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DIFC Predicts Growth in MENA Capital Markets Due to Increase in IPOs

Increased IPO Activity in DIFC Ecosystem Driving Growth and Innovation

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is experiencing a surge in initial public offering (IPO) activity, with fees for deals in the MENA region alone exceeding $1.2 billion. In a new report titled ‘Regional Outlook for Banking and Capital Markets’, produced by DIFC in partnership with LSEG Data & Analytics, the entities discuss how they expect regional IPO growth to come in three phases.

The first phase involves the continued privatization of state-related entities, which could lead to greater economic diversification, private sector development, and sovereign liquidity creation. By March 2024, Dubai had already taken six of the 10 government entities public, including Parkin, which attracted $71 billion in orders.

The second phase includes listings by family-owned companies, which are helping to drive business growth, succession planning, and enhanced governance and transparency. For example, Al Ansari Financial Services, one of the UAE’s largest remittance and foreign currency exchange companies owned by a local family group, raised $210 million from its 2023 IPO.

The third phase is expected to involve fintech and tech-enabled start-ups, which will stimulate new industries with high-growth potential and create strong demand from investors and viable exit options for VC investors.

Arif Amiri, CEO of the DIFC Authority, highlighted the role of DIFC in driving innovation and growth within the financial sector, stating that Dubai’s IPO boom underscores the city’s status as a thriving hub for capital markets.

The report also emphasizes how the region’s capital markets are becoming more mature, driven by DIFC’s robust regulatory framework and commitment to innovation. With the UAE attracting a record-breaking number of High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) in recent years, DIFC’s estimated 370 asset managers are strengthening their regional presence to cater to the growing demand for investment opportunities.

Overall, the increased IPO activity in the DIFC ecosystem is not only supporting banks, brokerage firms, and law firms but also driving economic growth, innovation, and diversification in the MENA region.


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