Abu Dhabi IPOs Set to Increase as 40 Firms Consider Listings

DUBAI - Abu Dhabi may see a 60 per cent increase in stock listings as retailers and leisure group lead companies planning initial public offerings.

By (Bloomberg)

Published: Wed 22 Apr 2009, 12:44 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:11 PM

“We are told by bankers that there’s something in the order of 40 that are committed to going public,” said Tom Healy, chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, which has 66 stocks listed. “The timing is something we can’t predict because you have to have an improvement in the market and not just a temporary improvement,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Share sales have ground to a halt as the global credit crisis drove oil down more than $100 a barrel from its July record and caused the ADX General Index to plunge 47 per cent in 2008. The benchmark has risen 9.8 per cent this year, the biggest gain of seven indexes in the Gulf, as crude stabilised. Abu Dhabi has 8 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves.

While new share sales aren’t expected this quarter, “we see a lot of interest in going public from private and family owned companies,” including retailers and the leisure industry, Healy said. Methaq Takaful Insurance Co. was the only company to list shares in Abu Dhabi last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The stock exchange has delayed opening a new market in exchange-traded funds initially planned for the end of last year amid the slump in equities. Sales of ETFs, which mimic price movements for a group of shares, may begin next month, Healy said. “If the market is recovering the timing could be just right,” said Healy.

The stock exchange also expects to begin offering futures contracts on individual shares and indexes in the first half of next year and may progress to offer options later, Healy said. Futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell shares at a set date and price; options are the right to do so.

The market will need to provide a “significant education programme” to ensure the contracts are used as a “risk management tool,” Healy said.

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