Will 2023 see family businesses and more free zones considering a public listing? Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Free zones, co-operative societies, private entities and family-owned organisations will list their shares on UAE financial markets later this year as part of the country’s plans to deepen its capital market, a top official with the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).

“Alongside state-owned entities in the UAE, new types of companies are also seeking to go public,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Hadari, Deputy CEO at SCA. “Union Coop was the first consumer cooperative in the UAE to list its shares on DFM.

“We will see significant developments in the UAE IPO markets later this year - there are 11 new IPOs with a total value exceeding Dh8 billion, including four free zone companies and two SPACs in the pipeline.”

Al Hadari, who was speaking at the MENA IPO Summit on Tuesday, said these IPOs routes are part of a well-defined government strategy to expand investment opportunities in the market. 

"The rising activities from the IPO sector would increase the depth of the local capital markets and make it more attractive to foreign investors - who are investing in one of the best-performing economies in the world." - Mohamed Khalifa Al Hadari of SCA Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai announced plans to list 10 state-owned companies as part of its strategy to double the size of its capital market to Dh3 trillion and attract foreign investment. UAE markets have shown impressive resilience in the face of global volatility following the record success of IPOs in 2022, complementing the IPOs witnessed in 2021, including Fertiglobe, ADNOC Drilling, Alpha Dhabi and Multiply Group.

The Deputy CEO of SCA has assured that the UAE will continue to have an open door policy towards companies that want to list their on DFM or ADX. “We will work side by side with government institutions and regulatory authorities to resolve any issues and difficulties in the process. The level of the contribution of the capital market to the economy and the size of the secondary markets measures the health of the economy.”

Al Hadari also said one of the four pillars of the UAE Vision 2071 is achieving diversity in investments in a competitive knowledge-based economy. “One key strategic objective is to enhance the legislative framework necessary for developing the UAE’s capital markets," he said.

"Uncertainty and instability discourage companies from going public. The UAE government has taken important initiatives over the past year to drive economic recovery and improve the regulatory structure for investors, such as revised M&A and IPO regulations."