A $200 million bond issue, made by Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), has been listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE). The listing brings to a total of nearly one billion dollars the value of bonds listed on the BSE.
The floating rate note, which has an issue date of June 18 2003, was offered earlier this month and leading public and private corporates and institutions from the Gulf have participated.
The listing falls in line with the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) and BSE's strategy to position Bahrain as a regional bond market for both conventional and Islamic bonds.
The BSE is the most open capital market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Foreign investors are allowed to acquire up to 49 percent of listed companies, while nationals of other GCC countries can acquire 100 percent ownership.
Foreign brokerage firms are also allowed to operate at the BSE, which currently has a market capitalization of $7.6 billion, with 44 listed companies, 28 mutual funds and 10 bonds, including the Alba issue.
Alba, established in 1971, is one of the largest aluminium smelters in the world, with a production capacity exceeding 500,000 tons per year. The $200 million bond issue will partly finance the expansion of the smelter's production, bringing total production capacity to 850,000 tons per year by March 2005.
Managers and underwriters of the bond issue were Securities and Investment Company (Bahrain), Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (Bahrain), National Bank of Bahrain and Gulf Investment Corporation (Kuwait). — (menareport.com)
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