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MENAFN - Arab News - 14/12/2005

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JEDDAH, 15 December 2005 — The Saudi stock market retreated yesterday after a record surge on Tuesday. The fall in major Industrial and Telecom indices dragged the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) down 41.88 points to 16,802.76.

The Banking index, however, climbed 323.49 points to 41,874.08 as shares of major banks increased yesterday. Saudi Hollandi Bank shares rose by 5.11 percent to SR1,120.50, followed by Arab National Bank by 3.72 percent to SR1,100 and Banque Saudi Fransi by 2.69 percent to SR1,566. However, shares of the Saudi Investment Bank, Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. and Bank Albilad declined yesterday.

The Industrial index was down at 42,057.78 as shares of major companies such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Saudi Arabia Refineries Co., Saudi Cable Co., Saudi Advanced Industries Co. and Filling & Packing Materials Manufacturing Co. fell yesterday.

The cement sector made handsome gains. Yamamah Cement and Qassim Cement shares edged higher by 9.99 percent each to close at SR1,984.25 and SR1,070.75, respectively.

The Telecom index plunged 301.73 points to 5,686.59 as shares of Saudi Telecom Co. dropped by 5.66 percent to SR934 and Etihad Etisalat by 2.46 percent to SR694.

Saudi Electricity Co. shares gained slightly to SR140.50 yesterday. The Agriculture index was higher by 380.60 points to close at 7,357.53. Shares of Hail Agriculture, Tabuk Agriculture and Bishah Agriculture increased by over 9 percent yesterday.

Stock trading reached SR28.27 billion yesterday.

Meanwhile, KAMCO, a subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Company's (KIPCO) investment banking subsidiary United Gulf Bank (UGB), has announced the launch of the private placement of 500 million new shares in North Africa Holding Company. The company will be incorporated according to Kuwaiti law with a paid-up capital of 50 million Kuwaiti dinars (170 million).

North Africa Holding Company will primarily undertake investment opportunities in the North Africa region. Initially targeting five countries — Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya - the company will adopt a diversified approach, investing as a private equity partner in start-up companies as well as investing in listed securities.

KAMCO Chairman Masaud M.J. Hayat said: "KAMCO is delighted to present this opportunity to our clients and select investors. We believe this private placement offers excellent potential for future medium term growth in earnings and value, supported by a clear exit strategy of eventual listing on the Kuwait Stock Exchange."

"We forecast that key North African economic indicators will remain strong and our view is shared by KIPCO whom we expect to subscribe to a substantial share of the North Africa Holding Company's capital and fully support the company's activities."

KAMCO has assets of almost 6 billion under management or control and more than 120 employees throughout its operations. It has arranged successful private placement and KSE listing of five companies during the last two years. The private placement will be offered by KAMCO to invited investors and will be open for subscription until Jan. 29, 2006.


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