Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

Emirates NBD added 2.1 percent to help the Dubai stock market end a three-day losing streak. (Reuters)
Updated 24 January 2019
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Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

  • The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent
  • Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit

DUBAI: The Dubai stock market snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, boosted by its financial and property shares, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks.
The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent. Gulf Arab economies are expected to grow at a slower pace than previously forecast, a quarterly Reuters poll of economists found, as oil output cuts, lower crude prices and weaker global growth put pressure on regional economies. Amlak Finance rose 2.2 percent after announcing a renegotiation of restructuring terms with its financiers to allow more flexibility in adapting to “current market conditions.” Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit.
The port operator will spend at least $250 million buying back some shares in its Australian port terminals unit. Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.8 percent, with nine out of 10 banks rising.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group closed 1.7 percent higher. Petrochemical investor Alujain added 1.5 percent after an update on the fire at its affiliate’s plant.
The company said it now expects the NATPET plant to start operating all units by the end of September.
The Egyptian blue-chip index was up 0.2 percent with its largest listed bank Commercial International Bank gaining 4.2 percent.
The Egyptian Exchange on Wednesday canceled all transactions made the previous day in local firms Sixth of October Development and Investment Company (SODIC) and Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD).
The move followed SODIC’s decision against a takeover of MNHD and involved their shares being suspended on Wednesday as the bourse reset prices. Global Telecom Holding jumped by 10 percent before trading on its shares were suspended, pending a statement from the company after VEON Ltd, a major shareholder in the firm, said it was considering taking it private.


Russian court jails US investor pending fraud trial

Updated 46 min 56 sec ago
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Russian court jails US investor pending fraud trial

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Saturday jailed the US founder of a major investment firm for two months over fraud charges he says were fabricated for use in a shareholder battle.
Michael Calvey, founder of the multi-billion-dollar investment fund Baring Vostok Capital Partners (BVCP), was placed under arrest until April 13 as he and five others await trial on charges they embezzled 2.5 billion rubles ($37.7 million).
Authorities detained four BVCP employees on Friday, including French national Phillipe Delpal.
Two other suspects include a former fund employee and someone at another firm mentioned in the probe. All six are now under pre-trial arrest.
In a statement Saturday, Baring Vostok said the claims made against its employees “have no merit.”
The case has already drawn comparisons to other high-profile probes against foreign investors in Russia, notably one against Bill Browder and the Hermitage Capital fund.
Ironically, it comes as Russia hosts a high-profile investment forum in its Black Sea city Sochi.
Calvey says he is innocent and argued in court that the probe is a bid to exert pressure on him amid a shareholder conflict within Vostochniy Bank, which he is trying to resolve in a London arbitration court.
The charges against him are intended to “pressure Baring Vostok to drop its arbitration claims in London or to obstruct the new share emission of Vostochniy Bank,” Calvey alleged according to a statement by Baring Vostok on Saturday.
Investigators say that a firm controlled by Calvey in 2017 owed 2.5 billion rubles to Vostochniy bank and paid the debt with a 59.9 percent stake in the Luxembourg company International Financial Technology Group (IFTG), which was valued at three billion rubles.
The investigators claim that IFTG’s real value was only 600,000 rubles.
The fraud claim against Calvey was filed with the FSB security service this month by Sherzod Yusupov, a minority shareholder in Vostochniy Bank, Russian agencies reported.
Baring Vostok controls more than 52 percent of Vostochniy Bank, while 32 percent is owned by Artyom Avetisyan, Russian reports said.
Calvey said in court that he and Avetisyan are tangled in a shareholder dispute, and that by filing the claim Yusupov was in fact acting on Avetisyan’s behalf.
BVCP is a veteran investor in Russia, with current and past projects that include the Internet company Yandex, online retailer Ozon.ru, several drugstore and food store chains, and Russia’s leading online classifieds service Avito.
Some Russian officials have supported Calvey, with Rosnano board chairman Anatoly Chubais calling him “one of the most respected investors” whose efforts “attracted about four billion dollars in foreign direct investment to Russia.”