Arabtec Ex-CEO Rejects Aabar 5-Dirham Offer for Shares

Arabtec Holding Co.’s largest shareholder and former chief executive officer, Hasan Ismaik, rejected an offer from Aabar Investments PJSC to buy part of his stake for 5 dirhams ($1.36) a share.

Ismaik and Aabar, a United Arab Emirates government-linked investment company that wants to increase its stake in Arabtec, are still in talks about the sale, the former chief executive said by telephone today. The offer may involve as much as half of his holding, Ismaik said.

Arabtec’s shares climbed to a six-week high today on speculation a deal may be struck soon. The stock closed 4.8 percent higher at 4.79 dirhams after surging as much as 8.1 percent. A public-relations representative for Aabar declined to comment when reached by Bloomberg News today.

Khadem Al Qubaisi, chairman of both Arabtec and state-controlled Aabar, said July 2 that Aabar may raise its stake. Aabar, currently Arabtec’s second-biggest shareholder, is in talks to buy at least half of Ismaik’s 27.9 percent holding and is negotiating a price of 5 dirhams to 6 dirhams a share, a person with knowledge of the matter said on July 15.

Ismaik’s resignation in June and the subsequent dismissal of top managers threw into doubt an expansion plan that saw Arabtec shares quadruple in value during the former CEO’s 15 months in charge. Concerns that the company was losing state support, followed by the Ismaik’s departure contributed to a 59 percent decline in Arabtec’s share price from June 5 to June 30. The drop helped drag down the Dubai Financial Market General Index 23 percent in the same period.

Arabtec was the most traded stock in Dubai today, with more than 243 million shares changing hands, and the biggest gainer in Dubai’s DFM General Index, which closed 0.2 percent higher. The builder’s share price jumped 13 percent in the past five-days.

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