Sept. 26--SAUDI HOLLANDI BANK GAINS ON SUKUK ISSUANCE: The Tadawul All-Share Index declined by 0.26 percent to 7,981.07 points on Thursday. Sabic, the biggest producer of petrochemical products, lost 0.52 percent, finishing a volatile week at SR96.75. Saudi Hollandi Bank was up 0.83 percent at SR36.50. Earlier in the day, the lender said its board of directors has resolved to issue Sukuk as a private offering to support its capital base by using a Sharia and Basel 3 compliant structure, subject to the approval of the competent authorities.
QATAR ELECTRICITY AND WATER SECURES $500M FOR DESALINATION PLANT: The QE 20 Index declined 0.16 percent to 9,580.77 points. Qatar Islamic Bank or QIB closed flat at QR68.40, while Qatar Electricity and Water (QEWC) advanced 0.97 percent to reach QR156.50. Earlier in the day, QEWC said it signed with a consortium of four banks - QNB Group, Barwa Bank, Masraf Al Rayan and QIB the finance documentation for a total of $500m for the RAF A2 Desalination Plant. QIB said it contributed $90m in the co-financing the desalination project "RAF A2". The project is currently under construction at Ras Abu Fontas which is considered as Qatar's power production and water desalination site. The 36m imperial gallons per day (MIGD) project represents 10 percent of the Gulf state's national water production.
FITCH AFFIRMS 'A+' RATING FOR ETISALAT, SHARES CLOSE EVEN: The Abu Dhabi market index ADXGI advanced 0.06 percent to reach 3,838.81 points on Thursday. Eshraq Properties was the most liquid share and jumped 2.65 percent, finishing at Dhs1.16. Market bellwether Etisalat closed flat at Dhs11.65. After the close bell rang, Fitch Ratings said it has affirmed the UAE's first telecom firm 'A+' (upper medium grade) rating. Agthia Group ended down 1.25 percent at Dhs3.96. Earlier in the day, the food and beverages firm said its CEO O, Ilias Assimakopoulos will step down at the end of 2013. Assimakopoulos served at Aghtia's helm since July 2006. A successor has yet to be appointed, said Agthia in a filing to the ADX.
MASHREQBANK SHARES FLIRT WITH DHS100, TAMWEEL FALLS AHEAD OF TRADING SUSPENSION: The Dubai market index DFMGI closed half a percentage point higher at 2,736.89 points on Thursday. The gauge is close to fulfill a double-top and poised to rise towards 3,000 points in case the index chart breaks out above 2,750 points (old high from Aug. 25, before the Syria crisis weighed on markets). Shares of Mashreqbank added another 9.22 percent to close at Dhs98.30. The only privately held local lender in the UAE expanded the allowed foreign share in its share to 20 percent form 2 percent last Thursday. Since then, Mashreq gained 47.47 percent in value. Islamic home financing firm Tamweel dived 3.28 percent to Dhs3.28 percent. Earlier in the day, Tamweel said its shares will be suspended from trading on the DFM on Oct. 1 2013 (next Tuesday) due to the conversion to a Private Joint Stock Company. Earlier in the month, Dubai Islamic Bank which owns 90 percent in Tamweel paid the firm's entire liabilities off, amounting to Dhs4bn. Emaar Properties slipped 0.35 percent to Dhs5.74. A total of 1.266bn shares were traded, valued at Dhs1bn.
OMAN TO INCLUDE PRIVATISATION PLAN IN 2014 BUDGET: Oman has said it is moving forward with plans to divest its stake in companies and the 2014 state budget will list the companies to be privatised, Muscat Daily has reported. "We have a two-fold privatisation strategy approved by the government, which opens the doors to the private sector to venture into new projects on the one hand and reduces the government stake in companies wholly or partially owned by it, on the other," said finance minister, Darwish al Balushi. "We are a few months away from the announcement of the new budget on January 2. The 2014 budget will reveal the companies to be privatised," he said.
FIRST ALL-WOMEN BPO CENTRE IN RIYADH LAUNCHED: Saudi Aramco, GE and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have announced the launch of the first all-female business process services centre in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Arab News has reported. The collaboration of the three companies aims to support Saudi Arabia's localisation strategies to diversify the kingdom's economy and enable the growth of a viable employment sector. The three partners will work together with the intention of scaling up the new venture to create up to 3,000 jobs for Saudi professional females.
INVESTCORP ACQUIRES 30 PERCENT STAKE IN SAUDI CAR RENTAL FIRM: Bahrain-headquartered Investcorp has announced that its Gulf Opportunity Fund has acquired a 30 percent stake in Saudi-based Theeb Rent a Car Co, Times of Oman has reported. As part of the agreement, the fund will be represented on Theeb's board and will play an active role in key decisions which will include both governance as well as future exit strategies. "We will work closely with the Theeb management team to help grow the business. This is the fund's tenth investment in the region and its fourth in Saudi Arabia," said Investcorp president, Mohammed Al Mohammed Al Shroogi.