|* CBJ and IC sign MoU|
*The Central Bank of Jordan, CBJ, and the Insurance Commission, IC, signed in Sunday a memorandum of understanding aimed at maintaining bilateral cooperation between the two supervisory bodies to actively supervise the corporations under their jurisdiction. In the presence of Governor of CBJ Dr Umaya Touqan and Minister of Industry and Trade Sharif Zu’bi, the MoU was signed by Faris Sharaf, the deputy governor of CBJ and Bassel Hindawi, the director general of IC. The signing of the MoU aims at maintaining transparency, stability and development in the financial sector, enhancing disclosure, creating an adequate climate for investment, and protecting the rights of depositors, the insured and the beneficiaries of insurance policies.
* JIB participates in Manama Conference
*Jordan Investment Board (JIB) took part in the Arab Businessmen 11th Conference which concluded in Manama on Tuesday. JIB Executive Director Maen Nsour, who represented Jordan at the conference, presented a working paper outlining the fruitful results of the economic reform program carried out by the Jordanian government. He pointed out that sectors such as industry, IT, healthcare, real estate, mining and tourism can offer competitive opportunities for investment partnerships. He added that political stability, infrastructure, human resources and economic liberalization are among the various incentives that attract foreign investments to Jordan.
* ASE attracts Kuwaitis
*Up to 2,915 separate Kuwaiti investors took part in the share transactions in the Amman Stock Exchange market, according to its Executive Director Jalil Tarif. This number was only second to the number of Palestinian investors in that market, he said. Kuwaiti investments reached the equivalent of $1.9 billion, which represents 5.8 percent of the total assets invested in the market. He added that the net non-Jordanian investments in that market rose by $583 million.
AT&T bolstered on Sunday its position as America’s biggest telecoms company with the $67 billion acquisition of BellSouth to create a $160 billion telecoms powerhouse. The deal, which was sealed last night after two months of talks, brings back under one roof four of America’s seven Baby Bell phone companies that were created when AT&T was broken up in 1984. SBC, which bought AT&T last November for $16.5 billion and adopted the former national phone company’s name, will complete its transformation from the smallest telecoms company in America to the biggest once the deal is complete.
* Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered reported record group profits, boosted by its acquisition of Korea First Bank, pushing its shares to a new high. The group said the Korean acquisition had thrust earnings at least six months ahead of schedule. It expects continued double-digit growth across the whole group in both business and consumer banking. Shares in the group rose 56p, or almost 4 percent, to £15.27 as analysts said the results dispelled fears that it had overpaid for Korea First Bank, now called SCFB, 14 months ago. The Korean deal was one of nine by Standard Chartered last year, compared with four in 2004.
* UK energy aquisition
National Grid, a British energy company, confirmed it would buy KeySpan, a gas and electricity distributor in America’s north-east. The deal, worth $11.8 billion including debt, is one of the largest acquisitions by a European firm in the United States and will create the country’s third-biggest utility. The takeover is subject to regulatory approval. The board of South Korea’s largest tobacco and ginseng company, KT&G, rejected a $10 billion takeover bid from a group of investors led by Carl Icahn. Mr Icahn’s offer, which may yet be put to tender, is viewed as a test case against which future bids for large domestic firms will be measured; the Korean government has said it will look at toughening takeover regulations.
* Vodaphone news
Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator, announced that it would write down the value of its assets by up to £28 billion ($49 billion), most of it goodwill stemming from the company’s £101 billion takeover of Mannesmann in 2000. Vodafone also lowered its sales and profit forecasts, putting more pressure on Arun Sarin, its chief executive.