Initial public offerings (IPOs) have raised $2bn for Middle East companies in 2012, up 134 per cent from the $834.9m raised in 2011, according to UK-based consultancy Ernst & Young.

Saudi Arabia was by far the most active country, reflecting the Saudi Stock Exchange’s (Tadawul) position as the most liquid market in the region. Seven IPOs raised $1.4bn during the year, with the UAE the second most active country, with $277m raised.

In Oman, $264.4m was raised through IPOs, and Morocco and Tunisia where the only other countries were there was any IPO activity in the region.

“Drawing comparisons over the past two years, we have noticed a steady climb in the amount of funds being raised by IPOs possibly hinting that markets are inching towards better results,” says Phil Gandier, Middle East and North Africa head of transaction advisory services at Ernst & Young. “We are confident that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will continue to be the regional hubs of IPO activity for investors in 2013.”