Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has announced that it would sell its stake in Kuwait Investment Co (KIC) in 1H 2015, while its share in telecoms operator Zain Group (registered as Mobile Telecommunications Company KSCP) and the Kuwait Finance House would be offered to the public ‘at a later time’. KIA said that it will continue to support the local market by reinvesting capital raised from offloading the shares in investment products and funds. Following the announcement, the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange (KWSE) suspended trading of KIC, Zain Group and Kuwait Finance House shares, pending more clarification of KIA’s plans; trading of the stocks will resume on 26 October 2014.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zain Group had market capitalisation of KWD2.853 billion (USD10.07 billion) at end- September 2014, placing it in the top 20 ranking of the largest Middle Eastern companies. KIA owns a 24.61% stake, while the largest private shareholder is Kuwaiti-based Kharafi Group with a 15.47% stake (up from around 9.5% in 2008). 9.83% of Zain’s stock is held as treasury shares, with the remainder floated on the Kuwaiti bourse.