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MIDEAST STOCKS-Savola, Almarai drag down Saudi, Qatar sold by foreign investors

MIDEAST STOCKS-Savola, Almarai drag down Saudi, Qatar sold by foreign investors
From Reuters - September 13, 2017

* Almarai dumped as Savola sells 2 pct stake in it

* Saudi Fransis fall slows, analysts mixed on deal

* Qatar hits 52-month low

* Dana Gas buoyant again in Abu Dhabi

* Egypts El Sewedy Electric up on new contracts, dividend

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Shares of Saudi Arabias top food producers, Savola and Almarai, fell on Wednesday after Savola said it was selling a small stake in the dairy maker, while Qatars 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. As of Tuesdays close it had risen almost 20 percent this year, outperforming the main market index by a large margin.

Banque Saudi Fransi fell 0.6 percent to 31.40 riyals, extending Tuesdays 4.2 percent loss after billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talals Kingdom Holding agreed to buy almost half of Credit Agricoles 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.

Arqaam Capital maintained its buy rating on Saudi Fransi with a target price of 35.80 riyals, saying the bank might lose a strategic partner if Credit Agricole sold the rest of its stake, but Saudi Fransis high dividend was an attraction.

Shares in Kingdom Holding, which are often sparsely traded, added 1.9 percent in relatively active volume after the previous sessions 5.1 percent gain.

HIGHLIGHTS

SAUDI ARABIA

DUBAI

ABU DHABI

QATAR

EGYPT

KUWAIT

BAHRAIN

OMAN

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