Saudi telcos in mixed fortunes as Gulf markets open weaker

Saudi Arabia’s top three telecommunication operators suffered mixed fortunes on Wednesday after all three had risen in heavy trade the previous day while other markets in the region sagged.

Mobile Telecommunication Company (Zain KSA) jumped 6.8 per cent, taking its gains since Sunday to 17 per cent. Its chief competitor Saudi Telecom (STC) retreated 2.8 per cent on Wednesday morning and Etihad Eisalat was down 1.3 per cent.

On Sunday the government said it will provide operators with “unified licences” allowing them to offer a full range of telecommunications services.

Telecommunications analysts said this represented a major shake-up of the industry and that there could be losers as well as winners.

Riyadh’s index edged down 0.1 per cent after 45 minutes of choppy trade.

Builder Al Khodari jumped 3.3 per cent after it said on Tuesday that is has signed a contract with Saudi Arabian Mining (Maaden) to construct an aluminium producing facility for 49 million Saudi riyals.

The contract period will be nine months, with the financial impact staring to be reflected in the fourth quarter results.

Dubai’s index was down 0.1 per cent in thin trade, with mid-sized shares weighing on the index. Damac Properties fell 0.9 per cent and courier Aramex declined 0.3 per cent.

Abu Dhabi’s stock index slipped 0.1 per cent as the usually traded shares barely moved. The largest listed lender First Gulf Bank was down 0.9 per cent.

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