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Oman Shares Rally to 8-Month High on Bank Dhofar Court Ruling

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March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Omani shares climbed to the highest in almost eight months, led by Bank Dhofar SAOG, after a court ruled in favor of the nation’s third-largest lender.

Bank Dhofar surged the most in more than eleven years after the Appeals Court ruled the bank didn’t need to transfer 26.1 million rials ($68 million) to the Enforcement Court’s account. Dhofar International Development & Investment Holding Co., which according to data compiled by Bloomberg owns a 27.5 percent stake in the bank, surged 8.2 percent. The MSM30 Index rose 0.9 percent to 5,957.32, the highest since July 19, at the 1 p.m. close in Muscat.

“The announcement lifted sentiment as it will effectively bring cash back to the bank,” said Kanaga Sundar, head of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets SAOC in Muscat. “If they get the money, the bank will most likely report improved profitability this year, and that’s what the market is looking at.”

Bank Dhofar said in June that the Enforcement Court directed it to transfer the funds following a lawsuit filed by Oman International Bank against the bank and others. Bank Dhofar posted a first-half loss after it set aside cash to comply with the order. The bank’s full-year profit fell 58 percent to 13.98 million rials.

“The Appeals Court has considered the attachment as null and void,” the lender said today in a statement to the bourse.

Bank Dhofar surged 9.9 percent, the biggest increase since November 2000, to 0.597 rial. Dhofar International jumped the most since April 2009 to 0.499 rial.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index fell 0.1 percent. Bahrain’s benchmark rose 0.2 percent. In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s measure advanced 0.3 percent and Dubai’s DFM General Index rallied 0.9 percent. Kuwait’s gauge and Qatar’s index fell less than 0.1 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped 0.2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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