UPDATE 1-State-backed Meraas plans buyout of theme park group DXB Entertainments

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DUBAI, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Dubai property company Meraas, which owns more than half of DXB Entertainments, intends to make a conditional offer to acquire the remaining shares in the loss-making theme park group and take it private, stock exchange filings showed on Sunday.

Under the terms of the offer, minority shareholders in DXB Entertainments (DXBE) will be entitled to 0.08 dirhams ($0.0218) in cash for each DXBE share, valuing the company at 640 million dirhams ($174.25 million).

DXBE’s current market value is about 960 million dirhams, based on Refinitiv Eikon data.

“The board of DXBE is in the process of evaluating the offer and will update the market in due course,” the company said in a statement signed by its chairman, Abdul wahab Al Halabi.

State-backed Meraas currently holds 52.3% of DXBE, based on Refinitiv Eikon data. The Qatar Investment Authority and Kuwait Investment Authority own 10.98% and 5.07% respectively.

DXB Entertainments, which listed in 2014, last month reported that its accumulated losses as of the end of September stood at 6.2 billion dirhams, or 78% of its capital. It made a net loss of 238 million dirhams in the third quarter.

Dubai has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic because its economy relies on tourism, transportation, real estate, trade, and financial services.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated the emirate’s economy could shrink by 9.8% this year, and S&P Global Ratings has predicted an 11% contraction.

The filing said Meraas also intends to convert a balance of existing convertible bonds issued to Meraas by DXBE in 2018 into new DXBE shares and buy DXBE’s senior bank debt owed to certain lenders.

Meraas, which would then hold 93.92% of the company, intends to exercise its rights to buy the shares of any minority shareholders that did not accept the offer at the same price as the original offer, the filing said.

In June, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum made Meraas part of his Dubai Holding investment vehicle.

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