Slaughterhouse Operator Survives Qatar Stock Bloodbath With GainBy and
Widam Food is best-performing equity since Arab spat began
Stock has highest percentage of foreign ownership in Qatar
The Qatari stock to post the biggest advance since a dispute erupted with the Gulf country’s neighbors is a slaughterhouse and livestock trader that sells subsidized meat to locals.
Widam Food Co. has gained 7 percent in Doha since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links early June, accusing Qatar of supporting Sunni extremist groups and Iranian-backed militants. While Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges, its stock index has fallen 16 percent during the standoff, the worst performance of any benchmark gauge globally.
Even as Saudi Arabia shut Qatar’s only land border, Widam maintained deliveries, airlifting livestock to ensure supplies in the crucial holy month of Ramadan and the Eid holidays when Muslims traditionally sacrifice animals. Widam has agreements with the Qatari government to subsidize animals sold for Eid, local media have reported.
“The company is still able to import through air and sea and basically dominates an important market in which it has very little competition, mostly from small retailers,” said Wadah Al Taha, a Dubai-based equity analyst and advisory board member at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. “This is a very good advantage.”
Widam was also shielded from the market fallout by its mix of investors, with a greater proportion of holders from outside the regional Gulf Cooperation Council states than any other Doha stock. While GCC investors dumped Qatar equities as the dispute erupted, Widam’s foreign holding dropped by less than 1 percentage point to about 24 percent, figures from the bourse’s website show.
— With assistance by Dana El Baltaji