Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Alec IPO could start listings rush in construction sector

Alec IPO SeaWorld Abu Dhabi Alamy
Projects by Dubai’s Alec Engineering and Contracting include SeaWorld in Abu Dhabi and the casino in Ras Al Khaimah
  • Dubai owner ICD considers listing
  • UAE building sector growth expected
  • Other companies could follow

A listing by Dubai’s Alec Engineering and Contracting could open the gates for more construction-related companies to go public as they take advantage of the country’s buoyant property market, according to a business expert.

Alec, which is backed by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, is behind some of the Gulf’s biggest projects, including the UAE’s first casino in Ras Al Khaimah and Saudi Arabia’s entertainment city Qiddiya.

ICD is looking at a potential initial public offering (IPO) for the company, according to reports this week from Bloomberg.



“As market conditions evolve and companies seek to capitalise on growth opportunities, we may observe an increased interest in listings,” said Jelena Janjusevic, associate professor of finance at Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

ICD, the principal investment arm of the government of Dubai, acquired Alec in 2017 from Abu Dhabi’s Al Jaber Group. Alec’s projects include SeaWorld Abu Dhabi and Sofitel Dubai Downtown

In an interview with AGBI in October last year, Alec’s CEO, Barry Lewis, revealed plans to double the company’s business over five years.

In order to achieve that, he said, the company needed year-on-year growth of between 15 and 18 percent.

When asked specifically about an IPO, Lewis said: “At the moment we are comfortable with where we are. Our growth strategy and our plans are in place. There’s no talk of it.”

Alec was contacted by AGBI for comment.

The UAE’s construction market is expected to grow by more than 3 percent a year between 2024 and 2027, the latest Mena Construction Intelligence report from the real estate consultancy JLL said.

This will be led by increased investment in the infrastructure and real estate sectors including residential, hospitality, mixed use and commercial real estate.

The UAE construction sector has had problems recently. Arabtec, the company that built the Burj Khalifa and Emirates Palace Hotel, ceased operations in October 2022. Other major players, including Drake & Scull International and Union Properties have also experienced difficulties.

However, Janjusevic said: “Despite the ups and downs faced by other construction giants, Alec seems ready to take this leap. This confidence likely comes from their solid track record, their own operational strengths, project portfolio, and their ability to stay agile in a market that’s always on the move. 

“These strengths help Alec stand out and could make investors more interested.”

Nearly 30 companies in the Middle East and North Africa plan to launch IPOs this year, despite mixed share price performance from many regional businesses that went public last year, a report by the consultancy EY said.

Latest articles

Despite optimism from hedge funds and traders, oil prices remain relatively stable

Analysts optimistic on oil but the price stays steady

Global hedge funds and money managers have become increasingly optimistic about the short term outlook for oil prices in recent months, despite the oil price remaining flat at around $80 a barrel. The net length held by hedge funds and other money managers in WTI (West Texas Intermediate) futures and options has risen to its […]

Nadhim Zahawi, formerly chancellor of the UK, is thought to be leading a consortium of investors for a £600m bid

UAE’s RedBird IMI hopes for speedy sale of The Telegraph

Nadhim Zahawi, the former chancellor of the UK, is fronting one of seven bids to buy the Daily Telegraph newspaper and The Spectator magazine, which is owned by RedBird IMI, a US investment group backed by Abu Dhabi’s International Media Investments. The deadline for the first round of bidding was completed on Friday, although more offers […]

Egypt external debt

Egypt external debt makes record drop

Egypt’s external debt decreased by over $14 billion between December 2023 and May 2024, the steepest drop on record according to its Central Bank (CBE). External debt fell from a record high of $168 billion at the end of December to $154 billion at the end of May, a decrease of 8.4 percent. The drop […]

UAE trade minister Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi at the WTO ministerial meeting in Abu Dhabi in February. He said 'We are getting the support from many of the EU members'

UAE to revive EU trade talks before year-end

The UAE plans to restart trade talks with the European Union by the end of the year despite a broader agreement with GCC remaining on hold, according to a news report. The UAE has initiated the discussion both through the GCC and bilaterally, Reuters reported, quoting trade minister Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi. “We are […]