UAE's Dunia Finance strategic review to conclude shortly

Shareholder Waha Capital says looking at options for finance firm including potential stake sale
UAE's Dunia Finance strategic review to conclude shortly
By Reuters
Tue 22 Mar 2016 06:32 PM

A strategic review of UAE-based consumer finance company Dunia, including a potential stake sale, is expected to be concluded shortly, the chief executive of shareholder Waha Capital said on Tuesday.

Waha holds 25 percent of Dunia, whose other shareholders include Abu Dhabi state investment firm Mubadala and Fullerton Financial Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek Holdings.

"The strategic review of Dunia started last year is to conclude soon. We are looking at options and what's best," Waha boss Salem al-Noaimi told Reuters. He declined to elaborate or confirm the bidders.

Sources told Reuters last August that these included UAE Exchange, an Abu Dhabi-based global remittance and foreign exchange firm, and Dubai shopping mall developer Majid Al Futtaim.

Waha's investments also include holdings in healthcare, oil and gas and aircraft leasing, where it has a 15.6 percent stake in AerCap Holdings.

Waha had that holding reduced under a 2014 deal in which AerCap bought American International Group's aircraft leasing business in a $5.4 billion cash and share deal, although it remains a significant contributor to Waha's revenue, according to Noaimi.

The UAE firm could adjust its stake size in AerCap up or down in the future, depending on market conditions, he added.

Waha made an adjustable net profit of 587.8 million dirhams ($160.1 million) in 2015, up 18.1 percent year on year.

Waha may continue to repurchase some of its stock before regulatory permission to do this expires in October, Noaimi said, adding that it would do so "if there's value in our shares".

The firm won approval to buy back up to 10 percent of its outstanding shares last September and has so far repurchased around 5.6 percent.

Waha invested 475 million dirhams last year in its share buyback, as well as in capital markets and acquisitions.

The firm remained "opportunistic" on further acquisitions in 2016, targeting the energy, infrastructure and private equity sectors, with Noaimi noting it had 1.2 billion dirhams of cash it could deploy.

It recently launched three investment funds totalling $150 million to generate income, covering credit opportunities, equities and pure private equity, he added.

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