Oman Shares Rise to Highest in Week After HSBC Merger Report

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Oman’s benchmark stock index rose to the highest in more than a week after a report the central bank will discuss a possible merger between the local unit of HSBC Holdings Plc and Oman International Bank SAOG.

Oman International surged the most since October, rising 3.7 percent. Transgulf Investment Holding Co., a food, packaging and financial services company, climbed to the highest in more than a year. The MSM30 Index advanced 0.6 percent to 5,957.76, the highest since March 14, at the 1 p.m. close in Muscat, taking this week’s gain to 0.1 percent. The measure has added 4.6 percent this year.

Oman’s central bank will discuss the possible merger between Oman International and the HSBC unit on March 25, the regulator said in an e-mailed statement after the close of trading today. AlWatan newspaper earlier reported the plan. A Dubai-based spokesman for HSBC, who didn’t want to be identified because of company policy, declined to comment.

“The market is up because of the news on Oman International Bank,” said Kanaga Sundar, head of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets SAOC in Muscat. Investors are expecting the central bank to approve the merger, he said.

Oman International in January said full-year profit rose 2 percent to 18 million rials ($47 million). The bank’s shares rose to 0.282 rial. Transgulf Investment climbed 3.6 percent to 0.086 rial, the highest level since January 2011.

The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index was little changed. Dubai’s DFM General Index gained 0.3 percent and Qatar’s QE Index advanced 0.2 percent. Bahrain’s BB All Share Index rose less than 0.1 percent. Kuwait’s measure declined 0.1 percent, while Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index fell 1 percent. Saudi Arabia’s stock market was closed for the weekend.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Dubai at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at