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Wed 28 Mar 2012 12:03 PM

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Qatar-led group agrees takeover of Dubai's Damas

The offer is at a 9.8-percent premium to Damas's closing price on Tuesday of $0.41

Qatar-led group agrees takeover of Dubai's Damas

Qatari conglomerate Mannai Corp and Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes have agreed a $0.45 per share recommended cash bid for Dubai jeweler Damas.

In a joint statement, Mannai and EFG Hermes said irrevocable undertakings had been secured from 77.8 percent of Damas shareholders, with the bid valuing Damas's share capital at around $445 million.

The offer is at a 9.8-percent premium to Damas's closing price on Tuesday of $0.41. The stock, which has surged 86 percent this year on talk of a potential takeover, was unchanged at 0646 GMT.

Mannai, whose operations span the oil and gas, automotive, travel and logistics sectors, is set to become the majority owner of Damas and delist the company from the Nasdaq Dubai bourse if the deal goes through.

Mannai aims to hold a 66-percent stake in Damas and EFG Hermes 19 percent, with the remaining 15 percent retained by the jeweler's current majority shareholders Tawfique Abdullah, Tawhid Abdullah and Tamjid Abdullah.

Damas's board has unanimously recommended the bid, the statement said, and is subject to formal acceptance by the company's shareholders.

The Abdullah brothers have been sidelined from the jeweler they helped found and which has been forced to restructure $872 million in debt.

For Mannai, the deal would be its second buy in the United Arab Emirates after it snapped up a 35-percent stake in Axiom Telecom in 2011.

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