PwC, the international professional services organisation, acted as the lead sell-side advisor to shareholders (the Vendors) representing together a 77.8% interest in Damas International Limited (the Company or Damas), the leading Middle East jewellery and watch retailer. The Vendors included notably Tawfique Abdullah, Tawhid Abdullah and Tamjid Abdullah (members of the founding family of Damas, together the “Abdullah Brothers”) who would continue to hold together a 15% interest in the Company.
Prior to this transaction, PwC played a key role in the restructuring of the Company’s AED 3 billion debt, which resulted in the signature of a facility agreement, in March 2011, and a cascade agreement, in May 2011, involving the Abdullah Brothers, Damas, Damas Real Estate and the pool of creditors.
PwC coordinated the whole sale transaction process which culminated with the announcement on March, 28th 2012 by Mannai Corporation Q.S.C. and EFG Hermes Private Equity (the “Consortium”) of a firm intention to make a bid to acquire all of the shares in Damas for USD 0.45 per share. The transfer of the Vendors’ shares to the Consortium was completed on Thursday April 26 , 2012.
Nitin Khanna, Partner at PwC who led the transaction commented: “Gaining consensual agreement from the various stakeholders involved in the transaction (the Abdullah Brothers, the other Vendors, the Company, the Company’s creditors, the Consortium and the regulatory bodies) was one of the key challenges. PwC’s in-depth understanding of the Company was instrumental in successfully managing the complexities inherent in the transaction and in demonstrating the true value of Damas to suitable potential investors.”
Representing a total value of USD 445 million, the transaction is one of the largest public M&A deals in the Middle East. It is also the first time that a strategic investor and a financial sponsor are teaming up to submit a bid on a public company in the region.
Nitin concluded: “It has been professionally very satisfying to lead and direct this landmark transaction. This deal also reaffirms PwC’s position on the top end of the Corporate Finance league tables and our involvement in both the debt restructuring and the sale transaction demonstrated that PwC is a hands-on, relationship driven adviser capable of providing end to end solutions."