Daman sells 22.7% stake, says near to IPO

Sale part strategy to broaden shareholder base before an eventual IPO in the UAE
Daman sells 22.7% stake, says near to IPO
Daman Investments CEO Shehab Gargash.
By Reuters
Sun 24 Jun 2012 02:52 PM

Daman Investments, the Dubai-based investment management company, sold a 22.7 percent stake through a private placement which values the firm at AED440m (US$119.8m) and said it eventually plans to offer shares to the public.

Daman, which is active in asset management, raised AED100m from the sale, by offering 588,235 new shares at AED170m each, the company said in a statement Sunday. No details were given on who bought into the offering.

The sale was part of the firm's strategy to broaden its shareholder base before an eventual initial public offering in the UAE.

"The accomplishment of a successful IPO to be listed on one of the markets in the UAE is the clear and focused objective of Daman's medium-term strategy," Shehab Gargash, CEO of Daman Investments, said.

In 2009, Daman said it had attracted a strategic investor who committed to invest AED100m in the company, and was moving ahead to secure additional equity investment of about AED200m.

But that fundraising valued Daman at about AED850m, nearly double the current valuation, signalling the extent to which investment firms in the UAE have suffered post the global financial crisis.

Dubai's benchmark index has fallen 76.9 percent since its 2008 peak, while Abu Dhabi's exchange has dropped 51.9 percent in the same time frame.

IPO activity in the UAE has also been scarce since the global financial crisis, with market volatility and a reluctance among retail investors, burnt by the collapse in stock prices from their pre-crisis peak, being cited as the main the reasons for the lack of new public offerings.

The last listing on the Dubai benchmark was Drake & Scull in March 2009, while the Abu Dhabi index has only seen a couple of minor sales since 2008 - the largest being Eshraq Properties' 55 percent offering in May 2011, which raised AED825m.

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