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Dubai's Emaar Properties to float Egyptian unit, hotel business

Reuters, Friday 3 Oct 2014
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Dubai's Emaar Properties plans to float its Egyptian unit in about June 2015 and may also take its hotels subsidiary public after the successful listing of its malls and retail business, the company's chairman said on Thursday.

Emaar, Dubai's largest listed property developer, sold a 15.4 percent stake in Emaar Malls Group (EMG) in an initial public offer (IPO) last month, raising $1.6 billion following huge investor demand. The shares ended 12.1 percent higher on their stock market debut on Thursday.

This week, local media quoted its chairman Mohamed Alabbar as saying that the hotels unit could follow in a few months. However, on Thursday, Alabbar declined to indicate any timetable for the flotation.

"Emaar Hospitality is going to go public when the board of the company decides. The percentage, size and when - all of that I will come back to you with. But the intention is to move forward as soon as possible," he said on the sidelines of an event to mark the start of trading in EMG.

There are no dedicated hotel operators listed on the Dubai stock exchange, although tourism is one of the key sectors of the emirate's economy.

Emaar will also launch an IPO for its Egyptian unit, Egypt Misr, Alabbar told a conference later in the day.

"The company is going to go public about in June," he said, adding the value of the unit was between 3 billion dirhams and 4 billion dirhams ($816.8 million-$1.09 billion). "Egypt sentiment is good so we feel it is the right thing to do."

Egypt's main share index is up 43 percent this year, reflecting high expectations for new President Fattah al-Sisi's economic reform plans, while Emaar Misr has an investment portfolio of 53 billion Egyptian pounds ($7.41 billion), according to Misr's website.

Its projects include Uptown Cairo, which is spread over 4.5 million square metres, and includes a business park, residential properties, resorts and a golf course.

"From what I see on the street, I think we see (political) stability and we hope that continues because that's good for human life, good for business, good for growth," said Alabbar.

The United Arab Emirates, in which Dubai is one of seven emirates, has provided billions of dollars of aid to Cairo since Islamist president Mohamed Musi was ousted last year. Former army chief al-Sisi was subsequently elected president in May.

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