Nakheel Evaluating IPO, Plans Another New Development

Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah confirms that the developer will seek a public listing once it has paid up all its debts.



Dubai developer Nakheel is keenly evaluating options for an IPO, its chairman Ali Rashid Lootah confirmed on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists, he said that the company was currently in the early stages of planning the listing, and that it would take place after all of Nakheel’s debts were paid off.

Lootah refused to disclose whether any specific unit within the company would be listed – like in the case of Emaar, which recently issued an IPO of its retail business. However he added, “anything is possible.”

Nakheel was hit hard during the emirate’s property crash in 2009 and was forced to undergo a $16 billion financial restructuring in 2011.

The company has recovered strongly since then, and posted a 27 per cent hike in 2013 net profit to reach Dhs2.57 billion, with revenues up 20 per cent. It further expects to post a 15 per cent profit growth in 2014, Lootah said.

Nakheel also announced in January that it would repay a significant portion of its bank debt due in September 2015 much ahead of maturity. Up to Dhs4 billion out of the Dhs6.8 billion owed would be repaid in 2014, thanks to better financial performance, it said.

The developer has launched a slew of new projects since 2013, in line with Dubai’s booming real estate industry. Earlier this year, Lootah confirmed that Nakheel would launch new projects worth between Dhs6 to Dhs8 billion in 2014.

The chairman also confirmed on Wednesday that Nakheel was planning to announce another new development in Dubai in a “completely new location.”

The project will be revealed in mid-April and will be anchored around a massive community mall, he said, without disclosing any further details.

Nakheel has been aggressively building its retail portfolio and earlier this week launched two new shopping malls in its Jumeirah Village community. Other retail units include the Dhs2.5 billion Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah, a new mall on Deira Islands, extensions to Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta and other neighbourhood shopping centres.

The developer further plans to triple its retail assets from roughly 2.6 million sq ft currently to around six million sq ft by the end of 2016, Lootah confirmed.

Also read: Nakheel To Launch 94 Plots For Sale On Deira Islands Project