Middle East Roundup
eyes Mideast listing, eastern growth
oilfield service giant Halliburton is considering listing its shares
on one of the Middle East bourses as it looks at growth potential in
the eastern hemisphere, the firm’s chief executive said yesterday.
“One of the things that we would like to pursue... is a listing of
our shares in the Middle East,” David Lesar said at an energy event
in Bahrain. Halliburton has not yet decided in which country it
would list its shares.
“At this point in time we clearly see there are
greater opportunities in the eastern hemisphere than the western
hemisphere,” he told reporters in Manama. Lesar said he expected the
price of oil to stay above $40 a barrel.
Bahrain seeks exploration bids
Bahrain: Bahrain, the smallest
oil-producer among Arabian Gulf nations, will invite international
oil companies to bid for contracts to explore for oil and gas in all
of its territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
The country, which
can now pump about 190,000 bpd, wants oil companies to bid for four
exploration blocks covering the entire offshore area off the
island-nation, to counter declining production, Abdul-Hussain bin
Ali Mirza, announced at an oil conference in Bahrain yesterday.
“Four contract areas have been defined encompassing the entire
kingdom’s offshore territory,” Mirza said.
Agility buys 6.3% stake in Abraj
Kuwait’s Agility, the largest Gulf Arab logistics firm by market
value, said it had bought 3.47mn shares in Abraj Holding Co, giving
it a stake of 6.3% in the firm. Agility did not say how much it paid
for the stake in a statement dated March 8, posted on the Dubai
bourse website yesterday. Shares of Agility are also listed in
Abraj Holding owns stakes in companies in the services sector in
Kuwait and lends money to companies in which it owns shares.
Suez to bid for Fujairah 2 plant
France’s Suez group plans to bid for Abu Dhabi’s independent water
and power project Fujairah 2, as demand surges due to population and
industrial growth, a company official said yesterday.
“We are bidding for the Fujairah 2 water and power project before
this month-end with our sister company Suez Energy International,”
Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of Suez Environment, told reporters. “We
are also bidding for a wastewater treatment project in Abu Dhabi.”
$54mn private equity firm set up
Arab investors, including members of a UAE ruling family, have set
up a 200mn dirham ($54.47mn) private equity firm to tap growth in
the country’s manufacturing sector, its founders said yesterday. The
company, called Capital Industries and Investments, will take
majority stakes in privately held construction and manufacturing
companies in the UAE. It will invest the 200mn dirhams within two
years, said Sheikh Sultan bin Saud al-Qassimi, a member of the
Sharjah’s ruling family and one of the founders.
The UAE’s manufacturing sector has grown at 30% per year for the
last three years and is the second largest contributor to gross
domestic product, at 19.2%, after oil, the company said in a
Regional banks target Al Watany
Al Watany Bank has been approached by an unspecified number of
regional banks seeking to acquire a controlling stake in the bank,
Watany said in a statement yesterday. Bank officials declined to
name either the banks or their countries of origin, or how large a
stake was being sought.
The banks had asked to perform a due diligence study on the bank,
and had hired legal and financial consultants to follow up. In
November, Al Watany Bank posted a 16% rise in net profit for the
first nine months of 2006 to 83.1mn Egyptian pounds ($14.6mn).
Emaar earmarks $2.9bn for ’07
Properties, the largest listed Arab developer by market value, has
allocated $2.9bn for projects in 2007, the company’s chairman said
Mohammed Alabbar told a general assembly meeting that investments
would be made in markets including Syria, Pakistan, and India. It
was not immediately clear if those were in addition to the value of
projects announced earlier. – Agencies - Gulf Times