DUBAI - Singapore-based oil exploration and production company Rafiul Resources plans an initial public offering, or IPO, in the fourth quarter and may list in Dubai, the company's chairman David Curry said Thursday.
"We're planning to IPO at least 50% in the fourth quarter of this year and looking to raise $100 million," Curry told Zawya Dow Jones in a telephone interview.
"In the sense that the assets will be in the Middle East North Africa and Asia regions we will be looking at Hong Kong and Singapore and we are currently considering Dubai," he added.
IPO activity in Dubai and the wider Middle East slumped last year and Rafiul's decision to consider the emirate for its listing could give a welcome boost to the sector. The value of IPOs in 2009 plunged 83.7% year-on-year to just above $2 billion as market conditions remained unfavorable for share listings, Zawya.com data shows.
The Middle East region is expected to see IPO activity pick up in 2010 as global markets continue on their road to recovery while oil prices have returned to levels between $70-$80 a barrel, further boosting sentiment.
Rafiul Resources, which is currently 75% owned by London-based investment firm Raphael Group PLC, will IPO in only one of these exchanges. At present the company has assets valued at $100 million but plans to raise its value to $200 million by year-end.
Curry said that although some investors may question the timing of the IPO given the global economic downturn his company feels there is still liquidity in the oil sector as oil prices remain strong at above $70 a barrel.
"Oil prices are strong so now is the time to raise cash and bring in deals on fairly reasonable terms," Curry said.
The company is scouting for financial advisors in either Hong Kong, Singapore, or Dubai for the IPO.
"We still haven't hired anyone yet but we realize there are markets other than London and we intend to investigate them for financial advisors over the next six months," said Curry.
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