A Kuwaiti Islamic bank will list on the country's stock exchange tomorrow, giving citizens, all of whom own shares in the bank, the opportunity to cash in on their investment.
Warba Bank's listing follows the lifting of a three year restriction on trading of the stock.
"This is a boost for the banking sector, the economy and the stock market," said Fouad Darwish, the head of brokerage at the Kuwait-based Global Investment House. "You will get companies looking to buy up stock as not every Kuwaiti will want to keep their shares." Warba was established in April 2010 after an Amiri decree. The Kuwaiti Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, holds 24 per cent of Warba. The remaining 76 per cent is owned by all Kuwaiti nationals on an equal basis. Each Kuwaiti owns 684 shares.
Unburdened by the 2009 crisis debt hangover weighing on other lenders since the global financial crisis, the bank is considered one of the bright spots of Kuwait's banking sector. Warba Bank has not been affected by some of the provisioning that other lenders in Kuwait have had to undertake.
The bank was set up with a capital of 100 million dinars (Dh1.28 billion). Kuwait's benchmark index has accelerated 28.6 per cent in the year to date as retail investors have snapped up shares.