* ONIC says major shareholder in talks to sell stake
* Sale could raise $54 mln for Dubai Group
* Asset sales part of debt restructuring plans
DUBAI/MUSCAT, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Dubai Group, an investment
vehicle restructuring $10 billion of debt, is in talks to sell
its stake in Oman National Investment Corp Holding
(ONIC), three sources aware of the matter said on Wednesday.
Dubai Group, part of Dubai Holding, the personal
investment firm of the emirate's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin
Rashid al-Maktoum, was hit hard by the global financial crisis
and is considering asset sales to cut debt.
Based on the Omani company's current market value, Dubai
Group's near-42 percent stake would raise about $54 million. The
sources were not aware of the name of the potential buyer.
Dubai Group declined to comment.
On Monday ONIC had said in a bourse statement that a major
shareholder was in talks to sell its stake in the company to an
undisclosed buyer, but provided no further details.
"(The ONIC stake) is an asset Dubai Group has been looking
to sell for a while, but the key question was whether they could
find a potential buyer. They seem to have it now and a sale will
ease a bit of pressure," one banking source said on Wednesday.
In September Dubai Group sold its Turkish insurance arm to a
company owned by former AIG chief executive Maurice
Greenberg and a unit of Dubai lender Mashreq Bank.
It also cut half its staff of about 30 people as part of
cost-cutting measures, including its chief investment officer,
Dubai Group also owns a 14.7 percent stake in Oman's top
lender, Bank Muscat and its other financial assets
include stakes in Egypt's EFG Hermes and Cyprus
Popular Bank, formerly Marfin.
The firm's restructuring process suffered a blow last month
when three international banks began to secure repayment of
debts after running out of patience with the negotiations.
(Additional reporting by Saleh al-Shaibany in Muscat; Editing
by David Goodman)