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Mon 29 Dec 2008 02:24 AM

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Dubai Investments may see Q4 hit - CEO

UAE's largest diversified holding company still likely to post solid results, says Khalid bin Kalban.

Dubai Investments may take a hit from its financial investments in the fourth quarter but solid group company results are likely to offset that, the company's chief executive said on Sunday."I don't know how strong the earnings are going to be," Khalid bin Kalban told newswire Reuters, adding the firm had yet to close all its positions for 2008.

"The company is doing well, but our financial investments have taken a major hit. There are good earnings from other group companies and this will compensate for that."

Dubai Investments, the UAE's largest diversified holding firm by market value, had third-quarter net profit of 635 million dirhams ($172.9 million), a rise of 137 percent.

Its plan to sell a stake in one of its companies each year remains on track but poor market conditions mean it will tread cautiously in 2009, bin Kalban said. Emirates Business quoted bin Kalban as saying the firm is willing to sell an up to 40-percent in its subsidiaries when market conditions improve.

"This is the plan from day one, everything we do we look for an exit," bin Kalban said. "Earlier this year, we promised the market that when conditions were right we would sell stakes in one company each year and we did that this year."

The company, whose businesses range from glass-making to pharmaceuticals, sold a 40-percent stake in private equity unit M'Sharie this year, raising 400 million dirhams, but its planned initial public offering for the division remains on hold.

Plans to follow the M'Sharie move with another sale in 2009 are uncertain amid fallout from the global financial crisis.

"It all depends on the market conditions. In real estate, we don't think the market is right in 2009 but maybe in manufacturing it will be better."

Dubai Investments stock closed down 1.02 percent to 97 fils on the Dubai index on Thursday, its lowest level in four years. The stock, which had a mid-year peak of 4.61 dirhams in June, has fallen 75 percent this year. (Reuters)

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