North Africa/Middle East

Emaar Properties PSJC reported the lowest quarterly profit in almost three years, showing that Dubai’s lengthening real estate slump is starting to weigh down even its most resilient builders, Bloomberg News reported. Emaar, which built the world’s tallest tower in the Persian Gulf emirate, said third-quarter profit dropped by 29 percent, missing estimates. That follows earnings slumps and losses at competitors amid signs that the slowdown may continue for years longer than anyone had predicted.

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Saudi Arabia will start auctioning real estate assets of billionaire Maan al-Sanea and his company on Dec. 2 to help repay billions of dollars due to creditors, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The auction, originally planned for late October in the city of Khobar in Eastern Province, was delayed by a last-ditch attempt to reach a settlement, which failed to gain enough support from creditors, one source said, Reuters reported.

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Dubai-based construction giant Arabtec has confirmed that it has hired New York-based investment bank Moelis & Co to advise on a new restructuring plan, Arabian Business reported. The company, which last year embarked on a three-phase roadmap to stabilise and prepare the business for growth, said one of the strategic objectives for 2018, Prepare, is to continue to strengthen its balance sheet, including the refinancing of debt to provide a sustainable platform for continued growth.

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Dubai Holding LLC, the investment firm owned by the emirate’s ruler, agreed to acquire a minority stake in the operator of Zara clothing and Virgin Megastore chains in the Middle East, according to people with the matter. The stake purchase in Beirut-based Azadea Group values the business at more than $1 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private, Bloomberg News reported. The two parties reached an initial agreement on the transaction last week, the people said.

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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries raised its 2018 earnings outlook, said it was seeing “a very strong launch” for its long-awaited migraine treatment Ajovy and expects to launch generic EpiPen in the fourth quarter. Teva raised its full-year forecast for adjusted EPS to $2.80-$2.95, from a previous estimate of $2.55-$2.80 and its shares were 8.5 percent higher in early U.S. trading, Reuters reported. The company also said it was on track with plans to reduce its workforce by 14,000, having let over 9,000 employees go so far. Net debt decreased by $800 million to $27.6 billion.

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Dubai’s Arabtec Holding has hired New York-based investment bank Moelis & Co to work on a new debt-restructuring plan for the construction company, three sources told Reuters. The move comes little more than a year after Arabtec raised 1.5 billion dirhams ($408.4 million) in a rights issue to wipe out accumulated losses and separately asked banks to waive terms on its debt, Reuters reported.

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The chief executive of oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Tuesday that bankers had not expressed any concerns about a recent rise in Saudi funding costs ahead of the company’s potential acquisition of a stake in petrochemical firm Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), Reuters reported. The cost of insuring against a Saudi sovereign default over the next five years touched 100 basis points last week for the first time since June, in a sign of how deeply the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has damaged sentiment toward the kingdom.

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Saudi Arabia’s international bonds are underperforming lower-rated emerging market sovereigns, in a sign of how deeply the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has damaged sentiment toward the kingdom, Reuters reported. Rated A1 by Moody’s, A- by S&P and A+ by Fitch, Saudi Arabia has sold $52 billion in U.S. dollar-denominated bonds since its first international issue in 2016, becoming one of the biggest debt issuers in emerging markets.

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In January, the Abraaj Group had $14 billion of assets under management and was trying to raise $6 billion for what would be the world’s largest emerging-markets private-equity fund. It’s now the world’s largest insolvent private-equity firm. In June, it filed for provisional liquidation. During its rise, the Dubai-based firm attracted many Western investors. Its founder, Arif Naqvi, promised to make money by doing good in poorer countries, including with a fund that would invest in hospitals serving African and Asian cities, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Egypt is considering issuing bonds in currencies other than the euro and the U.S. dollar after launching a roadshow in Asia, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Reuters on Saturday, as the government steps up efforts to improve its debt structure, The New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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