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Emaar plans $2.5bn listing of shopping mall unit

DUBAI: Dubai’s Emaar Properties said it would sell up to 25 percent of its shopping mall and retailing unit in a public offer expected to raise 8 to 9 billion dirhams ($2.18-$2.45 billion), making it one of the region’s largest equity offers since 2008.
Emaar, Dubai’s biggest listed real estate developer, did not specify the stock exchange on which the shares in its unit would be listed, and gave no timetable.
In a statement on Saturday, it said the proceeds “will be primarily distributed as dividend” to Emaar shareholders. The shares to be sold will come from the unit’s current equity.
Dubai-listed Emaar’s flagship mall is the Dubai Mall, one of the largest in the world, which it says attracted more than 75 million visitors in 2013. The company also built the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building.
The listing plan underlines Dubai’s rebound from its financial crisis which erupted in 2009. Before the crisis, Emaar talked about listing its shopping mall unit but was forced to put the plan on hold as the emirate’s real estate and stock markets collapsed.
Both markets are now rebounding strongly on the back of inflows of foreign money, with residential property prices up over 20 percent last year and Dubai’s main equity index rallying about 140 percent since the end of 2012.
Emaar is 31 percent-owned by the Dubai government, which is set to earn a dividend of about $750 million from the listing – an important windfall, since Dubai and government-related firms face tens of billions of dollars of debt maturities in the next few years, a legacy of the crisis.
The malls and retailing unit posted revenue of 2.84 billion dirhams last year, up more than 20 percent from 2012, while its gross operating profit increased 20 percent to 2.23 billion dirhams, Emaar said.
Separately, Emaar said its board was proposing a 15 percent cash dividend and a 10 percent bonus share issue for 2013.