x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai's Axiom Telecom plans IPO

Axiom Telecom plans to sell up to 35 per cent of its shares on the NASDAQ Dubai this year, the first UAE IPO for 18 months.

The Dubai-based retailer Axiom Telecom is planning to sell as much as 35 per cent of its shares by the end of this year, it announced today. The planned initial public offering (IPO), on the NASDAQ Dubai, would be the first in 18 months in the UAE. Faisal al Bannai, the founder and chief executive of Axiom Telecom, said it was "great timing for the company". He said the retailer, which has 600 stores across the region, has worked to streamline the company over the past few years.

He added that the market, from an equity point of view,was in recovery mode, particularly over the past one or two months. "I don't think, at the end of the day, there is a lack of money in the market," he said today. "There is a lack of confidence and a lack of availability of the right investments … there are not many companies in the market that offers investors access to consumers and access to the retail part of this market."

Mr al Bannai said it was too early in the process to determine how much the IPO would raise but said the company planned to list up to 35 per cent of its shares on the market. Axiom Telecom intends to make a primary offering and secondary share offering through its current shareholders. The mobile phone retailer and telecoms services distributor, founded in 1997, is 53 per cent owned by Al Bannai Investment. TECOM, a member of Dubai Holding, owns 40 per cent and 7 per cent is owned by Al Zarouni Enterprises.

The money raised will go to towards working capital, paying a portion of Axiom's existing bank debt and funding its expansion across the region and into new markets. 

aligaya@thenational.ae