* Targeting $1 bln market capitalisation
* Some shares to be new, others from PE backers
By David French and Praveen Menon
DUBAI, Feb 17 Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine
Services (GMS) said on Monday it intended to sell shares on the
London Stock Exchange to fund its growth plans, with the oil and
gas services firm targeting a market valuation of $1 billion
It is the latest privately-owned firm from the United Arab
Emirates to look outside the Middle East for a stock market
listing. Several have chosen London, giving them access to a
wider group of investors and less stringent ownership rules than
in their home market.
The resurgence of local stock markets - in 2013, the value
of Dubai's bourse more than doubled, while Abu Dhabi's
climbed 63 percent - has not stemmed the tide.
GMS plans to sell new shares worth $100 million, as well as
an undisclosed number of shares currently held by private equity
backers, according to a regulatory filing in London.
Abu Dhabi private equity firm Gulf Capital currently owns 79
percent of GMS and will offer shares in the initial public
offering (IPO) through two subsidiaries. Horizon Energy
and Al Ain Capital also have holdings. The statement
did not specify how much each party would contribute to the IPO.
While the price of shares will be set at a later date, a
source familiar with the matter said GMS was targeting a market
capitalisation of $1 billion after the IPO.
Given that a minimum of 25 percent of a company must be
listed for inclusion in FTSE indices, this would indicate the
IPO will be worth at least $250 million.
The source would not be drawn on a timetable for the IPO.
However, if GMS followed a traditional schedule of two weeks of
roadshows and two weeks of bookbuilding, the listing would take
place towards the end of March.
Proceeds from the $100 million sale of new shares will be
use to buy a small vessel called the Keloa for $37.5 million,
repay $20 million of shareholder loans and expand its business,
the statement added.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Barclays
are global coordinators of the offering with JP Morgan Cazenove
also acting as a bookrunner. Rothschild is the financial
advisor to the company.
Previous attempts to sell all of GMS, which started
operations in 1977 and is currently the Middle East's largest
operator of jack-up barges, collapsed due to financing issues
and differences over its valuation.
Since then, Gulf Capital has been preparing GMS for an IPO
on a major stock exchange such as London.
"It is their strategy. We cannot force companies to list
here," Abdullah al-Turifi, the chief executive of UAE equities
market regulator the Securities and Commodities Authority, said
at an event on regulation in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
"But we will encourage them to dual list."
Other UAE-based firms to have listed in London in the last
two years include Dubai's DAMAC Properties, which
raised $348 million in December, and Abu Dhabi-based healthcare
firms Al Noor Hospitals and NMC Healthcare.