Abu Dhabi: At least three new listings of companies are expected on the Muscat stock exchange next year, a top official said on Monday.

“We hope to see some new listings next year. One is from a utilities provider and we may see some others related to the oil and gas sector,” said Ahmad Saleh Al Marhoon, director-general of the Muscat Securities Market, while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Abu Dhabi.

He said one privately owned utility company in which the government holds a stake is confirmed for listing next year, in addition to two or more firms from the oil and gas sector.

Currently 126 companies are listed on Muscat bourse, he added.

“This year we had five IPOs — four insurance companies and one related to the power sector,” Al Marhoon said.

He also said the performance of the companies listed on the bourse had improved in the third quarter, compared to the third quarter of last year, but lamented the fact that liquidity was not where it ought to have been.

“We are not seeing that good liquidity and we are hoping to see [more] liquidity than what companies achieved,” he said. “With oil prices improving we are hoping to see more of activities in the market and also in the economic development of the country. At the end of the day, government’s injunction will have more impact in the overall picture.”

When asked about the investment in the stock market, he said foreign investment constituted 26 per cent but added that the figure has gone down compared to the previous years due to the introduction of a 10 per cent profit tax by the government on foreign investment.

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) said it is prepared for any possible listing in the coming days.

Speaking at the same event, Rashed Al Beloushi, ADX chief executive officer, said the bourse’s listing infrastructure stood ready to accommodate new listings.

“We know that there are companies that are doing diligence and they are doing homework. We are 100 per cent ready with the infrastructure,” he said, when asked whether there could be any listings in the coming days.

He said they listed two bonds this year, including a government bond from the Maldives.

Aldar Properties listed its sukuk, marking the first corporate sukuk on the bourse in early October.

In May 2018, the exchange listed sovereign bonds worth $100 million (Dh367.3 million), issued by the Maldives Government, for the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

He added that there had been Dh1.1 billion in net foreign investment on the Abu Dhabi bourse in the period up to October 25, 2018 while net institutional investment amounted to Dh1.6 billion.