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UAE bourses’ merger agreed in principle

dfm interiorA top Dubai economic policymaker said on Monday that an agreement to merge the two main stock markets in the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, had been reached in principle but nothing had been finalised.

“It is going to be very positive. The agreement has been reached between the two – there is a dialogue but it is not yet finalised,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, head of Dubai’s supreme fiscal council, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

Sources told Reuters last year that advisors had been appointed to help facilitate a merger of the exchanges, but the idea has been discussed sporadically for years without a deal.

Sheikh Ahmed, who is the uncle of the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, also said Dubai was watching markets for a potential sovereign bond issue.

“When the market is good we should go to the market,” he said, adding when asked about current market conditions: “It is good now, there is a lot of liquidity in the market both in the UAE and internationally.”

However, he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Dubai planned to issue any time soon: “We always think of it,” he said.

Asked about Dubai’s sovereign bond plans at an investor event in London on Monday, Abdulrahman al-Saleh, head of Dubai’s Department of Finance, noted the emirate had a $1.9 billion sukuk maturity due this November, but indicated that could be refinanced by bank lending.

“It is still early but we are in talks with banks for bilateral loans or syndications. They are approaching us. We are considering various funding options,” he told the audience.

The sukuk maturity is split between a $1.25 billion dollar-denominated piece and a 2.5 billion dirham ($681 million) local currency portion.-Reuters