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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Kingdom Holding shares surge on Prince Alwaleed's release

Tadawul opened lower on poor Sabic results but recovered to close 0.22% higher

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been released from detention, sending shares in Kingdom Holding soaring. Katie Paul / Reuters
Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been released from detention, sending shares in Kingdom Holding soaring. Katie Paul / Reuters

Shares in Kingdom Holding surgedthe most since 2014 on Sunday, the day after its high-profile chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released following more than two months of detention in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh.

The stock, which had fallen as much as 20 per cent after Prince Alwaleed’s detention, climbed 10 per cent at the opening bell - the maximum allowed daily increase limit - to 10.04 Saudi riyals, just 2 per cent lower than their level before the anti-corruption crackdown began in the kingdom. Trading volume in the stock rose to its highest one-day level since the news of his arrest broke.

A palace source confirmed Prince Alwaleed's release on Saturday. The prince, one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, maintained his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities. Allegations against him included money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official had earlier said.

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Read more:

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal released

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Prince Alwaleed told Reuters he expected to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding without being required to give up assets to the government.

"There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government," he said. "I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days."

More than 200 royals, officials and businessmen were arrested in the probe last November as part of Crown Prince Mohammed's plan to consolidate control and reform oil superpower Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's stock exchange Tadawul as a whole opened lower on Sunday, but rose the day 0.22 per cent higer. Fashion retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair 6.8 per cent, after its founder, Fawaz Al Hokair, was also released from detention.

Tadawul, which has gained 4 per cent so far this year, was dragged down by Sabic, whose shares fell 2.9 per cent, after the Middle East's top chemicals producer announced a 19 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profits, missing analysts' estimates.