Eshraq Seeks to Raise $225 Million in First U.A.E. Property IPO Since 2007

Eshraq Properties Co. PJSC plans to raise 825 million dirhams ($225 million) in the first initial public offering by a United Arab Emirates real-estate developer since 2007.

The company plans to sell a 55 percent stake during an offer period from May 1 to May 11 that’s open only to nationals of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council countries. A total of 825 million shares will be offered at 1 dirham each, plus two fils for administrative costs, Eshraq said in a statement today.

The last U.A.E. developer to hold an initial public offering was Dubai’s Deyaar Development (DEYAAR) PJSC in September 2007. About a year later, the global credit crisis sparked a slump in property prices as speculators were driven from the market and banks cut lending.

“There is no doubt we are going through a difficult time, but this doesn’t mean there is no money,” Eshraq Chairman Saleh Mohammed Bin Nasrah said at a press conference in Abu Dhabi today. “There are investors looking for opportunities.”

U.A.E. house prices may drop another 30 percent as population growth stagnates and more new properties are put onto the market, Dubai Investment bank Rasmala said in March. That follows an estimated 62 percent price decline in Dubai and a 45 percent slide in Abu Dhabi since prices peaked in mid-2008.

Office Towers, Apartments

Eshraq’s projects include the 7.5 billion-dirham Marina Rise on Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island. The development will include three residential and four commercial towers. The company’s projects also include Gateway Towers in Abu Dhabi and Jumeirah Rise in Dubai.

The money raised by the IPO will fund development, Vice Chairman Jamal Al Saghir told reporters today. In Marina Rise, Eshraq sold 19 plots, or 80 percent of the land, to sub developers. The company is planning to start construction of two towers there this year at a cost of 200 million dirhams.

“We think the Abu Dhabi project will give a better return for the investor,” Al Saghir said.

The developer won’t start Jumeirah Rise in Dubai until construction on the Abu Dhabi projects is 40 percent completed, Al Saghir said. “We don’t want to rush the project without feasibility study.”

Eshraq’s assets were valued at 1.9 billion dirhams as of the end of 2009, according to the IPO prospectus. Royal Capital PJSC was appointed as lead manager for the share sale and National Bank of Abu Dhabi is the lead receiving bank. Other participating banks include First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank.

Eshraq will be listed on Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index. (ADSMI) The measure’s real estate index, which includes Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR), Sorouh Real Estate Co. (SOROUH) and RAK Properties PJSC (RAKPROP), lost 52 percent in the past 12 months. The GCC countries are the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahraa Alkhalisi in Abu Dhabi at zalkhalisi@bloomberg.net Zainab Fattah in Dubai on zfattah@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net.

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