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Tue 17 Jun 2008 09:28 PM

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Shuaa shareholders back Kuwait delisting

Proposal to treat GCC nationals as UAE nationals in relation to owning shares also approved.

Shareholders of Shuaa Capital have approved the Dubai-based investment bank's delisting from the Kuwait bourse at its general assembly, the company said late on Tuesday.

Shuaa, which is also listed in Dubai, is looking to move its stock - around 100 million shares - to Dubai in a move aimed at boosting liquidity and raising foreign ownership.

Around 18 percent of Shuaa's 550 million shares are listed in Kuwait, Oliver Schutzmann, head of investor relations at the bank, said last month.

Shareholders have also agreed to allow GCC nationals to be treated as UAE nationals in relation to owning shares of the company, Shuaa said.

The company has already reached the 49 percent foreign ownership limit permitted under UAE law.

Of all the stock, UAE nationals own 52%, other Gulf Arab citizens 21.3%, other Arabs 3.7% and other foreigners 22.7%, according to Schutzmann. Of the foreigners, about half are registered in Britain.

Shuaa said the move would "open up capacity for non-UAE and GCC investors to buy the company’s shares".

“The company decided to delist its shares from the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) because of inconsistencies in regulations between the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Kuwait Stock Exchange, which makes it impossible for dual listed companies to comply with both," Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Shuaa Capital, said in a statement.

"We would like to emphasise our interest in the Kuwaiti market through establishing a new subsidiary in Kuwait, being a significant GCC market where Shuaa operates."

Company CEO Iyad Duwaji told Arabian Business in an interview last week that Shuaa aimed to open an office in Kuwait before the end of the financial year.

Shuaa said shareholders had approved the distribution of a cash dividend of 45 percent of the nominal value of shares, corresponding to 0.45 dirhams per share.

The Kuwait listing was Shuaa's first, in 1984, when it was known as Arabian General Investment Corporation. Shuaa listed in Dubai in 2000.

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