Dubai to host inaugural Mena IPO summit amid continuing listings momentum

The emirate is encouraging private and family-owned businesses in push to expand Dubai's capital market

Dewa's listing on the DFM was the biggest equity markets transaction in the region in 2022. AP
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Dubai is to host the inaugural Mena IPO Summit on Monday that will bring regional and international industry experts and issuers together, as initial public offerings pick up pace in UAE.

The three-day summit and workshops will be held from January 23 to 25 at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, the Dubai Media Office said on Sunday.

The event, jointly organised by the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will underpin the IPO growth in the emirate so far and prospects of Dubai driving further growth in public listings in the six-member economic bloc of GCC and the winder Mena region.

“Last year, Dubai accounted for 40 per cent of IPO activity in the Gulf region,” Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said.

“Driven by the ambitious goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), Dubai will continue to accelerate its economic growth momentum and consolidate its position as a major international financial centre,” Sheikh Maktoum, who is also chairman of the Higher Committee for the Development of Financial Markets and Exchanges in Dubai, said.

The UAE and the wider region has seen a flurry of IPOs, amid strong investor demand as economies rebound at a quicker pace from the coronavirus-induced slowdown and liquidity has been shored up by high oil prices.

Overall, 12 companies in the UAE listed last year, raising $11 billion, in addition to the joint Abu Dhabi-Riyadh listing of Mena food franchisee Americana, which raised $1.8 billion in late 2022, according to EFG Hermes Research.

Dubai, the commercial and trading hub of the Middle East, was particularly active last year. The March listing of the Dubai Electricity and Water (Dewa) was the largest GCC IPO in 2022, raising $6.1 billion. The offering size was more than doubled to 8.5 billion shares. The utility is now the largest listed company by market capitalisation on the DFM.

State-controlled entities Salik, Empower and Tecom, collectively raised $2.2 billion in June, September and November, respectively.

Schools operator Taaleem also listed its shares in Dubai, after raising $205 million from its public offering in November.

Dubai plans to bolster the size of its capital markets, with plans to list 10 state-owned companies and boost the size of the emirate's financial market to about Dh3 trillion.

The emirate is also aiming to set up a Dh2 billion market maker fund to encourage the listing of more private companies from sectors such as energy, logistics and retail.

The Mena IPO Summit will provide a platform for industry-shaping discussions, allowing institutional investors, family businesses and start-ups to explore the latest regulations and market trends in the Dubai capital market.

The event will also provide delegates an opportunity to engage with key IPO issuers and thought leaders from the investment and capital market industry, the Media Office said.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 6:33 PM