So Far Away!

sport-city-dubaiIt seems that Dubai Sports City is in serious discussions with financiers for a new 60k-seat football stadium, that would complement their existing 25k-capacity cricket ground and the Els Golf Course. Design work has been completed and the proposed facility meets all FIFA guidelines.

There is a possibility that fashion house Versace will team up with Dubai-based Damac Properties to help in developing the so-called ‘Jenga’ Tower in London. The 50-storey building was recently bought for US$ 930 million and will have 450 apartments (as well as offices and retail outlets); this will be Damac’s first foray into the UK market.

Following last year’s acquisition of JAFZ by DP World for US$ 2.6 billion, Fitch has upgraded the port operator to BBB-/Stable in line with its new parent company. The company accounts for up to 20% of Dubai’s GDP and reported a 10.0% jump in 2014 revenue to US$ 460 million.

Drydocks World has just completed the world’s largest turret mooring system at 100 mt high, 11k tonnes and with a 26 mt diameter. The FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) facility, requiring over 5 million LTI-free man-hours to construct, will be used by Shell off the NW coast of Australia; it is the 5th  and last module to be delivered.

DIFC has started work on its 11th office tower which is slated for completion within two years. Gate Building 11, costing US$ 55 million, will be located in the Gate District.

In line with the holy month of Ramadan – a season of giving – Dubai’s Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair is planning to spend a third of his wealth (US$ 1.1 billion) in setting up an education foundation. Part of his business empire includes Mashreq Bank which he set up 40 years ago, with US$ 1.6 million capital.

Abraaj has sold its 13.6% stake, in the East African-based UAP Holdings, to the financial group Old Mutual for an undisclosed fee. This investment, one of 19 the Dubai company has in East Africa, was purchased in 2012 and was part of the US$ 3 billion it has invested in the continent since 2006.

June Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell 1.9 points to 54.7 – its lowest level in almost two years. One of the main drivers to this slowdown in the non-oil sector is the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

The federal cabinet has finally approved a new bankruptcy law which will probably result in bounced cheques being decriminalised. It has long been felt that the current legislation is too rigid and does not actively help troubled companies from going under. In some ways, it was seen as a disincentive for businesses to set up in the country but with the planned legislation, it will make the UAE a more attractive place for investors, as well as partially emptying the jails.

After 18 years of legal dispute, the Dubai Cassation Court finally ruled on the ownership of theHamarain Centre and JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai. The Kuwaiti Bu Rousli family now own 80% of the two buildings with the balance belonging to the Emirati Hamarain family.

The DFMI fell 1.1%, starting on Sunday at 4,089 to close on Tuesday (07 July) at 4041. Bellwether stocks headed south with both Emaar Properties and Arabtec down US$ 0.02 to US$ 2.10) and US$ 0.69 respectively. 

Both oil and gold have fallen dramatically since last Thursday – down 12.0% to US$ 55.91 and 1.8% to US$ 1,153 respectively

In an US$ 890 million agreement, online payment provider, PayPal, has bought Xoom, at a 32% premium. The acquisition will help PayPal expand in the money transfer and remittance sector as well as have greater access in countries such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines.

As sales of its new smartphone continue to disappoint, Samsung has issued another profit warning indicating a 4.9% fall to US$ 7.6 billion – 4% lower than the same period last year. The Galaxy S6 has been outgunned by competition from both Apple and Chinese companies such as Xiaomi.

Over five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP has finalised a US$ 18.7 billion settlement with the federal government and the five states that were affected. The deal sees US$ 8.1 billion going to the various governments and US$ 5.5 billion in fines and will bring BP’s total expenditure to US$ 53.8 billion.

Another iconic British company has hit a rough patch with news that Rolls Royce has downgraded its profit forecast again – this time by 5% to around US$ 2.2 billion. In April, the UK engineering company won a major US$ 6.1 billion engine order for 50 Emirates’ Airbus A380 superjumbos. The company has not been helped by a marked weakening in the oil and gas sector, together with reduced demand for jet engines. 

It was only a matter of time and now Brazil has got into the act with authorities probing forex market rigging by 15 international (but no local) banks, including the usual suspects such as Barclays,Citigroup, Credit Suisse,  HSBC, RBS and UBS. The alleged offences went on for over seven years and the investigation also involves some 30 individuals.

Since reaching its peak on 12 June, the Shenzhen Composite Index has plunged over 38% and has lost a massive US$ 3.2 trillion in market value. Now some listed firms have come up with a novel way to stop the rout – and an erosion of their share value. Some 26%, or 750 entities, of all firms registered on Chinese mainland bourses have suspended trading, locking up US$ 1.4 trillion of shares, equivalent to 21% of the country’s market capitalisation.

Sunday’s referendum moved Greece closer to leaving the eurozone with the German response that there was no basis to enter into new negotiations and that the ball is in the Greek court. As of Tuesday, the Tsipras government had not come up with any new proposals. Whilst the Germans were playing the role of bad cop, France was acting in a more conciliatory manner, as was the IMF, with Christine Lagarde offering assistance, if asked. Greece’s debt stands at US$ 356 billion and they would be hoping for a ‘haircut’ of up to 30% and a rather extensive grace period. Whether their European partners would agree to such generous concessions remains to be seen but is highly unlikely as both sides are So Far Away!

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