Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Industries Qatar is set to become the best performer on the Persian Gulf nation’s gauge this quarter as investors bet 2012 profit will exceed expectations and after the company allowed foreigners to buy more stock.
Shares of the Middle East’s second-biggest petrochemicals maker rose in five of the past six trading days, gaining 2.2 percent in the period. The shares slipped 0.2 percent to 155.4 riyals at the close in Doha today after rising as much as 0.9 percent. The stock, which was the most traded on Qatar’s gauge by value today, has advanced 10 percent in the fourth quarter, making it the best performer among 20 members on the index.
The Doha-based company’s foreign ownership limit was raised to 12.25 percent from 7.5 percent in September. Qatari companies limit foreign ownership at 25 percent, although they’re allowed to increase the limit to 49 percent if shareholders approve. The company, which also makes fertilizers and steel, posted a 27 percent jump in third-quarter profit, topping estimates. Industries Qatar has the biggest weighting on Doha’s gauge.
“It’s a solid company and remains attractively valued” as full-year earnings may beat expectations,’’ said Tariq Qaqish, who helps manage $100 million as deputy head of asset management at Al Mal Capital in Dubai. “After the company increased the foreign ownership limit, it looks more attractive to international fund managers.”
Overseas investors have been interested in Gulf Cooperation Council assets as the oil and gas exporters invest petroleum wealth into expansion plans. Qatar, which is preparing to host the 2022 World Cup by investing $130 billion to build infrastructure including stadiums, will post economic growth of 6.1 percent this year, the highest in the six-nation GCC, according the median estimate of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
Industries Qatar may post an 11 percent gain in full-year profit to 8.8 billion riyals ($2.4 billion), according to the mean estimate of 13 analysts on Bloomberg. Profit will probably continue to rise annually through 2015, analyst estimates on Bloomberg show. Industries Qatar’s shares have advanced 17 percent so far this year, compared with a decline of 3.8 percent for the benchmark QE Index.
Fourteen analysts recommend investors buy Industries Qatar’s shares, while one advises they hold them. The company has a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.3 times, compared with 9.6 times for the QE Index.
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