DUBAI, April 25 The first initial public offer
of shares on Dubai's main stock market for five years was 36
times subscribed, a sign of massive interest in equities among
retail investors as the emirate's economy booms.
Investors subscribed 10 billion dirhams ($2.7 billion) to
the fixed offer of 275 million shares in Marka IPO-MARK.DU,
which were priced at 1 dirham each, Jamal Al Hai, chairman of
the company's founders committee, said in a statement on Friday.
The excess money will be returned to investors.
IPOs dried up in Dubai when its financial crisis erupted
five years ago, and since then restrictive listing requirements
have encouraged several United Arab Emirates companies to list
in London rather than at home.
But the Dubai economy is now healthy again, and the Dubai
Financial Market's (DFM) main index is up 51 percent
year-to-date, making it the world's strongest major market.
Marka's IPO may pave the way for more IPOs in coming months.
Marka is a "cash shell" which does not have any current
operations; it says it will spend proceeds of the IPO on opening
over 100 fashion retail outlets, restaurants and cafes in the
UAE and across the Gulf Arab region in the next five years.
The IPO raised 55 percent of the company's capital and the
rest was contributed by 151 founders, including some of the
UAE's most prominent businessmen. Bankers have said Marka aims
to list its shares on the DFM around the first week of June.
Last month the smaller of Dubai's two stock exchanges,
NASDAQ Dubai, saw its first IPO since the financial crisis, a
$175 million offer by Emirates REIT which was 3.5
In addition to heavy interest among retail investors from
the UAE and Gulf Arab states, Dubai is attracting fresh fund
inflows from foreign institutions before index compiler MSCI's
upgrade of the UAE to emerging market status late next month.
(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Sophie Walker)