Six companies plan to launch initial public offerings (IPOs) on the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) by the end of this year.
The PSE has already seen two companies list this year. Al-Wataniah Towers Company, a real estate subsidiary of the National Insurance Company (NIC), listed 10 million shares at face value on 14 April – equivalent to $10m.
The second was the $5m IPO by Palestine Insurance Company, the country’s largest insurance company, which offered five million shares at face value.
The exchange expects another property company, the Ramallah Summer Resorts Company (RSR), to list on 24 May.
“Of course, the biggest IPO will be for Wataniya Mobile, the country’s second mobile operator, which is going to offer at least a 30 per cent stake to the public at the end of June or the beginning of July,” says Ahmad Aweidah, chief executive officer of PSE.
A subsidiary of Doha’s main telecommunications provider Qatar Telecom, Wataniya Mobile has a paid-up capital of $187m and is expected to offer 170 million shares.
“The second largest IPO will be Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC), a holding company, which has a paid-up capital of $100m and will offer a minimum of a 25 per cent stake to the public,” says Aweidah.
“It could float more depending on market appetite and price. The shares will be sold at a premium because all its six subsidiaries are fairly profitable.”
Dar-Al-Shifa Company for Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals (Pharmacare) and Club Palestino of Chile, the Palestinian diaspora of Chile’s football club, are also expected to list before the end of the year.
“Club Palestino is a very small IPO, but we’re very happy about it because we know that it will provide a link between the PSE and the Palestinian diaspora community in Chile which is quite large and very wealthy,” adds Aweidah.
The final listing of the year will be the IPO of the PSE itself which is planning to float between 20 to 30 per cent. The PSE has a paid-up capital of $10m.
Aweidah expects the majority of the six planned IPOs to sell shares at premium value.
The PSE held an investor roadshow in London from 17-19 March in which it targeted institutional investors, the Palestinian diaspora and foreign investors more generally.
“We signed three new institutional investors in London who are in the process of setting up specialised MENA-based [Middle East and North Africa] funds for their clients,” says Aweidah. “We will continue to target investors with a particular interest in frontier markets and the region.”
The PSE has just completed a two-day roadshow in Abu Dhabi which began on 17 May and is planning another roadshow in New York in September, and a second one in Amman in November.
The PSE has also shortlisted, and are working with, 15 family-owned companies that qualify as candidates for conversion into public shareholding companies and eventual listing.
Today, there are 90 companies listed on the PSE across five main economic sectors; banking, insurance, investments, industry and services.