OQ oman
OQ sold about 2.1 billion shares, or a 49 per cent stake, in OQGN. Image Credit: Shutterstock

OQ Gas Networks SAOG jumped as much as 14 per cent on its Muscat trading debut after raising 288.2 million riyals ($749 million) in its initial public offering, Oman’s largest on record.

Shares in the gas pipelines business of Omani state energy firm OQ SAOC opened at 159 baisas on Tuesday, up from the offer price of 140 baisas. OQ sold about 2.1 billion shares, or a 49 per cent stake, in OQGN and the listing drew about $10.4 billion in demand. That showed investor appetite for share sales in the Gulf remains strong.

The debut comes as investors remain on edge about the risk of the war between Israel and Hamas spreading across the region, with implications for oil supplies. Brent has advanced about 7 per cent since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas on concerns the conflict will drag in other nations including Lebanon, Iran and potentially the US.

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But while IPOs elsewhere are succumbing to the heightened market volatility because of the war as well as higher interest rates, the Arabian Gulf has so far held up as a bright spot. Oil driller ADES Holding Co. jumped 30 per cent on its Riyadh debut on October 11, just days after the attack.

Privatisation programme

OQGN is the second IPO in Oman’s privatisation programme aimed at boosting state coffers and expanding its stock exchange. Similar listing drives in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have raised billions of dollars over the last couple of years, defying a global IPO slump.

Oman's biggest share sale
OQGN’s IPO edged past Oman Telecommunications Co. SAOG’s $748 million float in 2005 as Muscat’s largest.

OQ raised $244 million in the IPO of oil drilling firm Abraj Energy Services in March, the first in its privatisation drive. Its shares have risen about 18 per cent from the listing price.

OQGN’s IPO drew in Fluxys Belgium SA, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and the Qatar Investment Authority as anchor investors who committed to buying a combined 30 per cent of the deal.

Bank Muscat SAOG, Bank of America Corp., and EFG Hermes were joint global coordinators on the deal.