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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Emaar MGF set for IPO, appoints Citi grp, Enam, Merrill

Emaar Properties PJSC, the Middle East's biggest real estate developer by market value, hired Citigroup Inc., Enam Financial Consultants and Merrill Lynch & Co. to sell shares in India, three bankers with direct knowledge of the transaction said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. will also help arrange the sale of shares in the Dubai-based developer's Indian unit, Emaar MGF Ltd., the bankers said, requesting anonymity before an official announcement.

Emaar said in January it plans to raise funds in India, where the fastest wage growth in Asia Pacific has driven a doubling in property prices in two years. JPMorgan last month said Indian developers may sell as much as USD 10 billion of shares in the next 18 months as the world's second-fastest pace of economic growth boosts demand for offices and homes.

``If one takes a three-year view, the growth opportunity is bright,'' said Murali Krishnan, head of research at brokerage MF Global Ltd. in Mumbai. ``Income levels are rising, which would create demand.''

Amit Jain, Chief Financial Officer at Emaar, didn't return calls seeking comment. Officials at the investment banks in Mumbai declined to comment.

Emaar is building homes, shopping malls, schools and hospitals from Morocco to the US as it diversifies its sources of income outside Dubai. The developer expects a quarter of its revenue to come from India by 2010, Emirates Today reported in June. Emaar plans to invest USD 12 billion in India over the next five years, the Dubai-based newspaper reported, citing Susil Dungarwal, head of retail at Emaar MGF.

Emaar follows DLF Ltd., controlled by billionaire Kushal Pal Singh, in tapping investor demand for real estate stocks. DLF, based in New Delhi, raised USD 2.3 billion in June in the nation's biggest initial share sale.

The average price of a residential apartment in south Mumbai, India's commercial capital, more than doubled in the past two years to 22,000 rupees (USD 537) a square foot, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Office prices in the southern business district also doubled to a 10-year high, reports Bloomberg.

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