Not the right time: UAE firms delay IPO's

Published January 8th, 2015 - 11:41 GMT

Several companies in the United Arab Emirates have decided to hold off on initial public offers of shares because of the weakness of stock markets, the head of the securities regulator said on Wednesday.

"There are some IPOs - they saw the market and postponed as this is not the right time for them," Abdullah Salim Al-Turifi, chief executive of the Securities and Commodities Authority, told reporters.

Asked how many offers were being suspended, Turifi said: "There are many, not one - we are supposed to have at least five or six this year."

He noted that after some recent listings, shares had tumbled as much as 30 per cent at one stage, which was not a positive phenomenon. "We can't force them and we can't stop them, but sometimes we can ask them, 'Is this the right time?'"

The Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets have dropped sharply in the past several months as the slide in global oil prices has burst speculative bubbles in equities.

After a freeze of several years due to the global financial crisis, IPOs resumed in Dubai last year, and earlier this week Massar Solutions, a UAE vehicle rental and fleet management firm, said it planned to conduct the first flotation on Abu Dhabi's stock market since 2011.

On the Massar IPO, Turifi said on Wednesday: "This is very small and it is an existing company and has performance and their profit is good, so I think most of their shares will go to institutions and the public will buy." 

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