DAMAC founder gets regulatory approval to go private

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DUBAI — The founder of DAMAC Properties is relaunching a partial offer to take the firm private after the securities regulator of the United Arab Emirates granted approval, according to a statement on Thursday.

Maple Invest Co Limited, the vehicle backed by DAMAC founder Hussain Sajwani, said in a statement disclosed in a DAMAC exchange filing that an update to the original $595 million offer made in June is expected within two weeks.

The updated offer “will only address process points and not affect the material parameters of the offer, including the offer price which remains at AED 1.30 ($0.354) per share,” Maple Invest said.

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In June, Sajwani said efforts to take the real estate development firm private were being postponed after the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) launched a review of the transaction.

At the time, an SCA representative told Reuters the authority was “inquiring into some facts and circumstances” of the buyout offer, without elaborating on what exactly it was looking into.

“The offer document dated 9 June 2021 remains valid and in full effect, subject to any changes as may be set out in the aforementioned updated offer document,” Maple said.

The offer came amid years of downturn in Dubai’s property market, exacerbated by the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Analysts saw the plan as a blow to Dubai’s stock market, hit by a spate of delistings of major companies and an absence of new listings.

Sajwani, who resigned as chairman and board member at the time of the offer, directly and indirectly owns 72.215% of DAMAC, regulatory filings show.

DAMAC’s shares closed at 1.23 dirhams on Wednesday. The company has a market capitalisation of over $2 billion.

($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Reporting by Yousef Saba, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)