RIYADH, (Reuters) – The Saudi bourse regulator has fined four listed firms for breaching disclosure rules as it tries to polish the image of an opaque bourse gradually opening up to foreign investors.
The chief executive of Zain Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s newest mobile phone operator affiliated to Kuwait’s Zain, was fined 50,000 riyals ($13,333) for disclosing at a press conference the possibility of a capital hike , the Capital Market Authority (CMA) said in a statement.
The chief executive of Anaam International Holding Group was also fined 50,000 riyals for disclosing to the media information about the firm’s first-quarter earnings, CMA said without elaborating.
Filling and Packing Materials Manufacturing Co and Arabian Pipes Co were fined respectively 200,000 and 100,000 riyals for not disclosing on time a recommendation by their boards not to distribute any dividend for 2009, CMA added.
Like others in the Gulf region, Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has been dogged by allegations it is opaque and subject to manipulation of stock prices, and the regulator has slapped hefty fines on investors and executives for violations.
The bourse is gradually opening up to direct foreign ownership amid tough competition from regional bourses. Over the past two years, CMA has stepped up efforts to clamp down on irregularities, even imposing one jail sentence and revoking the licences of several brokerage firms for violations.