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Chocolate-coated IPO to tempt Dubai investors?

August 10, 2009

Chocolate CamelsListings in Dubai have been few and far between — despite the best efforts of the emirate’s rulers to encourage foreign companies to float there.

There has only been one IPO completed on the Dubai Financial Market in the past 14 months and that was for construction contractor Drake & Scull in July last year.

Investors bought Drake & Scull’s shares at 1 dirham each. Shares in the group — which specialises in mechanical, engineering and plumbing businesses — are now trading at 0.91 dirhams. They have traded as low as 0.64 dirhams, not unsurprising given the dire state of the Dubai property market.

Now Lebanese chocolatier Patchi is reported to be planning to float a 49 percent stake of the family-owned firm in Dubai – with a secondary listing in London.

Beirut-based Patchi — founded in 1974 by Nizar Choucair — isn’t commenting on the FT report. Patchi executive general manager Mazin Obeidi is quoted as saying the company plans to open Starbucks style cafes across the world.

There’s no timetable given for Patchi’s IPO.

The question is whether it will melt in the mouth of Dubai investors.

Photo: Reuters

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