KUWAIT, (Reuters) – Trading in 23 Kuwait companies is still suspended after they failed to publish their 2008 earnings on time, the country’s bourse said on Thursday, and warned it may halt more if firms did not pay out dividends in time.
The stock exchange had suspended trade in 36 companies last week, but 13 of those have now resumed after publishing their earnings. It did not say when the remainder would start trading again.
Most of the stocks that are still suspended are investment companies, including Noor Financial Co — part of Kuwaiti conglomerate National Industries Holding Group — Global Investment House and Islamic rival Investment Dar Co.
Investment Dar said this week it had delayed the release of its 2008 earnings because the financial crisis had hit its subsidiaries, forcing it to take extra care in valuing its assets.
The Arab world’s second-largest bourse also said that it would halt the trading of shares of firms which did not hold annual shareholder meetings and pay out dividends on time after posting annual results, according to a statement on its website. It did not name the companies threatened with suspension.
Stocks have previously been halted for several days because companies had not published earnings. Trading usually resumes minutes after posting the financial results on the bourse website.
Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state without an independent authority supervising its bourse, and analysts have long demanded better regulation and clarity on stock market rules. Kuwait’s bourse was flat at 0757 GMT.