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Shurooq Shares and Bonds Essay

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Updated: Jan 28th, 2019

Introduction

Shurooq is a development agency firm based in Shirjah, in the United Arab Emirates. The company is officially known as The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority. The company was established in 2009 with the special mandate of evaluating and following up on infrastructure projects that are related to tourism.

The development agency focuses on providing all possible facilities as well as incentives with the aim of attracting more investors to Shirjah. Shurooq is listed on the local Dubai Financial market where its shares and bonds are traded to the public. This paper analyses possible share problems that were faced by the firm in the past, while ascertaining the causes and remedy that was employed to address the situation. The paper also offers recommendations on the challenge.

Losses in Shurooq Shares and Bonds

Global financial crisis

Shurooq was formed in 2009, a time when the global financial crisis was at its peak. Although the crisis’ origin was in the United States of America, the repercussions were far reaching with countries and firms placed in as far as the Middle East being affected.

The global demand for oil, which is the Middle East’s economic mainstay, dropped sharply as the price per barrel rose. This consequently meant that the UAE as a whole lacked substantial funds to inject into its overall economy and firms, such as Shurooq, in order to spur growth and development.

Other individual investors and firms, both local and international, also lacked the interest to invest their additional funds through share acquisition. Shurooq suffered immensely given that the firm had only been established and was keen to attract interested investors by floating its shares and bonds.

Shurooq devalued its share prices by almost half the original price that the company had quoted in a bid to influence demand for its shares and bonds. This, however, did not achieve the intended target for the firm as the demand for the company’s shares remained poor.

As Shurooq struggled with poor share performance, it equally did not achieve some of its intended objectives in its first year of operation. Profit margins were unattractive throughout the year as the company slashed its budget in a bid to contend with the poor economic situation. The small profit margins kept willing investors at bay as they questioned the company’s ability to withstand hard economic times and pay them higher returns for their investments.

Manual system of operation

Shurooq’s establishment saw the company rely on a less computerized system of operation, with most of its functions being carried out manually during the first months of its operation. Shurooq opted for a gradual implementation of a computerized system for its operations as it focused on stability since business establishment is often an expensive venture during the formation period.

This decision, however, negatively influenced the share and bond prices of the firm. Operations were generally slow and error-prone, particularly where financial operations were involved. This slow performance eroded investor confidence amongst the few willing investors at the time.

In particular, investors were forced to avail themselves physically at Shurooq’s offices in order to make enquiries and do trade with the firm. For investors residing in far-flung areas, the idea demoralized them as they could not find any convenience in the manner in which the company operated.

With time, Shurooq established a computerized system that would purposely serve investors through an eTrade mechanism. The aftermath of the development consequently saw an increase, albeit relatively slow, of investor interest and confidence. Investors could comfortably make their enquiries, as well as do trade with the company from the comfort and convenience of their offices or other geographically disbursed locations due to the new developments.

Poor communication

Shurooq suffered from consequences of poor communication, particularly within its employees, during its initial phase of existence after establishment. Lack of market experience and general operations compounded the development agency’s troubles as there was poor coordination among workers.

Interested investors were particularly shunned off by the lack of knowledge that was evident among the workers. People making enquiries about the company via phone or physically were dissatisfied with the responses they got. The workers who had been stationed at the customer care desk appeared to lack basic information concerning their own company. This prompted a significant number of interested and willing investors to hold on their investment decisions as they sought to give the firm more time as they observed its performance.

Thus, apart from the external market conditions that slowed down Shurooq’s initial overall market performance, part of the challenges were internal. Poor communication failed to appeal to the potential and willing investors who would have eventually boosted the market demand for its shares.

Market competition

The United Arab Emirates has generally embarked on an ambitious program that seeks to spur development and growth of infrastructure in the entire country. This program has seen many development agencies and firms established in the country over the recent years. Some of these agencies have been in business for a relatively longer period of company compared to Shurooq.

This position proved to be challenging to Shurooq’s ability to attract investors in comparison to the other established companies. The companies used their years of experience in service to properly manage their assets during the global financial crisis’ peak duration. Although the companies also experienced a slump in profitability, they managed to maintain an attractive profit margin compared to how Shurooq had faired on.

This, in turn, saw quite a significant number of investors at the time opting to acquire shares of the rival firms other than committing their funds to Shurooq. Investors still acquired more of the rivals’ shares compared to those of Shurooq, despite the fact that Shurooq priced its shares and bonds at low rates compared to its market rivals.

Company’s Efforts to Establish Cause of Poor Performance

Survey

Shurooq sought to establish the reasons that prompted poor performance for its shares and bonds at the Dubai Financial Market. A corporate survey was carried out by the firm to understand the market situation and conditions. Shurooq enlisted the services of a third party financial company to undertake the survey on its part. The survey was done in the Dubai Financial Market, where experts from the third party financial company held discussions with the bourse’s management and technical teams.

It was from the survey that Shurooq discovered how intensive the global financial crisis had contributed towards poor performance. Apart from Shurooq, many other firms listed in the stock market had experienced tough times because of the diminishing share demand. Investors had opted to remain cautious in their actions as the business situation appeared to be uncertain. The stock market had itself recorded low business performance throughout 2009 as the global financial crisis grew to its worst position.

Internal company research

Shurooq also conducted an internal research that mainly targeted its employees and the few shareholders it had managed to acquire since listing on the Dubai Financial Market. The research amongst employees sought to establish their opinion on some of the reasons they thought Shurooq’s performance was affected at the time.

The research involved paper work, where respondents answered both structured and unstructured questions concerning Shurooq’s poor performance in the stock exchange market. To promote participation, the company did not require workers to indicate their names on the questionnaires.

The research carried out on employees noted how their own lack of information played a critical role in dissuading potential investors. The workers admitted that they were in many occasions unable to satisfactorily handle concerns raised by the market concerning investing in the firm. The poor communication structure in the firm only worsened the situation as the employees stationed at the company’s customer care department lacked immediate materials and professionals to rely on for assistance and support.

On the part of the shareholders, Shurooq chose to have direct discussions with a few selected individuals to try and establish their opinion and perspectives in as far as Shurooq’s performance was involved. The face-to-face discussions involved financial experts drawn from both the firm, and mainly targeted investors who have been in involved in the share market business for a long time.

The few investors were optimistic that Shurooq would eventually improve despite the turbulent times, but they generally pressured the management to speed up critical reforms. They overly noted that the manual system of operation was in bad taste for the firm and there was need for a computerized system to be installed immediately.

Remedy Measures

Employee retraining

Shurooq immediately embarked on a program that targeted to retrain employees in a bid to equip them with significant knowledge on investment and financial matters. Though the workers hired by the firm had attained the necessary educational qualifications, there was need for them to undertake refresher courses that were customized to understand clearly the contemporary market requirements and situation.

The refresher courses also aimed at improving the overall efficiency in the operations of the firm. It targeted countering the laxity that had been noted in communication among the staff and communication with the public. Shurooq undertook the refresher courses in stages, with the customer care based staff enjoying the first priority over the other staff members.

Computerize operations

Shurooq speedily adopted a fully computerized operation system to replace the manual system that was in place before. All the departments were fitted with internet to allow efficient communication within the firm.

This move eliminated the slow processing that was being witnessed earlier on and had also been cited as part of the reason that dissuaded investors away from the firm. The company targeted e-trading by speedily computerizing all its operations to address the aspect of convenience that had been raised as a concern for poor performance.

Solutions

Employee retraining has played a critical role in enhancing overall service delivery at the firm. The earlier concern that prompted its inception, lack of proper knowledge on the part of the employees, was effectively addressed. Potential and interested investors who visited the firm’s premises in order to make enquiries about its operation and position were able to be answered satisfactorily.

The retraining merged the workers’ ideas with the contemporary business situation and position of the firm. Thus, as keen investors sought to determine important financial issues about the firm, the workers were able to handle them professionally by providing satisfactory answers in a clear and precise manner.

Retraining also improved the internal operations of the firm. Workers understood clearly how to relate with each other and how to undertake their duties and responsibilities more effectively. External stakeholders were able to notice the changes as service delivery improved significantly. The workers strove to ensure they achieved their objectives in order to influence the overall performance of their firm.

The speed at which operations were being carried out improved quite substantially after the entire company was fully computerized. Workers could access all the necessary information within seconds, much to the satisfaction of the stakeholders by only clicking buttons. The operation costs of the company went down tremendously as Sharooq retrenched part of its huge clerical staff with computers.

Expenditure in the form of salaries reduced by a huge margin as the company’s profit margin improved tremendously. Keen interested investors regained confidence and gradually began to acquire Sharooq’s shares and bonds as they had anticipated better returns since the financial state of the company started improving.

Recommendations

Sharooq’s management should critically consider the external business environment and remain keen on monitoring any slight changes as this may water down all the benefits so far registered by the firm. The best and safest way that Sharooq’s management can cushion its operations against adverse external environment is by investing in multiple business portfolios.

The reason why the company faced an uphill task in 1999 during its inaugural phase is the fact that the global financial crisis mainly affected infrastructure building. Thus, even credit firms feared financing infrastructural projects as the returns appeared oblique, at least in the short run.

However, the agency would have had a reliable source that would have perfectly cushioned its main business focus had Sharooq had other interests in separate sectors of the economy, such as transport. Most of Sharooq’s established market competitors appeared stable even in the face of the biting global financial crisis because of divesting in various economic sectors.

The company’s management must be highly effective if the company has to continue positively on its recovery path. A highly efficient management will understand almost immediately when changes occur in the internal and external business environment. This will prompt them to make appropriate decisions that will be of significant effect to the company.

Conclusion

Shurooq is an infrastructure development agency based in Shirjah in the UAE. The company faced a huge crisis in 2009, which was also its year of establishment, when it failed to attract investors to boost its capital base. With infrastructure development being a capital-intensive venture, Shurooq’s management worked very fast to ensure the firm was listed at the Dubai Financial Market. The global financial crisis at the time informed many investors’ decision of not acquiring the firm’s shares at time.

A company survey sanctioned by Shurooq’s management established that apart from the financial crisis, the firm faced internal challenges as its workface was not better placed to handle financial matters. Its manual system at the time also slowed the accuracy of performance and dissuaded many investors from the firm. However, the firm computerized its operations and retrained its workforce in a move that won investor confidence and has been critical in improving its performance in the stock market.

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