Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) has announced a 120% jump in profits for the first quarter of 2006, compared with last year. Profits for the first quarter in 2006 rose to 16.29 million dollars compared with 7.41 million dollars for the same period last year.
Prince Faisal bin Salman, Chairman of SRMG said these results were proof the publishing house was continuing to grow and prosper. Sales were 15% up on last years’ figures.
Meanwhile, Saudis continued to flock to buy more than 45 million shares in the biggest publishing group in the Arab world.
Abdul Muhsin al Huwaydi said individual investors in the capital visited their local bank branch to buy shares and avoid the crowds expected in the next few days. Saudi society, he said was well-informed about the stock market, given that the culture of the stock market has been assimilated into Saudi society. Many investors had paid close attention to SRMG’s current publications, its place in the market and finances. Al Huwaydi revealed he planned to buy shares electronically through an automated teller machine (ATM). This was the preferred method for young investors, he added.
Asharq al Awsat visited the streets of the Saudi capital on Sunday and witnessed young men using ATM machines while the older generations insisted on visiting the nearest bank branch and to complete the transaction in person. “I need to see proof I bought the shares. I want to be able to feel it with my own hands, so that I know my money has not been fettered away”, one elderly Saudi told Asharq al Awsat.
For his part, Abdullah al Zahrani, an employee at the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, indicated that many Saudis were interested in new investment opportunities, especially after the decision to reduce the nominal value of shares to boost the market and create further liquidity.
(SRMG) launched on Saturday a $294.4 million initial public offering, the first listing of an Arab publisher.
The firm is offering 24 million shares at 46 Saudi riyals ($12.27) per share, a 36 riyal premium.
SRMG publishes 18 publications including the leading pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat.
SRMG has reported a 10.4 per cent rise in turnover in 2005 to 1.063 billion riyals and its net profit nearly trebled to 181.4 million riyals. The best in the company’s history.