Guests at the MENA IPO Summit. The DFM is particularly interested in encouraging companies from underrepresented sectors to go for listings. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The Dubai Financial Market will shift its focus to attracting more private sector companies to list on the bourse this year, its CEO Hamed Ali said on Tuesday.

“For us, the private sector is the top priority. The government’s pipeline of IPOs will continue to come into the market. Right now, the focus of the DFM is to expand on the momentum we have from events such as the MENA IPO Summit and help private companies benefit from the IPOs.” He was speaking on the second day of the Summit.

Ali said the DFM is particularly interested in encouraging companies from underrepresented sectors to go for listings. DFM hopes to give these firms incentives to enhance their interest in listing on the market.

“We are looking at providing incentives such as extra mentoring or support for the transition to IPO. We’re also looking at financial incentives and waivers to help them enter the market,” explained Ali.

Over the two days since the summit opened, Dubai has welcomed cooperative societies, family-owned enterprises, and small- and medium-sized enterprises to list on the market.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Hadari, Deputy CEO, Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), also confirmed that four free zones and two special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) are in the pipeline to offer IPOs in 2023.

Dubai announced in 2021 that at least 10 state-owned entities in the emirate would list on the local bourse to boost market capitalisation to Dh3 trillion. While some were listed on DFM last year, the remaining are set to go public this year. Dubai IPOs from Salik, Dewa, Tecom and Empower saw strong demand and were heavily oversubscribed.

Ali said the emirate’s bourses attracted six listings in equity and 31 fixed-income entities last year. “The fixed income listing attracted about $17.7 billion,” he added.

In the future, the CEO of DFM also confirmed that the MENA IPO Summit would be an annual event.

New hotspot for IPO deals

Commenting on why the emirate enjoyed an impressive run in the IPO market in 2022, Ali said a combination of government strategy and encouraging macroeconomic factors brought investment into Dubai’s capital markets.

“If you look at the foreign direct investment, there are about 617 FDI-funded projects in Dubai. Our GDP has grown considerably despite global headwinds, and it is higher than what it was in 2019,” said Ali.