Emaar Properties PJSC, the developer of the world’s tallest tower, is considering scrapping a proposed listing of its retail unit in London to focus on Dubai, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The company is weighing an initial public offering on the Dubai Financial Market and seeking an exemption to float less than the required 55 percent, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Emaar said last month it planned to raise as much as $2.45 billion with a 25 percent sale in London and Nasdaq Dubai.
Emaar is considering several options including listing on the Dubai Financial Market, and will provide more details once the plans are ready, the company said today in an e-mailed response to questions. A spokesman for Nasdaq Dubai declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Dubai exchange.
The listing would be the largest in the Middle East and Africa since 2008 and a boost for the Dubai Financial Market, where IPOs are just beginning to pick-up after a five-year drought. Dubai’s benchmark DFM Index has gained 51 percent this year, the best performer among more than 90 measures tracked globally by Bloomberg, while Emaar’s stock has risen 44 percent.
“A London listing could mean liquidity is driven away from the local market,” Nayal Khan, head of institutional sales and trading at Naeem Holding in Dubai, said by phone today.
Dubai, which is rebounding after a near default in 2009, prefers not to have one of its highest-profile companies pursue a sale in London, according to one of the people. Emaar’s malls and retail business posted a 20 percent increase in revenue to 2.84 billion dirhams ($773 million) in 2013, while the Dubai Mall attracted 75 million visitors last year.
The IPO would follow the sale by Dubai-based Marka, which is seeking to enter the U.A.E,’s fashion and restaurant businesses. Investors subscribed 10 billion dirhams to the offer of 275 million shares earlier this month.
“Given the strong demand for Marka’s IPO, which was 36 times oversubscribed, there is more than enough available liquidity and appetite for Emaar’s retail offering here in the U.A.E.,” Khan said.
Emaar shares closed unchanged after declining as much as 2.3 percent.