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Kipp the great and powerful

Kipp the great and powerful

News breaks that the Arabtec boss may have misbehaved, and stock drops. Imaginary news that telecoms network sharing is round the corner, and telco stocks climb. Enough already.

January 5, 2011 5:22 by

News broke late in the day yesterday that Riad Kamal, CEO of Arabtec (the UAE’s largest builder), has been officially banned from trading shares for six months. Kamal is suspended from trading both in person and by any other means in the UAE’s bourses.
Apparently, the big man has accepted the decision and will respect the UAE regulator’s move. The punishment stems from sales he made prior to announcements pertaining to projects, and was announced in a circular by the Security and Commodities Authority. “I respect the decision of the regulator. One should not deal before any news, whether it is buying or selling. That was an oversight by me,” Kamal told Reuters. Kudos to him, it’s not often we see people put their hands up to this kind of thing.
What interest Kipp in this instance is not Kamal’s alleged transgressions – he’s been nabbed and it’s a fair cop – it’s the immediate impact on Arabtec’s share price. Shares in the company dropped 2 percent following the reports, its biggest drop since December 12. Yet it’s difficult to see how a relatively light punishment on one man in the company for what can’t have been a particularly big transgression can possibly mean the company is worth significantly less.
We were reminded of this piece from Emirates 24-7. It reported that the performance of stocks on the UAE bourses is expected to be more news driven than earnings driven this year, according to analysts (where would we be without them?). “We think it will be a volatile year, as investor confidence remains fickle after a difficult two years. Market action will be news driven as opposed to valuation or earnings driven. Things to watch will be further news on debt restructurings for major GRE’s, structural changes in UAE bourses (e.g mergers, inclusion in MSCI indices),” Khaled Masri, Head of Brokerage, Rasmala Investment Bank, Dubai, told the one time paper. So what get’s reported is more important than what actually happens.

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