Dubai: Initial Public Offerings in the Middle East are expected to pickup in the second half of 2018 due to the privatisation drive in the region, after falling in the period from January to June, a law firm said on Wednesday.

Overall (domestic and cross-border) IPO activity in the Middle East witnessed a slow start, with capital raising amounting to only $263 million (Dh965 million) from six offerings in the first half to June. This meant a 77 per cent fall from the same period last year, compared to $872 million from 13 deals.

“While the number of IPO transactions during the first half of this year was lower than expected, we still believe that the appetite is there, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said Mohammad Al Rasheed, a Capital Markets/M&A partner at Baker McKenzie’s associated firm in Saudi Arabia.

“The IPO pipeline includes a number of transactions that aim to hit the market later this year, although it is likely that some of these transactions will spill into the first quarter of 2019,” Al Rasheed said.

Globally, a total of 676 listings have taken place so far in the first half of 2018, down 19 per cent on the comparable period last year.