Posted by Neil King
Dubai International Financial Center, a tax-free business park in the emirate, is currently exploring plans to establish a "second-tier" stock exchange for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East, it has been revealed.
Speaking at the Gulf Venture Capital Association conference in Dubai, the centre's chief economist Nasser Saidi said that while existing equity markets in the Middle East are geared towards bigger companies, about 95 per cent of firms operating in the region are SMEs.
Mr Saidi therefore suggested that the local private equity industry needs a second-tier market with less stringent listing rules where smaller companies with revenue of $20 million to $80 million can list, Bloomberg reported.
"We view this as an initiative for the region," he commented. "Discussions have been held with a number of private equity firms that may use the market although there is no timeframe yet to set it up."
The news comes as Zawya, an online Middle East business intelligence platform, this week announced the launch of C-me, a free self-service tool which will allow SMEs to build up an online company profile and increase their visibility in the region.