Stock - ADX
This time, ADX is seeing a different sort of listing - on its 'Growth Market', where private firms go to tap investor buy-in. But without an IPO. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The ‘Growth Market’ at Abu Dhabi’s ADX is trying to pick up some investor attention for itself, with the digital payments firm MBME listing today (April 17) and Ethmar International Holding to follow on May 1.

ADX’s Growth Market offers private businesses the chance to connect with a wider pool of investors, mostly of the institutional kind. By selling securities, these companies have a chance to diversify how they tap funds beyond banks, divestments to private equity, etc..

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“An ADX presence accelerates our access to new capital and also cement our place as a leading digital payments aggregator,” said Abdelhadi Mohamed, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi headquartered MBME. The company’s services include online bill payments and other services, which it now wants to broaden.

MBME has been a beneficiary as more payments - whether on ‘smart’ government services, public utility bills and on activities such as shopping – get done online. MBME has been in operations for 15 years and “we want to deepen our presence in each of the seven emirates,” the MD added. “Being on the Growth Market gives us a chance to source funds from investors who have seen our track record.”

Being on the Growth Market gives us a chance to source funds from investors who have seen our track record.

- Abdelhadi Mohamed of MBME

Requirements for Growth Market listing

  1. The minimum capital of the entity should be Dh5 million, fully paid. The company must have a minimum of two shareholders and a maximum of 200.
  2. The Growth Market is 'particularly suitable for private and emerging companies investing and operating in the UAE or overseas, such as family businesses and LLCs that are looking to grow', according to the ADX website. Start-ups and companies at the early growth stages are also encouraged to list.
  3. The disclosure requirements and the listing process are 'less onerous' than those on the primary market. It thus provides an 'easier transition' for private firms looking for an eventual IPO.
  4. Once listed, the share prices on ADX are only determined by supply and demand.

Next up - Ethmar

Ethmar International Holding is next on the Growth Market trail, confirming a listing for May 1. Ahead of that, the entity - with interests in real estate, technology and energy services - has co-opted Ajman Bank to act as strategic partner during the private offering process.

"The UAE economy serves as a key hub for the financial markets' activities in the Middle East, and this is clearly reflected in the great economic boom," said Ali El Gebely, Managing Director and CEO of Ethmar International Holding, in a statement.

Response Plus took same approach

In September 2021, another Abu Dhabi firm, Response Plus Holding, too had opted for the Growth Market to take its first steps in targeting a wider investor attention. The move did pay off with the emergency medical services firm now covering more markets and lining up multiple blue-chip clients, many of them in the oil and gas space.