UAE’S utility increases after pulling off this year’s second-biggest IPO

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority jumped in its trading debut after collecting $6.1 billion in the world's second-largest initial public offering held this year.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority jumped in its trading debut after collecting $6.1 billion in the world’s second-largest initial public offering held this year.

Dubai’s leading utility shares rose about 20%, from the offer price of 2.48 dirhams to 2.98% dirhams, which is the top end of the marketed range.

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The IPO has valued DEWA at $33.8 billion.

This deal is the most recent sign of a fierce appetite for IPOs from the Arab Gulf. DEWA almost increased the size of this offer by three times, i.e. 18%, in the face of enormous demand, which drew orders worth $86 billion, excluding strategic investors and cornerstone.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the global IPO markets have shuttered, already buckling beneath the weight of increasing inflation and monetary policy tightening.

The Middle East avoided the worst of the volatility while rocketing energy prices increased cash reserves for local investors, who have been willing to put their money to work.

DEWA priced its IPO for an indicated dividend yield of around 5%, which is a boon as increasing interest rates make companies that provide stable income more attractive.

The utility also has a monopoly in the city and is seen as a path to gain exposure to Dubai’s economic as well as demographic growth possibility.

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Last year, Dubai missed out on a burst of share sales in the Middle East, which neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi led, and DEWA is just the emirate’s second IPO since 2017.

The government plans to list nine more state companies, including Tecom Group, to expand trading activity.

Dubai’s trading activity increased over just the last three months of 2021, hitting a four-year high in November after a string of initiatives to bolster training, but momentum has since faltered. DEWA’s IPO is an essential test of the market’s liquidity.

 

Tariq Saeed

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