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					   BUSINESS                                                                                                                                                                                                               ALWATAN DAILY
   IN REGION                                                                                                                                                                                                MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011

Abu Dhabi rents decline 6-7% in Q4 2010, says report
     Al Maabar                                          also include residential apartments and high-         to 30 new hotels, split between our brands,”           which are in Abu Dhabi, he said after a signing            “We are gaining share in the region even

     to push ahead with
                                                        end shops.                                            Roeland Vos, president, Europe, Africa & Mid-          ceremony. Starwood, which owns such brands             though occupancies went down. Occupancies
                                                             “There is tremendous demand for hotels in        dle East told reporters.                               as Sheraton, St. Regis and W hotels, is bullish        are flowing back, we are seeing opportunities

     MENA projects
                                                        Jordan from wealthy residents, expats and tour-           In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone,           about prospects for the region’s hospitality sec-      with some markets coming strongly,” he said.
                                                        ists and banks are willing to finance,” Yousef        nine properties are under development, four of         tor despite the industry downturn since 2008.          -Reuters
                                                        Al-Nowais told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
                                                             Al Maabar owned jointly by Abu Dhabi’s
          ABU DHABI: New supply in Abu Dhabi            sovereign wealth fund Mubadala and leading
     pushed rents and leases down as much as seven      property developers, including Aldar Proper-
     percent in the fourth-quarter (Q4) of last year    ties, will build 350 to 400 townhouses and re-
     with further easing expected in 2011, the latest   lated facilities costing $250 million in Aqaba,
     report from a property management firm said        Jordan as part of a larger development called
     on Sunday.                                         Marsa Zayed.
          Price-driven demand, reduced company               “The bigger development depends on when
     housing allowances and landlords being flex-       the land will be given to us by the Jordanian
     ible with rates contributed to the decline, the    authorities. It is linked to the port,” he said.
     report from Asteco said.                                The first phase of the Bab Al-Bahr mixed-
          easing rates for apartments in Abu Dhabi’s    use project in Rabat, Morocco comprising 220
     outskirts fell by an average of seven percent,     units is sold out with the second phase to start
     while within the city it dropped by six percent    soon, he said.
     during the period. Rents for villas declined by         In Tripoli, Libya the $300 million Al-Waha
     five percent, the report said.                     development will start in first quarter 2011.
          “Many new opportunities will arise in         In Iraq, negotiations are underway for a com-
     2011. Buyers and tenants will have a wide          munity project with an agreement to be signed
     range of choices shortly,” Elaine Jones, chief     within a month or two, he said.                                                                                                                                                                   A parachuter is
     executive of Asteco, said in the report.                Al Maabar has about $1 billion worth of                                                                                                                                                      pictured in front
          The long-awaited first phases at Reem Is-     projects under development currently, said                                                                                                                                                        of UAE’s sky-
     land and new supply at Al Raha Beach are ex-       Chief Executive Abdallah Hageali. Al Maabar’s                                                                                                                                                     scrapers during
     pected to come to the market soon, adding fur-     shareholders include Mubadala, Aldar Prop-                                                                                                                                                        the Gulf emirate’s
     ther downward pressure on resale and rental        erties, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Qudra, Reem                                                                                                                                                        2nd International
     rates in Abu Dhabi, she said.                      Investments and Reem International, all Abu                                                                                                                                                       Parachuting
          Office rents continued their downward         Dhabi-based companies.                                                                                                                                                                            Championship
     trend from the last quarter, losing seven per-                                                                                                                                                                                                       on Jan. 7, 2011.
     cent across the sector, the report said.              20 new hotels in Middle East by 2016                                                                                                                                                           New supply
          In other news, Abu Dhabi’s Al Maabar will         In related news, Starwood Hotels & Resorts                                                                                                                                                    in Abu Dhabi
     invest 300 million US dollars in a luxury ho-      Worldwide Inc. plans to open at least 20 new                                                                                                                                                      pushed rents and
     tel in Jordan and move ahead with its planned      hotels in the Middle East in the next five years,                                                                                                                                                 leases down as
     projects in the Middle East and North Africa       with four in Abu Dhabi, its regional president                                                                                                                                                    much as seven
     (MENA), its managing director said on Sun-         said on Sunday.                                                                                                                                                                                   percent in Q4
     day.                                                   Currently, the hospitality major owns or                                                                                                                                                      of last year with
          The 270-room hotel in Amman to be             manages about 50 hotels in the Middle East                                                                                                                                                        further eas-
     branded St. Regis from the Starwood stable         through its nine brands.                                                                                                                                                                          ing expected in
     will be ready in first quarter of 2014 and will        “Between now and 2016 there will be 20                                                                                                                                                        2011. (AFP)

Standard Chartered sees                                                                            Mixed outlook for
Mideast private equity deals up                                                                    Islamic finance industry: Ernst & Young
          DUBAI: British-based international       vesting in equity or senior debt. There are          DUBAI: Islamic financial institutions are at          their operating costs are, in many cases, higher than      compliant products offered by Islamic financial in-
     bank Standard Chartered’s private equity      a lot of companies in this region that can’t    cross roads entering 2011, noted Ernst & Young in          their conventional peers. Future opportunities may         stitutions.
     arm expects to complete two transactions      take any more senior debt and perhaps           a press release on Sunday. The industry is expected        no longer come from traditional captive clientele.
     in the Middle East in 2011 and does not       they don’t want to offer equity for per-        to continue to show resilience in the face of a chal-      Instead, Islamic financial institutions urgently need              New direction for the industry
     rule out another 100 million US dollars       sonal reasons,” Labib said.                     lenging economic scenario. This is despite the fact        to upgrade their business models to tap mainstream              Ernst & Young’s World Takaful Report highlight-
     investment during the year, a top execu-                                                      that growth levels of the Islamic finance industry, at     segments. Ashar Nazim added, “Decision makers at           ed the fluid nature of the takaful industry, as well
     tive said on Sunday.                                     Better year ahead                    more than 20 percent per annum for the past sever-         Islamic financial institutions need research and tools     as tremendous growth potential. The industry is ex-
          Taimoor Labib, the bank’s private eq-         The executive said he expected the         al years, came under tremendous pressure in 2010.          to assist in making informed decisions on the future       pected to grow three-fold from an estimated nine
     uity head for the Middle East and North       pace of private equity investment activity           Ashar Nazim, Executive Director and Middle            growth trajectory of their businesses. Implications        billion US dollars in 2009 to $25 billion by 2015.
     Africa (MENA), said the deals could be        in the region to slowly pick up after suf-      East and North Africa (MENA) Head of Islamic               of Shari’a rulings on governance, product structures       “The biggest challenge for the takaful operators is
     in sectors such as retail, manufacturing      fering in the last few years as sellers begin   Financial Services Group at Ernst & Young says,            and markets need to be appropriately incorporated          to bring out the differentiation, its unique Islamic
     and healthcare as the emerging markets-       to lower their expectations and the over-       “Having achieved the critical volume estimated at          at the planning phase itself.”                             proposition, for its stakeholders. This was the key
     focused lender tries to capitalize on its     all investment climate improves.                one trillion US dollars in Islamic assets, the question         Ernst & Young was voted the Best Islamic Advi-        message for the industry during 2010,” said Ashar.
     banking relations in the region.                   Middle East private equity investment      reverberating across board rooms, and among users          sory Firm and also won the award for Best Islamic               Ernst & Young’s Islamic Funds and Investment
          “We would like to complete another       plunged by 80 percent to $561 million in        of Islamic financial services, is about differentiation,   Research at the 2010 Islamic Business and Finance          Report 2010 confirmed that more than half the
     two deals this year but they have to be       2009, Gulf Venture Capital Association          or the lack thereof, that Islamic financial institutions   Awards organized by CPI Financial. Ernst & Young’s         Islamic fund managers may be operating with less
     the right deals. There is no reason why       (GVCA) data showed, and deal activity           have on offer. Effectiveness of the existing Shari’a       Islamic Financial Services team was acknowledged           than the minimum assets under management need-
     we can’t do another $100 million type of      was thin in 2010 too, with investors back-      governance framework, as well as synthetic prod-           for its original thought leadership to help steer the      ed to remain viable. The opportunity is for global
     deal,” Labib said.                            ing out from capital calls, sellers demand-     uct structures commonly in use are especially under        industry through the difficult business environ-           fund managers as well as for consolidation within
          The British bank recently completed      ing higher prices than buyers were willing      discussion.”                                               ment. Ernst & Young also recently joined hands             the industry. Islamic endowment, or Waqf, with an
     a $75 million mezzanine investment in         to pay and increasing competition from                                                                     with Accounting and Auditing Organization for Is-          estimated $105 billion wealth pool, was highlighted
     Bahrain-based Jawad Group, its first pri-     family groups hampering growth.                           No longer business as usual                      lamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the leading         as a key emerging sector that could potentially stim-
     vate equity transaction and the largest of         “I think the market is improving. Most          Scarcity of data and under-investment in ana-         standard-setting body for Islamic finance industry,        ulate strong liability generation for Islamic banks,
     its kind in the region, according to Labib.   of us in the business feel more optimistic      lytical tools means that Islamic banks’ focus re-          to provide product and contract certification that         as well as help revive the Islamic fund management
          Mezzanine debt funding is among the      now than perhaps last year,” Labib said.        mains limited to a handful of asset classes while          would strengthen universal acceptability of Shari’a        industry.
     lowest-ranking and riskiest forms of debt          “There are quite a few firms who have
     and therefore can offer higher returns and    been sitting on deals and are trying to fin-
     become an attractive alternative in buoy-
     ant markets.
          Labib told Reuters in an interview
                                                   ish them up and we expect more deals to
                                                   be announced by other groups.”
                                                        The private equity industry in the
                                                                                                   SEI Sharia investment
     that he saw ample opportunities in the
     region for mezzanine deals, which act as
     an effective balance between senior debt
                                                   Middle East has both international heavy-
                                                   weights such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
                                                   & Company and Carlyle Group along
                                                                                                   solution launches on Allfunds platform
     and equity.                                   with local players like Abraaj Capital and          KUWAIT: SEI Investements, a leading global             Committee. These funds include the SEI Islamic
          “Historically, people have been in-      Citadel Capital. -Reuters                       provider of outsourced asset management, invest-           US Equity, SEI Islamic Pacific Basin Equity, SEI
                                                                                                   ment processing, and investment operations solu-           Islamic European Equity, and SEI Islamic Emerg-
                                                                                                   tions, announced in a press release on Sunday a            ing Markets Equity Funds.
                                                                                                   partnership with Allfunds Bank to offer a greater               The Funds use SEI’s Manager-of-Managers
                                                                                                   choice of investment solutions for Sharia inves-           process to select, combine, and monitor some of
        Saudi Arabia needs to boost its                                                            tors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
                                                                                                       The agreement brings together SEI’s Sharia
                                                                                                                                                              the world’s leading investment managers. The SEI
                                                                                                                                                              Islamic Investment Funds are domiciled in Dublin
                                                                                                   asset management capabilities and Allfunds’ plat-          and offer daily liquidity.
        food reserves, says officials                                                              form and intermediary services to give banks,
                                                                                                   wealth managers, and insurance providers the op-
                                                                                                                                                                   Commenting, Jahangir Aka, Senior Executive
                                                                                                                                                              Officer, SEI Middle East, said, “We are pleased to
                                                                                                   portunity to access world-class Sharia-compliant           offer the SEI Islamic Investment Funds through
             RIYADH: Saudi Arabia needs to build up its strategic food reserves as a               funds and deliver more efficient and diversified           the Allfunds platform to enable wealth manage-
        buffer against rising global prices for basic commodities, executives and cham-            investment choices to their clients.                       ment providers to present a broader range of
        ber of commerce officials said on Sunday.                                                      Launched in May 2007, the SEI Islamic In-              investment choices to their Sharia clients. Diver-
             Like other Gulf Arab states the kingdom and top oil exporter of the Or-               vestment Funds provide investors with a Sharia-            sification remains important for the Sharia inves-
        ganization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had suffered when in-                   compliant program of four global equity funds              tor and the SEI Islamic Investment Funds are
        ternational food prices spiked in 2008, forcing up its import bill. It has since           with oversight from Hong Kong and Shanghai                 designed to provide global equity exposure to a            Jahangir Aka, Senior Executive Officer, SEI In-
        sought to lease and buy farmland in developing nations to improve its security             Banking Corporation (HSBC) Amanah’s Sharia                 Sharia portfolio.”                                         vestments Middle East
        of food supplies. The United Nations’ food agency, Food and Agriculture Or-
        ganization (FAO) said earlier this month that food prices hit a record high last
        month, above 2008 levels when riots broke out in countries as far afield as
        Egypt, Cameroon and Haiti.                                                                 Samsung begins marketing activities at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011
             As a means to address these sharp increases the biggest Arab economy
        should boost reserves for nine basic commodity foods, such as wheat, soya,                      KUWAIT: Samsung Electronics., Ltd, a global           in 12 matches. In addition to these efforts on the         perience, along with exciting hands-on demos and
        sugar, barley, oils and rice, said Saad Al-Kharif, head of the Food Security Com-          leader in the consumer electronics industry, an-           ground and via mobile, Samsung is also running an          digital applications customized for the AFC Asian
        mittee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Strategic storages                 nounced in a press release on Sunday that it reit-         online promotion, ‘Be Proud, Support Your Coun-            Cup 2011. Other activities include an interactive
        are needed to secure food supplies and fight price fluctuations,” he told report-          erates its support for Asian football fans through         try’, on its Samsung Mobile Middle East and North          football quiz, photo opportunities and an applica-
        ers, adding that a drought in Latin America was fuelling food prices.                      its continued partnership with the Asian Football          Africa (MENA) facebook community (www.face-                tion to measure how loud fans can cheer for their
             Argentina and Brazil are among some nine countries from which the king-               Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2011.                        book.com/samsungmobilemena).                               favorite teams.
        dom imports grains, he said.                                                                    As the AFC Asian Cup 2011 Official Sponsor                “This is our second time as official sponsor for
             The government has commissioned a study into setting up such reserves                 for the Mobile and Semiconductor category, Sam-            the AFC Asian Cup, and Samsung is proud of its                          ‘Samsung Scouter’
        and the chamber wants it to now go ahead and also include the private sec-                 sung will offer AFC Asian Cup crowds exciting on-          continued association with this prestigious event,             a newly launched mobile application
        tor.                                                                                       site, as well as off-site, activities through its mobile   which demonstrates our passion for the game of                 Samsung Scouter is an Android-Bada applica-
             “We are encouraging the government. We are trying to encourage them,”                 and online technologies to enhance their experi-           football. We hope our latest mobile technology             tion which has been specially created for the AFC
        Al-Kharif said.                                                                            ence and fun at the tournament.                            and mix of on-site activities will bring a new level       Asian Cup 2011 to provide real-time commentary
             Such storages could build up reserves for at least six months or longer,                   Activities include the Samsung Galaxy Fan             of excitement and experience to football fans and          on matches, tournament highlights and in-depth
        said Khalid Al-Rwis, head of the department of agricultural economics at King              Café featuring interactive and hands-on demos of           connect people across Asia,” said Gyehyun Kwon,            player performance analysis and comparison such
        Saud University in Riyadh.                                                                 Samsung’s latest mobile technology, and a newly            Vice President (VP) and Head of Worldwide Sports           as pass accuracy, ball possession and sprint speed.
             Saudi Arabia would need by 2015 some three million tons of wheat and                  launched mobile application called Samsung                 Marketing, Samsung Electronics.                            With Samsung Scouter fans can access information
        1.2 million tons of rice, he said, citing a recent study of his college.                   Scouter, which will bring AFC Asian Cup action                                                                        that even sportscasters don’t provide, bringing the
             In an effort to save water resources, the desert kingdom abandoned a 30-              closer to football fans                                               Samsung galaxy fan café                         stadium experience to life. Exclusively available
        year wheat cultivation plan and has reduced the amount of wheat it purchased                    The presentation of the Samsung ‘Man of the               Samsung will fuel football fever by bringing           on the Samsung GALAXY Tab, Galaxy S, Wave I
        from local farmers by 12.5 percent a year since 2008.                                      Match’, rewarding the most outstanding player              football enthusiasts together at its Galaxy Fan            and Wave II smartphones the mobile application
             In 2009 Saudi Arabia also set up a company with a capital of three billion            of the game, is one of the key promotions taking           Café located within the AFC Fan Zone area. The             can be downloaded from the Samsung Apps Store
        Saudi riyals to invest in farmland abroad. -Reuters                                        place within the stadium, and Samsung will also            Galaxy Fan Café will offer visitors a fun and re-          (www.samsungapps.com) for the duration of the
                                                                                                   provide support for the Player Escorts program             laxed atmosphere to enjoy the AFC Asian Cup ex-            tournament.