Dubai utilities giant DEWA to go public as IPO boom gets underway

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A picture taken on March 25, 2020 shows a skyline of skyscrapers in the Emirati city of Dubai.

GIUSEPPE CACACE | AFP | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai’s state water and power company DEWA will list on the Dubai Financial Market as soon as April, after announcing an ambitious share prospectus that could make it the largest public offering of its kind in the emirate.

DEWA, or the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, plans to sell a 6.5% stake by offering 3.25 billion shares in its public offering. A price range is expected to be announced by March 24, and shares could list on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) by April 12, according to its prospectus released Tuesday. 

“This is a historical moment for DEWA as the first government entity in Dubai to go public,” DEWA Chief Executive Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said in a statement. 

DEWA, which is the exclusive provider of water, electricity and district cooling to Dubai’s 3.5 million local and expatriate residents, has 13.4 gigawatts of installed electricity capacity and can produce 490 million imperial gallons of desalinated water each day. The utility had adjusted earnings of $3.3 billion last year, and plans to pay a minimum dividend of $1.69 billion over the next five years to future investors. 

DEWA also expects continued growth in demand in Dubai for its water and electricity, “as the population is expected to grow from around 3.5 million people today to 5.8 million people by 2040,” Al Tayer added. 

DEWA will not receive any proceeds from the offering as the Dubai government will remain the major shareholder and majority owner of the company. DEWA said it would use the public offering to “explore the use of new and innovative storage technologies” in renewable energy and target international expansion for its district cooling services to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional markets.

“Growth is also expected to result from the various investments made by the Group in new technologies,” the prospectus said, including its expansion in green hydrogen, energy storage, electric vehicle charging and smart water projects.

The decision to go public comes as Dubai seeks to revive interest in its capital markets, which have failed to thrive in recent years. Rival bourses in Abu Dhabi and neighboring Riyadh have seen large listings, rising trading volumes, increasing foreign ownership and growing retail investor participation through the Covid-19 recovery.

Dubai plans to list as many as 10 state-owned entities this year, with road toll system Salik and business park operator Tecom earmarked as possible next candidates. Businesses within Emirates Group, including dnata and loyalty program Skywards, as well as Dubai airport’s Duty Free, have also been rumored among those being considered for public offer.

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