UPDATE 1-Chief of Dubai's Arabtec ups stake in company to 21.46 pct

Wed May 28, 2014 12:44pm EDT

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DUBAI May 28 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Arabtec Holding has raised his stake in the Dubai-based contractor to 21.46 percent, the company said, in an investment worth about $1 billion which it described as a vote of confidence in the group's prospects.

Hasan Ismaik, who has been leading a growth strategy at the company since taking charge early last year, bought the shares because of "his strong belief in the company's sound strategy and high potentials", the statement said.

It did not specify over what timeframe he increased his stake or what he paid.

It said his previous holding was 8.03 percent. Based on the current stock market value of the company, the increase in the stake of 13.43 percent would be worth 3.7 billion dirhams ($1 billion).

Arabtec, which built the emirate's famous palm islands, is trying to evolve from a local contractor into a multinational development company as its finances are boosted by a recovery in Dubai's property market.

It has made a series of big announcements this year, including a contract with the Egyptian army to build one million houses in a project worth 280 billion Egyptian pounds ($40.2 billion).

It also announced plans for a stock market listing of part of its construction unit in Abu Dhabi next year.

Shares of Arabtec have risen 225 percent this year and are among the most traded on the Dubai bourse. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE Dirhams) (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Writing by David French; Editing by Pravin Char and David Holmes)

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