[LONDON] Dubai's Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group, owner of the world's largest indoor theme park, is considering a 2017 initial public offering as it seeks to raise funds for the project, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company, known as IMG, is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co.as the global coordinator for the transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAEalso has a role, the people said. No final decision on the IPO has been reached and the company may consider other fundraising options, the people said.
Fundraising in the Middle East has been muted this year as a drop in oil prices dents investor appetite for new public offerings. Share sales announced by companies in the Middle East and Africa has declined 44 per cent this year from the same period in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Still, the last theme park owner in the region to go public, Dubai Parks & Resorts PJSC, has been a success. The company raised US$$689 million in a listing in 2014. Its shares have risen 57 per cent so far this year, valuing the Legoland theme park developer at about US$3.7 billion. That compares to a 12 per cent increase in the Dubai Financial Market General Index.
IMG Worlds of Adventure, which cost about US$1 billion to build, opened in Dubai this summer and is the world's largest indoor theme park, stretching across 1.5 million square feet and featuring attractions based on Marvel's Avengers and Cartoon Network's Powerpuff Girls, according to information on its website.
Representatives for IMG Group and EFG-Hermes declined to comment on the IPO. A representative for JPMorgan didn't immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment.