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Tue 8 Apr 2008 08:42 PM

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At least 120 IPOs planned through to 2010

Total value of IPOs over next 21 months will be $24bn, Abu Dhabi's Gulf Capital says.

At least 120 initial public offerings (IPOs) are planned in the GCC through to 2010 as more and more companies look to equity markets to raise funds for expansion, Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Capital said on Tuesday.

The investment bank said the total value of IPOs over the next 21 months would be $24 billion, far exceeding the 83 IPOs reported for the same period up to the end of 2007, the combined value of which was around $10 billion, it said.

Gulf Capital said eight IPOs with a total value of $4 billion were completed during the first quarter of this year, eclipsing the $900 million raised by the same number of IPOs during the first quarter of 2007.

It forecast the value of IPOs would surge 101% this year compared to 2007. There were 33 IPOs issued in the GCC last year and 23 issued in 2006, it said, without giving a value for either year.

Gulf Capital said part of the increase in IPOs was due to their growing popularity in sectors such as construction, transportation, telecommunications, media and education.

Previously IPOs had been limited to sectors such as finance, oil and gas, and real estate, it said.

Gulf Capital said Saudi Arabia was home to five out of the eight IPOs launched during the first quarter, with a combined value of $3.3 billion.

Meanwhile, the UAE accounted for two IPOs, with a total value of $176 million, and one IPO worth $511 million was launched in Qatar, it said.

Saudi Arabia's Alinma Bank on Monday launched the kingdom's largest ever IPO, looking to raise 10.5 billion riyals ($2.8 billion) from the sale of 1.05 billion shares representing a 70% stake of the firm.

The IPO raised about 2 billion riyals on the first subscription day.