* Drake & Scull up following Reuters interview
* Says company may “hear soon” from Saudi on unsettled payment
* Emaar Malls up on Q1 results
* Saudi’s Mouwasat up on Q1 ahead of expectations
* STC buoyant on new project with government, strong results
* Egypt’s OTMT up as it swings to profit in 2016
By Celine Aswad
DUBAI, May 8 (Reuters) - Shares of builder Drake & Scull (DSI) rose in the final hour of trade on Monday as retail investors reacted to some potentially positive news from the company, while the region recovered some of the previous session’s losses.
DSI, which fell by a little more than 5 percent earlier in the session, closed 0.8 percent higher after chief executive Wael Allan told Reuters in an interview it expects to hear “very soon” from Saudi Aramco about settling about 1.05 billion riyals, only half the outstanding payments owed to it for its work on Riyadh’s King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre.
If the matter is not settled, Allan said DSI may consider legal options including arbitration.
The stock plummeted 9.9 percent on Sunday on news that at a shareholder meeting at the end of last week the company had increased its write off by up to 722 million dirhams, in addition to a previously planned reduction of 992 million dirhams. This would effectively further dilute current shareholdings.
The retail arm of Emaar Properties, Emaar Malls rose 0.3 percent after it reported a 1.9 percent rise in first quarter net profit to 539 million dirhams.
The Dubai index rose 0.2 percent on Monday.
In neighbouring Abu Dhabi, a rebound in some of the previous session’s top losers helped lift the index 0.2 percent. Dana Gas climbed 2.4 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gained 3.5 percent.
The Riyadh index added 0.1 percent in low turnover as 104 shares advanced and 45 declined.
Medical provider Mouwasat rose 2.8 percent after it reported first quarter net income of 85.1 million riyals, up 24.2 percent from a year ago and above analysts’ forecast of 79.42 million riyals.
The largest telecom provider, Saudi Telecom Co (STC) rose 0.7 percent, taking its gains over two sessions to 1.6 percent, ourperforming most other blue chips.
STC’s shares have reacted positively to its first quarter net profit coming in ahead of expectations and on the board’s recommendation to distribute 1 riyal per share for the period.
Also investors have taken the recent announcement made by STC that it has signed onto a project with the government to fit 1.3 million homes with fibre optic broadband services in both urban and rural areas over the by 2020. The total cost of the upgrade will be 7.3 billion riyals.
The company’s chief executive told local TV Alarabiya that the funding will come from internal resources, and that STC will only be responsible for 60 percent of the total units that are being targeted by the government, the remaining 40 percent, he said, would be managed by other telecom companies, without mentioning any names or whether they would be local companies or international ones.
The shares of the other three telecom operators rose; Mobily added 1.0 percent.
Qatar’s index added 0.2 percent, staying near a 5 month low. Petrochemicals giant Industries Qatar rebounded 1.3 percent, recovering from the 0.9 percent made on Sunday.
In Egypt, conglomerate Orasom Telecom climbed 1.4 percent and was the most traded share on the bourse after the company swung to profitability in 2016, reporting a net profit of 897.5 million Egyptian pounds ($50 million) versus a loss of 3.61 billion in 2015. The currency floatation in November of last year had a positive impact of 1.44 billion on the consolidated income statement.
The board proposed a cash dividend of 0.10 per share for the full year. The last time the company paid a dividend was in 2013.
The EGX 30 rose 1.1 percent and 15 other shares advanced including the largest listed lender Commercial International Bank which added 1.5 percent.
* The index added 0.1 percent to 6,865 points.
* The index rose 0.2 percent to 3,392 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 4,578 points.
* The index inched up 0.2 percent to 9,852 points.
* The index rebounded 1.1 percent to 12,828 points.
* The index rose 1.0 percent to 6,628 points.
* The index fell 0.2 percent to 1,322 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 5,441 points. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) ($1 = 18.0500 Egyptian pounds)
Editing by Andrew Torchia