Capital markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) raised $893.9m in initial public offerings in 2011, a decline of nearly 70 percent on the previous year, Ernst & Young said on Tuesday.
Last year closed with IPO funds worth $226.1m being raised in the fourth quarter, a decline of 83.5 percent from $1.4bn raised in Q4 2010.
Commenting on the overall performance of the capital markets in 2011, Phil Gandier, MENA head of Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, said: "Companies chose other fundraising routes over IPOs in 2011, which was another year of low capital market activity.
"Low investor interest continued in the MENA region as companies chose Islamic funding such as Sukuk, which saw a record year, as the preferred route for fundraising."
He added: "Investors and issuers in the region remain concerned over the volatility of capital markets and this will likely continue in the next quarter.
"However, the number of announced IPOs continues to grow across the region. The moment economic conditions and investor sentiment improves, we could see a flood of IPOs in the regional bourses."
United Electronic Company in Saudi Arabia was the largest IPO in Q4 with $105.6m, followed by SMN Power Holding in Oman with $63.9m, Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Company in Saudi Arabia with $42.7m and Jet ALU MAROC in Morocco with $13.9m.
The largest IPO of 2011 in MENA was UAE's Eshraq Properties Company ($229.1m) followed by Saudi Arabia's Hail Cement Company ($130.5m) and the United Electronic Company ($105.6m)
Saudi Arabia led the country standings in 2011, raising $460.5m through IPOs, followed by the UAE with $271.3m and Oman with $63.9m.
Global IPO fundraising was down 45 percent in 2011, with IPO activity dropping dramatically midway through the year.
Maria Pinelli, global vice chair, Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young, said: "The uncertainty around a resolution to the Eurozone debt crisis and its impact on the global economy has left investors and issuers with a lack of confidence."
Jeff Bunder, global private equity leader at Ernst & Young said the outlook for 2012 remained heavily dependent upon stabilisation in Europe, accelerated growth in the US and improved investor confidence in Asia.