Press release

Positive end to first half 2012 with a promising IPO pipeline for the second half

Dubai – 1ST July, 2012: Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) activity picked up in the Gulf Corporation Council (“GCC”) in Q2 2012 witnessing the strongest quarter-wise IPO performance in the last two years. New listings, although limited to only a few regional exchanges, have helped to soak up some of the excess liquidity in the region and attract investor appetite.

PwC’s Capital Markets Watch GCC report found that a total of four IPOs raised USD 1,104 million on the GCC stock exchanges during the quarter compared to three IPOs which raised USD 340 million in Q2 2011, a 69% increase in value. Average IPO offering value rose to USD 276 million in the quarter compared to USD 39 million in Q1 2012 and USD 113 million in Q2 2011.

The debutants this quarter included Al Tayyar Travel Group, a family business in the travel and tourism sector and Saudi Airline Catering Company, the catering unit of Saudi Airlines, raising USD 365 million and approximately USD 354 million on the Saudi stock exchange, respectively. Despite the weak global equity market outlook and falling oil prices, the IPOs received an overwhelming response in the market signifying improving investor confidence. Other notable issuances during the second quarter included a USD 227 million IPO by Najran Cement Company also on the Saudi stock exchange and the Bank Nizwa IPO, a newly established Islamic bank in Oman, raising USD 158 million and which may well pave the way for future IPOs of other start-up Islamic banks on the Muscat Securities Market.

The total value and number of IPOs in H1 2012 was higher by 70% and 33%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Tadawul, the Saudi stock market, continues to dominate the regional exchanges hosting five out of the six IPOs in the first half of 2012 and 87% of the total value raised. Activity on the UAE stock exchanges has been muted so far compared to last year which saw three IPOs at the end of H1 2011. Trading activity on the GCC stock markets receded towards the end of H1 2012 driven by the downward movement in oil prices, worsening economic conditions in Europe as well as the news of slowing down of growth in China and other emerging markets.

Steven Drake, Head of PwC Capital Markets in the Middle East region said: “Whilst IPO activity in Q2 2012 could be seen to be encouraging, it is still difficult to determine if we are seeing any real recovery. With what is happening in the Eurozone and the slowing of some of the high growth markets such as China and India, it is difficult to determine the impact this will have on our regional markets. We continue to see a strong pipeline in Saudi Arabia and would expect some more companies come to market in Q3 and Q4 of 2012, as long as share prices remain stable. Our outlook for the rest of 2012 is for a continued IPO upward trend in the KSA market with perhaps limited to no activity on other regional markets.”
In Europe, after some early encouraging signs in the first quarter, IPO activity slowed dramatically in Q2 2012 with approximately 47 IPO's raising USD 0.7 billion, a 65% decline in volume and a 96% decline in proceeds from Q2 2011 (134 IPOs raising USD 18.4 billion).  The European markets remain negatively impacted by the Eurozone debt crisis, and uncertainty over global economic growth, especially in China. With the traditional summer lull and Olympics in London fast approaching, European IPO activity is likely to remain subdued until the final quarter of the year.

The GCC debt market remained strong during H1 2012 with conventional and Islamic issuances collectively performing better than in the same period last year. The region’s financing needs remain strong due to the heavy infrastructure development plans and refinancing needs to service existing debts. According to recent estimates, the Saudi government plans to invest USD 500 billion on expansion and development programs and gas-rich Qatar will lay out USD 100 billion as it prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.

In Q2 2012, one of the prominent conventional issuances included the USD 500 million corporate bond by Commercial Bank of Qatar which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The largest corporate issuance of H1 2012 was Dolphin Energy’s  USD 1.3 billion issued in February this year. On the sovereign front, the Central Bank of Kuwait issued treasury bills with a total value of USD 2.33 billion and bonds totalling USD 3.8 billion in Q2 2012.

Sukuk continued to outperform conventional bonds in the region this year with Saudi Arabia and UAE and being the most active. Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank and JAFZ sukuk from the UAE were the most notable in the quarter raising USD 800 million and USD 650 million, respectively. During the same period, the Government of Dubai issued two sukuk on the Dubai Financial Market totalling USD 1.25 billion. The Saudi Arabian General Aviation Company issued the largest sukuk during the year which raised USD 4 billion.

Steven Drake added:“The debt markets in the GCC seem to have remained largely impervious to global economic instability due to continued government support of these issuances. Despite fluctuating oil prices and turmoil in other markets, the GCC continues to remain of interest to both regional and international investors looking for exposure to regional fixed instrument securities.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

1. About Capital Markets Watch GCC

Capital Markets Watch GCC surveys conventional bond and Islamic issuance and new primary market equity IPOs on GCC’s principal stock markets and market segments (including exchanges in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) on a quarterly basis. This survey was conducted between 20 June 2012 and 30 June 2012 and captures the relevant data based on their transaction date. Capital Markets Watch GCC is prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers Middle East (www.pwc.com/middle-east). All market data is sourced from publically available information and has not been independently verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

2. About IPO Watch Europe

IPO Watch Europe surveys all new primary market equity IPOs on Europe’s principal stock markets and market segments (including exchanges in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) on a quarterly basis. Movements between markets on the same exchange and greenshoe offerings are excluded. IPO Watch Europe is prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/uk) a limited liability partnership incorporated in England. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.  All market data is sourced from the stock markets themselves and has not been independently verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

IPO Watch Europe Surveys and annual reviews are available at: http://www.pwc.co.uk/eng/publications/IPO_Watch_Europe_previous_editions.html

3. About the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Services Team in the Middle East

The Capital Markets and Accounting Advisory Services Team in the Middle East is part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network of capital markets specialists who provide a broad range of advisory services to companies and investment banks in connection with capital market transactions. These include preparations for becoming a public company, selecting the right market and advisory team, assisting with reviewing accounting policies and GAAP conversion projects, advising on regulatory issues and undertaking financial and business due diligence investigations.

4. About PwC

PwC firms help organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for.  We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with close to 169,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.  Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com.
Established in the Middle East for 40 years, PwC has firms in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with around 2,500 people. (www.pwc.com/middle-east)
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