MIDEAST STOCKS-Telecom Egypt may gain on new licence

DUBAI, Sept 4 Thu Sep 4, 2014 1:31am EDT

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DUBAI, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Shares in fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt may rise on Thursday after the Cairo government approved late on Wednesday a long-awaited plan to issue a unified landline and mobile telecommunications licence.

The move could allow the company to start reclaiming its market share, which has been dented by mobile operators.

The licence had been due to be activated on June 30 but that date passed without implementation. In May, Telecom Egypt agreed to pay 2.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($350 million) for permission to offer mobile services.

The stock closed at 14.18 pounds ahead of the licence announcement on Wednesday. Last month, NBK Capital upgraded Telecom Egypt to "buy" from "hold" with a fair value estimate of 17.00 pounds, saying its price to earnings ratio of 8.3 was 31 percent below the average for its peers.

In Dubai, developer Emaar Properties may rise after mortgage lender Amlak Finance, in which Emaar has a 45 percent stake, said on Wednesday it would hold a shareholder meeting on Sept. 21 to discuss its previously announced restructuring plan and a proposed issue of equity-linked bonds.

Emaar has already gained 12.7 percent to 11.55 dirhams this week after saying it would float its malls and retail unit in September, a move that will reward Emaar shareholders with priority allotment and a special dividend.

The stock faces resistance at 12.00 dirhams, the peak from which it retreated earlier this week as investors started booking profits.

Elsewhere in the region, Saudi Arabian insurance companies may post further gains after jumping in the last session following a report by rating agency Standard & Poor's, which said the price war in the sector appeared to be over and tariffs were rising again.

The global backdrop is generally positive: Asian shares steadied near seven-year highs on Thursday, buoyed by hopes of a ceasefire in Ukraine. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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