Dubai’s Daman Investments aims to launch IPO within weeks

Company is not deterred by weak equity markets in the Gulf which have caused several UAE firms to suspend IPO plans.

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Daman Investments, a UAE asset management firm, is in the final stages of obtaining regulatory approval for an initial public offer of shares and hopes to launch it in the next few weeks, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

The company had announced last November that it planned to list on the Dubai Financial Market during the first quarter of 2015 to expand its business and fund new opportunities at home and in the wider region.

Since then weak equity markets in the Gulf, partly due to the plunge of oil prices, have caused at least several UAE companies to suspend IPO plans.

But Shehzad Janab, head of asset management and advisory business at Daman, said on Tuesday that the company was not deterred by the slump and would proceed with the offer if approval was obtained and market conditions were satisfactory.

“If you raise capital earlier when valuations are lower, you have more opportunities to deploy it at attractive valuations,” he told Reuters.

Daman said in November that it would sell new shares equivalent to 55 per cent of the firm to the public. The selling price was being discussed with the regulator and figures on the company’s recent revenue and profit would be published once the talks concluded, chairman Shehab Gargash said.

Founded in 1998, Daman is backed by investors from the UAE and the wider Gulf region. It announced as early as 2009 that it hoped to go public on the Dubai or Abu Dhabi stock markets, but that was delayed by the global financial crisis.

Daman sold a 22.7 per cent stake to private investors via a placement of shares in June 2012, which valued the company at Dh440 million. A previous fund-raising round, before the financial crisis, had valued Daman at around double that figure.

Emirates Investment Bank was appointed financial adviser and lead manager for the planned IPO, with law firm White & Case acting as legal adviser, the November statement said.

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