UAE Companies Rush To List Ahead Of Saudi Aramco IPO

The UAE has lined upnearlyhalf a dozen billion dollar IPOs, mainly from state-owned companies, before the record breakingSaudi Aramco listing in 2018 drains liquidity from the market

In the southern outskirts of Dubai, on the way to Abu Dhabi, sits Jebel Ali, a sprawling port and industrial complex that houses one of the world’s largest aluminum smelters and a related power plant. Global Aluminium (EGA), which operates the smelter, is planning an initial public offering for as much as $3 billion.

Owned equally by Mubadala Development of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai, EGA was formed in 2013 when state-owned Dubai Aluminium and Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Aluminium merged. EGA has mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan to advise on the IPO. A dual listing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is planned.

The United Arab Emirates has lined up a half dozen mainly state-owned companies that are planning IPOs before the record-breaking Saudi Aramco listing next year drains liquidity from the market. Next in line after EGA are minority stakes in the service stations of Abu Dhabi National Oil, with an IPO of about $3 billion being considered.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Emaar Properties, developer of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, is planning to float shares in its real estate business. Goldman Sachs is advising Emaar on the proposed IPO, which could raise more than $1.5 billion.

GEMS Education, a private-school operator, met with investment bankers in Dubai recently to plan a London IPO for early next year. Abu Dhabi Ports is also expected to announce an IPO soon, if market conditions allow. Industrial conglomerate Senaat could list shares in its subsidiaries, after putting plans for an IPO on hold three years ago. Senaat holds stakes in Abu Dhabi’s National Petroleum Construction and Emirates Steel.

Alexandre Ibrahim, head of international capital markets at the New York Stock Exchange, traveled to the UAE in the heat of August to try to persuade local companies to consider listing in New York.