Oman bourse may see two initial share sales before summer

Oman’s stock market is likely to see two initial share sales before the summer, by a utility firm and a family-owned business, the director-general of the Muscat Securities Market told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We are expecting some initial public offerings this year, and two may happen by summer,” said Ahmed Saleh al-Marhoon on the sidelines of a securities conference in Abu Dhabi. He declined to give the identity of the firms involved.

Two power firms, Al Suwadi Power and Al Batinah Power, listed on the Oman bourse in June 2014 after each offering 35 per cent of their shares to the public in IPOs worth a combined 62.7 million rials (Dh598.1m).

The listing of family-owned businesses has been a key aim of bourses across the Gulf region, including Oman, as they make up a large proportion of the business sector.

Seeking to encourage them to list by allowing them to hold onto more of their businesses post-IPO, Oman is amending its Commercial Law to reduce the minimum free float to 25 per cent from 40 per cent currently.

Mr Marhoon said the process of passing the amendment, part of a wider revision of the law, was still underway, and that it was unlikely to yield an immediate wave of new listings by family-owned firms.

“There’s not much progress, as family businesses and companies are not mentally ready” to list, he said, adding that the firms would realise the importance of listing in time.

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