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Libya to Create Reconstruction Fund, Stock Exchange Chief Says

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Libya will create a real-estate fund to help rebuild the country after last year’s war to oust Muammar Qaddafi, said Ahmed Karoud, the general manager of the Libyan Stock Market.

The fund will be set up within six months, drawing investment from individuals and non-government companies, and will be traded on the exchange, Karoud said in an interview in Tripoli. Another fund for Islamic financial products will be set up within the same period, though it won’t be traded, he said, declining to give further details because the matter is still under discussion.

“This will give an indication to the world that the Libyan economy is beginning to recover,” Karoud said.

Libya’s five-year-old bourse was shut down due to the conflict that broke out last year and ended after Qaddafi was driven from Tripoli in August and killed by rebel fighters some two months later. The resumption of trading has been delayed by “liquidity-related problems” and is scheduled this month, Karoud said.

Thirteen companies were listed on the exchange, including the bourse itself, with a combined market capitalization of about 3.9 billion dinars ($3.1 billion). The biggest companies include Gumhouria Bank, Sahara Bank and Wahda Bank, accounting together for about half of the market capitalization.

The bourse aims to expand beyond the banking and insurance industries, Karoud said. “Our economy was closed and the public sector was monopolized, now we want to activate the private companies,” he said.

Al-Madar and Libyana, the country’s two mobile telephone operators, are in talks over possible initial public offerings, Karoud said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saleh Sarrar in Tripoli via the Dubai newsroom

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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