Dubai bourse… marked recovery in economy boosts IPOs
Dubai bourse ‘may see further listings by year-end’
DUBAI, 1 days ago
The Dubai Financial Market could see one more company list on the stock exchange before the end of the year in addition to the already-announced share sale by a healthcare and education start-up, its chairman said on Thursday.
Initial public offerings in the emirate dried up in the wake of the global financial crisis, which combined with a local property crash and debt problems at state-linked entities saw the Dubai benchmark index plummet 70 per cent from its peak — dragging local investor confidence with it.
Aided by a recovery in the emirate’s economy on the back of its key tourism and logistics sectors, market sentiment has improved. The fillip provided by an upgrade to emerging market status by index compiler MSCI all contributed to Dubai being one of the best-performing indices globally in 2013 and 2014.
Firms are now weighing IPO options amid euphoria at the $1.6 billion share sale of Emaar Malls Group, which closed up 12.1 per cent on its first day of trading on Thursday after the offering was covered around 30 times over by investors.
“It is possible that we will have one more listing before the end of the year,” Essa Kazim told reporters at an event to mark the commencement of trading of EMG – the second new listing in just over a week, after a five-year hiatus.
Kazim later confirmed this potential public offering was in addition to the flotation of Amanat Holdings, which will launch a Dh1.375 billion ($374.4 million) share sale later this month.
He declined to name the sectors and companies potentially seeking a listing, except to say that the bourse is actively targeting firms which aren’t well represented.
The index is dominated by real estate and financial services firms, accounting for about 88 per cent of the market’s value.
He said family businesses could be among potential listings.
The Gulf’s economic landscape is dominated by businesses run by families who are often reluctant to cede control, especially under current rules which mean companies must float a minimum of 55 per cent unless a waiver is granted by the regulator — as was the case with EMG.
But changing rules — a draft companies law will bring the minimum free float down to around 30 per cent — are expected to prompt more family businesses to consider going public.
Al Habtoor Group, a family conglomerate with interests in retail, construction and hospitality, has been rumoured to be reviving plans for a listing in 2015, according to local media reports last week.
Other potential listings could come from Emaar, which is mulling the IPO of its hotels unit, whose operations include an Armani-branded hotel in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Meraas Holding, a Dubai state-owned developer, is believed to be preparing an IPO for its theme parks division. Emirates NBD, Goldman Sachs and HSBC have been chosen to arrange the deal, according to banking sources. – Reuters
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