x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Renaissance falls after Topaz pull-out

Oman's Renaissance Services postpones the London listing of its subsidiary, Topaz Energy & Marine, which had been hoped to revitalise local markets. It may now need a change of plans if markets do not improve.

Oman's Renaissance Services seemed confident of its initial public offering (IPO) for Topaz Energy and Marine during the Middle East unrest, but the stock has suffered after it pulled the London listing in the 11th hour.

The IPO of Renaissance's oilfield services unit had been intended to raise US$500 million but has been postponed until later in the year because of an "increasingly uncertain investment climate".

Investors on the Muscat stock exchange sold off shares of the Omani multinational holding company yesterday, pushing its shares down 3.05 per cent to 984 baisas, compared with a broader market decline of 0.93 per cent.

Analysts had hoped the successful completion of the Topaz IPO would revive Oman's stock market, which fell 8.7 per cent to 6,167.36 in the first quarter of the year.

Joice Mathew, the head of equity research at United Securities in Muscat, said: "We were expecting the IPO to go ahead, despite the geopolitical situation."

The postponement leaves Renaissance in a tricky position. The company does not have much cash on hand - $58.29m at the end of last year - but neither is it highly leveraged.

The company stresses its growth plans are fully funded, but analysts said earlier targets might now be out of reach.

Mr Mathew said Topaz, the biggest contributor to Renaissance's revenue, may have to rethink its expansion plans.

"Their strategy will [be to] go aggressively into new markets, like West Africa and Brazil," he said. "Earlier, before the IPO was announced, Renaissance had been planning an organic growth strategy."

But other analysts said the losses were overdone.

"On a shorter term, Renaissance has reacted to the news of the delay in the Topaz IPO plans, but over the medium to longer term it's still an attractive play," Kanaga Sunder, the head of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets told Reuters.