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Thu 25 Jun 2009 11:01 AM

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Al Habtoor Leighton puts IPO off for a year

Company chairman says decision taken to delay because of global financial turmoil.

Al Habtoor Leighton Group, the company building the Paris Sorbonne University campus in Abu Dhabi, has delayed an initial public offering by about a year because of the global financial crisis.

The company, owned by Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group and Leighton Holdings Ltd. of Australia, had planned to sell as much as 40 percent of its stock to the public last month.

“We won’t be able to carry out an IPO until market conditions improve,” Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group, said in a telephone interview with newswire Bloomberg. “We expect that the share sale should be possible by next May.”

Since Al Habtoor Leighton was created in September 2007, the worst financial crisis in more than 70 years has caused IPOs in the UAE to almost grind to a halt. The crisis has also prompted developers in the country to cancel or delay construction projects.

Al Habtoor Motors, a UAE distributor of Mitsubishi, Bentley, Aston Martin and Bugatti cars, may also sell as much as 35 percent of its shares to the public, Khalaf Al Habtoor said.

“We are considering the idea right now, but we haven’t made a definitive decision yet,” he said.

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