Abu Dhabi Ports surges on debut after $1.1bn share sale
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Abu Dhabi Ports surges on debut after $1.1bn share sale

Abu Dhabi Ports surges on debut after $1.1bn share sale

In 2021, Abu Dhabi Ports handled 45 million tons of general cargo volumes

Abu Dhabi Ports rose 15 per cent on its trading debut after a Dhs4bn ($1.1bn) share sale, underscoring the continued strong demand for new listings in the Middle East even as offerings from the US to Europe struggle to get off the ground.

Shares in the port operator climbed to Dhs3.69 on Tuesday, up from their offering price of 3.20. Abu Dhabi Ports, controlled by sovereign wealth fund ADQ, sold 1.25 billion shares in the listing.

The Middle East enjoyed a boom in initial public offerings last year, as high oil prices and buoyant stock markets fueled investor hunger for share sales. Bankers are expecting that to continue this year, even as spiking volatility has caused issuers in other markets to put their deals on hold.

Abu Dhabi  saw its IPO market rebound to life in 2021. In December, the emirate launched a Dhs5bn IPO fund to invest in private sector companies looking to list on the bourse.

Established in 2006, Abu Dhabi Ports contributes about 14 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economic growth, according to the firm’s website. The company has recently become more active in capital markets, selling a debut bond of $1bn in April and signaling plans to issue more debt to support investment.

In 2021, Abu Dhabi Ports handled a record 45 million tons of general cargo volumes, up 50 per cent from the previous year. Container throughput also grew, the firm said, despite supply constraints in the global shipping market.

The firm said it has a number of expansion projects ongoing at Khalifa Port, where it added a new container terminal in 2018. “We believe that the group is well positioned to accelerate its local and international expansion plans in 2022 and beyond,” chief executive officer Mohamed Juma Al Shamsi said in a statement.

ADQ will remain a majority shareholder in AD Ports with a 75.44 per cent stake. The sovereign wealth fund also transferred a 22.32 per cent stake in logistics firm Aramex and 10 per cent in UAE-based contractor National Marine Dredging to AD Ports prior to the sale.

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