Gulf stock listings nosedive in 2016: Report

Gulf companies looking to issue IPOs decided to put them off due to events including Brexit, the US presidential election and volatility on oil markets up until the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut production. (Reuters)
Updated 04 January 2017
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Gulf stock listings nosedive in 2016: Report

KUWAIT CITY: Stock markets in the energy-rich Gulf saw a sharp drop in the number of initial public offerings in 2016, as well as the value of listings, a report said Wednesday.
Only three IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) were made in the region last year, half the number recorded in 2015 and the lowest in 15 years, Kuwaiti investment firm KAMCO Research said in the report.
Their value was a meager $745 million, the lowest since 2013 and way below the record $10.9 billion raised by stock flotation in 2008 and 2014 separately, KAMCO said.
All three of last year’s IPOs were from Saudi Arabia.
There were none in the remaining members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
KAMCO said Gulf companies looking to issue IPOs decided to put them off due to events including Brexit, the US presidential election and volatility on oil markets up until the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut production.
Oil producers agreed in late 2016 to cut crude output by 1.8 million barrels a day to shore up weak prices.
The agreement took effect at the start of January.
Companies were also deterred by extreme turbulence on GCC stock markets in the first 10 months of last year before they rebounded in the final two months as oil prices advanced.
Gulf companies were likely to wait until encouraging economic data starts to appear before they enter the IPO market with full force, KAMCO said.


Workplace messaging startup Slack to list on Wall Street

Updated 45 min 7 sec ago
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Workplace messaging startup Slack to list on Wall Street

  • The direct listing will raise no cash for the California-based firm but will enable employees and early investors to sell their shares in the fast-growing tech firm
  • Slack, which has become a popular application for businesses looking to move away from email to real-time messaging, said it had some 10 million users at the end of January

WASHINGTON: The workplace messaging startup Slack filed documents Friday to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the latest of a group of richly valued tech enterprises to look to Wall Street.
The “direct listing” will raise no cash for the California-based firm but will enable employees and early investors to sell their shares in the fast-growing tech firm.
Slack, which has become a popular application for businesses looking to move away from email to real-time messaging, said it had some 10 million users at the end of January.
That included 88,000 paying customers and 65 of the Fortune 100 firms.
“Our vision is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive,” Slack said in its filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
“Slack is a new layer of the business technology stack that brings together people, applications, and data — a single place where people can effectively work together, access hundreds of thousands of critical applications and services, and find important information to do their best work.”
Slack, which has users in 150 countries, has raised more than $1 billion from investors with the latest round valuing the company at $7.1 billion, making it one of the most richly valued “unicorns” — startups with private funding worth at least $1 billion.
In its first release of financial data, Slack said it lost $141 million in the 12 months to January 31 on revenue of $400 million.
Created in 2013, Slack has been a leader in the new segment but faces competition from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook and others offering workplace collaboration tools.
Analysts say Slack has found a niche, especially among small- and medium-sized businesses.
Its clients include software giant Oracle, the French luxury goods maker LVMH, Liberty Mutual insurance and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
It is available in eight languages and gets about one-third of its revenue from outside the United States.
Slack’s chief executive and founder Stewart Butterfield was part of the team that started the photo-sharing service Flickr.
The direct listing, which was also used by the streaming music giant Spotify, does not add fresh capital to the firm but enables free trading of shares while avoiding the underwriting costs of a public offering.
Slack will trade under the symbol “SK.”