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Alpen Capital (ME) Limited launches Equity Research service

Dubai, 20th Janaury, 2009

Alpen Capital (ME) Limited announces the launch of Equity Research services to complement its existing Corporate Advisory services, including Capital Markets, Debt Syndication, Mergers & Acquisitions and Project Advisory. Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority and offices at the DIFC, Alpen Capital is the associate and investment banking arm of Bank Sarasin-Alpen (ME) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Swiss private bank Sarasin & Co Ltd.

The first report that is being launched as a part of this initiative is a report on the GCC Cement Industry.

Attractive long term investment opportunities in the GCC cement industry. Despite the cloud hanging over the GCC real estate and construction sectors, the report highlights that the regional cement sector offers favorable long term investment opportunities. Notably, GCC cement producers are expected to add around 50 million metric tons of additional capacity over the next three years. The cement supply-demand forecast of the report also suggests that the market will move from a production deficit in 2008 to a broadly balanced market in the near term, but back to a deficit over the medium to long term. Therefore, 2009 could be a good time to enter the sector. Relatively strong volume and earnings growth and attractive dividend yields should support valuations over the long term.

However, there has been a sharp drop in revenue and earnings growth in the last three quarters of 2008. Revenue and earnings growth are expected to moderate from a very high level as weakening demand and liquidity constraints force many developers to slow down the pace of new developments and competition intensifies, but to remain high by international standards.

Some of the key industry trends identified and discussed in the report includes rising local clinker production, falling energy prices, production-consumption gap, rising imports, alternative energy sources, increased plant size, weaknesses in transparency, etc.

Good quality and targeted equity research

"Having a high quality Equity Research capability is of great advantage to Alpen Capital and its clients and complementary to our existing Corporate Advisory services. The introduction of this service has been very timely with great opportunities for investment in the regional equity markets" says Rohit Walia, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO of Alpen Capital. "Our aim is to offer high quality GCC wide research coverage of selected industries, including construction, building materials, commodities and retail. We are launching the initiative with the publication of a report on the GCC cement industry" says Tommy Trask, Executive Director at Alpen Capital.