The Qatar Financial Center (QFC) is targeting 10 listings on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) as it aims to account for 5% of QSE market capitalisation in another three years.
This was disclosed by QFC Authority chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida at a meeting to unveil its strategies beyond 2022, to be implemented in association with Qatar Development Bank, Aspire Zone Foundation and Msheireb Properties.
Already two exchange traded funds (ETFs) – one sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan and another by Doha Bank – has been incorporated under the QFC and listed on the QSE. Moreover, Qatar First Bank, which is also a QFC authorised entity, is listed on the domestic bourse.
"We are targeting 10 listing on the QSE," he said without giving further details.
Indications are that family-owned companies may create holding companies (under the QFC umbrella), which in turn may seek listings. Similar is the case with those sovereign-backed entities that wish to go public.
In its 2017-22 roadmap, the QFC had said it would allow more stock listings and financial products on the bourse, including ETFs, sukuk, real estate investment trusts and family-owned companies in order to achieve 5% of QSE market capitalisation.
Al-Jaida said overseas institutional investors were net buyers of about $2.3bn on the QSE during 2018, which was more than triple the foreign flows into the neighbouring countries.
A top official of the QSE is of the view that more QFC firms are set to seek listings on the bourse, especially after it introduced a single window system to smoothen the process. Moreover, the bourse has streamlined the listing operations, making it easier for the prospective entities to get listed.
The QFC said Qatar is an attractive platform for increasing foreign direct investment since the country’s outlook for economic growth remains better than ever.
Qatar’s GDP grew significantly in 2018 by 2.4%, up from 1.6% in 2017, and will reach 3.1% in 2019, al-Jaida said, quoting the latest estimates of the International Monetary Fund.
Sources said adding more depth and breadth to the market would enhance international appeal as it will come with the improved liquidity.
"Considering that QFC firms have now wider options (in the wake of opportunities in those countries with which Qatar has good relations), it will be appealing for them as well in view of the expected capital needs," a source in the investment firm said.