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Wed 6 May 2009 08:10 PM

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Losses narrow at Kingdom Holding

Saudi investment firm controlled by Prince Alwaleed benefits from increase in value of investments.

Losses narrow at Kingdom Holding
KINGDOM HOLDING: Losses narrow at investment firm owned by Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. (Getty Images)

Saudi's Kingdom Holding, which owns a stake in Citigroup, said Wednesday its unrealised losses fell 4 percent in April from the previous month as the value of its overseas and local investments rose.The firm, in which billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal holds a 95 percent stake, saw first-quarter profit decline 84 percent year-on-year as dividend income fell.

In January, Saudi newspapers quoted Alwaleed as saying he was reviewing his investments following a fourth-quarter loss as the global financial crisis shook markets.

In a statement on the Saudi bourse website on Wednesday, Kingdom said its unrealised losses were 17.38 billion riyals ($4.64 billion) in April compared to 18.11 billion in March.

Investments categorised as available for sale rose 15.1 percent to reach 4.29 billion riyals on April 30 compared to a month earlier, it added.

"This movement ... is due to an improvement in the prices of the company's (investment) portfolio as result of a rise in global and local markets and also to the elimination of some investments available for sale in the local market," it said.

It did not give details of the value of local investments that have been eliminated, but the company's hotel subsidiary announced on Tuesday it had sold its 39.2 percent stake in a hotel resort on Egypt's Red Sea Coast for $70 million.

In the first quarter, Kingdom sold several assets including its stake in a hotel in Geneva for around $60 million.

As well as its stake in Citigroup, Kingdom has holdings in a number of international and Saudi listed companies.

Alwaleed has said little in recent months about his company's stake in Citigroup, which accounted for more than 40 percent of the total value of Kingdom's assets when the latter was selling shares to the Saudi public in July, 2007.

The firm made 50.2 million riyals net profit in the three months to March 31, down 83.4 percent from 303.8 million riyals a year earlier and a $8.26 billion net loss in the fourth quarter of 2008. (Reuters)

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