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GHC set to list shares despite global turmoil.

MANAMA: Gulf Holding Company (GHC) plans to go ahead with the listing of the company's shares on the Kuwait Stock Exchange despite the current global crisis, a top official said.

GHC vice-chairman and chief executive officer Ahmed Al Ameer was speaking at the company's annual general meeting (AGM) and extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in the presence of 88.55 per cent of its shareholders.

"There was genuine concern that GHC share prices may retreat under the devastating impact of the current global financial crisis so it may not be in our interest to list the shares on the exchange," he said.

"But then every cloud has a silver lining and all signs pointed to an economic recovery in the first or second quarter of next year, so we decided to go ahead with the listing, signing a consultancy agreement with Kuwait-based CapCorp Investment Company to help us in the matter."

Mr Al Ameer said that far from exaggerating or being alarmist, GHC had assessed its assets at less than their market value, a revelation that was met favourably by the shareholders.

"Our cash surplus at the end of December 2008 amounted to around 36 million Kuwaiti dinars, showing the healthy and steady growth of our net profits, equity and assets over the last three years from 2006 to 2008," chairman Abdul Rahman Al Jasmi said.

"We are now reaping the fruits of our earlier success in realising profits and growing our company's assets and equity. The important question now before us concerns our future prospects and where GHC is headed.

"First, we have concluded an agreement with Kuwaiti CapCorp Investment Company appointing it as lead manager for listing of GHC's shares on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. We shall closely monitor developments in this direction and keep all our stakeholders well informed in pursuance of the third axis of our strategic vision which calls for absolute transparency."

"Second, our earliest project, Villamar Bahrain, is proceeding in accordance with our 'plan of implementation'."

"Third, we have used the temporary work stoppages at our Downtown Al Areen project, our second promising project, to benefit our company and its shareholders," he said.

"While we are still awaiting the issuance of final licences of the project so that we can resume construction work, the infrastructure contractor is working according to schedule.

"We expect this to happen soon. Contractors are also offering cuts in construction costs because of the financial crisis, which should reduce the total project cost by up to 25 per cent.

"A further reduction in construction costs will be achieved by amending the construction plan to factor in a reduced height for the buildings because we feel the present height the buildings have reached is fairly appropriate.

"Such course changes are in keeping with our vision and approach of maintaining flexibility in the implementation process."

Copyright 2009 Gulf Daily News

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Oct 29, 2009
Words:486
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