The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region saw 10 IPOs with the combined proceeds of $3.4b, an EY report showed this week.
According to the EY Mena IPO Eye Q1 2023 report, IPO activity in the Mena region retained strong momentum despite the weaker global sentiment. This represents a 33 per cent drop in the number of listings and a 14 per cent decrease in value compared with Q1 2022.
Globally, Q1 2023 saw a total of 299 IPOs, raising $21.5b – a 61 per cent decrease in volume year-on-year (YoY). This follows the trend for 2022, when IPO-bound companies and investors faced ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties, exacerbated by stress in the global banking system. IPO windows are short, and funding conditions are getting tougher, with investors prioritising value over growth.
The Mena region, however, remains buoyant, with a promising pipeline for the rest of the year, driven by various enabling initiatives, such as the Abu Dhabi IPO Fund (ADIPOF). Six companies in Saudi Arabia have announced their listing plans on the Saudi Exchange (Tadawul) Main Market. These include Ghida Al-Sultan Company, Foods Gate, MeyarConstruction Co., Saudi Lime Industries Company, First Mills Company and HyperPay, the Ey report showed.
“Volatility experienced in the Mena equity market during 2022 continued into Q1 2023 due to rising interest rates, inflation concerns, unexpected global banking turbulence and geopolitical uncertainties, which has impacted investor sentiment. At the end of the quarter, six out of the 10 Mena IPOs had a positive return compared to their IPO price, with Presight Al Holding PLC achieving the highest gain of 146.3 per cent,” the report said.
Brad Watson, EY Mena strategy and transactions leader, said: “Q1 2023 proved Mena IPOs continue to go against global trends in these uncertain economic times, building on the momentum from last year. 2023 shows a healthy pipeline across the region, with several initiatives to support private and government entities on their path to IPO.”
Saudi Arabia continues to lead the way
Once again, Saudi Arabia was the frontrunner in listing activity in Q1 2023. This included six IPOs on the Nomu – parallel market with proceeds of $0.7b as well as one real estate investment trust (REIT) raising $0.1b. The IPOs came from a range of companies spanning diverse sectors, including Leen Alkhair Trading Co., Horizon Foods Co., Nofoth Food Products Co., Waja Co., BENA Steel Industries Co., Knowledge Net Co. and Alinma Hospitality REIT Fund. There were also two direct listings on the Nomu by Balady Poultry Co. and Alqemam for Computer Systems Co.
UAE sees the world’s largest IPO for the quarter
In the UAE, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) had the largest IPO of the quarter globally, with Adnoc Gas PLC raising $2.5b. The IPO was oversubscribed 58 times, with its first closing day share price trading 19 per cent higher than its listing price of AED2.37. This is the sixth company listed by the Adnoc Group, which continues the trend into 2023 with further announcements. In addition, Presight AI Holding PLC, an ADX-listed data analytics company, raised $0.5b with the second IPO from G42’s portfolio, which was oversubscribed 136 times.
Wider region witnesses moderate IPO activity
Other regional exchanges also saw IPO activity in Q1 2023. The IPO of Abraj Energy Services SAOG, Oman’s largest oilfield services provider, raised $0.2b on the Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) and was oversubscribed 8.7 times. in the Mena region. In addition, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) welcomed a direct listing by Damaan Islamic Insurance Company.
Despite the continued devaluation of the Egyptian pound, the Egypt Stock Market (EGX30) finished the quarter with a 12.5 per cent gain, reinforcing its status of the Middle East’s best performer.
“Despite the 33 per cent YoY decline in the number of IPOs in Q1 2023, Mena IPO and trading activity remained robust, proving the strength of investor confidence in the region against global financial headwinds. Saudi Arabia is still the most active market in terms of volume, while the largest IPOs continue to be dominated by the energy sector. Q2 2023 is already off to a strong start with a number of announced regional listings,” Gregory Hughes, EY Mena IPO and Transaction Diligence Leader, said.
The UAE has already witnessed its first IPO of Q2 2023, with Al Ansari Exchange listing on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on April 6, raising $0.2b in proceeds. Furthermore, Adnoc has announced its second listing for this year with the plan to sell a 15 per cent stake in its logistics and shipping unit in an IPO. Elsewhere in the region, MEEZA, a technology services provider in Qatar, is also expected to list in Q2 as the first company in the country to use the book-building mechanism to set the IPO price.
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