Damas plans IPO this year

DUBAI — Damas, one of the region's leading jewellery chains, plans to sell a portion of its shares to the public by the end of the year, one of its investors said yesterday. Ammar Alkudairy, CEO of Amwal Al Khaleej, a Saudi headquartered private equity firm which owns 23 per cent of Damas, said the jewellery chain would be "selling a minority stake to the public in 2008 in Dubai." He did not say what percentage of the shares would be floated.

By Lucia Dore (Assistant Editor, Business)

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Published: Wed 16 Jan 2008, 9:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:30 PM

He said the IPO would involve issuing new shares. He also told Zawya Dow Jones that Amwal Al Khaleej is co-ordinating the transaction with other shareholders. A spokesperson for the private equity firm also confirmed that an initial public offering (IPO) would be taking place. "We are in the planning process for execution within 2008," he said.

Damas has been considering an IPO for sometime. In July last year Damas' chairman, Tawhid Abdullah, said an IPO of between Dh3.5 billion and dh4.5 billion was on the cards. He suggested that it could take place by the end of last year after new regulations allowing founders of family companies to keep up to 70 per cent of their family-owned company's equity were introduced. The new rules came into force in August, moving the threshold of family ownership up from 45 per cent.

Alkudairy also told Zawya Dow Jones that Amwal plans a new fund that will bring the value of Amwal's assets close to SAR4 billion. He said the company is looking at 10 private equity deals around the Gulf at present and that it would be announcing a deal with an Abu Dhabi company in two weeks.

On Monday Amwal also announced that it had acquired a 49 per cent stake in Dubai Contracting Company (DCC) for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition was made through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that is solely managed by Amwal Al Khaleej, AK XII. Investors in the SPV include Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. DCC's project portfolio includes the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai, the headquarters of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and the Capricorn Tower. An IPO of DCC shares will also take place although a timeframe has not yet been given.

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