IPO activity eased in Q1, consistent with the trend observed in Q1 2018.
GCC IPO proceeds in Q1 2019, compared to USD 430m in Q1 2018.
in Q1 2019, down from four IPOs in Q1 2018.
of sovereign bonds were sold in Q1 2019 by the State of Qatar.
After a busy end to last year, 2019 started softly with just one IPO in the GCC during the first quarter. Global activity was also muted, with IPO proceeds more than halved compared to the same quarter in 2018. This is perhaps reflective of continuing geopolitical uncertainties including Brexit, the US-China trade war, and the longest ever shutdown of the US government.
In the GCC, efforts to attract investments continue, with the UAE Government set to confirm the sectors eligible for 100 percent onshore foreign ownership. Continued privatisation efforts across Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait will also drive activity.
Looking ahead, we expect some rebound in the level of GCC IPO activity with a number of companies in the region having announced their plans to list in the next 12 to 18 months. On 10 April 2019, Network International, the largest payment services provider in the region, priced its London Main Market premium IPO, raising proceeds of over USD 1bn – becoming the largest IPO on the London Stock Exchange so far in 2019.
The region’s debt market continues to be active, with debt products proving to be of interest to investors. In addition to the seasoned bond issuers, the quarter also witnessed a debut debt offering – Almarai’s USD 500m sukuk. With the significant oversubscription of Saudi Aramco’s first ever bond offering on 9 April, we move into the second quarter of the year on an optimistic note.
PwC Middle East Capital Markets Leader
Although 2018 closed on a promising note, 2019 started slowly with only one IPO in the GCC. Al Moammar Information Systems Company raised USD 58m on Tadawul. This is compared to five listings in the last quarter of 2018, raising over USD 1bn, and four in Q1 2018 with proceeds totalling USD 430m. This sole IPO was, nonetheless, a milestone for the Kingdom as it was the first ever IT company to list on Tadawul.
Although the price of oil increased during the quarter, this was cautiously received by investors, given that the increase was mainly driven by OPEC agreements on reducing production.
Expansionary policies, government incentives and continuing privatisation efforts in the region are helping to improve market sentiment. A number of GCC companies have announced their IPO plans for the next 12-18 months.
Al Moammar Information Systems Company was the first IT company to list in the Kingdom and was 149% oversubscribed
*The IPOs of Integrated Holding Co KCSC, National Building and Marketing, Al Nefaie Umm Alqura REIT and Al Moammar Information System Company have been excluded due to insufficient data.
Despite strong performance in share prices across a number of global markets, activity levels on the IPO and Further Offering markets were minimal – even for a quarter that is typically weak. Remaining geopolitical uncertainties have caused investors to proceed with caution. EMEA suffered especially from Brexit haggling and weakening economic fundamentals, whereas US markets got off to a late start as the government endured its longest shutdown in history.
In Q1 2019, global IPO proceeds fell by 64% against a 41% reduction in volume compared to the same quarter in 2018. In total, 173 IPOs raised USD 19.1bn compared to 291 IPOs with proceeds of USD 52.3bn in Q1 2018. The FO market suffered as well, as proceeds fell by 34% and the number of transactions by 29%. In total, 602 FOs raised USD 94.7bn in Q1 2019, compared to 845 transactions with total proceeds of USD 143.3bn in Q1 2018.
The Americas became the leading region in terms of IPO proceeds raised, whilst Asia Pacific led by volume. The Americas accounted for 51% (USD 9.8bn) of the global proceeds and 24% (42) of the total number of IPOs in Q1 2019, whilst Asia Pacific accounted for 43% (USD 8.3bn) of proceeds and 66% (USD 115) of the number of transactions. EMEA witnessed little activity in the quarter due to Brexit uncertainties and a weakening of local economic fundamentals. The region accounted for 5% (USD 0.9bn) of global proceeds and 9% (16) of the number of IPOs globally.
The GCC debt market continues to be strong, with sovereign issuances being a dominant factor. The first quarter has seen notable multi-tranche issuances by the State of Qatar (USD 12bn) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (USD 7.5bn).
The inclusion of GCC sovereign bonds to JP Morgan’s Emerging Market Bond Index (EMBI) from January 2019 is expected to further boost the demand for GCC sovereign bonds, as evidenced by the over-subscription of the recent KSA and Qatar bond issuances.
Corporate debt activity was also very active with a number of issuances in this quarter stemming from banking institutions, including a Tier 1 sukuk by Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC and programme drawdowns by Qatar International Islamic Bank, Mashreqbank PSC and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC.
We expect a significant spike in GCC debt activity with the debut issuance by Saudi Aramco in Q2.
The State of Qatar issued USD 12.0bn worth of sovereign bonds in three tranches: a USD 6.0bn tranche with a coupon rate of 4.8%, maturing in 30 years; a USD 4.0bn tranche with a coupon rate of 4.0%, maturing in 10 years and a USD 2.0bn tranche with a coupon rate of 3.4%, maturing in five years.
QNB Finance Limited issued a single tranche of corporate bonds with a coupon rate of 3.5%, maturing in five years.
FAB sukuk Company Ltd, an SPV of First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, issued a five year sukuk of USD 850m under its USD 2.5bn Trust Certificate Issuance Programme, with a coupon rate of 3.9%.
At PwC we understand that good preparation is essential to a successful IPO and debt issuance. We have experience of a wide range of international, regional and domestic IPOs and debt issuances, and can provide expert guidance from initial planning, through execution and beyond.
Our IPO and debt Readiness Assessment is an early stage diagnostic review of the critical areas needed for a successful issuance. We will highlight where current processes, procedures, structures and practices fall short of the requirements for a company whose securities are to be publicly traded and provide recommendations on how to address these gaps.
We work with issuers and their advisors to provide IPO and debt advisory and assurance services. This may include working capital reports, financial due diligence report, financial positions and prospects procedures assessment, assistance with MD&A drafting in relation to a prospectus, comfort letters and project management.
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