Abu Dhabi's Eshraq stays mute on IPO plans

Abu Dhabi property firm refuses to confirm whether planned listing will go ahead in February
Abu Dhabi's Eshraq stays mute on IPO plans
IPO PLANS: Eshraq has remained silent on whether it will move forward with plans to sell a 55 percent stake worth an estimated $224m as part of an IPO due to be issued this month
By Shane McGinley
Tue 08 Feb 2011 05:13 PM

UAE property firm Eshraq has remained silent on whether it will move forward with plans to sell a 55 percent stake worth an estimated $224m as part of initial public offering due to be issued this month.

In January, a banker close to the deal said the IPO would take place in February and listing on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange would follow soon after.

When contacted by Arabian Business, however, the company refused to acknowledge whether the plans had been delayed and said it would publicly announce any plans for IPO in due course.

The Abu Dhabi-based banker, who spoke last month on condition of anonymity, said several UAE banks are involved in the IPO which will offers 825 million shares. Eshraq has a total capital of AED1.5bn ($408.4m), he said.

"After the IPO, the shares will be listed on ADX," he said.

The UAE markets have not seen an IPO in about two years as the global economic downturn and Dubai's debt crisis dented investor appetite.

UAE handset retailer Axiom Telecom cancelled its IPO in December, citing "market conditions and liquidity" concerns. Earlier, Axiom had said it expected to debut on NASDAQ Dubai in early December with a market value of up to $1bn.

Asked whether there would be enough investor interest in the deal, the banker replied: "It is a concern to all of us."

Eshraq's chairman Saleh Mohammed Bin Nasrah was reported as saying the firm had already won approval from the Securities and Commodities Authority to offer 820 million shares.

He also said the company had been profitable in the past few years and paid dividends to its stockholders, without giving specific amounts.

Eshraq's biggest project is Marine Rise, a 21-high rise complex on Abu Dhabi's Reem Island. Bin Nasra said 80 percent of the development had been sold to secondary developers.

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