Monday, December 7, 2009

UK's trade minister

The United Kingdom's trade minister, Lord Davies, has flown to Saudi Arabia with the intent of persuading two defaulting Saudi conglomerates, the Saad Group and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros (AHAB) to stop giving preference to local banks over British banks in terms of the restructuring of their loans.

Earlier this year, as it happens, Lord Davies faced a good deal of pressure to resign his office over a now-forgotten scandal that involved his supposed excessive coziness with the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. That appears to be all settled, or perhaps just forgotten, now.

Here's a link from that forgotten era of February 2009.

Such things forgotten, Davies is now expected to head off unsatisfactory results in the Gulf. Results so unsatisfactory, in fact, that the Times of London says this morning that the two defaulting Saudi firms could "do as much damage to the Gulf's bruised financial reputation as the Dubai shock of ten days ago."

The two conglomerates involved are not in a position to present a united front, so if Davies is clever he may be able to make use of the tensions between them. Specifically, AHAB has accused the chairman of Saad of a fraud that could amount to $10 billion.

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