DIFC Economics Workshop Discusses Prospects for IPOs and M&As in the MENA Region



The DIFC Authority today hosted an economic workshop to discuss the prospects for initial public offerings (IPOs) and mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The eighth event in the DIFC Economics Workshop series titled ‘IPOs, M&A & Alternative Investment Markets in the MENA Region’ brought together leaders in the banking and investment sector to discuss how recent signs of economic recovery are driving renewed interest in new listings and mergers and acquisitions.

Dr. Nasser Al Saidi, Chief Economist of the DIFC Authority said: “Though the global crisis has caused a decline in IPO activity in the MENA region, the stabilisation in advanced economies and recovery in emerging Asia, the region’s main trading partner, are encouraging the business community to revive plans for new listings. The pipeline of IPOs and M&A deals is building up and we are likely to witness a resurgence of the market in the coming two years.”

Speaking about the prospects for increased M&A activity, he said: “Regional economic integration, improved business prospects and corporate restructuring are also driving interest in mergers and acquisitions.”

The DIFC Workshop also explored the potential for an alternative investment market that could provide much needed capital for the burgeoning small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in the region. “Over the past decade, we have seen the establishment of several successful SMEs, especially in Free Zones. These companies are on the lookout for financing to expand. A well structured ‘second tier’ or alternative investment market, which these companies can tap for capital, is critical for the sustained growth of businesses,” said Dr. Saidi.

Apart from Dr. Nasser Al Saidi, some of the leading speakers at the DIFC Economics Workshop included Josef Schuster, Director, IPOX Schuster; Phil Gandier, Managing Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young; Peter Fort, Executive Director for M&A, Morgan Stanley; Amjad Ahmed, Senior Managing Director, NBK Capital; and Imad Ghandour, Executive Director, Gulf Capital

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