Empower shares surge on Dubai Financial Market debut

Company is the fourth listing on the DFM this year after raising over $$724m in its initial public offering

Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive of Dewa (centre) ringing the bell to mark the start of trading of Empower on the Dubai Financial Market. Pawan Singh / The National
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Shares of Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation, known as Empower, Dubai's district cooling provider, surged as much as 9 per cent above the company's listing price as it made its debut on the Dubai Financial Market on Tuesday.

The company, which started trading under the ticker symbol “EMPOWER” saw its shares jump to Dh1.45 in early trading on the DFM, giving it a market value of about Dh14.5 billion ($3.95bn).

Shares of the company settled about 2.3 per cent above the listing price at Dh1.36 at the close of trading on Tuesday.

The company sold 2 billion shares through its initial public offering, equivalent to 20 per cent of its share capital, at the higher end of its offer share price of Dh1.33, giving Empower an initial market value of Dh13.3bn.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Emirates Power Investment (EPI) will retain 56 per cent and 24 per cent of Empower’s existing share capital respectively following the listing.

Empower was the fourth IPO in Dubai this year and raised more than Dh2.6 billion ($724 million) from its offering, which drew strong demand from local, regional and international investors and was more than 47 times oversubscribed.

The UAE Strategic Investment Fund, Shamal Holding and the Abu Dhabi Pension Fund were cornerstone investors in the IPO, with a total commitment of up to Dh335m.

"Empower’s IPO further reiterates Dubai’s focus towards building robust capital markets and accelerating new listings that unlock value and growth in vital sectors," said Saeed Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive of Dewa.

Empower's offering is part of Dubai's plans to list 10 state-owned companies to increase the size of its financial market to about Dh3 trillion.

The emirate also plans to set up a Dh2bn market maker fund to encourage the listing of more private companies from sectors such as energy, logistics and retail.

"Today marks another important moment in Dubai’s ambitious programme to develop its capital markets," said Helal Al Marri, chairman of the DFM.

"Due to the rapid implementation of this programme, the DFM has become one of the most active financial markets globally in terms of new IPOs and listings this year. This momentum underscores the sound fundamentals of the economy in Dubai and the UAE and investors’ deep confidence."

Empower was established by royal decree as a joint venture in 2003 to provide energy through its various plants to the emirate's property sector.

The company will have 81 district cooling plants by the end of 2022 and a network that is more than 350 kilometres long, its website said.

Unlike global markets that have seen little IPO activity amid inflation woes and recession fears, equity markets in the Middle East and North Africa have registered a flurry of listings over the past two years.

Various government-owned companies have gone public in the UAE and private companies are now following suit.

The Mena region had 24 IPOs in the first half of this year. The UAE was the biggest IPO market in terms of the aggregate value of deals, while Saudi Arabia led volume with five IPO deals in the first six months of the year, according to EY data.

Middle East IPOs have raised $18bn this year, the highest share for the Gulf region after 2019, when Saudi Aramco went public in a $29bn offering, the world’s largest, according to Bloomberg data.

Updated: November 15, 2022, 11:11 AM