‘It’s good the IPO market is back on. People are interested in participating in issues here,’ says Joe Kawkabani, fund manager at Dubai-based Shuaa Capital. ‘The timing for reopening the IPO market was decided by the government and we’re surprised at how fast they’re staging them.’ The last IPO was in October for shares in Sharjah’s Dana Gas, which is now listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.

Further IPOs in the pipeline include Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (EITC), which will launch an offering of 20 per cent of its shares on 4 March. The offering of 800 million shares in the UAE’s second telecommunications service provider will only be open to UAE nationals. ‘It will suck liquidity out of the DFM,’ says Kawkabani. ‘No-one from outside the UAE can invest in the IPO. It won’t attract foreign money back into the market.’ EFG-Hermes is the global co-ordinator and lead adviser, Emirates Financial Services is lead manager and First Gulf Bank is co-lead manager for the offering. The Dubai government announced in December plans for an IPO of 20 per cent of its shares in the DFM in Q1 2006 (MEED 10:2:06; 6:1:05).

The DFM saw a number of Kuwaiti companies list in late February. They included National Real Estate Company (NREC), real estate company Al-Mazaya Holding and PWC Logistics. The listings had little impact on the market’s continued decline. ‘The market is still on a downward trend due to lower than expected company earnings and declining growth quarter-on-quarter,’ Kawkabani says. ‘We anticipate negative growth for some companies in the first quarter of 2006.’ All three companies were already listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.