Abu Dhabi's IHC plans IPO for tech-focused subsidiary Multiply this year

Transaction will offer 30 per cent of Multiply's shares and could value the company at Dh8 billion to Dh10bn

Abu Dhabi's International Holding Company (IHC) is planning to list its subsidiary, Multiply Group, a holding company that invests in tech-focused scalable businesses, on the emirate's main stock market this year, its chief executive told Reuters.

The planned transaction, in which 30 per cent of Multiply's shares will be offered, could value Multiply at Dh8 billion to Dh10bn ($2.2bn-$2.7bn) and would be the latest in a series of listings and deals for IHC, which became Abu Dhabi's most valuable listed company following the listing of its Alpha Dhabi unit in June and currently has a market capitalisation of over Dh267bn.

“Definitely one of the reasons [for the listing] is market conditions ... but our long-term strategy is to list every single entity which we invest into in the market eventually," said Syed Basar Shueb, chief executive of IHC. "We’re planning the listing before the end of the year, it’s going to be an IPO, a main market listing."

IHC's move continues the string of listings on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as companies take advantage of a resurgence in the stock market and investors snap up shares in high-growth sectors. The ADX is the Gulf's best-performing bourse in 2021 and is up almost 54 per cent year to date.

IHC is also eyeing an IPO for its majority-owned healthcare company, Pure Health, which could happen in March 2022, Mr Shueb said. It recently sold a 50 per cent stake in another of its units, asset management group Eltizam, to Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, and a listing is also possible next year, he said.

Mr Shueb said that IHC is looking into overseas acquisitions, including assets in Turkey's food processing facilities and healthcare sector, with discussions at an "early stage".

This week, Multiply signed a merger agreement with Ben Suhail Group to create a beauty sector joint venture in the UAE. The merged entity Omorfia Group will be 51 per cent owned by Multiply unit MG Wellness Holding, and 49 per cent by another shareholder. Under the partnership all salons and spas will retain their individual brand identities and continue operations and services as usual, IHC said.

Definitely one of the reasons [for the listing] is market conditions ... but our long-term strategy is to list every single entity which we invest into in the market eventually
Syed Basar Shueb, chief executive of IHC

Last week, Adnoc Drilling made a strong debut on the ADX, following a successful IPO the previous week. The drilling arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) raised $1.1bn from the IPO after it offered 11 per cent of the company’s shares.

On October 5, Fertiglobe, which is 42 per cent owned by Adnoc, announced plans to list on the ADX. It may raise as much as $827 million after the company priced its shares on Wednesday between Dh2.45 and Dh2.65, implying an equity valuation of $5.5bn to $6bn. Fertiglobe is the world’s largest seaborne exporter of urea and ammonia combined, and the Middle East and North Africa’s largest producer of nitrogen fertilisers by production capacity.

Also this week, Abu Dhabi launched a Dh5bn IPO Fund to encourage private companies to list on the stock market. The fund, which will be overseen by the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs and managed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, will invest in five to 10 private companies a year, with a special focus on small and medium enterprises.

Updated: October 15th 2021, 7:22 AM