The strengthening global recovery appears to have brought renewed confidence to the UAE’s capital markets. As such, a number of interesting themes have begun to emerge:

Resurgence in Dubai’s Real Estate Sector:  Following a four year gap, IPOs and other equity offerings have returned in the form of DAMAC, Al Noor Hospitals, Arabtec, NMC Healthcare and Bank of London and the Middle East.  This resurgence can be attributed to the optimism surrounding Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid, which seems to have fuelled a revival of Dubai’s real estate sector.

NASDAQ Attracting Niche Issuers:  As smaller and more niche types of issuers list on NASDAQ Dubai it bodes well for the maturation of the market.

London over Local: London remains a popular alternative listing venue for UAE issuers, with DAMAC, NMC Healthcare and Al Noor Hospitals all opting for the LSE over local exchanges. NMC and Al Noor Hospitals have gone further and registered as UK plcs, benefitting from the UK’s corporate tax exemption for holding companies.

GCC Cooperation: Abu Dhabi’s local exchange ADX has entered into an important arrangement with the Saudi Tadawul exchange to permit cross-listing of shares, allowing companies listed on the ADX to benefit from a secondary listing on the region’s most liquid exchange. This is a positive step towards a passporting regime similar to that which exists between EU jurisdictions and is a sign of increasing co-operation among GCC regulators.

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