Emaar Properties, the biggest developer in the Middle East by market value, said here on Saturday it plans to list up to 25 percent of its shopping malls and retail business on the stock market in Dubai.
According to the media release, Emaar aims to raise between eight to nine billion Dirham or two to 2.4 billion U.S. dollars through the planned secondary offering of its retail unit.
Emaar group is listed on the local bourse Dubai financial market (DFM) and considered a bellwether stock. The release did not disclose if the secondary will be launched on the DFM or on its sister market Nasdaq Dubai, the only international bourse by regulation in the Middle East.
Emaar's retail business which includes the world's biggest shopping center the Dubai Mall that hosted 75 million visitors in 2013, generated last year a revenues worth 2.837 billion Dirham ( 772 million dollars), representing an increase of 20 percent. The Dubai Mall is located adjacent to the world's tallest tower Burj Khalifa which was also developed by Emaar.
Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar, said:"the proposed listing of Emaar malls and retail and the distribution of funds raised through the sale of shares as dividend underlines our commitment and gratitude to our shareholders, including the government of Dubai, for their unwavering support to the company since its inception in 1997." The Dubai government holds a 29.22 percent stake in Emaar.
In case the listing goes through, it would mark the biggest in the United Arab Emirates since 2008.
Emaar's announcement comes days after two firms, online- retailer Marka and Islamic real estate fund Emirates REIT, also said they would list shares on the Dubai markets. These listings will be the first in over six years as the global financial crisis dried up the market for new primary and secondary listings.