* Egypt’s Cleopatra Hospital seeking to take over Nozha
* Cleopatra’s adviser EFG Hermes also rises
* Qatar’s Widam soars after dividend hike
* Saudi’s National Medical Care surges on GOSI contract
* DXB Entertainments, DAMAC pull down Dubai
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Mergers and acquisition activity in the health sector lifted Egypt’s stock market on Thursday, while Gulf markets mostly moved sideways but Qatar rose on the back of a jump by food processor and livestock trader Widam Food.
Nozha International Hospital jumped 10 percent to 75.62 Egyptian pounds and Cleopatra Hospital surged 7.4 percent after Nozha said Cleopatra was seeking regulatory approval to make a mandatory tender offer for all of Nozha.
Cleopatra, advised by EFG Hermes, will offer Nozha shareholders 90 pounds per share and intends to delist its acquisition, Nozha said.
The hospital companies are not members of the blue-chip EGX30 index, but the news buoyed sentiment in the market as investors hoped it could presage more M&A activity in a strengthening Egyptian economy.
The index climbed 1.4 percent as EFG Hermes gained 2.5 percent and the biggest bank, International Commercial Bank , added 2.4 percent.
Qatar’s stock index rose 0.5 percent as Widam jumped 8.2 percent in its heaviest trade since October. It said annual net profit rose to 108.1 million riyals ($29.7 million) from 91.3 million and proposed a dividend of 4.25 riyals per share, up from 3.5 riyals for 2016.
Medicare Group, which has more than doubled since mid-November, rose 2.1 percent and Qatar International Islamic Bank gained 1.1 percent. But the Qatari market was mostly quiet.
Saudi Arabia’s index was almost flat but National Medical Care rose 5.0 percent after saying it had signed a 300 million riyal ($80 million) contract to provide services for three years to GOSI, the Saudi social insurance agency.
Petrochemical firm PetroRabigh surged 4.0 percent to its highest close since Auigust 2015 in heavy trade.
Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent, with DAMAC Properties slipping 1.7 percent and amusement park operator DXB Entertainments losing 3.3 percent.
* Index essentially flat at 7,539 points.
* Index fell 0.3 percent to 3,531 points.
* Index dropped 0.2 percent to 4,625 points.
* Index rose 0.5 percent to 9,200 points.
* Index climbed 1.4 percent to 15,413 points.
* Index gained 0.6 percent to 6,639 points.
* Index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,333 points.
* Index slipped 0.2 percent to 5,024 points. (Editing by Keith Weir)