Qatar's IHG to list on bourse despite diplomatic crisis

Family-owned Qatari conglomerate Investment Holding Group IPO- plans to list on the local stock market next week.

  
By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Family-owned Qatari conglomerate Investment Holding Group plans to list on the local stock market next week in a sign that authorities intend to push ahead with developing Qatar's financial markets despite a diplomatic crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism. This has caused many Gulf investors to pull deposits and equity investments from Qatar.

However, the Qatar Stock Exchange said on Sunday that it had approved the listing of IHG's shares on Aug. 14, which would increase the number of firms listed on the exchange to 45. It would be the first listing since the crisis erupted.

IHG offered 49.8 million shares, or 60 percent of its share capital, at a price of 10.1 riyal per share in its initial public offer during January, making the value of the IPO about $138 million.

Qatar's blue-chip stock index plunged as much as 13 percent after the diplomatic crisis began but has now rebounded to within 6 percent of its pre-crisis level, with exchange data showing non-Arab foreign investors were net buyers during the recovery.

Excluding IHG, the market has seen only two new listings since 2010, which through its subsidiaries is involved in construction, shipping, real estate and education services. It is the first family business in Qatar to list its shares; the market is dominated by state-controlled firms.

"IHG has some exposure to Egypt and Saudi Arabia through its affiliates, but this does not throw a wrench in their plans - if anything, it's a statement that the company and the Qatar economy are strong enough to weather the storm," said a Gulf equity analyst who declined to be named because of political sensitivities.

Qatar Stock Exchange chief executive Rashid Ali al-Mansoori told Reuters in late June that other initial public offers of shares were likely in the third quarter of this year, including a family-owned industrial company.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia) ((Celine.Aswad@thomsonreuters.com;))