Dubai property group’s £1.6bn London flotation is delayed

David Hellier
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BANKS advising Damac, the Dubai-based property group, on its London flotation last night went back on plans to price the shares.

The decision came after some investors said they wanted to know whether Dubai would be the venue for Expo 2020, which will be announced today.

Advisers said there was sufficient demand to go ahead with the share sale at the lower end of the price range, valuing the group at about £1.6bn.

But all might change if Dubai loses out to Brazil, Russia or Turkey in today’s decision.

Market sources said some potential investors had already been put off by fears of a property bubble in the Middle East, where Damac mainly operates.

The flotation comes only five years after Dubai’s latest severe property crash, but following a period in which prices have risen by around 30 per cent.

There have also been signs of nervousness in the London new issues market this month, with shares in Just Retirement, an annuity provider, struggling following a warning from Partnership, a recently-listed rival.

And earlier this month shares in the newly-floated Tinkoff Credit Systems fell by 46 per cent in one day over fears of a change in the law in Russia, which might have profoundly affected revenues.

Damac’s flotation is one of the last major new issues before Christmas, with bankers busy discussing potential deals for the New Year amid signs that investors are becoming more choosy.

Constantia, an Austrian packaging maker owned by One Equity Partners, pulled its planned £680m flotation yesterday in Frankfurt.