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Dubai sees big IPO in 2014/15

Dubai business

Last year, Al Habtoor Group, one of Dubai's biggest family-owned firms, postponed plans to raise as much as $1.6 billion.

March 5, 2013 2:29 by

Dubai expects to offer at least one flagship asset to the public as early as next year to stimulate investment and shore up its role as a global trade hub, a senior government official told Reuters.

Mohammed al-Shaibani, chief executive of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), told Reuters thatDubai had a plan to deal with debts maturing in coming years and would not see a repeat of the 2009 debt crisis. He declined to provide specifics.

“2014-2015 should be a fantastic time for IPOs. I can see potential for an IPO of one or two big government-owned entities,” said Shaibani, who also heads the Ruler’s Court of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

“Personally, I’d like to see one of our big companies offered to the public now, but the market is not ready yet.”

Shaibani, a member of the three-man Supreme Fiscal Committee tasked with steering Dubai out of the crisis, said however that there would be no fire sale of assets to meet upcoming debt obligations. These include those under conglomerate Dubai World’s $25 billion restructuring deal.

ICD’s assets include Emirates airline, lender Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties. Other unlisted government assets include developer Nakheel, Emirates’ airline services arm Dnata, and Dubai Water and Electricity Authority.

Shaibani, speaking in his office in the Dubai International Financial Center, declined to name the likely IPO candidates.

“It’s not hard to guess. The names are already out there,” he said, adding he also expected family-owned firms to list.

A listing by a big Dubai name would give a jolt to a moribund IPO market. 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.

Last year, Al Habtoor Group, one of Dubai’s biggest family-owned firms, postponed plans to raise as much as $1.6 billion.

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