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Former Arabtec CEO Hasan Ismaik reduces shareholding at Dubai builder

The former Arabtec chief executive Hasan Ismaik has sold a small part of his shareholding in the construction company, according to data from Bloomberg. This is the first time he has sold shares since his departure in June.

Mr Ismaik sold 3.5 million shares on Wednesday, reducing his holding to 28.77 per cent of the company.

The shares have a value of about US$4 million at current market prices.

He retains 1.265 billion shares in Arabtec, and remains the company’s largest shareholder.

Arabtec’s shares closed down at Dh4 each yesterday, having lost 3.85 per cent.

Arabtec declined to comment.

Speculation over the future of Mr Ismaik’s stake has weighed heavily on the company’s shares and the Dubai Financial Market, which was dragged into bear territory following a precipitous decline in Arabtec’s share price last month.

Last week, Aabar Investments was reported to be in talks to buy at least half of the 28.8 per cent shareholding owned by Mr Ismaik.

In response Aabar released a statement, in which it disclosed only that it was in discussions about the future of its holding in the company.

“As a partner committed to and supporting Arabtec, Aabar asserts that it is currently studying a number of strategic options regarding its investments in Arabtec,” Aabar said in a disclosure published on the DFM website on Sunday.

“Any talks it may have with any party regarding these investments are highly confidential until a decision is made.”

Aabar is owned by International Petroleum Investments Corporation, which manages US$65.3 billion in assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

Arabtec had a market capitalisation of around US$4.8bn, as of the close of trading yesterday. That puts the value of Mr Ismaik’s stake at around $1.38bn. If reports that Mr Ismaik is set to receive up to Dh6 per share for half of his holding are accurate, this would mean Aabar is set to pay Mr Ismaik $1.035bn. This will increase Aabar’s stake to 33.6 per cent from 18.9 per cent, leaving the former chief executive with 14.4 per cent.

Arabtec’s second quarter financial results are due to be published on Sunday.

abouyamourn@thenational.ae

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