x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Future Pipe targets acquisitions

Future Pipe, the Dubai company that makes fibreglass pipes for big infrastructure projects, is considering an IPO as part of a long-term strategic plan.

Fouad Makhzoumi, the chief executive and chairman of Future Pipe, said that an IPO could be possible in 2016. Lee Hoagland/The National
Fouad Makhzoumi, the chief executive and chairman of Future Pipe, said that an IPO could be possible in 2016. Lee Hoagland/The National

Future Pipe, the Dubai-based company that makes fibreglass pipes for big infrastructure projects, is considering an initial public offering as part of a long-term strategic plan.

Fouad Makhzoumi, the chief executive and chairman of Future Pipe, told The National that an IPO could be possible in 2016, after the company has extended its global operations through a series of deals outside the Middle East.

He also said proceeds from a stock market flotation - which could value Future Pipe at more than US$1bn (Dh3.67bn) - would be used to fund a significant acquisition in the pipe industry. "We will mainly use the funds to further expand the business possibly by considering a major acquisition of one of the leading pipe manufactures in the world," Mr Makhzoumi said.

"I would have no problem floating 40 or 45 per cent of the shares because it's already run as a public company," he added.

Any IPO would come after a burst of expansion planned in Indonesia, Myanmar, Angola and Mozambique.

Smaller acquisitions are close in Europe and Asia, Mr Makhzoumi said, without identifying the targets.

It was too early to say where the company would consider listing. In 2008, Future Pipe got to an advanced stage in preparations for a market flotation on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (now Nasdaq Dubai) before concerns over a lack of liquidity forced it to look instead at the London Stock Exchange. An LSE listing was ruled out when the global financial crisis broke in late 2008.

A successful IPO would be a vindication of the strategy implemented by the late Rami Makhzoumi, son of the current chairman, who died suddenly in 2011 while serving as chief executive.

Fouad Makhzoumi, whose family is a major shareholder, has run the company since then, but he is preparing to step down from day to day management later this year.

"We would need a chief executive, of course, though I might stay on as chairman. That's what we're thinking about now.

"The right person [as CEO] would maybe not come from the pipe industry, but would have to have had experience in big industrial projects," he said.

Future Pipe has its origins in Saudi Arabia, where the Makhzoumi family relocated after the outbreak of civil war in their native Lebanon in 1975.

It is one of the top three manufacturers and suppliers of fibreglass pipes in the world, and has benefited from high-profile infrastructure projects in the Middle East and beyond.

 

fkane@thenational.ae