Al Habtoor Group considers sale of Lebanese assets

Dubai-based conglomerate Al Habtoor Group may consider selling its Lebanese assets, including two hotels and a shopping mall, after it was approached by regional investors, its chairman has told Arabian Business.

Several Middle East and Lebanon-based investment firms have contacted the Al Habtoor Group to purchase the Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace, Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand and the Le Mall shopping centre, said Khalaf Al Habtoor.

“My office has been approached by several investors in the Middle East and Lebanon to purchase the two hotels and shopping mall. We will consider it if the offer is reasonable,” he said.

Al Habtoor Group recently postponed plans to list its shares in what would have been one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) in the UAE’s recent history.

The Dubai-based group said it was planning to raise up to US$1.6bn by floating on the NASDAQ Dubai in either March or September 2013 but delayed the plans.

“After a thorough evaluation I have decided to postpone the IPO,” said Al Habtoor in a statement.

“It is a moral issue not taking the group public at this time. I will continue to focus on best practice and growing the company in a sustainable way.”

The company, whose portfolio spans the hospitality, construction and automotive sectors, was valued at US$6.06bn by Grant Thornton, the group said. The valuation excluded the four properties in Beirut, and one in Hungary, as well as the group’s shareholding in Habtoor Leighton Group and “several other investments in public shareholding companies”.

The statement also included a projection of group earnings for this year, which are expected to grow by 16 percent to “in excess of” US$191.8m. It is the first time the Al Habtoor Group has publicly announced its earnings.

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