DUBAI: Dubai plans to launch a 2 billion dirham ($545 million) market-maker fund to boost trading on its stock market and is aiming to list 10 state-backed companies on the bourse, state news agency WAM reported, citing the emirate's deputy ruler.
The move is aimed at making Dubai a more competitive market against bigger bourses in the region - Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Abu Dhabi - that are seeing larger listings and strong liquidity.
A spate of de-listings and absence of big initial public offerings have put Dubai's stock market under pressure, raising questions over the future of one of the Gulf's major exchanges, launched two decades ago.
The latest announcement boosted shares of Dubai Financial Market by more than 13% in early trade on Tuesday, its biggest intraday gain in about 18 months.
The benchmark Dubai index .DFMGI also rose 2.6%, the highest percentage gain among Gulf bourses.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who oversees stock markets in the emirate, later tweeted that state-owned utility Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa) would be listed on the Dubai bourse in the coming months.
Dewa had 884,404 water customers and 990,258 electricity customers as of the end of 2020, according to company data.
Dewa also owns the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, which has a planned production capacity of 5,000 MW by the end of the decade.
The authorities have not disclosed which other companies will be listed.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, had also separately approved a 1 billion dirham fund to encourage technology companies to list on the local bourse, WAM citing Sheikh Maktoum as saying.
He said a committee overseeing the stock market's development approved a goal to double the financial market's size to 3 trillion dirhams, adding that 10 state and state-related firms would be listed on Dubai Financial Market.
Sheikh Maktoum also announced the formation of a market supervisory committee and specialised courts for capital markets in the emirate, the trade and tourism hub of the Gulf. ($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Moataz Abdelrahiem and Saeed Azhar; Editing by David Holmes, Himani Sarkar and Alison Williams)