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Dubai wants to increase stock exchange accessibility and seize private sector listings.

According to its chief executive, Dubai's stock exchange is aiming to increase private sector listings and has plans to improve access for both institutional and retail investors.

The key, according to Ali, who added that is what he and his team focus most of their time on, is being able to draw the private sector to the market.

In an effort to expand their capital markets, Gulf governments have been attempting to encourage more family-owned businesses to list, with Saudi Arabia thus far having the most success.

According to Refinitiv statistics, Dubai, the region's financial center, received close to $8.5 billion from five IPOs in 2022.

To increase participation on the stock market, Dubai's government has promised to list 10 state-affiliated companies. Utility companies Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Empower, business park developer Tecom Group, and road toll operator Salik were among the four that went public last year.

A private education company called Taaleem that receives some government support also went public.

CEO of Dubai Financial Market Hamed Ali said: "We had four, which means there are six more that will come, whenever those entities are ready to announce or the government is ready to announce," without providing a timeframe or naming them.

Market watchers speculated that the energy company ENOC and the airport services operator dnata may go public, despite the fact that neither the Dubai government nor those businesses had made any statements in the media.

According to Ali, DFM is attempting to improve liquidity—a major market concern—and increase market participation, particularly by enlisting "institutionally focused funds" and "a diverse range of brokerage firms."

When asked if the price performance of the IPOs from the previous year would have an impact on potential future listings, Ali responded that they had performed "relatively well, relative to international markets, and the reason behind that is that these are companies that are still paying dividends."

In response to the question of whether they could maintain their dividend promises in a situation with rising interest rates, Ali replied he could not answer for the companies.

"However, what I can tell you, if you look at the stories that came into the market, they are crown jewel stories. These are companies that we’re confident about."


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