Thursday, November 4, 2010

Awal Bank Chapter 11 Filing Update - Request for Extension of Time to Provide Information

Here's an update from Bell Pottinger Middle East on the case.  BPME is the PR company used by Charles Russell for the Awal Bank engagement.

Awal Bank files request for extension of time

Bahrain, 4 November 2010: Charles Russell LLP, acting as External Administrator and Foreign Representative (the “Foreign Representative”) of and for Awal Bank BSC (“Awal Bank”) has filed a request for an extension to the deadline to file schedules of assets and liabilities and statement of financial affairs (the “Schedules”) in the Chapter 11 Case commenced on 21 October 2010.

The request follows the first day hearing that took place on 26 October 2010 at which the Foreign Representative sought an order to establish a workable protocol to administer the Chapter 11 Case in cooperation and coordination with the Bahraini administration. After hearing from both the Office of the United States Trustee and counsel for the Foreign Representative, the Bankruptcy Court directed that the Motion be further considered at a later date in order to allow more time to assess the information provided and after giving opportunity for creditors to make representations regarding the relief requested in the Motion.

The Foreign Representative has determined that additional time is required to assess, among other things, creditor views in relation to the Chapter 11 Case. Upon this assessment being undertaken, the Foreign Representative will determine whether to further pursue the Chapter 11 Case. The Office of the United States Trustee has indicated it has no objection to the Foreign Representative’s request for additional time to file the Schedules.

In October 2009 the Foreign Representative obtained “foreign main proceeding” recognition from the Bankruptcy Court under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for Awal Bank’s administration proceedings in Bahrain.

The Bahraini administration governed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law (“CBBFIL”), continues to be recognised as the foreign main proceeding under Chapter 15. The U.S. based legal activities form part of a multinational litigation process, with court proceedings also currently underway in Bahrain, the Cayman Islands, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Please contact David J. Molton, Esq. from Brown Rudnick LLP, counsel to the Foreign Representative, at 00 1 212 2094822 with any inquiries.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gulf Finance House - Draft Terms on New Sukuk = 23% Annual Return

 Choose Your Door Carefully.  Some Deals are Better than Others.

As you recall, GFH announced with great fanfare its plan to raise up to US$500 million in new capital.  If you don't, here's an earlier post.

I've just gotten a copy of the draft term sheet for the Sukuk from a reliable source.

First, a recitation of the terms:
  1. Type - Convertible Murabaha Facility
  2. Status - Senior Unsecured Debt
  3. Maturity - 3.5 years
  4. Profit Payment (aka Interest Rate) - Indicative 12% per annum!
  5. Conversion Price - US$0.31 per share
  6. Incentive Structure - If conversion election made before 31 December 2010, last 2.5 years Profit Payment in shares at US$0.31 conversion price.
Before the commentary, two very important caveats:
  1. GFH's shareholders have not approved the issuance.  GFH's first OGM and EGM failed for lack of a quorum.  
  2. The terms sheet is marked "indicative" meaning it's not binding, but rather serves as a basis for discussion/negotiation with potential investors. 
  3. Nonetheless, these terms provide a window into what GFH's board and management believe will be necessary to secure investor interest.  In that regard, I'd note that the accompanying investor presentation (a future post will comment on that) states:  "Some commitments already received from Chairman, strategic investors, and related parties".  So you can be pretty sure that GFH has drawn on these disinterested parties to set market-based terms.
Now to the commentary.
  1. Assuming a take and hold investor who does not elect conversion until after 31 December 2010, the promised return (IRR basis) is roughly 23% per annum. 
  2. 12% of that return composed of cash (the "interest payments").   It's hard to see GFH earning sufficient returns to have much left for shareholders after the interest payment is made.
  3. 11% of that from the discount on the shares (assuming the shareholders approve the 1:4  reverse split and GFH trades at 4 times its current US$0.125 per share.  A rather substantial dilution of existing shareholders.
  4. The total promised return reflects the weak financial condition of the company when it has to offer essentially private equity like returns for its debt.  Of course, the actual return will depend on GFH's performance which may indicate a market judgment on the probability of such performance.
  5. It also establishes what might be considered an "unfortunate" benchmark for GFH's debt issues. Particularly, when one considers this is apparently an early offer to potential investors.  And as we all know the first price in the suq is not the last.

Gulf Finance House to Ask Sukuk Holders for Three Year Extension

Reuters is quoting an unnamed GFH spokesman that the Bank intends to ask the holders of its US$200 million Sukuk issue (US$137 million outstanding) to roll the Sukuk on its original terms for three years.  That is, to extend the maturity from 2012 to 2015.

I'm not sure if "chuzpah" is an Islamic banking term, but it would sure seem to apply here.  The Sukuk is currently trading at around just a whisker over 50% of face value.

I'd also note that earlier this week GFH formally stated that it had not issued the information the Gulf Daily News report that it intended to either (a) sell assets to  US$90 million in debt next year or (b)  reschedule debt.   If you recall the original GDN article, there was a third alternative mentioned - which was extinguishing debt via asset transfers.  Interestingly enough, what is mentioned in the GDN article is precisely what I see  on page 13 in the copy of GFH's October 2010 "Return to Growth" Presentation to investors which I recently obtained. 

It is, I suppose, indeed sad that someone is issuing presentations using GFH's highly respected name in such a fashion.

As to pricing for GFH debt, please see my soon to be issued companion post on the draft terms for GFH's proposed new Sukuk.

National Bank of Kuwait – Related Parties’ Loans Analysis


One of our regulator and insightful commenters, Advocatus, said that there were rumors in the market that NBK was experiencing problems with its exposure to M Al Khorafi and had to extend the loans more than once to keep them from becoming classified as non performing.

An intriguing comment.


Abu Shukri is known as a careful banker, but even Homer nodded from time to time. And sometimes it is very hard to say "no" to a very well connected shareholder. As they say: "Past performance is not a guarantee of future results."


Without access to NBK's internal records, it's not possible to say one way or another. Let's look and see if we can find any signs of difficulties in NBK's financials.


Related Party Information


The first assumption is that loans to MAK or other AlKhorafi entities would be reported in the Related Parties Section. The data below is taken from the Related Party Notes in the Bank's Quarterly financials and is expressed in millions of KD.


QuarterRP LoansCollateral% Cover
1Q07215.1519.7242%
2Q07262.2608.4232%
3Q07294.9634.3215%
4Q07307.3672.6219%
1Q08285.5728.2255%
2Q08295.2742.0251%
3Q08316.6719.1227%
4Q08350.6494.4141%
1Q09278.8451.5162%
2Q09310.4544.9176%
3Q09189.7363.8192%
4Q09219.3343.8157%
1Q10210.7380.2180%
2Q10186.5350.7188%
3Q10183.7413.1225%

  1. Collateral coverage is reasonably comfortable, except for 4Q08. If there was a problem with Related Party loans, it's likely this is when it occurred. Two factors accounted for this change: a very dramatic decline in collateral and an increase in outstandings. 
  2. The significant drop in collateral coverage in 4Q08 coincides with the dramatic decline in market values following the collapse of Lehman. This suggests that the collateral is composed of equities and other marketable securities. 
  3. One would also expect that this would be a time of liquidity and cashflow stress leading borrowers to draw down additional amounts to cover their needs. 
  4. However, there is remediation on the principal side in 1Q09 with a KD71.8 reduction (twice the increase in 4Q08). That's quite remarkable because this was not exactly a "boom" time for Kuwait or the world in general. 
  5. Further declines in 2010 appear to indicate that there is no problem with RP loans. By 1Q10 these were below their 1Q07 level. Collateral coverage remains comfortable and the absolute of loans outstanding is below those in 1Q07. 
  6. I'd guess that Zain shares make up a good portion of the collateral for MAK exposure. But that is just a guess. If so, the Itisalat acquisition should lead to a further dramatic reduction in RP loans.
Renegotiated Loans

Another place to look is for the IFRS #7 Note on renegotiated loans. 
  1. Note 28.1.4 to NBK's 2009 financials state that only KD8.4 million of loans were renegotiated in that fiscal year and nil the year before. I didn't seem similar disclosure in the 2007 financials.
  2. If NBK were having problems with MAK exposure, one might expect to see larger "renegotiated" amounts, though it is possible in this sort of situation for a bank to extend a new loan to repay another short term loan and treat it as a new loan. One would expect that interest would have to be paid in full for the auditors to sign off. I'd note that one's expectations are not always fulfilled.
Conclusion

The financials don't disclose any problems, though as mentioned above this analysis is based on an external diagnosis without benefit of x-rays (details of NBK's exposure to the AlKhorafi Group).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

International Investment Group - KPMG Report to be Released

IIG announced in several venues today that its new board had approved the release of the KPMG report to certificateholders of its Sukuk.

"Unfortunately", AA missed this "wonderful" investment opportunity.  What was I thinking?  And, so, I won't be getting a copy.

Anyone who has a spare copy that they don't mind sharing please contact me via this blog's Contact Page.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Awal Bank Chapter 11 Filing - Statement on Behalf of Charles Russell

In response to my request I received the following from Alisdair Haythornthwaite at Bell Pottinger Middle East (UAE).   BPME is a division of Chime Communications, a leading UK public relations firm (among other things).

Awal Bank BSC Chapter 11 Case Update

U.S. Court Delays Consideration of Awal Bank’s Proposed Chapter 11 Protocol

Bahrain, October 27, 2010:  Charles Russell LLP, acting as External Administrator and Foreign Representative (the “Foreign Representative”) of and for Awal Bank BSC (“Awal Bank”) attended a “first day” hearing on October 26, 2010.

At the hearing, the Bankruptcy Court considered the Foreign Representative’s Motion for Entry of an Order Establishing Protocol for Chapter 11 (the “Motion”).  After hearing from both the Office of the United States Trustee and counsel for the Foreign Representative, the Bankruptcy Court directed that the Motion be further considered at a later date after giving opportunity for creditors to make representations regarding the relief requested in the Motion.

The U.S. based legal activities form part of a multinational litigation process, with court proceedings also currently underway in Bahrain, the Cayman Islands, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It is therefore necessary that any Protocol established in the U.S. works alongside the work being undertaken in Bahrain. In this regard the Foreign Representative is considering whether to further pursue the relief requested in the Motion.

In October 2009 the Foreign Representative obtained “foreign main proceeding” recognition from the Bankruptcy Court under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for Awal Bank’s administration proceedings in Bahrain. The Bahraini administration governed by the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law (“CBBFIL”), continues to be recognised as the foreign main proceeding under Chapter 15.
I'll keep monitoring the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York for electronic filings on the case to see if there is anything on the Court's reasoning for its decision. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Damas - New AED 614 Million Agreement with Abdullah Brothers


Damas announced on Nasdaq Dubai that it had revised its agreement with the Abdullah Brothers regarding the amounts they owe to Damas.

One key item is the fixing of the price of the 1,840,250 grams of gold the Brothers stole from the Company at AED 256 million.

Presumably, this has been set so that Damas is not disadvantaged.

Setting the amount owed is a key step.  Collecting it may prove a bit more difficult.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Awal Bank Chapter 11 Filing

There's a report in AlQabas Thursday edition that Judge Groper denied Awal Bank's Chapter 11 petition.  At this point, there is nothing posted on the NY Southern District Bankruptcy Court website.  The last document there is the notice of 26 October for the hearing to be held today (27 October).

Gulf Finance House 3Q10 Financials: A Train Wreck


Studio Lévy & fils  1895
When You Turn the Corner Make Sure the Track Goes There

Get out your magnifying glasses and join me in reading the full 3Q10 financials that GFH submitted to the Dubai Financial Market Wednesday morning. Since I've got my soapbox out for a later tirade, I might as well take this opportunity to suggest to the  DFM that they invest a few dirhams in upgrading their electronic imaging system for faxes they receive. There really is no good reason in this day and age that the output cannot by A4 size.

Looking at the financials we see from Note 12, that GFH's US$115 million loss was primarily caused by provisions. Some US$101 million of them. But not provisions for investments. Rather US$60.5 million for an investment banking service receivable. And US$36 million from the sale of investments. I guess if one sells assets of "volatile" quality, one might expect some "volatility" in the receivables from the sales.


That being said, GFH has continued to maintain in its Other Assets the US$134 million "magical asset provision" and US$161.8 million in "Financing to Projects".


Another unfortunate trend is operating income which is running US$60.7 million negative for the first nine months of 2010 as compared to US$36.7 million for the comparable period the previous year. This is due to a collapse in revenues. On the cost side GFH has actually done quite nicely in bringing costs down.  But, if one can't pay the light bills from operations, it's hard to see a bright future.


As a result of the net loss, GFH's CAR has slipped below the 12% minimum set by the CBB. In the financials, KPMG coyly states in Note 2: 

"Further, the capital adequacy ratio of the Group as at 30 September 2010 was below the minimum required by the regulatory ratio …"
No quantification is given. We don't know if GFH just missed the ratio and has a CAR of 11.99%. Or, if it's CAR is 1.9%. You might think that the auditors would consider it important to quantify this shortfall. It certainly is a bit of "material" information that stakeholders would like to know. And more importantly should know.

If like me that's what you think, you're disappointed by KPMG's apparent lack of action on this point. They were silent on this topic. And they did not force GFH to disclose this information in a note to the financials. It's unclear if this is due to desire not to embarrass its client. Or slavish adherence to some accountant's taqlid as to the wording used for "emphasis of matter".

Note to Central Bank of Bahrain: It might be a good idea to specify in Module PD that when the CAR regulatory threshold is breached, the Licensee state the resulting ratio with details of the calculation. And if anyone from the CBB is reading this, I'd reiterate my earlier suggestion that Module PD be amended to require that Licensees report on the BSE the more detailed of (a) what Module PD requires and (b) what they are required to report on other exchanges. There is no reason that Bahraini investors should get second rate incomplete information which is available to investors in Dubai or elsewhere.

We don't have all the information required to calculate GFH's CAR at 30 September 2010. But we can make some estimates which should give a pretty good directional sense of the CAR.

The Table below summarizes these:

30-Jun-10Case ACase B
Regulatory CapitalUS$   363,220US$   248,220US$   114,229
Total RWAUS$2,811,417US$2,683,417US$2,549,417
CAR      12.92%       9.25%      4.48%

Notes & Assumptions:

  1. 30 June 2010 CAR is as per GFH's Basel II Pillar 3 Disclosure. 
  2. The key assumption is that there is no real significant change in Regulatory Capital or Total Risk Weighted Assets (Credit, Market and Operational Risk) except for the adjustments specified in the two "cases". These adjustments are made from the 30 June figures reflected above. This is a simplifying assumption so the ratios derived will not be exact but should be "close enough" to get a good sense. 
  3. Case A: US$115,000 (the 3Q10 loss) is deducted from Regulatory Capital and US$128,000 is deducted from Total RWA at 100%. 
  4. Case B: US$134,000 (the "magical asset" provision) is deducted from both Regulatory Capital and Total RWA. And again at 100%.
And if you have any doubt about the realisable value of any of GFH's other assets, like those Project Financings which may very well be to the same firms whose financial condition caused their bankers to pull the GFH guarantee, it's not too much of a stretch before the CAR is negative.

The results are to say the least not encouraging. It's hard to see how even the "Prettiest" words could convince even the "wisest" of investors to put equity into this firm.

The Gulf Daily News is reporting that they've seen a GFH "Investor Presentation" in which GFH states it intends to sell assets to raise cash to pay back some US$90 million in debt maturing next year or restructure that debt. In further discussions with GFH, the GDN was told that other options being considered were an IPO of some of its mega projects (North Africa and India) or perhaps giving creditors land, shares or other of GFH's highly valuable assets. There is a danger with the latter for creditors. As the choice assets are stripped from GFH's balance sheet, remaining creditors are left with lesser ones to settle their debts. The only option not mentioned here was putting a brick from one of these projects under EJ's pillow in the hopes that the Real Estate Jinn would put US$500 million under his pillow.

It's hard to imagine a "wise" creditor putting funds into GFH. 


And it takes a bit of "optimism" to see a real future for GFH. 

You can find more posts on GFH by using the Label "Gulf Finance House".

Gulf Finance House 3Q10 Financials: GFH Continues to "Turn Corner". But Unfortunately Into Oncoming Car

Not sure how GFH will spin this, but they've announced a loss of US$115.1 million for the 3Q10 making the loss for the first nine months of the year US$162.8 million.   And, no, the optimistic US$134 million of reimbursement rights remains on the balance sheet.  So this loss is due to other problems,.  The reimbursement problem has yet to be acknowledged - which means of course that GFH is in a "world of trouble".

As a result, Shareholders' Equity is at US$303 million, well below the US$400 million TNW covenant.  As well as breaching the Central Bank of Bahrain minimum  CAR requirement.

More later when I have time.

Footnote for the Central Bank of Bahrain.
As usual, GFH has released the absolute minimum on the BSE, while releasing its entire 3Q financial on the DFM.   It's unclear why Bahraini investors should be disadvantaged.  Perhaps time to revise the regulation to require that if a firm is required to disclose more on another exchange, then it disclose the same on the BSE.

I will make no comment about the ethics of a firm that engages in such selective disclosure, particularly one that claims to follow the teachings of a noble religion.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Cut from Kawalis (Al Qabas)


Another gem from Kawalis.

- سئل مدير استقال من شركة استثمارية غير مدرجة عن ملايين دنانير طارت خلال عهده، فأجاب بأنها رشاوى دفعت لجهات حكومية!
That's funny I'm sure all my Gulf friends and those from the Levant and parts further West told me that Rashwa was a singer.  Sort of like Nancy but more modestly dressed and without all her provactive gyrations.  And so suitable for performances even for the self-proclaimed religious. "Discreet yet beautiful" was how one described her.  I'm guessing Rashawi is the name of her new band.  Perhaps like the Spice Girls. But definitely more modestly dressed as I said above.

Translation:  "A manager who resigned from an unlisted investment company was asked about the millions of dinars which "flew away" during his tenure.  He responded that they were bribes (rashawi plural of rashwa) paid to government departments."  

Pretty clear to me that this isn't an item about Kuwait.

3-0


Getting generous in he gets older?

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Addition to List of Interesting Blogs - Dubai Nights

Another addition to our list of interesting blogs.   Dubai Nights.

More on Awal Bank Chapter 11 Filing

Updated for comments on Chapter 11.

Here are some additional details on Awal's filing.
  1. The case number assigned by the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Manhattan is 10-15518-alg.  Awal's previous Chapter 15 filing has case number 09-15923alg.
  2. As indicated by the "alg" at the end of the case number, Justice Allan L. Gropper has been assigned this case.
  3. The Bank is being represented by Brown Rudnick LLP who filed the Voluntary Petition for Bankruptcy under Chapter 11.
  4. The filing was authorized by Awal's Administrator, Charles Russell, LLP.  Presumably before proceeding CR obtained the no objection of the Central Bank of Bahrain who appointed them.  I think this is a pretty strong indication that the CBB has decided to proceed with the liquidation of the Bank.  Note:  A Chapter 11 proceeding is of course a reorganization not a liquidation.  The latter is Chapter 7.  Chapter 11 allows the debtor to propose a plan for dealing with its existing obligations - either payment in full, in part, conversion to equity, etc.  Post implementation the debtor continues as a going entity (e.g., Continental Airlines).  So what I mean here is that the CBB has decided to proceed knowing it will cause the lenders some pain.  That in turn means the situation is beyond repair.  And that the Bahraini authorities have decided to "bite the bullet" and take the reputational damage that will come from such action. 
As part of its filing, Awal Bank made the following statements:
  1. After the payment of various expenses including that of administration, there will be no funds available for distribution to unsecured creditors.
  2. Estimated creditors are between 50 and 99. 
  3. US assets are above US$50 million up to and including US$100 million.
  4. Estimated debts (worldwide) are over US $1 billion.  (This is the largest amount provided on the Bankruptcy Filing Form).
As required on the Filing Form, the debtor lists its top twenty unsecured creditors.  No amounts are provided though.
Here they are in the order of appearance on the Form:
  1. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi
  2. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi
  3. AlGosaibi Money Exchange, Saudi Arabia
  4. Bank of Montreal, Canada
  5. Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank, United Kingdom (London Branch)
  6. Bayerische Landesbank/Bayern LB Germany
  7. Boubyan Bank, Kuwait
  8. Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank, United Kingdom
  9. Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait
  10. Commercial Bank of Qatar, Qatar
  11. Commerzbank Global Equities AG (formerly Dresdner Bank) Germany
  12. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, United Kingdom (London Branch)
  13. Fortis Bank, Belgium
  14. Gulf International Bank, Bahrain
  15. HSBC, Australia
  16. HSBC, United States (NY Branch)
  17. HSH Nordbank AG, German
  18. JP Morgan, United Kingdom (London Branch)
  19. Kuwait Finance House (Liquidity Management House), Kuwait
  20. The International Banking Corporation, Bahrain
If you're wondering about TIBC (which also filed under Chapter 15 in 2009) taking a similar action, a  court hearing is scheduled under their case next week Tuesday (26 October).  Stay tuned.

    Awal Bank FIles for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in US

    In terms of recovery all venues are likely to be highly inconvenient.

    UpdateSee subsequent post.

    According to news reports on Bloomberg, on 21 October Awal Bank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District Court of Manhattan listing assets of between US$50 million to US$100 million and liabilities of  more than US$1 billion. 

    That would not seem to augur well for creditors.  Though it should come as no surprise. 

    Earlier Awal had filed under Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code.  That Chapter is used when a company asserts its proceedings are taking place under a foreign jurisdictions laws and procedures broadly equivalent (in fairness) to US procedures.   It will be interesting to see what arguments were advanced for moving the proceedings to the USA.  Forum non conveniens?

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Global Investment House Pays Another US$72.5 Million on its Restructured Debt

    Global announced that value 21 October 2010 it had paid down another US$72.5 million of principal on its restructured debt.

    With that payment it will have paid down 8.8% of its total debt.  It has nine quarters to pay the rest.  A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Global Investment House - Better Times Coming. Capital Increase in 2011?

    Au or FeS2?
    Also from the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit, Ms. Maha Al Ghunaim noted that:
    1. Global's performance for 2H10 will be better than 1H10.   (Global lost KD34.4 million in 1H10 compared to KD98.6   in 1H09.
    2. The Company continues to monitor its costs and further reductions are in store.
    3. It expects to begin discussions with unnamed strategic investors in 1Q11 to discuss a capital raising.

    Gulf Bank Kuwait - On the Mend. No More Loans to Saudis.

    A banker's memory is a wonderful thing.  
    Even the most painful experiences can be forgotten. 

    Michel Accad gave an interview at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in which he made the following points:
    1. 3Q10 is the turning point in GB's two year strategy to rebuild.  
    2. Each subsequent quarter will be a relative improvement over the previous.  
    3. By 3Q11 the rebuilding will be done (apparently one quarter ahead of time) and the bank will move to strengthen its income generation or its geographic coverage.
    4. The goal is to increase local market share from today's 12% to some 16% in five years.
    5. After 3Q10, the Bank will not need to provision as much but will continue to do so for precautionary reasons (rather than need).
    6. The Bank has decided not to make any loans to Saudi clients for at least 3 years.  No doubt a reaction to its troubles with AlGosaibi and Saad Groups.  
    7. Instead it will, however, make loans to foreign investors for their projects in Kuwait. And no doubt concentrate on its high quality Kuwaiti clients.
    8. As of 3Q10, the Bank has successfully reduced its non performing loans below 20% of the total portfolio.  That's a lot of "Saudi" clients, it appears.

    International Investment Group - Update from Delegate on IIG Funding Sukuk (Hint: No Good News)


    Deutsche Bank as the Delegate on the above transaction issued an announcement on Nasdaq Dubai advising that:
    1. IIG had advised that it was awaiting ministerial approval of its new board so that they could vote to release the KPMG study to certificateholders who had signed a confidentiality agreement.
    2. The Paying Agent advised it had not received the funds for the 12 October payment.
    3. Certificateholders reminder of Dissolution Events and that they need to vote to accelerate.
    4. That IIG has not honored the claim served under the Purchase Undertaking.
    5. That the Delegate is not obliged to take actions unless indemnified to its satisfaction.  Apparently, it has not been.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain 3Q10 Financials - Update on Global US$250 Million Deposit Dispute


    NBUQ released its 3Q10 financials earlier today.  (Yes, I'm still stubbornly using that abbreviation even though their stock symbol is NBQ  But I will alternate today between the two to partially satisfy those who have "complained".)

    The major focus is as usual on the dispute over the US$250 million "deposit" (if you're Global Investment House) or the "prepayment" (if you're NBUQ).  As you'll recall the dispute turns over whether an MOU between the two parties was a binding contract obliging GIH to buy securities convertible into NBQ equity.  Yet another example of poor transaction structuring and legal documentation involving this instrument - which has been a rather costly mistake for purchasers in the past.

    You can find more on this topic by using the labels "Convertible Bonds" and "National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain".

    The relevant notes in their financials are Other Assets (Note 13) and Other Liabilities (Note 17).  

    As per Note 17, NBQ is holding the funds in a non interest bearing account in the amount of AED918.25 million (equal to US$250 million at the FX rate as of 30 September).  But as you'll see from Note 13, it has deposited AED1,034 million with the First Instance Court of Dubai pursuant to an order from that Court.  

    The difference (just under AED 116 million) is presumably interest and perhaps legal costs for Global.   The amount represents a little over one quarter's net income for NBUQ.

    The Appeals Court is scheduled to hear NBQ's appeal on 8 November 2010.   The 29 September session adjourned without taking a decision and was designed to let NBQ object to both the decision in Global's favor and the interest payment.

    You'll also note that in Other Assets, NBQ is showing some AED82.7 million in "split deals".  Shades of Mashreqbank and its deals with Awal Bank and with TIBC.

    The Sharp Tongue of Al Qabas

    Sometimes the Pen is a Sword

    Here's today's Kawalis from Al Qabas:
    - مدير في البورصة اصيب باحباط شديد بعد تعيين لم يكن يتوقعه اذ كان مطمئنا لوعود.. لم تتحقق!
    - مسؤول نفطي استعجل اصدار بيان عن «انجازات» وصفه البعض بأنه بمنزلة لفت نظر الى من يسعون الى اقصائه في تعيينات مرتقبة.
    - طلبت السفارة الاميركية السيرة الذاتية لمدير البورصة الجديد حامد السيف.. ولدى السؤال عن السبب قال طالب السيرة: نطلب سيَراً كثيراً من وقت لآخر
    I love the last bit attributed to an unknown person at US Embassy Kuwait who when asked why the Embassy wanted the biography/CV of Mr. Hamid AlSaif, the newly appointed Director of the KSE, said, "We ask for a lot of biographies from time to time".  

    The first two items deal with the difficult job market in Kuwait.  The first someone who was promised the position of Director of the KSE and didn't get it.  The second an oil executive who prepared a list of accomplishments designed to get him a new job (expected appointments).

    Kuwaiti Investment Companies Blame Central Bank for Delay in 2009 Financials


    AlQabas reports that unnamed listed Kuwaiti investment companies have launched a sharp attack against the Central Bank claiming that they provided their financials four months ago, responded to requests from the Central Bank for clarifications three months ago and have heard nothing.

    Since CBK approval is required to release financial reports and since financial reports are a condition for the holding of the required annual shareholders' meeting, these meetings have not taken place exposing the companies to fines from the MOIC.  

    The article also notes that where another company has a significant ownership stake in a "delayed" company its own financials are delayed because the first company's auditors don't have enough information to complete their audit work.

    While Al Qabas did not name the companies, according to the KSE, the following companies have been suspended for failure to provide 2009 financials:
    1. The Investment Dar, last financial released 31 December 2008.  It is therefore missing the quarterly reports from 2009 plus FYE 2009 plus the first two quarters of 2010.
    2. International Leasing and Investment, last financial released 30 September 2008.  So it is missing FYE 2008, the first three quarters and FYE for 2009 plus the first two quarters of 2010.
    3. Abraj Holding, last financial released 31 July 2009 so it is missing FYE 2009 (October fiscal year end) and the first two quarters of 2010. (Technically Abraj Holding is not an "investment firm", though it may look like one from its activities).
    Perhaps, it's a question of whether they (CBK) believe what they been given.

    Footnote:  As if "poor" Abraj didn't have enough problems already, a group of shareholders has reportedly written to the MOIC complaining that in contravention of the law two government employees are member of the board:  one gentleman who works in the general administration of the fire department and the second who works in handicapped citizens affairs.

    Dubai Sovereign Bond: "Pay to Play"


    An article in the FT today reports that bankers were told that lead underwriters on Dubai's recent US$1.25 billion sovereign bond were told that in order to be considered they needed to make loans to the Emirate.  Supposedly a two-year loan for some US$300 million priced at Libor +300 bps.

    A couple of observations.

    First, this is a pretty standard request, particularly from a client having a bit of a problem.  Just as the good banker is taught to seek to increase his "share of a customer's wallet" in good times, borrowers especially those currently out of favor in the market look for their bankers to be understanding in more difficult times.  In both cases there's a lot of talk about the importance of relationships.  How strong they are.  Sentiments said with no doubt more sincerity than the average politician's promise.  But just as meaningful for that.

    Second, Dubai's Sovereign Bond was "priced to place".   Dubai could not afford to have this transaction fail. With a bond, a low price means the interest rate was set higher than it needed to be.   Pretty much the same rationale as IPO pricing.  Under price the security by a bit so that the offer is successful.  And then  as the share rises in initial trading, you've got a good story for the company and the investors.    

    I've seen estimates that Dubai's pricing may have been as much as 0.75% to 1.0% higher than required.  The underwriters who "sat" on a substantial portion of their allocations may not too far in the future have large capital gains - though probably not until after issuance of the DEWA bond.  If they've placed it with clients,  as some will have, then they will derive some relationship benefits there and can use those to secure additional business from those clients.    Just as the investment firm that can allocate IPOs to its customers gets something back.

    For HSBC and Standard Chartered with major domestic operations in the UAE, being seen as a good friend is a useful thing.  If indeed SC's threat to move its corporate headquarters to the more tax and regulation friendly shores of Dubai is more than mere posturing, another good reason.

    Finally, there's probably also a very hard headed calculation here - that it's going to be some time before Dubai regains full market access.  Amounts are likely to remain limited  and increasing only slowly.  Pricing will probably improve even slower.  As the thinking goes, there are opportunities for profit here.

    And of course, there is one other factor in play:  banker and investor ADD.

    Do bankers have short memories?

    Excuse me, could you repeat that, I've forgotten what you asked. 

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    2-1 (Bit of a Scare There)

    Saudi Capital Markets Authority Levies Fines and Penalties in Excess of SAR102 Million

    On 12 October the Saudi Capital Markets Authority levied another set of record fines and penalties but not as high as its all time record of SAR278 million last January.  If you look closely, you'll see that many of those cited today were also involved in that fine.

    The CMA levied SAR800,000 in fines and SAR99,434,098.10 in penalties (disgorgement of illegal gains) against seven individuals (two of whom were apparently not involved in illegal activity but received gains from that activity).  The fines and penalties concern trading in the shares of Al Baha Investment and Development Company between 23 July 2006 and 27 September 2006 as follows:

    A.  Mr. Jarrallah Bin Muhammad Bin Nassir Al-Jarrallah
    1. Return of SAR28,923,826.57 in illegal trading earnings on the trading.
    2. A fine of SAR 300,000.
    3. Prohibition from purchasing traded shares for seven years.
    4. Prohibition from working in a securities firm for seven years.
    5. Prohibition from acting as a broker, portfolio manager or investment advisor for seven years.

    B.  Messrs. Sa'id Bin Muhammad Bin Nassir Al-Jarrallah, Fa'iz Bin Salih Bin Abdullah Bin Mahfouz, Nabil Bin Mu'id Bin Yahya AlQahtani
    1. Sai'd to return illegal trading gains of SAR2,119,935.00
    2. Nabil to return illegal trading gains of SAR24,896,213.23
    3. Each of the three of them fined SAR100,000.
    4. Prohibition from purchasing traded shares for five years.
    5. Prohibition from working in a securities firm for five years.
    6. Prohibition from acting as a broker, portfolio manager or investment advisor for five years.
    C.  Mr. Abdulrahman Bin Abdulmuhsin Bin Sulayman AlMoajil
    1. A fine of SAR200,000.
    2. Prohibition from purchasing traded shares for five years.
    3. Prohibition from working in a securities firm for five years.
    4. Prohibition from acting as a broker, portfolio manager or investment advisor for seven years.
    D.  Mr. Muhammad Bin Nasser Bin Jarallah Al-Jarallah
    1. Return of illegal trading gains in his account of SAR38,293,835 caused by actions of Jarallah, Said and Fa'iz.   No fine as he apparently was not involved in the activities just a beneficiary.
    E.  Mr. Nasser Bin Muhammad Bin Nasser Al-Jarallah
    1. Return of illegal trading gains in his account of SAR5,200,288.30.  Like Mr. Muhammad immediately above, a fine was not levied against him, presumably because he was not involved in the illegal activities.
    I'm guessing our friends above just didn't trade two stocks back in 2006 so we may be seeing more enforcement actions from the Saudi CMA.

      Gulf Finance House - Capital Reorganization and Raising - A Look "Behind the Curtain"

      "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain"

      GFH published the agenda for its shareholders' general meeting on the capital reorganization/raising to be held 31 October.  So far only in Arabic on the DFM and on the KSE (copy below so you can follow along).  Strangely not yet on the BSE.

      As the picture above suggests, by looking behind curtain we can get a real understanding of what's going on.

      In brief the key points are:
      1. The capital reorganization and US$500 murabaha are being structured to make them as attractive as possible to new investors.  That means that existing shareholders are being substantially diluted through a variety of clever means - which might not be apparent to most readers of the agenda for the shareholders' meeting. 
      2. A share swap transaction between Mr. Janahi and GFH which seems designed to strengthen GFH's creditworthiness as well as provide some much needed "relief" on the CAR both in terms of risk weighted assets and potentially equity.
      First, let's look at what's immediately visible:  the agenda for the shareholders meeting.   Shareholders are being asked to:
      1. Approve a share swap between GFH and its Chairman/Executive CEO, Mr. Esam Janahi.  In return for his 104,923,734 shares in Khaleeji Commercial Bank ("KHCB"), GFH will give him 100% of its shares in AlAreen Company for Leisure and Tourism (whose main asset is the Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park in Bahrain) plus US$3 million.  The latter either in cash or Treasury Shares of GFH. 
      2. Reduce the number of GFH's issued shares from 1,896,332,565 to 474,083,141 in a reverse 4:1 share split.
      3. Reduce the paid in capital from US$625,789,746.45 to US$142,224,942.375.  A difference of US$483,564,804.075. 
      4. Reduce the par value of shares to US$0.3075 from US$1.32.
      5. Approve the issuance of up to US$500 million in a privately placed convertible murabaha through a special purpose company set up by the bank or established at its request.  (That is, the SPV will lend to GFH.  It will obtain its funding from various investors.)
      6. The profit rate ("interest rate") on the murabaha to be the "market rate" according to the rate and formula established by the Board of Directors shortly before issuance.  Such profit rate to be payable in cash or additional GFH shares.
      7. The conversion price to be between US$0.31 and US$0.40 per share - with the rate of discount not less than 20% to 40% of the market price of the shares - but not below the nominal share price.  The conversion price to be set by the Board shortly before issuance.
      8. A tenor of 3.5 years.
      9. Conversion at investors' option with right of Board to offer an early conversion "incentive" according to conditions the Board will set.  Note that means that the murabaha does not count as equity for either regulatory (CAR) or accounting purposes until it is converted.  For the latter, only the embedded equity option is counted as equity under IFRS.
      10. Waiver of pre-emptive right of shareholders to new equity.
      11. Authorization for Board or whoever it appoints to take necessary legal steps to implement and for Chairman or whoever he appoints to sign the necessary legal documents.
      12. Conversion of GFH's share register to electronic form according to the rules of the Central Bank of Bahrain and the BSE.
      Now a look behind the curtain via some hopefully informed analysis:

      A.  Share Swap - KHCB for GFH
      1. GFH gets several benefits from this transaction.
      2. Immediate strengthening of GFH's creditstanding.  KHCB is a better asset than the Water Park, which is why the West LB syndicate asked for the former.  Probably better earnings and better future.  The Water Park like the Riffa Golf Course, no doubt, looked like a very "wise" idea on paper.  In the real world, it's probably not.
      3. Regulatory relief on the CAR - a matter of great importance to GFH who sit right on the edge.  The first way this comes is by moving this "puppy" (the water park, which is risk weighted in the GFH's CAR calculation) to someone else's kennel (balance sheet).  In return GFH gets KHCB, increasing ts holding from 36.99% to 46.99%.  Currently, GFH partially consolidates  KHBC, and, thus,  it doesn't have to worry for CAR purposes about fluctuations in KHCB's share price - which has dropped by roughly 50% since last year this time.  Since KHCB's CAR is roughly 31% as at 30 June 2010, the impact on GFH's Risk Weighted Assets and thus its CAR should be positive.
      4. As you'll notice, the US$3 million owed to Mr. Janahi can be paid in cash or GFH shares.  So there's a potential boost to equity if the latter can be used to settle this amount.  Treasury Shares are deducted from Shareholders' Equity at their cost. What this means is that if GFH gets more than zero in proceeds from the sale or conversion of Treasury Shares, the amount of its Shareholders' Equity will go up by the amount of the proceeds received.  This happened in 2Q10 where GFH sold US$29.1 million (original cost) of Treasury Shares for US$7.6 million and recognized a US$7.6 million consequent increase in Shareholders' Equity.  While admittedly a small card in the scheme of things, this could be just the thing that helps GFH keeps its head about the 12% threshold in a close situation.   As I suspect the 2Q10 Treasury Share sale was.
      5. And, to round things out, a footnote on KHCB.  Without qualifying my opinion about the  credit benefit of acquiring KHCB, I call your attention to Note 3.4 in KHCB's Basel II Pillar 3 Disclosures as of 30 June 2010, which shows that some 24% of its Islamic Financing Assets are past due.  According to that information, some 42% of the past dues (BD47,385 - which is the total amount of the past due loans not just the past due installments which  are BD10,487) are up to 30 days late.  Proceeding cumulatively, 51% up to 60 days, and 72% up to 90 days.  According to KHCB's risk classification system, some 59% of the past dues are rated Credit Grades 1-6.  Personally, I would have thought a past due loan  would automatically go on the "watch list" (Credit Grades 7-8) but then I don't have the details of KHCB's loan portfolio including collateral.  In any  case those concerned with KHCB should keep an eye on this area to see if there is deterioration or improvement in the future.
      B.  Capital Reorganization
      1. Under the Bahraini Commercial Companies Law of 2001, GFH is obliged to take action now that accumulated losses are 75% or more of paid in capital. Approved methods for rectifying this situation are:  (a) reducing paid in capital by an amount sufficient to offset the losses and/or using other equity reserves (share premium, statutory or voluntary reserves), (b) raising additional capital and (c) a combination of (a) and (b).  Generally, financial institutions use Method (c).  In some cases a bank might get away with merely offsetting the losses against existing capital - assuming its pre-reorganization CAR were robust.  GFH's is not so it must do both.
      2. As you'll notice, GFH is not using its reserves.  Why? Very simply put:  the path it has chosen is designed to make the murabaha more attractive to investors.  Under GFH's plan, they will get more of the total shareholding of the Bank for each dollar they contribute.  
      3. 1H10 financials  provide the details of the components of GFH's capital.   If GFH were to use its US$206 million share premium and US$85 million statutory reserve  (total US$291 million), it would only have to "use" US$192 million of paid-in-capital.  Thus, leaving original shareholders holding US$433 million in common equity instead of US$142 million. 
      4. To take control, the new money would have to put in US$433 million plus $1.  Under GFH's reorganization plan it only needs to put in US$142 million plus $1. 
      5. Similarly, if the new investors put in the full US$500 million, under GFH's plan they get 78% of the total equity.  If the reserves were used as outlined above, they would only get 54%.
      6. Clearly, there is a conflict here.  Existing shareholders want to be diluted as little as possible.  New shareholders want the most value for their new dollar.  Sadly for the existing shareholders, including the even "wiser" ones who invested in late 2009, their money is already spent.  The new and presumably much wiser investors need to be persuaded to part with their money.  GFH has set  the reorganization and the terms of the murabaha to make it as easy as possible to get the money that it desperately needs.
      C.  US$500 Million Murabaha
      1. Use of an SPV as the lender can be quite a useful device in shielding the identity of the new lenders/shareholders, particularly if the SPV is not incorporated in Bahrain.  It will depend on how much transparency the CBB wants to demand here and how far it can push this Bank which has an important and powerful friend in Bahrain.
      2. One would expect the market rate for unsecured GFH debt to be rather hefty.  And the value ascribed to the option on GFH shares much less so.  The Board will price "at market" - which will mean in effect what investors demand. 
      3. The approval also provides for a discount from market price of between 20% to 40%.   This is where the reverse split comes to play.  There is nothing in the Bahrain CCL that requires this as part of the capital reorganization.  I suspect GFH is hoping that  the reverse split will work a bit of magic on their market price.  Over the past two weeks, GFH has traded at KD0.033 (roughly US$0.11) per share.  A 4:1 reverse split should bring the price to say US$0.44 per share - allowing the Board to discount the conversion price to say just a whisker over par to make the transaction even more attractive. 
      4. "But wait there's more" as they say on the late night TV ads for the ShamWOW!  The Board is allowed to offer an incentive (terms unspecified in the approval) for an early exercise.  That allows an even greater discount to attract new investors.  So, if the conversion price is set at a whisker over par, can the Board issue shares below par through this device? 
      5. You ask about the hapless existing shareholders?  Well, GFH already has their money and needs more.  So they are out of luck.
      KSE announcement below.

      [12:17:53]  ِ.اجتماع الجمعية العمومية العادية و غير العادية لبيت التمويل الخليجي
      يعلن سوق الكويت للأوراق الماليه بأن بيت التمويل الخليجي أفاده بأنه
      سوف يتم عقد جمعية عمومية عادية و غير عادية للبنك في الساعه 9 من
      صباح يوم الاحد الموافق 31-10-2010 في فندق منتجع و قصر العرين
      وقد طلب البنك ايقاف التداول على اسهمه في السوق اعتبارا من اليوم
      الاحد الموافق 17-10-2010 وحتى اشعار اخر حيث حصل على موافقة ‏
      مصرف البحرين المركزي على ذلك .‏
      هذا وسوف يتم خلال الجمعية العمومية مناقشة ما يلي
      أولا : جدول اعمال الجمعية العامة العادية
      ِ1- المصادقة على محضر الاجتماع السابق .‏
      ِ2- المصادقه على معاملة استبدال الاسهم بين بيت التمويل الخليجي و رئيس
      مجلس ادارته السيد /عصام جناحي و التى سيتم بموجبها تحويل حصته في المصرف
      الخليجي التجاري ش.م.ب بالكامل (104.923.734 سهم ) الى بيت التمويل الخليجي
      مقابل الحصول على حصه البنك في شركة العرين للترفيه و السياحه ش.غ.خ و ‏
      البالغه 100% (جنة دلمون المفقودة) بالاضافه الى مبلغ 3 ملايين دولار تدفع
      اما نقدا و / او بواسطة اسهم خزانه بيت التمويل الخليجي .‏
      ِ3- الموافقة على تغيير سجل مساهمي البنك من سجل عادي الى الكتروني ‏
      وفقا لاحكام مصرف البحرين المركزي و سوق البحرين للأوراق الماليه .‏
      ثانيا : جدول اعمال الجمعيه العامه الغير عاديه ‏
      ِ1- المصادقه على محضر الاجتماع السابق .‏
      ِ2- التباحث في والمصادقه على دمج الاسهم الصادرة لبيت التمويل الخليجي ‏
      بمعدل 4:1 لينتج عن ذلك تخفيض عدد الاسهم الصادرة من 1.896.332.565 سهم
      الى 474.083.141 سهم .‏
      ِ3- التباحث في والمصادقه على تخفيض راس المال المدفوع من 625,789,746.45 ‏
      دولار امريكي الى 142,224,942.375 دولار امريكي بسبب الخسائر المتراكمه ‏
      ِ(سيقدم المدقق الخارجي السادة كي بي ام جي بيانا مستقلا يتعلق بتاييدهم لهذا
      التخفيض ) .‏
      ِ4- التباحث في والمصادقه على خفض القيمة الاسمية الجديدة للاسهم والتي ‏
      ستبلغ 1.32 دولار امريكي بعد الدمج و تخفيض راس المال المدفوع المشار اليه
      في البندين 2 و 3 من بنود جدول الاعمال الى 0.3075 دولار امريكي .‏
      ِ5- التباحث والمصادقه على قيام بيت التمويل الخليجي من خلال اية شركة
      غرض خاص يؤسسها البنك او تؤسس بناء على طلبه لاقتراض ما يصل ‏
      الى 500,000,000 دولار امريكي من خلال مرابحة تمويليه قابلة للتحويل
      الى اسهم بناء على البنود و الشروط التاليه :‏
      ِ- معدل ارباح يحدد وفقا لسعرالسوق ووفقا للمعدل والصيغه المحددة من قبل مجلس
      الادارة قبل وقت قصير من تاريخ السحب . يمكن دفع  هذا الربح نقدا او في صورة
      اسهم عينية في بيت التمويل الخليجي .‏
      ِ- سعر تحويل يتراوح من (0.31 دولار امريكي الى 0.40 دولار امريكي) ‏
      ِ(بمعدل خصم لا يقل عن 20% الى 40% من القيمة السوقيه في اعقاب
      الدمج بحيث لا تقل عن القيمة الاسمية للسهم) فيما سيتم تحديد السعر النهائي ‏
      من قبل مجلس الادارة قبل فترة قصيره من تاريخ السحب .‏
      ِ- مدة تصل الى ثلاثة سنوات و نصف .‏
      ِ- غير مضمونه و لكن قابله للتحويل بمحض خيار المستثمر الى اسهم في بيت
      التمويل الخليجي قبل انتهاء المدة ووفقا للشروط التى يحددها مجلس الادارة.‏
      ِ- حافز التحويل المبكر لتشجيع المستثمرين على التحويل الى اسهم قبل
      نهاية المدة وفقا للشروط التى يحددها مجلس الادارة .‏
      ِ6- منح التنازل عن حق الاولوية الخاص بمساهمي بيت التمويل الخليجي ‏
      فيما يتعلق باصدار اسهم عادية جديده سيتم اصدارها عند تحويل تمويل المرابحه
      وفقا لبنود الفقرة 5 من جدول الاعمال .‏
      ِ7- تخويل مجلس الادارة و/او من ينوب عنه للقيام بجميع الاجرءات الرسمية ‏
      المطلوبه و الصحيحه لتفعيل تمويل المرابحه بما في ذلك دون حصر تحديد و/او
      تعديل شروط المرابحه والمستندات الاخرى ذات العلاقه .‏
      ِ8- تخويل رئيس مجلس الادارة او من ينوب عنه بالتوقيع على تعديل عقد
      التأسيس و النظام الاساسي نيابة عن المساهمين امام كاتب العدل فيما يتعلق ‏
      بالتغييرات في راس المال لتعكس ما تقدم .‏
      علما بأنه في حالة عدم اكتمال النصاب القانوني لهذه الجمعية سيكون الاجتماع ‏
      الثاني يوم الاحد الموافق7-11-2010 في نفس الزمان والمكان وفي هذه الحاله ‏
      ستسري احكام الماده 57 من النظام الاساسي للبنك. وفي حالة عدم اكتمال النصاب
      القانوني في الاجتماع الثاني ، سيتم عقد اجتماع ثالث يوم الاحد الموافق ‏
      ِ14-نوفمبر-2010 في نفس المكان و ذلك بسريان احكام المادة 57 من النظام
      الاساسي للبنك . ‏

      Saturday, October 16, 2010

      Abyaar Real Estate KD50 Million Asset for Debt Swap?


      Citing informed sources, Al Watan reports that Abyaar will sign an asset for debt swap of KD50 million with a group of lenders.  The amount represents 35% of FYE 2009 debt.

      The article also claims that additional debt settlement/restructuring agreements are near to signing and will follow in train.

      Earlier post on Abyaar here.

      Gulf Finance House to Seek US$500 Million in Additional Equity

      SWI (Search for "Wise" Investors) Project 
      The Large Array at Jabal Dukhan Bahrain

      Asa Fitch over at The National reports that GFH has issued a press release in which it advises that it intends to call a shareholders' general meeting to approve:
      1. A reduction in paid in capital (4 old shares for one new) in order to absorb accumulated losses in retained earnings.  Like other GCC states, Bahrain has a law that when a company's accumulated losses reach 75% of paid-in-capital, it must take action to eliminate those losses.  That can be done by raising new capital.  Or by reducing paid in capital and using reserves (if available) to offset the losses.  As a financial institution, GFH, has to maintain a minimum 12% CAR and so unless it could reduce assets (which it cannot without incurring more losses), the bank has to raise new capital.
      2. The issuance of US$500 million in new equity.  This is up from the US$300 million originally mooted by GFH.  It's unclear why the increase.  It may have found that there is substantial demand for its new shares.  I find that hard to believe.  It seems to me that with its track record and current market conditions, raising even US$300 million would have been a very hard sell.  Hence the picture above.  Alternatively, it may be that the additional amount is designed to cover the US$137 million in 2Q10 provisions that GFH magically turned into an asset. 
      At 30 June 2010, GFH's capital structure was composed of:
      1. Paid in Capital US$626 million
      2. Share Premium US$206 million
      3. Treasury Shares (US$23 million)
      4. Reserves US$88 million
      5. Accumulated Losses (US$480 million)  Equal to 77% of PIC.
      6. Total Equity of US$417 million.  
      7. If the "magic" provision assets of US$137 million are factored in, Accumulated Losses are (US$617 million), resulting in Total Equity of US$280 million.
      GFH are savvy enough to know that a failed rights offering would be an extremely unhelpful event.  So either this is an act of desperation (perhaps motivated by its auditors awakening to the US$137 million charade) or GFH has found some wise investors to carry the issue.   And that may become evident if the Board proposes that shareholders approve a structure under which any shares unsubscribed for in the Rights Offering be placed by the Board with "strategic" investors.

      One tactic the Bank can use is to mitigate its deal failure risk is to obtain shareholder approval to issue up to US$500 million over a period (usually the maximum is two or three years I think but am not certain).  In this way it could issue multiple tranches so that the amount it brings to the market at any one time is more digestible. 

      As to the motives behind the raising of new equity, I think these include more than just funding operating expenses:
      1. Regulatory compliance.  GFH's CAR is "on the wire".
      2. Market credibility.  New equity would be a demonstration of confidence in the future, though a failure will be a major setback.
      3. Funding for upcoming debt repayments.
      4. Funding for operating expenses.
       

      Thursday, October 14, 2010

      The "Developed" West - A New Kind of Forthrightness

      A quote from the Financial Times on JPMorgan Chase's 3Q10 earnings conference.
      Switching between annoyance at one analyst’s use of a “squawk box” to terse replies on JPMorgan’s soaring reserves against litigation and passionate perorations about the bank’s role in society, Mr Dimon displayed his customary forthrightness even if he was not always forthcoming about some of the details.
      This was just too good a quote to let pass without comment.  Positively brilliant. 

      And, I'd note it sets a high standard for this blog's favorite investment bankers in Kuwait and Bahrain to aspire to.  (And, yes, each word in that sentence has been deliberately chosen).