November 2, 2017 / 8:45 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Gulf subdued, Emaar Properties edges up after unit's IPO pricing

DUBAI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets remained subdued in early trade on Thursday although Dubai’s Emaar Properties edged up after its local property development arm set an indicative price range for its initial public offer of shares.

Emaar Development set a range of 5.7 dirhams to 6.9 dirhams per share, which would value the deal at 5.52 billion dirhams ($1.50 billion) at the top end of the range. The top price would give the company a market capitalisation of 27.60 billion dirhams, a 14.5 percent premium to its estimated net asset value of 24.1 billion dirhams.

Proceeds of the IPO, and possibly other funds, are expected to be paid to Emaar Properties shareholders as a special dividend by the end of January. Fund managers and analysts said the price range appeared reasonable given Dubai’s sluggish real estate market, although the dividend could disappoint some investors; some had been expecting a premium in a range of 10 to 20 percent.

The Dubai stock index rose 0.1 percent as Emaar Properties gained 0.2 percent in modest volume. Dubai’s most active stock, Shuaa Capital, jumped 5.6 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s index was flat after an hour of trade as petrochemical producer Chemanol dropped 3.4 percent after it reported a third-quarter net loss of 9.9 million riyals ($2.7 million). But the loss narrowed sharply from 36.9‍​ million riyals a year ago, and sales expanded 25 percent.

Al Ahlia Cooperative Insurance sank 3.2 percent despite swinging to a quarterly profit from a year-earlier loss, as gross written premiums grew 23 percent.

But Saudi Company for Hardware jumped 4.8 percent after posting an 8 percent rise in quarterly profit as sales increased 13 percent.

Qatar’s index edged down 0.1 percent in very thin trade. Qatar National Bank, the biggest lender, was the most active stock and added 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia)

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