February 28, 2013 / 7:57 AM / in 5 years

Oman state fund buys 41 pct of ONIC from Dubai Group

(Adds market price, Dubai Group comment, background)

DUBAI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - An Omani sovereign wealth fund has bought a 41.1 percent stake in Oman National Investment Corp Holding (ONIC) from a unit of the Dubai ruler’s personal investment firm, the state funds said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The holding represents 71.3 million shares in ONIC, the statement said. At the last market price of the shares, the stake was worth 22.1 million Omani rials ($57.6 million).

The stake was sold by Dubai Insurance Group (DIG), which is owned by Dubai Group, part of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s Dubai Holding conglomerate. Dubai Group is restructuring about $10 billion of debt, having been hit hard by the global financial crisis, and has been selling assets to reduce its debt.

“This is a strategic decision for DIG and is part of our stated plan to sell down assets in order to support our broader ongoing restructuring process,” said Fadel Al Ali, acting chief executive of Dubai Group.

In September, Dubai Group sold its Turkish insurance arm to a company owned by former AIG chief executive Maurice Greenberg and a unit of Dubai lender Mashreq Bank.

Dubai Group also owns a 14.7 percent stake in Oman’s top lender, Bank Muscat.

ONIC is a holding company active in the insurance business and offers other services such as asset management and leasing. Japan’s Oryx Corp has a 14.9 percent stake, making it the second largest shareholder, according to Reuters data. (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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