Four companies owned by state-run Qatar Petroleum plan to sell shares to the public in the coming years as the country, home to the world’s third-largest gas reserves, seeks to build its $136 billion stock exchange.
Hussein al-Abdulla, a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund, declined to identify the companies when speaking to reporters in Doha yesterday. The Qatari stock exchange, which includes 42 listings, is around a third the size of Saudi Arabia’s bourse, the Middle East’s largest, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Foreign investors look at the development of a country’s equities market when making investment decisions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani said at conference in Doha. “The number of listed companies doesn’t reflect the level of the economy,” Al-Thani said.
Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, has been raising its global profile as the country plans investments of $200 billion on domestic projects in the next decade, according to Al-Thani’s estimates yesterday. MSCI Inc. declined last June to upgrade Qatar to emerging-market status from frontier due to “very low” foreign-ownership limits.
The world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas has drawn on its energy wealth to buy stakes in companies including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Tiffany & Co. and London’s Harrods department store.
Other governments in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are also considering selling off state assets. “Many companies that fall under the umbrella of Investment Corp. of Dubai, the emirate’s main state-owned holding company, are candidates for IPOs, head of Dubai’s Supreme Fical Committee said May 7.
The QE Index has gained 5.9 percent this year, compared with an advance of 34 percent for Dubai’s DFM General Index. The Qatari measure fell 0.1 percent today.
Qatar Petroleum lists subsidiaries and joint ventures on its website, including unit Industries Qatar QSC, a publicly traded chemicals maker that has the second-biggest weighting on the QE Index. Non-public holdings include Qatar Holding Intermediate Industries and Amwaj Catering Services, according to Qatar Petroleum data.
The government plans to raise $3 billion through an IPO of Doha Global Investment, a $12 billion fund set up to acquire stakes in companies offering good value amid the euro-zone crisis. Doha-based Barwa Bank said this year it’s also selling shares to the public, the first IPOs in Qatar since Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development QSC raised about 500 million riyals ($137 million) in 2010. Mazaya shares jumped 41 percent in 2012.
Doha Global’s IPO will take place this month and be open to only Qatari nationals and institutions, Qatar News Agency reported last month, citing al Abdulla. He said today the offering is still under discussion. Non-Qatari investors can trade the stock once it’s listed, QNA said in April.