Dubai-based Shariah-compliant investment firm Alif Investments is planning to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in order to finance its expansion, a spokesperson confirmed. “Yes, principally the decision to launch the IPO and enlist the company has been taken,” a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Arabian Business. Alif Investments was set up in Dubai in 2009 and its divisions include the hospitality brands Emly & Chilli, the B&B Cricket Bar and Meat One, fashion house Junaid Jamshed and the 3G Real Estate firm. The statement said the IPO “launch date will be announced accordingly”, and the venue for the listing will be the UAE or the UK. “The capital raised will be for expansion and up-coming projects and Joint ventures,” the statement added. According to research carried out by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCooper in February, the weak market for regional IPOs in the Gulf went from bad to worse in the fourth quarter of last year, with values falling by 79 percent year-on-year. The three Gulf listings in the fourth quarter raised US$212m, down by three percent on the previous quarter. Saudi Arabia contributed two of the three IPOS, raising US$148m, or 70 percent, of the total raised across the region, reflecting the strength of the kingdom’s bourse. The average IPO size in the quarter dropped dramatically from US$343m in the fourth quarter of 2010 to just US$71m last year. For the year as a whole, there were nine IPOs in the Gulf, raising a total of US$789m, down from 12 listings claiming a total of US$2.013bn in 2010. Although the UAE saw three firms list in the first half of the year, there were no IPOs on the country’s bourse in the second half. Saudi Arabia hosted five IPOs during the year, contributing 58 percent of the total value raised the region. Even here, however, IPO volumes sank by 44 percent, while the total money raised dropped by 55 percent compared to 2010. Apart from one listing in Oman in the fourth quarter, and the IPOs in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, no other regional bourses hosted an IPO during the year.