Big demand for QPIs’ IPO in Qatar …

The QR3.2bn initial public offering (IPO) by Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company (MPHC) has generated “considerable interest” among Qataris, many of whom are encouraged by the Qatar Exchange’s “strong show”.

MPHC is likely to be listed on the local bourse in February.

Local banks handling MPHC initial public offering have received hundreds of Qataris since the IPO sale started on December 31.

The sale is open to Qataris only and closes on January 21.

The offer price of the shares will be QR10 each, besides listing costs of Dh20 a share. The IPO will comprise about 26% of the company.

MPHC owns shares in three petrochemicals companies- Qatar Chemical (Q-Chem 1), Qatar Chemical II (Q-Chem II) and Qatar Vinyl.

A spokesman for International Islamic told Gulf Times yesterday that many Qataris had turned up at designated bank branches where they could apply for the IPO.

“It has already generated solid demand and likely to continue,” he said.

The government announced that it will buy 750 of the company’s shares as a gift for each disadvantaged Qatari citizen: those receiving social insurance payments and people with special needs.

Qataris will also be entitled to allocations of additional free shares in coming years if they keep the bulk of MPHC shares they buy in the IPO.

The QE, which has a capitalisation of about $150bn, is preparing for a new influx of foreign money this May, when international equity index compiler MSCI will upgrade Qatar to “emerging market” from the “frontier market” status.

New stock listings could help the market absorb the funds. At present, the QE has some 42 listed companies with 12 in the banks and financial services sector, eight each in industrials and the consumer goods, five in insurance, four in real estate, three in transport and two in the telecom sector.

Qatar has already announced plans for IPOs worth QR50bn in the local bourse over the next 10 years.

Local banks including International Islamic and al khaliji have already launched schemes that would provide 100% financial assistance to Qataris who are applying for the MPHC offer.

Banks said they would accept requests from non-customers as well.

“The banks are clearly responding to the government’s desire that citizens participate in the IPO and become eligible for further share of Qatar’s energy wealth,” a source said.

The last time Qatar witnessed an IPO was in 2010 when Mazaya Qatar came out with QR500mn offer. In 2009, Vodafone Qatar offered a mammoth QR8bn IPO.

This would be the first IPO since 2010 on Qatar’s stock market, after the global financial crisis froze issuance.

Officials said foreigners would be allowed to buy a total of up to 15% of MPHC in the secondary market.

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