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Thu 21 Feb 2008 11:06 AM

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Al Qudra plans UAE's second largest IPO

Abu Dhabi based company plans to sell shares to public for first time in 55% offering in March.

Abu Dhabi-based Al Qudra Holding, with businesses ranging from real estate to transport, plans next month to sell shares to the public for the first time in what will be the second-biggest UAE IPO.

Qudra, which has 30 units in industries including infrastructure, will offer 55% of the company in the first week of March to finance expansion, Chairman Salah Al-Shamsi told shareholders at a meeting in Abu Dhabi late on Tuesday.

"Al Qudra will attract a lot of attention from investors because of the diversity of its portfolio and it has projects in very good locations in various cities in the UAE," said Wadah al-Taha, head of research at Emaar Financial Services brokerage.

Its shares could rally as much as 70% in the first week or two of listing, he said.

Initially, the company is seeking to raise 3.7 billion dirhams ($1.01 billion), equivalent to 25% of its share capital, Shamsi said. Investors can pay for the remainder of the sale later, he said, without being more specific.

"The public offering is to raise funds for existing projects of the company and its expansion," he said.

The initial public offering would be the second-biggest in the UAE after Dubai's DP World, which raised almost $5 billion in November. Its shares have since declined almost 28%.

Qudra posted a profit last year of 703 million dirhams, it said on Saturday, without giving comparative data for the year before. The firm recommended giving shareholders a dividend of 45 fils per share.

Kuwait's Safat Investment, which bought 10% of Qudra in December, estimated at the time that a public share sale would value Qudra at 9 billion dirhams.

Shamsi said in October Qudra was planning an IPO before April.

Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital is arranging the IPO. Shuaa helped Dubai Islamic Bank raise 3.18 billion dirhams for its property unit Deyaar in May - at the time the largest UAE IPO - in a sale that was 10 times oversubscribed.

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