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Kingdom leads IPOs in the Gulf

Last updated: Monday, July 02, 2012 4:26 PM



JEDDAH — Initial Public Offering (IPO) activity picked up in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) in Q2 2012 which raised over $1.1 billion, witnessing the strongest quarter-wise IPO performance in the last two years, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said Sunday in its Capital Markets Watch GCC report.

PwC report found that a total of four IPOs raised $1.104 billion on the GCC stock exchanges during the quarter compared to three IPOs which raised $340 million in Q2 2011, a 69 percent increase in value. Average IPO offering value rose to $276 million in the quarter compared to $39 million in Q1 2012 and $113 million in Q2 2011.

Three of the four IPOs were launched on the Saudi stock exchange and included issuances from Al Tayyar Travel Group, a family business in the travel and tourism sector which raised $365 million, Saudi Airline Catering Company, the catering unit of Saudi Airlines, which raised approximately $354 million, and a $227 million IPO by Najran Cement Company.


Bank Nizwa, a newly established Islamic bank in Oman, issued the fourth IPO, which raised $158 million.

The total value and number of IPOs in H1 2012 was higher by 70 percent and 33 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Tadawul continues to dominate the regional exchanges hosting five out of the six IPOs in the first half of 2012 and 87 percent of the total value raised. Activity on the UAE stock exchanges has been muted so far compared to last year which saw three IPOs at the end of H1 2011. Trading activity on the GCC stock markets receded towards the end of H1 2012 driven by the downward movement in oil prices, worsening economic conditions in Europe as well as the news of slowing down of growth in China and other emerging markets.


Steven Drake, Head of PwC Capital Markets in the Middle East region, said "while IPO activity in Q2 2012 could be seen to be encouraging, it is still difficult to determine if we are seeing any real recovery. With what is happening in the eurozone and the slowing of some of the high growth markets such as China and India, it is difficult to determine the impact this will have on our regional markets. We continue to see a strong pipeline in Saudi Arabia and would expect some more companies come to market in Q3 and Q4 of 2012, as long as share prices remain stable. Our outlook for the rest of 2012 is for a continued IPO upward trend in the KSA market with perhaps limited to no activity on other regional markets."


In Europe, after some early encouraging signs in the first quarter, IPO activity slowed dramatically in Q2 2012 with approximately 47 IPO’s raising $0.7 billion, a 65 percent decline in volume and a 96 percent decline in proceeds from Q2 2011 (134 IPOs raising $18.4 billion). The European markets remain negatively impacted by the eurozone debt crisis, and uncertainty over global economic growth, especially in China. With the traditional summer lull and Olympics in London fast approaching, European IPO activity is likely to remain subdued until the final quarter of the year.

The GCC debt market remained strong during H1 2012 with conventional and Islamic issuances collectively performing better than in the same period last year. The region’s financing needs remain strong due to the heavy infrastructure development plans and refinancing needs to service existing debts.


According to recent estimates, the Saudi government plans to invest $500 billion on expansion and development programs and gas-rich Qatar will lay out $100 billion as it prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.In Q2 2012, one of the prominent conventional issuances included the $500 million corporate bond by Commercial Bank of Qatar which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The largest corporate issuance of H1 2012 was Dolphin Energy’s $1.3 billion issued in February this year. On the sovereign front, the Central Bank of Kuwait issued treasury bills with a total value of $2.33 billion and bonds totaling $3.8 billion in Q2 2012.

Sukuk continued to outperform conventional bonds in the region this year with Saudi Arabia and UAE and being the most active. Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank and JAFZ Sukuk from the UAE were the most notable in the quarter raising $800 million and $650 million, respectively. During the same period, the Government of Dubai issued two sukuk on the Dubai Financial Market totaling $1.25 billion. The Saudi Arabian General Aviation Company issued the largest sukuk during the year which raised $4 billion."The debt markets in the GCC seem to have remained largely impervious to global economic instability due to continued government support of these issuances. Despite fluctuating oil prices and turmoil in other markets, the GCC continues to remain of interest to both regional and international investors looking for exposure to regional fixed instrument securities," Drake added. — SG

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