Al Jazeera, the high-profile Middle Eastern broadcaster, could launch an initial public offering as early as next year as the Qatar government looks to offload stakes in state-owned entities, a senior executive at the country's bourse said.
"Al Jazeera would like to list next year subject to regulatory approvals and market conditions," said Olivier Gueris, chief operating officer at Qatar Exchange.
"They [Al Jazeera] have a strong desire to go for an IPO and list the company at Qatar Exchange. But due to some regulatory requirements with the Ministry of Business and Trade and the Qatar Central Bank it may be next year."
Al Jazeera was not immediately available for comment.
The government is keen to divest stakes in a number of state entities, Gueris said, with Qatar Airways potentially the first high-profile name to sell some of its capital to the public.
The carrier had hoped to list this year, according to its chief executive in June, but market volatility has pushed back the timetable.
"They've mentioned Qatar Airways...It will be dictated by market conditions around the world."
The flow of IPOs on Qatar Exchange has been minimal in recent years as economic volatility deters firms from going public. Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development was the last primary offering in January 2010.
The pipeline could be bolstered by a number of financial firms based in Qatar's offshore banking free zone, the Qatar Financial Centre, Gueris said.
However, a number of jurisdictional issues between the QFC and the Qatar Financial Markets Authority, the onshore regulator of Qatar Exchange, would need to be ironed out before this could happen, he added.
QInvest, Qatar's largest investment bank, is one such QFC firm which has said it would consider an IPO on Qatar Exchange.
Qatar will launch its secondary bond market next month, with the latter half of December currently earmarked for the start of trading, Gueris said.
"Local currency sovereign bonds will start listing after the new year, with treasury bills probably before that," he said.