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Oman’s privatization plan poised to pump out more IPOs

Muscat has planned an IPO listing spree and divestment drive for 2024 with the goal of moving from frontier to emerging market status.
An aerial view shows the Central Business District (Ruwi) in the Omani capital Muscat on April 9, 2021.

In the shadow of neighboring Gulf dealmaking hubs, Oman enjoyed a breakout year for initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2023, with key listings pulling in roughly $1 billion in combined proceeds and generating robust investor demand. That momentum appears to be carrying over into 2024, with more deals already lining up. 

State energy firm OQ is evaluating plans to list its exploration and production business alongside its methanol and liquefied petroleum gas fuels unit, Bloomberg reported Feb. 9. The firm, controlled by the Oman Investment Authority (OIA), Oman’s sovereign wealth fund, has reportedly asked banks to pitch for roles in the offerings. OQ Exploration & Production could raise around $1 billion. 

The timing of the IPOs is preliminary and could change, but according to Joice Mathew, head of equities research at Oman’s United Securities, the market should get more active in the second half of 2024 or even after the Eid holidays, which fall in April this year. In terms of demand, the companies that OQ plans to list are fairly large.

“There should be significant interest from foreign investors,” Mathew told Al-Monitor.

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