* Underwriter announces Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical IPO plan
* String of IPOs could attract foreign investors
* Volume in Dubai’s Emaar Development shrinks sharply
* Qatar the only major market to fall
By Andrew Torchia
DUBAI, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Almost all Middle East stock markets rose on Thursday as a plan for an initial public offering (IPO) boosted Egypt while blue-chip Emaar Properties continued to recover in Dubai.
Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical Industry, one of Egypt’s largest drug distributors, plans to raise as much as 1.6 billion Egyptian pounds ($90.7 million) by offering nearly 40 percent of its shares in December, an official at underwriter Beltone Financial said. The regulator has approved the company’s prospectus, the official said.
The offer is expected to kick off a series of about half a dozen Egyptian IPOs by the end of next year, which could increase trading volumes and attract foreign investment.
The Egyptian index rose 1.9 percent, with real estate developer Palm Hills up 4 percent.
El Sewedy Electric jumped 10 percent to a record high of 130.50 pounds in heavy trade after Naeem Research, increasing its earnings forecasts for the company, raised its target price to 130.1 pounds from 77.2 pounds. GB Auto also gained 10 percent.
In Dubai, the index climbed 0.5 percent as Emaar Properties added 0.8 percent to 7.86 dirhams, extending a recovery from technical support at 7.60 dirhams. The stock had slipped ahead of Wednesday’s listing of Emaar Development because of concern over the market debut.
However, Emaar Development closed at 5.77 dirhams on Wednesday, only moderately lower than its IPO price of 6.03 dirhams. On Thursday it edged down to 5.75 dirhams. Trading volume shrank to 9.6 million shares from Wednesday’s 48.4 million, suggesting demand to exit the stock was not high.
Another beaten-down Dubai stock, amusement park operator DXB Entertainments, rebounded 4.7 percent from near record lows in heavy trade.
Saudi Arabia’s index gained 0.8 percent as real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, the most heavily traded stock, added 3.6 percent. Home appliance retailer Shaker climbed by 4.7 percent.
Qatar was the only major market to fall, with the index losing 0.7 percent.
International equity index compiler MSCI said on Wednesday that it might shift to using offshore foreign exchange rates to value Qatar’s equities market because sanctions against Doha had made it more difficult for foreign investors to obtain riyals onshore.
The Qatari riyal is significantly weaker offshore than onshore so if it goes ahead, the shift could lead to changes in the weighting of Qatari stocks in MSCI’s emerging market index.
Qatar National Bank lost 1.8 percent, though Mesaieed Petrochemical jumped by 6.7 percent.
In an effort to reassure foreign investors, Qatar’s central bank issued a statement after the market close to say it is committed to meeting all of their currency requirements at official exchange rates.
* The index rose 0.8 percent to 6,878 points.
* The index gained 0.5 percent to 3,461 points.
* The index added 0.3 percent to 4,287 points.
* The index dropped 0.7 percent to 7,742 points.
* The index surged 1.9 percent to 14,106 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 6,239 points.
* The index rose 0.6 percent to 1,277 points.
* The index edged up 0.2 percent to 5,086 points. (Editing by David Goodman)