x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Zain shares fall after $12bn Etisalat deal scrapped

Markets Update: Saudi Arabia's sweeping government stimulus over the weekend helped regional markets climb at the open in anticipation that the Tadawul will rise on its first day of trading - with video.

Kuwaiti telecoms company Zain fell to its lowest intraday point in two weeks after Etisalat backed out of a deal to buy a majority stake in the company.

It dropped nearly 3 per cent at the open as the Etisalat, the Middle East's biggest telecoms company by market value ended talks to buy a 46 per cent stake in Zain, citing ongoing political unrest and disagreement among shareholders as its main reason.

Etisalat offered $12 billion in September to buy most of Zain.

It dragged on Kuwait's index, which slipped 0.24 per cent to 6,248.70 points, though Etisalat climbed nearly 1 per cent.

But other markets opened higher in anticipation of a climb on the first day of trading on Saudi Arabia's market today. The Tadawul was closed yesterday for a public holiday but is expected to rise this morning after the Kingdom announced more sweeping increases in government spending.

Dubai's measure, the Dubai Financial Market General Index, climbed 2.8 per cent to 1,514.59 points and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange added 0.4 per cent to 2,595.54 points.

The reopening of Egypt's benchmark stock exchange, the EGX 100 will also be under the radar of investors this week. The exchange has been closed since January 27 but has to open before the end of this week before it is removed from MSCI's emerging market index, which is tracked by thousands of fund managers internationally. It has fallen nearly 21 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Bahrain's bourse opened flat this morning. It has been operating from emergency premises in Manama because a police blockade into Bahrain's Financial Harbour has prevented access to its headquarters.