It's Rare, But Some Shareholders in the Gulf Aren't Playing Ball

(Bloomberg) -- Shareholder activism is creeping up in the Gulf if events of the past week are a guide.

It’s unusual in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council region, where shareholders tend to rubber-stamp board decisions. The impact was immediate on the stock markets, with shares of three companies falling in Dubai and one in Kuwait.

Here’s what happened:

Damac Properties Dubai Co., which has two golf-course development deals with U.S. President Donald Trump’s family company, tumbled as much as 9.4 percent in Dubai on April 23.

  • Shareholders recommended a 15 fils-a-share dividend versus the board’s recommendation of 25 fils.

Drake & Scull International PJSC, the Dubai-based contracting and engineering firm, plummeted 9.7 percent on April 24.

  • Shareholders asked the board to consider either issuing new shares with a minimum price that was below the traded price or offer convertible bonds

Union Properties PJSC, the Dubai-based real estate firm, dropped as much as 1.9 percent on April 22. The shares closed at the lowest level since Nov. 2016 on Tuesday.

  • Shareholders fired their chairman and two board members. Chairman later denounced the steps and hinted at legal action.

Human Soft Holding Co., the Kuwaiti education provider, plunged as much as 8.8 percent on April 24.

  • Shareholders threw out a board recommendation to issue bonus shares. But its decision to raise the cash payment failed to prevent the decline.

Also read: Icahn, Elliott and Activist Peers Grab the Mic in Meeting Season

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