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Iraq to auction gas fields despite uncertainties

BAGHDAD: Energy companies face tough terms, shaky security and local opposition when they fly to Baghdad this week to take part in a gas bidding round. Iraq’s plan to auction three gas fields on Wednesday has generated little interest from international energy firms eager to tap the country’s vast reserves, compared with Iraq’s two oil …

Reuters

Insurance M&A needs Saudi central bank’s nod

RIYADH: The Saudi insurance market is ripe for mergers and acquisitions but these await a nod from the central bank, the chief executive of the kingdom’s biggest insurance firm Tawuniya said. Ali Al-Subaihin also told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit that Tawuniya does not plan to tap the debt market after Standard & Poor’s …

Reuters

Asia Naphtha-Saudi Aramco sales premiums recover

SINGAPORE: Saudi Aramco sold 50,000 tonnes of A180 naphtha for early-November loading from Ras Tanura to a Western trader at $16.00-$17.00 a tonne above Middle East quotes, free-on-board (FOB) basis, pointing to a strong recovery of export prices to high premiums, traders said on Monday. It was not immediately clear where this cargo is headed, …

Reuters

Rising sugar price eats into Saudi Savola’s Q3 margin

RIYADH: Saudi-based conglomerate Savola Group posted a near-2 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Monday, sharply below forecasts, after a rise in global sugar prices ate into its margins. Savola, which owns the Middle East’s biggest sugar refining business and also produces edible oil, made a net profit of 283 million riyals ($75.5 million) …

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Egypt bourse sees fund trading in weeks

CAIRO: Trading of funds will begin on the Egyptian Exchange within weeks, a move that will boost investment in much-needed transport and power infrastructure, the head of the exchange said on Monday. Egypt’s transport network and utilities have failed to keep pace with fast population growth, damping its economic outlook. The government is eyeing up …

Reuters

Mideast PE eyes return to SME roots

DUBAI: Private equity in the Middle East may return to its roots with small and medium-sized business investments following a regional downturn, as the sector remains cautious about its 2011 growth prospects. Gathering in Abu Dhabi for the annual SuperReturn meeting this week, the Middle East’s top private equity (PE) leaders will explore ways to …

Reuters

Egypt pound weakens to fresh 3-1/2 year low

The Egyptian pound traded as low as 5.7141 to the dollar, its weakest since January 2007, as foreign investors buy dollars to repatriate funds, traders said. "They are capitalizing on equity gains and protecting their profits," said a trader at an Egyptian bank. The Egyptian stock exchange’s benchmark index has fallen off a five-month high …

Reuters

Egypt’s Citadel Capital may list two of its firms

Egypt’s Citadel Capital is considering listing two of its existing portfolio companies in the next 12 to 24 months, a senior executive at the private equity firm said. "The listings could take place in Egypt and would be in the range of between $175 million and $250 million," Managing Director Stephen Murphy told reporters on …

Reuters

Egypt panel advises higher TMG contract value-paper

An Egyptian legal committee advising the government on drafting a new contract for Talaat Moustafa’s (TMG) flagship Madinaty project recommended valuing the land at a higher price, a newspaper said on Monday. TMG’s flagship Madinaty development has been mired in a legal row since a court in June said the contract for the sale of …

Reuters

Egypt 182-day, 91-day T-bills average yield dip

The average yield on Egyptian 182-day Treasury bills fell a fraction to 9.487 percent at an auction on Sunday versus 9.556 percent at last week’s auction, the Central Bank said. The central bank accepted bids worth LE 2 billion ($351 million), the same amount that it was seeking. It accepted bids at rates between 9.2 …

Reuters

Noor Islamic says has no plans to merge with lenders

DUBAI: Noor Islamic Bank has no plans to merge with another financial institution, it said in a statement on Sunday, dismissing speculation it may tie up with troubled Islamic lender Amlak. A newspaper report last week said the UAE government was considering merging privately-held Noor Islamic with Emirates Islamic Bank — an affiliate of Emirates …

Reuters

Saudi Sipchem Q3 up 54 pct as investors eye SABIC

RIYADH: Saudi International Petrochemical Co (Sipchem) on Sunday posted a 54-percent rise in third-quarter net profit, partly on higher sales volumes and prices. Sipchem’s results, which came mainly on the back of higher butanediol petrochemical product, bode well for larger rival SABIC’s results. Sipchem said third-quarter operating profit stood at 175.8 million riyals, a 456 …

Reuters

National Bank of Oman Q3 profit climbs 16 pct

DUBAI: National Bank of Oman (NBO), the third-largest lender in the sultanate, saw its third-quarter net profit rise 16 percent but the results fell short of analyst expectations. The bank’s net profit climbed to 7.1 million rials ($18.44 million) based on Reuters calculations, from 6.12 million a year ago, missing analysts’ average expectations. An estimate …

Reuters

Islamic finance faces political hurdles in US

DUBAI: From Australia to Britain and even France, which recently banned the face-veil, Western economies are adjusting their laws to encourage growth in the Islamic finance sector they hope will attract wealthy Gulf investors. Enthusiasm in the United States has been tempered by politics, however, which could slow the growth of Islamic finance and push …

Reuters

Dubai’s DEWA says offers for bond more than $13 bln

State-owned utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s $2 billion two-tranche bond drew demand in excess of $13 billion, the company said on Friday, below the level indicated on Thursday. Lead management sources told Reuters on Friday that orders had totaled $17 billion. "The ultimate aggregate orderbook closed in excess of $13 billion," DEWA said in …

Reuters

Egyptian banks EALB, HDB groomed for possible merger

CAIRO: Egypt’s Housing and Development Bank (HDB) and state-owned Egyptian Arab Land Bank (EALB) are being restructured with an eye toward a possible merger within the two next years, the head of the two banks said. Chairman Fathy El-Sebai completed a capital increase at HDB earlier this year that reduced the government’s stake to between …

Reuters

Egypt to investigate Turkish steel imports

Egypt said on Wednesday it began an investigation into possible dumping of Turkish steel in its market, a move that could violate a free-trade accord between the two states if Egypt takes retaliatory action. Egypt has been a major regional market for Turkish steel because of its need for housing and state infrastructure spending that …

Reuters

ArcelorMittal eyeing Egypt partnership: paper

ArcelorMittal, the world’s No. 1 steelmaker, has approached Egyptian Iron and Steel to forge a partnership, an Egyptian newspaper reported on Thursday, citing a top industry official. The tie-up would help Egyptian Iron and Steel raise LE 15 billion ($2.6 billion), Al-Masry Al-Youm reported, citing an unnamed official at Holding Company for Metallurgical Industries, an …

Reuters

Oman banks see Q3 profit rise

DUBAI: Two of Oman’s biggest banks posted a rise in third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, raising hopes for a positive year-end close for the country’s banking sector. Bank Muscat, Oman’s largest bank by market value, said its third-quarter net profits rose by 26 percent, beating analysts expectations. Bank Dhofar, the second-largest bank, recorded a 5 percent …

Reuters

Kuwait telco Zain Q3 earnings up on customer boost

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti mobile telephone firm Zain, the Gulf Arab region’s third-largest operator by market value, posted a 96 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, boosted by a sharp increase in customer numbers. "In this new era of focus on our Middle East operations, we are extremely pleased with the robust 25 percent customer growth and …

Reuters

OPEC has agreed to keep output steady, says delegate

VIENNA: OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna on Thursday were "100 percent" in agreement to keep output unchanged, a delegate told Reuters on Thursday. The ministers had yet to conclude the policy-setting conference, but had made a decision to keep supplies steady, the delegate said. OPEC has been widely expected to stick with a policy in …

Reuters

Egypt needs to speed up attracting private investment

CAIRO: Boasting resilient economic growth in the global downturn, Egypt has been an attractive investment destination, but opening up more opportunities for the private sector needs to speed up, a minister said on Tuesday. Egypt, which plans increasingly to rely on private companies to provide social services and infrastructure through public-private partnerships, has already simplified …

Reuters

Ezz Steel pulls Egypt index higher

Shares in Egypt’s largest steel producer Ezz Steel posted their biggest single day gain in nearly five months, boosted by market speculation the firm may soon bid for a new production license in Egypt. Ezz Steel rose 3.5 percent, its fourth session of gains in a row, to LE 20.25 per share, its highest price …

Reuters

Saudi Fertilizers Q3 profit up on higher prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Fertilizers Co (Safco) posted a 30 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit after a rise in global prices. Safco, which produces urea and ammonia, made 604 million riyals ($161.1 million) in the three months to the end of September up from 464 million riyals a year earlier. The results for Safco, …

Reuters

UAE retailer Axiom to float 35 pct in IPO

DUBAI: UAE retailer Axiom Telecom plans to list a 35 percent stake on the Nasdaq Dubai and use the proceeds partly to repay bank debt, in what would be the first initial public offering (IPO) from the Gulf state in two years. Axiom, which is 40 percent owned by a unit of conglomerate Dubai Holding, …

Reuters

Saudi has no plans to extend capacity for now, says paper

KHOBAR: There are no projects in hand to extend Saudi Arabian oil capacity, which stands at 12 million barrels per day (bpd), Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed high level source. The capacity figure places the kingdom level with Iraq’s ambition to reach 12 million bpd output capacity this decade. Iraq raised …

Reuters

Egypt index inches higher

CAIRO: Egypt’s main index closed up 0.3 percent as Egypt’s largest steel producer, Ezz Steel, jumped 2.8 percent following a report that it may bid for new production licenses. Financial daily Al-Mal said Ezz was considering a bid for the licenses offered by the Industrial Development Authority. Orascom Telecom extended a decline on continued concern …

Reuters

Regional mandatory sharia finance body ‘years away’

 ABU DHABI: The formation of a Gulf-wide sharia council with the mandate to set industry rules, rather than just issue guidelines in its present form, is still "years away", a senior executive at regulatory body AAOIFI on Monday. Speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference, Assistant Secretary General Khairul Nizam said few expect such …

Reuters

Egypt’s Banque du Caire eyes lending boost

CAIRO: Banque du Caire, Egypt’s fifth-biggest bank by assets, aims to boost its lending ratio in three years to match Egypt’s average after nearly doubling it since 2008, a bank official told Reuters. In the two years since an aborted sale of the state-owned bank, it has increased its loan-to-deposit ratio to 30 percent from …

Reuters

Egypt court sets date for TMG Madinaty challenge

An Egyptian court will hear a lawsuit on Nov. 9 challenging a government plan to end a row over Talaat Moustafa’s (TMG) Madinaty project, a court said on Monday — a fresh twist to a dispute that has rattled property investors. TMG’s flagship Madinaty development has been mired in a legal row since a court …

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