Una's Feed
Feb 20, 2013

$12 bln Qatar fund adds new risk: public scrutiny

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are her own.)

(Refiles to fix location in dateline)

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Feb 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Qatar’s sovereign
wealth fund may regret spinning off part of its business. The
Gulf emirate known for snapping up high-profile stakes in
publicly listed entities is giving ordinary investors a chance
to get a piece of the action. That, though, opens up the
absolute monarchy to one risk it loathes: public criticism.

Feb 18, 2013
via Breakingviews

Dubai’s new boom assumes short memories

Photo

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Dubai has rediscovered its appetite for grand designs. A replica Taj Mahal four times bigger than the original, the world’s biggest Ferris wheel, several new mega-malls, and over 100 new hotels are amongst a raft of extravagant projects aiming to boost tourism in the emirate. But lingering debt woes from its last boom-and-bust cycle should hopefully reduce the risk of runaway spending.

Jan 23, 2013

Maroc Telecom bidders defy unrest in $6 bln sale

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are her own)

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Politics will play a
major part in the sale of Maroc Telecom (IAM.CS: Quote, Profile, Research). Vivendi
(VIV.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), the French media and telecom conglomerate, is in
shrinking mode. It hasn’t had any trouble drumming up interest
from far-flung corners of the world for its 53 percent stake in
the listed North African telecoms operator. Qatar Telecom
QTEL.QA, the UAE’s Etisalat ETEL.AD and South Korea’s KT
Corp (030200.KS: Quote, Profile, Research), have all submitted expressions of interest.
And France Telecom (FTE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) is also keeping an eye on the sale.

Dec 14, 2012

India’s Jet a better bet than Kingfisher for Etihad

By Andy Mukherjee and Una Galani

SINGAPORE, Dec 14 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is spoilt for choice in India: It could decide to be a white knight to billionaire Vijay Mallya’s beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines. Or the Gulf carrier could snap up a smaller stake in Jet Airways, which controls a quarter of the domestic Indian market. The latter looks the better bet.

On the face of it Kingfisher, whose market value is about one-fourth of Jet’s $960 million, is the cheaper option. It also offers the tempting prospect that Etihad could gain effective operational control through a 46 percent shareholding. But Kingfisher carries additional risks. Its licence was suspended by India’s aviation regulator in October and its employees haven’t been paid for months. Kingfisher’s stripped-down fleet of 12 aircraft is one-eighth of Jet’s capacity.

Dec 14, 2012

Jet Airways a better bet than Kingfisher for Etihad

By Andy Mukherjee and Una Galani

SINGAPORE (Reuters Breakingviews) – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is spoilt for choice in India: it could decide to be a white knight to billionaire Vijay Mallya’s beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines (KING.NS: Quote, Profile, Research). Or the Gulf carrier could snap up a smaller stake in Jet Airways (JET.NS: Quote, Profile, Research), which controls a quarter of the domestic Indian market. The latter looks the better bet.

On the face of it Kingfisher, whose market value is about one-fourth of Jet’s $960 million, is the cheaper option. It also offers the tempting prospect that Etihad could gain effective operational control through a 46 percent shareholding. But Kingfisher carries additional risks. Its licence was suspended by the aviation regulator in October and its employees haven’t been paid for months. Kingfisher’s stripped-down fleet of 12 aircraft is one-eighth of Jet’s capacity.

Dec 13, 2012
via Breakingviews

Qatar gives SocGen an honourable exit from Egypt

Photo

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Qatar has given Societe Generale an honorable exit from Egypt. State-backed Qatar National Bank will buy the French bank’s 77 percent stake in its Egyptian unit, National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB), through a mandatory tender offer valuing the whole at $2.6 billion. The valuation of 2 times book value is lower than pre-revolution multiples, and SocGen will have to carry some currency risk. But with few-sizeable buyers willing to live with Arab spring volatility, it makes sense for SocGen to shrink while it can.

Dec 6, 2012
via Breakingviews

Barclays bet lives up to rich billing for Qatar

Photo

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own

A massive bet on Barclays is living up to its rich billing for Qatar. The complex 3.4 billion pound investment in the UK bank has earned a 19 percent internal rate of return for the sovereign fund, according to a Breakingviews calculation. That’s pretty good, factoring in the huge risk of propping up a universal bank at the height of the financial crisis. But it will grate for Barclays shareholders who resented the deal in the first place.

Nov 12, 2012

Egypt may struggle to meet Islamic finance target

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The
opinions expressed are her own)

By Una Galani

CAIRO, Nov 8 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Egypt may struggle to
meet its Islamic finance targets. The new Muslim Brotherhood
government aims to boost the sharia-compliant share of total
banking assets from 5 to 35 percent within five years. The
potential is undoubtedly big. Egypt is predominantly Muslim and
only 10 percent of the 80 million people have bank accounts. But
the rise of Islamic finance in Egypt might be slow.

Oct 2, 2012

Qatar’s sovereign funds: A guide for the perplexed

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are her own)

By Una Galani

DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Cash-rich and outward
looking Qatar is a gold mine for advisors. Yet for those hoping
to land work on any of the multi-billion dollar transactions led
by the Gulf state, it’s no longer enough just to put in a call
to its highest-profile sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar
Investment Authority. Today, Qatar’s financial activities are
spread across different but related entities, with blurred
dividing lines.

Aug 2, 2012

Barclays’ Qatari baggage gets even heavier

(The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions
expressed are their own)

By Una Galani and George Hay

DUBAI/LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Barclays’
(BARC.L: Quote, Profile, Research) Qatari baggage is getting heavier. A costly capital
injection by Gulf funds spared the UK bank from a state bailout
in 2008. But if a probe by the UK’s Financial Services Authority
into the disclosure of fees discredits one of the few remaining
members of Barclays’ top executive team, the bank’s decision to
seek salvation in the Middle East will look even more like a
Faustian pact.

    • About Una

      "Una Galani is Asia Corporate Finance Columnist of Reuters Breakingviews, based in Hong Kong. She spent three years in Dubai covering the region’s economies in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring. Previously, Una wrote on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and telecoms across Europe from London. She was commended in the category of Young Financial Journalist at the Harold Wincott Awards for 2009 after joining Breakingviews in 2006. Una read English Literature at Oxford. Follow Una on Twitter @ugalani"
    • Follow Una