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Just Falafel: Not just another falafel shop…
Just Falafel’s potential IPO has got Kipp wondering if the time has come for Dubai to consider a dedicated SME-specific index?
June 19, 2012 5:00 by Eva Fernandes
Kipp was very interested to learn of Just Falafel’s plans to go public. Just Falafel, a quirky franchise falafel shop, which operates 20 stores and has 10 under construction currently, recently posted a picture of its chiefs on Facebook captioned: ‘Dubai SME and Nasdaq at JF offices laying the roadmap for a potential IPO.’
Interestingly, the company insists the IPO isn’t just about the money. Fadi Malas, CEO of Just Falafel said: “Our objective is not to raise funds. It is to give our brand the highest possible visibility. It is very important for us, that rather than having a handful of partners, to have a few million shareholders. The only way to achieve that is by taking the company public. For us it’s a huge marketing play to go public,”
Now the company has not finalized which bourse to list on, but needless to say the plans have got Kipp thinking about the long since whispered plans of launching a dedicated Dubai SME index. Last year, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Economic Sector Committee had vouched for the creation of a SME-specific stock market, calling it the next step for the sector: “Dubai SME 100 will serve as the foundation for other initiatives such as the possible development of an equity market dedicated to SMEs.”
Then again, is the UAE’s relatively young SME sector developed enough to warrant and rationalize the creation of yet another bourse? Kipp’s already suggest the country maybe better off unifying stock markets. Hasan Rizvi, partner at the law firm of Taylor Wessing is of a similar opinion: “To increase preparedness for their continued business growth and to avail the benefits of successful listings, SME stakeholders should emphasise streamlining of integral operational and regulatory aspects such as corporate governance, financial management, compliance policies and oversight functions.”