Exchanges vie for African company listings

06 October 2014

Dubai and London bourses compete for North African business

The ambitious growth plans of a rising number of African companies are catching the eyes of major exchanges around the world, including Dubai and London, all eager to tempt these enterprises to list on their bourses.

Dubai as a whole is looking to strengthen its relations with Africa. The emirate’s Africa Global Business Forum held on 1-2 October had the intention of cementing trade and investment ties, as well as encouraging African companies to open up offices in Dubai to make use of its physical and financial infrastructure.

This could eventually include African companies seeking to list on Dubai’s rebounding exchange. The recent successful initial public offerings (IPOs) of Dubai-based property developer Emaar’s mall unit and the retailer Marka on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) suggests the market is back in growth mode.

The next step in the DFM’s growth could be to draw in more international companies. A CEO of an African ICT firm with operations in Dubai told MEED at the forum it is considering listing in Dubai in the coming three to four years.

Yet, the more traditional global financial hubs, such as London, are also touting for African business. The London Stock Exchange is on a push to attract more dual listings from African companies and is working on joint strategies with exchanges across the continent. It has already signed a collaboration agreement with the Casablanca exchange in June and is working with many Nigerian companies.

Both exchanges have their benefits, with London being the more established market. The environment is clearly a positive one for many African companies, which perhaps in the past have been sidelined for pervading concerns about corporate governance risks, now have an increasing range of options available to them.

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