Qatari bottled water firm Rayyan set to list by end-2016

Rayyan Water would be only the third new listing in Qatar since 2010; bourse dominated by banks, real estate and insurance firms
Qatari bottled water firm Rayyan set to list by end-2016
By Reuters
Fri 10 Jun 2016 12:04 AM

Qatar's largest local supplier of bottled water, Rayyan Water, plans a stock market flotation by the end of 2016, helping to diversify a bourse dominated by banks, real estate and insurance firms.

It would be only the third new listing in Qatar since 2010, following the initial public offering of Mesaieed Petrochemicals in 2014 and the listing of Qatar First Bank last month.

Rayyan would aim to list half of its shares in the initial public offering.

"We are having to redo some paper work ... but we are targeting the end of the year," Khalifa Khalid al-Rabban told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday. He is deputy chairman of Al Rabban Holding, which owns 100 percent of Rayyan.

The family-run holding company, which grew from the water firm founded by Rabban's father in 1984, includes interests in contracting, cement, general sponsorship and trading.

"We are turning a limited liability company into a public shareholding company. The family is selling half of the business," said Rabban. "Whether it (the cash) will be invested or not, we still haven't decided."

Local Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan has been hired to advise on the listing.

"I think ours will be the first consumer goods company to be listed, and that is quite exciting, it is a bit of a change. Perhaps we can be an example for other [family businesses] to go into the market," he said.

While state firms developed the Gulf's energy wealth, family-run businesses such as Al Rabban Holding built much of the rest of the economy. They generate more than 80 percent of non-oil gross domestic product in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, consultants PwC estimate.

Now family businesses around the Gulf face a more challenging environment as the plunge in oil prices since 2014 has led to slower growth, even in richer countries such as Qatar.

Rabban, however, said the decision to list was based more on the company's maturity than economic factors.

"The company has been with the family for 32 years. With this I believe you will have better control, better regulations and corporate governance. Business is not a one-man show anymore. An IPO is protective for the interests of our company."

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