Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding shares drop 7.6 per cent amid Saudi corruption probe

The investment vehicle's third quarter regains ground from loss a year ago

A picture taken on November 5, 2017 in Riyadh shows the Kingdom Tower owned by Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal.
A day earlier Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billioniare, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman consoliates power. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Shares of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), the investment vehicle of billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, dropped to the lowest level on Sunday since 2012, following Saudi media reports of his detention.

The company, which is 95 per cent controlled by Prince Alwaleed, plummeted 9.9 per cent during early trading on Tadawul, as investors reacted to reports of the detention of high profile individuals in the wake of an investigation launched by a newly established anti-corruption committee, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The shares regained some ground to close 7.6 per cent down.

On Sunday, the company reported third-quarter net profit of 247.5 million riyals (Dh242.2m) due to an increase in hotel revenues and operating income, compared with a loss of 355m riyals made in the same period a year ago, according to a regulatory filing to the Saudi stock exchange.

The firm had previously reported a 179.9m riyal net profit for the 2016 third quarter, but said in the latest regulatory filing “comparative figures of the same period last year were reclassified to be consistent with current figures”.

It gave no further direct explanation, but noted that KHC – like other companies in Saudi Arabia – switched to IFRS global accounting standards this year.

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Net profit in the third quarter was boosted by an increase in hotel and operating revenues, larger dividend income, and income and gains on investments, as well as increase in other gains, the company said. Revenue increased 76 percent to 550m riyals.

The prince, whose net worth is estimated at US$19 billion in Bloomberg Billionaires Index, holds stakes in various companies across a number of industries which include Twitter, Citigroup, Lyft, Careem, the Four Seasons hotel chain and Accor Hotels.