Kuwait Investment Shares Jump On Privatisation Plan

The Kuwait Investment Authority said it would offer its stake in the firm to the public in the first half of 2015.



Shares in Kuwait Investment Co surged on Thursday after the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) said it would offer its stake in the firm to the public in the first half of 2015, as it resumes a programme of selling off stakes in local listed companies.

Kuwait Investment Co jumped 7.6 per cent while Kuwait’s main stock index rose 0.2 per cent, bucking a bearish trend across the region.

The KIA owns 76.2 per cent of Kuwait Investment Co, a financial investment firm with a market capitalisation of $252 million, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors appear to be betting that new ownership for Kuwait Investment Co could improve its management, attract fresh interest in the firm and boost trading liquidity in the stock.

The KIA also owns 24.1 per cent of Kuwait Finance House, which has a capitalisation of $11.7 billion, and 24.6 per cent of telecommunications operator Zain with a capitalisation of $9.6 billion. Those stakes will be offered to the public at a later time, state news agency KUNA quoted the KIA as saying.

Zain rose 1.6 per cent after opening on Thursday, while trading in Kuwait Finance House was suspended pending the publication of quarterly results. Then at mid-morning on Thursday, the Kuwait exchange announced it was suspending all three stocks pending clarification of the KIA’s plans.

In its statement late on Wednesday, the KIA also pledged to continue supporting the local stock market by reinvesting money that it raises from the share sales in investment products and funds, KUNA reported.

Elsewhere in the region, stock markets in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar fell in line with global equities. Dubai’s index slid 1.3 per cent, Abu Dhabi slipped 0.1 per cent and Qatar edged down 0.4 per cent.