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ADIC eyes MENA private equity deals; Bahrain banks consolidate their positions; Kuwait enters Palestine telecoms sector; Vodafone Qatar to sell a 40% stake in April IPO

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Kuwait | Bahrain | Qatar
Issue 850 - 27 March 2009

KEC remains bullish on 2009 plans

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Ambitious Gulf minnow Kuwait Energy Company (KEC), present in seven Yemeni blocks, has spoken about its plans to weather the global credit crunch. At an American Business Council meeting recently, KEC’s chief executive Sara Akbar said that the company was prepared for the road ahead and was armed with capital discipline and a positive attitude.

Kuwait
Free

Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is playing a canny game ahead of May’s general election. It is only ten months since Kuwait went to the polls – and two years since the previous election – a political cycle that illustrates the pattern of confrontation between parliamentarians and ministers which has repeatedly blocked legislation and approval of major projects.

Kuwait
Issue 850 - 27 March 2009

Regional diplomatic challenge

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Whoever wins the Iranian election will have to engage in sustained diplomatic fence-mending. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apparently thoughtless way with words has cost Iran dear over the past three and a half years. This month, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has been in Riyadh – where he met King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz – and Manama, seeking to patch up the latest strains in relationships with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He also visited Kuwait, with whom Tehran’s dealings are rather more placid.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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Sheikh Nasser Mohammed is suffering a political realignment, with the Islamic Constitutional Movement’s move from cabinet to grilling sponsor reflecting an erosion of support for his government.

Kuwait
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The confrontations in the Kuwaiti political system reflect a fundamental flaw in its structure: the National Assembly is freely elected, but the parliament’s changing composition, after each election, is not mirrored by a shift in the balance of forces within the cabinet.

Kuwait
Issue 849 - 13 March 2009

The ICM changes its tune

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The Islamic Constitutional Movement is the voice of mainstream organised moderate Sunni Islamism in Kuwait. Although it has attempted to push government policy in a more conservative direction on social issues - such as the separation of university classes for men and women - the group has steered a centrist and measured course on economic matters, combining traditional Islamist welfare concerns with a broad acceptance of the case for phased economic liberalisation

Kuwait
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Global Investment House has “a pipeline of assets to sell in private deals” over the next few months as it seeks out much-needed cash to repay $3.1bn of liabilities, the Kuwait-based bank’s account executive Altamash Javed told GSN during the Hedge Funds World conference in Dubai on 10 March.

Kuwait
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The government on 24 February said it was looking at ways to reduce the cost of two big power generation contracts concluded in 2008 with Siemens (to supply and install 16 gas turbines in a €1.5bn deal) and General Electric

Kuwait | Iraq
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

An insouciant view from Kuwait

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Central Bank of Kuwait governor Sheikh Salem Abdelaziz Al-Sabah was very bullish, going so far as to say that the “crisis has not hit it that much.”

Kuwait
Issue 847 - 13 February 2009

France: Sarko’s regional play

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In a fast-evolving regional situation, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is touring the Gulf again, visiting Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait

Kuwait | Bahrain | Oman
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Iraq’s border areas are a wild frontier, marked by intense mafia activity and low-level tribal violence. But the security situation is becoming more manageable than seemed likely even one year ago.

Kuwait | Iraq
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Russia’s Gazprom has made a deal with Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment Company to set up a joint venture targeting exploration and production work in Russia and the Middle East. The signing of a bilateral agreement on civil nuclear co-operation with George W Bush’s administration prior to the Republican president’s departure from office has raised some eyebrows in the United States, for fear that it will spark a ‘nuclear arms race’ in the region.

Kuwait | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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With unsubstantiated rumours of a potential bid for Liverpool FC splashed across the UK newspapers, and a new deal to work with Gazprom, Kuwait’s prominent Al-Kharafi family is receiving more attention than usual.

Kuwait
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Five country ratification is the first hurdle. Policy and structural detail will have to follow soon if markets are to take the GCC’s monetary union plan seriously.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar