Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Nakheel IPO?

Bloomberg is reporting that Nakheel’s chairman, Sultan bin Sulayem, is talking about launching some IPOs at some point in the foreseeable future (though not before next year) – in his words, it "is inevitable and will be worth billions." He’s not wrong: Nakheel is the company behind the Palms and the World, among other things, and is worth about US$25 billion.

The IPOs are likely to be structured as investments in the individual developments rather than Nakheel itself.

The sceptical part of me sees this as a fairly transparent strategy to shift the not inconsiderable risk associated with these developments off Nakheel’s (and, for that matter, the government’s) books and onto (local) speculators while creaming money off for reinvestment in other white elephants. All completely above board, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that the IPOs are likely to be in the individual projects rather than the parent company makes me think it’s more about risk than anything else.

Anyway it’d be interesting to see the Palms rise and fall on the stock market – a nice visual representation of their fortunes…

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