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Thu 14 Jan 2010 07:01 AM

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Belhasa Group delays IPO plans amid downturn

Company chairman says he will look again at shares move in two or three years.

Belhasa Group delays IPO plans amid downturn
IPO DELAY: Saif Belhasa said the time is not right to launch an IPO. (ITP Images)

The Dubai-based Saif Belhasa Group of Companies, a family owned holding firm, has delayed selling its shares to the public amid the economic downturn, its chairman has told Arabian Business.

The firm, which operates 23 companies in several industries including transport, construction and travel, planned to IPO this year but has delayed the sale for two to three years.

“It was the plan [to list our shares] but at the moment no,” Saif Ahmed Belhasa said.

Belhasa said the firm was no longer in talks with bourses. “I [have] closed this chapter at the moment. A lot of things are happening….let’s see maybe in two to three years.”

Middle East markets raised $2.06bn from 15 IPOs until November 25, 2009 compared to $12.46bn raised in 2008, according to an IPO report by Ernst & Young.

Sarah Belhasa, vice chairman of the firm, told Bloomberg in March 2008 that the firm planned to expand the group to 30 companies. “Dubai is growing at an amazing pace, and we plan to grow with it and venture into new fields,” she said.

The firm, which employs around 5,000 employees, is most well-known for its driving school but owns a number of companies including Savanna, a general trading company that distributes commodities and food products including baby milk in Iraq.

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