Abu Dhabi holding firm Senaat plans share sale
Abu Dhabi, May 23, 2013
An Abu Dhabi government-owned holding company may sell its own shares or off-load a stake in one of its main businesses as part of plans to spur listings on the local stock market, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
General Holding Corp (Senaat), which has nearly $7 billion in assets, has approached banks with a proposal for a potential share listing.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, and its neighbouring city state Dubai are leading a revival of economic growth in the country. Dubai's benchmark index is among the best-performing measures globally this year, having risen 40.6 percent year-to-date and Abu Dhabi's benchmark index is up 30.5 percent.
But there have been few new listings. The last one on the Dubai Financial Market bourse was in March 2009, while the Abu Dhabi bourse has only seen a couple of minor sales since 2008.
"The Abu Dhabi stock market needs a kick start with a big listing. Somebody has to take the initiative as the markets recover," a source at Senaat said, who confirmed there were plans for a listing without elaborating further.
Senaat declined to comment.
Senaat's main subsidiary is Emirates Steel and its investments also include National Petroleum Construction Co, Dubai Cables, aluminium extrusion producer Talex and two firms already listed in Abu Dhabi - Arkan Industrial Materials , Agthia Group.
"The company has sought approval from top authorities in Abu Dhabi for the IPO (listing). It could be the holding company itself or Emirates Steel which eventually lists. All options are open," one source familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity as matter is not public.
It was not immediately clear whether the share sale would be open to foreigners or just to local investors.
Other government-controlled entities listed in Abu Dhabi, including telco Etisalat and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, restrict their free-floats to UAE nationals.
Senaat is an active investor in Abu Dhabi's industrial sector focusing on core areas such as metals, oil and gas services, construction and building materials and food and beverages.
Its revenues totalled 12.3 billion dirhams ($3.4 billion) in 2012, up 7.2 percent over the previous year. But net profit was lower at 1.3 billion dirhams compared to 1.5 billion dirhams in 2011, mainly due to higher depreciation, the company said in April.
Since 2004, Senaat has invested about 16 billion dirhams in Abu Dhabi's industrial sector with investments of 2.2 billion dirhams in 2012 and plans to invest as much again in 2013. - Reuters