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Tue 26 Aug 2014 01:45 PM

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Dubai's Depa seeks to resolve board issues

Interior design firm looking to appoint new chairman following suspension of shares on Nasdaq Dubai 

Dubai's Depa seeks to resolve board issues
Depa Limited is the interior contracting firm which fitted out the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai-based interior fit-out company Depa, which fitted out the Burj Khalifa, has announced that its shares have been suspended from the Nasdaq Dubai market by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Monday's suspension, it said, was due to "technicalities concerning the composition of its board and committees", which, it added, do not comply with corporate governance principles.

On Tuesday, Depa said it had approved the appointment of El Sayed Zakaria Mohamed Ibrahim as a non-independent non-executive interim board director, adding that a permanent arrangement will be determined during the board’s next formal meeting. It is unclear how this will affect the suspension of shares.

Ibrahim is the managing partner of Architecture & Planning Group since 1978, which has been involved in a range of high profile architectural projects in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Depa's board was subjected to a widespread shake-up in May 2013 following the appointment of four Arabtec directors to its board, including former chief executive Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, who was subsequently appointed as chairman one month later.

Arabtec took a 24 percent stake in Depa in November 2012 for $65.8 million a year earlier, making it the firm's largest single shareholder.

In October last year, Depa's co-founder and longstanding CEO Mohannad Sweid left the firm. Nadim Akhrass, head of the firm's Dubai office, was appointed as acting CEO.

The firm's suspension is understood to be linked to Ismaik's departure. As chairman, he would have held a casting vote if the other six directors were equally split over a decision, but since his departure from Arabtec in June his position on Depa's board has also been vacant, given that Arabtec's acting CEO Mohammed Al Fahim is one of the other Arabtec representatives on Depa's board.

In its statement issued on Monday, Depa said it is "discussing these issues including the constitution of the board, the appointment of a permanent chairman and membership of Board committees, and will keep the market informed of its progress".

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