Tag Archives: Middle East

EXCLUSIVE: Khaled Anabtawi, founder and manager of the Jordanian unit of online real estate firm Lamudi, talks about the Middle East property market in this interview with EmergingMarkets.me

Khaled Anabtawi

What is the background of Lamudi? Could you describe the company’s presence in Jordan?

Lamudi , the emerging market real estate classifieds player, officially launched operations in 13 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America in October 2013. Less than one year later, we are present in 28 countries. As the online real estate market grows, so does Lamudi’s reach worldwide. The search for eal estate is moving online and we want to help people to find the right property. We want to be there to grow alongside the rate of Internet usage in emerging markets and we see great potential for this in Jordan. Continue reading

RenCap hires banker from Goldman Sachs to run London trading

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Renaissance Capital, a Russian emerging- and frontier-markets investment bank, has hired David George from Goldman Sachs as head of trading in London.

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George will be based in London in his new job, which he takes in March, and report to RenCap’s global head of equities, Ben Samuels.

His duties will include support for the Moscow-headquartered firm’s efforts to grow its business in Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the bank said in a statement.

George has spent the past seven years at Goldman Sachs, where his last role was chief operational officer of the emerging markets equity business. Previously he worked at Merrill for 13 years, heading the emerging markets trading desk for the last five years.

Other senior hires made by RenCap in the past few months are Robert Lamprecht, head of African sales, Amr Aboushaban, vice-president in the equities sales team, Harry Stanford, director in equity sales trading in London, and Ozlem Turgay, an equity salesman in Istanbul.

RenCap hires Merrill banker for senior Europe sales job

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Russian brokerage Renaissance Capital has hired Amr Aboushaban from Bank of America Merrill Lynch as vice-president in its equities sales team.

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Aboushaban’s main responsibility will be client coverage in London and across Europe, but his duties will include helping to build out coverage in the Middle East and North Africa, RenCap said in a statement.

Aboushaban, who will be based in London and report to global head of equity distribution Florian Hellmich, held various positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which he joined in 2007 and where he worked in emerging markets sales.

Among RenCap’s recent hires are Robert Lamprecht, head of African sales, Harry Stanford, director in equity sales trading in London, Ozlem Turgay, an equity salesman in the Istanbul office, and Ilya Lobanov, director in the equity sales team in Moscow.

RenCap, whch is part of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim group, has operations in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, and has access to those markets through London and New York.

It has a variety of core businesses – mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital markets, securities sales and trading, research, and derivatives.

The markets it operates in include metals and mining, oil and gas, and agriculture.

EBRD invests in leading Turkish textile company

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development continues to boost Turkey’s Anatolian regions, making a €3.7 million loan to Kivanc Tekstil, a leading producer of clothing fabrics and yarn based in Adana.

Kivanc Tekstil, 100 per cent owned and controlled by the founding family of the same name, has successfully operated in the textile sector for more than 60 years. Today it is an industry leader in Adana, a major commercial centre and the home of Turkey’s textile industry. The company supplies high-quality “Made in Turkey”-fabrics using the latest designs. Thousands of national and international clothing manufacturers use Kivanc Tekstil fabrics, including brands such as Banana Republic, Zara and Ann Taylor.

The EBRD financing will allow Kivanc Tekstil to purchase more than 50 weaving machines to expand its operations. The loan will also be used to install an additional generator that will increase the factory’s co-generation capacity and recycle its own steam, thereby saving water, energy and money.

EBRD invests in Turkey’s first infrastructure bond

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is supporting Turkey’s first ever infrastructure bond with a US$79.5 million participation in a US$ 450 million Eurobond, launched by Mersin International Port (MIP), the private operator of the port of Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey.

The debut bond will be used for refinancing an existing loan facility as well as to fund part of the capital investment programme for the port.

The port of Mersin – the country’s largest multipurpose port by tonnage and import/export container throughput – is operated by a joint venture between Turkish diversified conglomerate, Akfen Holding, and PSA International (formerly Port of Singapore Authority), one of the world’s largest port operators.

With 85 per cent of Turkish international trade being seaborne, developing the Mersin International Port – the gateway of Turkish industry and agriculture to the Middle East – is crucial for Turkey’s economy, and will also support growth in the wider region.

The EBRD’s contribution will support the refinancing, and will enable the port to accept larger vessels and cater for increases in throughput in the longer term, as Turkey’s rapid economic growth continues to generate the need for ever-improving infrastructure.

The bond, which is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and provisionally rated Investment Grade by both Moody’s (Baa3) and Fitch (BBB-), will have a seven year maturity. Its successful placement on a foreign stock exchange, with a broad global investor base, will demonstrate new ways of financing infrastructure investments in Turkey, and will encourage other infrastructure companies to diversify their sources of funding.

To date EBRD has invested more than half a billion euros in the country’s infrastructure sector, including Eurasia Tunnel and the new domestic terminal at Izmir Airport. Since the beginning of its operations in Turkey in 2009, the EBRD has invested more than €3 billion in the country, both in direct deals and through credit lines.  Last year Turkey became the EBRD’s second-largest country of operations, with €1 billion in new investments in 2012 alone.

Sberbank pulls off cooperation deal with Gulf’s top-notch NBAD

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank and a top bank in the Gulf, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), have reached an agreement to cooperate in trade financing, loan syndication, client support and investment banking.

“Access to new financial markets is an integral part of our international strategy,” a Sberbank statement quoted the Russian firm’s head of financial institutions, Alexander Dementyev, as saying in comments on a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.

“I am happy to say that the Memorandum is based on an executed transaction – we have recently closed a club deal involving large investment [by] the National Bank of Abu Dhabi,” he said in reference to a recent pledge from a group of leading Middle East banks to lend $300m to Sberbank for providing some of its clients with cash for trade operations.

“Our clients find the Russian market attractive, but are cautious about investing in it,” said Vineet Varma, global head of financial institutions at NBAD, which is the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, operates in 19 countries across five continents, and has a declared plan to have a presence in 41 nations by 2021.

“With Sberbank’s support, we hope to help them find favourable opportunities. As far as we know, Russian entrepreneurs are also interested in finding reliable partners in the Middle East, and we are happy to offer them our high-quality services,” Varma said.

Since 2009, Global Finance magazine has ranked NBAD as one of the world’s 50 safest banks and the safest bank in the Middle East.

Reviving The Future Of Retail Banking Through Islamic Finance

5th Worild Islamic Retail Banking Conference, (26 – 27 November, Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai – UAE), will gather global industry leaders to brainstorm, understand and analyze the importance of Islamic finance in regards with retail banking.

Global Islamic banking assets with commercial banks to reach $1.8 trillion in 2013 (2011: $1.3 trillion), representing average annual growth of 17%. Islamic banking growth outlook continues to be positive, growing 50% faster than overall banking sector in several core markets.

As the world comes to grips with slower economic growth and uncertain markets, investors must seek new prospects to maximize returns. The Shariah compliant space has emerged as one of the most exciting and promising markets for new growth opportunities

As quoted by Islamic Finance News, Islamic retail system is to build a “fully integrated socially responsible financial system” which over the past five years, as the conventional system has been rocked by financial and economic crises, has benefited from a growing social profile as a safer and more ethical method of banking. President Obama famously commented on the 2008 financial crisis that: “The crisis was born of a failure of responsibility –from Wall Street all the way to Washington…”

This is where Islamic Retail Banking steps in, as “The key advantage of Islamic retail banking is the maintenance of a strong sense of social responsibility. This perceived advantage has led to considerably increased interest in the sector from the international financial community, looking for a safe haven.”

According to – Moinuddin Malim, Chief Executive Officer – Mashreq Al Islami “During next 5 years, Islamic banking & finance will witness tremendous growth opportunities in new territories; however, only those will be able to successfully penetrate the new markets who have completed their product offerings that are at par with the conventional banking in terms of servicing, delivery channels and efficiency. Islamic retail banking and financing will be able to create a bigger impact by meeting the customer needs and providing solutions which are Shari’ah compliant.”

Islamic retail banking is at the frontline of the industry’s growth and acts as the pivotal point for development in changing the future of banking operations as a whole. As media focuses on the investment and commercial side of the industry and ignores the innovations occurring on the retail side. 5th Worild Islamic Retail Banking Conference, thus brings forth the opportunity to grasp and brainstorm market trends and insights, in-depth dialogues from global and local practitioners and phenomenal networking opportunities with key policy makers,islamic scholars, global Islamic retail bankers and business decision makers.

WIRBC brings Global C level Islamic Retail Bankers together every year, platforming a powerful networking opportunity for conventional bankers, Islamic retail bankers, takaful companies, leading law firms and shariah experts to ensure that the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic retail banking are probed every year and best practices shared to boost the asset growth.

5th Worild Islamic Retail Banking Conference, (26 – 27 November, Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai – UAE), will gather global speakers and industry peers involving in knowledge-sharing sessions, intriguing panel discussions, relevant case-studies, interactive workshop along with networking sessions to discuss, understand and analyze the importance of Islamic finance in regards with retail banking.

To know more about this conference request for the complete conference agenda by emailing mohor.mukherjee@fleminggulf.com

PineBridge Investments appoints Chief Investment Officer

PineBridge Investments announced an appointment of new chief investment officer. Wael Aburida will lead the company’s MENA Private Equity and Real Estate Team covering the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, with responsibility for deal origination, negotiations, execution, portfolio management, and exits. Aburida joins from UAE-based Waha Capital where he was director of Mergers & Acquisitions, and was previously director of the Global M&A Group for Intel Corporation, based in the California global headquarters. He also served as managing director of Nollenberger Capital Partners and DCA Partners.

EAST CAPITAL COMMENT: Turkish growth set to continue

The Turkish stock market has continued to perform well, and is already up 10.1 percent since the beginning of the year. That performance is just a continuation of a trend that has seen the market rise since the beginning of 2012. But for how long can it continue to perform?

“Looking at the big picture, we still think that there is a lot more to do in the Turkish economy,” said Emre Akcakmak, portfolio manager at East Capital.

“Despite recent positive macroeconomic developments, income per capita is still way below the one of EU-member countries and further reforms may help unleash the country’s economic growth potential. All time low interest rates, healthy public balances as well as the recent credit rating upgrades and increased financial market stability should also support further economic development. All in all, we are hopeful that Turkey’s long term convergence story would be reflected on the equity market along the way.”

Turkey’s demographics give the country a distinct advantage over many of its peers.
“Turkey will continue to enjoy its favorable demographics for the next 10-15 years. The population is young, with an average age of 29, compared to just over 40 in the EU,” Akcakmak explained. “That means Turkey has a large and dynamic domestic market with potential to continue increasing economic output in the coming years. What is also encouraging is that this young labor force is increasingly educated and competitive.”

The main driver of the Turkish economy is domestic demand.
“That means the Turkish market is reactive to consumer sentiment, which in turn is largely dependent on political and economic stability. The market also responds to developments in global financial markets due to large foreign participation in Turkish financial markets and, of course, due to Turkey’s trade ties.”

Which sectors have you identified as likely to be the most interesting in the coming years?
“We are particularly interested in sectors which give us the best exposure to the growth in the domestic market. Specifically, we like the banking sector that manages to grow its loan book by about 15-20% a year. Loan growth is driven not only by private consumption but also by large infrastructure projects. Auto and real estate sectors are also interesting as historically low interest rates boost consumer demand. In addition, companies that operate in Turkey’s rapidly growing aviation and pension fund sectors are also interesting.”

Since the end of 2011, the Turkish market went up by 77 per cent. What are the reasons for the strong performances of the market and the fund?
“2012 was a year that the Turkish stock market recovered strongly, so much so that it was re-rated on the back of ongoing positive developments in the economy. The key areas of concern – inflation and current account deficit – declined notably as growth slowed down in an orderly manner. As a reflection of the better macroeconomic environment, interest rates declined, risk perception has improved and the country was eventually upgraded to an investment grade by Fitch. On top of already attractive valuation levels, Turkish companies surprised investors by delivering better than expected profits. Banks, in particular, performed much better than others as they managed to grow their earnings significantly, thanks mainly to declining deposit costs,” Akcakmak said.