Sources say government-run ports operator has met with investment banks
Abu Dhabi Ports Co is considering an initial public offering, joining a growing list of state entities in the United Arab Emirates seeking to sell shares, according to people familiar with the matter.The government-run ports operator has met with investment banks in recent weeks and may decide on financial advisers soon, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The company could raise at least $1 billion in a share sale on the local exchange, one of the people said.No final decisions have been taken, and the company may decide against a listing, they said. A spokesman for Abu Dhabi Ports declined to comment.Large state-owned companies in the Gulf are turning to equity markets to raise cash amid weak oil prices. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co selected underwriters and advisers for an IPO of its gas stations unit, which may value the business at as much as $14 billion, people familiar with the matter said last week. Emirates Global Aluminium is also planning to raise about $3 billion through a stock sale, people familiar with the matter have said.They will join Saudi Arabia Oil Co., which is preparing what could be the largest-ever IPO as the kingdom takes steps to overhaul its economy. These share sales would be a significant boost to IPOs in the region, traditionally one of the smallest for listings. Companies in the Middle East and Africa have raised about $2.9 billion from IPOs that began trading in the last 12 months compared to about $204 billion worldwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Abu Dhabi Ports, founded in 2006, operates 11 ports and hosts an average of about 25,000 ships per year, according to its website. Its flagship projects are the Khalifa Port and the Khalifa Industrial Zone, known as Kizad.