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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 16 August 2018

Damac's founder ready to sell 15 per cent stake 

"I am not willing to sell it when I see my stock is undervalued,” says Hussain Sajwani

Damac Properties's full year 2017 profit drops 25 per cent. Saeed Azhar / Reuters
Damac Properties's full year 2017 profit drops 25 per cent. Saeed Azhar / Reuters

Hussain Sajwani, the billionaire whose Damac Properties Dubai is developing Donald Trump-branded golf courses in Dubai, would be “more than happy” to sell as much as 15 per cent of his majority stake in the company to boost the trading in its shares.

“The intention is there,” the Damac chairman said in an interview. “As an owner who built the company with all the effort and hard work, I am not willing to sell it when I see my stock is undervalued,” he said. He declined to say what he considers a fair price.

Mr Sajwani owns 72 per cent of Damac, the company he founded in 2002 and grew to become one of the biggest developers in the Middle East, known for projects designed by Versace and offers of luxury cars such as BMWs, Lamborghinis and Teslas to buyers during Dubai’s shopping festival. Mr Sajwani has a net worth of US$5.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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“For me, liquidity in the stock is important,” Mr Sajwani said. “At the same time, I love what I do and I see big potential in the company and I want to stay majority shareholder.”

No advisers have been hired to oversee a possible sale, he said.

Damac has two golf-course development deals with Mr Trump’s family company. The tie-up has propelled Mr Sajwani from a developer little known beyond the Middle East into someone often referred to as Trump’s main business partner in the region. No more deals were being explored with the US president’s organisation, he said.

Sales are forecast to grow about 7 per cent in 2017, Mr Sajwani said, matching analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Damac shares have climbed 32 per cent over the past 12 months, beating Dubai’s real-estate stock index, helped by its inclusion in MSCI global indexes.

The company is weighing opportunities in cities such as Berlin, Istanbul and London, where he thinks the UK’s planned exit from the European Union is offering a possibility to expand, Mr Sajwani said.

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