By Zainab Fattah

Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the developer that makes up almost a quarter of Dubai’s benchmark stock index, is considering spinning off its malls unit and Turkish business as it looks for ways to boost shareholder returns, according to two people briefed on the company’s internal discussions.

The builder of the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest by area, would list its shopping-center business on the emirate’s exchange when market conditions are favorable, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The Turkish unit probably would be listed in Istanbul, they said.

Emaar has increasingly relied on revenue from malls and hotels after the collapse of Dubai’s property market in 2008 caused demand for homes and offices to evaporate. The developer will build more than 1,000 homes in Istanbul and also has operations in at least 12 countries including China, India, Indonesia and Egypt.

Emaar has no immediate plans to list the units, according to a spokesperson who asked not to be named, citing company policy. Chief Financial Officer Amit Jain declined to comment when reached on his mobile phone.

“The retail business is very stable for Emaar, while the property sales business is lumpy by nature,” Shuaa Capital analyst Asjad Yahya said by telephone. “As a result, the retail and hospitality businesses are effectively being priced at lower multiples than their peers,” said Yahya, who has a buy rating on the stock.

If these businesses are listed separately, investors would be able to value them in comparison with similar businesses, Yahya said. “That can potentially bring significant value,” he said. More info