At least eight companies are expected to list in Abu Dhabi this year after the emirate’s main energy company pulled off the world’s biggest listing so far in 2023.
The IPO candidates span industries from technology and media to asset management and a firm that operates in the regenerative medicine sector, according to Sameh Al Qubaisi, director general of economic affairs at Abu Dhabi’s department of economic development.
“These are sizable companies,” Al Qubaisi, who also leads a Dhs5bn ($1.36bn) IPO fund to spur share sales in the emirate, said in an interview.
“Some are high-growth companies that have only been there for five or six years, the disruptors.” Some firms plan to list 10 per cent and 20 per cent stakes, he said, declining to name them.
Other potential listings include family conglomerates, as well as local and international private sector companies. Many operate in sectors that haven’t listed in Abu Dhabi before as the government seeks to diversify the local stock exchange, Al Qubaisi said.
Last week, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company raised $2.5bn from the IPO of its gas business, continuing a trend that has seen the Middle East emerge as a bright spot for share sales.
Listings in the Gulf region fetched about $23bn last year — over half of the proceeds in Europe, the Middle East and Africa — after a surge in energy prices buoyed regional stock markets as concerns over inflation hammered listings elsewhere.
G42, the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company, is considering at least six more IPOs, including G42 Healthcare, Presight.AI and AIQ, its joint venture with UAE national energy firm Adnoc, Bloomberg has reported. The firm listed its Bayanat AI unit and raised $171m in October.
A total of five IPOs in Abu Dhabi raised $5.37bn last year with state-related entities dominating the listings. Abu Dhabi Ports raised $1.09bn, while Burjeel Holdings’ fetched $299.9m. The emirate is using the listings to diversify its economy away from oil and deepen its local stock market.
Authorities are also encouraging family-owned firms to list companies operating in non-traditional sectors to boost trading on the exchange, Al Qubaisi said. He’s urging family conglomerates to list companies that are central to the emirate’s economy and secure them for future generations.
The government IPO fund is taking on some of the IPO costs for some firms and is working closely with the regulator to smooth out issues with companies operating in new industries, he said.