MIDEAST STOCKS-Abu Dhabi's Aabar falls on delisting plan

Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:22pm GMT

By Matt Smith

DUBAI, June 27 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments AABAR.AD tumbled on Sunday after setting the date for a shareholder meeting to discuss de-listing the firm.

Middle East markets fell as an end-of-week surge in oil prices failed to outweigh gloom over declines in world equities following fresh doubts about a global economic recovery.

Aabar lost 7.1 percent. The world's only listed sovereign wealth fund has called a July 26 shareholder meeting to debate plans to convert into a joint stock company. [ID:nLDE65O0DR]

"The main concern regarding Aabar is how minority shareholders will get treated - there isn't a set road map on how companies delist from the exchange and that's why investors are cautious," said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading.

Kuwait .KWSE was the biggest regional loser, dipping 0.8 percent as market heavyweight Zain (ZAIN.KW: Quote) fell 1.8 percent, slipping for a second session since hitting a four-week closing high on Wednesday. On Sunday, a Kuwait newspaper reported Zain was in talks to sell a majority stake to Abu Dhabi's Emirates Telecommunications Corp (ETEL.AD: Quote) (Etisalat). [ID:nLDE65Q022]

"Zain had been going up for the past few days on talk it was looking to sell a stake, but Kuwait sentiment is negative today and so Zain is seeing some selling pressure come in," said Shahid Hameed, Global Investment House head of asset management for the Gulf region.

"Everything is down and volumes are very thin. A lot of investment companies are facing a very challenging time and this spooks the market from time to time, usually when there's a negative global backdrop."

Other Middle East markets fell, tracking end-of-week declines on global bourses in the absence of local catalysts, although a Friday surge in oil prices helped limit regional losses. [MKTS/GLOB] [O/R]   Continued...

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