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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/07/2007

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(MENAFN - Arab News) JEDDAH, 22 July 2007 — Sanad Insurance & Reinsurance Cooperative Company made a strong debut at the Saudi stock market yesterday as its shares jumped 410 percent to close at SR51. Sanad became the 8th insurance company to be traded on the Tadawul insurance sector in recent days, which was earlier dominated by the National Company for Cooperative Insurance (NCCI).

Shares in Saudi United Cooperative Insurance Company (Walaa Insurance) soared 370 percent on the first day of trading on the Tadawul on Tuesday. Yesterday, its shares closed 5.43 percent higher at SR48.50.

The SR10 Sanad shares reached high of SR54.50 after opening at SR36 during the trading yesterday.

Sanad offered a 40 percent stake or 8 million shares in IPO (initial public offering) in May.

Other insurance companies, which started trading last month, also made solid beginnings.

In the insurance sector, shares of Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company fell 3.31 percent to SR43.75, while shares of all other companies edged higher yesterday. Salama shares rose 9.77 percent and SABB Takaful by 9.86 percent.

Basil M. Al-Ghalayini, CEO of the BMG Financial Advisors, told Arab News that "The Saudi investors are quite bullish of the insurance sector, especially after prices of the newly-listed companies jumped four to five times on the first day of trading."

Furthermore, he said, "It is a testimony of market's promising insurance sector, especially with SR10 par value and Shariah-compliant structure of these companies."

Al-Ghalayini added: "However, it is still too early to forecast the future price movements of most of these companies after they acquire their old Saudi-based insurance portfolios at a price tag approved by SAMA."

The phenomenal rise of the insurance sector is evident from the latest Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) report for May which shows that the number of share transactions made by the insurance sector increased from 248,016 in 2006 to 572,930 at the end of May this year. Likewise, number of shares traded by insurance sector rose to 17.6 million at the end of May this year compared to 12.9 million in 2006.

The Saudi stock market, however, rose slightly yesterday. The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) closed 1.76 points higher at 7.503.32.

Out of 96 companies traded, shares of 42 companies were in positive territory, whiles shares of 36 companies declined yesterday. Over SR8 billion worth of shares changed hands.

Sanad was most active by value as over SR1.50 billion worth of its shares traded yesterday.

In the banking sector, shares of Saudi Hollandi Bank (SHB), Arab National Bank (ANB) and Bank Albilad fell.

Saudi Basic Industries Cop. (SABIC) shares dropped slightly to SR127.75.

In the telecom sector, shares of Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) rose slightly to SR63.75.

Shares of Saudi Fisheries and Eastern Agriculture declined 0.61 and 0.33 percent, respectively.


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