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Wed 11 Mar 2015 03:00 PM

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Oman stock market likely to see two IPOs before summer

Muscat Securities Market chief says utility firm and a family-owned business are set to launch share sales

Oman stock market likely to see two IPOs before summer

Oman's stock market is likely to see two initial share sales before the summer, by a utility firm and a family-owned business, the director-general of the Muscat Securities Market said on Wednesday.

"We are expecting some initial public offerings this year, and two may happen by summer," said Ahmed Saleh al-Marhoon on the sidelines of a securities conference in Abu Dhabi. He declined to give the identity of the firms involved.

Two power firms, Al Suwadi Power Co and Al Batinah Power Co, listed on the Oman bourse in June 2014 after each offering 35 percent of their shares to the public in IPOs worth a combined 62.7 million rials ($162.9 million).

The listing of family-owned businesses has been a key aim of bourses across the Gulf region, including Oman, as they make up a large proportion of the business sector.

Seeking to encourage them to list by allowing them to hold onto more of their businesses post-IPO, Oman is amending its Commercial Law to reduce the minimum free float to 25 percent from 40 percent currently.

Marhoon said the process of passing the amendment, part of a wider revision of the law, was still underway, and that it was unlikely to yield an immediate wave of new listings by family-owned firms.

"There's not much progress, as family businesses and companies are not mentally ready" to list, he said, adding that the firms would realise the importance of listing in time.

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