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Wed 9 May 2007 05:42 PM

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ADSM urges foreign share ownership

Abu Dhabi bourse calls for companies such as Etisalat to widen their shareholder base.

Abu Dhabi's bourse is urging companies such as Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) to open their shares to foreigner ownership in order to widen the shareholder base, the market's head said on Wednesday.

"We are not satisfied with the number of foreign investors which is only 36%," said Rashed Al Baloushi, acting director-general of the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.

"So we are encouraging listed companies especially big ones like Etisalat and real estate companies to allow foreigners to buy their shares," Baloushi told reporters.

"Foreign institutional investors say they are attracted to Abu Dhabi due to the low price to earnings ratios, which are the lowest in the Gulf," he said, adding that government investment plans and the booming economy were also incentives drawing foreign investors.

Abu Dhabi's index closed up for a sixth consecutive trading day on Wednesday, extending a month-long rally. It is up about 6% this year, making it the second-best performer in the Gulf.

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