Kingdom Holding, the investment company owned by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, plans to pay its first annual dividend of 550 million Saudi riyals (Dh538.7m) out of its accumulated cash reserves.
Prince Alwaleed announced yesterday he would forgo his own dividend payments to allow shareholders to receive a total payment of50 halalas per share over four quarters. "Today's announcement represents a milestone in the company's history. The continuity of our dividend distribution is part of Kingdom Holding's strategic plan," Prince Alwaleed said.
"It is based on our confidence that Kingdom Holding will continue to generate ample profits and cash to invest in the growth of our business and its commitment to continue to pay dividends in the future."Shares in the company, 95 per cent of which are owned by Prince Alwaleed, soared 6.4 per cent at one point in yesterday's trading to 8.30 riyals before closing at 8.25 riyals. Kingdom Holding, which has stakes in Citigroup, eBay, Disney and Apple, made a net profit of 160.1m riyals in the third quarter, up 52.6 per cent from the same period last year. Last month, the group announced it had invested US$500m (Dh1.83 billion) in General Motors' initial public offering.
John Sfakianakis, the chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi, said the combination of a dividend and exposure to many of corporate America's strongest companies would make it an attractive stock to many investors.
"This is pretty substantial news for the company," he said.