Kuwait's stock exchange takes step towards delayed IPO

KUWAIT, April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:11am EDT

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KUWAIT, April 21 (Reuters) - Kuwait's stock exchange took a step towards an initial public offer of its shares on Monday after the Gulf state's financial regulator said it had established the bourse as a company with a capital of 60 million dinars ($213 million).

The country has been considering an IPO of its stock market for years, but political infighting and entrenched bureaucracy have held up the process.

Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority (CMA), which regulates the stock market, said the stock exchange chairman had signed a contract establishing the company at CMA headquarters on Monday.

Under the contract, Kuwait Stock Exchange will have 600 million shares priced at 0.1 dinars each, the CMA said in a statement.

It did not say when an IPO might take place. The privatisation would make Kuwait the second listed bourse in the Gulf Arab region, after Dubai Financial Market.

Under a law passed in 2010, the CMA is supposed to offer 50 percent of the shares to Kuwaiti citizens and 50 percent to ten companies listed on the stock exchange. ($1 = 0.2816 Kuwaiti Dinars) (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Torchia)