x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Aldar support framework will set the tone for markets

Analysts expect details of the Abu Dhabi Government's support for Aldar Properties will be the main market mover for the week.

The ownership of Ferrari World was transferred from Aldar to the Abu Dhabi Government under the new framework.
The ownership of Ferrari World was transferred from Aldar to the Abu Dhabi Government under the new framework.

Details of the Abu Dhabi Government's support for Aldar Properties will be the overriding market mover this week, analysts say.

A funding framework was revealed on Thursday comprising the sale of Dh10.9 billion (US$2.96bn) of infrastructure assets on Yas Island, Dh5.5bn of residential units and land, and a Dh2.8bn convertible bond.

Ahmed Ali al Sayegh, the chairman of Aldar, said the financial framework would "strengthen our capital structure and provide us with a stable and sustainable platform from which we can continue to capture commercial opportunities to deliver value to shareholders".

Credit Suisse said the financing plan was better than expected and would act as a short-term catalyst for the stock. Before the announcement, investors were worried about how much financing would be provided by a convertible bond to Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, but it turned out to be smaller than expected, the bank said.

Alembic HC Securities and Nomura Securities both said the support would allow the market to focus on the fundamentals of the company.

Majed Azzam of Alembic HC Securities said: "Aldar emerges as a leaner company with an improved capital structure, allowing the market to focus on fundamentals, in our view."

In the UAE, Arabtec will also remain a point of focus for the country's exchanges.

Arabtec dropped 7.4 per cent in Dubai after announcing its intention to raise capital through a convertible bond.

"The markets in the UAE are awaiting for positive catalysts from fourth-quarter results," said Haissam Arabi, the chief executive of Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai. "If they would come out next week, that would be great, but they usually only begin on the last week of January."

Qatari banks will start releasing fourth-quarter earnings this week, but the bar has been set high, with investors expecting sterling results.

Khaled al Masri, head of Rasmala Brokerage in Dubai, said: "Higher oil prices, the World Cup after-effect, and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund supporting the banking sector is all good news."

The QE Index is the best performing regional measure this year, up 6 per cent, followed by Oman and Jordan.

"The markets have had a very good run in the past six weeks," Mr Masri said.

From the financial services sector, Al Ahli Bank, Doha Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, and Dlala Brokerage and Investment Holding are expected to release their earnings results this week, according to analyst reports. United Development Company, an investor in property and energy, is also expected to report.

Last week, Qatar National Bank reported a 36 per cent increase in net profit to 5.7bn rials for the full year, beating analyst estimates.

But those numbers only raised investors' expectations of other lenders, so the question this week will be whether the results will be strong enough to match elevated expectations.

In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi and Dubai indexes are expected to remain laggards next week, with low volumes and limited catalysts.

Higher oil prices will remain in focus to dictate the performance of regional markets. Oil continues to move in tandem with the equities market. Brent traded towards US$100 a barrel towards the end of the week and West Texas Intermediate closed at $91.54 a barrel on Friday.

Gulf equity markets should continue to rise, aided by higher oil prices, Mr Arabi said. "There is a very good chance that West Texas oil will trade above $92 if the euro improves next week, so the outlook is positive."

"We're hearing positive news coming out of Europe last week with the Japanese and Chinese saying they will support Europe," Mr Arabi said. "The correlation remains between the euro and equity markets, and that applies to global and regional."