Barclays, BNP Said Hired by Ras Al Khaimah on Ceramics Firm Sale

Barclays Plc and BNP Paribas SA are advising Ras Al Khaimah’s ruling family on a stake sale valued at as much as $391 million in Ras Al Khaimah Ceramics, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The family, which runs one of the seven United Arab Emirates sheikhdoms, is seeking to sell 25 percent to 50 percent in the world’s biggest maker of ceramic tile, the people said, asking not to be identified as talks are private. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with a regional investment firm, two of the people said, declining to name the potential buyer.

Merger and acquisition activity in the Middle East is picking up as financial markets improve and companies seek regional expansion. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. said March 2 the company and its partners will pay $1.6 billion in cash and assumed debt to buy two hydroelectric power plants in India, while Emirates Telecommunications Corp. is in the process of completing its acquisition of Vivendi SA’s controlling stake in Maroc Telecom SA for about 4.2 billion euros ($5.7 billion).

RAK Ceramics exports to more than 150 countries, according to its website. Its shares almost tripled in 2013 and have jumped 23 percent in Abu Dhabi this year, giving the company a market value of 2.88 billion dirhams ($783 million).

Abdulla Mahmood, a spokesman for RAK Ceramics, declined to comment, while the Ras Al Khaimah government couldn’t be reached for a comment. Barclays and BNP declined to comment.