| DUBAI, April 2
DUBAI, April 2 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
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
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
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
The developer slowed down during the downturn but returned
with new projects as Dubai's real estate market stages a gradual
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
(Additional reporting by David French; Editing by Louise