Reopened Libyan bourse nods towards reconstruction
Al-Ahlia Cement holds its own alongside nine banks and insurers
Libya's stock exchange was reopened on Thursday ater a 12-month hiatus, listing 10 companies worth a combined $3.1bn. The new stock exchange is modeled on Abu Dhabi's and has much bigger ambitions.
In a move that highlights hopes for the reconstruction effort, Al-Ahlia Cement was allowed to publicly trade ahead even of an Islamic fund and real estate company, which will begin trading in June, and the oil firm Al-Madar and telecommunications giant Libyana that are next in line.
“We are reopening the stock market with a new vision of technology to reach investors across the world and push the wheel of the economy forward,” said IT manager Ahmed Balras-Ali.
Trading suspended last February, and the building was seized by a pro-Gaddafi brigade in June. However, employees were able to evacuate with documents and backups, according to Ahmed Karoud, General Manager.
“Before 17th February, there was no rule of law. This opening sends a sign to the world that Libya is now a stable country where the economy is kicking off again,” said Karoud.
“Such an institution is vital for development,” said Economic Minister Ahmed Al-Koshli.
Initially, trading sessions at the new exchange will be limited to 90 minutes, and shares subject to a maximum daily movement of 3%. A significant step for the previously state-controlled economy is that foreign investors will soon be able to own up to 10% of shares.
According to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib also said this month that oil production in Libya, North Africa’s biggest producer, has returned to 75% of pre-war levels, pumping up to 1.2 million barrels a day.