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September 2005

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  • Central and eastern Europe's leading institutions have been quick to praise UniCredit's acquisition of HVB, which creates the region's biggest bank. But, they warn, it had better stay on its toes, as rivals will look to profit from any loss of focus that the alliance brings.
  • Iranian shipping company NITC is a rarity: it's one of the few non-oil and gas companies in the Islamic Republic seeking funds in the international markets.
  • The woman who has run the central bank since 2000 has overseen reform of the exchange rate, the capital markets and the banking industry. With her encouragement the country has also become a hub for Islamic finance.
  • %3CBODY%3E%3Cul%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3Cli%3E%0D%0A%09%09%09%3Cstrong%3EChina%20pushes%20into%20North%20America%20%u2013%20again%3C/strong%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3C/li%3E%0D%0A%09%3C/ul%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20Not%20to%20be%20put%20off%20by%20Chinese%20oil%20major%20CNOOC%27s%20failure%20to%20seize%20control%20of%20US%20oil%20company%20Unocal%2C%20China%20National%20Petroleum%20Corporation%2C%20China%27s%20biggest%20state-owned%20oil%20company%2C%20paid%20%244.18%20billion%20to%20acquire%20Canadian%20oil%20company%20PetroKazakhstan%2C%20a%2020%25%20premium%20to%20where%20the%20stock%20was%20trading.%20The%20company%27s%20shares%20are%20traded%20in%20New%20York%20and%20its%20oil%20fields%20are%20in%20the%20north%20of%20Kazakhstan.%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20The%20deal%20has%20to%20be%20approved%20by%20the%20Kazakh%20government%2C%20and%20could%20be%20scuppered%20by%20a%20counter-bid.%20However%2C%20if%20it%20is%20successfully%20completed%2C%20it%20will%20be%20the%20largest%20overseas%20acquisition%20to%20date%20by%20a%20Chinese%20company.%20CNOOC%20withdrew%20its%20%2418.5%20billion%20offer%20for%20Unocal%20at%20the%20beginning%20of%20August%20after%20strong%20opposition%20from%20the%20US%20government.%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20%A0%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cul%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3Cli%3E%0D%0A%09%09%09%3Cstrong%3ETakeover%20Panel%27s%20new%20director%3C/strong%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3C/li%3E%0D%0A%09%3C/ul%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20Mark%20Warham%2C%20head%20of%20UK%20mergers%20and%20acquisitions%20at%20Morgan%20Stanley%2C%20has%20been%20chosen%20to%20be%20the%20next%20director%20of%20the%20Takeover%20Panel%2C%20the%20body%20that%20regulates%20M%26A%20activity%20in%20the%20UK.%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20He%20will%20take%20a%20two-year%20secondment%20from%20Morgan%20Stanley%20to%20take%20up%20the%20new%20role%20at%20the%20end%20of%20November.%20He%20is%20the%20first%20Morgan%20Stanley%20banker%20to%20hold%20the%20post%2C%20replacing%20Richard%20Murley%20of%20Goldman%20Sachs.%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20%A0%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cul%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3Cli%3E%0D%0A%09%09%09%3Cstrong%3EGMAC%20sells%2060%25%20of%20its%20mortgages%3C/strong%3E%0D%0A%09%09%3C/li%3E%0D%0A%09%3C/ul%3E%0D%0A%09%3Cp%3E%0D%0A%20%20GMAC%2C%20the%20finance%20subsidiary%20of%20General%20Motors%2C%20has%20announced%20that%20it%20will%20sell%2060%25%20of%20its%20commercial%20mortgage%20business%2C%20GMAC%20Commercial%20Holding%20Corporation%2C%20to%20private-equity%20groups%20KKR%2C%20Five%20Mile%20Capital%20Partners%20and%20Goldman%20Sachs%20Capital%20Partners.%20GMACCH%20wants%20an%20independent%20credit%20rating%2C%20superior%20to%20that%20of%20its%20parent%2C%20to%20give%20it%20access%20to%20cheaper%20funding.%0D%0A%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3C/BODY%3E%0D%0A
  • Six-month paper will help investors diversify Shariah-compliant portfolios
  • As a new president takes office in Iran and deadlock hits talks with the European Union over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, investors are pondering whether they should enter an economy that might soon be subject to sanctions.
  • From quiet beginnings as one of the world's smallest states, Qatar has emerged as a regional player as a result of shrewd investment in natural gas and sound economic management. Although oil and gas revenues still account for about 60% of GDP, the non-oil sector grew by 10.8% last year, and the financial sector is performing particularly strongly.
  • Sabic's upcoming $267 million Shariah-compliant domestic bond should set the pattern for issuance in a Saudi market that has seen little corporate paper up to now.
  • As tensions mount between Iran and the west over the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions, Tehran seems to be adopting an Ostpolitik, looking to China and India for political and energy ties. Opec's second-largest oil producer, which also has the world's second-biggest gas reserves, is wooing Asia's fast-growing and energy-hungry economies.
  • "A bratwürst made from tofu? This I am not prepared to discuss!"
  • Mifid promises to shake up EU financial markets in a way that will make Big Bang look like a gentle nudge. To have any hope of meeting the implementation deadline of April 2007 investment banks might need to set aside as much as $12 million each in their 2006 budgets. Peter Koh examines the fallout
  • Movers and shakers
  • New Dealogic data reveals the must-have private-equity clients – the ones that spend the most on investment banking fees
  • With valuation problems worsening, one US bank CFO thinks the major UK banks are becoming more appealing
  • Platform adds five currency pairs to boost its regional offering
  • China's currency revaluation is more evolution than revolution but will have a number of knock-on effects
  • Banks and listed property companies are finding ways to respond to interest in international investments
  • There's a lot of money to be made from the beautiful game. Deloitte's football money league shows that the top 20 football clubs in the world are set to break the £2 billion ($3.6 billion) income mark in 2005, for example. Germany's GNP is set to grow by €8 billion as a result of hosting the 2006 World Cup, and about 500 advertisers are set to spend €7 billion to enhance the branding of their products. According to VAT reclaims company Lowendal UK, an estimated €15 million will be spent on sponsorship events during the World Cup.
  • Equity managers in Europe, Japan and Asia might benefit from swapping stocks for convertibles
  • UK retail investors to get easy access to IPOs again
  • Fund management AXA Investment Managers has acquired Framlington Group from HSBC and Comerica for £174 million. The deal adds about £4 billion to AXA's £52 billion ($93.5 billion) in UK assets under management, and puts an end to rumours that AXA IM was considering scaling down its UK business.
  • Banks offering real estate investment trusts
  • S&P lists the top 100 companies in the PRC, the 10 largest accounting for 56% of total revenues
  • The latest target of the hedge fund activist is Time Warner
  • The Chicago exchange aims to make currency option trading easier, bridging the gap between the cash and exchange markets
  • A new family of volatility indices that will track the Dax, Stoxx, and SMI equity indices will launch this September.
  • A recent survey by US law firm White and Case throws light on the overseas ambitions of China's larger companies. According to 80 Chinese business leaders, Asia is the most popular destination for overseas expansion, with more than 75% of companies looking there. That compares with 50% of Chinese companies looking at the US and 44% in Europe. Other regions of interest include eastern Europe. Latin America and Africa
  • Russia's domestic wealth management industry has a long way to go
  • Persistent rumours are circulating in China that mainland authorities are likely to auction off a controlling interest in state-owned Guangdong Development Bank. Although unconfirmed, if the rumours prove accurate the GDB sale could presage the start of the true privatization of China's banking sector.
  • Shorting scoop picked up