Dubai Group sells $57m Onic stake to Omani fund
Muscat, March 2, 2013
An Omani sovereign wealth fund has bought a 41.1 per cent stake in Oman National Investment Corp Holding (ONIC) from a unit of the Dubai ruler's personal investment firm, the state funds said in a joint statement.
The holding represents 71.3 million shares in ONIC, the statement said. At the last market price of the shares, the stake was worth RO22.1 million ($57.6 million).
The stake was sold by Dubai Insurance Group (DIG), which is owned by Dubai Group, part of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum's Dubai Holding conglomerate.
Dubai Group is restructuring about $10 billion of debt, having been hit hard by the global financial crisis, and has been selling assets to reduce its debt.
Commenting on the move, Fadel Al Ali, the acting CEO of the Dubai Group said: “We are very pleased that the Oman Investment Fund is acquiring our interest in Onic and we believe that they are the right partner to support the Group in its next phase of growth in the Sultanate and other GCC countries."
"This is a strategic decision for DIG and is part of our stated plan to sell down assets in order to support our broader ongoing restructuring process,” he stated.
Oman Investment Fund CEO Hassan Al-Nabhani said, “We are delighted to have been able to acquire a significant shareholding in ONIC Holding. This investment demonstrates our focus on strong businesses in the Omani market in which we will seek to actively participate with fellow shareholders to assist in their further development."
"We look forward to working closely with the Board to develop further opportunities for growth both in Oman and the broader region,” he added.
In September, Dubai Group sold its Turkish insurance arm to a company owned by former AIG chief executive Maurice Greenberg and a unit of Dubai lender Mashreq Bank.
Dubai Group also owns a 14.7 per cent stake in Oman's top lender, Bank Muscat.
ONIC is a holding company active in the insurance business and offers other services such as asset management and leasing. Japan's Oryx Corp has a 14.9 per cent stake, making it the second largest shareholder, according to Reuters data.-Reuters and TradeArabia News Service