Government aid hopes boost Abu Dhabi's Aldar

CLOSING BELL: Aldar Properties saw its shares rise the most in a month on its bourses in anticipation of government funding.

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Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's largest developer, rose the most in a month, as investors hoped a government package for the firm would be announced.

Shares of Aldar, listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, rose 2.9 per cent to Dh2.42, the highest since December 12.

"The performance in price today is relatively better in comparison to the general market, said Julian Bruce, head of institutional equity sales at investment bank EFG Hermes bank in Dubai.

"Aldar's rise is on the back of expectations of government support and timing of it," Mr Bruce said.

In November, the developer said it was in the final stages of talks with the government over its cash requirements, with a conclusion expected by the end of 2010. The firm has Dh14 billion of debt maturing in 2011, according to EFG Hermes.

Separately, Aldar is managing the expansion of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology Campus in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to be completed in 18 months, according to a statement by Arabian Construction today which said it won a contract valued at Dh750 million for works on the project.

Banking stocks in Abu Dhabi made decent gains, but volumes continue to remain weak, Mr Bruce said. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank added 1.6 per cent to Dh3.04 a share. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gained 0.8 per cent to Dh2.27. Sharjah Islamic Bank added 1 per cent to 95 fils a share.

The Abu Dhabi Securities General Index gained 0.4 per cent to 2764.15.

In Dubai, insurance firms led the gains among listed companies. Takaful Al Emarat Insurance, gained 7.8 per cent to 81 fils a share, while Takaful House gained 0.2 per cent to 97 fils a share. The Dubai Financial Market General Index dipped 0.1 per cent lower to 1665.55.

Elsewhere in the region, Kuwait's measure lost 0.1 per cent to 6966.40. Bahrain's measure lost 0.1 per cent to 6966.40. Oman's bourse gained 0.3 per cent to 6949.95. Qatar's index remained unchanged at 9019.71. The Saudi Tadawul All-Share was 0.1 per cent higher to 6739.82.