(MENAFN Press) The Omani market witnessed a rough and challenging six months of the year 2011. Political instability in the Arab countries and demonstrations in Oman had its negative impact on the Omani market performance during 1H2011. Although on March 2011, the GCC council approved an aid package of USD10bn for Oman and Bahrain each to upgrade housing and infrastructure in the country, this catalyst had a very limited impact on the market performance during 1H2011. MSM 30 index registered a decline of 12.41 percent during 1H2011, to reach 5,916.47 points.
During 1H2011, Omani market experienced sluggish trading activity as a total of 1,472.7mn shares were traded during 1H2011 at an aggregate value of OMR654.91mn (USD1.70bn). Bank Muscat, the largest listed company in terms of market capitalization, was the most traded stock in 1H2011 with a total volume of 142.27mn. The bank topped value leaders' list in 1H2011 as well with an aggregate traded amount of OMR120.10mn (USD311.87mn). Bank Muscat posted net profit of OMR27.86mn for the three months ended March 31, 2011 compared to OMR24.50mn reported during the same period in 2010, recording an increase of 13.76 percent.
Heavy weight stocks did not perform well in 1H2011 and could not support market sectoral indices. All three market sectors were hit during 1H2011. Banking & Investment sector was the biggest decliner with a noticeable drop of 22.56 percent. Bank Muscat reported massive losses of 12.48 percent to close at OMR0.742. Bank Dhofar was also a prominent decliner in 1H2011 shedding 13.92 percent to close at OMR0.567. Investment companies also played a major role pulling the sector into the red zone. Dhofar International Development and Investment Holding Company ended the period under review down by 20.59 percent, reaching OMR0.428. Oman National Investment Corporation Holding (ONIC) went through turbulent first half ending it at OMR0.231, with 32.81 percent loss.
Industrial Index followed with a loss of 8.80 percent in 1H2011. Heavyweight cement companies retreated with Raysut Cement losing 14.62 percent of its value to close at OMR1.063. Oman Cement Company also declined by 12.50 percent. OCC was asked by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to socially contribute OMR2.25mn for villages environmentally affected by its operations. Oman Flour Mills also experienced a challenging first half, posting 17.06 percent loss and closed at OMR0.530.
Services & Insurance Index declined by 6.72 percent. The largest listed services company in terms of market capitalization, Oman Telecommunications, witnessed a significant drop of 14.30 percent to close at OMR1.097. Oman Telecommunication has reported a 20 percent decline in net profit to OMR26mn for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011, compared to OMR32.44mn reported during the same period in 2010. The fall was primarily due to the company's investments in infrastructure made during the quarter. The actively traded stock, Nawras Telecom, was also amongst the decliners dropping by 14.86 percent. Also, Renaissance Services and Galfar Engineering And Contracting lost 25.70 percent and 23.36 percent from their share values, respectively.
During 1H2011, out of 97 companies that were traded 70 stocks declined, while 19 advanced and 8 ended unchanged. Oman and Emirates Investment Holding Company led decliners' list for the 1H2011 with 49.21 percent losses to reach OMR0.096. On the gainers' front, Oman Refreshment Company SAOG topped the gainers' list with a growth of 121.48 percent in its share price to close at OMR1.121.
Shareholders of the Company at the Extraordinary General Meeting and Annual General Meetings approved to change the nominal value of share from OMR1 to 100 baizas each and to split the paid up share of OMR1 each into 10 shares of 100 baizas each. The Shareholders approved a stock dividend at the rate of 66.67 percent (2 free bonus shares for every 3 shares held by the shareholders). The Share holders also approved a cash dividend at the rate of 100 percent of the face value of paid up share capital.