DIFX conference attracts major UAE companies interested in listing on its exchange

Twenty-six United Arab Emirates (UAE) companies attended a conference on Wednesday to hear the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) explain the advantages of listing shares and other securities on its market.

The invitation-only event was attended by chairmen, chief executives and other senior staff representing some of the largest and most prominent companies in the country and the region.

They heard that a key benefit of the DIFX model is to attract international and regional investors on a scale unprecedented in the Middle East.

UAE companies will be able to list shares on the DIFX by setting up a holding company in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial free zone that opened last year.

Opening the conference, Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Director General of the DIFC Authority, said:

“The DIFX is a vitally important project for the whole region, not just Dubai or the UAE. It will create opportunities for many family businesses by giving them, for the first time in the Middle East, access to international investment in a stable, liquid and credible market.”

He stressed that independent regulation, provided to international standards by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), was one of the main advantages of the DIFX model.

Other features of the DIFX were explained by Fadi Ghosaini, Head of DIFX Business Development, and Ghassan Medawar, Head of DIFX Corporate Finance.

They include allowing a company to go public by listing usually a minimum of 25% of its share capital. Companies will also be able to set the issue share price themselves.

Requirements for listing include properly audited accounts and having company directors of high calibre. The DIFX draft Listing Rules were presented at the event.

Steffen Schubert, Chief Executive of the DIFX, said: “The DIFX will be unique in this region because of its international standards, which are designed to create confidence in its market.

“I am delighted that delegates at the conference clearly appreciated this and other advantages.”

The DIFX plans to open on September 26, subject to the grant of a licence to operate an exchange and clearing house by DFSA, the independent regulator of financial services inside the DIFC.

As it progresses towards its launch the DIFX is attracting growing interest from potential issuers across its target region, which includes the Gulf Cooperation Council and the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as South Africa, Turkey, and the Indian sub-continent.

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