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Mon 2 Dec 2019 04:39 PM

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Private investors rush to buy shares in Kuwait stock market

Boursa Kuwait is now 94% owned by the private sector following public offering which was more thatn 8.5 times oversubscribed

Private investors rush to buy shares in Kuwait stock market

Boursa Kuwait has become the only stock exchange operator in the Middle East that is not owned by the state.

Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA), the regulatory body for capital markets and securities activities, on Monday announced that the public offering to Kuwaiti citizens for its 50 percent stake in Boursa Kuwait Securities Company (BKSC) has concluded with more than 8.5 times oversubscription.

The public offering, led and managed by KAMCO Investment Company, is the second and final phase of the privatisation process of Boursa Kuwait which followed the sale of 44 percent of the company to strategic investors in February.

A total of 94 percent of BKSC is now owned by private investors, while the remaining 6 percent is owned by the state-run pension fund, the Public Institute for Social Security.

Dr Ahmad A Al-Melhem, CMA’s chairman and managing director, said: "Boursa Kuwait has become the only stock exchange operator in the Middle East that is not owned by the state.

"This marks as a landmark transaction in the history of Kuwait’s capital markets, and an important step towards achieving the ambitious national development goals set out in Kuwait’s Vision 2035 with an aim to strengthen the country’s position as a regional financial centre, and give the private sector a stronger role and a greater opportunity to develop the national economy."

The first phase of the BKSC privatization program took place in February when a consortium comprised of Hellenic Exchanges-Athens Stock Exchange Holding, National Investments Company, First Investment Company, and Arzan Financial Group took a 44 percent stake.

The second phase, the nationwide IPO, was implemented in the last quarter of 2019, with the number of subscribers totalling about 83,000 paying 100 fils per share.

Investors will be notified of the final allocation by December 8.

Boursa Kuwait was founded in 2014 to replace the Kuwait Stock Exchange and has since embarked on a mission to transform the company into a leading regional exchange which has seen Kuwait upgraded to an Emerging Market status by the leading global indices.

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