The Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor postpones the planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the Group.
Al Habtoor said, “After a thorough evaluation I have decided to postpone the IPO. It is a moral issue not taking the Group public at this time. I will continue to focus on best practice and growing the company in a sustainable way.”
Al Habtoor added that the IPO funds would be an added responsibility to him personally, while the group ascertains where the best investment opportunities are.
Al Habtoor, who has steered the company into one of the region’s biggest conglomerates, said he is committed to investments in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region. “The large scale investments underway right now are within the Al Habtoor Group’s expertise. They offer something promising to the Group and the UAE.”
Al Habtoor pointed out that the economies of the GCC are projected to grow robustly, and this is where the focus of the group will be for the time being. This view is supported by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) latest regional outlook report.
Khalaf Al Habtoor revealed that the Group received an independent valuation from global advisory firm Grant Thornton which valued the company at AED 22.14 billion (USD 6.06 billion). This valuation excludes Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand, Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace, Le Mall shopping centre and the Habtoor Land theme park in the Lebanon and Le Méridien Budapest in Hungary, which the Group acquired in May 2012. It also excludes the value of the Group’s shareholding in Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) and several other investments in public shareholding companies.
Al Habtoor noted that the company has been on a steady growth trajectory since its inception, consistently posting annual profit. Al Habtoor said the Group full year earnings are forecasted to grow 16% in excess of AED 700 million (USD 191.8 million). That compares to AED 604 million (USD 165.5 million) in 2011. It marks the first time the Group has publically announced its earnings.
In the past 12 months, the Al Habtoor Group has announced investments worth AED 5.9 billion in the hospitality sector, including Dubai’s first ever integrated resort comprising of three hotels in one complex as well as a Las Vegas-style theatre. It will include the first super luxury St. Regis hotel in Dubai, a W hotel and a Westin hotel. The group is also developing the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah.
Separately, Al Habtoor Motors has been strengthening its presence in the region. It is has just acquired a Chinese automobile brand and is about to sign an exclusive distribution contract with a major European tire maker. It also recently announced it will open 40 car repair garages across the GCC over the next two years under a new brand called Speed Fit. Al Habtoor Motors owns franchise rights for brands such as Mitsubishi, Bugatti, Bentley, McLaren and TEMSA.
Al Habtoor concluded, “I have made this decision to postpone the IPO and would like to thank the people who have advised us along the way.” He made special thanks to NASDAQ Dubai, Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). “I would like to make a special mention to H. E. Abdulla Al Turaifi, Chairman of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority ; Jeff Singer, Chief Executive, DIFC Authority; Essa Kazim, Managing Director and CEO of DFM and Hamed Ali, Acting CEO, NASDAQ Dubai. They have spent a great deal of time guiding us along this process with advice and consultancy.” He also made mention to Grant Thornton as well as the leading financial institutions who expressed interest in the Group and provided their experience, support and advice.