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Matt Smith


Matt Smith is a former Reuters correspondent who has covered the Middle East and North Africa since 2006, specialising in various sectors including stock markets, telecoms, technology, banking and finance

Matt Smith
Investors need to know the full picture of a company so 'investor education' is key

Gulf IPOs: what companies must do to go public

Owners of private Gulf companies mulling going public should ensure their businesses have a compelling narrative to tell investors and clear separation between shareholders and management, according to the chief financial officer of Dubai-based retailer Spinneys. In May the supermarket chain became the first company registered in the offshore Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) to […]

The PIF's domestic stakes include Saudi Telecom STC but it is also a top investor abroad

Saudi PIF is top global investor in first half of 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was the highest-spending state-owned investor in the first half of 2024, while three Abu Dhabi institutions were also in the top five. The PIF owns stakes in various domestic companies including Saudi Aramco, Saudi Telecom Co and Saudi National Bank and is spearheading the kingdom’s giga-project development programme. It invested […]

People celebrate after Eid al-Adha morning prayers inside Education City Stadium, Doha. The completion of infrastructure projects leading up to the 2022 World Cup meant there were few opportunities and catalysts left for the market

Sustained sell-off makes Qatari stocks more attractive

Qatari stocks are among the Gulf’s most attractively priced, according to core metrics, after a sustained slump on Doha’s bourse. The decline – the Qatari index is down about 27 percent from its late 2021 peak – comes after a momentous rally that propelled the index to a seven-year high when investors bet on a […]

Fans of Saudi team Al Hilal at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. Will Mena football clubs be as enthusiastic about the Club World Cup?

Mena football teams weigh appeal of revamped Club World Cup

Football teams from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia will compete alongside the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at Fifa’s revamped Club World Cup next summer, potentially giving the Mena outfits unprecedented global exposure. The United States will host the 32-team tournament in June and July 2025. Yet less than a […]

Traders at Dubai Financial Market - UAE businesses listing an IPO at DFM must have Securities and Commodities Authority approval

Fees and procedures make UAE IPOs more complex 

UAE companies seeking to go public must undertake complex and often costly procedures to complete an initial public offering, although fees remain reasonable by international standards because of competition among advisers, according to experts. This decade, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have part-privatised many government-owned companies, sparking an IPO flurry that runs counter to slowdowns in […]

ADIA Hargreaves Lansdown

ADIA group raises offer for UK stock trading platform

A consortium including Abu Dhabi’s biggest sovereign wealth fund is poised to buy stock trading platform Hargreaves Lansdown after making an improved non-binding offer for the British company. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (ADIA) wholly owned subsidiary Platinum Ivy has teamed up with private equity firms CVC and Nordic Capital to offer £11.40 ($14.51) per share […]

Shorooq partners wants to offer funding to startups that do not usually qualify for bank loans

Shorooq Partners targets startups with private credit fund

A $100 million private credit fund from Abu Dhabi’s Shorooq Partners will lend to Gulf startups and medium-sized companies that possess tangible assets or generate strong, recurring cashflows, a senior executive told AGBI. The firm’s second private credit fund made its first close in late May. Its minority partner is South Korea’s IMM Investment Global, […]

Private credit or non-bank lending has soared in popularity since the global financial crisis

Better terms and returns swell private credit demand

Private credit in the Gulf is attracting greater interest from borrowers and investors, fund managers say. For borrowers, high interest rates have depressed mid-sized, private company valuations and make selling equity to raise money less alluring. And for investors, private credit offers more regular returns than the likes of private equity. Private credit is non-bank […]

Bank customers in Dubai. Deposits by UAE residents eached AED2.4 trillion ($664 billion) as of March 31

UAE bank deposits soar as higher rates attract savers

Deposits at banks in the UAE have surged as account holders take advantage of higher interest rates to earn bigger returns on their savings, data from the country’s central bank shows. Resident deposits totalled AED2.4 trillion ($664 billion) as of March 31, up 16 percent versus 12 months earlier. Non-resident deposits – those held by […]

50 million Alef shares changed hands, making it the most active stock on Abu Dhabi’s bourse on Wednesday

Alef Education shares drop 13% on first day

Shares in Alef Education fell 12.6 percent after the company’s Abu Dhabi bourse debut on Wednesday. The education technology company had raised AED1.9 billion ($515 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) that was 39 times over-subscribed. The IPO was priced at AED1.35 ($0.37) a share, the upper limit of its range. However Alef’s shares […]

Traders on the floor of the Kuwaiti bourse, where Beyout became the first new listing since 2022

Beyout becomes Kuwait’s first stock market listing in two years

Beyout Investment Group rose 2.6 percent against its initial public offering price on its Boursa Kuwait debut on Wednesday as the family-owned business became the country’s first new stock market listing since 2022. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been home to a flurry of initial public offerings in the past few years as governments […]

About 50 asset managers that conduct hedge fund activities are registered at DIFC in Dubai

Global hedge funds expand presence in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Thirteen of the world’s top 100 hedge funds have offices in the Dubai International Finance Centre, research shows, as more of the specialist asset managers set up operations in the UAE. It is a similar story in the newer-established Abu Dhabi Global Market, where Brevan Howard – the world’s 13th-largest hedge fund by assets under […]

private credit Omar Al Yawer Ruya Partners

Private credit fund looks for $250m from Gulf investors

Ruya Partners, which describes itself as the Gulf’s first partner-owned private credit provider, aims to raise $250 million from investors by mid to late 2024, senior executive Omar Al Yawer has revealed to AGBI.  The Abu Dhabi business says regional sovereign wealth funds have become more amenable to investing in the private credit sector. Private […]

Matthias Ziegler: looking to claim a 5 percent share of new SUV sales in the Middle East region for VW within three to five years

Qatar-backed Volkswagen targets Middle East SUV market

Volkswagen Middle East aims to nearly double its share of sport utility vehicle (SUV) sales in the Gulf and Jordan, its regional chief, Matthias Ziegler, told AGBI. The German company, the world’s number two automaker by vehicle sales, and 10 percent owned by the government of Qatar, has numerous sub-brands, including Porsche, Audi, Bentley and […]

Alef IPO edtech education technology

Alef Education IPO 39 times oversubscribed

Orders totalling more than $20 billion were placed at the IPO of Abu Dhabi’s Alef Education this week, leaving it 39 times over-subscribed.  The company raised AED1.9 billion ($515 million) in its initial public offering, the company said on Thursday. It will become the first education technology business to list on a UAE stock exchange. […]

A Garanti branch in Istanbul. It is one of Turkey's largest banks by assets

Stable lira and bonfire of red tape help Turkish banks

Turkish banks are under less operational pressure thanks to a more stable lira, simpler rules and policymakers’ swing back towards economic orthodoxy, Fitch said on Wednesday.  Analysts at the credit rating agency warned that rising funding costs would compress lenders’ net interest margins, however. Fitch has raised its long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings for 18 […]

Government initiatives to raise levels of Saudi home ownership have increased the number of mortgage approvals

Saudi new mortgage approvals rebound

A greater supply of affordable housing and a growing resignation among prospective house buyers that interest rates are unlikely to fall substantially is helping to propel a rebound in new residential mortgages in Saudi Arabia. Under Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia set a target to increase home ownership among the kingdom’s adult citizens to 60 percent […]

Point-of-sale transactions include those made in bricks-and-mortar stores such as supermarkets as well as online

Saudi point-of-sale transactions on course for record high

Growing consumer confidence should lift the value and volume of Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale transactions to record highs this year, the latest central bank data indicates. Point-of-sale transactions are typically made in person using cash, credit or debit cards, but also include online purchases. As such, point-of-sale data can be interpreted as a proxy for the […]

Saudi Fransi banks profits

Saudi banks’ profits fall as interest margins are squeezed

Combined profits in April at Saudi Arabia’s banks fell 3.3 percent compared with March, to SAR6.7 billion ($1.9 billion), the lowest monthly total since last November’s SAR6.1 billion, central bank data shows. Nevertheless, banks total profits for January to April was SAR27.4 billion, up from SAR24.8 billion for the same period in 2023, a report […]

Foreign stocks Gulf sell-off

Foreign traders’ Gulf stock sell-off good news for bargain hunters

Foreign investors’ recent cutting of their holdings in Gulf stocks should prove fleeting, and the sell-off provides other traders with the chance to accumulate equities at lower prices, fund managers told AGBI. Non-Gulf investors were net sellers of $597 million of Gulf-listed stocks in April, a report by the Dubai-based consultancy company Iridium revealed. Of […]

The twisted Cayan Tower in Dubai Marina is among Drake & Scull's projects

Drake & Scull International shares up by 24% as trading resumes

Shares in Drake & Scull International rose by 24 percent on Wednesday as the troubled contractor resumed trading on Dubai Financial Market following a six-year suspension. DSI stock ended Wednesday at AED0.31, having started the day at AED0.25 – the price at which it sold AED450 million ($123 million) of shares earlier this month as […]

Emirates Airline cabin crew. The Investment Corporation of Dubai owns the airline and has a significant stake in Dubai's biggest bank Emirates NBD

Dubai wealth fund reports record net profit for second year running

Investment Corporation of Dubai, the Dubai government’s main investment unit, has reported a record annual net profit. Earnings were bolstered by higher interest rates and a resurgent aviation sector. ICD owns Emirates and FlyDubai airlines, travel agency Dnata, Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) and stock exchange operator Borse Dubai.  It also holds sizeable stakes in […]