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Abraaj Capital Plans $1 Billion IPO

Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital plans to raise about $1 billion through an initial public offering next year. The IPO will finance the acquisition of a Middle East finance company, it said.

Abraaj, which manages about $4 billion of assets, plans to sell new shares equivalent to between 20 percent and 30 percent of its combined capital in the third quarter and list the stock on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), chief executive Officer Arif Naqvi told Reuters.

'We are going to a buy a financial services asset in the Middle East,' Naqvi said, declining to be more specific. The purchase will cost 'significantly' more than $1 billion, he said.

Abraaj said on Tuesday it attracted $1.2 billion for an infrastructure fund it manages that has invested in assets including a stake in Sharjah-based Air Arabia and in taking over an Egyptian fertiliser company. It plans to close the fund at $2 billion by year-end.

Abraaj is close to hiring a financial advisor to help arrange the IPO, Naqvi said, declining to be more specific.

Dubai set up the DIFX in 2005 to operate according to international regulatory standards, and encourage local companies to sell shares to the public and for foreign companies to tap the region's oil-driven wealth.

The Nasdaq Stock Market Co will take a 33 percent stake in the DIFX under an agreement with DIFX parent company Borse Dubai involving their takeover of Nordic and Baltic share markets owner and technology company OMX AB.

Gulf interest in selling shares in IPOs has grown since the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is the second-largest member, in August allowed families to retain as much as 70 percent of the firms they put up for sale.

The earlier limit of 45 percent had discouraged UAE families, some of which have built up multi-billion dollar businesses on the back of oil-driven wealth, from selling shares.

Depa United Group, a Dubai-based interiors contracting company, aims to raise at least $400 million in the first half and list the stock on the DIFX, with Global Depositary Receipts on the London Stock Exchange to 'provide additional liquidity,' Noor Sweid, a Depa United official, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Gulf Arab IPOs fell 4 percent in the first nine months to $5.9 billion after three consecutive years of growth, as investor demand declined, especially in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, said a report by Abu Dhabi-based private equity firm Gulf Capital.

On average, investors offered 6.1 times -- or $1.3 billion per sale -- more than companies were seeking to raise during the nine months to Sept. 30, compared with almost 47 times more in the year-earlier period, Gulf Capital said. - Reuters

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Pak-Oman Launches Brokerage Company

The Pak Oman Investment Company, a joint venture between Oman and Pakistan, has launched the Pak Oman Brokerage Service, which is presently in the process of expansion and development. The firm is the third venture established by Pak Oman following the launch of the Pak Oman Microfinance Bank and the Pak Oman Asset Management Company last year via ameinfo.com

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UAE to Keep Telecom Sector Closed

The UAE government has announced that it will not open up the country's telecommunications sector to foreign companies in the near future, reported Gulf News. The UAE's Minister of Government Sector Development Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri said the current number of companies is adequate, and tariffs will become competitive because etisalat no longer has a monopoly on phone and internet services.
via ameinfo.com End Post

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UAE MoL to Issue Temporary Work Permits

All companies in the country can now seek temporary work permits to facilitate the process of recruiting foreign manpower, said Assistant Under-secretary in the Ministry of Labour Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi.

He said the Work Permit Department in the MoL will today begin issuing temporary work permits to companies in different fields to give them an opportunity to place the new workers in a probation period. In the past, such permits were issued only to oil and energy companies.

The three-month temporary permit will cost Dh500. For a three-month extension of the permit, companies would have to pay Dh500 along with a Dh3,000 bank guarantee.

"Temporary permit is not expensive. It is beneficial to all, as the firms can check the qualifications and the performance of the workers they have recruited, and the workers' rights would be protected," added Al Zahmi. via Khaleej Times
End Post


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UAE plans Country Wide Rail Line

"A 350-km national railway network is being planned by the UAE to ease traffic congestion, a report said.

The track will link Abu Dhabi to the east coast and will eventually be connected with the proposed GCC-wide railway network, the Gulf News report quoted Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Government Sector Development as saying.

The project is being studied now and when it is finalised it will be presented to the government, Al Mansouri said in the report. more.. "

A project like this is a need of the hour more than an a wish or a dream. It will ensure the sustainablity of SME's and provide a faster and reliable means of transport between the emirates.
end post

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