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Emaar Misr's IPO buyback offer heavily oversubscribed

Reuters , Monday 3 Aug 2015
Emaar logo (Photo: Emaar official website)
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Views: 1546

Shareholders of Egyptian property developer Emaar Misr submitted a total of 487.317 million shares to be bought back by the company on Monday, more than five times the 90 million shares Emaar Misr agreed to re-purchase a month after the company's stock began trading on the Egyptian bourse.

Emaar Misr, a unit of Dubai's Emaar Properties, sold about 13 percent of its shares and raised 2.28 billion Egyptian pounds ($291 million) in an initial public offering in June which priced at 3.8 Egyptian pounds per share. It was the largest offering on the Egyptian exchange since 2007.

The company offered to use its price stabilisation fund to buy back 15 percent of the shares at the initial IPO price 30 days after the shares went into circulation, which was on July 5.

The stock has performed poorly since its flotation, with the price closing trade on Monday at 3.43 Egyptian pounds, up 0.3 percent on the day but 9.74 percent below its IPO price.

The valuation of Emaar Misr was "a bit on the high side" with the flotation affected by the quieter market during the month of Ramadan, said Harshjit Oza, property and banking analyst at Naeem Brokerage.

"Here in Egypt about 60 or 70 percent of investors are retail investors and their goal is just to make money quickly, so if they are not happy with the IPO performance they would like money returned. So this is a way to keep retail investors happy," he said of the buy-back offer.

"I think ... they were jumping ahead a little because other [property development] companies such as Palm Hills and SODIC are further along in developing their projects than them," said Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting thinktank Signet.

Also, two senior executives, Chief Development Officer Walid El-Hindi and Chief Investment Officer Ahmed Fathallah, resigned on Sunday "to pursue new opportunities", Emaar Misr said in an emailed statement on Sunday.

However, Oza said the company's share price performance and the eagerness of investors to sell back stock did not truly reflect prospects for the company, which was still "doing quite well."

"Fundamental factors such as growing urbanization, population growth, increasing number of marriages, investors' urge to buffer wealth against the Egyptian pound's depreciation and inflation, continue to drive real estate demand and prices," Naeem Brokerage said in a research note on the company which was issued in mid-July.

"This cannot be perceived as a slowdown in the property market or the stock market," said Oza. 

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