Three more private companies are expected to list shares on the UAE stock exchanges’ secondary market by mid-2015, the head of the stock market regulator said after the first two firms began trading on the platform on Tuesday.
Announced in September, the new platform aims to encourage many of the Gulf state’s private companies, including family-owned firms who dominate the business landscape, to trade their shares through the stock market but with a regulatory framework less stringent than a full listing.
Such efforts hope to improve transparency and corporate governance practices, in a country where business culture traditionally favours non-disclosure, as well as provide a stepping stone for some companies to go public.
The platform is also intended to serve as a stepping stone for some of these private companies to go public.
“By the second part of next year, we are going to see at least five companies listed,” Abdullah Salim al-Turifi, chief executive of the Securities and Commodities Authority, told reporters on the sidelines of a capital markets event in Dubai.
All five are in the real estate and financial services sectors and would be split between the bourses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Turifi said. They included Abu Dhabi-based firms The National Investor (TNI) and Manazel Real Estate, which became the first companies to begin trading on the platform on Tuesday.
Speaking at a separate event in Abu Dhabi, Yasser Geissah, chief executive of TNI, said his firm had no current plans to seek a full listing but the move on to the private company market would benefit its more than 100 existing shareholders.
“The listing will help our shareholders to now trade on a registered, recognised market, making it easier to find better pricing for their shares,” he said.
TNI is a privately-owned investment management and advisory firm with $100 million of assets under management, and Manazel Real Estate is a property developer with projects in the UAE and Jordan and existing paid-up capital of 2.5 billion dirhams ($680.7 million).
Manazel’s shares are open for trading by both locals and foreigners, while TNI’s shares are restricted to Emirati ownership.-Reuters