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Over 20 Dubai firms keen to IPO

More than 20 companies in Dubai, which has not seen an initial public offering since 2009, would float their shares if market conditions improve, the chairman of Borse Dubai said on Tuesday.

“We have over 20 companies who would be interested based on a survey we conducted. They are waiting for market conditions to improve,” said Essa Kazim, who is also chief executive of Dubai Financial Market, the only listed Arab bourse.

Borse Dubai, the holding company for DFM and Nasdaq Dubai, wants to a more diverse range of listed companies, Kazim said.

“Right now the listings are mainly skewed towards financials and property. We want a better representation of Dubai’s economy on the bourses,” he said.

The value of initial public offerings in the Middle East plunged 95 percent to their lowest level in five years during the first quarter, Ernst & Young said in a May report.

The global financial crisis hit the UAE’s IPO market hard and demand has been further dampened by plunging valuations on regional bourses and a slump in the property sector. High valuations demanded by sellers and a reluctance to lose management control have also hindered IPOs.

The UAE saw a two-and-a-half years IPO drought ended this year when three companies floated on the Abu Dhabi index.

But conditions have been less welcoming in Dubai where retailer Axiom Telecom aborted its IPO plans last year citing market conditions and liquidity concerns.

Some UAE firms have opted to seek liquidity and better share valuations elsewhere. DP World, the world’s third-largest ports operator, listed on the London exchange in June.

Meanwhile, energy firm Dana Gas has picked four banks to arrange its planned listing on the London Stock Exchange, IFR reported last week.


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