Shares of Saudi Arabia’s top food producers, Savola and Almarai, fell on Wednesday after Savola said it was selling a small stake in the dairy maker, while Qatar’s bourse closed at a 52-month low as foreign funds continued to exit.
The Riyadh index fell 0.3 percent with Savola declining 1.8 percent to 46.55 riyals, after initially surging to an intra-day high of 49.60 riyals in the opening minutes of the session.
Savola said it was selling a 2 percent stake in Almarai for 1.12 billion riyals ($308 million) through an accelerated book-building process, with 16 million shares on offer at 70 riyals each.
Analysts said the deal could help create liquidity for Savola in case it conducts acquisitions. If the sale is fully completed, Savola will record a profit of 694.1 million riyals in the third quarter, the company said.
Shares in Almarai plunged by their 10 percent daily limit to 73.60 riyals in the heaviest trade since late June.
Banque Saudi Fransi fell 0.6 percent to 31.40 riyals, extending Tuesday’s 4.2 percent loss after billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding agreed to buy almost half of Credit Agricole’s stake in the Saudi lender.
Analysts are split on how the deal would affect Saudi Fransi. Some believe it is good news to have Alwaleed on the board; others think Credit Agricole may ultimately sell all its shares, hurting the Saudi bank in the long run.
Shares in Kingdom Holding, which are often sparsely traded, added 1.9 percent in relatively active volume after the previous session’s 5.1 percent gain.
Abu Dhabi’s index slipped 0.4 percent, weighed down by declines in blue chips; Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 2.1 percent. But Dana Gas, the most heavily traded stock, climbed 1.3 percent.
In Dubai, the index closed almost flat. A Cityscape real estate exhibition in Dubai sparked some interest in property stocks early this week but the effect has worn off because of the uncertain outlook for the emirate’s property market.