This blog brings the latest business, finance and economical news updates and comments.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

EON Cap, Kuwait Finance in RHB bidding war

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's EON Capital yesterday launched a takeover for Malaysia's Rashid Hussain, pitting it against Kuwait Finance House (KFH) for the control of the nation's fourth-largest lender. Malaysia's Utama Banking Group agreed earlier yesterday to sell a key asset to a group led by KFH, a deal heralding a $3.4bn plan to create the world's top Islamic bank. The consortium, led by Kuwait's state-backed number-one Islamic banking group KFH, is to buy Utama's 32% stake in Rashid Hussain, parent of Malaysia's fourth-largest lender RHB Capital, for 2.16bn ringgit ($618.5mn). But late yesterday, EON Capital, Malaysia's seventh-largest lender, joined in the fray, making an offer for the securities of Rashid Hussain and RHB Capital. It offered 1.80 ringgit for each Rashid Hussain share and offered 8.75bn ringgit or 4.80 ringgit a share for the assets of RHB Capital.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kuwait Finance House in $3.42 billion bid for RHB

KUALA LUMPUR –– Islamic banking group Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will lead a 12 billion ringgit (3.43 billion dollars) bid for a Malaysian bank in a bid to create the world's largest Islamic bank. KFH said the consortium had made a “very attractive offer" to buy the Utama Banking Group's entire stake in Rashid Hussein Berhad (RHB), Malaysia's fourth largest lender. The Utama Banking Group (UBG) is the single largest shareholder in debt-ridden RHB, holding a 33 percent stake. “The consortium could invest in excess of 12 billion ringgit for this project. This will be one of the largest, single (foreign direct investment) into Malaysia," KFH said in a statement late Monday. Despite being the majority shareholder if the deal came through, KFH insisted “RHB will not be foreign controlled but will operate as an Islamic brotherhood partnership." It said the consortium—about which no details have been released—aimed to “create the world's largest, most innovative, and respectable Islamic bank with extensive networks across the world based out of Malaysia." Under its offer, the consortium said it was prepared to eliminate all debts at RHB if it received shareholder support.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Finance Committee OKs budget cuts for seniors, veterans

NATICK - The Finance Committee last night voted to recommend cuts for senior citizen and veteran services, though committee members said they hope to find extra money somewhere to restore some of the money. Services facing reductions include taxi vouchers and wellness programs for seniors, and food, clothing, fuel and transportation assistance for veterans. The committee voted to recommend the cuts at this point, though several members were unhappy with what they were doing. "The elderly and our veterans - you don't do it, sorry," committee member Peter Robbins said of the cuts. The committee held its second meeting to review the town's proposed $109.3 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The spending plan calls for cutbacks in several department budgets, though officials involved with many those budgets say their budgets are already underfunded.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finance Committee starts looking at budget picture

NATICK - With big budget questions looming, taxpayers may soon get to decide what kind of town they want, and how much they want to pay for it, the town's finance officials said last night. The Finance Committee held the first of several meetings to review the proposed fiscal 2008 budget for the period beginning July 1. Town Administrator Phil Lemnios said the town's residents face a choice. "People have come to expect a certain level of services in Natick," Lemnios said. He said this may be the year when residents have to start weighing their desire for services against their ability or willingness to pay. "There is a ramification to be felt as a result of that choice." Lemnios' proposed $109.3 million plan allows for increased spending in some areas and reflects rising salary, insurance and other costs.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Minister of Finance Discusses with DG of OPEC Progress of work in ...

Minister of Finance and National Economy Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan has discussed with the Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development, Dr. Suleiman Jasir, progress of the work in the projects financed by the fund in Sudan and new proposals for the coming programme. The minister explained that the medium-term programme has set the development priorities in Sudan including boosting the infrastructure in a view to upgrading the production base, lauding the role of the fund in effecting sustainable development. The minister called for financing the private sector to realize the aspired economic leap, indicating that Sudan is endeavoring to produce additional two million tons of sugar to utilize the comparative advantage of the country in this field. The minister also called on the fund to finance development projects in southern Sudan and Darfur.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

IFSB Islamic Finance Seminar in Tokyo opens new opportunities for ...

Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor Central Bank of Malaysia, and Chairperson of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), this afternoon, addressed a gathering of over 200 financial industry practitioners and stakeholders at the Seminar on Islamic Finance: Challenges and Opportunities for Japan. [ClickPress, Tue Jan 23 2007] Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor Central Bank of Malaysia, and Chairperson of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), and Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Secretary-General of the IFSB addressed on Monday a gathering of over 200 financial industry practitioners and stakeholders at the Seminar on Islamic Finance: Challenges and Opportunities for Japan this afternoon, held at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Headquarters in Tokyo.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Optimistic message from Finance Minister

THE CYPRIOT economy is doing well and growing significantly above the EU average, at a rate of four per cent. That was the verdict of Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, speaking at a dinner hosted by the Cyprus-American Business Association, which focused on the island as a business destination. Unemployment in 2006 dropped from five to four per cent and we also witnessed growth in economic migration, the Minister said. Jobs were created in all sectors and the budget deficit stood at 1.5 per cent, which is better than expected due to growth in fiscal revenues. He added that investment and exports were high while expenditure did not follow revenues, which is a temptation we have avoided. Sarris also spoke of a very successful partnership between the private and public sectors and a commitment to providing a friendly business environment.

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