DUBAI: An initial merger agreement between Abu Dhabi’s top two developers on Tuesday added fuel to a rally on UAE bourses driven by bets of strong fourth-quarter earnings, while other regional markets also rose.
Shares in Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate jumped 6.4 and 7.2 per cent respectively after sources familiar with the matter announced that the pair had reached an initial agreement to create a combined entity with assets worth more than $15 billion.
The number of shares changing hands in Abu Dhabi surged to 195 million, the highest daily volume since March 2012.
Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.6 per cent to its highest finish since July 2011.
“The merger report boosted the retail investor sentiment to be more aggressive in other stocks as well,” Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments, said.
“People are positioning themselves in anticipation of growth in 2013, as well as strong Q4 results and dividends.”
Dubai’s measure hit a 10-month high, rising 2.1 per cent. Volumes also surged to 346 million, the most shares traded in one session since April last year.
Aldar’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Al Mubarak declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
“The merger will create one of the largest real estate developers in the country and will enjoy the support of the Abu Dhabi government, either through getting new projects or getting financing,” Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based brokerage Al Fajr Securities, said by e-mail. “Investors
are optimistic about the merger, and hope that 2013 will mark a turnaround in Abu Dhabi’s real estate market.” Small-caps dominated trade though, with Gulf Navigation and Deyaar Development advancing 4.2 and 4.3 per cent respectively.
In Cairo, the bourse extended gains to touch a 10-week high as investors bet on an improving economy.
A senior International Monetary Fund official met Egypt’s government on Monday to discuss a vital $4.8 billion loan as the Islamist-led state battles to contain a currency crisis set off by political turmoil that is depleting its foreign reserves.
IMF said it is committed to supporting Egypt and the country expects a visit from an IMF technical committee in two-three weeks, a presidential spokesperson said.
“The sentiment is quite positive -the IMF news is a catalyst and a new constitution is in place so the political scene is more stable than last year,” said Mohamed Radwan, director of international sales at Pharos Securities. “Some are betting it can again give a positive performance.”
The benchmark index rose 1.2 per cent in its sixth straight gain. It advanced a whopping 50.8 per cent in 2012, the best performing market among regional peers.
Commercial International Bank and Orascom Construction Industries gained 3 and 1.5 per cent respectively. Palm Hills Development rose 4.3 per cent and Egyptian Resorts jumped 7.2 per cent.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s index gained 0.6 per cent to a near 16-week high.
Banks lent support after Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) beat local analysts’ estimates with a 22.2 per cent jump in fourth-quarter net profit.