Daman Investments' IPO targets AED750m

02 April 2015

UAE investment firm set to launch initial public offering in weeks

  • Company to push ahead with IPO despite poor market conditions
  • IPO will support firm’s expansion plans
  • Daman previously announced listing in 2009 but cancelled plans in 2012

The Dubai-based investment company Daman Investments is aiming to raise approximately AED750m ($205m) through its forthcoming initial public offering (IPO).

“We are ready to go… within a few weeks,” says Shehab Gargash, CEO of the investment firm, talking to MEED. Emirates Investment Bank is the lead manager on the offering.

The size and other details related to the offering are pending final regulatory approvals. The offering will be listed on Dubai’s main exchange.

Daman announced its IPO plans last November and had set a target to list within the first quarter of 2015, but plans have slipped into the second quarter.

Due in part to the rapid decline in oil prices seen since November, investor appetite in the UAE’s capital markets has diminished and has resulted in some companies reviewing their IPO plans.

In January, Abu Dhabi-based company Massar Solutions postponed its IPO after getting inadequate interest from investors during the subscription period. The company was intending to list on the Abu Dhabi Exchange.

Gargash says despite difficult conditions, he is still planning to push ahead with his IPO.

“Being a smaller IPO, we still find it a reasonable time to go to market. We are not looking to raise billions that will challenge market liquidity,” he says.

Gargash added that Daman Investments also benefits from having an established company with a 17-year track record rather than being a start-up company.

Last year, there were several “greenfield” IPOs launched in Dubai by new firms such as the retailer Marka.

The IPO forms part of Gargash’s plans to expand the company’s business activities in its core areas of asset management, brokerage and corporate finance.

Gargash is aiming to take advantage of the increasing investor appeal of the Gulf region.

“GCC is becoming the next promising emerging market. It is becoming very attractive for investors that ordinarily did not look at it in the past,” he says.

The region is likely to become even more attractive in the coming years with the planned opening up of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) to direct foreign investment in mid-2015.

“It is arguably one of the most significant events of this year,” Gargash says.

Daman had previously announced plans to pursue a listing in 2009 and gave itself a three-year window to arrange the IPO. By 2012, it decided to postpone the offering due to poor market conditions.

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