Shuaa files application to launch Spac IPO on Nasdaq


Dubai-based investment bank is looking to raise up to $200m through the listing of first of its three planned Spacs

Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital has filed request with the US market regulator to launch the initial public offering of one of its three planned $200-million special purpose acquisition companies.

“Shuaa has lately filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the launch of a $100m to $200m Spac to be listed on Nasdaq,” the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.

“Shuaa is now going through the final regulatory approvals following which a decision will be made to IPO the Spac.”

It did not say which sector the planned Spac will target for acquisitions or when the IPO is expected to be launched.

In July last year, Shuaa announced plans to set up three Spacs with capital of $200m each to tap the growing market for blank-cheque companies, as they are known.

A Spac is a vehicle with no commercial operations that is formed with the intention of raising funds through an IPO and then acquiring an existing company. Spacs have lighter disclosure requirements than IPOs and have been increasingly used over the past two years to take fast-growing companies public quickly.

The number of Spac listings rose to a record 613 on Nasdaq last year, raising a total of $145 billion, a 91 per cent jump from the amount raised in 2020. Spacs played a large part in the US IPO record last year of 1,033, representing over 59 per cent of total new listings, an increase from around 53 per cent share in 2020, Nasdaq chief economist Phil Mackintosh said in a note last month.

Spacs are also increasingly becoming popular in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi Global Market-headquartered Anghami, the music streaming rival of Spotify in the Arab world, successfully listed Nasdaq last week.

The listing follows Anghami’s deal with Spac Vitas Media Acquisition Company, which was set up in 2020. Shuaa also invested an undisclosed amount in Anghami’s fund-raising.

Dubai-based Swvl is set to become the second technology start-up from the region to list on the Nasdaq through a Spac merger with a valuation of $1.5bn. The Cairo-born mass transit and shared mobility services provider is merging with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, the first Spac to be led entirely by women, it said in July last year.

Forbes Media and Virgin Orbit, which is backed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, are among the major global companies planning to list on the Nasdaq through Spac mergers.

Shuaa, which has assets of nearly $14bn under management, reported a surge in its nine-month profit driven by recurring revenues and strong performance by its public markets fund.

Net profit for the January-September period rose to Dh89m, up more than 39 per cent on an annualised basis, the company said at the time.

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