Former prime minister Rafiq Hariri's election triumph fuelled stock market interest for a second straight day Tuesday in the building company he founded, whose business has been on hold since he left power in 1998.
According to the Beirut stock market report, A shares in Solidere, which jumped 5.3 percent the previous day, moved ahead a further 3.33 percent Tuesday to $7.75 a share. B-shares also moved ahead Tuesday, rising 5.0 percent to $7.87.
Beirut stock exchange trading chief Nabil Aoun said, "since Hariri's victory, which strengthens his chances of returning to business, there has been very strong demand for Solidere shares, and very few offers to sell as shareholders are banking on an even greater increase."
"Solidere stock is under-valued and if Hariri heads up the new government, it could return to its original 1994 flotation rate of $10," Aoun told AFP.
Company profits hit $78 million in 1997, when Hariri was still prime minister, before tumbling to 3.7 million in 1999, less than a year after he left power.
Aoun said "the 30 projects frozen by the authorities in Solidere's work area should be reactivated if Hariri becomes prime minister again, which would allow the building company to get back into action with steady profits."
Renewed interest in Solidere shares helped push the BLOM index of the Beirut stock exchange up 3.5 percent to 651 points.
Solidere is the main force driving the market up, with the GDR (global depository receipt) linked to Solidere moving up 5.2 percent to $7.85 after moving up 11 percent up on the London market Monday, according to figures from the private Audi bank.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )