Shares in Emaar Malls, owner of the Dubai Mall (pictured)
Dubai - AFP
Shares of the retail division of Dubai's Emaar Properties surged in first trading Thursday after an initial public offering that highlighted a return of investor confidence in the Gulf market.
The IPO of Emaar Malls Group -- which owns one the world's largest shopping centres, the Dubai Mall -- was aimed at raising $1.58 billion (1.25 billion euros) but was 30 times oversubscribed.
It was the largest IPO in the United Arab Emirates since the global financial crisis hit the country in 2009, causing a drought in flotations.
Sold ahead of flotation on the Dubai exchange at the top offer price of 2.9 dirhams ($0.79), Emaar Malls Group shares jumped 20 percent to around 3.5 dirhams on opening, reflecting a huge pre-trading demand.
The pricing gave the group a market capitalisation of approximately 37.7 billion dirhams ($10.3 billion), it said in a statement posted at the Dubai Financial Market website.
The group offered the shares for sale over two weeks starting September 14.
Emaar Malls' order book was oversubscribed more than 30 times for the institutional tranche of investors and more than 20 times for the individual tranche.
The final allocation was around 70 percent for institutional investors, with the remainder allocated to individuals, the group said.
"The response from investors to the offering has surpassed our greatest expectations," said Emaar Malls chairman Mohamed Alabbar, who led the bell-ringing ceremony kicking off trading.
It is a "testament to the confidence in the Emaar Malls business and the UAE's financial markets," he said.
Emaar Properties, the parent group of EM, is the largest listed company on the Dubai Financial Market. It was behind several landmark property developments including the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
Dubai's economy has made a strong comeback since it contracted due to the global financial crisis, thanks to growth in trade, transport and tourism.