Emaar Properties has hired US Goldman Sachs Group to manage the sale of shares in its UAE real estate development business in Dubai, its chairman Mohamed Alabbar has said.
The developer expects to complete the initial public offering (IPO) by November, which will be roughly the size of $1.58bn share float of its unit Emaar Malls done in 2014, Alabbar told Bloomberg in a TV interview.
On 7 June, Emaar announced the spinoff saying it will float 30 per cent of real estate development arm on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The funds raised through the sale of equity will primarily be distributed as dividends to Emaars shareholders, the company said, adding that the deal is subject to market conditions.
Markets across the GCC have slowed in the last two years with the fall in oil prices since the mid-2014 peak of $115 a-barrel, which has driven regional equity markets down and dented investors confidence. A total of $1.12bn was raised through six equity deals including the rights offerings in the GCC last year.
Several government-related entities in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Oman have expressed interest in public floats, but private and public firms in the UAE have largely shelved their plans to list due to subdued market conditions.
Alabbar said in March that there were no plans to list any of Emaars subsidiaries, and that the the companys priority was to streamline and create synergies within the businesses.
The decision to launch the IPO is based on an internal review of the asset, and the listing will enhance the developers overall valuation as the value of its real estate development business is properly recognised in the market, the company said in the statement released on 7 June.
The real estate development business in the past five years has seen significant growth. Sales increased from AED4.2bn ($ 1.14) in 2012 to AED14.4bn in 2016. Until end of May 2017, the business recorded sales of AED9.7bn, recording a 24 per cent increase on the same period in 2016. Total backlog, representing the value of properties sold where related revenues have yet to be recognised, stood at AED40bn at the end of May 2017, according to the Emaar statement.
Emaar may now consider spinning off its entertainment and hospitality units as it seeks to maximise its equity valuation, according to a Bloomberg news report.
For us to drive the best value for our shareholders I think we probably have to spin these organizations out, let them all focus on their businesses and let shareholders decide which shares they want to own, he said. Then we become a holding company with a focus on driving these entities and creating value.