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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia led the Middle East and North Africa initial public offerings, with 14 out of 19 listings occurring in the fourth quarter of 2023.  

The MENA region witnessed a total of 48 IPOs during 2023, amassing $10.7 billion in proceeds, as detailed in the EY MENA IPO Eye Q4 2023 report.  

Notably, five listings, primarily within the energy and logistics sectors, accounted for 58 percent of the total MENA IPO proceeds raised throughout the year. 

In the final quarter of 2023 alone, the region saw 19 IPOs raising $4.9 billion in proceeds. Saudi Arabia’s leadership in IPO activity was particularly evident during the quarter, with ADES Holding Co. and SAL Saudi Logistics Services Co. leading the charge on the Tadawul Main Market with proceeds of $1.2 billion and $700 million, respectively.   

The Kingdom’s remaining 12 IPOs, which collectively raised $140 million, were conducted on the parallel market, Nomu, including the quarter’s only direct listing in the MENA region by Almujtama Alraida Medical Co. 

Saudi Arabia’s ADES Holding Co. led the quarter by raising the most funds, contributing 25 percent to the overall MENA region’s IPO proceeds, followed closely by UAE’s Pure Health Holding PJSC, which accounted for 20 percent. 

The quarter’s listings were predominantly in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, with Egypt being the only non-GCC country to report IPO activity over the year. 

Moreover, the diversity of Saudi Arabia’s IPO market in 2023 spanned several sectors, with energy, transportation, and healthcare leading the way.  

The first quarter of 2024 has already witnessed significant activity with two Saudi listings on Tadawul in January, MBC Group and Avalon Pharma, raising $222 million and $437 million, respectively, signaling a promising start to the year in the Kingdom’s capital markets, according to the report.

“The 2024 pipeline includes 29 companies across various sectors announcing their intention to list, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the way in terms of expected volumes. Outside the GCC, Egypt has four IPOs planned,” the report stated.  

Investor confidence remained robust in the region, with 11 of the 19 IPOs in Q4 2023 experiencing a first-day gain in share price.  

By the year’s end, 26 out of the 48 IPOs launched in 2023 demonstrated a positive return relative to their listing price, with Saudi Arabia’s Armah Sports Co. securing the highest gain at 72 percent. 

Last year saw a slight decline in IPO activity compared to 2022, with a 6 percent decrease in the number of IPOs and a 51 percent reduction in proceeds.  

This drop can be attributed to the high volume of IPOs in 2022, including significant listings such as Americana Restaurants International PLC, Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., and Arabian Drilling Co. 

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