Dubai Investments plans stock offerings and foreign expansion this year

Dubai Investments plans to float at least one of its units next year.

DI has three units – one in the financial sector, one in district cooling and one in property – ready for initial public offerings, its chief executive, Khalid bin Kalban, said yesterday.

All three could be ready by next year, he said, depending “on the circumstances and the market”.

DI, which has 38 subsidiaries, would make any such listing on the Dubai Financial Market, he added.

DI, which until now has invested only in the UAE, is also venturing into Saudi Arabia and Angola this year to help to diversify its portfolio.

“These two countries are very progressive countries and there are investment opportunities there,” said Mr Kalban.

In Saudi Arabia, the company is planning to develop a project called Riyadh Investment Park in the country’s capital this year, similar to the Dubai Investment Park mixed-use project.

The Saudi project involves developing 11 million square metres of land that will include warehousing, logistics, housing units and other facilities.

DI will own 25 per cent of land, which was bought for 1.5 billion Saudi riyals (Dh1.46bn). The firm is setting up a joint venture with Saudi partners to develop the project.

It plans to set up a fund to finance the project and expects to contribute 10 to 15 per cent, with the remainder coming from investors, he said.

The firm is also assessing two other projects in Saudi Arabia, Mr Kalban said, without giving further details.

It is also scouting locations for a similar investment park near the Angola capital Luanda. That project is expected to be between 45 and 50 sq kilometres. Funding will include self-financing and debt, Mr Kalban said.

“The government is going to be allocating land for us to develop something like Dubai Investment Park,” he said. “The benefit is that we will be bringing foreign investment and bringing some of the manufacturing units.”

The firm has also received interest from Tunisia and Morocco to develop projects there.

In the UAE, DI is planning to spend Dh6bn to Dh7bn over the next five years to further develop Dubai Investments Park, which benefits from its location near the Expo 2020 site, Dubai World Central and the upcoming Dubai Parks and Resorts theme parks complex.

“We may borrow 100 per cent from banks to finance the project,” said Mr Kalban.

He said the company would buy a 51 per cent stake in a property company in a deal worth about Dh180 million.

The firm also plans to make two acquisitions worth a total of Dh190m, one in a UAE utility and the other with a Saudi power provider in Saudi. Two other possible acquisitions are under review.

DI also plans to sell two investments, which will have a total value of Dh40m to Dh50m.

“We will need to grow our asset base because we will be acquiring companies rather than exiting companies,” said Mr Kalban.

He forecast that assets will grow to as much as Dh17bn this year from the current Dh14.5bn.

The company has about D3bn in cash and cash equivalent and does not plan to raise debt this year, Mr Kalban said.

Its shares closed down 0.87 per cent to Dh2.29 on the DFM.

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