Has Israel's antitrust watchdog blocked Mideast peace?

Category: Economy & Finance
Published: Friday, 16 January 2015
Written by Admin
Has Israels antitrust watchdog blocked Mideast peace? - Economy Finance Israel News | Haaretz

Revealed: World's most valuable nation brands

Category: Economy & Finance
Published: Thursday, 15 January 2015
Written by Admin

Brand USA has come on top as the worlds most valuable nation brand with a $19.3 trillion brand value, according to Brand Finance, a brand valuation and strategy consultancy.

According to the report, the US is more than three times that of second placed China, whose brand value comes in at $6.4 trillion.

Germanys score of 76 (75.84 to be precise) means it has just pulled ahead of neighbour Switzerland, to become the worlds strongest brand.

Despite fairly flat growth of late, Germany remains Europes powerhouse with an almost unrivalled reputation for quality manufacturing and efficiency.

Unemployment is falling and the countrys World Cup win has, to a limited extent at least, generated a positive lsquo;halo effect. In terms of overall nation brand value, Germany sits in third with a brand value of $4.4 trillion.

The UK has enjoyed another surge in nation brand value as economic growth outstrips most other European states and as the Great Britain nation brand campaign continues to pay dividends.

Japan is Brand Finances fifth most valuable nation brand, followed by Canada (6th), France (7th), India (8th), Australia (9th) and Brazil (10th).

Qatar is this years fastest growing nation brand. Home grown brands such as Ooreedoo are flourishing internationally, laying the foundations for success beyond the era of liquefied natural gas. Total nation brand value is up 39 per cent, making Qatar this years fastest mover.

Russia has lost its status as an lsquo;A rated nation brand, a new BSI score of 49 gives it a BBB rating. Overall national brand value is also down, from $1.26 trillion to $1.17 trillion, which sees Russia fall behind Italy and into 12th place.

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh comments, The states of the 21st century are participants in a global marketplace, with intense competition for tourists, students, the best workers and investment. The results of this years Brand Finance Nation Brands report show the advantages that a strong nation brand can confer; the effect of a countrys image on the brands based there and the economy as a whole makes a nation brand the most important asset of any state.

GDP data forms a significant part of the calculation of nation brand value, another reason the US, with its huge economy, dominates. However the final figures are calculated by combining the GDP data with more qualitative information drawn from four lsquo;pillars; Goods amp; Services, Tourism, Talent and Investment. The scores for each are combined to create a score out of 100 (and a matching letter grade on a scale from AAA+ to D similar to a credit rating) that represents nation brand strength.

Saudi National Commercial Bank to raise $6 bn in IPO

Category: Economy & Finance
Published: Sunday, 12 October 2014
Written by Admin

Saudi Arabias National Commercial plans to raise 22.5 billion riyals ($6 billion) in a flotation this month, it said in a statement, the biggest ever share sale in the Middle East.

The sale by the kingdoms biggest lender by assets will see 300 million shares offered to Saudi individual investors and 200 million shares to the state-run Public Pension Agency at a price of 45 riyals per share, the bourse filing said.

Subscription for the initial public offering, the first by a bank in the kingdom since 2008, will be open between October 19 and November 2.

It comes at an historic moment as the Saudi market will be opened next year and this IPO signifies the size and depth of the Saudi market will be positively encouraged, said John Sfakianakis, regional director for the Gulf at fund manager Ashmore Group.

This is significant for the banking sector, the economy and the country and will benefit local and international investors.

Currently majority-owned by the state Public Investment Fund, NCB is the only unlisted lender among Saudi Arabias 12 banks. It held assets worth about $101 billion at the end of 2013 and made net profits of $2.1 billion last year.

At the offer price, NCB to be the third largest stock on the Saudi exchange, and the second-biggest bank, by market value. Al Rajhi is the current largest listed bank, with a market capitalisation of $30.8 billion.

However, the 45 riyals per share value is considered cheap by analysts, who note that shares in state-run companies are often sold to the public at reduced rates as a way of spreading the kingdoms vast oil wealth.

It will be two times the book value, said Chiradeep Ghosh, senior analyst at Securities amp; Investment Company in Bahrain. It is quite cheap compared to other Saudi Arabian banks. Theyre issuing at a discount to appeal to the retail investor base.

The launch has been eagerly anticipated by investors since Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf announced plans in February to float NCB.

It also takes on added significance because of its timing, ahead of plans by the Capital Market Authority to open the Tadawul to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of next year. Banks are expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the move as higher brokerage volumes lifts fees and earnings.

Despite being more liquid and diverse than markets in neighbouring Gulf states such as Dubai, foreign investors can only buy stocks using swaps or exchange traded funds.

Foreign investors will be able to buy NCBs shares once the IPO is completed.

MSCI said in July it will consult with investors about adding Saudi Arabia to one of its indexes after reviewing changes to foreign ownership rules.

Analysts say the only uncertainty is whether the 15 percent size of NCBs free-float would be large enough to warrant inclusion on the MSCI index.

Israeli satisfied with economy, but wary of what future holds

Category: Economy & Finance
Published: Saturday, 11 October 2014
Written by Admin
Israeli satisfied with economy, but wary of what future holds - Economy Finance Israel News | Haaretz