Govt divestment plans seen boosting Muscat Securities Market

Muscat - 

The government recently announced plans to sell stakes in companies that it wholly or partially controls and top officials at the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) believe that the move will help bring more companies to the bourse and provide more depth to the market.

Earlier this month, H E Darwish bin Ismail al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs, while announcing the State budget for 2013, said that the government is currently considering the sale of some of its stakes through the MSM.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the CMA on 'Transparency and Disclosure toward Financial Markets' at the Grand Hyatt Muscat on Wednesday, H E Abdullah bin Salem al Salmi, executive president of CMA, said the government plan to divest stakes is positive for the market.

He said, “We need to look at these government companies and try and evaluate those that have reached maturity in the market. In this regard, we suggest that the outcome, from selling or divesting these companies, will help establish new companies in the market.”

“The government will issue a road map on its plans to ensure disclosure and transparency, so as to prepare investors and the market for these companies,” said H E Salmi.

H E Salmi added that more developments regarding divestment of government companies can be expected before the end of 2013.

“We hope to have some companies before the end of 2013. We, at CMA, are trying to work that out with the government as early as possible,” said H E Salmi.

Welcoming the government's announcement, Ahmed Saleh al Marhoon, director general of MSM, said that this will generate more activity and attract more investors to the market.

He said, “The market needs more companies, either closed family businesses or new ones. We also want investors to make use of the surplus liquidity with banks. I think the excess liquidity should be directed towards creating more productive companies that can also be offered to the public.”

Both officials said that the government's move will definitely add depth to the market and allow investors to access products that will help spread wealth across the country.

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