Bahrain Bourse’s efforts in 2015 focused on completing the legislative and technical infrastructure that will make the bourse supportive to the strategies and development plans adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain in order to revitalize the local economy and enhance its attractiveness to attract more investments in different sectors in spite of the challenges caused by the sharp decrease in oil prices. The decrease in oil prices has resulted in searching for new alternatives to finance the infrastructure and strategic investment projects where the capital markets sector can provide better solutions in the upcoming period.
Despite the negative performance of the majority of bourses and Arabian stock markets in 2015 triggered by the economic situation in the region, 2015 was an important year for us as we have made various legislative and legal achievements that came in line with the implementation of BHB’s strategy. In return, we hope that such achievements support and enhance the competitiveness of the bourse in attracting local and regional investments.
While implementing the plans and programs during the year, we have kept in mind our aim of making the bourse’s accessibility feasible for both issuers of securities and investors, and with a reasonable cost for all related parties in order to achieve their strategic and investment objectives in a fair and transparent manner.
On the legislative front, the guidelines of listing and trading in Real Estate Investment Trusts “REITs” and Treasury Bills at the bourse have been approved, paving the way to provide more investment options for issuers of securities and investors to issue and trade new financial instruments at Bahrain Bourse. Amendments on the listing requirements for listed shareholding companies were also approved which includes adopting the electronic registry for trading and showing proof of ownership in securities. Other amendments included changing the companies’ profitability ratio and increasing the number of outstanding shares as well as the shareholders. In addition, the Disciplinary Board was formed going in line with finalizing the bourse’s legislative infrastructure.
On the technical side, a new mechanism has been approved in cooperation with the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to facilitate the trading of investors of debt instruments in the secondary market, which in return contributed to increasing the trading activity in this market during the year. Moreover, Bahrain Islamic Index was launched to allow investors to track the performance of their investment portfolios that comply with the Islamic Shari’ah.
During the year, Bahrain Bourse hosted various local and regional events. The main event hosted by the bourse in 2015 was the celebration of Bahraini Women’s Day that was held on 1st of December under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, Wife of the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council for Women themed “Women in the Financial and Banking Sector”. The bourse also organized and hosted the Arab Federation of Exchanges Annual Conference during 22- 23 April 2015 that was attended by a large number of specialists, professionals, and those related to developing capital markets worldwide.
Our efforts continued to spread investment awareness by organizing various events and workshops that were important in highlighting the bourse’s efforts and opportunities available for a wide range of citizens and residents.
Looking into Bahrain Bourse’s financial performance in 2015, BHB’s total revenue decreased from BD4,267,413 to BD2,843,480, reporting a decrease of 33%. Shareholders’ equity also declined from BD9,082,075 as of 31st December 2014 to BD7,989,178 posting a decrease of 12% as of 31st December 2015. The bourse reported a deficit of BD1,092,897 during 2015 compared to a net profit of BD654,540 in 2014 as a result of decreasing the government’s grant to the bourse in 2015 by 72% in 2014.
On behalf of myself and Bahrain Bourse’s Board of Directors and staff, I would like to express my thanks and sincere appreciation to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain for their guidance and continuous support to Bahrain Bourse, as well as their efforts to support the prosperity of the country in various areas.
I would also like to thank H.E. Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Minister of Finance for his ongoing support to the Bourse. I also thank the Chairman and Board Members of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), and H.E. the Governor of the CBB for their support to the Bourse.
I extend my appreciation to Bahrain Bourse’s Board Members for their efforts and valuable recommendations that highly contributed to the development of the Bourse. I also thank the Bourse’s executive management, directors, and staff for their hard work and commitment during the year, hoping that such efforts will continue to develop the bourse further.
Yousuf Abdulla Humood Chairman