x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Gulf Capital hires Rothschild to advise on overseas share issue

Gulf Capital said on Monday it has hired an investment bank to advise it on a renewed attempt to issue shares in oil and gas services firm, Gulf Marine, on an overseas stock exchange.

Abu Dhabi’s Gulf Capital said on Monday it has hired an investment bank to advise it on a renewed attempt to issue shares in oil and gas services firm, Gulf Marine, on an overseas stock exchange.

The private equity firm, which owns 79 per cent of the Middle East’s largest operator of jack-up barges, tried to sell the business last year for more than US$500 million but talks collapsed due to financing issues and differences over its valuation.

Since then Gulf Capital has been preparing Gulf Marine Services - one of the biggest assets in its portfolio - for an initial public offering in a major stock exchange such as London or Singapore.

Private equity firms in the region are looking to exit their investments due to pressure from shareholders for returns and as financial markets in the region recover from the twin blows of Arab Spring uprisings and the global financial crisis.

Gulf Capital said it hired Rothschild as a financial advisor for the initial public offering (IPO).

“Gulf Marine is an extremely profitable business and the firm is ready to be listed in a major international stock exchange. Rothschild will help us identify the location for the IPO as we prepare for the listing,” said Karim El Solh, Gulf Capital’s chief executive.

Gulf Capital is set to appoint Bank of America Merrill Lynch , Barclays and JP Morgan Chase Inc as arranging banks on the IPO, three banking sources aware of the matter said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

One of the sources said Gulf Capital was most likely to list GMS on the London Stock Exchange. Other Abu Dhabi-based firms have listed in London recently. Al Noor Hospitals listed in London in June with a valuation of $1 billion. Its competitor, NMC Healthcare listed in London last year.

Mr El Soh declined to comment on the appointment of arranging banks.

He expects the GMS listing to take place by mid-2014, he said. Gulf Capital had led a consortium of investors who acquired 100 per cent of GMS in 2007.

During Gulf Capital’s ownership of the firm from 2007 to 2012, revenue rose 460 per cent and profitability rose by 750 per cent, Gulf Capital said in its website.

In July, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank arranged a $360m syndicated Islamic facility for GMS, with some of the proceeds used to pay out investors as dividends.

* Reuters