By Claire Valdini
EXCLUSIVE: Dubai conglomerate will list shares on NASDAQ Dubai to fund expansion in UAE and Europe - chairman
Dubai’s Al Habtoor Group plans to raise up to US$1.6bn in an initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ Dubai in March 2013, its chairman told Arabian Business.
The firm will use the funds to acquire five-star hotels in London and Paris, invest in agricultural land in Central and Eastern Europe and in private hospitals at home and abroad, Khalaf Al Habtoor said.
“We are looking for around AED5-6bn (US$1.3-US$1.6bn),” he said.
“If we finish things before the end of the year or before February we will [IPO] by March 2013, otherwise we will go October 2013 because of the summer and Ramadan.
“We are not divesting our shares; we are going to release the capital and all of the money will go to the company, it will not go to any [one] person. We are going to reinvest it in projects within our group, in the UAE and outside the UAE in countries like the United Kingdom and Paris,” he added.
The conglomerate, which has businesses ranging from construction, hospitality, automotive and real estate, is also studying the possibility of a dual listing in London or Saudi Arabia, added Al Habtoor.
Institutional investors have already expressed interest in acquiring five percent with the remaining stock listed on the NASDAQ Dubai, the chairman added. The group has appointed Chicago-based Grant Thornton as its advisor.
The Dubai-based firm is in talks with three five-star hotels in Paris and is looking at several five-star hotels in London, said Al Habtoor.
“We are [negotiating] three hotels in Paris but maybe we are choosing one only. London, we are also looking – there are several but location and prices and return are not satisfactory to us. They are five star.”
The sale will also fund private hospitals in Dubai, London and Munich, and expand the group’s auto division, which has exclusive rights to distribute Bentley, McLaren, Bugatti and Mitsubishi vehicles in the UAE.
The group has located a plot of land in Dubai to build a hospital, which will be run by an outside operator, and is planning to expand its automotive business in the UAE and possibly abroad.
Al Habtoor Group may also acquire agricultural companies in Central and Eastern Europe to buy wheat and cattle, said Al Habtoor. “Buying agricultural land, for example, we are studying the possibility in four countries; Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
“We are looking into that as well because the future is the food; we are looking to wheat and cattle,” he added.
Sounds like finance for the new five-star hotels that the group is building now on The Palm and Sheikh Zayed Road... these Dubai companies tend to be great at investment at home and get a bit carried away shopping overseas...