DP World claims IR gongs as conference eyes Saudi reforms
DP World swept to victory at the annual awards of the Middle East Investor Relations Association (Meira) last night, winning in six categories including the grand prix for best investor relations.
The Dubai-based ports operator claimed regional prizes for best IR by a CEO, best IR by a CEO and best annual report. It also took home gongs for best IR professional and best corporate for IR in the United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, meanwhile, picked up the award for best IR website in the Middle East, edging out fellow nominees Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and SHUAA.
The awards, now in their eighth year, were decided by a mix of investment community votes and input from subject matter experts. The association handed out four awards for regional excellence and the rest to IR professionals and companies within individual markets.
The winners ‘have demonstrated excellence in IR, conveyed through consistently high standards of transparency, reporting, access and engagement,’ comments Meira chair Alex MacDonald Vitale.
The awards followed the Meira annual conference, where the association announced its expansion with new chapters in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan.
This year’s conference theme – ‘Forward shift in MENA: A new vision beyond oil’ – highlighted the changes taking place in the region to reform financial markets and attract new investment. Saudi Arabia is a key focus given the kingdom’s hugely ambitious economic reform plans and desire to privatize state assets including Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company.
Yaser Alquhidan, CFO of Saudi stock exchange Tadawul, which itself plans to list, gave the keynote speech. The financial chief included in his talk a call for better IR, saying public companies that don’t properly manage investors are ‘bound to fail’. He also said the exchange plans to hold more international roadshows and IR workshops.
Speaking to IR Magazine at the conference, Dr Fadi Khalaf, secretary general of the Arab Federation of Exchanges, said the Saudi reforms are likely to spark changes in other Middle Eastern markets. ‘Our exchanges try to be on the same level [with regard to] rules, regulations and transparency,’ he said.
During the day, Meira also announced its move to become a registered professional association and its name change from the Middle East Investor Relations Society to the Middle East Investor Relations Association.
‘The move to become a registered member of the Dubai Association Centre is welcomed by the industry and our members, as we take the organization to the next level,’ comments MacDonald Vitale.
Read a full write-up of the conference in the winter 2016 print issue of IR Magazine.