Casablanca Stock Exchange expects one or two SMEs to launch initial public offerings in 2019

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The Chief Executive Officer of Casablanca’s Stock Exchange, Karim Hajji said the bourse expects one or two small or medium sized (SMEs) companies to launch initial public offerings (IPO) this year.

In recent years, few companies have gone public in Morocco, with just two doing so in 2018, when the combined market capitalisation of companies listed on the exchange fell 8.27 percent.

The Casablanca Stock Exchange launched a program to prepare around 70 SMEs for listing in 2016, but so far none of them have launched IPOs.

In an interview with Reuters, Hajji said from this year, “we expect to have around one or two companies a year to be listed from the program”. He however failed to give more details.

He said funding for the economy remained dominated by banks in Morocco, where the lowest interest rates in Africa meant few companies were inclined to resort to the stock market.

Analysts say the Casablanca exchange had been affected by a campaign on social media to boycott the Moroccan subsidiary of French diary company Danone and Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes, a listed bottled water company over high prices. A broad pull-back by foreign investors from emerging markets, has also had an impact.

Hajji said that the exchange, as well as promoting itself as a gateway to Africa in roadshows in the West, aimed to strengthen its ties to other bourses on the continent.

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