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Mena to host first IPO summit with listings in high demand

Experts from companies that have listed will share their thoughts at Dubai's Museum of the Future Supplied
Experts from companies that have listed will share their thoughts at Dubai's Museum of the Future

The Middle East’s first IPO-focused summit will take place in Dubai later this month after recent listings in the emirate proved a huge draw for international investors.

Dubai Financial Market and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) have partnered to host the Mena IPO Summit – Dubai, which aims to unite the entire IPO value chain.

The inaugural summit, at the Museum of the Future on January 23-25, follows record IPO activity in 2022 during which large-scale listings have been a mainstay of the regional business landscape, with further momentum expected in 2023.

Meeza, the IT services provider part-owned by Qatar’s state telecommunications company Ooredoo, said on Monday it will begin a book-building process this month with the goal of raising up to $250 million from an IPO on the Qatar stock exchange. 

The process will allow the company to offer between 30-50 percent with the final price per share to be determined on January 26. 

Meeza said it will be the first company to follow new regulations for book-building that were introduced in February 2021 as part of Qatar’s strategy to attract more foreign investors. 

In Dubai, five government-related and private sector issuers including Dewa, Tecom, Salik, Empower and Taaleem, recently raised more than $8.4 billion while their IPOs witnessed oversubscriptions drawing $183 billion.

“Dubai capital markets are witnessing robust IPO and listing activities supported by the strong fundamentals of Dubai’s economy as well as the successful implementation of Dubai’s strategy to develop its financial market in a number of areas,” Helal Al Marri, director general of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, said.

“The new markets’ ecosystem and its regulatory enhancements have created an attractive environment for various types of businesses to go public.”

Hamed Ali, CEO of DFM and Nasdaq Dubai, added: “With the increased momentum in Dubai capital markets in terms of listings and investors’ engagement, we are delighted to launch the Mena IPO Summit – Dubai as an important catalyst to exploring market opportunities in collaboration with capital market and IPO experts.”

Those set to share their insight at the summit include Dr Maryam Buti Al Suwaidi, CEO Securities and Commodities Authority; Mohammad Al Bastaki, CEO, Emirates NBD Capital; Fadi Ghandour, managing partner, Wamda Capital; Thomas Varghese, CFO, Dewa; Abdulla Belhoul, CEO, Tecom Group; and Miguel Azevedo, head of investment banking, Middle East and Africa at Citi.

The Mena IPO market continued to show significant growth last year while the global landscape remained subdued.

According to the latest EY Mena IPO Eye report, the region witnessed a 288 percent year-on-year increase in the number of companies listing between January and September, raising $14.7 billion in total – up 550 percent on the same period last year.

Brad Watson, EY Mena strategy and transactions leader, said the region continues to “forge its own path” with a steady stream of new listings, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with Kuwait, Oman and Qatar also seeing increased activity.

In 2021, deputy ruler Sheikh Maktoum Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that 10 state-linked firms would list on the Dubai Financial Market, part of efforts to lift the bourse’s market capitalisation to $817 billion.