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Damas International Limited, the international integrated jewellery and watch retailer, has annouced that the company has raised $270.6 million in its initial public offering (IPO). The IPO price was fixed at $1.00 per share. The price was derived via a book building exercise.

The company received strong interest from a broad base of high-quality institutional investors from both the GCC and Europe which the company believes will form a strong share register when trading of its shares starts on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), it said.

The Damas group operates in 18 countries, with 438 stores around the world as at December 31, 2007, and has an extensive retail network with stores primarily located in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Damas is the leading jewellery retailer by number of stores in both the UAE and GCC region as a whole, with 212 stores and 338 stores respectively, said a statement.

The market capitalisation of the company is expected to be $968.6 million, based on the offer price and the number of shares in issue after the IPO, it said.

Damas intends to use the net proceeds from the IPO primarily to expand its store network. The proceeds will also be used to fund selective acquisitions, investments and alliances that complement the Damas brand and for further vertical integration through investment in manufacturing operations, to allow the Company to capture an increasing share of margins in the manufacturing process. In addition, the proceeds will also be used to restructure a portion of the Company’s existing debt as well as for other corporate purposes.

Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) and HSBC Bank are acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners on the transaction. - TradeArabia News Service

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UAE Shares Rise on Q2 Earnings

UAE shares advanced for a second day yesterday as companies began to report good second-quarter earnings. The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) General Index both gained 1.8 per cent to close at 5,540.17 and 5,043.36 respectively.

The Dubai International Financial Exchange, meanwhile, plans to start using Nasdaq OMX Group's trading platform from July 4. DIFX, one of the UAE's three exchanges, will trade equity derivatives later this year, pending regulatory approval.

Gulf General Investment Co, which has 30 subsidiaries and affiliates, grew 4.9 per cent to Dh8.07 as it announced a surge in profit. The company's net income jumped 94 per cent to Dh505 million during the first six months from a year ago while revenue grew 54 per cent to Dh4.3 billion for the same period.

The country's second-largest mortgage lender, Amlak Finance, increased 4.2 per cent to Dh4.69 after Shuaa Capital raised its recommendation on the shares. It was raised to "neutral" from "sell" at Shuaa with a price estimate of Dh4.86.

Ajman Bank topped DFM with a jump of 15 per cent to Dh2.76 followed by Deyaar Development, which added 7.8 per cent to Dh2.22, and Dubai Islamic Insurance with a gain of 7.4 per cent to Dh3.75.

National Bank of Fujairah was among the big gainers on ADX with an increase of 9.9 per cent to Dh7.25. Shares in Sorouh Real Estate Co recovered from losses in the past two weeks, advancing 3.1 per cent to Dh9.65 while Aldar Properties added 1.2 per cent to Dh12.80.

"Investors are expecting good earnings especially in the banking and real-estate industries," said Sherif Abdel Khalek, regional sales executive at Beltone Securities Brokerage, in a Bloomberg report. "Our region's growth is much better than the rest of the world."

The report said Qatar's Doha Securities Market Index advanced yesterday along with the UAE bourses. It added that companies in the UAE, whose economy will grow 7.2 per cent, are expected to report an average 14 per cent growth in second-quarter earnings.

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