71 percent at Dhs3.45 amid disappointment on the UAE ministry's revised royalty fees for both Du and its rival Etisalat. Warning by U. S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke that the central bank's intention to buy treasury bills worth $45bn wil not cushion the effects of the "fiscal cliff" also weighed on euqity indices in East and West. The fiscal cliff is a brief description for the case that the Obama administration and GOP-dominated congress will fail to agree on law and spending changes before the end of 2012. This could lead to massive budget cuts, tax rate increases and austerity measures which would diminish chances for the U. S. economy to recover. Analysts say the worst-case scenario could even lead to a new global recession.

UAE LAUNCHES FUND TO SUPPORT SMES: The government of Dubai has issued a law establishing the Mohammed bin Rashid Fund to support Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), Wam has reported. The fund aims to support and finance projects of young entrepreneurs where a hundred projects will be financed every year. It will be mandated to give loans, provide financial guarantees or to contribute to the projects. It will also have the mandate to attract financial and technical support for projects undertaken by community members or companies and institutions operating in the country.

DUBAI'S 10-MONTH FOREIGN TRADE JUMPS 13 percent: According to data from Dubai's customs office, the emirate's foreign trade volume rose 13 percent to a record Dhs1trn ($272bn) in January-October, Reuters has reported. Dubai accounts for around three quarters of the UAE's non-oil trade. Analysts expected in September the UAE current account surplus to narrow to 8.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 9.1 percent last year.

DUBAI GROUP LOOKING TO DIVEST ONIC STAKE: Dubai Group is in talks to sell its stake in Oman National Investment Corp Holding (ONIC), Reuters has reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter. Based on the Omani company's current market value, Dubai Group's near-42 percent stake would raise about $54m. "The ONIC stake is an asset Dubai Group has been looking to sell for a while, but the key question was whether they could find a potential buyer. They seem to have it now and a sale will ease a bit of pressure," one banking source said. Dubai Group also owns a 14.7 percent stake in Oman's top lender, Bank Muscat and its other financial assets include stakes in Egypt's EFG Hermes and Cyprus Popular Bank, formerly Marfin.

UPWARD TREND INTACT AT SAUDI BOURSE: The Riyadh-based Tadawul All-Share ended up 0.10 percent to hit 6,769.96. SABIC gained 0.30 percent, ending at SR90.75. Earlier in the day, OPEC ministers decided at their meeting in Vienna to keep output quota even at 30 million barrels per day, sending oil prices 0.30 percent to reach $104.71 (DME Oman crude). Saudi Arabia pressed oil production down to the lowest level in 12 months in order to compensate pressure on prices from the U. S. which continues to step domestic oil production. Earlier in the day, Angus Blair, president of Signet Institute, a think-tank dedicated to the MENA region, said at the Euromoney Qatar summit in Doha that the GCC shall not worry about the U. S.'s alleged way to oil-independence which the International Energy Agency expects to happen by 2020. "Demand from the emerging markets in East Asia and Africa will continue to rise and both regions have no real alternative than importing oil from the Middle East" said Blair.

KUWAIT MARKET GAINS FOR THE 5TH SESSION STRAIGHT: The KSE Market Index added 9.23 points Wednesday to reach 5,923.3 points. The tiny increase was mostly driven by consumer goods and basic materials. Gulf Bank of Kuwait gained 1.20 percent, while the country's largest lender by assets slipped 1.02 percent to KD0.970. Kuwait named a new government with no major changes following the parliamentary elections from Dec. 2, with the result that the Shia opposition won 17 out of the 50 seats in the National Assembly. Mustafa Al-Shamali was re-named Minister of Finance after he resigned in May this year on allegations of being involved in corruption cases.

INVESTORS UNIMPRESSED BY AL MEERA EXPANSION STATEMENT: The Qatar Exchange 20 Index closed 0.14 percent higher at 8,345.97 points Wednesday. Shares of Al Meera Holding and those of bank Masraf Al-Rayan closed unchanged at QR155 and QR26.15, respectively. Earlier in the day, Al Meera said in a statement to the bourse it is bond to its expansion in Oman and at home. Al Meera recently bought through its subsidiary Al Meera Consumer Goods Safeer supermarket and hypermarket stores in Oman. Bank Masraf Al-Rayan, the country's third largest bank by market value behind CBQ, aims to bid for the majority in troubled Islamic Bank of Britain or IBB, as it was announced in June this year. A person familiar with the matter told Wednesday that talks were still ongoing and might be closed "very soon" in line with Al Rayan's aggressive expansion strategy. Qatar's ruling family Al-Thani holds 12.5 percent in Masraf Al-Rayan.

TAQA SHARES SOAR ON $750M SENIOR NOTES PLACEMENT: The ADX General Index lost half a percentage point Wednesday, finishing at 2,603.64. Investors continued to dump market heavyweight Etisalat. The UAE's first telecom operator closed off 2.90 percent, finishing near a five-month low at Dhs8.95 due to disappointment over royalty rates revised by the UAE ministry of finance last Monday. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. or Taqa jumped 2.94 percent to reach Dhs1.40, the highest level since May 8 2011. In a e-statement to the ADX, Taqa said it has finalized the issuance of $750m, 2.50 percent senior notes due in Jan. 2018 and $1.25bn of 3.625 percent senior notes due in Jan 2023. The proceeds of the issuances will be used for reducing debt and for general business purposes, said Taqa.

DRAKE AND SCULL GAINS AS GERMAN SUBSIDIARY WINS DHS90M CONTRACTS IN ROMANIA: The DFM General Index slipped 0.10 percent Wednesday, closing at 1,587.45. Emaar Properties and Arabtec Construction fell 0.54 percent and 0.43 percent, respectively. Real estate maintenace and water and power supply specialist Drake and Scull International or DSI closed 0.77 percent to reach Dhs0.705. Earlier in the dau, DSI said its German subsidiary Passavant-Roediger GmbH secured two major water treatment plant projects in Romania. For Dhs42.5m, Passavant-Roediger will design and build a River Water Treatment Plant in Sibiu, Romania, producing drinking water for up to 200,000 people. The second project valued at Dhs47.5m involves the extension and modernization of a Waste Water Treatment Plant in Roman, Romania, catering for a population equivalent of just over 115,000 people QATAR'S ACCOUNT BALANCE TO REACH $60BN IN 2012: According to a report by the Institute of International Finance, favourable energy prices will see Qatar's current account balance hit around $60bn in 2012, Gulf Times has reported. The Gulf country's fiscal balance will account for 6.6 percent of the country's GDP this year, the report said. In 2013, Qatar's current account and fiscal balance have been forecast at $50.6bn and 3.8 percent (of the GDP), respectively, it said.

SAUDI EXEMPTS CLEANING COMPANIES FROM NITAQAT: Saudi cleaning companies have been exempted by the labour ministry from the Nitaqat system, due to the "practical difficulties" involved in implementing the system in that sector, Arab News has reported. The Nitaqat system, which was implemented early this year, stipulates that all private companies employ a certain percentage of Saudis or they will be subjected to penal measures. However, cleaning contractors were unable to find Saudis willing to accept cleaning jobs.

OMAN SEES CORPORATE INCOME TAX REVENUE TO REACH OR340M: Oman's finance ministry has said the corporate income tax collection in the country is likely to touch OR340m in 2012, up from OR282m last year, Times of Oman has reported. The rise was attributed to better financial performance of tax payers and increasing frequency in assessments. "The net profit of tax payers is growing and we have done a lot of assessments this year," said Saud Nassir Al Shukhaily, secretary general of taxation at the ministry.

QATAR HOLDING TO INVEST $1BN IN CHINA'S CAPITAL MARKETS: Qatar Holding, the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, has been granted a $1bn quota to invest in China's capital markets, Reuters has reported. Official Chinese media reported in June that Qatar was applying for a $5bn quota under China's Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) scheme, the main channel for foreign investment in Chinese stock and bond markets. QFII quotas are currently capped at $1bn per investor, although official media has reported Chinese regulators are looking at increasing the cap.

___ (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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