Former Arabtec CEO wants over 5 dirhams per share

Ismaik reveals talks have taken place with Aabar about possible sale

Hasan Ismaik.
Hasan Ismaik.

A former chief executive of major Dubai construction firm Arabtec said he was in talks about selling some of his stake to Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments and wanted over five dirhams per share, a level that is about 4% above the current market price.

Arabtec's shares are among the most heavily traded in Dubai and their fate is key for the entire bourse. When management turmoil at the company caused a 70% tumble of its stock price between mid-May and early July, there was panic selling across the market.

Hasan Ismaik, who abruptly resigned from Arabtec in June but remains the biggest shareholder in the company, said he was in talks with Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar to sell part of his 27.90% stake.

News agency Reuters reported he declined to reveal exactly what price he was asking or specify how much of the stake he might sell. But he said no deal had been done so far because his minimum price had not been reached.

"For me, fvie dirhams per share is not acceptable," he told Reuters by telephone.

Arabtec's market price has jumped 13% to 4.79 dirhams in the past four trading days as investors have speculated that a deal might be near.

They hope a sale of a substantial part of Ismaik's stake to Aabar, which already owns 18.94% of the company, would remove a potential overhang from the market and guarantee that the deep-pocketed Aabar would continue supporting Arabtec by steering lucrative business its way.

An Aabar spokesman could not be reached to comment. In the past, Aabar has declined to comment on its intentions toward Arabtec. 

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