Depa seeks to resolve board issues

Firm looking to appoint new chairman following suspension of shares

NEWS, Business

Dubai-based interior fit-out company Depa has announced that its shares have been suspended from the Nasdaq Dubai market by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

The suspension, it said, is due to "technicalities concerning the composition of its board and committees", which, it added, do not comply with corporate governance principles.

Depa's board was subjected to a widespread shake-up in May 2013 following the appointment of four Arabtec directors to its board, including former chief executive Hasan Abdullah Ismaik, who was subsequently appointed as chairman one month later.

Arabtec had taken a 24% stake in Depa in November 2012 for $65.8mn a year earlier, making it the firm's largest single shareholder. In October last year, Depa's co-founder and longstanding CEO Mohannad Sweid left the firm. Nadim Akhrass, head of the firm's Dubai office, was appointed as acting CEO.

The firm's suspension is understood to be linked to Ismaik's departure. As chairman, he would have held a casting vote if the other six directors were equally split over a decision, but since his departure from Arabtec in June his position on Depa's board has also been vacant, given that Arabtec's acting CEO Mohammed Al Fahim is one of the other Arabtec representatives on Depa's board.

In its statement issued yesterday, Depa said it is "discussing these issues including the constitution of the board, the appointment of a permanent chairman and membership of Board committees, and will keep the market informed of its progress".


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