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Sun 18 Jul 2010 11:38 AM

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Saudi Arabia leads Gulf IPO activity in H1 2010

Kingdom accounts for seven of the eight IPOs in Gulf during first six months.

Saudi Arabia leads Gulf IPO activity in H1 2010
FINANCIAL MARKET: IPOs in the kingdom during the first six months of the year raised a total of $830m. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia led initial public offering activity in the Gulf during the first half of this year, accounting for seven of the eight IPOs, according to a report released on Sunday.

IPOs in the kingdom during the first six months of the year raised a total of $830m, 31.4 percent lower than the $1,209m raised during the same period in 2009, said PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

“We’re optimistic that we will see a pickup in activity in the GCC towards the end of 2010 and into 2011 and that we will see a return of IPOs to the regional markets. We are seeing a significant increase in activity behind the scenes and a number of companies are gearing up for IPO this year,” said Steve Drake, head of Middle East Capital Markets Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“There has been a step change in sentiment and with a pent up demand for capital, companies are preparing to come to the market. As it takes between six and nine months to prepare for IPO, we’re likely to see more companies list by the end of the year or early 2011.”

The only non-Saudi IPO so far this year was in Qatar when the Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development Company sold its shares to the public raising $144m. The largest IPO to take place was for Knowledge Economic City Company, which raised $272m or 32 percent of the total capital raised so far in the Gulf region.

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