Gulf IPO boom

Published: May 16, 2024

Since late 2021, the GCC countries have been experiencing an IPO boom. Why are so many companies in the region looking to raise IPOs right now, at a time when market issuance globally remains at a low ebb? 

It has been a sluggish couple of years for companies wishing to make their market debut. According to S&P Global, just 1,429 initial public offerings (IPOs) were launched globally last year, down from heights of 3,276 in 2021. Proceeds have taken even more of a beating: just $120.31bn was offered in 2023, less than a fifth of the funds raised two years previously. 

Faced with persistently high interest rates and geopolitical uncertainties, it’s no wonder that IPO-curious firms might be choosing to bide their time. As a 2023 EY report explained: ‘IPO windows are fleeting and funding conditions are getting tougher, with investors prioritising value over growth… Companies are holding out for the stock markets to stabilize and rebound before listing.’

Against this backdrop of risk-aversion, there is one region that has bucked the trend. The Gulf region, which has been experiencing a surge in IPOs since late 2021, continued its streak of successful listings throughout 2022 and 2023, and is poised to keep up the momentum through 2024. 

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