Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) may look into an additional listing of its shares in Saudi Arabia, in what would be the latest blow to Bahrain’s stock market which has suffered from low trading volumes since the financial crisis.
Such a move would also emphasise the draw of Saudi Arabia’s bourse, which is by far the largest in the Gulf Arab region and is in the spotlight ahead of opening up to foreign investors for the first time in 2015.
Alba said in a bourse filing it might conduct a review into an additional listing in Saudi Arabia, but that no decision had been taken.
The statement followed a Bloomberg report that Alba was planning to list its shares in Saudi Arabia in order to help raise its market value.
Since listing in November 2010 and spending its first year trading around the initial offer price of BD0.9 per share, Alba’s stock has struggled. On Tuesday, the fourth-largest stock by market value in Bahrain closed at BD0.505, giving it a market capitalisation of around $1.87 billion.
Bahrain’s bourse has been plagued by low trading volumes for years, which impacts the attractiveness of companies listed on it to investors and their stock prices.
The Bahraini benchmark index is up 23.4 per cent year-to-date but its value is almost unchanged from November 2010 and half the level of June 2008.
By contrast, most other Gulf markets have recovered most the value lost since the 2008 slump, including Saudi Arabia which is more than 10 per cent up on June 2008 levels.
Alba is 69.4 per cent owned by Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), holding 20.6 per cent of the company.
In addition to a primary listing on the Bahrain Bourse, Alba has global depositary receipts traded in London.