On Monday, July 23, the Jordanian Social Security Corporation bought Kuwaiti shares of Arab Bank for a total value of $96 million, reported AFP news agency.
The deal involved the purchase of 400,000 shares of Arab Bank for a total value of 68.6 million dinars ($96 million) from Kuwait’s General Investment Authority, thus raising the Corporation’s stake in the bank from 5.8 percent to 9.8 percent.
The purpose of the deal was to prevent “foreign control” of the bank from such key investors as Lebanese Prime Minister Raifq Hariri who already holds a significant stake in the bank. Although Jordan’s share of the bank remains small, the sealing of the deal eliminates the potential for a foreign takeover.
Al Rai newspaper published on Tuesday quoted leading analyst Fahd Fanek saying "it is known that Mr. Hariri was negotiating with the Kuwaiti government to buy the shares to raise the Hariri family stake to a point where it could control the bank."
The Amman-based bank is the most important financial institution in Jordan and one of the biggest banks in the Arab world. Jordan’s stake in the bank currently stands at 47.5 percent.
In the first six months of 2001, profits of the bank reached $167 million, representing an 11.8 percent rise compared to the corresponding period of 2000. — (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )