Dubai’s Meraas Offers to Delist Troubled Park Operator DXBE

Dubai government-controlled Meraas Holding LLC is offering shareholders a 33% discount to take theme park operator DXB Entertainments private, six years after raising money from equity investors to build the amusement hub.

Meraas plans to acquire debt worth 4.26 billion dirhams ($1.16 billion) and convert it into new DXBE shares, boosting its ownership to more than 90%. It will then offer to buy out other shareholders at eight fils in cash for each DXB Entertainments share, below the 12 fils closing price on Sunday, when the statement was published.

DXBE shares dropped by the 5% daily limit on Monday. The company was listed to capitalize on Dubai’s booming tourism sector in 2014, but has struggled for years to hit targets for visitor numbers. Its troubles were exacerbated by lockdowns put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The company hasn’t posted a profit since listing and the stock has lost more than 90% of its value since a peak in 2016. DXBE’s initial public offering valued it at 5.75 billion dirhams, nearly nine times more than implied by Meraas’s offer.

Dubai’s Meraas Offers to Delist Troubled Park Operator DXBE

In March, Emirates NBD PJSC and Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC acquired the company’s debt from mainly non-United Arab Emirates-based lenders at a discount to allow Meraas to restructure the park operator with a small group of Dubai banks, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

DXBE’s IPO had attracted institutional investors such as sovereign wealth funds from Qatar and Kuwait and wealthy families, who made offers of about 100 billion dirhams, the company had said at the time.

Meraas holds a 52% stake in DXB Entertainments, which still counts Qatar’s sovereign fund and Kuwait Investment Authority as other shareholders.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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