Topaz Energy and Marine, a marine services company based in Dubai, is preparing to float its shares on the London Stock Exchange to raise as much as US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion).
The company's Omani parent, Renaissance Services, may also sell part of its stake in the unit but will keep at least a 51 per cent holding.
"Renaissance now believes a listing of Topaz on the London Stock Exchange offers the most effective way to optimise future growth opportunities and increase shareholder value," Samir Fancy, the chairman of Renaissance, said in the company's annual report for last year, published yesterday.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Cazenove were arranging the initial public offering (IPO), which could be completed early next month.
Renaissance is not alone in choosing to float shares in London instead of its home country. DP World, with Deutsche Bank and Citigroup as advisers, is understood to be seeking a London listing this spring after initially planning an IPO in Dubai.
Regarded by analysts as a well-run mid-sized offshore services specialist with a record of timely and transparent financial reporting, Topaz is not expected to find the London exchange's disclosure requirements especially arduous.
Its shares were listed on the Muscat Stock Exchange until 2005, when it was acquired by Renaissance. But at that time Topaz was strictly a Gulf player.
It has since set up operations in the Caspian Sea and now plans to enter the deepwater offshore oil sectors of West Africa and Brazil.
Mr Fancy said in November Renaissance was "seriously considering" raising new capital to finance the proposed expansion.
"Markets such as Brazil and West Africa offer significant growth opportunity for Topaz," he said. "We must now maximise the scale of opportunity that lies before us."
Last month, Topaz said it had agreed to acquire two offshore supply vessels in Brazil for $40.4m each. "These vessel acquisitions provide us with an excellent first entry point into the buoyant offshore market," said Fazel Fazelbhoy, the chief executive of Topaz. "We will continue to pursue growth through partnerships, vessel acquisitions and new-build strategies.
"This acquisition is in line with the next steps of our declared business strategy and builds upon extensive preparations to enter the Brazilian market."
Last year, Topaz had net earnings of $70m on $408m revenue. It made a $65m net profit on $448m revenue in 2009. Renaissance, a holding company in Muscat, offers a range of contract services to the oil and gas sector and other clients.
In December it acquired Abu Dhabi's Al Wasita Emirates for Services and Catering in a Dh56m deal aimed at expanding its operations in the UAE. In Muscat yesterday, Renaissance's shares climbed 4.4 per cent to 1.04 rials.