Jordan's stock exchange reaches record levels

Published April 4th, 2013 - 08:36 GMT
Trading in Arab Bank helped push the Amman Stock Exchange to record highs on Wednesday
Trading in Arab Bank helped push the Amman Stock Exchange to record highs on Wednesday

The trading volume at the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) hit a record level on Wednesday due to the internal transfer of Arab Bank shares held by the Hariri family.

The transactions were worth JD531.5 million ($775 million), according to the ASE daily bulletin.

Jawad Kharouf, president of the Association of Certified Capital Market Professionals, said the unprecedented volume of trading at the bourse was pushed by the transfer of Arab Bank shares to one entity, owned by the Hariri family.

The shares were previously owned by several firms that belong to the well-known Lebanese family, Kharouf said, indicating that trading at the Amman bourse on Wednesday was only JD33 million ($46 million), excluding the Arab Bank deals.

The share price of the Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest financial institution, closed at JD7.28 ($10.28), slightly down from JD7.31 ($10.32) recorded by the end of Tuesday’s trading hours.

Trading volume of Arab Bank shares exceeded JD495 million ($700 million) on Wednesday as over 68 million shares were traded through 68 deals.

The family of slain Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri owns around 20 per cent of the Amman-based bank, which operates in 30 countries through more than 500 branches.

In a disclosure posted on the ASE website, Palestine Telecom Company (Paltel), which is chaired by Sabih Masri, who is also the chairman of the Arab Bank, bought over 400,000 of the bank’s shares between March 24 and 28.

Masri succeeded Abdel Hamid Shoman as chairman of the bank, who resigned on August 16 last year over a row with the board of directors.

The Social Security Corporation and the Hariri family are the largest shareholders in the bank, with each owning some 20 per cent of its stake.

Arab Bank’s net profit, after tax and provisions, in 2012 reached $352 million, recording a 15 per cent increase from the previous year’s $305.9 million.

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