Supermarket chain Spinneys climbs 11 percent in Dubai trading debut

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High-end supermarket chain Spinneys rose as much as 11 percent in its Dubai trading debut after a rare private sector initial public offering in the United Arab Emirates, an encouraging sign for other companies looking to go public.

Shares in Spinneys 1961 Holding Plc opened at 1.7 dirhams on Thursday, up from the offer price of 1.53 dirhams, which was at the top of a marketed range.

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The IPO attracted heavy demand from investors who put in 71 billion dirhams ($19 billion) worth of orders for the 1.38 billion-dirham share sale.

The stock pared gains to 7.2 percent by 10:03 a.m. local time.

The positive performance bodes well for other privately-held firms that may be weighing IPOs in the Gulf nation. The UAE has seen a wave of listings since late 2021, but the vast majority have been state-owned companies.

Of the 24 companies that have listed in the UAE since the start of 2021, only six — including Spinneys — have been privately-owned, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The last family-owned company to go public in the UAE was money exchange firm Al Ansari Financial Services PJSC, which raised $210 million last year. After rising as much as 23 percent from the offer price, the shares are now trading about 3 percent above that level.

Spinneys’ IPO attracted Franklin Templeton as a cornerstone investor, making it one of the few companies in the UAE to have had international cornerstones. Fertiglobe Plc’s Abu Dhabi listing in 2021 drew Singapore’s GIC Pte and US hedge fund manager Jeff Ubben.

Owned by the Al Bwardy family, Spinneys opened its first store in 1961 and now operates 75 supermarkets under the Spinneys, Waitrose and Al Fair brands in the UAE and Oman. It’s planning to expand into Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s biggest economy, this year.

Emirates NBD Capital, Bank of America Corp., and HSBC Holdings Plc were joint global coordinators for Spinneys’ IPO, while EFG Hermes was a joint bookrunner. Rothschild & Co. was the independent financial adviser.

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