Saturday, January 9, 2010

Iran, Syria, a model for economic cooperation in region

Tehran, Jan 9, - Iran's Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ali Nikzad said on Saturday that Iran and Syria must become a model in terms of economic cooperation in the region.
He made the remarks in the 8th follow-up committee on economic cooperation between Iran and Syria.

Close cooperation among countries in the region will lessen the influence of the US and foil the plots hatched by the Zionist regime, he said.

Tehran and Damascus should spare no efforts to bolster economic cooperation among Iran, Syria, Iraq and Turkey which will be vital for formation of a regional alliance, he said.

Volume of trade on engineering and technical services between Iran and Syria has hit dlrs 1.6 billion which is remarkable, he said.

Draft agreements prepared by Iran and Syria’s Expert committees are to be indorsed by the Iranian minister of housing and urbane development with the Syrian economy and commerce minister on Monday.

Source : IRNA

Bahrain's GFH takes $300m Dubai project provision

By Gavin Davids

Gulf Finance House, the Middle East Islamic investment bank, said on Wednesday it had taken a provision of $300 million over its exposure to a Dubai development project.

The $300 million noncash charge against its propriety Dubailand position comes in the wake of the fallout from the global financial crisis and the recent upheavals in the Dubai markets. The bank said that the move would reduce the liabilities on its balance sheet by $290 million, with no implications for its clients.

GFH added that it had no remaining material exposure to Dubai.
Esam Janahi, chairman, GFH, said: “Market conditions over the last year have been extremely difficult and recent developments have further highlighted the need for a prudent and transparent approach. As a consequence, the board has decided to take the necessary steps to deal with the situation appropriately.”

The bank has recently begun comprehensive market research to establish investor sentiment following the global economic downturn. Like a number of Bahrain based investment houses, GFH has posted losses since the end of the regional property boom last year.

The results of this research has seen the bank design a new business model based on the products and services demanded by the contemporary investment community in a difficult economic environment.

Ted Petty, acting CEO, GFH added: “All our work over the past few months has been focused on shoring up our balance sheet and revising the business model to more efficiently serve the needs of the investment community and we've been very successful in this.”

He added that not only was the bank confident of meeting its liabilities, it also had the ability to engage in attractive investment opportunities as it renewed its revenue generation for 2010.

The Islamic lender raised $500 million in fresh financing this year through a rights issue and two convertible murabhas, an Islamic financing tool, to repair its balance sheet after posting four consecutive quarterly losses.
Source : Arabian Business

Garuda to go public in first quarter

Banda Aceh - State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar said here on Saturday PT Garuda Indonesia would go public in the first quarter this year.

"Let us pray it will be warmly welcomed by investors so that the target of shares to be sold will be met," he said at the launching of an environment program held by the state-owned airline company in cooperation with International Leuser Foundation (YLI) in Aceh.

He said PT Garuda would sell 25 percent of its shares to the public to raise Rp2.5 trillion to strengthen its capital.

Mustafa expressed his appreciation to the company that had been able to achieve a four-star ranking or one grade lower for the company to get the world`s highest ranking.

"We hope PT Garuda which is under the supervision of the office of the state enterprise minister will be able to achieve the five-star status so that the public listing program will be smooth," he said at the event which was also attended by Garuda president director Emirsyah Satar and Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf.

PT Garuda Indonesia is optimistic the initial public offering could be realized in the first semester this year.

"Right now preparations are already being done including selecting the underwriters," he said.Emirsyah meanwhile said the IPO plan was part of the company`s restructuring program to improve its performance.

The proceeds from the IPO are expected to reach US$300 million and will be used to finance additional fleets, refurbishment as well as improving services," he said.

He said the result of the IPO would be dependable upon market conditions. "We will adapt it to the domestic capital market conditions," he said.

Emirsyah said until 2014 the number of the company`s fleets would be increased to 116 units from currently 67 units. The increase in the number of fleets will be followed by a hike in routes to serve and flight frequencies to reach 3,000 flights per week from currently around 1,700 flights.
Source : Antara News