HSBC gets license to buy Saudi stocks directly

Updated 15 June 2015

HSBC gets license to buy Saudi stocks directly

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has received a qualified foreign investor license in Saudi Arabia and traded shares on the bourse on Monday, the first day that direct foreign investment was allowed, the bank told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority has not yet announced any license awards, but stock exchange Chief Executive Adel Al-Ghamdi told Reuters in London that the first transaction by a qualified foreign investor was due to take place on Monday. He did not name the investor.
"Today marks one of the most important moments in the history of Saudi financial markets and HSBC is pleased to have played a role in supporting their development," HSBC said in a written response to Reuters questions.
Previously, foreigners could only buy stocks in the $564 billion market, the largest in the Arab world, indirectly through channels such as swaps. Riyadh is opening the market as a way to expose companies to market discipline and diversify its economy beyond oil.
Two sources familiar with the matter said HSBC was the first institution to get a foreign investor licence and was trading with the identity code of 0001, supporting the idea it had received the first licence.
One of the sources added it had traded in blue-chip stocks, without detailing which ones or the size of the trades.
Al-Ghamdi also said regulators were processing six applications from "very large institutions" and "there might be a spike of involvement from foreign investors over the next two or three months".


Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

Updated 38 min 55 sec ago

Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

  • Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence

DUBAI: Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12 percent down.

The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million, below $58 million that it reported last year.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Anderson, who has served as CEO for 12 years, was asked to step down. Anderson could not be reached for comment.

The company, which in the past predominantly operated in the UAE, expanded operations and deployed large vessels in the North Sea and Saudi Arabia nine years ago and listed its shares in London in 2014.

Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence.

The North Sea has seen a revival in production in recent years due to new fields coming on line and improved performance by operators following the 2014 oil price collapse.

Still, the basin’s production is expected to decline over the next decade, according to Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority.

“(The CFO’s) review has coincided with a pause in renewables-related self-propelled self-elevating support vessels activity in the North Sea, which will impact several of the higher day-rate E-Class vessels,” Investec wrote in a note.

Gulf Marine appointed industry veteran Kersley as chief financial officer in late May as it sought to halt a slide which has seen the company’s shares fall nearly 80 percent last year and another 23 percent so far this year.

The company said market conditions remained challenging and that it was still in talks with its financial advisors regarding a new capital structure.

“Management, the new board and the group’s advisors, have been in negotiation with the group’s banks on resetting its capital structure and progress has been made,” it said in a statement.

Last year, Gulf Marine said contracts were delayed into 2019 as the company was seen to be in breach of certain banking covenants at the end of 2018.

The company said it was still in talks with its banks and individual lenders with hopes of getting a waiver or an agreement to amend the concerned covenants.