Oman Investment Authority plans 3 IPOs in divestment push

 Oman Investment Authority plans 3 IPOs in divestment push

Oman Investment Authority (OIA) is looking to list two subsidiaries of its petroleum company OQ and a manufacturing asset as part of a larger disinvestment plan.

The sovereign wealth fund said in a tweet that it also plans to sell full or partial stakes in two assets of logistics group Asyad and a number of hotels and resorts.

The disinvestment will be a part of the Oman Vision 2040, a roadmap under which the oil- and gas-rich Gulf country plans to diversify its investments into non-energy sectors.

It did not specifically name any of the assets it plans to list, the money or valuations it is seeking or for that matter when it plans to go in for the IPO.

OIA said that one of the objectives of the move would be to “empower the private sector to lead the national economy”.

In addition to generating revenues for the country’s government, OIA also plans to funnel direct revenues from disinvestments into “promising sectors” without actually elaborating on where it plans to invest the proceeds.

The wealth fund will list the two units on the Muscat Stock Exchange (MCX), which is not yet as vibrant as stock exchanges in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Riyadh, that have seen hectic IPO activity over the past couple of years.

In February this year, Barka Desalination Company had opened the second phase of its OMR4.4 million ($11.4 million) IPO, which was the exchange’s first such listing in three years.

Oman is not the only Gulf country that is looking to cash in on the oil price boom in recent months, especially since the reopening of the global economies and the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has pushed oil prices sharply higher. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, too, have been divesting stakes in companies at premium valuations.

Oman’s Vision 2040 is similar to the Saudi Vision 2030, as part of which it is looking to diversify its economy and bring down its dependence on oil and gas.

“Since its inception, OIA has taken it upon itself to empower and enable the private sector and avoid competing with it to the best of its ability,” said Nasser Sulaiman Al Harthy, OIA’s acting chairman for operations. “On that note, OIA conducted workshops and programmes to devise an exit plan within a five-year timeframe between 2021 and 2025 to exit more than 30 assets.”

He added: “Exiting is a gradual international practice, which is beneficial to multiple parties and leads to the main objective which is handing over economic ropes to the private sector.”

Aman Malik

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