Dubai developer Damac plans share listing - sources

Reuters Middle East

By Dinesh Nair and Praveen Menon

DUBAI, April 2 (Reuters) - DAMAC Properties, a

privately-held Dubai developer, is considering listing its

shares on the stock market and has approached banks with

proposals for advisory roles as it bets on a recovery in the

emirate's real estate market.

The developer has submitted requests to a handful of leading

international banks, three sources aware of the plan said,

speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

It would be the first major property firm in the United Arab

Emirates to launch an initial public offering (IPO) since the

property market collapsed in 2009, after similar plans by

family-owned Al Habtoor Group were shelved last year.

An IPO by a big Dubai name would also jolt moribund equity

markets in the region. The last listing on the Dubai Financial

Market index was in March 2009, while the Abu

Dhabi bourse has seen only a couple of minor sales since

2008.

The IPO plan is at an initial stage and it was not clear

whether the listing was planned in Dubai or in another

international market. No details on the potential valuation for

the business was available.

DAMAC said a potential IPO is one of the options considered

for the company's future growth but gave no additional details.

"As a company of our size and scope, we are continually

looking at all growth possibilities and an IPO is one of these

routes," said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president at DAMAC

Properties.

Dubai's property market has recovered gradually in the last

one year after a 60 percent plunge in prices as investors fled

the emirate following the global financial crisis.

"The Dubai real estate sector is pretty hot right now so

they would want to capitalise on that sentiment," said one

equity banker, declining to be named as he was not allowed to

speak to the media.

"They are one of the biggest developers in Dubai - when

you're driving around, you see their billboards everywhere - and

the obvious comparison, Emaar Properties, has been doing pretty

well recently."

Emaar Properties' shares have risen 36 percent

year-to-date on the back of increased revenue from hospitality

and retail businesses.

The developer has approached banks, including HSBC,

Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman

Sachs, the sources said.

The company is yet to pick an advisor for the proposed

float, the sources said.

Led by Hussain Sajwani, DAMAC symbolised the flamboyance in

Dubai's property market during the boom years, handing out

sports cars and luxury yachts to customers of penthouses and

duplex homes.

The developer slowed down during the downturn but returned

with new projects as Dubai's real estate market stages a gradual

recovery.

DAMAC, formed in 2002, has completed 37 buildings and has

another 66 buildings under construction across the Middle East

and North Africa region. It recently announced a plan to build a

$1 billion development in partnership with Viacom Inc's

Paramount Group.

(Additional reporting by David French; Editing by Louise

Heavens)

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