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Middle East Newsletter: Dubai Joins Gulf IPO Frenzy

Traders sit below the stock market screens at the Dubai Financial Market 

Traders sit below the stock market screens at the Dubai Financial Market 

Photographer: KARIM SAHIB/AFP

Dubai finally joined the IPO frenzy in the Gulf this week by announcing a potential blockbuster listing of its main utility.

The city has so far lagged regional rivals Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which have announced a flurry of listings and drawn billions in orders. To help catch up, Dubai plans to list 10 state firms and encourage family-owned businesses to sell shares on the local bourse.

It plans to kick things off with Dubai Electricity & Water Authority in what will likely be its biggest ever listing in the city and value the firm at more than $25 billion. Dubai has staged just one IPO since 2017, and its only prospect of a listing this year fell through in April.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh continue to be busy IPO venues. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange Tadawul got approval to list shares in an IPO that could value the bourse at between $3 billion and $4 billion. It’s expected to start trading early next month.

And Abu Dhabi’s state oil company Adnoc and Borealis are weighing an IPO of their plastics joint venture Borouge.