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DAMAS Plans IPO

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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