Oman seeks to deepen capital markets with eye on Gulf IPO boom Oman seeks to deepen capital markets with eye on Gulf IPO boom
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Oman seeks to deepen capital markets with eye on Gulf IPO boom

Oman seeks to deepen capital markets with eye on Gulf IPO boom

Oman and Bahrain are the only countries in the GCC not classified as emerging markets by MSCI

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Oman appointed advisers to its stock exchange as part of ongoing efforts to attract more listings, the latest attempt by the Gulf nation to deepen its capital markets amid a regional boom in new share sales.

The Muscat Stock Exchange is teaming up with UAE-based Al Ramz Corporation Investment and Development and Oman-based Ubhar Capital to formulate capital market opportunities, according to a statement.

“MSX aims to promote public offerings, diversify capital markets solutions and encourage investment,” the bourse said in a statement. It’s looking to upgrade its market status “and prompt the return of capital markets to the center stage of economic development in the Sultanate.”

Oman and Bahrain are the only countries in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council not classified as emerging markets by MSCI. The market capitalisation of Oman’s stock exchange is about $21bn, the smallest in the GCC, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The MSX also joined a platform known as Tabadul that will enable companies listed on the Omani bourse to trade on the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain stock exchanges to bolster liquidity, according to a separate statement on Wednesday.

Oman’s efforts come amid continuing demand for new shares in the Middle East, despite a worsening backdrop for the global economy.

A surge in oil prices and investor inflows drove deals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh at the start of 2022, and the pipeline remains busy.

Oman, meanwhile, hasn’t had a major IPO since 2010 when telecom operator Nawras, now known as Ooredoo Oman, raised $475m. The country is now planning to list 35 state-owned enterprises over the next five years, including two units of state energy company OQ and a manufacturing firm.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two largest economies in the region, have stepped up efforts to grow their capital markets though a flurry of IPOs. The countries have also introduced investment vehicles, including exchange-traded funds and futures contracts.

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