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Dubai exchange set for listings surge

The first ordinary-share listing on Dubai's new stock exchange could trigger a wave of similar issues. James Rice investigates how international law firms are reacting to developments in the region

This article appears courtesy of International Financial Law Review

Nasser Alshaali, the chief operating officer at Dubai's International Financial Exchange (DIFX), is happy to be a busy man. After months of slow activity, the success of the exchange's second initial public offering (IPO) has re-intensified public interest - so much so that he has just appeared on Sama Dubai TV to talk to an intrigued public about DIFX's prospects. The concerns created by limited trading in Investcom stock must now seem far away.

The Kingdom Hotel Investments IPO, which listed regular shares on the DIFX for the first time, was a coup for the exchange: many had predicted a launch on the more liquid and more established Saudi bourse. Potential issuers were able to see international investors' appetite for the stock, as well as the successful application of the exchange's regulatory and trading apparatus. This was critical after trading in stock from the first IPO on DIFX, Investcom, was delayed for months while the trading platform was developed.

"Kingdom Hotel Investments was in essence an ideal profile for an issue on the market," says Alshaali. "It is a well-structured company with international assets and aggressive growth aims."

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