By Santhosh V Perumal/ Business Reporter
The initial public offering (IPO) of Baladna, a beacon of self-sufficiency in Doha’s dairy sector, is all set to hit the market soon with the Qatar Financial Market Authority (QFMA) giving the green signal to its maiden offer.
“The company will start the IPO process after the completion of all legal requirements, the provision of the prospectus and all relevant data, as well as making it available for those wishing to invest before the start of the IPO,” a Qatar Stock Exchange communique said yesterday.
The offer is expected to bring depth and diversity for the market, which has been witnessing steady interests from foreign investors since the global index compilers MSCI, Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones and FTSE Russell upgraded Qatar to ‘emerging’ market in view of progressive reforms.
The last time the country witnessed a maiden offer was that of Qatar Petroleum subsidiary Qatar Aluminium Manufacturing Company, whose IPO was oversubscribed 2.5 times.
Baladna was one of the first entities to swiftly sprang into action (after Qatar came under economic, trade and diplomatic embargo) by flying in cows from Germany and Switzerland, a show of strength of Qatar as well as that of its private sector to overcome hurdles.
Baladna, whose main focus is on health and wellness, is moving towards becoming an integrated food and beverages company.
The dairy sector in Qatar is a very dynamic one with constant growth due to its health and wellness elements, and the robust growth of the population in the country, Baladna chief executive Dr Kamel Abdallah earlier told Gulf Times in an interview.
Baladna has executed its strategy in a phased manner with the latest being the establishment of Qatar’s first UHT production (long life) line at an estimated investment of QR21mn.
Baladna is located north of Doha and spreads over an area of 2.4mn sqm with a capacity to house 24,000 cows; it has entered the entire value chain of the dairy sector in the country.
Moreover, the company is also looking at exports as an additional source of revenue, and has devised its strategy to promote products and emerge as a regionally recognised player. It is already exporting milk to Afghanistan, Yemen and Oman.
“The company has been able to grow very fast as adversities (from the blockade) created opportunities for the sector,” an analyst with a leading investment firm said.
Currently, the QSE has 46 listed companies with 13 in the banks and financial services sector, 10 in industrials, nine in the consumer goods, five in the insurance, four in the real estate, three in the transport and two in the telecom sector.