Traders work at computer terminals inside the offices of the Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Saudi Arabia led the primary market in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in the first quarter of 2019, raising $58.3 million in capital, according to Ernst and Young (EY).

This was contributed by the listing of the Saudi software & services company, Al Moammar Information Systems Company (Saudi SE), on the Tadawul exchange in April.

The first quarter also coincided with the start of the initial phase of inclusion on two major international indices in March 2019: the FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones’ Emerging Markets indices.

“All of these developments underline the fact that KSA has been implementing a number of regulatory enhancements in its equity markets that are effectively improving market access for investors. The kingdom’s inclusion in these indices is likely to further accelerate buying activity from foreigners in the country. These developments are aligned with the objectives of the financial sector development program envisaged by Saudi Vision 2030 and will support IPO activity in the wider region,” Phil Gandier, MENA Transactions Leader, EY, said.

Furthermore, the structural changes to Nomu announced by the Tadawul to support the number of SME listed companies will be executed in two phases in 2019. The first phase includes provisions to allow direct listings on Nomu without an IPO. The second phase will focus on the listing of close-ended funds (CEFs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) on Nomu.

More listings are on the horizon in Oman in the next two years, the consultancy said.

Approximately six power generation and water desalination companies are scheduled to be part of the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) IPO market in the next two years.