DFM and Dubai Chamber launch programme to catapult businesses into IPO track

The initiative is aimed at family businesses, large private companies and firms from sectors that can benefit from Dubai’s capital markets

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Ð June 01 , 2014 : Signage of DFM at the Dubai Financial Market at Trade Centre in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For Business
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The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce have launched a programme to help regional private businesses grow and list on the local bourse, building on the momentum of the emirate’s booming capital market.

The IPO accelerator programme, backed by 20 regional and global advisers, will begin in May with its first workshop and 40 participating private companies from various sectors, the DFM said in a statement on Thursday.

The move is “aligned with our efforts to create a conducive environment for companies to go public and raise capital through Dubai's capital market”, said Hamed Ali, chief executive of DFM and Nasdaq Dubai.

The programme will “provide businesses with the necessary education, support and guidance to explore their IPO [initial public offering] opportunity and contribute to the growth of Dubai's economy”.

The UAE and the wider GCC 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.

Middle East IPOs raised more than $23 billion in 2022, compared with $7.52 billion from 20 offerings in the previous year. That was the highest share for the Gulf region after 2019, when Saudi Aramco went public in a $29 billion offering, the world’s largest.

In 2021, Dubai announced plans to list 10 state-owned companies and boost the size of the emirate's financial market to about Dh3 trillion ($816.88 million).

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

Dubai recorded several listings last year and accounted for 40 per cent of IPO activity in the GCC, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said this year.

The March listing of the Dubai Electricity and Water was the largest GCC IPO in 2022, raising $6.1 billion. The offering size was more than doubled to 8.5 billion shares.

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.

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The new IPO accelerator programme is part of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 that aims to strengthen Dubai’s position as a global commercial and financial hub.

The DFM and Dubai Chambers partnership will help “create an environment where various companies that consider public listing or going public through IPOs can find the capital they need to grow while building visibility and credibility with investors”, Mohammad Rashed Lootah, president and chief executive of Dubai Chambers, said.

“This programme aligns with Dubai’s economic ambitions to double the size of the economy by 2033 and consolidate its position among the top three global cities.”

The new initiative is aimed at family businesses, large private companies and businesses from sectors that can benefit from Dubai’s capital markets, creating opportunities for growth, the statement said.

As part of the programme, DFM, Dubai Chamber and the advisory firms will conduct workshops to prepare businesses and offer one-on-one meetings to create a customised plan towards an IPO.

Once these businesses consider going public, the programme will liaise with key advisers to make the necessary introductions, work with financial advisers for an IPO readiness check and prepare a listing plan.

The initiative was created in response to growing interest from the private sector in Dubai to leverage capital markets for growth, given the opportunities arising from the emirate's rapidly growing economy, the statement said.

The programme's partners are Al Tamimi, Arqaam Capital, Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, deNovo Partners, Edelman Smithfield, EFG Hermes, Emirates NBD, EY, Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton, HSBC Bank Middle East, Ibrahim N. Partners, JP Morgan, Moelis & Company, Morgan Stanley, PwC Middle East, Rothschild and White & Case.

Updated: March 30, 2023, 11:30 AM