The number of companies looking to launch initial public offerings (IPOs) on Middle East and North African (Mena) stock exchanges is set to increase this year, according to forecasts by UK consultancy EY (formerly Ernst & Young).

The final quarter of 2013 saw strong growth in the number of IPOs, with seven deals closed that raised about $726.2m. It was the highest value of IPOs recorded in the region since 2008. It also marked a 133 per cent increase in terms of volume, compared with the same quarter in 2012.

The UAE leads the market with the largest IPO raised, due to the $348m listing by developer Damac Properties on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

“The Mena IPO market is rebounding and recovering,” says Phil Gandier, Mena transaction advisory services leader at EY. “The improving macro-economic backdrop driving up stock market valuations and rising investor confidence in key markets saw the IPO year end on a high.”