August 18, 2014 / 8:06 AM / 3 years ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait Food Co falls after says no knowledge of Savola takeover talks

DUBAI, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Kuwait Food Co (Americana) fell on Monday after the company said it had no knowledge of any talks with Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group over a possible acquisition of Americana.

Americana was down 1.3 percent at 0733 GMT, resuming trading following a five-day suspension.

The stock rose 2.6 percent to a record high on Aug. 13 after Savola said in a bourse statement that it was in preliminary talks to buy Americana, but was then suspended later that day pending further information from the firm.

Americana is part of the Kharafi family business empire. National Investment Co - another Kharafi company - also declined, falling 3.6 percent.

Savola’s shares were up 0.3 percent on Saudi Arabia’s bourse.

Kuwait’s index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,254 points in sluggish trade. Three of the 10 largest stocks have attracted no volumes at all, while only one - logistics provider Agility - has seen more than 250,000 shares change hands. Agility was flat.

In Egypt, Ezz Steel fell 1.6 percent, trimming 2014 gains to 10.7 percent, after it swung to a first-quarter loss.

The firm made a net loss of 19 million Egyptian pounds in the three months to March 31. That compares with a profit of 202 million Egyptian pounds in the year-earlier period, according to a company statement.

“Ezz Steel has achieved weaker performance due to the disrupted availability of utilities in our country which directly affected the production in all our steel plants,” Paul Chekaiban, Ezz Steel chairman and managing director, said in the statement.

“We expect the operational efficiency of our business model to partially offset the negative impact of the detrimental general conditions in which our industry will operate in Egypt during the remainder of 2014.”

Cairo’s index fell 0.9 percent to 9,359 points as investors booked profits from Sunday’s six-year peak.

Commercial International Bank and EFG Hermes were among the most notable losers, dropping 1.2 and 2.9 percent respectively. (Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Praveen Menon)

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