Axiom set for Dubai flotation

United Arab Emirates handset retailer Axiom Telecom said yesterday it expects to debut on Nasdaq Dubai in early December with a market value of up to $1bn (£630m) after selling up to a third of its shares to institutional investors.

In what would be the first initial public offering from the UAE in nearly two years, Axiom set the share price range between $0.80 and $1.15. The first day of trading will likely be on or around 9 December.

When the retailer announced plans in October to list a 35 per cent stake on Nasdaq Dubai, it was not decided what portion of the shares would be allocated to retail investors and how much would be reserved for institutional investors.

The company said, however, the IPO will not be available to retail investors.

“The IPO is only being directed at, and made available to, certain institutional investors,” Axiom said in a statement. “It is not being made available to the general public.”

But given broader interest, one broker said he expects retail investors to actively seek shares once they list.

“Retail investors want to diversify -- many are sitting on cash and are sceptical about entering into real estate-related stocks, while the telecoms sector has done comparatively well, even through the financial crisis,” said Vyas Jayabhanu, head of investments at Al Dhafra Financial Broker.