x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Daman sets aside $180m for logistics venture capital firm

Daman Investments, based in Dubai, launches a holding firm with an initial capital of US$180 million.

Daman Investments, based in Dubai, has launched a holding firm with an initial capital of US$180 million (Dh661m) to pursue investment opportunities in the aviation, logistics and property sectors in the emirate. The new firm, Buildan Development, intends to broaden its capital base through an initial public offering (IPO) either later this year or the beginning of next year. "As the business evolves, Buildan will naturally require a broader capital base," said Shehab Gargash, the chief executive of Daman Investment. "We foresee that we may consider an IPO within a four- to five-year time horizon."

Buildan will act as a venture capital firm pursuing aviation and logistics businesses as well as property projects located primarily near the new $33 billion Al Maktoum International Airport in the Jebel Ali area. The company said it would have a "flexible investment strategy" and would work through direct investment, partnerships, venture capital and infrastructure investments. Buildan has several projects in the pipeline which would be announced by the middle of next month, Mr Gargash said.

"Conceived as a holding company, Buildan will act directly or through special-purpose vehicles," he said, adding that the firm would become one of the early strategic investors in the new aviation hub. The 140-square-kilometre Dubai World Central development, being built around the new airport, will house six integrated clusters including Aviation City, Logistics City, Golf City, Commercial City and Residential City. It is projected to become the largest aviation and cargo hub in the world. It is estimated the development will be home to close to one million people and serve Dubai's aviation, logistics and tourism needs until 2050.

Buildan's initial focus and primary objectives are the development of assets and operating businesses, including specialised airport facilities, long-term investments in the airline industry and freehold purchases of commercial, warehousing, logistics and residential property, the company said. Along with Daman Investment, the new firm has nine founding partners including a mixture of public and private sector institutions and wealthy individuals. skhan@thenational.ae