Middle East IPOs on track for best ever first half as oil surges
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Middle East IPOs on track for best ever first half as oil surges

Middle East IPOs on track for best ever first half as oil surges

IPOs in the Middle East have fetched $11.4bn in the first five months of the year

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Middle East IPOs

Initial public offerings in the Middle East are on track for their best ever first half as high oil prices and foreign inflows shield the region from the volatility that has scuppered listings worldwide.

IPOs in the Middle East have fetched $11.4bn in the first five months of the year, already eclipsing the amount raised in any other first half, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The tally is only set to increase, with petrochemicals company Borouge starting trading in Abu Dhabi on Friday after raising $2bn.

The energy-rich region is a rare bright spot for IPOs this year, with a 50 per cent surge in oil prices boosting Gulf economies and stock markets. While share sales have plunged to a two decade-low in Europe because of roaring inflation, rising interest rates and a grim economic outlook, the Middle East has largely escaped the turmoil and has attracted investors from elsewhere.

“IPOs have held up very well in the GCC due to high interest from international and regional investors in recent offerings and in the upcoming ECM pipeline,” said Rudy Saadi, head of ECM in the Middle East and North Africa at Citigroup. “We’ve seen continuous net foreign inflows across all GCC exchanges, even during the recent selloff, a sign that foreign investors are buying this market despite the global volatility.”

After South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, the second-biggest IPO of the year globally came out of Dubai, where its main utility raised $6.1bn and drew orders worth $86bn from investors. The emirate is making a push to list state-owned assets, with a string of others in the works, in an effort to boost trading activity.

Gulf IPO activity held up even as regional stock markets sold off sharply in the past month. Markets in the Middle East are still some of the best performing in the world this year, with Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul up 13 per cent and Dubai’s benchmark up 6.6 per cent.

The outlook for the rest of the year remains bright, barring any major shocks like a sharp drop in the oil price. A number of billion-dollar-plus offerings are lining up in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest IPO market, while Dubai is set to continue its listing spree.

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