x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai Group sees stake in Cyprus bank weaken

Dubai Group has seen its stake in Cyprus Popular Bank diluted and the value of its holding plunge dramatically following a state bailout of the lender.

Dubai Group has seen its stake in Cyprus Popular Bank diluted and the value of its holding plunge dramatically following a state bailout of the lender.

Cyprus Popular Bank, formerly known as Marfin Popular Bank, was forced to seek state support this summer as the effects of nearby Greece's recession hammered earnings at the island's companies. The cost of propping up Cyprus' banking sector forced the Cypriot government to request an international bailout.

But the effect of the bank's capital increase was to dilute Dubai Group's stake significantly.

The issued share capital and voting rights held by the groupdecreased from 18.69 per cent to 1.41 per cent and the percentage of the listed share capital fell to 8.83 per cent from 18.69, Cyprus Popular Bank said in a filing to the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

Cyprus became the fifth country in the euro zone to request an international bailout, in June.

Cyprus Popular Bank raised €1.8 billion (Dh8.29bn) from a share capital increase days later, in a sale underwritten by the country's government.

Dubai Group invested €625 million in the bank between May and December 2006, with a total investment it valued at €1.42bn in October 2007. Cyprus Popular Bank's shares peaked at €8.47 per share that month. In the wake of the capital raising, Cyprus Popular Bank's shares have fallen to an all-time low of 3.6 euro cents each.

At market values, the shares held by Dubai Group have a value of €62.2m.

Marfin Investment Group, in which Dubai Group owns a 17.8 per cent stake, also had its shareholding in Cyprus Popular Bank reduced to 4.5 per cent from 9.5 per cent.

Dubai Group declined to comment.

Dubai Group is owned by Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The company has been selling assets in an effort to restructure US$10bn (Dh36.73bn) of liabilities.

Last month, Dubai Group sold its rights to participate in BankMuscat's rights issue, according to sources familiar with the matter.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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