‘First privatization of its kind in Kuwait’

Talal Al-Bahar and Bader Al-Kharafi

KUWAIT: Al-Kharafi and Al-Bahar consortium have won the Kuwait Boursa privatization auction, taking a 44% equity stake in the local stock exchange at 237 fils per share. Bader Al-Kharafi is the official representative of the consortium.

“This groundbreaking investment will prove a milestone in the development and growth of Boursa,” said Al-Kharafi. “The recent overhaul of the bourse and its listing as an emerging market on several important international exchanges, including the FTSE and MSCI shows that Kuwait’s stock exchange is an attractive destination for local and international investors.”

Al-Kharafi added that auctioning the operator share creates a an historic opportunity to develop the bourse through a comprehensive strategy under the umbrella of the Capital Markets Authority, which administered the auction in a highly professional manner.

The consortium includes National Investments Company, Boursa Athens, Al Oula Investment and Arzan Financial Group.

Bader Al-Kharafi and Khaled Al-Falah are seen at the moment of the deal’s announcement

Speaking on the occasion, Al- Bahar Group Chairman Talal Jassem Al-Bahar expressed full optimism on winning the auction, noting that cooperating with the consortium members provides an excellent opportunity for private sector-led development.

A competing consortium led by Commercial Bank of Kuwait and including Boursa Madrid offered 138 fils per share.

Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority organized the auction. Since taking control of the stock exchange in 2016, the CMA has introduced several measures to reform the country’s capital market including implementing T+3 settlement, relaxing listing rules, delisting companies deemed unsuitable for public investment and segmenting the market with different disclosure requirements while at the same time planning an IPO for the bourse itself.

The remaining shares will be divided as follows: 50% will be offered in an IPO and 6% will go to the government, likely to the Public Institution for Social Security. The bourse is the oldest in the region, founded in 1983, and was among the top performers among stock exchanges in the region in 2018