The Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) is confident it will launch three new initial public offerings (IPOs) before the end of 2010 according to the head of the bourse.
“We have three companies that should definitely launch IPOs by the end of 2010,” says Ahmad Aweidah, chief executive of the PSE.
“The first and largest of these is expected to be mobile operator Wataniya Palestine’s listing of a 30 per cent stake of the company’s 170 million shares.”
With a paid-up capital of $817m, its listing is expected to play a key role in deepening the PSE. The Telecommunications Ministry has set a listing deadline of 25 October for Wataniya, but the exchange is still waiting for confirmation of the exact date.
“It is currently working with advisers to determine the share price and the flotation terms, but these should be finalised very soon,” says Aweidah.
Wataniya is 47 per cent owned by the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) and 53 per cent owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel) – stakes that will drop to 30 and 40 per cent respectively after the IPO.
Palestine Mortgage and Housing Corporation (PMHC), which has a paid-up capital of $15m and Dar al-Shifa Company for Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals (Pharmacare) with a paid-up capital of $7m, are also due to list in the next few months.
“PMHC is expected to list in November and Pharmacare will also definitely happen by the end of the year as they both have a legal deadline to list before 2011,” says Aweidah.
Neither companies have confirmed the number of shares they will be offering, but public shareholding companies are mandated by law to offer a minimum 25 per cent stake.
Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC) and Chile’s Club Deportivo Palestino, the Palestinian diaspora’s football team, are also planning to launch IPOs in the near future.
“Club Palestino received listing approval from the Chilean Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in early September,” says Aweidah. “They are now moving onto the next stage of submitting their IPO prospectus to the Palestinian regulator.”
It is planning to issue 2 million shares at a price of $1 per share, raising its capital by $2m to $20m.
The PSE itself, which has a paid-up capital of $10m, is also planning to float 25 per cent at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011.
To date this year, there have been three listings on the exchange. This included Al-Wataniah Towers Company, a real estate subsidiary of the National Insurance Company (NIC), along with the listings of Palestine Insurance Company and the Ramallah Summer Resorts Company.
In mid-July, the PSE also began work on setting up a national clearing and depository company, which will operate as a subsidiary of the exchange.
“Post-trade services for investors and issuers represent an opportunity to introduce new revenue streams,” says Aweidah. “We are in discussions with potential partners, but I expect this to be concluded early next year.”